By Jenn Sturiale
"Oh -- I'm sorry, what did you say?"
It happens to the best of us while engaged in a conversation (even an interesting one): We suddenly snap back to the present, then realize we have no idea what was just said. Our mind wandered away and went... where? Most likely it skipped off to the past or the future. It doesn't just happen during conversations. While watching a movie, we'll start compiling a mental grocery list. Or while walking the dog, we'll replay a conversation we had...
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 and are therefore not recommended. Conventional methods are 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.