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Essential Ingredients for a Natural Birth

Written by Pathways Magazine   
Tuesday, 01 December 2009 00:00
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In addition to regularly visiting your chiropractor during your pregnancy, consider these nine holistic paths to strengthen your mind, body and spirit for your upcoming birth.


Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a gentle system of care that has been around for hundreds of years. Because there are no side effects, nor is there any risk of addiction or toxicity, homeopathy is safe for pregnant women and babies. Homeopathy is rooted in the belief that the body knows how to heal itself, and the mind and body will work together in that process.

The main sources for homeopathic remedies are plants, animals and minerals. These are extremely diluted to the point where even a trace amount is undetectable. Homeopathic doctors receive years of training in thousands of remedies, and are able to offer a very specialized level of care.

Some of the areas in which homeopathy may assist during the prenatal and postpartum stages include fertility, morning sickness, heartburn, constipation, helping a breech baby to turn, induction of labor, overcoming breastfeeding challenges and managing postpartum depression. There are also remedies to assist children through various life transitions. Homeopathy has a wide scope and remedies exist for virtually every mental, emotional and physical ailment.

Piper Martin, B.Ed., DS Hom.Med. • PiperMartin.com


Naturopathy

Naturopathy is based on the principle that the body knows how to restore itself to full health. Treatments can include a mix of nutritional counseling and supplementation, herbal medicine, flower essences, essential oils and homeopathy. Returning your body to optimal health is a process of treating the original cause of ill health, removing blockages to this healing ability and improving the functioning of all the systems in the body. The approach is holistic, encompassing all aspects of being: physical, mental, emotional and environmental.

There are many reasons it can be a good idea to work with a naturopath throughout your pregnancy. These include the emotional (e.g. working through feelings that can arise during pregnancy using Bach flower remedies) or physical (e.g. using homoeopathic remedies to support the nervous system physically). Naturopathic remedies can ease many pregnancy-related discomforts, from cramping, morning sickness and nausea to more serious conditions such as infections and high blood pressure. Natural remedies are a good alternative to medications, particularly during pregnancy, as they are more gentle on your body and your baby, and have no side effects when prescribed properly.

Louisa Glindemann, AdvDN, AdvDBM, DNut, DRM, DAroma MATMS, MNHAA, MADC • YourNaturopath.com.au


Acupuncture

The theory and practice of acupuncture is based on a holistic healthcare system that has been used in Asian countries for thousands of years to diagnose, treat and prevent illness and to maintain health and wellness.

Acupuncture includes a diagnostic process that considers the person as a whole, rather than focusing on any individual symptom. Once areas of disharmony are identified, stimulating the appropriate points with very fine needles (the size of a strand of hair) restores the body to optimal energy flow, called qi [“chee”], which relieves symptoms and restores health.

Acupuncture treatments safely support a woman through each trimester of her pregnancy. Because qi is the body’s energy system, it contributes to the proper functioning of all bodily organs and physiological processes, including reproduction. Acupuncture treatments throughout pregnancy can balance the mother’s qi, thus supporting both the health of the mother and the developing baby.

There is strong evidence indicating that acupuncture is effective at offering relief for some of the most common prenatal and postnatal symptoms, including morning sickness, nausea, heartburn, fatigue, constipation, anxiety, edema, insomnia, carpal tunnel, sciatica, gestational diabetes, breech presentation, delayed labor, lactation issues and postpartum depression.

Acupuncture can provide a safe and effective alternative, without side effects, for women seeking holistic care and wellness during pregnancy.

Lynn Keating, L.Ac. • acuportpw.com


Hypnobirthing™

HypnoBirthing is a complete, 12-hour childbirth education course for couples, in which the premise is that fear and tension are the cause of labor pain. Women and their birth companions gain a deep trust in normal birth and learn easy self-hypnosis techniques, because focus and relaxation, the defining attributes of hypnosis, are powerful tools for remaining calm and maintaining control. What makes HypnoBirthing unique is that the course is centered on the most important birthing organ: the brain. For the laboring mother, a single fearful thought can result in a surge of adrenaline that can tighten her cervix, increase pain, decrease oxygen to her baby and stall labor. When confidence and trust are the woman’s primary emotions, her birthing body secretes oxytocin instead. Oxytocin is the endorphin that promotes pleasurable emotional and physical responses that accompany intimacy and bonding.

We have all heard that seeing is believing. But in truth, believing is seeing. When a woman is convinced that she is capable of birthing her baby calmly and with confidence, she is far more likely to experience that outcome. Evolution has spent three million years perfecting childbirth. Our job is to trust in this process, allow our minds and bodies to relax, and watch the miracle unfold.

Cynthia Overgard, MBA, HBCE • HypnoBirthingCT.com