By Neepa Sevak
Pregnancy is a very important milestone in a woman’s life where she undergoes various physiological and psychological changes. Since pregnancy can be stressful to a woman’s body, the health of the woman significantly affects the health of the fetus. Homeopathic medicines will help improve the health of the mother as well as the fetus thereby assuring a more positive pregnancy experience. Homeopathic medicines are gentle, safe, non-toxic, FDA approved and effective in treating various common problems of pregnancy and childbirth. In this article, I will talk about some common ailments during the pregnancy trimesters and their response to homeopathic medicine.
Conventional medicine generally suppresses symptoms rather than treating the underlying cause, and when taken during pregnancy does have a chance of various side effects on the fetus. Since homeopathy works with the body's natural defense system, homeopathic medicines increase the probability of a healthy child. Homeopathy balances the whole system thus allowing the body to heal itself. Each individual case can be assessed and individualized to treat specific symptoms and weaknesses. Some of the common ailments during pregnancy and labor that can be treated by using homeopathic remedies are given below. These remedies are just a few of the commonly used homeopathic remedies and are mentioned only to create awareness about the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines in pregnancy. It is not advisable to resort to self-medication for any health condition. Fatigue
During pregnancy the body has lots of adjustments to make, metabolism steps up in order to support the developing baby as well as your own body, causing fatigue and feeling a need to sleep more than usual. During initial weeks after conception, your body begins to produce more blood to carry nutrients to the fetus. Your heart increases its work to accommodate this increased blood flow. The hormone progesterone which is required in high levels during pregnancy has a sedating effect. Also any pains, anemia, depression, anxiety or insomnia may cause fatigue. The combination of these changes contributes to the fatigue you may feel.
Self Care Measures for Fatigue
- Take adequate rest.
- Eat a balanced diet. The fatigue in early pregnancy can be worse if you're not getting enough iron or protein.
- Increase your level of exercise by walking and swimming regularly.
- Massage on a regular basis can also help in stimulating your energy flow.
Homeopathic Remedies for Fatigue
- Take Ferrum Phos 12X three times daily till you no longer need it.
The most common illness is morning sickness which is caused by an increase in hormone levels during the early months of pregnancy. It can range from mild nausea to constant vomiting requiring hospitalization. This may be caused due to low blood sugar esp. when you have not eaten for some time, low blood pressure, hormonal changes, emotional stress, Vitamin B6 and iron deficiency, an excess of refined, spicy, or greasy foods, and pressure on the stomach from the growing uterus in the last few weeks of pregnancy. It can be more severe in a first pregnancy, in women carrying multiple fetuses or in women with other medical conditions.
Self Care Measures for Morning Sickness
- Eating carbohydrate-rich snacks between meals can help.
- A protein-rich snack eaten half an hour before bedtime will ensure that your blood sugar level doesn't fall too low during the night.
- Increase iron-rich foods in your diet, such as beef, eggs, fruits and green leafy vegetables.
- Drink lots of fluids, and eat smaller meals more frequently.
- Avoid smells which trigger nausea.
- Consider possible emotional causes and discuss your feelings with someone understanding.
Homeopathic Remedies for Morning Sickness
- Ipecac 30C three times daily for five days, stopping earlier if symptoms start to improve.
Mood Swings of Pregnancy
Hormonal changes and mixed feelings about your forthcoming parenthood can have a depressant effect on your nervous system, causing mood changes, unexplained crying and anxiety. These symptoms can last throughout the pregnancy.
Self Care Measures for Mood Swings
- Relaxing exercises and minimizing stress.
Homeopathic Remedies for Mood Swings
- Pulsatilla 12C for emotional women who are weepy for no reason, indecisive, with frequent changes in mood. Sepia 12C for feelings of dissatisfaction or indifferent behavior towards own family.
This is due to the hormonal effects on the nasal passages, stress and fatigue. It results from an increase in fluid in the mucous membrane linings, which causes swelling and a blockage of the sinuses. If the blocked sinuses become infected, sinusitis may develop causing headaches, pain at the base of the nose and around the eyes, which worsens if the head is lowered.
Self Care Measures for Nasal Stuffiness/Cold
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Add two drops of eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and tea tree oils to a bowl of boiling water. Inhale for 10 minutes 3 times a day.
- Apply warm compresses to the front and sides of the face and around your eyes, nose and temples.
- Relaxation exercises, minimizing stress, eating well and getting enough rest are important.
Homeopathic Remedies for Nasal Stuffiness/Cold
- Take Silica 12C or Kali Bichromicum 12C three times daily for up to a week, stopping when symptoms start to improve.
Dizziness of Pregnancy
Dizziness during pregnancy can result from circulatory changes, stress, fatigue and hunger. During pregnancy the uterus has a great demand for blood supply which reduces the blood supply to other parts of the body. Warm weather, a warm bath, sudden change of position, standing for too long or too quickly can cause blood pooling in the legs or feet which leads to lack of blood supply to the brain that becomes temporarily short of oxygen leading to dizziness and fainting. A more serious but rare cause may be an ectopic pregnancy, especially if dizziness is severe and occurs with abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding.
Self Care Measures for Dizziness
- Don’t stand for too long, while standing practice contracting and relaxing your leg and buttock muscles to help the blood return to your head.
- While resting, lie on your sides rather than your back.
- Try to keep cool during hot weather and avoid getting up suddenly.
- If you experience dizziness, sit with your head between your knees or lie down with your feet elevated and head lower than your body.
- Maintain your blood sugar level by munching occasionally on snacks.
Homeopathic Remedies for Dizziness
- Ferrum Phos 30C when you feel dizzy, and repeat when needed.
Heartburn of Pregnancy
Progesterone relaxes the valve between the oesophagus and the stomach, making it easier for stomach acid to flow into the oesophagus, irritating the oesophagus and causing a burning sensation in the chest. Pressure on the stomach from the growing uterus may also cause stomach acid to flow upwards. Heartburn will be worse after meals, when lying down, straining or coughing.
Self Care Measures for Heartburn
- Keep your meals small and frequent. Finish your evening meal at least two hours before going to bed.
- Eat slowly, chewing your food well.
- Avoid lying down immediately after eating.
- Avoid spicy, greasy, sugary, acidic or other foods that disagree with you and try not to drink with your meals as this dilutes the digestive juices.
- Eating fennel seeds after meals will aid digestion.
- Avoid stimulants such as tea and coffee.
- Try alkaline foods like yoghurt or milk to ease burning, or mildly acidic foods like orange, pineapple or tomato juice.
Homeopathic Remedies for Heartburn
- Arsenicum Album 12C or Carbo Veg 12C three times daily or whenever needed.
Constipation of Pregnancy
Constipation is common during and after pregnancy, when progesterone relaxes the muscles in the intestines causing food to move slowly through your digestive tract. As a result, more water than usual is absorbed making your stool hard and dry. Insufficient dietary fiber, synthetic iron supplements, commonly prescribed in pregnancy, can also cause constipation.
Self Care Measures for Constipation
- Drink plenty of water, and eat plenty of fiber, fruits and vegetables.
- When you feel the urge to go to the toilet, respond immediately.
- Breathe deeply, relax and avoid straining when emptying your bowels.
- Prune juice, dried prunes or figs soaked in water overnight can help move bowels easily.
- Exercise regularly.
Homeopathic Remedies for Constipation
- Take Nux vomica 6X three times daily for up to a week.
Cramping of Pregnancy
Low levels of calcium, circulatory changes and the growing foetus pushing against the walls of your uterus, causes the uterus to continuously contract. This causes cramps which are most common in the third trimester of pregnancy and are usually experienced as sharp aching pains in the thighs, calves or feet. Pressure from your uterus on the veins returning blood from your legs may cause leg cramps, especially at night. A pulling or stabbing pain in your groin or a sharp cramp down your side, especially after suddenly moving or reaching for something, may occur when you stretch your long ligament, one of several ligaments supporting the uterus.
Self Care Measures for Cramping
- Massage the area firmly and stretch the muscle by extending your heel and bringing your toes toward you.
- Sleep with feet slightly elevated by placing a pillow under the feet.
- Exercise regularly and make sure your diet contains adequate calcium and magnesium.
Homeopathic Remedies for Cramping
- Dissolve four tablets of Magnesia Phosphorica 6X in a tsp. of warm water and take it whenever you experience cramps.
Breathlessness of Pregnancy
Breathlessness is a result of extra oxygen demands for the increased metabolic rate. It also occurs because the growing uterus changes the shape of the thorax and makes breathing harder. Breathlessness is more likely to occur in women who are expecting large babies or twins, are overweight, unfit, anemic or have a deficient diet.
Self Care Measures for Breathlessness
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Try taking deep breaths and maintain a good posture so your lungs have room to expand.
- Keep your head elevated while sleeping.
- Sleeping on your left side will relieve pressure on major blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the fetus.
- Swimming is an excellent exercise that builds up your stamina.
Homeopathic Remedies for Breathlessness
- Antimonium Tart 12C single dose as and when needed.
Backache of Pregnancy
Low back pain extending down the legs is a common complaint during pregnancy especially in the last trimester, since this is the area of the body most stressed by the additional weight that you are carrying. During pregnancy the high levels of progesterone result in the stretching and softening of ligaments in the pelvic area and the spine in preparation for birth which puts extra strain on the back and hips causing backache.
Self Care Measures for Backache
- Massage with strengthening exercises for your back can help relieve your ache.
- Avoid wearing high heels, sleeping on an overly soft mattress and lifting heavy weights.
- Try to maintain a good posture taking care not to arch your back, walk and stand with your feet parallel.
Homeopathic Remedies for Backache
Arnica 30C or Rhus Tox 12C three times a day, or when needed.
The above mentioned remedies are just a few of the commonly used homeopathic remedies and are mentioned only to create awareness about the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines in pregnancy. It is not advisable to resort to self-medication for any disease. Hence, with the changes that your body and mind will go through over the several pregnancy months, Homeopathy is a gentle and effective means of supporting a healthy pregnancy.