In general, you should avoid taking any unnecessary medicines during pregnancy, including both prescription drugs and herbal remedies. This is because anything you take into your body can have an affect on the unborn baby.
Complementary therapies, such as
homeopathy, are a conventional medicine-free form of treatment. This means they can be suitable to use during pregnancy.
However they must only be used with the guidance of a qualified practitioner, and there are still certain times during pregnancy when they may not be safe.
Complementary therapies can be very effective at masking
pain, which can sometimes hide a more serious underlying condition.
It's very important to attend regular prenatalcheck ups throughout pregnancy and speak to your doctor if you experience
pain or any unusual symptoms you are concerned about.
Acupuncture uses very fine needles inserted at specific places in the body (acupoints) to ease
pain and other symptoms.
It can be used to treat a range of problems in pregnancy, including
constipation and to induce labor. Certain acupoints must be avoided during pregnancy, so it is important to find a practitioner who is qualified.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to treat certain medical problems.
In pregnancy, it can help to relieve backache and
However, certain oils should be avoided during pregnancy while others should be avoided for the first three months. Therefore, aromatherapy massage should only be carried out by a qualified therapist.
Homoeopathy uses minute
doses of the same substance that causes an illness to treat it. It's a very gentle form of treatment and can be used during pregnancy, although you should get medical advice first.
Osteopathy uses manual manipulation to treat problems with bones and
The change in weight that happens during pregnancy causes the mother's center of gravity to move forwards and puts strain on the
spine. This can cause lower back
pain as well as affecting other
joints - gentle osteopathy can help to ease this.
Cranial osteopathy is a form of osteopathy that gently massages the head - it can help to relieve discomfort during pregnancy and be beneficial for babies whose heads were molded (squashed) during birth.
Massage is a hands-on therapy that uses kneading and rubbing movements to relax and heal the body.
During pregnancy it can help to relieve muscle stiffness, back
pain and insomnia.
abdomen should not be massaged during the first three months of pregnancy, and some practitioners prefer not to treat women during this period.
Reflexology is a type of massage therapy involving parts of the feet, and sometimes the hands and the ears.
Reflexologists believe that massaging certain areas of the body can improve general health and has a beneficial effect on the rest of the body.
Hypnotherapy uses a range of techniques to make people more relaxed and develop a calmer state of mind. Many therapists teach self-hypnosis techniques which you can then use during labor.
Studies have shown that women who use self-hypnosis techniques during labor tend to require less
Other complementary therapies
In addition to the above list there are lots of other complementary therapies, many of which are suitable for use during pregnancy. Always speak to your doctor before starting any form of complementary therapy during pregnancy, and make sure you chose a fully qualified practitioner.