Archive for pregnancy tips

prepping for natural childbirth

prepping for natural childbirth - nu roots nutrition

It’s officially crunch time…only a short two months left until my due date and I’ve been doing a ton of reading and research on natural childbirth…are you surprised? It’s about time that I start to develop my birth plan and in doing so I thought I should share some of the things I have been doing throughout my pregnancy to help increase my chances of a natural childbirth. Also I will include what my “ideal” natural birth scenario looks like based on the research I’ve done. But don’t worry, I am not naive enough to think it will go exactly as I see planned in my head…I know things can change in an instant and I intend on being flexible. I just want whatever is best for babe (and me) and if that means being open, so be it!

Prepping for natural childbirth

  • eating healthy – well I wouldn’t be a very good holistic nutritionist if this wasn’t the top of my list. Eating healthy during pregnancy is SO important, you know that saying “you are what you eat” well it is never more true than when you are building a baby….or I guess it would be “they are what you eat” but whatever! I want the very best for the health of my baby, but also my body’s ability to do what it is meant to during labour requires that my nutrition is in tip top shape. Every function our body carries out is dependent on vitamins and minerals, I need to ensure I am fully stocked, with nutrition to spare to get me through this incredibly demanding time for my body.
  • prenatal yoga – I aim for at least a little every day with longer sessions 3 times per week. I believe the ability to open up my hips will be crucial during labour. It can also help the baby find the ideal position, or even flip a breech baby. Not to mention some of the yogi’s I know have the best birth stories EVER! They must be doing something right.
  • squats – this ‘easy to do at home’ exercise can really help get the birthing legs ready! Squatting during the pushing stage can reduce the birth canal by up to 30%, best to be good and strong so your legs can endure it!
  • drinking red raspberry leaf tea everyday – up to 2-3 glasses/day in the 2nd and 3rd trimester is said to prepare and tone the uterus for an “easy” natural birth. In the summer you can also make a red raspberry leaf lemonade. Just steep the tea with a bit of honey, let it cool then add freshly squeezed lemons and refrigerate. Make big batches that you can leave in the fridge and enjoy when you need a good thirst quencher.
  • strengthening and relaxing the pelvic floor – the strengthening is important post birth to help prevent incontinence, and the ability to relax these muscles during labour can help speed up the process immensely.
  • hypnobirthing – a method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques.I haven’t taken a class or read all the books (yet…anyways), but I do have CD’s that I have been listening to (…usually falling asleep to) throughout my pregnancy so that I am used to the techniques that will help me relax during labour. I’ll just pop in my ear buds and drift away (er…hopefully). I saw this work first hand very well at my sister’s baby’s birth, she was extremely focused and “in the zone” during her whole labour. It can’t hurt to give it a try!
  • a drug free labour – this way I can really feel what is going on with my body and switch positions if anything seems awkward. Women lose this natural instinct when birthing with painkilling drugs as they are basically numb. Not to mention these drugs get passed on to baby, I want my babe as alert as possible when he/she comes out and we can get our bonding and breast feeding started asap.
  • evening primrose oil – in the last month or so you can insert 1 capsule/day of evening primrose oil, ah hem…down there, to help soften the cervix.
  • acupuncture & homeopathy – You can start acupuncture around 36-37 weeks. Benefits include: reduced post date pregnancy, helps reduce labour length, reduces epidural rates, reduced c – section rates, reduced need for all medical intervention, and increased normal vaginal delivery. Homeopathy can also be extremely beneficial during labour. Luckily for me, my sister, Dr. Mom, ND is also making the trek across the ocean to be with me (as long as baby cooperates), with her comes access to all these amazing natural medicine modalities. An ND who is also a “doula” is highly recommended in my books!

And then the stork delivers the baby...right?

A Natural Delivery
If all goes as planned, and prior to my birth I am still considered “normal” or “low risk” this will be what my ideal birth scenario looks like…fingers crossed peeps!

  • as little intervention as possible (of course if intervention is absolutely necessary I will not risk my health or the health of my baby and will listen to the advice of my midwife and ND sister)
  • no induction – induction can make contractions stronger and closer together leading to an increased likelihood of additional intervention ie: painkillers
  • no pain killing drugs – to keep me and babe as alert as possible
  • let the water break on it’s own
  • ability to walk around and change positions as necessary and as my instincts guide me
  • intermittent fetal heart rate monitoring vs. constant – as to not disturb babe and just let ‘em do their thing
  • use a birthing ball (exercise ball) to help relax the pelvic floor
  • ability to use the shower during labour
  • ability to squat or try different positions while pushing
  • delayed cord clamping and cutting (at least until 1 minute after it stops pulsing, which is typically 5 or so minutes after birth) – this can be the difference of the baby receiving up to half of it’s blood volume (therefore increased iron stores) that it may not have received with early clamping. To take it one step further (for extra crunchy mamas) you could even consider a lotus birth which leaves the cord intact for hours and some even leave the placenta attached until the cord separates naturally (days after birth).
  • allow the placenta to detach and deliver naturally (up to 30 minutes or an hour, if there is no bleeding)

  • immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby after delivery (ideally up to 2 hours) – as long as babe is healthy, everything else can wait, this is important mommy/baby bonding time (stay tuned for more on this from Dr. Mom, ND)
  • allow baby to latch onto breast instinctively, this can take up to 2 hours – when you allow them to do it themselves, you increase your chances of a better latch, a higher likelihood of successful breastfeeding, and breastfeeding longer (keep in mind allowing them to latch naturally can be more challenging with a medicated baby)

So here we go, hopefully all this hard work will pay off and I will get the natural childbirth I so desire!

If I missed anything please feel free to add in the comments below!! And hey, any positive thoughts coming my way are greatly appreciated!

Much love,

superfood mama to be

Natural Birth Resources:

And remember… “If a woman doesn’t look like a Goddess during birth then someone isn’t treating her right.” Ina May Gaskin

the first half

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Well, pregnancy has been an amazing journey so far! I have surpassed the half way mark and it feels amazing. Since I promised to keep you all up to date on my pregnancy with tips and tricks I found that worked for me, here is my attempt to (not so) briefly describe my journey up until now.

Weeks 4-6

From shock and disbelief to ecstatic and joyous (remember?). I am in a state of complete bliss and totally naive to what is about to rock my world. MUST…EAT…I am ravenous. There seems to be no satiating my hunger, for the first time in a while I need to be organized with handy, ready to eat, healthy snacks. Whatever I can get my hands on goes in my mouth, lucky I choose to surround myself with healthy foods. This is when I would stuff handfuls of raw kale in my mouth if it was what I so desired. I can’t get enough of organic European oranges, they are the best things I’ve ever tasted.

Preggie tips (weeks 4-6):

Weeks 7-11

Oh, so THIS is what morning sickness feels like…ugh. I don’t want anything too flavorful or fragrant, in fact if you choose to eat garlic, you are making a conscious decision to sleep on the couch tonight. Actually, if you so much as breathe my way you will get an unpleasant response straight from the pit of my stomach. All I want is bland bland bland…perhaps a little gluten free english muffin (my favorite time of day), blender pancakes, cornbread, or GF pizza. And keep it comin’ it’s been 2 hours since I ate last…

Pregnancy constipation sets in. Although my baby weighs about 2 grams, the poo baby must be weighing in somewhere around 4 lbs 5 oz…lemon water, chia seeds, prune juice…come on guys, you are so good to me pre-pregnancy. Note to self: do not use old tricks from pre-pregnant life like upon rising drinking only water until you have a bowel movement – this will only lead to throwing up a good 2L of water and turn you off of gulping anything for a while. Of all the things to get turned off of, water is most definitely not ideal.

Seven and a half weeks in I see the heartbeat on the ultrasound and nothing else matters, this is all worth it!! Eleven weeks rolls around & my mind gets the best of me, it’s been too long since I’ve heard the heart beat, I’m starting to feel better…but it’s too early to feel better…something is wrong (though of course nothing was). Note: Some spotting is normal, so don’t freak out and DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT google signs of miscarriage. It  will not ease your mind, in fact it will likely do the opposite.

PS – don’t piss me off…my (w)hormones are raging (optional spelling addition added by my loving husband). This was always good for a giggle when I needed to be snapped out of (w)hormonal bitch mode.

Unfortunately this is the time period where I traveled from Europe to Canada, to Mexico, and back. I am sorry to all my friends and family who had to put up with my extreme whiny-ness…especially my sister who repeatedly listened to me cry, yet made me laugh at the same time, a great confirmation that the pregnancy was progressing normally.

I get a double whammy of sickness (a cold & the flu) in fact my whole family gets sick in Mexico. I have never been so mucousy in my life. Like 5 or 6 kleenex’s may not even do the trick. Keep the vitamin C coming!

I’m tired, if you have the luxury – sleep now, while you still have the opportunity!!

Although this was the “worst” of it all, I must say I feel truly blessed, as even all this was certainly “not that bad”.

Preggie tips (weeks 7-11):

  • a good B-Vitamin complex (with 50mg of P5P, Vitamin B6) is a nauseous prego’s best friend during this stage
  • meditate
  • listen to your body, if you are tired – sleep, if you are hungry – eat (just try and choose healthy options and don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t perfect all the time)

Pregnant travel tips:

  • aisle seats are a good idea
  • make sure to have plenty of B-Vitamins, and Vitamin C (max 2000mg/day) to protect you from getting sick during transit

Weeks 12-20

Wow, I feel AMAZING! The 12 week ultrasound confirms that I have made it past the most crucial hump. We see our baby squirming around, it even turns to look at us, we hear the heart beating, it is the best sound in the world!

My life is starting to return back to normal. My husband is happy to have his wife back. We can eat garlic and onions again. I can cook with ease.

Eggs are a must have around the house, you must not get between this preggie and her daily eggs (of course I mean whole, free-range, local farmers market eggs). But hey they are incredibly nutritious, loaded in protein, fat soluble vitamins and lecithin, which helps ease ligament pain (common for a growing belly) and contributes to building a healthy baby brain.

Chia fresca works it’s magic on this slowed digestive system! YAY!! Finally!!

My energy is back and my mid day naps are a thing of the past. I am keen to exercise, albeit gentle stuff like cycling, yoga and things I can do at home like lunges, squats and push-ups.

Fourteen weeks in, even though it seems early, I feel baby’s first flutters. Incredible!! 18 weeks in and papa gets to share in the excitement. We are super lucky to have felt this so early. Note: baby’s movements are still irregular at this point, just because you don’t feel it ALL the time, does not mean something is wrong. By week 26 they should be in more of a routine, until then a day of few movements is not something to be concerned about.

There is a definite bump starting to poke out…ahh it’s really weird to see myself with a belly, but I love it! My babe is growing fast and furious.

Preggie tips (weeks 12-20):

  • exercise 4 times a week
  • eat your whole, free range eggs
  • now that you can eat anything again, make sure you are conscious to get tons of raw veggies back into your day
  • eat foods high in iron like blackstrap molasses, goji berries, spinach, lentils, sesame seeds, chickpeas and olives

I hope this helps you to learn from my experience and may your pregnancy be equally amazing!!

BTW – is half way too soon to start freaking out about labour? eeeekkk…

Please do share your experience or any tips you might add below!!

In health & happiness,

Sam