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Pregnancy and Labour - A Stroll in the Park


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Do you wonder why so many women have long strenuous labours? Often ending up with medical intervention.

Well lets see if we can explore this together and come up with some tips for improvement.

I am a retired midwife and practiced for years, bringing into the world many healthy lively beautiful babies. Such a joy, wonder and miracle to see the birth of new life.

I've also had four children of my own so have also been on the receiving end.
I am convinced that many troubles in labour are caused by stress and anxiety and if we could only alleviate this then some of our problems would disappear.

That is not to say I have the answer to everything. problems do occur for which we need the skills of qualified Midwives and Doctors. Some are unfortunate and have underlying medical problems. Others carry large babies and so on, but for the majority of us things could be normal if we let it.

Relaxation is such a big thing that whatever you do to achieve this it is a positive step to helping yourself, whether you achieve it by meditation, acupuncture aromatherapy or herbs and homoeopathy, it doesn't matter. Relaxation is the key.

In hospitals we tend to end up with Entonox(gas) or Morphine like substances ie Pethidine and Epidural. Have you ever thought why we need these? Where there are problems they will still be needed but the main use is that they make you sleepy, you push pain into the background or your pain is diminished as with epidural and so you relax and cope. I don't know how many women I've seen having had a pethidine injection and minutes later are ready to enter second stage of labour. Why- they relax.

In this article I'm going to discuss a couple of natural ways you can help, and they are based on relaxing you as a person and also relaxing and toning the uterus to make for a normal labour.

Caulophyllum - What is this?

This is a homoeopathic remedy specific to helping labour.
The remedy can be taken in pregnancy to tone the uterus in preparation for Labour.
I've used it and recommended it for years. It can be used with or without raspberry leaf tea and has a similar effect.

It is not harmful to mother or baby. It is easy to take and convenient to carry around.
Labour in some women can be prolonged and can end up with forceps or other interventions. Sometimes this is caused by inco-ordinate uterine action. This means the womb contracts intermittently and doesn't form a nice regular rhythm. A lot of cases can be caused by stress or feeling anxious and uptight. The reason both caulophyllum and raspberry leaf tea work is that they tend to relax the person and the uterus whilst encouraging regular contractions.

Regular contractions establishes labour and the whole process becomes normal.
Both caulophyllum and raspberry leaf tea or tablets help the membranes rupture spontaneously and this is another reason for using these preparations. It prevents the need for artificial rupture.
Caulophyllum can be commenced in the last three months of pregnancy.

It is suggested that one or two doses are taken per week. Nearing time of delivery approx 10 days before due date increase the dose to two tabs daily. At the start of labour and throughout first stage a dose of caulophyllum can be taken two hourly.

Caulophyllum is a harmless homoeopathic remedy and causes no known ill effects. There is no absolute proof that it works or research undertaken to my knowledge, but I get a lot of requests for this remedy and everyone I've known that has taken it have had short or very short normal labours with no ill effects.

The combination of Caulophyllum and Raspberry leaf is brilliant and I do not hesitate to recommend it. However please consult your GP if you are in any doubt or you have medical problems.

Caulophyllum comes in small pillules which are tasteless and odourless. You need only place two on the tongue and suck them. One thing to remember is that they should be taken 10 mins prior to eating or drinking as they can be affected by flavours.

Raspberry Leaf
Latin Name: Rubus ideaus
Family: Rosaceae

As well as strengthening and toning the tissue of the womb and its astringent action, (like bramble, blackberry or strawberry leaves) in cases of diarrhoea, raspberry leaf is also good for mouth and throat problems. Raspberry leaf is typically taken during the last three months of pregnancy to help ease labour. It also supports lactation.

Raspberry leaves have an extremely high calcium level. . Raspberry leaves also contain high levels of vitamins A and C.

Raspberry leaves contain more manganese than any other herb. Manganese deficiency can lead to bone abnormalities and retarded growth because manganese is required for bone formation.

Rubus idaeus, the red raspberry, is a native of Europe, North America and Asia. The roots were once eaten like turnips, the fruit contains A, B, C and E, pectin, Ferric citrate (a type of iron) and calcium, and is useful to prevent anaemia, and their leaf is used medicinally. The active constituents of Rubus idaeus leaves are largely unknown, however, flavonoids, unspecified polypeptides and tanins have been described. The leaves also contain the compound known as fragarine which is responsible for its effect on toning the womb.

Raspberry leaves (and all other tonics) should be used with care in the first three months of pregnancy because of a slight possibility of miscarriage. It is unwise to use any medication during the initial months of pregnancy unless absolutely necessary. When trained herbalists use raspberry leaf for nausea in pregnancy or threatened miscarriage, it is usually prescribed with other herbs which offset this possibility. To improve labour, there seems to be no additional benefit in starting the herb earlier than the 32nd week.

A recent study examined the effects of Rubus in pregnancy, and found only minor differences between the study group and the control. The only clinically significant findings were a shortening of the second stage of labour by an average of ten minutes, and a lower rate of forceps deliveries in the Rubus group compared to the control group (19.3 per cent versus 30.4 per cent).

The dose of the herb in this study was quite low, however, and may have impacted on the results. Another retrospective study compared the safety and efficacy of Rubus leaf products consumed by a group of mothers during their pregnancy, with a group of mothers who did not take the herb. While this type of study is poorly controlled, it did find that Rubus appeared to shorten labour with no identified side-effects for the women or their babies.

The authors suggested that women who ingested raspberry leaf appeared to be less likely to have their membranes ruptured by artificial means, require a caesarean section, forceps or vacuum birth compared to the women in the control group.
Additional Effects.

Raspberry leaves are astringent because of the tannin content, and are used to treat diarrhoea and inflammation of the throat and eyes. Garden and wild varieties have similar medicinal properties. .
Raspberry leaves taste pleasantly aromatic with a slight bitterness. They are cool and dry.

Raspberry leaves now come in loose leaf, tea bags or tablets. Some favour the leaves but I think this is mainly a personal preference as there seems to be no difference in the effect.
I have only experienced good results with these preparations and whatever is used raspberry leaf, caulophyllum or a combination of both I can only advocate that you try them. If you can ease labour in any way and make it a memorable experience then why not try.

Raspberry leaf tea is taken from 32nd week of pregnancy. Start with one cup three times a day or one tablet three times daily and increase this as you get nearer your due date.

For those items and herbs to help in pregnancy and labour, and for other health and care preparations to make you feel good at any time visit:


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