Before taking an alternative remedy, be sure to talk with your health care provider.
Safe Alternative Therapies During Pregnancy
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.
- 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:
- Beth root
- Black cohosh
- Blue cohosh
- Chaste tree berry
- Chinese angelica (Dong Quai)
- Cotton root bark
- Golden seal
- Kava kava
- Meadow saffron
- Poke root
- Saint Johns wort
- White peony
- Yellow dock
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.