Since 2011, midwives in France have been authorised to prescribe homeopathic treatments to their patients. A treatment that Agnès Castor, hospital midwife for 14 years, practises in maternity wards in one of France’s largest paediatric hospitals.
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How did you get into homeopathy?
It was when I started my job as a midwife that I became interested in homeopathy. I wanted to help patients who were frustrated to hear that if certain medicines did not work, we had no other solutions to offer them or that there was a therapeutic void for certain ailments that are considered harmless.
So I completed a university degree in 2010. Today, I work on the labour ward a lot, I also have a consultancy at the hospital; patients are referred to me by colleagues or the department’s doctors.
What are the benefits of this therapeutic approach?
No pregnancy, mother or baby are the same. Homeopathy can offer a treatment tailored to each individual’s specific symptoms.
Homeopathy offers several prescribed medications depending on the symptoms: itching, discomfort, or urinary problems. Homeopathy then, is used as a first line treatment or in combination with conventional medicines. It is also very useful in cases when pregnant women cannot be prescribed another medicine.
How does a consultation take place?
I have all their medical records, of course, and I perform a physical examination, but the important part of the homeopathic consultation focuses on asking questions. I obtain details of the patient’s symptoms and how they feel, I assess the patient’s environment, activities, diet and quality of sleep.
This level of information is not collected at random, it is essential to target the appropriate medicine(s) to obtain the most effective treatment possible. I am also interested in the woman’s body language, especially on the labour ward, because the way the patient behaves during a contraction says a lot.
What pregnancy-related conditions can homeopathy treat?
Homeopathy supports and helps pregnant women suffering from nausea, vomiting or haemorrhoids. It can work on gastric reflux, constipation or mycoses. It is also used to relieve acute conditions such as rhinitis or repeated urinary tract infections.
Many women suffer from disturbed sleep because pregnancy hormones prevent restorative sleep. The purpose of homeopathy is to prevent a patient from being exhausted at birth. This therapy also relieves ligament or muscle pain, and venous insufficiencies like water retention.
And can homeopathy offer relief to future mothers on the day of delivery?
On the day of delivery, we can act on the mother’s concerns about the birth. Moreover, it also works on the future father or siblings who can sometimes be disturbed by this upheaval.
This treatment, which is safe to use because it has no side effects, can also be effective during delivery, especially for contraction pains. This phenomenon is physiological, we cannot stop it, but homeopathy will help contractions be more effective and thus shorten labour. On the labour ward, homeopathy does not help women give birth earlier, but give birth better.
And how can homeopathy be used after the birth?
It can act on post-operative pain, episiotomy or the scarring of a caesarean section. If the delivery was long, if the patient lost a lot of blood, I prescribe medicines that prevent fatigue and anaemia. I can also work on preventing postpartum depression if I observe that a mother is too euphoric or too sad. Homeopathy can also support breastfeeding. The physiological phenomenon of milk coming in lasts between 24 and 48 hours, and is often experienced as unpleasant.
Homeopathy will not stop it, but it will limit the onset of symptoms. Homeopathic medicines can also relieve cracked nipples, engorgement, oversupply or undersupply. Furthermore, since allopathic treatments are no longer recommended to stop milk coming in, I can also prescribe a tailor-made treatment to inhibit milk production to mothers who choose not to breastfeed.