Belladonna (deadly nightshade) and Cimicfuga (black snakeroot) are two other commonly indicated medicines for helping in the process of labor. Belladonna is indicated when the woman experiences some of the characteristic symptoms of this medicine,which include an extreme nervousness and agitation, deliriousness, general flushing of the face and mucous membranes, and hot skin. Women who need Cimicfuga tend to be somewhat hysterical, frequently sighing, experiences spasmodic pains that seem to fly in various directions, and are intolerant of the pain. A characteristic symptom of those who need Cimicfuga is when the labor woman becomes very pessimistic about the labor, either proclaiming that "I can't do it" or "this is driving me crazy; I can't take it anymore."
There are several other homeopathic medicines which should be considered, depending on the individual symptoms of the woman. Prescribing the homeopathic medicines during labor provides yet another opportunity to use the medicines as a safe and needed alternative to conventional medications.
Homeopathic Treatment of Mother and Infant
The process of labor can be exhausting. If the woman is worn out or if she has muscle aches from the physical exertion, Arnica (mountain daisy) is indicated. Arnica is discussed in greater detail in "Sports Medicine" for it is known as a superb medicine for aches and pains of overexertion and for shock and trauma of injury. Though childbirth is not exactly an "injury," it does put a woman's body through a certain degree of shock and trauma. Arnica is also valuable after delivery for the mother and the infant since it is so effective in helping a person recoup from the childbirth process. (The homeopathic medicines are safe for infants, though it is recommended to give only small sized homeopathic pellets--or crush the larger sized pellets into small pieces--so that the infant doesn't choke on them. One can also place the pellets in water and then feed the infant with a clean teaspoon or dropper.)
Homeopathic medicines can also be used to help the mother recuperate from the drama and trauma of labor which requires medical intervention. If an episiotomy or a caesarean is performed, homeopaths commonly give the woman Staphysagria (stavesacre), a major medicine that homeopaths give after surgery. Homeopaths have observed that women who take Staphysagria do not seem to request pain killers after labor as often as other women.
Dr. John George has found good results with Sulphur after a long or difficult labor. He also noted that "The stretching and tearing of the tissues around the bladder, perianal area, and vulva shower bacteria into the surrounding tissues and into the bloodstream which can cause a bladder infection or other complications, all of which Sulphur seems to prevent effectively."
If the mother has torn her perineum during delivery, British homeopath Robert Davidson recommends Bellis perrenis 200c (daisy). He has found it work well in these internal injuries. Calendula tincture is also of value in speeding the healing process. This salve is generally applied with a wet sponge.
If the infant is asphyxiated, conventional medical measures are necessary, though homeopathic medicine can still increase the chances of survival. Antimonium tart (tartar emetic) is one of the most common medicines that homeopaths give to asphyxiated babies. A baby may seem dead, though more often he will have a rattling in his throat and breathing difficulties due to some phlegm blocking their respiration. Antimonium tart seems to help them remove it immediately. Generally, if Antimonium tart doesn't work, Carbo veg (vegetable charcoal) or Camphor (camphor) may be needed. Those babies who require Carbo veg tend be cold and blue. Those babies who need Camphor will usually have a high fever, a deep redness over the entire abdomen and thighs, and tetanic spasms. Opium (opium)* is another homeopathic medicine which can be indicated if the baby is unconscious and rigid throughout the whole body. It also tends to be needed if the mother experienced a profound fear either during her pregnancy or during labor. Laurocerasus (cherry laurel) is valuable if the baby has a facial twitch when grasping for air. Arnica (mountain daisy) is indicated ofter a baby has experienced a traumatic delivery evidenced by a hematoma (blood and swelling) on the skull. Arnica is also indicated when the baby has a bodily stiffness like that of Opium, though these former babies will have a hot face, cold body, jerking respiration, and tremor of the limbs.
[* For quite illogical reasons, the FDA no longer allows the availability of this medicine, even in extreme microdoses.]
Homeopaths have found that the correctly prescribed medicine tends to work immediately, which, considering the circumstances, is necessary for the baby's survival. The prescription of any of these medicines should not the delay other heroic medical measures necessary to aid the baby's chances of survival.
Homeopaths also report success in treating neonatal jaundice. They find that the correct medicine can resolve this condition in one to three days. Conventional treatment usuallyrequires hospitalization in which the baby is put in an incubator and exposed to special fluorescent lights which break down bilirubin and encourages healthy liver function. It usually takes three days to two weeks to resolve this condition. Of particular significance, the incubation of the baby separates him or her from the mother, making breastfeeding difficult or impossible. This separation also significantly reduces the amount of skin-to-skin contact which is so valuable physiologically and psychologically to the infant...and to the mother.
Alphonse Teste, M.D., a famous 19th century French homeopath, has asserted that Aconite (monkshood) "will often suffice to cure the disease." (17) If improvement isn't observed within 24 hours, Nux vomica (poison nut), Chelidonium (celendine), Lycopodium (club moss), Chionanthus (fringe-tree), Bovista (puffball), or Natrum sulph (sulphate of sodium) should all be considered. Besides aiding women in pregnancy and labor, homeopathic medicines can be helpful to a mother who develops problems which make breastfeeding difficult. Before discussing some specifics of what homeopaths do in such conditions, it should first be emphasized that breastfeeding plays a very important role in providing the newborn baby with important antibodies, enzymes, and other essential nutrients that help the baby adapt to and thrive in his or her new surroundings. Women with mastitis, inflammation of the breast, need to be treated as soon as possible so that they can continue breastfeeding. Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, a well known pediatrician and author, feels that breastfeeding is so important that physicians and others should do all they can to encourage it. Dr. Mendelsohn counters those people who say it is disgusting to breastfeed in public by claiming it is more disgusting to bottlefeed in public.
One of the most common breast problems after childbirth is mastitis. Conventional treatment for this condition is simply antibiotics. Although these drugs work reasonably well, it certainly would be worthwhile to try an alternative treatment that is safe and effective, since the baby will end up receiving trace amounts of antibiotics through breastmilk. Belladonna, Bryonia, Phytolacca (pokeroot), and Lac caninum (dog's milk) are the most commonly effective medicines for mastitis. Belladonna and Bryonia are most often given at the first first stages of mastitis. Belladonna is indicated when the woman has red, hot and swollen breasts, which like Lac caninum, are very sensitive to motion or jarring. Women who need Belladonna will have a high fever, congestion in the head, throbbing headache, and flushed face. Bryonia should be prescribed when the breasts have a stony hardness in them. The breasts will be hot and painful, but not very red. There may be a stitching pain which is worse from motion, especially by raising the arms. The woman will have dry lips, thirst and constipation.
Women who need Phytolacca have stony-hard and very painful breasts which are discharging pus. There may be an excessive flow of milk, though the nipples are so sensitive that nursing produces intense suffering that radiates all over the body. Women who need Lac caninum have sore and tender breasts that are particularly sensitive to motion or even the slightest jar. They experience pain while walking or sometimes by simple inspiration, though this pain diminishes if the woman supports her breasts when moving in any way.
There are numerous problems of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum which have not been discussed in this chapter. Since homeopathic medicines strengthen the overall health functioning of the individual, they can be applied in general to treat a wide variety of acute and chronic obstetrical conditions. The history and present worldwise use of these medicines provides some evidence of their value. Homeopathic medicines will probably not only be invaluable to our children in the 21st century, but to theirs too.
1. 1986 World Population Data Sheet, Population Reference Bureau (777 14th St., NW, Washington, DC 20005).
2. Richard W. Wertz and Dorothy C. Wertz, Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America, New York: Schocken, 1979, 137.
3. Ibid., 138.
4. Ibid., 136.
5. Fran Smith, "The Losing Battle to Reduce Caesareans," San Jose Mercury News, February 17, 1985.
6. Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer, A Good Birth, A Safe Birth, New York: Bantam, 1984.
7. Ibid., 129-130.
8. Ibid., 132-133.
9. Ibid., 134.
10. World Health Organization, "Appropriate Technology for Birth," Lancet, 8452, August 24, 1985, 436.
11. Korte and Scaer, 114-115.
12. Quoted in Herbert H. Keyser, Women Under the Knife, New York: Warner, 1984, 72.
13. Robert Mendelsohn, Male Practice: How Doctors Manipulate Women, Chicago: Contemporary, 1982.
14. Mark Dowie, "Terata," Mother Jones, January, 1985.
15. C.E.I. Day, "Control of Stillbirths in Pigs Using Homoeopathy," British Homoeopathic Journal, 73,3, July, 1984, 142-143.
16. D.M. Borland, Homoeopathy for Mother and Infant, New Delhi: B. Jain (reprint).
17. T.C. Duncan, Disease of Infants and Children and Their Homoeopathic Treatment, volume II, Chicago: Duncan Brothers, 1880, 492.
Ashford, Janet Ashford. "Trends in World Infant Mortality," Childbirth Alternative Quarterly, Fall, 1986, 8,1, 13.
Borland, Douglas. Homoeopathy for Mother and Infants, Reprint. New Delhi: B. Jain.
Castro, Miranda. Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and the First Year, New York: St. Martins, 1992.
Edwards, Margot and Mary Waldot, Reclaiming Birth, Trumansburg, New York: Crossing Press, 1984.
Charles Fisher, A Handbook on the Diseases of Children and Their Homoeopathic Treatment, Chicago: Medical Century, 1895.
Henci Goer, "Are Cesareans Saving Babies?: A Review of the Medical Literature," Childbirth Alternatives Quarterly, 7,4, Summer, 1986, 9-11.
Hamlin, Frederick W. A Manual of Practical Obstetrics, New York: Boericke and Runyon, 1908.
Hotchner, Tracy. Pregnancy and Childbirth, New York: Avon, 1979.
Moskowitz, Richard. Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy and Childbirth, Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1992.
Society of Homeopaths, Homeopathy in Pregnancy, Childbirth & Childhood, Proceedings from a seminar held November 1, 1980.
Tyler, Margaret. "Mastitis," Homoeopathy, January, 1938, 3-8.
Yingling, W.A. The Accoucheur's Emergency Manual. Reprint. New Delhi: B. Jain.