Still think it doesn't matter how long we wait before we clamp the cord? A new study shows 4-year-olds have better neurological development if they didn't have immediate cord clamping, especially boys. Seems to me, these studies should have been done before we adopted an intervention in a natural process, not years later.
1. Soak 1 cup oats overnight. (Can also use quinoa, barley, buckwheat, or combination)
2. Soak 1 cup flax seeds in 2 cups apple juice or water at least 4 hours.
3. Drain soaked grains and put in blender with 1 cup water. Blend until smooth and then mix with flax seeds.
4. Add 2-3 cups dried fruit and nuts. (I like sunflower, pecans, and pumpkin, but other options are: almonds, raisins, coconut, cashews, sesame, peanuts, dates, etc.)
5. Dehydrate on teflex sheets for 4 hours. Flip them over and dehydrate until they reach desired crunchiness.
One of my favorite subjects is bacteria and our health. I just came across another great article called Don't Let Your Baby's Biome Grow Up Too Fast.
Remember, a vaginal birth and breastfeeding work together to create optimal health for your baby. The absence of one just makes the other more important!
Choosing who to invite to your birth is usually a big question for pregnant couples. There are so many factors to consider and so many people to choose from. Let's take a look at some of the most important things that should go into your decision.
People who calm you. The safest natural births are those where the mother can remain powerful, relaxed, and feels loved. If anyone in the room makes a laboring woman feel uptight for any reason, that person should leave. Family who makes comments like, "Why are you having another baby?" probably need to wait until after birth to see Mom. The same goes for those who will be so excited or talkative that the environment becomes nerve-racking. Ask any veterinarian, and they'll tell you that an animal in labor should not be disturbed or introduced to strangers. The corresponding stress hormones counteract a safe, pleasant birth. It's also important to consider how these people will react in the event something that constitutes an emergency happens. Will they remain quietly supportive, or will they have a meltdown? That will be the last thing you need.
People who don't want to rescue you. The deep relaxation that needs to happen in a natural birth can look a lot like someone in too much pain. We just aren't used to seeing someone swaying and moaning with eyes closed. Make sure everyone in the room understands that this is normal, even necessary. It's distracting during contractions for people to make faces or wring their hands. It undermines a laboring woman's confidence. This article comparing labor to a marathon explains this concept.
People who can focus on YOU! Your labor should not be the social event of the year. People who want to be invited only because so-and-so gets to be there probably will be thinking more of themselves than you. Someone being pouty and getting their feelings hurt should NOT be taken into consideration. If they can't understand that you are in charge of your birth environment, then they probably won't be considerate at the birth. You want folks who won't complain about how tired or bored they are, because I can guarantee, you'll have more to complain about. The tone in the room should be supportive and joyful.
People who know what you want. It is essential that anyone coming to your birth understand your desires well in advance of the baby's arrival. That way, they can remind you of your wishes when it gets hard; and they won't be surprised at what happens. Questions about the safety of a homebirth or the hospital's rules should be discussed ahead of time, not during labor. Assigning jobs ahead of time can help everyone feel included and helpful.
This Mother's Day has me thinking about the role doulas play in labor. Doulas are coming back into the mainstream these days, but what exactly do they do? They act as your mother. A mother who knows a whole lot about the course of labor.
First of all, mothers are there. For the first nine months of our lives they're the only one there. After that, they're a huge part of our lives. We could always go to our mothers. People were not made to be alone, and most of us want someone with us while we are going through something as life-changing as laboring and birthing. Doulas are going to be that person who stays with you the whole time. Another woman playing the role of your always there mother.
One of the best things about mothers is how they support us. They're there cheering us on in our productive endevers. Even when they may not agree with all our choices they support us as individuals doing what we feel is right. I remember a call I made to my mom nine years ago on the way home from the hospital with my five-month-old baby. I had left a.m.a. (against medical advice) and had decided it would be best for my family to return the next day. I told my mom to, "Tell me I did the right thing." She did, and in that moment she was my doula, validating my choice. In labor, a doula may hold your hand, rub your back, speak kind words to you, or just silently pass time with you. Whatever you need her to do she'll do.
Another quality of a great mother is her ability to help us while not doing it for us. She won't do your algebra, wash your dog, or punch out a bully for you. She will, however, hold you, advise you, and remind you how much stronger you're becoming. Labor, like all hard and worthwhile things in life, is something we need to be supported in, but not rescued from. The more we intervene in a normal labor the more we see intervention being necessary. The safest and most fulfilling labor for baby and mom is one where she feels loved enough to do hard work. When a woman taps into herself without fear she'll know what she can truly handle and when she needs to ask for more help. That kind of birth brings confidence and pride in yourself.
Now you may be asking, "Why can't my mom be my labor support? Why would I need a doula?" After all, we've established that moms are pretty awesome. If you want your mom, husband, and whoever else present at your labor, that's great. They can be there to love you, but they're just not experts at supporting a woman in labor. Your mom probably hasn't given birth recently or studied the ways to help a laboring woman. Just as your mom is an expert at her job, a doula is an expert at hers.
If you want to learn more about my childbirth classes or doula services, you can contact me.
Have a wonderful Mother's Day!
I grew up in the 80s when low-fat diets were all the rage. The idea was that the fat you eat made you fat. The thing is, we've come a long way, Baby. Fat in our diet is very important, especially for women of childbearing age.
Recently, research has confirmed that dietary cholesterol level do not raise harmful cholesterol levels, and that saturated fats are not harmful like once thought. Science and nutritional understanding are continually developing, so we need to stay informed on the latest information. Some of our dietary ideas were never proven to begin with.
Not Enough Fat
Not having enough fat in one's diet can cause all sorts of problems. One of many nutrient needed by the body and found in fat is choline. Choline is found in meat and eggs, yet is underconsumed by most Americans, including most pregnant women. This could lead to neural tube defects and other problems with your baby's nervous system development.
Our bodies know how important fats are for reproduction. Many experts in fertility say the first thing they recommend for conception is an increase in natural fats. A large study showed how women eating the most natural fats had the easiest time getting pregnant.
After all, your baby's brain (as well as your own!) is 60% fat. There are several essential fatty acids (ever heard of omega-3?) that we must get from our food because our body can't make them. The best place to get these wonderful nutrients is from natural fats.
What are natural fats?
Natural fats would be things that are processed as little as possible. Not surprisingly, the healthiest fats are those found in nature like seeds cold pressed (coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, sunflower oil) and animal fats (fish, chicken, lard, cream, butter). There are a few vegetables with high amounts of good fats like avocados, broccoli, and cauliflower. There is some controversy about some of these sources, but remember, these are just a part of a healthy diet.
Trans fats are the ones to avoid, and they're found in partially hydrogenated oils. Read labels to make sure you're buying natural fats, or better yet, don't buy food with ingredients lists!
Fit, not Fat
Should losing weight really the focus of our diet and health care? I don't think so. It seems to me that weight loss will be an inevitable result of being healthy. Exercise along with a diet with lots of vegetables, natural fats, and protein will keep us fit and energized. Especially for pregnant and lactating women, fat reserves are protective because they nourish the baby.
I hope we can get out of this mentality that fats are unhealthy. Humans have been eating fats for thousands of years as the best source of calories and a key to health. A balanced, well-rounded diet is so important for those of us who are growing other tiny humans with our own bodies.
“There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ they would brag about it. So should we.”
-Ina May Gaskin
Seriously, think about it. Your uterus prepares faithfully every month until it receives a baby. It then increases in size by 20 times, holds a new life and everything it needs for nine months, opens up to release the baby when he's ready, cleans itself out, and then shrinks back to its original size in six weeks.
I'm a natural childbirth educator, lactation consultant (IBCLC), and doula in Athens, AL. Here is where I put healthy recipes, current research, and helpful articles for pregnancy, postpartum, and life in general. Check back often!