A Holistic Pregnancy

One of my most favorite memories is being pregnant with my son.  I felt incredible and lord knows, pregnancy hormones are pretty spectacular.  My goal was to have a natural childbirth without an epidural, and I was very blessed that I was able to achieve that goal.  That doesn't mean this is the best option for everyone, and sometimes, things just don't go as we planned.

I actually think that is one of the reasons we go through pregnancy.  To learn there are things beyond our control and to just trust God. Because life is about to get even more unpredictable with a new baby.

I also think pregnancy is meant to teach women to relax.  Take extra good care of yourself.  Be super mindful of what you put in your body. Slow down.

Hard lessons for women to swallow at any given time, especially the working mom or mom with multiple kids. But good lessons for us to prepare for motherhood and an expanding family  

Mishaps can happen along the way for the pregnant mom, and thats okay.  There are plenty of holistic solutions available for you to give a try for whatever ails you!  

In my opinion, these are the most important items to assist with a holistic pregnancy and natural childbirth:

1) Care about what you put in and on your body.  What you choose to eat is sooooo important.  Choose organic when possible and non-gmo.  There are have been no long-term studies on the effects GMOs have on the body, so this is especially important for a growing fetus.  Find a prenatal with methylated folate and methylcobalamin (B12) because these are best absorbed by the body. Folic acid is a synthetic ingredient that does not even cross to the placenta. Find foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, DHA, choline, biotin, glycine, sulfur and saturated fats.  These foods are excellent for supporting a healthy pregnancy (taken from The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon).  While treats are definitely ok, I can guarantee your baby is not craving pints of ice cream each week. Thats all on you girlfriend :)

Remove the toxins in your environment. Let me give it to you straight.  Women usually put on 80 chemicals before 8 AM and 300 by the end of the day.  How?  By placing chemical and paraben-filled makeup, lipsticks, moisturizers, deodorants, soaps, lotions and you name it.  Where do you think all those things go?  Yes, your skin.  But then it gets absorbed...into your body.  I see a lot of people advertising "clean" brands out there, and they simply aren't.  We personally use Young Living in our home, because it is affordable and has multiple benefits to our health.

Don't forget your toothpaste either.  Most every toothpaste has triclosan, SLS, flouride and carrageenan in them which is just frightening.  Fluoride is an established neurotoxin and has possible devastating effects on the fetal brain.  Check out this article with some specifics: http://fluoridealert.org/studies/brain05_/folks. Don't worry there are plenty of great alternatives! Taking care of your teeth is so important because each tooth in your mouth has a meridian point, meaning it is connected to different organs, glands and tissues in the body. 

Here is a great article regarding chemicals and infertility: http://globalivf.com/2017/04/17/chemicals-in-cosmetics-can-cause-infertility/

I also find the Better Baby Book by Lana Asprey to be so helpful about this topic.  

2) Exercise!  Regular activity is super important for a healthy pregnancy, and this looks different for each female.  What is important is to listen to your body!  Yoga, gardening and any other activities that require squatting are excellent support for labor.  Swimming is also awesome because it strengthens breathing and relieves pressure on the abdomen.  If you are trying to avoid chlorine (which is optimal if possible), then swimming in the ocean or a salt water-treated swimming pool is an excellent option!

Don't forget sex, sex, and more sex.  Now your hubby is paying attention to this post :) But seriously, regular sex during pregnancy has been shown in studies to significantly decrease the chance of preeclampsia in pregnancy. It also stimulates labor. 

3) Essential Oils: We use Young Living, which uses organic seeds, has public farms, does not use land that is chemically treated, and is exceptional quality.  It is the only brand with a Seed to Seal promise. Essential oils were a mainstay during my pregnancy to maintain a natural pregnancy.  I used peppermint and ginger oil for morning sickness, and Progessence plus serum gives wonderful progesterone support, which is so important, because healthy progesterone levels prevent miscarriage and support a healthy pregnancy. Clary Sage helps support active labor, and frankincense helps support labor and a healthy pregnancy.  You can drink Ningxia Red everyday- one shot has the equivalent of the vitamin c of 150 strawberries, the vitamin k of 260 tomatoes, the magnesium of 45500 raw almonds, the folate of 70 onions, the pantothenic acid of 120 broccoli heads, the iron of 100 bunches of spinach, the vitamin b6 of 45 carrots, the vitamin A of 45 apples, the vitamin c and folate of 200 oranges, the manganese of 1600 blueberries and finally 100 grams of the most antioxidant-rich food goji berry! My family drinks 1-2 ounces twice daily!

4) De-stress. Too much stress during pregnancy can use up vital nutritional stores, especially Vitamin A.  In addition, worry and stress during pregnancy can be very hard on the adrenal glands, leading to adrenal fatigue in both mother and baby (what I most commonly see postpartum in women). Having a well rounded B complex supplement is important.

Be kind to yourself, give yourself grace, and set boundaries.  Avoid if possible moving homes, launching new businesses, accepting challenging assignments.  Look, I was still in grad school, so I get it that this is challenging. So accept what you can't change, and modify what you can.  I relinquished extra commitments and felt so much freedom.  Also, I felt like I could focus more on my son and preparing for childbirth.  Pregnancy is an empowering time for women, and is a wonderful time to honor your own needs, and of course, ask for help when needed.

I encourage my pregnant patients to get regular pregnancy massage and chiropractic adjustments.  This provides excellent support for the body and relaxes the muscles you need to give birth. 

5) Elect for less Ultrasounds.  This is definitely something I wish I knew when I was pregnant round #1.  Research has shown that mother who had received multiple ultrasound treatments gave birth to lower weight babies.  In fact, in 1993, a large study on ultrasound found that routine ultrasound provided no benefit for mothers or babies in terms of pregnancy outcome.  Ultrasound did not reduce the number of infant or maternal deaths nor lead to better care for the newborn, but it did expose families to increased risk and cost.

In 1993, the FDA approved an eight-fold increase to the potential acoustical output of ultrasound equipment, greatly increasing the possibility of overheating and negative effects on the fetus.  Unfortunately, we have no studies to examine the effects of this imaging on babies short or long-term.    I suggest working with a midwife, doula, or birthing center, to better gauge how many ultrasounds you truly need for a SAFE and healthy pregnancy. 

6) Ditch the glucola drink.  What? Yes, women, you have other options.  I am so glad I found out from a friend that you can request an alternative.  The current glucola drink is filled with chemicals, dyes, and fillers.  My OB was super supportive of natural alternatives and allowed me to select organic apple juice for my alternative.  One just needs to find something with the equivalent of 50 sugars that needs to be consumed in 2 minutes or less.  I found Whole Foods had organic apple juice (with one ingredient: apple juice!) that has 25 grams of sugar per 6 oz carton.  I easily drank 2 in under 2 minutes to meet my 50 grams requirement.  I was able to avoid that "icky and gross" feeling women have described to me that the glucola drink gives them.

7) Not a fan of formaldehyde, heavy metals or aborted fetal tissue? Take the extra time to learn about vaccine ingredients.  There have been NO studies on vaccines in pregnant women, let alone the fetus. Package inserts tell us "Animal reproduction studies have NOT been conducted with influenza virus vaccine.  It is also not known whether influenza virus vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant women." Yikes!!

I am pro-choice and support safe ingredients, and I encourage other women to do the same.  I recommend 'The Vaccine Book' by Dr. Sears, and this factual you tube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHWeJ0f_o3A . This particular series is excellent and is research based, involving dozens of healthcare professionals.

I hope these suggestions help!! The most important concept I have found out of all of these?  To de-stress.  I feel based on the time I have spent with patients, that is the biggest contributor to all sickness and disease.  So I place the most value on that being valued and honored. 

Also, have joy! Pregnancy is a joyous season, a miracle, and such a blessing.  Not every woman gets to be a mother, and it is truly such an incredible occasion   Remember to reach out to other women for support, friendship and community.  No pregnant mom should ever have to feel alone or isolated.  You need a community, grace, and warmth!!  I suggest reaching out to a local mom's group, church, gym or online network to meet other moms who share your same interests and goals.

Enjoy your special miracle.



As always, while I am a healthcare professional, this advice is in no way meant to replace your own doctor's recommendations.  You are welcome to message me for more guidance, or I suggest reaching out to another integrative/holistic healthcare provider or naturopath.


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