Is Naturopathic Medicine safe during pregnancy?
Absolutely! Naturopathic Medicine is an ideal treatment option during pregnancy. Although not all Naturopathic treatments are safe during pregnancy, a large majority of Naturopathic treatments are both safe and effective for the common and uncommon health concerns of pregnancy.
Being under the care of a Naturopathic Doctor during pregnancy does not replace the prenatal care offered by a midwife or obstetrician. Naturopathic care should be used in addition to these services. Naturopathic Medicine can offer guidance and treatments above and beyond what is offered by your prenatal health care team and can contribute to a happy and healthy pregnancy for both mother and child.
How often do I see my Naturopathic Doctor during pregnancy?
Naturopathic Medicine is an individualized treatment and frequency of visits will be determined based on your current health, changes in your health, personal health goals, and stage of pregnancy. In general visits occur less frequently in early pregnancy (unless specific concerns such as nausea, nutrient deficiencies, muscle cramps, or insomnia are present) and more frequently in the later stages of pregnancy.
The first visit typically occurs prior to pregnancy (during conception planning) or in the first 4-8 weeks of pregnancy. During the first visit a comprehensive intake and health history will be completed and a nutritional assessment and recommendations are made.
First trimester visits:
The second visit varies, for some women occurring 2-3 weeks after the first visit depending on recommendations made in the first visit. For the majority of women the second visit is between weeks 8-12 and is the final visit for the first trimester. Changes to nutritional requirements are discussed and a diet diary is given to track caloric intake for three days. Naturopathic treatments for nausea, appetite changes, swelling, sleep disturbances, or other concerns may be prescribed as needed.
Second trimester visits:
The second trimester is often the easiest for pregnant women. It is important to maintain regular visits with your Naturopathic Doctor during this stage of pregnancy to ensure continuing health throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. A visit is recommended around 18-20 weeks and again at 24 weeks. Between 24 and 28 weeks a glucose tolerance test is performed by your midwife or obstetrician. You should see your Naturopathic Doctor in the weeks before this test to learn ways to properly prepare for this test.
During the final trimester you may see your Naturopathic Doctor more frequently. Preparation for the Group B Streptococcus test, treatments for health concerns that arise more frequently during the third trimester as well as acupuncture and herbal teas to prepare the body for labour and delivery are all addressed during the third trimester.
After due-date visits:
Your Naturopathic Doctor will be available to you if you go past-due with your baby. Acupuncture and moxa (an herb that is applied to warm acupuncture points) as well as homeopathy can be helpful in promoting labour.
After the baby is born it is recommended that you and the baby continue to see your Naturopathic Doctor as needed. Naturopathic Medicine is safe during lactation and for common health concerns in infants. Your ND can also offer guidance on infant food introduction and appropriate nutritional supplements to support the tremendous growth your child will experience in their first year of life.
Your Naturopathic Doctor may be consulted at any time during the pregnancy if a health concern arises. Your ND will tailor your pregnancy treatment to your individual pregnancy. No two pregnancies are alike! The visit schedule outlined above is just a general guideline. Your Naturopathic Doctor will recommend a visit schedule that will meet your needs and support your physical, mental, and emotional health, and the health of your baby throughout pregnancy.
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.