WALA: Ms Kiefer, we’re coming to the end of the pregnancy. Does a midwife have any tips for the father-to-be?
A. K.: Oh yes. A midwife cares for all the family. Since many couples decide that the father will be present at the birth, he too must prepare for the labour and the arrival of the baby. No one can prepare a couple for the moments of joy, or possibly despair, that they may experience during the birth. But we can give them confidence by explaining what happens during labour, for instance when the contractions start or the waters break. The father must also know that it can take a while for the cervix to dilate from one to ten centimetres. Many men worry that they won’t get their partner to the hospital in time and the baby will be born in the car (she laughs).
WALA: What can the man do during labour?
A. K.: Before the birth, the midwife will give him practical advice: How do I massage my partner’s back or lower back? How can I support her in the different birthing positions? The couple can agree code words or signs. We will talk together about labour, and how the man can support the woman if she is at the end of her strength. When the time comes, the man is ready with ideas to encourage his partner. Of course not all of them will be used. Flexibility is important during labour. But he won’t meet the situation unprepared.
WALA: How does the midwife prepare the mother-to-be for the birth?
A. K.: The birth of a child is very special and you should prepare for it like you would for any other special occasion. There are many things you can do while looking forward to it. For example, there is acupuncture in preparation for labour. This can be done in the final four weeks of the pregnancy. Experience shows that the first phase of labour, when the cervix dilates, can be shortened by two hours when supported by acupuncture. Then you can try perineal massage, special teas and sitzbaths, exercise and breathing techniques. These are all things that a woman can do to prepare for the birth. A supple back and pelvis are important during labour. So I have always encouraged mums-to-be to attend yoga courses or special exercise courses for pregnant women. But for me the most important thing is to boost a woman’s inner strength and her confidence in her body’s power and ability to deliver her child.
WALA: How does the midwife help during labour?
A. K.: It is the job of the midwife to attend the woman or the couple with her knowledge and empathy during the whole of the birth experience. It’s the woman’s or the couple’s task to deliver the child – but the midwife is there to offer support. The couple usually only sees a doctor right at the end of the process. He is only present so that he is available immediately should there be any complications. Many doctors do, however, look in on their patient and introduce themselves beforehand. Then the couple recognises this birthday guest when the time comes.
WALA: What happens after the baby is born? How often does the mother see her midwife then?
A. K.: The health insurance pays for midwife visits for two months after the birth. I myself have seldom used up all the possible visits. Usually families find their own rhythm before that point. In the first ten days the midwife might come every day. When she sees that mother and child are getting on well she might only come every other day. At these visits mother and midwife discuss practical questions, like: What nappies should I use? Is the baby dressed warmly enough? When can baby go outside for the first time? Later it’s about the woman regaining her strength. We do postnatal exercises together or the woman relaxes with an abdominal massage. At the last visit the midwife often gives the woman information about things she may be interested in later, like postnatal exercise classes, baby massage or complementary feeding when the time is right. The women I’ve looked after have always welcomed these opportunities to keep in contact.
WALA: Thank you for talking to us, Ms Kiefer.
Natural relief from discomfort in the last three months:
During late pregnancy several pillows arranged according to preference will help make you more comfortable. Towards evening you should reduce the amount you drink to avoid waking up in the night with a full bladder. Positive thoughts or a nice book or story at bedtime help stop your imagination producing disturbing or frightening pictures to keep you from sleep. Relaxation exercises before bed are always to be recommended. A bath or footbath with WALA Lavandula, Oleum aethereum 10 %1 is very relaxing. Additionally, 10 WALA Passiflora comp., Globuli velati2 twice a day and 10–15 before going to bed help reduce restlessness. The traditional remedy of milk and honey (and anise) has proved useful for winding down in the evening. Make sure your bedroom is well aired and try wearing woolly socks to bed.
In the case of heavy, swollen legs it can be helpful to lessen the congestion by stimulating the flow of venous blood back to the heart. To do this, massage your legs daily for about three minutes using a brush and brushing from the toes to the thighs, or hose your legs with alternating warm and cold water and then use diluted WALA Borago-Essenz3 for compresses. Heavy legs can also be caused by a weak venous system. Ten WALA Renes/Borago comp., Globuli velati4 taken three times a day stimulate renal function and help combat lymphatic congestion. Invigorating and fortifying Dr. Hauschka Rosemary Leg and Arm Toner restores lightness to tired, heavy legs.
In the morning rinse your legs with alternating warm and cold showers and invigorate them with Dr. Hauschka Rosemary Leg and Arm Toner If symptoms are severe, treat your legs with diluted WALA Borago-Essenz3: add 10 ml of tincture to approx. 1/8 of a litre of lukewarm water and use for compresses. A measuring cup is enclosed with the product. After treatment wear support hose. Integrate foot exercises into your daily routine. For example, walk on tiptoe every now and then, and put your feet up several times during the day. Regular walks are also beneficial.
Before going to bed perform leg stretching exercises and then rub your legs with WALA Kupfer Salbe rot5. The warming properties of the copper in the ointment keep the muscles relaxed. In addition to a magnesium-rich diet – as described under “Heartburn” – you can take 5–10 WALA Magnesium phosphoricum comp., Globuli velati6 three times a day, or if symptoms are severe, 5 globules up to every two hours. This combination of minerals and medicinal plants relieves cramps and relaxes the muscles.
The First Three Months: A Time of Adjustment
The Second Three Months: A Time of Wellbeing
Required product information
1 WALA Lavandula, Oleum aethereum 10 %
Indications are derived from the anthroposophical understanding of human beings and nature. They include: Vegetative balance problems with nervous restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, muscular tension and cramps; functional cardiovascular disorders, flatulence, menstrual disorders, nerve pain (neuralgia); degenerative nervous diseases. Active ingredient: Lavandulae aetheroleum 10 %
2 WALA Passiflora comp., Globuli velati
Indications are derived from the anthroposophical understanding of human beings and nature. They include: Sleep disturbances, nervous restlessness, cardiac neurosis. Warning: Contains sucrose.
3 WALA Borago-Essenz (essence)
Indications are derived from the anthroposophical understanding of human beings and nature. They include: Stimulation of the anabolic and structuring forces, e.g. in disorders associated with varicose veins (varicose symptoms complex) with venous congestion, inflammation of the veins with development of thrombosis (thrombophlebitis) and accompanying eczematous skin disorders. Active ingredient: Borago officinalis ex herba LA 20 %. Warning: Contains 25% (v/v) alcohol.
4 WALA Renes/Borago comp., Globuli velati
Indications are derived from the anthroposophical understanding of human beings and nature. They include: Stimulation of renal activity in cases of acute or chronic disorders of the excretory system. Warning: Contains sucrose.
5 WALA Kupfer Salbe rot (copper ointment)
Indications are derived from the anthroposophical understanding of human beings and nature. They include: Harmonisation in conditions where there is disturbed integration of the warmth organism in the circulatory and metabolic-musculoskeletal system, e.g. in hypostatic disturbances of the peripheral venous system, spasms and cramps of the gastrointestinal tract, impaired renal function. Active ingredient: Cuprum oxydulatum rubrum.
6 WALA Magnesium phosphoricum comp., Globuli velati
Indications are derived from the anthroposophical understanding of human beings and nature. They include: Stimulation and structuring of the fluid organism in conditions involving painful hardening and tissue deposits together with muscular tension, e.g. hardened areas in the muscles (myogelosis), muscular cramps, anginal pain, soft tissue rheumatism. Warning: Contains sucrose and lactose.
For information on risks and side-effects please read the pack insert and ask your doctor or pharmacist.