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The following alternative treatments can safely be used during pregnancy:
Nausea:Acupuncture, acupressure, ginger root (250mg capsules 4 times a day), and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, 25mg two or three times a day) work well and are considered safe for pregnant women.
Backache:Chiropractic manipulation and massage may help.
Turning a breech baby: Exercise and hypnosis have proven beneficial. Trials are underway to investigate moxibustion, a traditional Chinese treatment that burns an herb close to the skin and is stated to be beneficial in turning a breech baby.
Labor induction:Evening primrose oil, black haw, and red raspberry leaves seem to work for cervical ripening. The risks and benefits of these agents are still unknown because the evidence is based on anecdotal case reports. Conventional methods may be more reliable for these purposes.
Pain relief in labor: Epidurals are most effective but other methods like immersion in a warm bath and acupuncture can be effective. A high tech nerve stimulator called TENS may also be effective if used in conjunction with other pain control treatments. Relaxation techniques, patterned breathing, emotional support, and self-hypnosis are already widely used alternative therapies in labor.
Unsafe Alternative Therapies During Pregnancy
Some alternative treatments are not recommended during pregnancy. The following substances have the potential to harm a developing baby when used in a concentrated formulation (not as a spice in cooking). Some are thought to cause birth defects, and some to encourage early labor.
Avoid these oral supplements:
Chaste tree berry
Chinese angelica (Dong Quai)
Cotton root bark
Saint Johns wort
Large doses of vitamin A can cause birth defects.
Avoid these aromatherapy essential oils:
If you have a question about the safety of an alternative therapy, always ask your health care provider before using it.