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Complementary therapy 'growing' in childbirth

Complementary therapy should only be used alongside traditional medical treatment.
The Association of Radical Midwives has said that the use of complementary therapy during childbirth is growing in the UK, but has advised women to only use it alongside conventional medicine.

NHS advice backs up that of the Association, as they explain that some women find that complementary therapies such as massage, reflexology and breathing and visualisation techniques help them to relax while giving birth.

The NHS guidelines also state that these therapies should only be used alongside conventional medicines, not instead of.

Sarah Montagu, administration secretary of the Association of Radical Midwives, explained: "Complementary means 'in addition to' and the person using it or giving it needs to recognise somebody might need something more and might need conventional medicine and make appropriate referrals."

Responding to claims that complementary therapies are not widely proven to be effective, Ms Montagu said that, when used in conjunction with medical treatments, therapies can have the effect of relaxing a woman in labour.

She added that whether the therapy is really having an effect or simply making the woman think so is irrelevant.

"In childbirth it doesn't really matter if it's placebo effect as long as it has an effect," she explained.

Ms Montagu added that complementary therapies sometimes have the effect of making women feel more like participants in the birth rather than patients.

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