So often during pregnancy women hear messages about what not to do, what to avoid, how to stay safe and healthy. It can create a lot of anxiety and fear. Everyone has to eat, even more when you are growing a human.
I would say eat what you normally eat, but I don't know if you are a junk food junkie or a health food nut. Likely, you are somewhere in between. Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know what a healthy diet consists of. If you are one to grab the fast food, fried food, and lots of sugar, you might want to consider changing it up.
Realistically, habits can be changed if so desired. If you want to be healthy, and you want a great chance at having a healthy baby, start with what you are ingesting, and feeding your growing baby.
There is a great book that gets into all the detail. I love learning from people that know more than me, and sharing it with you. Real Food for Pregnancy; The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition, by Lily Nichols RDN, CDE, is a must have for your library. It is more like a reference or encyclopedia because it is so packed with information and research to back it up.
The main takeaway is EAT REAL FOOD!! Sounds so simple until you learn what foods are real and what foods are not.
You may not have time to sit down and read the entire book in a week, but you can look up anything to do with food and nutrition during pregnancy. One of my favorite parts is about mindful eating. This is all about paying attention to your own body's signals; hunger, cravings, and fullness. Lily suggests you check in with yourself before you eat, in the middle of eating and towards the end of your meal or snack.
When you pay attention you can learn about your habits, patterns, and emotions. This is something that can be done with eating, and everything else you do in your life.
I am not pregnant but I'll can share this story, as an example. Yesterday, we went out to breakfast. I do not eat a lot of white carbohydrates as I always feel bloated afterwards. I ate a half of a huge white pancake; chewy and thick. Not only was I full, but I had stomach pains on and off all day. It felt like a ball of lead. Super uncomfortable. I knew it was the pancake because my body reacts to this kind of food.
It takes practice to pay attention to how different foods affect your energy, and well-being. After a while, you will know exactly what you need, when you need it, and how much you need.
Thanks to Lily Nichols for sharing her wisdom and knowledge.
You are preparing for your birth; reading all the articles, searching google, asking about homebirth, and hospitals and birth centers. Most likely, you have been shopping for baby stuff. Everything is falling into place, though you may still be a bit anxious, especially if this is your first baby. There are many unanswered questions.
I know how you are feeling. Before I had my first baby (Matthew), I had never been around newborns, and was actually not interested in them at all. As a kid, I was climbing trees, playing softball, and running in the woods. Then I became a doula, when Matthew was 2 years old. Crazy, huh?
Let me tell you, I was definitely nervous the first time around, for many reasons. Ironically, I was not concerned at all about labor and birth, but more about how I would care for a baby. Nobody really told me what to expect, or how to actually prepare for being a mother. On top of that, my now deceased ex-husband left me when I was 7 months pregnant.
That long story is actually a book. I will just say that I was extra nervous because I knew I would be a single mother, and it was not what I had planned for my life. Once I had Matthew, I surprised myself at how I was able to know what to do.
No matter what your situation is, planning is great, but so is knowing about certain universal truths about becoming a mother. Honestly, knowing about how you handle stress, and less sleep is important. Most of all, gathering and enrolling your support system.
The question is, “Can someone prepare for this transformational life event?” There is no test, no class, no rule book, no one size fits all. Having a baby and becoming a mother will change you forever, no matter what.
I believe you can do some preparation. Think of it this way. Many people create a birth plan, or what I like to call a birth vision. They do the research, talk to others; their partner, doula, midwife, obstetrician, mother, friend. Based upon the information gathered, and personal preferences, a birth plan is created. Some flexibility is built in, because there can be the unexpected.
You can also create a Fourth Trimester Vision. I use this as a guide when I am teaching other doulas or sharing with expectant parents what the first few weeks of parenthood can be like. These are just a few of the things I believe will support you.
The fourth trimester of birth is a major adjustment period for you and your baby. Babies have to learn everything, and so do you. When you take the time to prepare and to think about and discuss your expectations, your desires, and reality of life with a newborn, not everything will come as a surprise.
For example, it is 10 p.m. and you haven’t gotten out of your pajamas. You know you have gotten out of the chair to eat and go to the bathroom, yet it feels like you have been breastfeeding all day!! Or you have just changed your baby’s diaper and his poop is all over the place. You spend the next ½ hour cleaning him up, you up, and the changing table.
Welcome to the Hood; Motherhood!! The best job you will ever love.
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I ask my self this question a lot. Maternal mortality in the United States has gotten worse over the last 20-30 years. When I started as a postpartum doula in 1991, the U.S. maternal death rate was 10.3 deaths per 100,000. Now, in 2020, the U.S. maternal death rate is 17.4 per 100,000.
We have more doulas than back then, and information is at our fingertips in an instant.
What is happening to cause this significant increase? The United States spends the most money on health care, yet we have the sickest nation and more mothers are dying in childbirth or from pregnancy and childbirth related causes. This is inexcusable.
I could tell you the increase in deaths is because we have so many obese and unhealthy mothers. I could tell you that access to prenatal care is not available to every woman. I could tell you that giving birth in the hospital is a factor in the maternal death rate. There is some truth to all of these. Yet, if we look at trends in childbirth, particularly the cesarean-section rate, we might find the real answer.
In the 1970s the cesarean-section rate was around 5% in the United States. Currently, we are hovering around 32-33% nationwide. In some hospitals there is a 50% rate. Cesarean surgery comes with risks. And, repeat cesareans come with more risks. Death is a real risk with any surgery. According to the World Health Organization, there is a point at which an increase in cesarean sections does not equal better outcomes. Saving lives is the goal.
Is the need for many cesarean-sections created by interventions such as induction, and constant fetal monitoring?
Why is vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) unavailable for many women?
Why aren't women saying, "hell no?"
I am not going to answer these questions. I like to ask them and inspire you to look for the answers. I can tell you that I have witnessed interventions and watched the cascade of more interventions. I have witnessed unnecessary cesarean-section. I have heard many birth stories of emotional and physical trauma.
The U.S. maternity care system is broken. We live in a consumer driven culture, which runs on supply and demand. Currently, the vast majority of women give birth in the hospital. I believe that if women demanded differently, things would be different. I also believe that learning about options in pregnancy, birth and beyond at 6-7 months pregnant is late in the game.
When women and mothers are thriving, and well cared for, the world is thriving. Pregnant women deserve to know the truth about childbirth, about the providers of prenatal care, about cesarean section rates, about breastmilk, about newborn behavior, about real motherhood.
What are young girls learning about their amazing bodies? Where are they learning about the miracle of birth? When is the right time to begin this learning?
Ingrained beliefs form well before pregnancy.
Childbirth classes are for information. You won't learn how to give birth. You already know.
Sharing my knowledge and wisdom about all things birth