Naturopathic Approach to Fertility, Pregnancy, & Postpartum: Achieving Positive Birth Outcomes

In the Autumn 2008 Issue of Midwifery Today there appears an incredibly thorough article by Lisa Doran and Nora Pope outlining a naturopathic view of perinatal health. In the article, they discuss naturopathic support during pre-conception, conception, pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period.

The authors point out that “when both parents are working hard to achieve optimal health before conception, the health of both parents is reflected in healthy pregnancies and healthy babies”  and that naturopathic doctors (NDs)  “work very closely with couples before conception to optimize health and nutrition and to address any health concerns or imbalances that may create obstacles to a healthy pregnancy.” The authors also refer to NDs’ practice of  “closely monitor[ing] normal hormonal peaks in order to evaluate health and balance of the menstrual cycle” going on to mention that “a female hormonal imbalance is a common issue a ND will encounter… Hormonal levels are very important and an ND will employ the use of nutrition, identification of environmental estrogen exposure or use of specific female harmonizing botanicals”. During conception the authors point out that “in addition to helping to regulate hormone levels and working with the natural physiology of the body, NDs also teach their clients to observe external signs and symptoms of fertility.”

Furthermore, “ [i]n the first trimester [of pregnancy], nutrition coaching is the number one indicator for lessening the complications in labor, birth and postpartum….During the second trimester, central concerns are fetal brain development and iron deficiency anemia…The third trimester involves preparing for labor and birth, as well as preventing issues that may arise from an overloaded metabolic and hepatobiliary system. Clients who have been through a previous detoxification program find this stage of pregnancy far less demanding.” (We should note here that Dr. Naumes does provide guided detoxification programs for her clients.)

Later the authors remark that “[NDs] and midwives are able to support women as they do the hard work of labor.” …..and “are able to support and protect [the] immediate postpartum period by assisting with perineal healing, providing support for breastfeeding initiation and challenges, and using homeopathy, nutrition and botanical medicine to assist with maternal recovery.”