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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.


lulumama Sat 07-Jun-08 21:06:59

Rolf you don;t need me here ! grin

MW never said anything when i gave my client her arnica tablets t'other day.

seashell... so what if it is a sugary pill of watery nothingness?? if the positive effect it has on the body is positive, then the way that positive effect is brought about is nothing to feel naive or gullible or embarrassed about

how very rude and judgemental of you to refer to people using homeopathy in such a condescending and patronising manner.

you might be technically correct in what you say about homeopathy,but if people choose to use it and get a positive experience from it , so what?

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 21:13:32

i completely agree that if the intervention brings about the desired effect then that is positive. just because homoeopathy is not sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline does not make it rubbish

seashell did you know that if an anaesthetist talks to pt prior to an op the need for post op pain relief is reduced and post operative obs are less critical eg lower BP

a non invasive non medicinal intervention that works!

Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 21:20:48

Indiehendrix - I have Group B Strep so have decided to go to hospital so I can have IV antibiotics. Although there is a chance I won't get there in time as I have quick labours. It's the panicking in transition that I particularly want to try to deal with and I feel that I'm giving that my best shot - doula, homeopathy and hypnotherapy

(Seashell I can imagine what you have to say about hypnotherapy grin. Shall we just take it as given that you have poured your pint of bitter over my head?).

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 21:30:05

my friend was offered hypno-birthing on nhs

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 07-Jun-08 21:32:03

Interesting about the anaesthetist SM. Can quite believe it. I had 3 sections, the one that went 'wrong' (in all sorts of ways) was my elective (so should have been straighforward) - but I didn't 'bond' with that anaesthetist (all the others were lovely).

sarahmsqt Sat 07-Jun-08 21:40:44

Oh, what a lot of ado about nothing(as it is ENERGETIC!!!)! Am homeopathic student of nearly 3 years, I guarantee it works, problem is that lots of people don't know how to prescribe/find the right remedy - they try it once at home rather than seeking help from a professional homeopath! Anyway, I've given up trying to persuade/convince people, homeopathy finds those who deserve it! Had constitutional treatment from my homeopath throughout pregnancy and as a result such a FAB birth - I had a friend there who had been told what to do in case I was scared, in pain, giving up ect., but she was really disappointed cos she didin't need to give me anything at all!!!! I myself took some Arnica afterwards, good for shock to the system, also great cos baby will get it if you breastfeed and it will heal birth - trauma. Also took Hypericum for few days as I had a small tear and that makes it heal really fast ( Had 2 stitches that came out 3 days later as was already healed!!!baby's umbilicuas healed in the same time too, midwife was amazed) The Calendula Lotion or Hypercal (Hypericum & Calendula)Cream works miracles, too. If you have to have episiotomy or caesarean make sure you take some Staphisagria afterwards (quite high potency or repeat often). Just do what feels right for YOU, best of luck!

indiehendrix Sat 07-Jun-08 21:42:44

Hi Rolf
I don't know what provisions are like in your area but you are right ..home or hospital you are unlikely to get the iv's in time with your fast labours you lucky woman!
If the time between membrane rupture and birth is short its likely your babe will be unaffected and you are doin everything re gonna be fine x

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 21:45:06

i saw homoeopath when pg and postnatal, and unfortunately NADA, no discernible changes did not work for me

works for some, not for all

sarahmsqt Sat 07-Jun-08 21:45:31

Oh, forgot to mention that I also took Secale which deals with any side effects from Syntometrine ( the injection they sometimes give you for the afterbirth) I tried to avoid having it but had to, so that dealt with it nicely.

Minniethemoocher Sat 07-Jun-08 21:54:03

My gynaecologist told me to take arnica after an operation, so he obvious believed that homeopathy works!

sarahmsqt Sat 07-Jun-08 22:00:54

I agree, doesn't work for everyone...flower remedies are another option, Rescue Remedy being most popular choice or try Australian Bush Flower remedies, Confid Essence is great for helping you let my case it stopped me worrying...I knelt on the floor mooooing like a primeval beast with every contraction towards the end and I enjoyed it rather than being embarassed!

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 22:24:28

indiehendrix, I'm not attacking people, just their opinion and what would MN be like if we couldn't have a debate.
I accept that it can work for some people, just like a placebo might do, nothing more nothing less. Stil, it's great for those people for whom it does work.
Carmenere,you say you largely agree with me and then you go on to saying that there might be "a homeopathic effect of some sort that works at some level"... errr hmm
But everyone's free to swallow whatever pill they believe is going to work for them... I'll stick to conventional medicine for now, you can buy arnica by the truckload if you think it does help.

NiceShoes Sat 07-Jun-08 22:34:49

conventional medicine is indeed also flawed. good evidence based medicine is evolving and recognises it's deficits and well documented errors too

i don't whole heartedly place trust in any intervention. medicine is a complex biopsychosocial phenomenon - bit of a complex art/science really

CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 07-Jun-08 22:41:56

Homeopathy is bollocks, of course, and the fact you panic over what the hairdresser told you, hundreth-hand information, just shows you're prepared to accept anything anyone says. Sorry, not my usual posting style... Good luck with the birth, though, have whatever helps. I think the inquiry into said incident is probably some exageration.

mazzystar Sat 07-Jun-08 22:44:31

rolf - is it lwh by any chance?

I personally would say that I intended to use homeopathic remedies, with the assistance of my doula. And that these had been dispensed by a qualified homeopath.

Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 22:51:56

Cristina - I'm not panicking. I'm adopting a proactive approach to what may prove to be a sensitive atmosphere at the hospital. And if my birthplan needs re-drafting I wanted the input of people who may have some experience of such sensitivities and who adopt a less legalistic drafting style than I do. Like your name, by the way.

Mazzystar - yes, it's LWH. (It's MrsDarcy with a new name smile).

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 22:57:03

Mazzystar, you say that the homeopathic remedies were dispensed by a "qualified homeopath"... you can get "qualified astrologists", doesn't make astrology true!

In a sense homeopathy is dangerous, when people rely on it to cure an illness/disease instead of getting "real" treatment, thus making their situation worse.

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 23:03:12

Scottishmummy, I completely agree that an anesthetist should speak to patients and this very likely has beneficial effects, this I'm sure can be backed by evidence. So, scientifically proven to work (unlike, you guessed it, homeopathy).
Lulumama, like I said everyone's free to buy sugary pills of nothingness (a very accurate description on homeopathic remedies) if they believe they can work then we can't underestimate the power of the mind.

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 23:06:38

well Dr Harold Shipman was a GP and registered with GMC as an accountable professional.however he did not dispense any orthodox fact he was a megalomaniac monster who abused his position of trust and status

i don't think any total adherence to any orthodoxy is good. imo advisable to retain an air of inquiry and distrust

not good to passively go into "you doctor me patient" role

mazzystar Sat 07-Jun-08 23:11:31

well hello again mrs d - congratulations - haven't seen you for a very long time - have had dd in that time! my experience at lwh was that they were absolutely fine with my use of homeopathic remedies, I included quite strong statements in my birth plan - but I think it was more for me in some ways. Will you see a consultant? If so may be worth getting their support too?

seashell - homeopathy is a highly regulated form of complementary medicine, and to describe oneself as a homeopath one must be highly trained and belong to a professional body. the nhs actually run 5 homeopathic hospitals and many specific conditions are now routinely referred to homeopaths.

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 23:14:50

glasgow homeopathic hospital NHS hospital with thriving research group

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 23:18:05

the most common referrals to homoeopathic hosp's are chronic pain, psychological issues, enduring and unresolved difficult to resolve diagnosis (these are costly to NHS and cause pt considerable anxiety)

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 23:26:13

i don't think good treatment/intervention needs to be so rigid one size does not fit all.

homoeopathy has a register of practitioners BUT is not a protected title so worryingly anyone can call them self a homoeopath

tittybangbang Sat 07-Jun-08 23:52:13

"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."

This is from a report from the Guardian earlier this year:

"Prozac, the bestselling antidepressant taken by 40 million people worldwide, does not work and nor do similar drugs in the same class, according to a major review released today.

The study examined all available data on the drugs, including results from clinical trials that the manufacturers chose not to publish at the time. The trials compared the effect on patients taking the drugs with those given a placebo or sugar pill.

When all the data was pulled together, it appeared that patients had improved - but those on placebo improved just as much as those on the drugs.

The only exception is in the most severely depressed patients, according to the authors - Prof Irving Kirsch from the department of psychology at Hull University and colleagues in the US and Canada. But that is probably because the placebo stopped working so well, they say, rather than the drugs having worked better. "

So much for controlled, double-blind experiments eh?

"Homeopathy is nothing like prozac"

No - because it's not dangerous and addictive for a start!

"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."

Yes - ^they get better^. Who cares how! Who cares if they're 'gullible'? If they feel better/are better then it's 'mission accomplished. And without any nasty side effects.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 09:25:57

"In a sense homeopathy is dangerous, when people rely on it to cure an illness/disease instead of getting "real" treatment, thus making their situation worse."

This is utter rubbish. A chunk of training for a homeopath involves giving them the skills to recognise when they need to advise a patient to see an orthodox doctor. I have heard of cases where the patient themselves refuses- but this is usually because of previously shit experiences at the hands of the medical profession and not the homeopath's choice.

The homeopath I know very well for example was able to persuade someone infected with HIV to take AZT. Something that orthodox doctors had failed to do.

"some people get better because they think they have taken some medication."

Well that can't have been the case for my severely autistic son as at the time I tried homeopathy for the first time with him (I was desperate and I didn't believe in it) it worked spectacularly despite him having no concept of what a medicine (of any sort) actually was.

Paracetamol has a huge placebo effect to it as well. If I have a headache and take a paracetamol I don't really care whether it's the placebo bit or the active ingredient that is getting me better. As long as the headache goes.

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