This blog post will list the top 15 homeopathic remedies for childbirth. Homeopathy is an invaluable tool during birth (and before and beyond!). It can bring vitality back in times of exhaustion. It can help make pain more manageable and labours progress. It can bring calmness to feelings of fear or overwhelm.
It is now the norm to see Arnica recommended for most postpartum women, which is amazing. I want women and their care providers to know how helpful homeopathy can be during the birthing process as well, and to have access to easy to follow information on the remedies that they may need.
I recommend to keep all remedies listed in this post on hand for labour, especially if it is your first time giving birth. If this is not your first labour and delivery, you may be able to think back to previous births and see yourself in certain remedies. You may choose to only have those on hand, but remember that every birth is different and that a remedy you maybe wouldn’t have needed last time you will this time.
This post is for general informational and educational purposes only. See my full disclaimer here. In the event of an emergency or if you have any questions or concerns about your health or the health of your baby, always seek the help of your medical doctor, midwife, or head to the emergency room.
what potency to use
Labour and childbirth use up a huge amount of energy, and thus repeating a remedy (when it is called for) more frequently and at a higher potency is very common. It is common to hear recommendations of stocking your birth kit with remedies that are of the 200CH potency (strength) for this reason. If you only have the 30CH potency, don’t worry! You just may need to repeat remedies more frequently.
HOW TO USE HOMEOPATHY IN LABOUR
When a remedy is needed in birth, use it as frequently as you need to, and for as long as it helps. For instance, down below you will see the remedy Caulophyllum. A mother takes it because she has been in labour for a long time and is not progressing. She is very nervous and exhausted, she is shivering and irritable. She takes a dose and her energy returns, and her emotions come back to a more normal state. After 10 minutes, she is is feeling very tired and cold again, so the remedy is repeated. This time it holds longer and her contractions become stronger and more regular. Every time (even if it’s every 5-10 minutes) she starts to fall back into her beginning symptoms, the remedy is repeated.
If the remedy stops being effective, it would be time to take a look at what the symptoms have changed to and to give a different remedy. Also, it is important to remember to only repeat a remedy when symptoms of that remedy are returning. Do not simply give a remedy every 10 minutes (for example) because it worked once. Wait.
In the previous example, maybe Caulophyllum wasn’t the right choice (the remedy had no effect after a few doses), but the mom actually needed to take Gelsemium – no harm will come to the mom or baby from the error, just switch.
Please read this blog post for information on how to administer and store the remedies. Storage is the most important point in that post for use in labour. You’ll read in that post that it is usually advised to wait a certain amount of time to take a remedy after you eat or drink – you’ll be repeating the remedy so frequently during labour that it is not as big of a deal in this circumstance.
Educate your birth team
During your labour, you will not be in the right headspace to be concerned with figuring out which remedy you need at any given time. You will need to hand the reigns over to someone on your birth team (for example, my husband is my stand in homeopath during my labours). Go over the information with them ahead of time and have a print out of the information with the remedies for the birth. Let all attendants know your desire to use homeopathy during your labour and birth. Your team member is to observe you, ask questions if something is not obvious, and offer the remedies to you as needed.
My top homeopathic remedies to use for labour and birth:
- Cimicifuga (aka Actaea racemosa)
- Coffea cruda
- Kali carbonicum
- Kali phosphoricum
- Nux vomica
Remedies are sectioned by complaint for ease of use, so you will see the same remedy repeated under various headings, as they can be useful for various labour complaints.
Arnica is well known by many for use in birth and postpartum, and for good reason! It is an important remedy for postpartum, but can also be given (just one dose) at the beginning of labour to help prevent postpartum complications like hemorrhage and to get a jump start on helping afterpains and the need for pain medications. I do not recommend repeating consistently throughout labour (as some homeopaths do), unless it is indicated.
Rescue Remedy (a Bach flower essence) is another item that I think every mom should have in their labour bag. It can help with shock, terror, agitation, loss of control and faintness, so it’s ideal for momma to keep nearby (and dad!).
Match (as closely as you can) the symptoms of the labouring mama to a remedy from the list below. If the remedy has had no effect after a few tries (doses), choose something new. If you have chosen the correct remedy, there will be relief from symptoms after one or 2 tries (frequency depends on intensity of symptoms – usually every 5-15 minutes in labour). Repeat when symptoms are returning.
Labour came on very fast. Contractions started suddenly (usually frequent, but irregular) causing feelings of anxiety, extreme fear (like you will die) and overwhelm. Pains are sharp and sudden and come and go very quickly.
To help with shock, overwhelm, etc.
To help prevent hemorrhage if labour is progressing very fast. Take again immediately after birth.
slow labour / not progressing
These remedies should help to produce strong and effective contractions, along with addressing the other symptoms of the remedies.
Labour is slow, too long, exhausting and painful. Take for a “second wind” when exhaustion causes contractions to become weak and ineffective. Feelings of irritability and like you can’t continue on in labour may also be present.
Labour is painful and ineffective (cervix doesn’t soften). You might also experience cramping in the hands or legs and have a red face. You may feel angry, anxious, delirious, and not want to be examined.
You are not progressing in labour (the cervix will not dilate) and labour pains are weak (may feel like muscle spasms) and irregular. Contractions may be sharp, short and painful, ineffective and spasmodic, moving all around your bladder, groin and thighs. You may have needle-like pains in the cervix. They may slow or stop completely because of exhaustion. Contractions may be felt in the lower half of the uterus while the top has no tone. There may be restlessness and nervousness, with a desire for company (but not talking). You may feel cold, shivery, shaky and irritable.
*If this remedy fails to help, try gelsemium as they are quite similar.
Cimicifuga (aka actaea racemosa)
You cervix will not soften and dilate. Your contractions feel like sharp spasms or electric shocks and fly around the abdomen. You may also shiver, tremble and feel faint.
*This remedy is often given after Caulophyllum, to complete dilation after contractions become regular and effective. But if it is called for a caulophyllum is not, do not let that stop you from giving it.
Your labour is slow and sluggish; hours go by with no progress (dilation). Momma will be weak, drowsy, exhausted and “checked out.” She may have the feeling of “stage fright.” There may be trembling with shivers up and down the spine. You are not thirsty (compare Pulsatilla) and are worse from being told there is no progress. You are better when you are left alone and after peeing.
You are exhausted from a labour that starts and stops with no dilation. Contractions are felt in the back/ butt or thighs, and are followed by feelings of coldness.
For labours that start and stop (or drastically slow down). May also have a red face and be afraid, or appear in shock.
For contractions that are irregular (come and go), change in character, weak, short or stop altogether. Can be helpful early on to help labour start properly. There is exhaustion and a feeling like you can’t continue. You are weepy and emotional, clingy and beg for help. There may also be faintness, nausea and/or vomiting. You have no thirst and feel like you will suffocate if you don’t get some fresh air. You may have the feeling like you can’t breathe through your contraction. You feel worse in a stuffy room and after getting cold or wet (think getting out of shower or tub). You feel better for fresh air, moving around, sympathy and company
Your labour is very slow moving and your cervix isn’t softening. Each contraction is very long and they may stop altogether for a length of time. You are exhausted and may feel faint and/or shaky. You may be in a daze and feel cold, but feel worse from heat
Your labour is slow and you feel indifferent about motherhood and/or the baby that’s on its way. You are exhausted, may feel like giving up.
Very intense and intolerable contractions start in the lower back and come around to the inner part of the thighs. You may also be irritable and angry.
The #1 remedy for severe labour pains in the back – like it may break. Contractions may also be felt in the butt and thighs. Babe is in a posterior position and labour does not progress. You are irritable, but wants company because you are also feeling anxious. You might have a headache in labour and feel chilly after a contraction. You are worse from touch and noise. You feel better from warmth and your pain is greatly relieved by pressure.
You feel contractions up your back and into your hips. Baby is in a posterior position. Contractions are ineffective and mentally you feel very down. You have no thirst.
Your contractions are felt in the back and extend to your bum and thighs. Contractions may be very painful and ineffective at dilation. You feel like you need to pee or poop, but nothing much is passed. You are exhausted, irritable, impatient and easily get angry and offended. You are sensitive to odours, light and noise. You can’t tolerate pressure on the back as it makes the pain worse (the opposite from Kali carb).
Contractions are felt in the back, along with very weepy, clingy, changeable behaviour.
Extreme labour pains
Contractions are very painful – you are hot and throbbing with feelings of bearing down or pushing. There’s usually no thirst and both cheeks are red
You are extremely oversensitive to the pain of labour (it feels unbearable) and are very irritable. You feel angry and may take it out on those around you (ex, your husband). You may be very thirsty and have one red cheek. You feel better undressed or uncovered. You are worse for company, being looked at/spoken to and fresh air.
You are having very painful but ineffective contractions with restlessness and irritability. Your senses are over-sensitive. You may also be very talkative and funny.
You may faint from the severe pain. Contractions cause a frequent urge to pee or poop. You are irritable, critical and sensitive to light, noise and odours.
You are experiencing severe, violent pains with heaviness (like everything would fall out the bottom). You feel stitching pains in your abdomen during contractions. Contractions may extend down the thighs and the body may be flushed with heat. Your contractions feel better if you move around and on your hands and knees. You are irritable and feel indifferent to your loved ones, but desire company. You may feel tired or weighed down and weepy. You feel worse from consolation or touch and from thinking of or eating food.
exhaustion in labour
The #1 remedy for exhaustion during childbirth. Use this if there are no other strong symptoms. Use throughout labour whenever energy is low, in between contractions (alternating with another remedy if needed).
*Helpful for members of your birth team as well!
*This remedy is recommended to buy in a low potency (strength), like a 6CH or 12CH, or in cell salt form.
Also see remedies in the “slow labour” section above, as most include exhaustion.
Cell salts in labour
As a little bonus, I thought I’d share two cell salts that I use in labour, if everything is progressing nicely and no other remedies are needed.
Used for pain relief. Helps with any cramping, tension and soreness.
Mentioned in the last section for exhaustion, this cell salt is a soother of nerves and restores direction and order to the mind and the body. There are reports that this cell salt is able to shorten labour times and ease pains.
I alternate between the two cell salts every hour that I am in labour. If I was struggling, I would halt the cell salts, find a remedy, and resume the cell salts once the remedy had done its job.