Mother and Baby
Remedies for Labour and After the Birth
Most women are fortunate these days in that we have a greater say
about how and where we would like to give birth to our children. Whichever
way you choose to give birth, in hospital or at home; in a birth pool
or on dry land; with or without pain relief - natural remedies can
be of great assistance. The remedies mentioned here are safe, simple
and gently supportive; they may be used by breastfeeding mothers and
in conjunction with any medication that might be given at the hospital.
IMPORTANT NOTE: there are many herbs
that should not be taken by pregnant women and breastfeeding
mothers. Ask for professional advice if you are at all unsure.
Now is the time to really relax and take care of yourself. If you
are working, try to have at least a couple of weeks off before your
EDD. If you have been active throughout your pregnancy, slow down.
Listen to your body; try gentle stretching and breathing exercises.
Accept as much help as you are offered and try to sleep as much as
Gentle Remedies for Relaxation
A relaxing aromatherapy massage with appropriate oils in low concentration
can be of great benefit, try Neroli or Pettigrain.
White Chestnut Bach flower remedy may help with insomnia due to
circling thoughts and worrying; Impatiens for frustration if
you are overdue.
Chamomile tea and Limeflower tea will also help to calm
and relax. If insomnia persists see a homeopath for advice.
Homeopathic Preparation for the Birth
The best way of preparing for labour is to see a homeopath and take your individual constitutional remedy
in order to strengthen your system in preparation.
See a homeopath for more information or if you wish to take higher
potencies. Arnica is often recommended in preparation for the birth, however, there is a small risk that Arnica can thin the blood and increase bleeding during the birth, so it is better to take Arnica 30c or 200c postpartum.
If you are overdue the two remedies - Pulastilla 200c and Caulophyllum 200c can help to start the birth process. Pulsatilla helps to soothe and reassure anxiety in the baby and Caulophyllum helps to stregthen utrine contractions. Take the Pulsatilla first then wait 15 minutes then take the Caulophyllum. Wait 15 minutes then repeat the above twice so that you take 3 doses of each remedy alternately with a 15 minutes space in between each one. Then wait! This process can be repeated three times on consecutive days.
In the first stage of labour it is important to keep as relaxed as
possible. The same is true for your birthing partner(s). In the earlier
part: try to sleep; have a bath; do gentle stretches through the contractions;
listen to music and generally try to keep calm. It might be helpful
look at the contractions in a different way, rather than as a painful
experience, look at them as "an interesting sensation that demands
your full attention."
Five Flower Remedy, more commonly known as Rescue Remedy,
is an ideal remedy to take during labour and after the birth. Add
twenty drops to a bottle of spring water and drink frequently. The
drops can also be added to herbal teas or diluted apple juice (four
drops per cup). Four drops may be added to baby's first bath.
You might like to take an aromatic spray in with you (especially if
the labour ward does not smell particularly nice). A spray made with
a base of flower water (choose from lavender, rose or chamomile water) will cool you down, calm and relax you and perfume
and purify the air. If you wish, add four drops each of Five-flower
remedy, crab apple and walnut.
Clary sage has been used during labour to stimulate contractions
- use in a massage oil. Use one drop of clary sage per five ml of
By this time in the proceedings, you will probably not be thinking
about remedies at all! During transition your whole being is focused
on the rhythm of the contractions, your breathing and the movements
of the baby inside you. As the second stage begins you are completely
absorbed in pushing and breathing. This is as it should be. Perhaps
the best method of pain relief is to focus on the breath, try not
to let anything take you away from this focus. If you wish, a birthing
partner may add flower remedies to your drinks at this stage. Olive,
if the labour has been long and you are very tired; Larch for
loss of confidence; Mimulus for fear. These are to be given
in addition to Walnut and Five-flower remedy.
Once your baby is born, it is good for you and the baby to cuddle
and be close until the cord stops pulsating, if this is possible.
Once the cord is cut or if the contractions start, it is time to direct
your attention to the expulsion of the placenta. It does seem rather
tiresome to get back into having contractions again, when you would
much rather be gazing at and holding your little one. Caulophyllum
30c or 200c is an invaluable homeopathic remedy for stimulating contractions,
and may be taken instead of the injection offered for the same purpose.
This remedy is available from the Haelan Centre Holistic Pharmacy.
alleviate bruising, dull pain and shock it is useful for both mother and baby - who will get the dose through the breast milk. Hypericum helps to reduce
the sharper pain associated with tears and cuts that occur during
the birth. Take these in the 30c potency until you can move around freely without pain. Arnica 200c is more appropriate if the birth was difficult or for first time mums as it helps to treat shock. Bothe remedies greatly
speed up the healing process, but remember not to do too much too
soon. You will probably know in yourself when to stop these remedies,
if you stop too early you feel markedly more uncomfortable than when
you were taking the medicine.
Continue to take Five Flower and Walnut flower remedies
they will help you to adjust, particularly if you are a first time
Aromatherapists recommend Jasmine essential oil to help to
alleviate the baby blues. It is available as a 5% dilution to use
as perfume oil - it makes a lovely present for a new mother.
IMPORTANT NOTE: it is especially important
now to keep up the good nutritional habits that you hopefully
established during pregnancy. Please refer to the pregnancy article for detailed nutritional information; the same guidelines
continue to apply.
||For first time mums - this remedy can help you trust
your innate wisdom on how to best care for your new baby.
||For those who may feel overwhelmed at the responsibility
of looking after a new baby, helps you to get a good perspective
and look after your own needs as well as the baby's.
||May be of help for those whose birthing experience
was difficult, or those who feel discouraged or depressed
||For those who might feel threatened by the new arrival
to the family, e.g. jealous siblings or a partner who feels "left
||A classic remedy for new parents! Helps to address
the tiredness and exhaustion that can occur after a long labour
followed by sleep-deprived nights.
||For those who normally very capable but are struggling,
with lack of sleep and work during the day e.g. mothers with other
||The remedy for guilt, many mothers experience this
emotion, if they cannot give their absolute best all the time.
Pine helps us to accept responsibility without self-condemnation.
||For selfless concern and worry for others. A good
remedy for those who are continually checking that their newborn
is still breathing!
|Star of Bethlehem
||This remedy helps to rebalance energy after the
shock of birth, ideal for both mother and child. It is an ingredient
of Five Flower / Rescue Remedy
||An invaluable for first time mothers to help them
adapt to their new role. It also helps the newborn to adapt to
life outside the womb.
Add two drops of the chosen remedies to a 30ml bottle of spring water
(special dropper bottles are available). Both mother and baby may
take these diluted drops internally, but if you prefer, four drops
of the mixture can be added to baby's bath or rubbed behind the ears.
Discard the mixture after one week and make up another bottle with
fresh water. Wash and sterilise the bottle and dropper before re-using.
||a traditional tea for helping to stimulate the supply
of breast milk and to soothe windy babies. After four months,
if you are not breast-feeding, you can add 1 tablespoon of fennel tea to the formula
||can also help colicy babies see note
on Cranio-Sacral therapy
||a useful tea for calming and strengthening the nerves
of the new mother. It is also useful for stimulating supply of
breast milk, particularly where it is diminished due to stress.
|Raspberry leaf tea
||is still of use as it is nourishing and helps to
uterus to contract.
A herbal infusion of equal parts Marigold flowers, Comfrey and St
John's Wort can also be added to the bath to speed healing of the
perineum. Make a strong pot of tea and add to the bath. If you have
been advised not to bath, put the mixture in a clean spray bottle
and spray after you use the toilet. Make up a new spray every other
It is best to keep use of baby products to a minimum in the first
weeks. Certainly avoid all the commercial baby products, but even
the more natural one's may contain essential oils which can irritate
brand new skin. Clean baby using plain, warm water, finish with a
wipe of baby oil before you pop on the nappy.
Weleda's Baby Oil is versatile and gentle - suitable for moisturising,
soothing dry/sore skin, cleaning, and protecting against nappy rash. Weleda Nappy Change Cream for more advanced cases of nappy
Green Baby Cradle Cap Oil is a gentle natural mixture, ideal
for treating cradle cap.
Craniosacral therapy is an ideal therapy for newborn babies and their
mothers. By making very subtle adjustments, the therapist may treat
any imbalances resulting from the traumatic experience of birth. It
can help many common problems such as unexplained crying, colic, digestion
problems and breastfeeding problems. It is invaluable for helping
babies to settle into life outside the womb.
Spiritual midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
I found this a useful read in preparation
for birth as it give numerous personal accounts of different kinds
of birth. Be warned of the '60s style of writing and some outdated
Breast is Best by Penny and Andrew Stanway
This is the breast feeding bible, invaluable for mums new to breastfeeding.
It provides an answer to all questions and dilemmas that you may come
Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
Invaluable information for sleep deprived parents! Gives information
on natural sleep patterns and how to get your child into a sleeping
Written by Julia Moore CHEK level 1 Holistic Lifestyle Coach.
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