There are a number of common conditions that often accompany pregnancy, many of which can be eased using non drug therapies.
Hemorrhoids (piles) can be safely treated during pregnancy using the natural Hemorrhoidol ointment (Haemorrhoids, 7(8): 12). Aloe vera should never be used during pregnancy, internally or externally to treat piles, as it stimulates menstruation and could, therefore, cause abortion (T. Willard, Textbook of Modern Herbology, Calgary, Alberta: C W Progressive, 1988, 331-333).
Morning sickness: Up to three cups a day of a tea made from Harpagophytum procumbens (grapple plant, wool spider or devil's claw) has been shown to help alleviate severe nausea and vomiting, and the low backache and dyspepsia that often accompanies it.
In an experimental double blind crossover study, 27 women with morning sickness so severe they required hospitalization were given 250mg powdered ginger root four times daily and a lactose placebo, each for four days, with a two day washout period. They did significantly better on the ginger than on the placebo. There were no side effects (Eur J Obstet Gynaecol Reprod Biol, 1990, 38: 19-24).
Varicose veins: Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry or European blueberry) can be useful in both preventing and treating pregnancy varicose veins (Minerva Ginecol, 1981, 33: 221-230).
Difficult birth: A homeopathic combination remedy Arnica, Caulophyllum, Cimicifuga, Pulsatilla, and Gelsemium was studied in a double blind, placebo controlled trial (Cahiers de BiothŽrapie, April 1987, 94: 77-81). Ninety three pregnant women were given the remedy from the eighth month up to labour and childbirth. The length of labour for those on the remedy was on average three hours 38 minutes shorter than for those on placebo. The numbers having difficult births was also substantially lower 11 per cent with the remedy, against 40 per cent with the placebo.
Back ache: Regular osteopathic or chiropractic treatment during pregnancy has been shown to minimize back strain, improve muscle tone and aid delivery.
As far back as 1966, a report recorded the "effectiveness of chiropractic in eliminating pain and the need for bed rest in women suffering back pain during the later stages of pregnancy" (Michael Copland-Griffiths, Dynamic Chiropractic Today, Wellingborough: Thorsons, 1991: 81 and 232).
Osteopathy has been shown to reduce significantly both fetal and maternal fatalities, as well as difficulties in labour (Wilbur V Cole, in J M Hoag, W V Cole and S G Bradford, Osteopathic Medicine, St Louis/New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969: 123). Both forms of treatment have been shown to be safe for the unborn child (J Am Ost Assoc, 1964, 63: 873).
High blood pressure: Pregnancy induced high blood pressure may be reduced with the regular supplementation of omega-6 fatty acids (Br J Clin Pharmacol, 1985, 19(3): 335-342.)
Increasing breast milk: Galega officinalis (goat's rue or French lilac) has an ancient reputation as a milk gland. Clinical provings in homeopathy showed that it rapidly improves the quantity and quality of milk as well as increasing the woman's appetite. It does not just increase the volume of the milk but also the proportion of milk solids in it. This means it is not a matter of getting greater volume of milk through dilution, but a genuine increase in production. A teaspoonful of the liquid extract (1:1 in 25 per cent alcohol) may be taken three times daily in tea, milk or water. It is advisable to check blood glucose levels since goat's rue is also a hypoglycemic agent.
Registered naturopath, homeopath and osteopath