What to do next…The following is what I consider to be the most valuable information for women who are pregnant, who would like to become pregnant, are already moms, or just want to learn more about this stuff. My recommendations are based on my expertise and experience as a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified Doula, over-active researcher, and MOM. You can also find this post here: www.southocdoula.com/pregnant On This Page: Celebrate! Where Will the Baby Be Born?/What Kind of Pregnancy and Birth Experience Do I Want? What Should I Eat? What About Supplements? Recommended Reading, Childbirth and Child Preparation Classes Final Notes
You are growing a new life inside of you! Research shows that spending time connecting with your unborn child has a significant impact on their overall health and psychology once born. Respect your baby and yourself by ensuring that you maintain optimum health and wellness during pregnancy. Eat well, avoid stress, and listen to your body. Spend time relaxing and talking or singing to your baby. Massage your belly and imagine how your baby is responding to your touch. Mothering begins now! It’s going to be the most wonderful miracle that you’ve ever experienced.
Where will the baby be born?/
What kind of pregnancy and birth experience do I want?
Most Americans today automatically think to call an obstetrician and get started right away with all of the testing, and find out what hospital they will have their baby in. There are other options, though, that may suit your desired birth experience more. A growing number of women/families today are returning to the time-honored tradition of using a midwife for their birth. Midwives attend births in hospitals, birth centers, or in your own home. The difference in care is that midwives are highly skilled professionals equipped to deal with most non-surgical emergencies. Midwives develop a relationship with the expecting family before the birth, discussing and respecting the desired birth plan. An experienced and professional midwife will refer a mother to an obstetrician or other specialist if she finds that the mother requires medical attention beyond her level of skill. A midwife stays with the mother and guides her through most of her labor and delivery, and remains with the family for a significant time after the birth to ensure physiological and psychological stability, as well as successful breastfeeding. Although there are some extraordinary obstetricians who have a midwifery-style of care, most only attend the delivery of the baby, and often leave soon after. Because most hospitals have strict procedure guidelines for laboring women that nurses and doctors must follow, it is rare for a laboring mother in a hospital to be free to move around, or for the obstetrician to let the mother birth in a position other than lithotomy (on her back). At the same time, for the less than ten percent of women with high risk pregnancies, obstetricians are valuable specialists that are essential for a successful labor and delivery.
More and more research is surfacing to shows that births with midwives for most women have better outcomes and fewer interventions. Research also shows that home births with a qualified midwife are equally as safe and have fewer complications or interventions as a hospital birth. It is also not true that once you have a Cesarean section, you must always have one. I strongly encourage any expecting woman to educate herself on her options, and decide what kind of birth experience she wants. Start as soon as possible, because midwives often get booked far in advance and sometimes have to turn women away. Of course it is not uncommon for women to switch to midwifery care mid-pregnancy. If you are interested in finding a midwife, make the search and schedule a consultation.
I understand that birthing with a midwife may not be for everyone, so make sure you find a doctor who appreciates and will respect your desired birth plan. Many doctors are nice…but when it comes down to it, you need to make sure they are going to respect you. Don’t forget, your doctor, midwife, doula, and any other professional involved in your life right now are working for you. You have the right to feel comfortable and encouraged to have the most wonderful pregnancy and birth experience possible. If you do decide to birth with a doctor in a hospital setting, I believe that hiring an experienced and certified doula is almost essential.
Here are some resources to learn more about the different birth options in America:
– Midwives alliance of North America: http://mana.org/
– North American Registry of Midwives: http://narm.org/
– Medical Board of California—Licensed Midwives: http://www.mbc.ca.gov/allied/midwives.html
– For a list of recommended OBGYN’s, midwives, and other health providers in Southern California (Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside counties), check out my friend’s wonderful site (as well as all of her resources listed, including studies on midwifery and perinatal care):
Here are two videos that I produced as part of my graduating thesis, “Reclaiming Reproduction: Implications of American Family and Health Culture”
Also check out these documentaries:
What should I eat?
Some of the recommendations I see for pregnancy just make me upset! They’re not all bad (though many are), but they just don’t include some of the most important nutrients a pregnant woman could nourish herself and her growing baby with. I prefer to ignore all of the nutritional information, even from the best popular pregnancy books (especially because they feel pressured to abide by the FDA guidelines).
Because this is my specialty, I recommend you check out my sources first:
– Click here to see my article on “Meal Planning for the Pregnant and Nursing Mom”
– For help with meal planning, because I know this is the hardest part of cooking for your family everyday, check out my meal planning cookbook, “Real Food Family’s Complete Guide to REAL FOOD” which includes cooking schedules with whole-food, balanced meals and complete shopping lists. The book also includes a guide for feeding babies and children, tips for feeding picky kids, and much more.
– Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/311-diet-for-pregnant-and-nursing-mothers.html
– Vitamins for Fetal Development: Conception to Birth: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/1380-vitamins-for-fetal-development-conception-to-birth.html
*At least check out the charts at the bottom of this article to see nutrient content in different foods.
Some of my recommendations might be considered dangerous during pregnancy by mainstream sources, but I’ve done my research on why such “dangerous” foods are actually the best sources of nutrients during pregnancy. Do your research, too! In addition to the articles mentioned above, here are some additional articles you might find interesting:
– Fresh Unprocessed (Raw) Milk—Safety, Health and Economic Issues:
– Vitamin A Saga (for those worried about Vitamin A toxicity in liver):
– The Liver Files (for those concerned with eating liver):
– What’s Wrong with “Politically Correct” Nutrition?:
What about Supplements?
When I am pregnant, I take quite a few supplements, but no synthetic prenatal vitamins. The most important nutrients you must receive during pregnancy (and ideally before conception and throughout lactation) include the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, DHA, Biotin, Folate, Choline, Glycine, B-vitamins and Iron. You will see in the charts from the article on vitamins for fetal development above that the best foods you could eat for such nutrients include a high quality cod liver oil, liver from 100% grass-fed cows, egg yolks, chicken liver from pasture raised chickens, meat from grass-fed cows, lentils, dark green vegetables, high quality raw dairy from 100% grass-fed cows, skin and bones of pasture-raised animals (usually in the form of a stock), and wild fish. (Use the resources above to learn more about food sources of nutrients and how to get them into your diet.)
…BUT, I know from personal experience that most of the time women can barely get an egg down during the beginning of their pregnancy, much less liver and other nutrient-dense, “flavor”-dense foods. This is where whole-food supplements in the form of easy to swallow capsules and tablets are a Godsend.
Here are my recommendations:
*The following supplements are available for sale at my office, or by contacting me:Offices of Dr. Andrea Roberson, Rozlyn Mignogna, NTP, CD(DONA) 26302 La Paz Rd., Mission Viejo, CA, 92691- (949) 586-8000
– Green Pasture’s BLUE ICE Royal™ Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend
– Dr. Ron’s Ultra Pure—Doc’s Best Multi, the next generation—optimal vitamins/minerals/antioxidants
– Biotic’s Nutri-Well Caps For Digestive, Immune, Circulatory, Hormone, and Natural Detoxification Health
– Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure—Doc’s Friendly Flora liquid living pro-biotics
– Biotic’s Nitro-Greens, organic green food powder (great for smoothies!)
– Dr. Ron’s Ultra Pure– Organ Delight, Multiple Grassfed New Zealand Organs and Glands
– Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure—Freeze-dried liver from grassfed New Zealand cows
– Biotic’s B-12 lozenges with 800mcg of Folate- (sweet tasting chewables)
– Biotic’s Bio-CMP, a Calcium/Magnesium/Potassium supplement that is great for keeping good mineral status during pregnancy, but can especially help with joint and muscle aches and cramps (Charlie horse cramps can be awful during pregnancy).
– HCl therapy…that is hydrochloric acid therapy or digestive enzyme therapy. I often deal with indigestion, nausea, and constipation for pregnant women in my practice. I recommend getting professional help with a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner for proper dosage of HCl supplements, but most health food stores sell forms of HCl supplements. (To find an NTP in your area, visit www.NTPTalk.com)
Additional supplemental considerations:
***I don’t necessarily take each of these supplements every day, except for the cod liver oil. I usually keep them all out and take whatever I feel I need more of.
Although there are many, many wonderful books to read during pregnancy, here are my favorites to get you started:
General Pregnancy, Baby Preparation, and Breastfeeding:
– How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, by Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D.
Avoid These Books!
– What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
Childbirth and Child Preparation Classes
By the time you are ready for childbirth classes, you will have most likely secured your healthcare professional and location for your birth. Your healthcare professional, and hospital in some cases, will provide you with many recommendations for childbirth preparation classes. I do believe that childbirth education is absolutely necessary for new parents. Not knowing and understanding the basic physiology of this process is a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, understanding the process well is a recipe for having a very satisfying birth experience. Although classes provided by hospitals are sufficient, I recommend attending classes through these organizations instead:
– The Bradley Method, www.bradleybirth.com
– Hypnobabies- hypnosis for childbirth, www.hypnobabies.com
Although this page is to provide resources for pregnancy and birth, I do believe that this is the time to research certain parenting decisions that must be made. You will receive an abundance of unsolicited advice from loving friends, family, and strangers that mean well. Make sure you accept such information with grace, and spend the time to research and make the decisions for yourself. Here is my unsolicited advice on certain topics:
Vaccines and Other Interventions Given to your Newborn
Vaccinations are a hot controversial topic these days, but considering the potential dangers, it seems irresponsible to me to blindly vaccinate and test your child without fully researching the history, purpose, prevalence, and possible dangers of each vaccine and procedure. Here are some places to start:
– www.ChildhoodShots.com, Marry Tocco’s awesome website. Read her resources, connect with her favorite links, and WATCH HER DVD!
– The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child , by Robert W. Sears, M.D., FAAP
Attachment Parenting is a growing movement in parenting education and style. I think that Dr. William and Martha Sears have the best approach to teaching and promoting Attachment Theory (The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby—part of their book series), though there are many additional sources to be found in books and online.
Here are the 7 Baby “B’s” of Attachment Parenting:
- Birth Bonding
- Bedding Close to Baby (or Co-Sleeping)
- Belief in the Language Value of Your Baby’s Cry
- Beware of Baby Trainers
Healthy Home- creating a safe, chemical-free home for your family
The information out there on damaging effects of chemicals in the home and on the environment is frightening. From kids getting seriously injured from being exposed to common household cleaning products to ecosystems being destroyed by polluted water, it is a wise and responsible choice to trade in harmful home products for ones that are safe and effective. Check out my online store for Shaklee Home Care and Personal Care products. You’ll find tons of products that are safe and cost-effective because they are concentrated. You’ll also enjoy things like Reverse-Osmosis water systems, air purification systems, and more. Enjoy shopping: www.Shaklee.net/RozlynM