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Homeopathy in Childbirth - objections from hospital midwife

(335 Posts)
Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 16:18:51

I have booked a doula for my (hopefully) imminent labour. We have been to see a homeopath together and plan for her to throw remedies in my mouth whilst I'm in labour.

I was told yesterday by a very reliable source (my hairdresser!!) that a friend of his recently delivered at the same hospital and when her doula started giving her homeopathic remedies, the midwife got very worked up and asked her to stop. I'm not sure whether or not she did, but the hospital is now undertaking an internal inquiry (whether generally or into this particular case, I'm not sure). The patient apparently was perfectly happy with her care from both the hospital and the doula so I think it's for the purposes of clarification rather than a big witch-hunt.

I'm slightly concerned that because of this there will be generally twitchy atmosphere about someone not employed by the trust giving a patient any sort of medication. I've added to my birth plan "I would like to use homeopathic remedies in labour and am happy for my doula to administer them". Do you think that's adequate or should I go further? Should I write out a list of the remedies I'm taking in with me, the name of the homeopath who dispensed them and a more sweeping waiver? Or is that the litigator in me speaking? grin

I have quick labours so won't be able to waste time debating with them. My doula is well-known at the hospital and I think will be very good at this sort of advocacy. And I have a good relationship with the hospital although as it's a big teaching hospital there's every chance that in labour I won't be looked after by anyone I know.

Any thoughts would be v welcome.


mrsmalumbas Sat 07-Jun-08 16:31:53

Hi there - a doula really shouldn't be "giving" anyone anything, even homeopathics as that would be considered outside the scope of practise (unless of course she is a fully trained homeopath). A doula can of course help a client to take homeopathics (i.e open bottles, etc) if that is something she and the client have discussed first and if it is something the client wants. It's not clear from your message which way round this might have happened and it sounds like maybe the midwife got her knickers in a bit of a twist, perhaps not knowing what the doula was giving. Perhaps there were other reasons, maybe she and the doula did not hit it off for whatever reason. Anyhow I think what you've written in your birth plan sounds fine as the impetus is coming from you although it might also be worth checking out with the hospital beforehand via your midwife (after all your hairdresser may not be aware of the full picture!) Just out of interest what remedies are you planning on using and for what - just interested? Of course you could always take the remedies when the midwife is out of the room but perhaps that would be a bit tricky and not the best way of establishing trusdt with your caregivers!

fransmom Sat 07-Jun-08 16:32:51

you need lulumama xx

Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 16:53:45

Mrsmalumbas - this is what's in my homeopathy kit:

ipecac 30c projectile vomiting, PPH

nat mur 30c - resentment

pulsatilla 30c - weepy, self-pitying, wanting to give up and go home

aconite 200c - fear

kali phos 6x - exhaustion

caulophyllum 200c - when cervix is slow to dilate (need to check circs in which I take each strength)

caulophyllum 30c

arnica 30c - pain, bruising, shock. Take 30c twice a day before labour (about a week before)

arnica 200c - take as required during labour and after

I've also got a tincture called hypercal to put on a flannel on the perineum after the baby has arrived - apparently it's good for cuts etc. Also good diluted for bathing umbilical cord.

I used aconite last time and found it very useful.

I suspect you're right that it was probably a one-off situation where a nervy midwife and a confident doula just didn't get along. I want my doula to throw things into my mouth as the stage of labour when I think I'll be most in need of homeopathy is transition when I tend to panic and lose the plot - which is the reaons I've engaged a doula in the first place as I want her to anticipate that sort of reaction. So I don't want to depend on being sufficiently with-it to think "oh yes, I'm getting hysterical, time for the aconite".

Fransmom - yes, I need Lulumama! She has probably heard all about it as it's the hospital that's just outside her "catchment" area! When I phoned my doula to tell her, she'd already heard about it and knew all the individuals involved! (apart from the hairdresser!).

Turniphead1 Sat 07-Jun-08 17:00:51

Gosh, when I was in labour, my midwives were the ones administering the homeopathic remedies to me last time. I am sure that the same situation won't arise again. Best of luck with the labour.

diplodocus Sat 07-Jun-08 17:06:59

Rolf - if things aren't going too well sometimes they want to stop the woman taking anything orally incase she goes to theatre. Could it have been because of that (although obviously the midwife should have explained this)?

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 17:12:15

Rolf: please, please, please find out more about omeopathy as it's complete bollocks. If it works, it's purely as a placebo. Don't waste your money. If you knew the principle of how it's supposed to "work" you'd laugh and be a bit embarassed. Honestly!

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 17:22:58

But it's your labour, your birth experience and you should be allowed to use whatever takes your fancy as long as it doesn't hurt you or baby. Homeopathy contains no active ingredient, so it's completely harmless.

jamila169 Sat 07-Jun-08 17:37:33

Don't know why she got so worked up, i would have though tthat would have been the case if the midwife had been asked to adminster the remedies, as they're unprescribed -if it's just a case of a doula facilitating her client to use the remdies then that doen't involve anyone else. that's the way I've done it - midwives were quite happy as long as they are not involved in administration(unless they have done the appropriate course and are then covered by the nhs liability insurance). Putting it in writing, i.e. 'my doula will be facilitating my use of homepathic remedies during labour, I am happy to allow her to do this' or words to that effect.
BTW hypercal tincture is great, dilute it in mineral water, stick it in a spray bottle and apply after you've been for a wee - if you were so minded, you could make it yourself, by steeping marigold flowers and st john's wort (hypericum perforatum) in vodka

tittybangbang Sat 07-Jun-08 18:43:42

"If it works, it's purely as a placebo"

Well, in which case you're winning on all fronts aren't you? You're receiving a treatment that brings you relief from your symptoms, with no side effects (because of course it's proven completely useless).

Seriously Seashell - try to take wider view on this issue. Plenty of drugs which are prescribed now by doctors are ineffective for a significant percentage of people who use them, plus have dangerous side effects - really widely prescribed drugs like Prozac. You'd never consider telling someone not to use them on the strength of this.

We all know there's no clinical evidence that treatments are effective but that doesn't mean people don't find them extremely helpful. If they do help and there's no evidence that they cause harm (as is the case with homeopathy) then I'd say that gives them a big advantage over many conventional treaments, which are also often ineffective for a proportion of those who use them AND can have serious side effects as well.

purpleduck Sat 07-Jun-08 19:05:31

My son used to be allergic to cats
he got homeopathic treatment, and was very quickly NOT allergic anymore.
It happened too fast for him to have simply grown out of it. Also BEFORE the treatment, his symptoms were getting worse and worse.

Just because don't yet know HOW it works, doesn't mean it does.

They used to think the world was flat y'know, because they didn't have the tools to see any different.

Just because we (as a society) know alot more than we did, it doesn't mean we know EVERYTHING!!!

purpleduck Sat 07-Jun-08 19:06:36


doesn't mean it doesn't work

hertsnessex Sat 07-Jun-08 19:15:56

I'm a doula and take my homeopathy kit with me to labours. My clients have a full antenatal pack that I give them with homeopathy info in and if they choose to use it they are welcome to. I have 'reminded' the dad about the homeopathy and he then asks his partner/wife if she wants anything.

Its her choice - but the option is there.

I have never had any midwife object - normally the opposite.

Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 20:10:27

Yes, I was very surprised too - I've only ever come across very positive views of homeopathy from midwives. One of our community midwives has recently qualified as a homeopath and the whole team is very keen on recommending homeopathy. The more I think about it, the more likely this "situation" at the hospital seems to have been a one-off.

Seashell - I found homeopathy helpful in my last labour, don't care whether it was the real deal or placebo! If it helps me and doesn't harm me or the baby I'm happy. Will save my forenic mind for a less emotional situation smile

indiehendrix Sat 07-Jun-08 20:17:21

Not sure Seashell is aware of Mumsnet philosophy! As a midwife and mother with two natural births with nothing but homeopathy I'd say it works! Rolf if you're unfortunate enough to come across an ignoramus please ensure your doula ensures you are looked after by someone more open minded by insisting on a change of midwife or asking for a supervisor of midwives be called. Good luck x

indiehendrix Sat 07-Jun-08 20:22:07

Or stay at can banish the dinasaurs from your abode!

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 20:22:38

Tittybangbang- Prozac is not alternative medicine. In controlled, doble-blind experiments it has shown to be effective significantly more than placebo, whih in scientific terms it means that it works for many people.
Homeopathy is nothing like prozac, as every trial involving homeopathic "drugs" has shown it no more effective than placebo= i.e. some people get better because they think they have taken some medication.
Anything that is proven to work is accepted as conventional medicine, not alternative.

Purpleduck,glad your son got better, but I promise you he would have got better with a pill of, well sugary nothing, which is what homeopathic medicines are.
Oh and the people that used to think the earth was flat are exactly the type of people that today would advocate the use of unscientific methods including quackery medicine!

Just to recap the principle on which homeopathy is based: putting one molecule of a herb into the equivalent of an ocean's worth of water (can't get more dilted than that!), and that single molecule "reminds" the water of its experience in the past with that particular molecule... it's a ludicruous idea and anyone that endorses it hasn't got a basic grasp of science.
Boots are now being accused of quackery as they're selling homeopathic remedies.
Sorry but you're gullible!
Rant over grin [smug emoticon]

hertsnessex Sat 07-Jun-08 20:24:58

seashell, what do you mean by "supposed to "work" you'd laugh and be a bit embarassed. Honestly!"

why would the OP be embarassed FFS

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 20:30:48

Hertsnessex, I meant "embarassed" in the nicest possible way, like when someone realises they were a bit naive...

Carmenere Sat 07-Jun-08 20:35:01

You know seashell I largely agree with you but find your tone repulsive. Logically and scientifically homoeopathy can't work, that doesn't mean there isn't a homeopathic effect of some sort that works on some level. Who am I to rubbish others experiences? Who are you to?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 07-Jun-08 20:37:42

Rolf I found caullophylum really helpful during my labour with ds3. I don't think I even told the midwives.

indiehendrix Sat 07-Jun-08 20:39:08

Again dont think Seashell is aware of mumsnet supportive non judgemental philosophy! As a midwife observing the effects of hospital births,pharmaceutical and obstetric intervention,inability to bond and breastfeed as a result and the ensuing post-natal depression and poor mothering, I think I know who's gullible! Have we a misogynistic intruder in our midst!

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 07-Jun-08 20:44:07

well quite indie. orthodox medicine is so great it almost certainly contributed considerably to my son's severe disability. But hey ho, it was all double blind placebo trialed. So that's OK then.

(PS I am a scientist by trade).

Rolf- hypericum is good for post birth healing as well (I had drops and added to the bath).

hertsnessex Sat 07-Jun-08 20:44:44

well said indiehendrix! (some of my clients needed you)

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 21:01:49

rolf it is your birth and you should be able to feel empowered and proactive in the process and if a doula and homoeopathy facilitate that *great

the efficacy of homemopethy is indeed dispurted hotly, likely to be placebo effect. some people swear by it and other's not.

but research paper of Dr Reilly 12 pts at Glasgow homoeopathic hospital pts reported subjectively favourable outcomes. in reduction of chronic conditions eg pain management and psychiatric conditions

too much of medical assessment is a rushed assessment, due to time pressure's, case loads - unsatisfactory for both pt and staff

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