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Date posted: April 29, 2012

Dr Sayeed Ahmad

Childbirth is the process by which a woman gives birth to a baby. A pregnant woman carries a baby within her body inside a hollow, muscular organ called the uterus. After about nine months, the baby passes out of the uterus and through the vagina, also called the birth canal. Childbirth can be painful, but the severity of the pain varies among women.

The birth process is called labor. The process begins when the muscles of the uterus start to tighten and relax in a rhythmic pattern. As labor progresses, these muscle contractions become stronger and more frequent, causing the cervix (lower part of the uterus) to open. After the cervix has opened about 4 inches (10 centimeters), the contractions gradually force the baby through the cervix and out of the woman’s body through the vagina. Many women assist the process by “pushing” with their abdominal muscles in time with their contractions. The amniotic sac, a membrane containing fluids that surround the baby, breaks before or during labor. The fluids flow out through the vagina.

In most births, the head is the first part of the baby that comes out of the mother’s body. But in some deliveries, called breech births, the feet or buttocks come out first. After the baby has come out of the mother’s body completely, the umbilical cord is cut, and the infant starts to breathe. The umbilical cord is a tubelike structure that connects the baby to the placenta, an organ attached to the wall of the uterus. Food and oxygen from the mother’s blood pass through the placenta to the baby during pregnancy.

After the baby is born, the muscles of the uterus continue to contract until the placenta separates from the uterus and is expelled through the vagina. The discharged placenta is also called the afterbirth.

The length of labor varies greatly among women. It averages 13 to 14 hours for women having their first babies and lasts 7 to 8 hours thereafter.

Some woman need an operation called a cesarean section to deliver a baby. In this operation, a surgeon removes the baby and the placenta through an incision in the abdomen and uterus. Cesarean sections are performed for a number of reasons, but chiefly because the baby cannot pass through the birth canal. The woman’s pelvis may be too small, or the baby may be too large.

Methods of childbirth. Most women in developed countries deliver their babies in hospitals, which have specially equipped birth facilities. During childbirth, a woman may receive medication to relieve her labor pains. In some cases, a physician will administer a drug to induce (bring on) labor. Before delivery, the physician may widen the woman’s vaginal opening by making a small incision called an episiotomy.

In many cases, physicians use an electronic fetal monitor to record the baby’s heartbeat during labor. Disturbances in the heartbeat may signal that the baby is in danger and that a cesarean section may be necessary.

During the 1960′s and the 1970′s, many hospitals developed educational programs to prepare women for childbirth and parenting. These programs instruct both mothers and fathers on pregnancy, childbirth, and infant care. In addition, such programs as natural childbirth and the Lamaze method teach relaxation exercises and breathing techniques to lessen the discomfort of labor, thus reducing the need for painkilling drugs. Many such drugs pass to the baby through the placenta, so some women choose to avoid them. Some women also avoid drugs so they can remain alert throughout labor.

A type of anesthesia called an epidural is another popular method for relieving labor pain. This form of pain relief does not affect the baby or reduce the mother’s alertness, but it must be given by a specially trained doctor. Epidural anesthesia is injected through a small tube that is inserted into the back next to the spinal cord. When the anesthesia is absorbed by nerves that go from the spine to the uterus, it almost completely eliminates labor pains.

At many hospitals, birthing rooms offer an alternative to traditional labor and delivery rooms. Most birthing rooms resemble a home bedroom and are used for labor, delivery, and sometimes recovery. Birthing rooms provide a relaxed and intimate atmosphere where the hospital’s facilities are still at hand if complications occur.

For convenience, following is the Pregnancy Table for expected date of delivery:
Pregnancy table for expected date of delivery

Pregnancy table for expected date of delivery

Find the date of the last menstrual period in the top line (light-face type) of the pair of lines. The dark number (bold-face type) in the line below will be the expected day of delivery.

Jan.   1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30  31      Jan.

Oct.    8     9  10  11  12  13   14  15  16  17  18   19  20  21  22  23   24  25  26  27  28   29  30  31   (1    2     3    4    5    6    7      Nov.

Feb.   1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28                         Feb.

Nov.   8     9  10  11  12  13   14  15  16  17  18   19  20  21  22  23   24  25  26  27  28   29  30   (1    2    3     4    5                        Dec.

Mar.   1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30  31      Mar.

Dec.   6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30  31   (1    2    3    4    5      Jan.

April  1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30            April

Jan.   6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30  31   (1    2    3    4             Feb.

May   1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30  31      May

Feb.   5     6    7    8    9  10   11  12  13  14  15   16  17  18  19  20   21  22  23  24  25   26  27  28   (1    2     3    4    5    6    7      Mar.

June  1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30            June

Mar.   8     9  10  11  12  13   14  15  16  17  18   19  20  21  22  23   24  25  26  27  28   29  30  31   (1    2     3    4    5    6            April

July   1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30  31      July

April  7     8    9  10  11  12   13  14  15  16  17   18  19  20  21  22   23  24  25  26  27   28  29  30   (1    2     3    4    5    6    7      May

Aug.  1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30  31      Aug.

May   8     9  10  11  12  13   14  15  16  17  18   19  20  21  22  23   24  25  26  27  28   29  30  31   (1    2     3    4    5    6    7      June

Sept. 1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30             Sept.

June  8     9  10  11  12  13   14  15  16  17  18   19  20  21  22  23   24  25  26  27  28   29  30   (1    2    3     4    5    6    7            July

Oct.    1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30  31      Oct.

July   8     9  10  11  12  13   14  15  16  17  18   19  20  21  22  23   24  25  26  27  28   29  30  31   (1    2     3    4    5    6    7      Aug.

Nov.   1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30            Nov.

Aug.  8     9  10  11  12  13   14  15  16  17  18   19  20  21  22  23   24  25  26  27  28   29  30  31   (1    2     3    4    5    6            Sept.

Dec.   1     2    3    4    5    6     7    8    9  10  11   12  13  14  15  16   17  18  19  20  21   22  23  24  25  26   27  28  29  30  31      Dec.

Sept. 7     8    9  10  11  12   13  14  15  16  17   18  19  20  21  22   23  24  25  26  27   28  29  30   (1    2     3    4    5    6    7      Oct.

Homoeopathic treatment
Complications of Labour

  • If labour delayed owing to rigid os. — Gels.
  • Pains are mild, irregular, do not come on with vigour after first show, nausea present.– Puls.
  • Headache, restlessness, flushed face and eyes, delirium. — Bell.
  • Unbearable pain. — Cham., Coff., Gels.
  • After severe pain, all pains suddenly disappear, eyes and face get flushed, breathing is hurried and stertorous, lost consciousness.- Op.
  • Severe convulsions, patient crying out. — Hyos.
  • Other parts of child than head may be born first to prevent it. Puls.
  • Rigid os. — Bell.
  • Difficult labour. — Arn.
  • Fits of unconsciousness during or after labour, body cold,pulse feeble.- Camph.
  • Placenta nor expelled or detached within an hour of delivery.- Puls., Sec.

Complications of Delivery
Rupture
The space between the vagina and rectum is ruptured or — Calendula Lotion
lacerated mostly in cases of first delivery. It requires the help of a skillful surgeon to mend it.

After Pains
These are sometimes troublesome. — Arn.
But if the mother is irritable or neurotic in temperament. — Cham.
If Arnica fails. — Coff., Gels., Sec.

Haemorrhage
Keep the patient lying down with head low and feet raised. — Sabin., Ham.
Firmly knead the uterus and give an intra-uterine douche or
water at 120 degree F.

For weakness. — Chin.
For headache. — Fer.
Unconsciousness If associated with collapse. — Rubini’s Spt. Camphor Q
If unconsciousness comes on after slight movements or is associated with cold sweat on forehead.- Ver-a.
If fits of unconsciousness comes on pretty frequently or last long.– Stram.
If due to trauma. — Arn.
If due to fear. — Acon., Coff.
If patient cannot swallow medicines, let her inhale them. Givelight nutritious diet (milk and barley etc.).

Convulsions (Eclampsia)
This is a terrible complications and is characterized by repeated convulsions of increasing frequency and severity and sleeping coma. Its cause is not known: probably toxaemia of pregnancy.

  • During premonitory stage. — Hyos.
  • During fits. — Bell., Hydr-ac.
  • After fits stop, and if mental derangement persists. — Op.
  • If the convulsions are preceded by fever and thirst. — Acon.
  • If convulsions are associated with cold clammy sweat, full quick pulse and delirium.— Ver-vir.
  • Sudden stoppage of perspiration. — Cham., Dulc.
  • Weakness. — Chin., Ph-ac.
  • Insomnia (without any apparent cause). — Coff.
  • If no urine is passed within 12 hours. — Acon. (Every 10 minutes)
  • If 4 doses of Acon fail. — Bell. (Every ½ hr. upto 3 doses) then Equisetum.

Constipation
If absolutely no stool within 48 hours and if pain is felt in abdomen.- Collin. or Ver.
Diarrhoea. — Hyos., Puls.
Piles. — Puls. internally and Ham. Q locally.

Lochia
Usually bright red blood is passed in the first two or three days;   then it becomes pale, then watery and finally purulent matter comes out before the discharge ceases – about 3 week’s time.

If however this discharge (called lochia) persists unduly long. — Sabin.
If scarlet blood is passed for a long time. — Sabin.
If lochia suddenly ceases. — Acon.
If it smells ill. — Kreos., Carb-v. internally and Calendula Lotion Q (1 in 20 of water) to irrigate thrice daily.

Other suggested remedies
Cimicifuga Racemosa : This remedy may be given three or four months before delivery to ensure safe and painless delivery. It checks false labour pain also. Cimicifuga also ensure living birth in women who have previously delivered only dead children.

Pulsatilla : To avoid false labour pains and to ensure safe delivery in due time the medicine may be given in 1M every 15 minutes – three doses only at the time the delivery is expected. It also puts the child in right position if it has changed its position in the womb, if given before the membranes are ruptured.

Aur-Mur-Nat :It should be given to syphilitic mothers to prevent diseases in their off-springs.

Arnica:
An excellent remedy for pains after delivery.

Caulophyllum :Complementary to Pulsatilla in cases where the foetus is in unfabourable position in the uterus. Given in 30 potency one dose a day for two or three weeks before delivery will make the delivery easy and prevent false labour pains. It also helps when the movements of the foetus have ceased.

China :After profuse bleeding in delivery. A dose of 1M will recoup the strength of the patient.

Stramonium
;Nymphomania (excessive or intolerable desire for sexual intercourse) in lying-in-women i.e. during confinement. It is also used in 200 potency for insanity during pregnancy.

Ruta ;Prolapsus of rectum after confinement.

Cuprum Met
.During the course of labour the patient suddenly becomes blind. The labour pains cease and the convulsions come on, commencing in the fingers and toes.

Nux Vomica
:Hiccough during confinement, preventing eating, drinking and sleeping.

Platina :
Nymphomania. Great sexual desire in lying-in-women.

Kali Carb: Haemorrhage due to atonic condition of blood vessels and bleeding starts after one week of labour.

Causticum
:Retention of urine after labour.

Viburnum Op.:For false labour pains which may render a woman’s life a torture for weeks. For after-pains a dose after every pain will give relief. Also in pain or cramps in the abdomen and legs during pregnancy.

Crocus :When the movements of foetus are too violent and painful.

Thuja :
Violent movements of the child during the seventh or eighth month which disturb her sleep with urging to urinate.

Sulphur :Foetus in uterus as if hurting by fists.

Anacardium:
This may be given in 200 potency for sleeplessness in pregnancy.

Coffea
: If Anacardium fails, this remedy in 200 potency may be tried at bed time for sleeplessness.

Aconite:
For sleeplessness if caused by fright, fear or anxiety.

N O T E : Any information given above is not intended to be taken as a replacement for medical advice. Therefore, it is very important that the patients should avoid self-treatment and rather consult the most abled and qualified classical homoeopath and take the treatment under his proper guidance and advice.

References:
World Book 2003
Mosby’s Medical Encyclopaedia
The Homoeopathic Family Practice, published by M. Bhattacharyya & Co., Ltd., Calcutta.
Select Your Remedy by Rai Bahadur Bishambar Das.

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