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Homoeopathic treatment during birth

Although each labour is a unique experience, it can usually be divided into three distinct phases. The labour can become “stuck” at any point. Different remedies may be needed at different stages, or the same remedy may be indicated throughout the whole experience. Allow yourself to be guided by the symptom picture observed at the time a remedy is required.

First stage labour – opening the cervix

This is the period of time during which the baby remains in the uterus and the cervix is gradually opened until it is approximately 10cm in diameter, large enough for the baby’s head to pass through.

The following symptoms are commonly experienced during this phase:

  • Backache
  • Menstrual like pains
  • Bloody show
  • Diarrhoea
  • Indigestion
  • Possible ruptured membranes

Remedies may be helpful during this stage if:

  • Contractions are not becoming more strong and regular.
  • The cervix is not dilating.
  • The mother does not appear to be coping with the pain.

Suggested remedies for first stage labour:

Caulophyllum 30c

  • Labour pains feel like muscle spasms and are irregular
  • Contractions are not effective in dilating the cervix
  • Extremely painful, sharp pains that are brief in duration
  • Pains are erratic
  • Labour pains may shoot to the breast
  • Backache from posterior positioning of baby (don’t use if contractions are already strong)
  • Generalised weakness and trembling
  • A sensation of internal trembling
  • Thirsty
  • Patient feels cold
  • Nervous with rapid mood swings
  • Anxious and fearsome
  • Profuse irritating vaginal discharge
  • May be needle like pains in the cervix

Cimicifuga 30c

  • Irregular, sharp, cramping pain
  • Pains like electric shocks- darting, shooting and changeable
  • Cramping pains in muscles that are constantly changing; pain shooting up and down on the front of the thighs
  • Irregular dilation with pain across the back, possible posterior presentation of baby
  • Felt in the small of the back around to the abdomen
  • Mentally, a feeling of dejection, a pessimistic outlook about the labour
  • A feeling of “I can’t do it” or “I can’t go through with it”

Gelsemium 30c

  • Posterior presentation of baby- pain felt in back
  • Depression or apathy
  • Clinging to furniture or person
  • Wants to lie down and rest
  • Dislike of noise and bright light but afraid of the dark
  • Exhausted
  • Anticipation anxiety
  • Drowsy
  • Flushed face
  • Cervix looks open but labour does not progress
  • Fear of losing self-control

Kali phos 30c

  • Sharp pains
  • Exhausted, the mother has a feeling that she can’t go on
  • Patient will be either very excited or exhausted
  • Wants to be supported (physically and emotionally)
  • Anxious about the health of the baby
  • Wants to be held

Aconitum 30c

  • Pains are sharp and sudden
  • Pains come and go quickly
  • Patient will be anxious, restless and fearful
  • Scared that she will die
  • Racing pulse
  • Flushed face alternating with paleness
  • Very restless
  • Sudden bursts of anxiety or fear

Pulsatilla 30c

  • Contractions are weak, ineffectual and slow
  • Pains shift from place to place
  • Pains change in character
  • Wants open air although they feel cold
  • No thirst
  • Seeks sympathy and consolation
  • Cries easily
  • Mood swings
  • Distress and feeling of not being able to breathe with each contraction
  • Posterior position of baby

Sepia 30c

  • Stitching pains in the uterus with each contraction
  • Backache
  • Feels weary and faint
  • Likes fast movement, may want to pace around the room
  • Irritable but consolation aggravates her
  • Cries when telling her symptoms
  • Pain feels better when on hands and knees

Nux vomica 30c

  • Back pain from posterior presentation of baby extending to the buttocks and thighs
  • Slow labour with irregular and insufficient contractions
  • Constant desire to empty bladder and rectum
  • Impatient
  • Angry when asked a question
  • Critical of nurses, hospital or partner
  • Intolerant of pain

special note: should not be used before or after Chamomilla

Second stage of labour – the birth of the baby

The second stage of labour begins when the cervix is fully dilated and ends with the birth of the baby.

Common signs and symptoms of second stage labour:

  • Increasingly painful contractions
  • Unable to talk through the contractions
  • Increasing backache
  • Leg discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Increasing bloody show
  • Possible rupture of membranes

Remedies during this stage may be useful where:

  • The contractions are becoming too painful
  • The mother is feeling that she can’t go on
  • Contractions slow down or stop altogether
  • The baby is in the posterior position
  • There is no urge to push
  • There is not enough power in the contractions to push the baby out

Suggested remedies for second stage:

Caulophyllum 30c

  • Extreme uterine fatigue from long first stage
  • No urge to push
  • Weak contractions
  • Extreme exhaustion, the women can hardly speak
  • Profuse secretion of mucous from the vagina
  • Pains feel like muscle spasms and are irregular
  • Extremely painful, sharp pains which are brief in duration
  • Pains are erratic
  • Labour pains may shoot to the breast
  • Generalised weakness
  • A sensation of internal trembling
  • Thirsty
  • Sensitive to cold
  • Nervous with rapid changes of mood
  • Fretful and fearsome

Gelsemium 30c

  • Pains are spasmodic and may cause the baby to go up rather than down the birth canal
  • Labour pains felt in the back. Posterior presentation of the baby
  • Depression or apathy
  • Clinging to furniture or person
  • Wants to lie down and rest
  • Dislike of noise and bright light but afraid of the dark
  • Exhausted
  • Anticipation anxiety; may be anxious about parenting, breastfeeding, lifestyle changes
  • Drowsy
  • Flushed face
  • Cervix looks open but labour does not progress
  • Fear of losing self-control

Kali phos 30c

  • Extremely dry mouth
  • Sharp pains
  • Feeling that they can’t go on
  • Creeping sensation with intense pain along the spine
  • Obstinate and worse when spoken to
  • Wants to be supported (physically and emotionally)
  • Anxious about the health of the baby
  • Wants to be held
  • Sensitive to light and noise

Pulsatilla 30c

  • Pains are weak, ineffectual and slow
  • Pains shift from place to place
  • Pains change in character, sometimes sharp, sometimes aching
  • Wants open air although they feel cold
  • No thirst
  • Seeks sympathy and consolation
  • Tearful
  • Mood swings
  • Distress and feeling of not being able to breath with each contraction

Belladonna 30c

  • The women will be frightened of real or imagined things
  • Intense throbbing pains
  • Cramping pain, beginning and ending suddenly
  • Sudden, violent onset of symptoms
  • Fever, hot burning skin, hot sweats
  • Light and noise irritate
  • Thrashing head from side to side

Ipecac 6c or 30c

  • Impatient
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and noise
  • Excessive chilliness
  • Sudden violent, persistent nausea, not improved by vomiting
  • Sharp, pinching pain around the belly button into the uterus
  • Hard to please
  • Cutting pain in the uterus from left to right
  • Vomiting

Arnica 30c

  • Irritable, quarrelsome and morose
  • Fear of being touched
  • Wants to be left alone
  • Aches and pains as if bruised and beaten

special note: this is the remedy for shock and trauma. Give a dose straight after the birth.

Arnica can help control bleeding, prevent swelling and bruising, help the uterus to contract to expel the placenta. It also lessens the bruised, sore feeling common after birth.

Staphysagria 30c

  • Controlling feelings, fear of losing self-control
  • Great sensitivity to noise, odours and taste
  • Burning, prickling pains or sharp shooting pains
  • Profuse sweat
  • Angered by touch

Sepia 30c

  • Violent, stitching pains felt up in the vagina
  • Sense of hopelessness
  • Indifference to those they love most
  • Fear of not being able to cope and losing control
  • Tearful, irritable, worn out and indifferent

Chamomilla 200c

  • Pain is unbearable
  • The women is restless and irritable
  • Demands constant help but cannot stand anyone near her, doesn’t want to be touched
  • Sends midwife, doctor or support persons away
  • Chamomilla is an excellent remedy to give when a women in labour plans to have a natural birth but finds the pain so unbearable that she changes her mind. Give her a dose of chamomilla before the epidural she demands. It won’t stop the pain but will make it more tolerable

special note: Do not use chamomilla immediately before or after Nux Vomica

Third stage labour – expelling the placenta

The third stage of labour immediately follows the birth, when the baby takes its first breath. At the end of this stage the placenta separates from the lining of the uterus and is expelled by more contractions. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut, before or after the birth of the placenta (if you choose for this to happen of course).

Common signs and symptoms of third stage labour:

  • Fatigue or a new burst of energy
  • Thirsty and hungry
  • Some women experience chills
  • Bloody vaginal discharge
  • Often a feeling of euphoria

Remedies may be helpful at this stage if:

  • There is postpartum haemorrhage
  • There is retained placenta
  • There is shock or trauma during or after the birth

Suggested remedies for third stage:

Caulophyllum 30c

  • Pains feel like muscle spasms and are irregular
  • Contractions are not effective in expelling the placenta
  • Extremely painful, sharp pains which are brief in duration
  • Pains are erratic
  • Backache
  • Generalised weakness and trembling
  • A sensation of internal trembling
  • Thirsty
  • Sensitive to cold
  • Nervous with rapid changes of mood
  • Fretful and fearsome
  • Bleeding after a fast labour

Pulsatilla 30c

  • Retained placenta
  • Intermittent bleeding
  • Pains shift from place to place
  • Pains change in character
  • Wants open air although they feel cold
  • No thirst
  • Seeks sympathy and consolation
  • Tearful
  • Mood swings

Belladonna 30c

  • Profuse, hot, bright red blood haemorrhage
  • Bearing down pains, ‘as if the back would break’
  • The women will be frightened of real or imagined things
  • Intense throbbing pains
  • Cramping pain, beginning and ending suddenly
  • Sudden, violent onset of symptoms
  • Fever, hot burning skin, hot sweats
  • Light and noise irritate

China 6c

  • Profuse bleeding of dark clotted blood
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Feeling as though she will faint
  • Wants to be fanned

Ipecac 6c

  • Bright red, gushing foamy blood
  • Steady flow of bright red blood that doesn’t clot well
  • Impatient
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and noise
  • Excessive chilliness
  • Sudden violent, persistent nausea, not improved by vomiting
  • Sharp, pinching pain around the navel into the uterus
  • Hard to please
  • Cutting pain in the uterus from left to right
  • Vomiting

Arnica 30c

  • Can quickly stop bleeding
  • Especially useful after a mechanical intervention delivery (forceps or vontouse)
  • Inflammation of the vagina and uterus
  • Irritable, quarrelsome and morose
  • Fear of being touched
  • Wants to be left alone
  • Aches and pains as if bruised and beaten

special note: This is the remedy for shock and trauma. Give a dose right after the birth.

Arnica can help control bleeding, prevent swelling and bruising, help the uterus to contract to expel the placenta and help the bruised, sore feeling common after birth.

Sepia 30c

  • Bearing down sensation, as if everything would fall out
  • Inability to expel the placenta
  • Violent, stitching pains felt up in the vagina
  • Sense of hopelessness
  • Indifference to those they love most
  • Fear of not coping and losing control
  • Tearful, irritable, worn out and indifferent
  • Use if retained placenta and there are no clear indications for another remedy

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