New England School of Homeopathy

Homeopathy: made to order for pregnancy!

Tips and reminders for treating pregnant women

By Dr. Amy Rothenberg for Homeopathy Today, July/August 2004

Ah, to be pregnant, full of life, aglow with the lofty purpose of carrying a child into this world! But what if this image of beauty and saintliness crashes and becomes one of constipation, exhaustion, sore breasts, heartburn, backache, and varicose veins? Homeopathy was made to order! Working gently on mom and without harm to baby, we can prescribe remedies for a pregnant woman’s acute problems as well as her overall constitutional health. In fact, it is often quite easy to find a remedy for a pregnant woman because her vital force is in a heightened state, and her symptoms are often clear and specific. Strong food cravings, new sleep positions, extreme body temperatures, and personality quirks appear for many women during pregnancy, giving the homeopath much fodder to help choose a remedy.

Guidelines for treating pregnant women
Here are some general guidelines I employ when treating pregnant women:

Difficult past pregnancies. If previous pregnancies were difficult with regard to physical issues like morning sickness, digestive upsets, constipation, skin problems, vaginal infections, musculoskeletal complaints, etc., I always recommend the patient seek constitutional homeopathic care before conception if possible or at least during the first trimester. In this way, I hope to help her head off any unnecessary problems with the pregnancy so that she may enjoy this special time of life, without all the nuisances that can get in the way.

Children with chronic problems. If previous children suffer or have suffered from any chronic problems like allergies, eczema, ongoing infections, asthma, digestive complaints, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or autistic spectrum disorders, I recommend that both parents seek constitutional treatment before conception. If that’s not feasible, I recommend constitutional treatment during pregnancy for the mother. Many health problems do run in families; for instance, having one autistic child greatly increases your chances of having another. By treating the parent(s) constitutionally, I hope to reduce the chances that a subsequent child will be likewise affected.

Morning sickness. If the chief complaint is morning sickness, I only offer treatment if it is severe, if it is long-lasting (through the day or beyond the first trimester), or if she has a history of severe, protracted morning sickness in a previous pregnancy. I do not treat low-grade nausea as it reflects a certain health of the pregnancy—those hormones of early pregnancy circulating and wreaking havoc are normal. Instead, I encourage the mother to use other approaches, most importantly, to eat whatever she likes, whenever she likes it. Salty crackers help many.

One month before birth. In addition to whenever else I have seen them during the pregnancy, I like to see my patients about a month before they are due. At this visit, I address any concerns they may have about their current health as well as questions about the upcoming labor and delivery. If they are experiencing no particular health problems, I may give a dose of the constitutional remedy as a way of strengthening the patient in preparation for the birth.

Reminders for pregnant women
I spend a fair amount of time in any visit I have with a pregnant woman emphasizing the following areas:

Proper nutrition. I focus especially on adequate intake of foods rich in calcium and protein. I tell moms-to-be to enjoy what they love but to also remember daily doses of fruits and vegetables and plenty of water! I encourage the patient to take prenatal vitamins. Some of the known problems that arise due to malnutrition, such as neural tube defects related to folic acid deficiency, occur before most women even know they are pregnant. Nonetheless, it is wise to help the patient find a prenatal vitamin that agrees with her digestively and to remind her to stick with it throughout the pregnancy and during lactation.

Proper rest. I talk about how growing a baby is a full-time job on top of whatever else the woman may be juggling; all that work, with no extra rest, will lead to sure exhaustion. The extra rest must be worked in—either by going to bed earlier, rising later, or napping.

The importance of exercise. This would not be a time to give up the exercise plan. For those having a vaginal birth, it will help enormously if the muscles of the body are in good shape and the lungs as well, because giving birth is an aerobic and physical marathon of sorts. For those with scheduled Cesarean section, this advice still holds, as women in better shape will have more resources to marshal during convalescence from that major surgery. A half-hour gentle stroll is enough. There are also classes designed specifically for the pregnant woman, such as prenatal yoga, stretching, or water exercise.

Feeling good about the birthing plan and care team. I try to touch on the importance of this with all my pregnant patients. The surest way to put a labor into stop mode is if, at the time of the birth, the mother is not comfortable with the environment or people in it. I encourage my mothers and their partners to consider their options carefully and to make changes when necessary.

Finding support at home and work. I stress the importance of getting enough support during the pregnancy itself as well as after the baby arrives. This might be through paid helpers or with family and friends filling in. Troubleshooting with a partner or friend as to where the patient may most need support and then getting it into place can help head off many health and psychological problems before they have a chance to arise.