Research-backed

Homeopathic Medicines In Pregnancy: Safety And Effectiveness

Image : Shutterstock

IN THIS ARTICLE

Homeopathic medicines have been used for centuries to assist in childbearing and pregnancy. They are considered an alternative to allopathic medicines due to the suspected teratogenic effects of the latter. Although homeopathy could be an option for some problems that you might have in pregnancy, they may not completely replace allopathy.

This MomJunction post discusses homeopathic remedies in pregnancy and how they work.

Are Homeopathic Medicines Safe During Pregnancy?

Homeopathic medicines are usually safe for pregnant women (1). They are generally derived from plants and minerals and diluted several times. Also, homeopathic medicines are non-addictive and contain negligible amounts of artificial substances.

They can help provide relief from common problems such as morning sickness, constipation, insomnia, heartburn, and back pain (2). However, you should not self-prescribe the medications but see a qualified homeopath.

Use Of Homeopathy During Pregnancy

According to the British Homeopathic Association and The College Of Practical Homeopathy (based in London), homeopathy can be useful in the following ways (3) (4).

The medications mentioned in this section are general recommendations for informational purposes only. You need to consult a certified homeopath for personalized prescriptions.

Homeopathic remedies for first-trimester complaints

1. Morning sickness

This common problem is associated with nausea, vomiting, and heartburn. The general prescriptions include:

  • Arsenic album for excessive vomiting.
  • Cocculus indica for nausea soon after getting off the bed.
  • Ipecac for nausea or vomiting when eating or smelling food.
  • Pulsatilla for vomiting, heartburn, acidic or bitter belching, or nausea after having food.
  • Sepia when strong smells of food trigger nausea.When morning sickness is accompanied with lower abdominal pain sepia is recommended.

2. Constipation

Another early symptom of pregnancy, this might continue throughout your pregnancy. Homeopathic recommendations include:

  • Lycopodium if passing hard stools.
  • Nux vomica, opium, or alumina for frequent constipation, a futile urge to pass stool, and a dull headache.
  • Nux vomica and sulfur for constipation that leads to hemorrhoids.
  • Sepia for pain as a result of hard stools.
  • Bryonia is recommended with a feeling of dryness in the rectum.
  • Causticum is useful during painful defeaction

3. Breast tenderness

This may happen due to hormonal changes and may usually lead to the tenderness of breasts. Wearing a supportive bra may be helpful.

  • Pulsatilla might soothe breast soreness and discomfort.
  • Phytolacca when breast feels hard, swollen and tender
  • Cancer carb is recommended when there is breast tenderness in obese females.

Homeopathic remedies for second-trimester complaints

4. Backache

Backache develops as the growing uterus puts pressure on the joints of the lower back and pelvis. General homeopathic recommendations include:

Bella Donna for relieving pain comes fast and resolves soon but touch aggravates the pain.

  • Kali carbonicum for relieving a weak and tired back.
  • Natrum muriaticum for moderate back pain.
  • Rhus toxicodendron when your back hurts from a strain or injury.
  • Sepia when your back feels tired with an aching dragging pain in the lower back.

5. Varicose veins:

These enlarged and swollen veins develop when the uterus squeezes over the large vein passing through the leg. They become painful, itchy, and uncomfortable.

  • Pulsatilla may help the discomfort in the rectum (where varicose veins lead to piles).
  • Carbo vegetabilis for piles that causes burning pain before a bowel movement.
  • Hamamelis may help soothe swollen, inflamed, and painful veins that get worse if you exert pressure.
  • Zincum metallic resolves large varicose veins develop causing pain and soreness that are worsened from touch.

Homeopathic remedies for third-trimester complaints

6. Heartburn

Also known as gastroesophageal reflux, heartburn occurs when stomach acids flow up to the esophagus and mouth. Homeopathy medicines for this problem include:

  • Apis mellifica if you belch every time you eat or drink.
  • Capsicum when there is a severe burning sensation behind the breastbone.
  • Carbo vegetabilis if you experience heaviness, belching, and fullness even after consuming a small quantity of food.
  • Lycopodium may help when you feel bloated after having food.
  • Sulfur if heartburn worsens mid-morning and when dairy products aggravate the symptoms.
  • Arsenic Album relieves burning pains but warm drinks make the patient feel better.

7. Itching

Itching or pruritus is common in the third trimester and happens when the skin stretches and tightens. It is likely to occur on the breasts, nipples, tummy, abdomen, thighs, buttocks, hands, and feet.

  • Dolichos may be helpful when there is itching all over the body and worsens at night.
  • Sepia when itching is severe due to exposure to air.
  • Mercurius vivus on itchy pustular eruptions filled with pus or fluid.
  • Tabacum if you experience unbearable itching.

8. Urinary problems

Urinary problems, especially urinary tract infections (UTIs), are common throughout pregnancy and are frequent in the final stages. Homeopathic recommendations include:

  • Cantharis if you experience a constant burning sensation in the bladder and discomfort while urinating.
  • Phosphoricum acidum in the case of cloudy urine and a burning sensation.
  • Nux vomica if you have difficulty in passing urine or irritation and itching in the bladder.

9. Homeopathy for labor

Homeopathic experts recommend some medications to help with labor. Their efficacy needs further research (5) (6). Common recommendations include:

  • Aconite to quicken labor when you have extreme pain associated with fear and anxiety.
  • Arnica for preventing bruises and controlling bleeding in normal labor.
  • Chamomilla for relieving unbearable and violent labor pain.
  • Cocculus for relieving exhaustion associated with dizziness and mild headache.
  • Kali carbonicum for severe pain in the back, which radiates down to the buttocks and thighs.
  • Kali phosphoricum is given in-between contractions to relieve exhaustion.
  • Pulsatilla is given when the woman turns weepy or clingy during labor. It may also help restore hormonal levels after birth.
  • Sepia for severe pains and irritability post-birth.
  • Sulfur when contractions turn weak or stop, and when the woman feels restless and irritable
  • Caulophylum when there is weak contractions with no dilatation.
  • Gelsemium when cauliphylum fails.
  • Pulsatilla is given when the patient feels emotional and highly sensitive to psi(ref American medical college of
  • homoeopathy.

10. Homeopathy after delivery

Whether it is a vaginal delivery or C-section delivery, homeopathic medicines are recommended to relieve postpartum pains and speed the healing process. Listed below are some homeopathic medicines used for the purpose (3).

  • Arnica for soreness and bruising that happens with episiotomy or stitches from a vaginal tear.
  • Hypericum for pain after an epidural, an episiotomy, or a forceps/vacuum-assisted delivery.
  • Kali phosphorium for relief from mental exhaustion associated with tiredness and headache after childbirth.
  • Staphysagria for pains that develop with deep incisions. It also offers relief from the pain and sensitivity of the genital organs.

Medicines should be strictly consumed as per guidelines of homeopathic consultants only. Self medication can turn hazardous.

Are There Any Risks Of Using Homeopathy During Pregnancy?

The risks or side effects of homeopathic medicines are thought to be marginal. However, more research is needed to establish their safety and efficacy during pregnancy.

Although homeopathic medicines are regulated by the US FDA, they are not subjected to the same testing protocols as allopathic medicines.

Is There Any Homeopathic Medicine For Normal Delivery?

If the labor is normal and progressing with no complications, arnica could help to prevent any further complications and is believed to lessen the pains after birth. There is no substantial evidence to prove the efficacy of homeopathic medicines for normal delivery. Only a qualified homeopath could give the best advice based on your health condition.

The primary focus of listing these medicines is to help you understand their general usage. It should not be taken as medical advice. If you are interested in using homeopathic medicines during pregnancy, see a homeopath after consulting your healthcare practitioner. Medical diagnosis and monitoring are necessary even if you opt for homeopathic medicines.

References:

1. Crompton R; Homeopathy for common complaints during pregnancy and childbirth; Pract Midwife (2012).
2. Homeopathy; The Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
3. Pregnancy and labour – It’s baby time; British Homeopathic Association
4. Homeopathy in Pregnancy; The College Of Practical Homeopathy
5. Labour and childbirth; British Homeopathic Association
6. A Guide to Homeopathy in Childbirth; The College Of Practical Homeopathy