I love this quote from Ina May Gaskin. It is a subject that can be missed in the prenatal care. But as the quote says you need a nutrient rich soil to grow healthy plants. Why should this be less important when it comes to nutrition and babies. What do you know about nutrition? What are your nutritional needs in pregnancy?
Nutritional Needs of Pregnant Woman
With the growth of baby your stomach has been pushed up further and not much room for a big meal. This means that every bite counts. Eating small meals throughout the day instead of three larger meals.
Non-pregnant vs. Pregnant
1500-2000 to 2300-3200
8-15 g to 10-15 g
45-65 g to 75-90 g.
Your needs are greater in the second half. Insufficient calcium will lead to your body pulling it from your bones to nourish the growing fetus. Baby’s teeth, bones are forming and calcium helps with muscle and heart function, blood clotting and nerve transmission. Sources of calcium include milk, yogurts, cheese, if vegan then make sure you take in extra soy products and nuts and dark leafy greens.
850-1200 mg. to 1200-1600 mg.
You need 30 mg to 60 mg of iron when pregnant. Iron builds blood cells in mother and fetus. Anemia is when your blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells. Anemia also can occur if your red blood cells don’t contain enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that gives blood its red color. This protein helps red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. If you have anemia, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. As a result, you may feel tired or weak. You also may have other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, or headaches.
Because iron is not absorbed efficiently, more is needed to make it more available. So most women are usually prescribed an iron supplement. Not all can tolerate this. The supplement I recommend that is non-constipating and won’t make you nauseous is Floradix (a plant-based iron supplement) (I am not affiliated with). It can actually help with constipation.
Nutrient-rich foods to prevent deficiencies:
Organ meats (organically raised; these foods are really more like medicines)
Nuts and seeds
Leafy green vegetables
Other nourishing choices to consider is the use of herbs. The #1 choice for nourishing women’s health in general and especially in pregnancy is red raspberry leaf tea. This has been shown to tonify the uterus and it is said if drunk daily in pregnancy will assure a healthy labor. Stinging nettles is another great choice. You can make a tea with this or use it as a green in soups. This is high in vitamins A, C, K, calcium, potassium and iron. Stinging nettle is used in many pregnancy teas (and women’s health teas in general) because it is a great all-around pregnancy tonic. Rosehips are another great choice because it is high in vitamin C which is key for absorbing iron well
Fiber is important because the digestive system slows down. So to avoid or relieve constipation drink plenty of water besides milk and herbal teas and eat high-fiber foods like whole grains(Ezekiel 4:9 bread) (not affiliated with this brand), fruits, and vegetables.
Another challenge to staying nourished in your pregnancy is morning sickness. Though it’s name implies it only occurs in the morning, this can last throughout the days. If you find you can’t keep down water or food then speak with your care provider immediately because you could be dealing with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) Hyperemesis gravidarum is a more serious condition that will require the care of a physician. Morning sickness is actually helped with good nutrition choices. Vitamin B6, C, E and extra magnesium and potassium can lessen or relieve morning sickness. Red raspberry, peach leaf, tea, peppermint, and ginger root teas can help with nausea. Avoid fatty foods, junk food, and obviously alcohol. Upon awakening eating dry toast and crackers has been shown to stave off nausea. Snacking on carbs or protein throughout the day.
Nourishing yourself with the goal of giving baby the best start is possible. It’s a delicious and fun adventure when you explore your choices armed with nutritional knowledge. If your still unsure seek out the assistance of a nutritionist knowledgeable in the needs of pregnant women. Speak to your care provider or midwife. Your friendly neighborhood doula (hi there) will have some insights as well. If unsure ASK! We are all to eager to help you have the best pregnancy you can. I hope you have a happy and nourished pregnancy. Have suggestions for eating well in pregnancy? Please share in the comments.
The birthing process is intense. It’s no secret that it takes every ounce of a woman’s power in your life into the world. And one of those powers is the voice. Most Birth workers are comfortable with the range of sounds birthing women make but you still run into those who are not. When woman is silenced in the birthing room and told to not scream, don’t make noise, or calm down, they’re taking one of those powers away from her. Sound can be a pain reliever, a rhythm for the mother to cope, a distraction. It also can let others know she’s not coping well. The voice in the birthing process is important. We know how healing it is to express ourselves through our voice whether in singing or spoken word.
When a woman sings her birth song, she is opening her vocal chords and is releasing tension. When tension is released in the upper body, this leads to opening and release in the pelvis area. Why would you take this power away from her? Everything we do in the birthing room is to assist opening in releasing. So mothers, partners, birth workers, let her voice be heard!
Moan, grunt, sing, breath as loud as you want. Roar! Roar your baby out!
Everyone wants a massage, but sometimes making it in to see your favorite massage therapist (hi there!) just isn’t feasible. It’s in those unexpected and inconvenient moments that knowing how to give your partner a pretty great massage yourself can make the difference between a rotten day and a better one. But of course, this hinges on one thing: do you know how to give a good massage? Giving an at-home massage is not that hard. Here are my favorite tips:
Use firm pressure, but not hard.
People get confused about pressure in two opposite ways. If your partner is smaller than you, you may have a tendency to use very light pressure. This is okay to a point (you probably won’t hurt anyone), but can be a little frustrating if your partner is tense or sore or, even worse, ticklish. On the other side are the people who come from the “no pain, no gain” school of massage. Don’t buy into this myth! Massage should be pleasant. If your partner has to tense their muscles and clench their jaw in order to get through your ministrations, it’s not helping.
There are absolutely occasions where someone might want a fast-paced, vigorous massage. But unless your partner is getting warmed up for a race or ballroom dancing competition, this is probably not one of them. You’re not going to miss some key muscle if you take your time. If you seem relaxed, your partner is going to relax too. So take a deep breath, put your hands out, and make each stroke last.
If you meet a bone, leave it alone.
There is one exception to the firm pressure rule, and that is bones. You don’t need to be an anatomist to recognize the ones that stick out, like knees, elbows, ribs, and spines. With little padding between them and the skin, these areas can be quick to bruise or feel painful. If you find your hands arriving at one of these bony landmarks (yes, that’s actually what massage therapists call them, it’s like reading a topographical map), you have two options: turn around and go back the way you came, or skim over them using gentle pressure and keep going with your massage on the other side.
Practice good body mechanics.
If massage shouldn’t be painful for your partner, it also shouldn’t be painful for you. If you are hunched over, if your wrists are bent at an awkward angle, if you are using your thumbs or fingers in ways they weren’t designed to work, you will end up regretting the day you ever offered to give a massage. Use bigger muscles in place of small ones whenever you can: use your back to provide pressure instead of your arms, and your arms instead of your fingers. Whenever possible, push instead of pulling. When you move to a new part of your partner’s body, adjust your entire position, not just your hand placement. It may feel strange at first, but imagine if you tried to shovel snow by standing in one place and using just your arms to move the shovel from one side of you to the other. If that image seems ridiculous, you already understand why proper body mechanics are so important.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Really, you probably don’t need to talk to a massage therapist to learn that open communication between you and your partner is key to anything you undertake together. But it’s especially true in a situation like a massage, where one of you is more vulnerable than the other. As the massage giver, it’s important that you check in regularly: How does this feel? Would you like more or less pressure? Do you remember whether I turned the oven off? (Okay, maybe not that one.) The same goes for communicating your own needs. If you are getting tired, or thirsty, or really need to leave for work, say something. Don’t leave your partner feeling guilty about enjoying a massage because you made a unilateral decision to sacrifice your needs for theirs.
Learn from the pros.
As with any skill, one of the best ways to learn to give a massage is by watching the people who are already great at it. Getting regular professional massage (hello again!) and taking a couples massage class are both helpful. Barring that, YouTube is a fantastic source of tutorials for beginners. You can search for a style you like—Swedish massage is a great place to start—or an area you’d like to focus on, like the neck and shoulders.
If you follow these guidelines, you’re going to be fine.
You may not be winning any championships, but massage isn’t a competition. If you can give a caring, relaxing massage without hurting your partner or yourself, you’re way ahead of the curve on this one. And if you feel like you need more than that … well, give me a call.
Deidre M. Medina, LMT 140 Elmwood Ave Buffalo, NY 14201 (716)292-6113
Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they don’t like. For many people it’s a minor issue, no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.
When I tell some people that I’m a massage therapist it can cause a strong reaction. They tell me, whether verbally or through their reaction and body language, that massage is not for them. Their body image is such an issue that they don’t think anybody else can accept them.
The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school we were all nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies and become much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened – when our bodies felt better we felt better about our bodies.
I think there are three options to consider. Let’s look at the risk versus reward for them.
1. Don’t get a massage.
This is the easiest because it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all.
The reward is zero. You didn’t get a massage so your body doesn’t feel any better, and you still have the stress you had before.
2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist either makes note of how you look, as if it matters.
If this has happened to you, I’m sorry. You got a crappy massage therapist. That’s a bummer, and I’m really sorry. You took a risk, and even if the rest of the massage was decent, got very little reward.
This is not going to happen if you come to me. Never. No way. I can’t say this strongly enough. It goes against the very nature of who I am, how I treat people, and what I believe.
3. You get a massage. A great massage. And the therapist does nothing to make you feel uncomfortable about your body. In fact, you feel pretty good about your body after the massage.
In this option your risk is low. I don’t care how your body looks. That’s none of my business. I just want to help it feel better. Your reward is high. Again your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.
I have no idea how your body got to be in the condition that it’s in. You may be dealing with something that you can’t control, such as a medical condition or an injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. Since I don’t know what caused your body to be like it is now I can’t make any judgments about you.
I’ve worked on hundreds – maybe thousands – of people. Each body is interesting and I’ve yet to come across one that I could not help.
If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let’s find an option that works for you. You don’t even have to explain anything to me. Leave your clothes on. Stay sitting up or face down or lying on your side or however you want. It’s up to you.
It’s my job to help you feel better. That’s it. Together let’s find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. Don’t let your body image keep you from feeling good.
Morning sickness is one of the first signs that a woman may realize she’s pregnant. Despite its name morning sickness can happen at any time of the day. It can range from slight nagging nausea to not being able to hold your breakfast down. If you are having difficulty keeping anything down including water and losing weight, call your care provider right away. You may have Hyperemedis Gravidarum, a potentially life-threatening form of morning sickness if left untreated. For some women fragrances can trigger a bout of morning sickness. Your favorite perfume can become your worst enemy. But take heart this will not last forever.
Why do I get morning sickness?
So what is the cause of morning sickness? We’re not exactly sure, but some theories are that it can be a deficiency in vitamin B, but there isn’t any hard evidence to support that, besides woman finding relief when the supplement with vitamin B, particularly vitamin B6 because that actually aids in liver metabolism. The premise of that theory is the liver is working extra hard because of the additional person it’s supporting. The liver processes toxins and gets rid of them, dumping them into the woman’s system and its suggested this is why the sickness happens first thing in the morning. Another theory is that there is increase in hormonal activity, particularly estrogen and hCG and they feel that the increase of this can cause nausea. Or the carbohydrate metabolism is disturbed and that causes the nausea. So many theories, but to-date there’s no hard facts that can pinpoint the exact cause of morning sickness.
What will help my morning sickness?
One thing that does seem to work across the board is to make sure that you’re eating frequent small meals throughout the day. These meals should consist of small amounts of high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates. It is helpful to eat a cracker or dry piece of toast first thing in the morning before you rise. Some herbal remedies that are very helpful and are usually readily available to most people is peppermint or ginger in the form of tea or drinking ginger-ale. Red raspberry leaf tea and chamomile tea are also helpful. The essential oil of peppermint or sweet orange helps when inhaled. You can apply a few drops to a handkerchief or cotton ball and keep in a ziplock bag until needed.
Acupressure has been found to be very helpful in relieving nausea and vomiting. Acupressure uses Traditional Chinese medicine principles, but instead of using needles with them, knuckle, or elbow is used to stimulate different pressure points of the Meridian system. The point that commonly is you safely to help with mild nausea vomiting is P6. To find this point on your arm turn your palm facing up, Place three fingers from the crease of your wrist up, and at three fingers width from the wrist, find the two tendons. In between these tendons is P6. Apply firm pressure up to five minutes to find relief from slight nausea up to vomiting. They’re also wristbands you can purchase called Sea-bands. These wristbands apply pressure to P6 and you can safely wear them all day to keep morning sickness at bay.
It will not last forever!
These tips are a few things that you can do to find relief for morning sickness. The best thing you can do is to make sure you take care of you. Breath in, breathe out. It will pass. It will not be forever. Please let me know what has helped you to combat morning sickness in the comments below. Wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy journey.
The Meet The Doula Event in Buffalo, NY was a beautiful event organized by Shannon Johns of Calming Nature Doula Services. Thank you Shannon. So many great services for pregnant women in Buffalo. Moms were pampered with samples of massage, and facials. There were presentations all day regarding pregnancy-related subjects such as placenta encapsulation, what a Doula does, rebozo, midwifery, chiropractic, and of course a presentation on pregnancy massage benefits and myths by yours truly. The Postpartum Resource Center of New York’s Western New York Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Task Force was there to educate our community to really ask moms how they are doing and to be aware of signs mom is having a hard time and how to get her help. https://postpartumny.org/wny/
It was fun and informative. We really are fortunate in Buffalo New York to have so many supportive services for families and mothers. If you ever have any questions about pregnancy massage or how I do look and help you in your birth, please shoot me an email and we can chat.