A more common pregnancy difficulty, and one that responds well to homeopathic medicine, is morning sickness. Nausea and vomiting typically begin upon waking and continue all morning or longer. Hormone production jumps during pregnancy and probably causes morning sickness. Most women adjust to elevated hormonal levels by the end of the first trimester.
Tobacco smoke, cooking smells, fatigue and low blood sugar all trigger morning sickness. Several small meals eaten every two to three hours help, as do rest, vitamin B6 rich whole grains, nuts and seeds, and munching on crackers before getting up. Nux vomica helps nausea that's worse in the morning and accompanied by irritability and a desire to be indoors and warm. Constant nausea without the vomiting, but aggravated by heat responds to Sulphur.
When Suzy, a 35 year old Asian woman pregnant with her second child, was nauseated by food odors and drinking water, she visited her local naturopathic doctor. Although skeptical about homeopathy, Suzy nevertheless tried Ipecac, for those who feel worse lying down and no better after vomiting. Suzy was pleased when the remedy diminished her nausea by 60 percent. Some nausea is good, says Amy Rothenberg, ND, a naturopathic doctor specializing in homeopathy from Enfield, Conneticut, and is associated with better pregnancy outcome.
Once morning sickness leaves, leg cramps, usually experienced during late pregnancy, may appear. These cramps in the calves and feet occur from poor blood circulation, tired muscles and the weight of a pregnant belly pressing leg nerves. Sometimes too little calcium or too much phosphorus (high in processed foods and soft drinks) elicit spasms. Besides slowly stretching out the achy muscle, taking calcium and magnesium, and cutting down on phosphorus-filled foods, leg cramps that feel numb and cold may loosen up with Calcarea phosphorica. Veratrum album often speeds healing of aching relieved by walking and warmth.
A heavy belly and slow circulation also contribute to hemorrhoids, where veins in the anus swell causing occasional pain, bright red blood in the stool and bulging of the hemorrhoidal tissue. Pregnancy is a prime time for this condition because higher-than-usual levels of progesterone relax blood vessel walls, encouraging their distention. Ilene Dahl, ND, a family practice naturopathic physician from Concord, California prescribes homeopathic suppositories containing Hamamelis virginica, remedy specifically indicated for hemorrhoids. This homeopathic can also be taken orally and a purely herbal Hamamelis formula may be applied on the sore region. Drinking lots of water and eating foods with fiber also help.
There's no question the up-and-down moods of pregnancy arise from hormonal surges. For instance, estrogen causes anxiety, while progesterone acts in opposition creating depression. Push-me pull-you irritability where a pregnant women asks to be held one minute then shoves her consoler away fits Chamomilla. If an embrace and kind word help a sad and weeping woman whose moods are changeable, then Pulsatilla is the first choice.
"Food cravings usually indicate the fetus is craving a particular nutrient," says Dahl. For this reason, she usually encourages her pregnant patients to merely eat the desired food. However, for excessive yearnings, such as overwhelming salty yearnings, Carbo vegetabilis might work. A yen for sweet, creamy foods may lessen with a dose of Sulphur. When vinegary pickles and other sour morsels are desired, then try Sepia.