Homeopathy refers to the practice of treating ailments through natural substances. These substances include botanicals, animal products or mineral substances. Whereas herbalism uses only plants, homeopathy uses a wider range of natural substances. This natural art promotes the body’s natural healing processes and emphasizes a healthy lifestyle and diet in order to achieve optimum health.
In the United States, a homeopath may or may not have an official license. Some may be self-trained, while others hold certification from licensed institutions after a rigorous study program. For example, the American Medical College of Homeopathy offers a four-year program, which ultimately ends with an exam by the Arizona State Board of Examiners for Homeopathic and Integrated Medicine. Students successfully mastering content earn a Doctor of Homeopathy degree. A similar program is offered by the American Institute of Homeopathy. Obstetricians, chiropractors, family doctors, midwives and doulas may also be dually certified to better serve pregnant women. It is always a good idea to inquire regarding certifications, apprenticeships and references when working with a homeopath. Look for certificates issued by ACHENA, or the Accreditation Commission for Homeopathic Education in North America, when considering homeopath candidates.
As homeopaths do not hold a medical license, they should never be the sole medical practitioner throughout a woman’s pregnancy. Homeopathy should be used as a complementary support for a natural pregnancy. Natural remedies used in this treatment help to cure or reduce many issues women face before and after labor. Many women prefer homeopathic treatments in lieu of their drug counterparts as they are gentle, effective and result in few, if any, side effects; therefore, they present no harm to the baby.
Homeopathic treatments can successfully address common physical issues such as morning sickness, aches, pains, cramps, stress, muscle tension, rashes, swelling, bruising, sciatica, and heartburn. Women also report that natural remedies helped emotional issues such as depression, anxiety and fear. Regarding childbirth, studies indicate that natural remedies can work with the body to shorten the labor process, reduce labor pains and even help turn a breech baby. After delivery, homeopathic treatments can facilitate quicker recoveries as well as improving the quality and quantity of breast milk.
A woman should consider consulting a homeopath if:
Although homeopathy has existed for centuries, it does not exist as a miraculous cure. What works for one woman, may not work for another. It is possible for a woman to experience an allergic reaction to naturally-based remedies, and these factors should be considered before taking them. Unlike chemical based products, no regulatory agency inspects the quality of homeopathic supplements, so it is important to know where they come from and who prepared them. Insurance companies rarely cover homeopathic treatments, so this is also something to consider, especially if a woman plans to use treatments throughout her pregnancy and during recovery.
Kathryn is a baby-wearing, cloth diapering, DIY mom to her quickly growing and pretty cute toddler. When she isn't researching and writing about natural approaches to pregnancy and parenting, she's acting out her favorite children's books or singing off-key made-up songs.