Aug 2, 2017

THE NATURAL REMEDIES I USED IN LABOUR



I knew I wanted a natural and drug-free labour before I was even pregnant with our baby boy. Sure the picture of labour I had in my mind wasn't the prettiest thanks to Hollywood movies and medical TV shows making it look like the most painful thing a woman could go through (and it may be for some women), but as I'm a bit of a health nut, I wanted to do it without drugs in my system. However... I knew there could be other things I could do to help with what pain I may experience. So I went researching, reading, asking, listening and came up with quite a few things I decided to take into the birth suite with me. 

So if you're anything like me, pregnant for the first time, and wanting alternative's to morphine and epidurals, I've done the hard work for you. Just copy and print ;)

I will start by saying I'm no mere mortal here. I went into labour thoroughly researched and prepared, yet as any woman will tell you, the biggest preparation you can do for labour is to prepare to LET GO and SURRENDER to whatever happens. It sounds contradictory in any other scenario, but I can vouch for it now too, it's bang on the money for child birth.

I also went in feeling comfortable to ask for nitric oxide gas if I felt I wanted or needed it. I was happy to take this (I had been educated around it and it does not stay in your system [for more than the 20 seconds you are inhaling it] and does not affect bubs - see another great blog post about it all here) however I knew some people cannot tolerate it and actually feel nauseous and quite ill (my mother and close friend both had this) so I knew I couldn't just waltz on in and rely on it. Thus, my extensive list below.

Let me say just quickly that I am not a homeopath. I know some and got in touch with some for this list, and you can find more information about all of them online as well. I love homeopathy and find it very effective for me, which is why I went with it for labour.


HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR DURING LABOUR:

For Shock. Pain. Bruising. Overwhelm 
  • Use ARNICA
  • Feel bruised, sore, as if beaten during labour. Don’t want people to touch. 
  • Relieves soft tissue damage (perineum or abdomen) following birth – reduces swelling, bruising, and risk of infection, and promotes healing.
  • Always give to both bubs and mum after C-sections, forceps or vaccuum extractions, syntocin-induced labour, if the infant was large, or for difficult labours with bruising (note: having a liquid version may be more useful than pilules here)

For anxious restlessness leading to physical exhaustion 
  • Use ARSENICUM ALBUM
  • Chilly with anxiety.
  • Perineal infections following childbirth.

For false labour/premature labour and when not dilating
  • Use CAULOPHYLLUM
  • This remedy may intensify or regulate uneven contractions.
  • Pains flying about abdomen - may kickstart labour.
  • Useful remedy to try at the beginning of a labour where the labour is not progressing and the cervix will not dilate; contractions become irregular and cease.
  • Women needing this remedy are thirsty, sensitive to cold, fretful, and weak. The labour pains are usually sharp.

For pain! 
  • Use CHAMOMILLA
  • Unbearable pains, even early in the labour… afterpains, headaches, painful breasts. Extreme irritability and anger. No matter what is offered or done, it is not right.
  • Cold hands and feet.
  • And/or MOTHERWORT TINCTURE (a herbal remedy, not homeopathic): use only if contractions are regular: 2ml 1/2 hourly

For weakness and exhaustion 
  • Use GELSEMIUM
  • Difficulty supporting own weight. Muscles tremble with the effort of movement. 
  • Useful for labours that have been in progress for many hours, yet the cervix will not dilate, and she is extremely weak and sleepy.
  • Contractions weaken and cease.
  • A very useful remedy in the last few days before labour, for women who have extreme anxiety anticipating the labour and delivery. She may start behaving hysterically, or will become very weak, sleepy, apathetic and indifferent.

For irregular contractions; pain of contractions felt mainly in the back 
  • Use KALI-CARBONICUM
  • Feels as if back may break, much better for firm pressure. Fearful of dying.
  • Also use this remedy for irregular labours, non-progressive labours, postpartum hemorrhage and afterpains. Women needing this remedy always have violent back pain.

For physical exhaustion either during or after labour 
  • Use KALI-PHOS
  • Few other symptoms may be present (compare with Arsenic).

For nausea and headaches during labour
  • Use NUX VOMICA
  • Also useful for irritability.

For quick healing of incision, tearing, episiotomy 
  • Use STAPHYSAGRIA
  • Useful following incision, penetration, or stretching of muscle fibres (ie. after Caesarean birth, tearing, episiotomy) as encourages healing.
  • Relieves the feelings of anger, resentment, disappointment, and emotional upset that may follow a Caesarean birth.

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Remedy Dosage for Homeopathics:

During labour, give 1-2 pilules every 15 minutes to half hour for three doses (or as needed). 
  • If there is no improvement in symptoms at all by three doses, stop and change to the next best-matching remedy. 
  • Once there is improvement re-dose only when symptoms return. In other words, don’t take the remedy if it’s not needed.
  • Not every symptom has to be present for the remedy to help – use the remedy that best matches the symptoms at the time.

During pregnancy and postpartum, give 2-3 times per day. 
  • If the problem does not improve at all after 3 doses, you have probably selected the wrong remedy. If the problem improves but still persists, continue giving the remedy 3 times per day for a few more days until recovery is complete.


** TIP: Create a quick document so your partner or doula can make note of what they have given you and when, so they can monitor dosages. No-one will know what you've been given without it being written down when everything else is going on during labour.


OTHER REMEDIES FOR DURING LABOUR:

Emergency Essence or Rescue Remedy
  • Can be used anytime for overwhelm, fear or pain.
  • Great at initial labour onset, especially for first time mums, unsure of what lies ahead and how long you'll be in labour for.

Essential Oils
  • Peppermint or doterra Ice Blue: rub on lower back during surges/contractions
  • Clary Sage: rub on lower abdomen to kick start surges if they slow down; have someone put it under your nose every so often to keep contractions going (worked brilliantly for me)
  • Your favourite blends: in an oil diffuser in your birthing room (more for ambience)


AFTER THE BIRTH:
  • Arnica: Relieves soft tissue damage (perineum or abdomen) following birth or caesarian section – reduces swelling, bruising, and risk of infection, and promotes healing.
  • Staphysagria: Useful following incision, penetration, or stretching of muscle fibres, as happens with a Caesarean sections, tearing, or episiotomy. It encourages the quick healing of incisional or lacerated wounds.
  • Chamomilla: A very common remedy for insufficient flow of milk.
  • Kali-Carb: A common remedy for postpartum depression where there is a lot of irritability and physical sensitivity (to pain, noise and touch). She may have depression with crying spells, be fearful and confused.
  • Myrrh essential oil: Great to pop around bubs umbilical chord/belly button after it’s been clamped, but be sure to dilute it first if you do
  • Frankincense essential oil: rub on bubs feet, forehead and crown
  • Calendula oil: use after perineal lacerations, episiotomy and C-sections to help heal the tissues and prevent infection, and also for soothing sore sensitive nipples when breast feeding (life saving)
  • Aloe Vera Gel: Use on maternity pads after birth for cooling effect


I created my own kit as I already had a bunch of remedies at home so only needed to add a few others, but as far as homeopathics are concerned, there are many done-for-you birth kits available online and at great herbal stores (Mullum Herbals in Mullumbimby being one I know of first hand).

Whatever you decide, and whatever you use, I hope you have a wonderful birth experience.



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