Introduction to the CARE 1 Working Group on Pregnancy, Birth and Early Childhood

Pregnancy, birth and early childhood have a decisive influence on human health and development. Parenting, education and medicine have the task of providing protection and space for each child’s development and for his or her unique individuality. Trusting cooperation between everyone involved in the child’s care is of great importance. This is particularly true if fears, obstacles and disabilities stand in the way of what is seen as normal development even at this early age.

The CARE 1 working group of the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum is an international, multi-professional collaboration of experts from the fields of medicine and education (see also: Our aim is to contribute multiple points of view to enable children to settle in well, make the circumstances of pregnancy and birth conducive to development, as well as support small children in developing their health and their own personalities through consideration of their physical, mental and spiritual needs. This interdisciplinary cooperation adds new collaborative professional insight and helps us to better understand the nature of children, as well as the unique individuality of each child.

The contributions of the CARE 1 group are intended to provide our colleagues in medical, therapeutic and pedagogical professions with professional suggestions, experiences and insights on current issues of pregnancy, birth and early childhood. This is inseparably linked to giving parents support and guidance for their tasks. That is why you will usually find a presentation of topics for both the medical and educational professions, as well as corresponding presentations for parents. An important aim of the working group is to strengthen the competence and confidence of parents for the benefit of their children. This also creates a climate in which people feel that they can deal with difficult situations, questions and decisions.

This doesn’t just concern approaches that have proven themselves in practice and are based on knowledge that makes sense, it especially concerns our inner attitudes—the way that parents, educators, doctors, nurses, midwives and therapists deal with each child and his independently developing personality.

Child development can be comprehensively protected and supported based on an experiential understanding of the human being that includes physical, mental and spiritual dimensions from the very beginning. Anthroposophy wants to promote this kind of culture.  In this respect, we in the CARE 1 working group also see ourselves as working in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (provision, protection, prevention, participation).

The concepts and recommendations published here are based on clinical and pedagogical experience and on recommendations coming out of the international, multi-professional expert CARE 1 group of the Medical Section. Related clinical and pedagogical research is currently being developed and we welcome any further scientific evaluation of the recommendations given here.

Research news

Yarrow liver compresses in cancer patients and their effect on the autonomous nervous system    
Liver compresses are frequently used in Anthroposophic Medicine for cancer treatment and are believed to have an energizing effect. In a randomized pilot study, the influence of this external application on the autonomous nervous system was now evaluated. For this study, heart rate variability was measured in metastatic cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy and suffering from cancer-related fatigue (CRF). A total of 20 patients (10 per group) were available for analysis. The results show that yarrow liver compresses led to increase sympathetic activity during the day in the intervention group, while increased parasympathetic activity was observed in the control group, which received no external application. The study is published open access:
Previously in 2021, Georg Seifert´s research group had demonstrated that liver compresses reduced (CRF) in this clinically relevant range. The current study clarifies the correlation.

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