January 20, 2017

No-Nonsense Guide To A Naturally Healthy Pregnancy

I remember my first pregnancy like it was yesterday.  I stared down in disbelief at the plus (+) sign on my pregnancy test. A terrifying sound of happiness mixed with pure unadulterated fear began to pour out of my mouth.  My husband, having never heard me make such a noise, rushed into the bathroom. “I’m pregnant!” I exclaimed.

Once the shock wore off, the anticipation began.  I shared the news with my co-workers from the local health food store.  I was absolutely bombarded with questions.

  • Are you going to vaccinate?
  • You’re going to breastfeed, right?
  • Are you having a home birth?
  • What prenatal are you going to take?
  • Are you going to wait to cut the cord?

All these questions caused me to feel overwhelmed, to say the least.  I knew I had a lot of research to do. I was about to pioneer natural pregnancy and childbirth amongst my friends who had not yet had a baby.  I had made a choice that I would be doing this the most natural, healthy, non-invasive way possible.  In this article, I hope to cover what I feel are some of the most important natural approaches during pregnancy, birth and beyond.

The Foundational 3

The most common question I get from pregnant women is, “What supplements should I take during pregnancy?”  There are 3 things I believe are extremely beneficial for pregnant mothers to take throughout their pregnancy and even while nursing after the baby is born.  They are safe and important in the overall health of mommy and baby.

1.  A Quality Prenatal

I have taken several brands and forms of prenatal vitamins.  It has become my belief that a whole food prenatal is the best form you can take.  The price point is typically higher than your run of the mill prenatal, but in this case, I believe you definitely get what you pay for.

The biggest complaint you run into with prenatals is nausea.  Companies like New Chapter, Megafood, and Garden of Life have pretty much solved this problem.  Their prenatals are so gentle that you can take them on an empty stomach!  This is especially important during the first trimester, when it can be hard to eat much more than saltines.

2. Omega-3 DHA

Another important supplement during natural pregnancy and breastfeeding is DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, which is crucial for focus and concentration.  DHA is not only important for Mommy’s brain, but for baby’s developing one.  If the mother is not taking an adequate amount of DHA, the developing or nursing infant will get it from their mom’s reservoir.  I believe many new mothers experience foggy brain and forgetfulness because they are lacking DHA. Many experts even believe that the lack of omega-3 fatty acids contributes to postpartum depression.

DHA is most commonly present in fish oil.  It is imperative, especially during pregnancy, that your fish oil be contaminant free.  Make sure the company guarantees that it is been tested for purity and is free of PCBs and heavy metals.  Nordic Naturals and Carlson’s are two of my favorite fish oil brands and are known for their quality.

3. Red Raspberry Leaf

Red raspberry leaf is famed for its use during pregnancy.  It is one of very few safe herbs to take while pregnant.  Most pregnancy teas have red raspberry as their main ingredient.  I personally was not a fan of the taste and opted for the pill form.  However, both can dramatically improve and prevent pregnancy complications.

Here is a list of just a few of the things red raspberry leaf can do:

  • Ease morning sickness
  • Prevent miscarriage
  • Reduce pain during labor
  • Make labor faster
  • Increase milk supply

One of red raspberry’s greatest benefits is its ability to tone the uterus. This is how it is able to prevent miscarriage, reduce pain and increase labor speed.

I typically recommend 3-4 cups a day of the tea.  For the pills, I recommend:

  • 2 pills during the first trimester
  • 3 pills for the second trimester
  • 4 pills a day during the third trimester

Solaray and Nature’s Way are my go-to brands for the pills.  Most women I know who were diligent with their red raspberry leaf had their babies in less than 5 hours.  This is including myself.  My longest labor was only 2 hours.

During the last trimester I also recommend alfalfa, which builds red blood cells and helps prevent hemorrhaging.  Adequate vitamin D is also very important during pregnancy. Thirty-five (35) IU per lb of body weight is my standard recommendation.

Natural Options for Pregnancy Discomforts

There is nothing quite like the thrill of having a life formed inside of you.

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Gisele Bündchen Wants You to Go Au Natural

Gisele Bündchen may have just stolen Tom Brady’s Super Bowl spotlight.  The super model managed to criticize the ability of his team’s receivers to be able to win the big game.

But, Gisele won the real game of life when she brought her and Tom’s son, Benjamin, into the world naturally, without meds and in a bathtub at their home.

She told the Brazilian TV channel Fantasticoshe that, “I didn’t want to be drugged up. So I did a lot of preparation, I did yoga and meditation, so I managed to have a very tranquil birth at home.” She continued to say, “The whole time my mind was focused in each contraction on the thought ‘my baby is closer to coming out’. It wasn’t like ‘this is so painful’. So I transformed that intense feeling into a hope of seeing him.”

Most women go into the hospital with a definite birth plan in their heads to deliver their children, but often times their original plans get altered. Plenty of women fully intend to give birth naturally, but once the reality of childbirth pain sets in, they ultimately decide to have some assistance from an epidural or other pain relieving method.

But by avoiding the hospital all together, you don’t have be drugged, tied down with leather straps, or suffer an episiotomy. Instead, you can feel confident giving birth in your home and feel more relaxed in the comfort or your own surroundings.

Brazilian born supermodel Gisele Bündchen chose to deliver her son, naturally, in a water birth instead of giving into the culture of hospital births and Caesarian sections.

As the rates of intervention, c-sections and problem births increase in our westernized culture, more women are choosing home births, water births and/or birthing centers, where available.

Studies Say Water Births Ease Pain 

In a water birth, mothers sit waist-deep in heated water to simulate body temperature through labor and delivery. Within seconds of the baby emerging, the midwife or doctor brings its head above water. The cord can be cut in or out of water, depending on the woman’s choice.

At least eight studies of nearly 3,000 women comparing water to regular births have shown that women need less pain relief in a water birth. Water allows the mother to move, take the pressure of her back and legs and get into a physiological position to allow the baby to do its work. They say water birth is like, “A thousand hands are holding her up. “

Opt for Natural Childbirth

Gisele Bündchen is so convinced of the benefits of a natural childbirth at home that she launched a project to reveal the different birthing methodologies from around the world. The natural birth advocate believes not only in sharing her drug-free and pain-free home water birth, but the right to sharing information and normalizing the birth experience.

“I believe that sharing information and show different possibilities of birth may help to demystify some questions about natural childbirth that for a long time was the only way of giving birth,” she added. “I hope that I can learn even more about the subject through the experiences of these women around the world and be able to share this with you here on my blog.”

You can start reading the incredible journey of the most intense and life-changing experiences a woman can have, one that leaves you so vulnerable yet so strong at the same time:

Birth Around the World

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