babeA Naturopathic Pregnancy Guide for Pre through Post-Natal Care
by Rebecca Word ND

The following is Part 3, the final installment of Reba’s guide, based on a talk given this year at the Annual Open House for CREWC. Part 1 is available here, Part 2 here.

Labour, time for the show!

  • Meditation: if you have a practice, it can help calm nerves and speed labour
  • Visualization: visualize the baby within descending, the cervix opening like a flower, portal, whatever imagery works for you
  • Hydration: make sure you drink water or electrolyte replacement drink (combo lemon, honey, sea salt — water is much better than Gatorade)
  • Options of birth location and position: when mom feels calm and in control, labour proceeds smoother
  • Support: whoever is in the room needs to be calm and there for mom
  • Acupuncture/Acupressure: for pain management
  • Bowen therapy: pain management and ease of delivery
  • Homeopathics: lots to choose from based on mom’s emotional state and characteristics of labour

A Homeopathic Labour Kit: The Basics

Since mom is in no state of mind to self prescribe during labour, having a midwife, an informed partner, naturopath, or homeopath present is ideal.

  • Cimicifuga: lack contractions or felt in back, thighs, hips
  • Gossypium: feel impending contractions that don’t come
  • Chamomilla: extreme sensitivity to pain, temper tantrums, irritability, diarrhea
  • Aconite: extreme fear and panic, “I feel like I’m going to die”
  • Kali carb: back labour
  • Caulophyllum: exhausted, rigid cervix but strong contractions
  • Gelsemium: cervix soft, no dilation, no contractions
  • Ipecac: constant nausea, sharp and cutting pains
  • Ignatia: agitation, grief and disappointment from unexpected interventions
  • Arnica: Only give once while pushing (may slow labour before), and after birth for pain, bruising, swelling and inflammation

POST PARTUM JOYS & CHALLENGES:

Post partum depression:

  • Statistics: 10-20 % of new moms suffer from it, so you are not alone and have done nothing wrong
  • Possible causes: hormonal imbalance, health challenges of new babe, fussy babes, lack of support, shift work during pregnancy (there’s no avoiding shift work now)
  • The importance of sleep: nap, nap, nap when baby naps — start napping if possible the last few weeks of pregnancy, to increase melatonin production and store up resources
  • Emotional support: from partner, family, friends — ask for help!

Herbal remedies for post partum depression:

  • Lemon balm tea (1-2 cups/day or 25 drops of tincture 3Xday)
  • Blessed thistle 10-20 drops of tincture 2-4Xday, helps with suicidal thoughts (seek help if depression is this severe)
  • Susan Weed’s post partum brew (helpful for all new moms):

+ Licorice root (1 part), adaptogenic, which means it tonifies adrenals and hormonal system (don’t use if you have high blood pressure)
+  Rosemary leaves (2 parts), lifts mood, increases milk, aids liver in clearing hormones
+ Raspberry leaf (2 parts), tones uterus and ovaries
+ Skullcap (2 parts), calms nerves

Combine all dried ingredients; 2 tsp. dried herbs per 1 cup water, pour boiling water over herbs, cover and steep 5-10 min. Drink several cups/day.

Other supplements for post partum depression:

  • Fish oils
  • Breastfeeding really helps: balances hormones, increases endorphins, secures bond with baby (if having trouble, seek lactation consultant or other qualified help)
  • EPO capsules: 1000 mg capsule 2Xday
  • Foods: figs, sprouts, bee pollen, royal jelly
  • Guinness beer: No more than 1/day, for increase in milk and mood
  • Constitutional homeopathy

The importance of breastfeeding:

  • Perfect food
  • Contains important antibodies that protect baby from germs
  • Shrinks uterus
  • Produces oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) and secures bonding
  • Cheap, always ready, right temperature
  • Decreases baby’s risk for: diabetes, infections, allergies, gastrointestinal problems
  • Shown to cause small increase in IQ

Naturopathic help for breastfeeding:

  • Latch — seek help: midwife, doula, or lactation consultant if having difficulties, pain, cracks (It’s not necessarily as easy as it looks.)
  • Hydration!  It takes a lot of fluid to produce all that milk.
  • Herbs: Blessed thistle, fenugreek, goat’s rue, others (see teas below)
  • Sleep
  • Try to mitigate your stress levels
  • Homeopathics

How to increase your milk supply:

  • Always check latch
  • Rest
  • Hydrate
  • Increase number of feeds per day (hormonal feedback) and don’t stop night feeds too early (prolactin highest at night)
  • Pump in addition and freeze
  • Teas: blessed thistle, borage, fennel, fenugreek, anise, hops, goat’s rue, nettles, red clover (buy bulk of dried herbs and mix together) – use same brewing instructions as above for Susun Weed’s brew, drink up to 1 litre per day (hydration + herbal benefit)
  • Acupuncture
  • Homeopathy

Breast engorgement:

  • Loose clothing! (also necessary to prevent plugged ducts), no underwire bras, or tight tops. . . ouch!
  • Hydrotherapy: warm compresses before feeds
  • Use of poultices:

+ Comfrey and parsley: equal parts, steep warm water 5 minutes, apply to breast in cheesecloth
+ Potato
: cold, grated raw potato
+ Cabbage leaf
: (this is the easiest and really does help), score or “tenderize” the leaf so that the juice can be released and tuck in bra cup, especially soothing if taken right out of fridge

Sore, cracked nipples:

  • Fix the latch!
  • Air ‘em out, go topless as much as possible
  • Apply breast milk to nipples after feeds (prevents infections and aids healing)
  • Lansinoh: a lanolin ointment
  • If due to eczema and or yeast seek help (seek help anyway, you don’t need to be superwoman)

Plugged ducts:

One lobule of breast tissue will feel hard and sore.

  • Continue feeds both sides
  • Point babies chin toward hard area (this can require creative breastfeeding positions, but it really helps)
  • Gently massage hard area toward nipple during feedings
  • Hot compresses before feed help to soften and promote expulsion of plug
  • Cabbage compress after
  • Lecithin: 1200 mg 3Xday, a preventive for plugged ducts

Mastitis:

Often a complication of plugged ducts that don’t resolve quickly. Intense pain, fever, chills, redness.

  • Rest!
  • Hydrate!
  • Immune system support: Vitamin C, echinacea, zinc, Vitamin A
  • Feed baby often from both sides
  • Homeopathy can work wonders: Phytolacca, Belladonna, Bryonia, Mercurius are biggies
  • Seek care if fever lasts longer than 24 hours, a concern is abscess formation

Colic:

Persistent, inconsolable crying, usually worse at night (all babies cry — this is different though)

  • Elimination of foods from mom’s diet: big ones are dairy, wheat, chocolate, caffeine, spicy foods, melons, cucumber, citrus, cabbage, broccoli, beans
  • Castor oil tummy rubs and bicycle legs: Rub a tiny puddle of castor oil on baby’s belly and rub in clockwise circles, then bend and extend their legs in bicycle fashion holding at the ankles.  Both help to relieve gas.  You’ll know it works if your baby toots.
  • Teas: fennel, chamomile, anise, ginger, peppermint (can give baby a cool teaspoon of fennel tea — works like a charm)
  • Probiotics for mom and baby (special probiotic for baby)
  • Homeopathics can be lifesavers: #1 choice in colic is Chamomile aka Chamomilla
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