Creating the Best Start for New Life
A woman’s body is exquisitely designed to conceive, nurture and give birth,” says Dr. Carol J. Phillips, an Annapolis, Maryland, prenatal chiropractor, doula and author of Hands of Love: Seven Steps to the Miracle of Birth.
Judith Lothian, Ph.D., associate editor of the Journal of Perinatal Education, professor of nursing at Seton Hall University, in South Orange, New Jersey, and a natural childbirth educator, knows the significance of women’s deep intuitive instinct. “Women who feel supported and encouraged can tap into their own wisdom and find deep satisfaction in giving birth naturally. The process itself perfectly prepares mother and baby to continue on their journey together.”
Several gentle strategies help mothers-to-be prepare for the joys of natural pregnancy and childbirth.
Build a Baby-Friendly Body
Discover Intuitive Nutrition
“Follow your urges,” counsels Peggy O’Mara, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, former editor of Mothering Magazine and author of Having a Baby, Naturally. “Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep when you’re weary. Go to the bathroom the moment nature calls. Practice this in pregnancy so you’ll be in the habit of listening to your instincts when you give birth.” This simple advice counters women’s common habit of attending to other people’s needs instead of their own.
Along with eating organic whole foods, Kristy Wilson, of Las Vegas, a certified professional midwife, labor doula and placenta preparation specialist, recommends both a plant-based food supplement with iron and whole food prenatal supplement. Vitamin C is important for a strong amniotic sac; she suggests at least 500 milligrams daily. A high-strung mom can take magnesium chloride baths or sip a soothing cup of red raspberry leaf tea.
“Women that are concerned about their diet can tune into the baby and ask what they need,” says Lori Bregman, of Santa Monica, California, a doula, birth coach and author of The Mindful Mom-to-Be. If craving a certain dish, she can research its benefits and healing qualities. The yearning for comfort foods like pizza, macaroni or ice cream may signal the need for more nurturing. Eyeing popcorn or chips could be a sign she’s stuffing down an emotion. She can ask herself, “What am I suppressing?”
“Eat a lot of protein, including vitamin B-rich foods, during both pregnancy and breastfeeding,” advises O’Mara.
The connections established between mother and child are much stronger when she progresses through pregnancy and birth from a natural perspective.
“Nursing moms need to eat nutrient-dense foods frequently, along with getting adequate fluids,” says Wilson. She recommends foods that assist lactation called galatactagogues, like almonds, avocados, legumes, kale and spinach. To increase milk production, add fennel to meals or smoothies, or turn to capsules.
Keep Moving with Intention
Wilson recommends yoga, swimming, walking or light jogging three to five times a week, for 20 minutes a day. “Squatting like a child on your haunches is a great exercise for childbirth,” she says, noting that 20 squats daily will strengthen core muscles. Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair or couch also engages core muscles, while improving posture.
“Regular exercise brings more energy, better sleep, reduced stress, higher spirits, better odds of an easy labor, faster post-delivery recovery and reduced risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy,” Bregman finds. She recommends a prenatal yoga practice that includes breathing and visualizations. This restorative form of yoga offers gentle stretching, promotes good circulation and naturally supports relief or healing of many possible pregnancy ailments.
“To alleviate physical distress, try chiropractic prenatal care,” says Phillips. Light finger contact from an experienced practitioner helps realign bony segments and restores the body’s normal tone. “A prenatal expert can adjust so the mom’s body maintains its balance and the baby is free to move.”
Craniosacral therapy reestablishes balance to the membranes that encapsulate the brain and spinal cord.
This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings. Read more...http://www.naturalawakeningsmag.com/Healthy-Kids-Archive/Natural-Motherh...