Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Red Raspberry Leaf: A “Miracle Herb” for Women

Red Raspberry Leaf: A "Miracle Herb" For Women from Beeyoutiful.com

This information originally appeared in a slightly different format in our Winter 2007-2008 Catalog.

My greatest passion in life is experiencing the birth of a child with parents who love children as much as I do. As a Licensed Midwife, it has been my privilege to advise many women during pregnancy, and to be present at thousands of births. I take it upon myself to care for my clients before, during, and after the birth, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Red Raspberry Leaf: A "Miracle Herb" For Women from Beeyoutiful.comFor thousands of years, midwives and Chinese herbalists have used herbs with very good results. This fact is not lost on the current medical community, as many of our allopathic medicines are derived from herbs.

As a midwife and herbalist, I use herbs constantly in my practice. I have found that certain herbs contribute significant amounts of nourishment necessary to our bodies. I believe that the female body was designed to give birth, and that with proper nutrition, it can usually do what it knows how to do, without much intervention.

I had one client who was worried about having her fifth baby. After a few prenatal visits, I was puzzled about her concern. I was thinking, “Fifth baby, what could she be worried about?” After some coaxing, she finally admitted that it was the after pains that had her concerned about her birth. Apparently the after pains were so incredibly intense after her fourth baby that she was not at all concerned about the act of actually giving birth to number 5, but was fearful instead about the pains to come later.

Now that I knew what was troubling her, I suggested that she increase her intake of Red Raspberry Leaf. She was skeptical that this would help, but was willing to give it a try. I advise all of my clients to take Red Raspberry Leaf through pregnancy, and I explained to her why.

The Woman’s Herb

Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) is a widely used herbal tonic that is especially beneficial during pregnancy. Brewed as a tea, taken in capsule form, or as an infusion, Red Raspberry Leaf is one of the safest and most commonly used tonic herbs for women wanting to get pregnant or for women who are already pregnant.

Taking this herb helps facilitate all the functions our bodies do for us on a daily basis. This is why Red Raspberry Leaf is considered a ‘tonic’ herb; it tones and supports the body in general. Red Raspberry Leaf tones the uterus, improves the quality of labor contractions, improves quality of sleep, decreases feelings of anxiety and nervousness, and decreases constipation.

It also contains the most easily assimilated form of calcium. Because Red Raspberry Leaf has calcium that is so readily available to our bodies, and most of us have a calcium deficiency, many people notice a change in how they feel right away. Since osteoporosis is related to a lack of calcium, daily use of Red Raspberry Leaf is highly recommended for all women.

Beeyoutiful’s encapsulated organic Red Raspberry Leaf is easily absorbed by the body. All the necessary trace minerals and vitamins your body needs to easily assimilate the calcium are already right there, occurring naturally in the herb itself. Almost every trace mineral that our bodies use is available in Red Raspberry Leaf. This means no one in a lab had to figure out how to formulate something that might work as well as the real thing!

How to Use Red Raspberry Leaf

You can drink 1-6 cups of mild-tasting Red Raspberry Leaf tea per day, hot or iced. Or, you can take one to four capsules per day. Use more in the second half of the day if you tend to have trouble sleeping, since Red Raspberry Leaf encourages a deeper, more restful sleep.

It is almost impossible to overdose on Red Raspberry Leaf, but if you take very large amounts, you may experience either very loose stool or constipation. Either is a sure sign that you have more than reached your body’s threshold for calcium levels. Just back down on your dose by one or two cups of tea or one or two capsules, and your bathroom habits should return to what is familiar to you.Recipe: Nourish & Flourish Tea with herbs from Beeyoutiful. com

Tea recipe: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried Red Raspberry Leaf and steep for ten minutes. Steeping longer than ten minutes will only make the tea bitter, not stronger. For stronger tea, use more in the tea bag or tea ball. Sweeten with stevia, honey, or a bit of rapadura

I like to add Nettles, Alfalfa or Spearmint to my Red Raspberry Leaf tea. This combination makes for a very toning tea. Nettles has every trace mineral our bodies need and helps build up red blood cells as well. Alfalfa helps blood to clot well and prevents unnecessary blood loss. Spearmint is soothing to the stomach and adds a bit of flavor to these herbs for a little more punch to your tea.

Not up for making a tea blend yourself? Try a prepared version of Pregnancy Tea. Or if you’re just not a tea drinker, try Beeyoutiful’s encapsulated organic Red Raspberry Leaf. Try one to six capsules per day, based on comfort and bowel tolerance.

Pregnancy and Red Raspberry Leaf

In addition to many vitamins and minerals, Red Raspberry Leaf also contains an alkaloid called fragrine which lends tone and strength to the uterus. There are several schools of thought on the subject with conflicting information about the use of this herb during pregnancy. (Talk with your care provider about what’s right for your body and pregnancy!)

Many clinicians advise drinking one cup of Red Raspberry Leaf tea per day in the first trimester and 2 cups in the second trimester, then switching to an infusion (a stronger tea) for the third trimester to ensure a strong uterus and prevent miscarriage.

Other clinicians suggest that frequent use (3-4 cups per day of tea, or 1-2 capsules) just during the third trimester is beneficial to the uterine and pelvic muscles.

And finally, some clinicians advise not using Red Raspberry Leaf in the first trimester, particularly if you have a history of miscarriage. Some midwives in the U.K. claim an increase in early miscarriage rates associated with women who have used Red Raspberry Leaf, and it’s been noted that the herb may cause minor spotting in the beginning of a pregnancy.

What Red Raspberry Leaf does not do is start labor or promote contractions. It is not an emmenagogue (something that promotes a miscarriage) or an oxytocic herb (an herb or chemical that promotes uterine contractions). It does strengthen the pelvic and uterine muscles, allowing you to feel healthier throughout your pregnancy, and allowing labor and the muscles involved with birthing to be more relaxed and efficient.

Contact your midwife, herbalist, or physician for personalized input about your use of Red Raspberry Leaf. Do the homework yourself to feel good about your decision to use or not use this herb, and when to use it during pregnancy. This advice is good for any decision you might be facing about your pregnancy options or your own health and welfare in general!

Worries Put To Rest

Well, my anxious client faithfully took the Red Raspberry Leaf in the higher amounts we discussed for her. Her birth experience went so smoothly that I almost missed it! She felt just fine at her 24 hour check up, too, but said that the next day would be the real test to see if the herb had helped. I told her to call me if she experienced any after pains like she had in the past, and then scheduled a routine five-day postpartum check up.

I never received any phone calls from her, and wondered if she was going to tough it out rather than call. That was in my mind as I rang the door bell on the day of my visit, hoping to hear good news, yet fearing I wouldn’t. My face split into a huge grin as my client all but tap-danced to the door to let me in! She couldn’t stop telling me how great the first few days after the birth had been, and how they’d been nothing like her last postpartum experience.

My client was so excited that she wanted me to promise that I would tell every pregnant woman of this “miracle herb” that made all the difference for her. So, this is me keeping my promise and telling all of you this “big secret” to feeling good during and after your births! Red Raspberry Leaf truly is a miracle herb!

Written by Jenny West, LM, CPM, HBCE, TBMP, CST, CH; a midwife/herbalist who has been in practice for 18 years and delivered over 7000 babies.

3 Things That Banished Discomfort From My 4th Pregnancy, Part 2

3 Things That Banished Discomfort from My 4th Pregnancy

Thanks for joining us for Pregnancy Week! Start here with Part 1. Some of this information originally appeared in a slightly different format in our Winter 2011 catalog

Yesterday we talked about the first of my three strategies that vastly improved my fourth pregnancy. Today let’s discuss the remaining two.

#2: Exercise 

During my fourth pregnancy, I tried to stay as limber as possible. In the past, I’ve stayed fairly active, but by 30 weeks, I usually take to the couch! Backaches are my biggest enemy, along with swelling of the legs and feet, and being generally uncomfortable. I have found several things to help combat this tendency toward inactivity.

pregnancyRegular chiropractic adjustments made a massive difference. I found an incredible chiropractor (a young dad himself) who was diligent to communicate with my midwife about my specific needs. The results were amazing! I’ve had no backaches since seeing him, no nausea, no swelling or round ligament pain (which plagued me non-stop with my last two pregnancies), and I am much more active.

In addition, my chiropractor convinced our little one to flip head down and engage early in the third trimester. He advises that pregnant women find a chiropractor who is familiar with natural medicine and trained and/or certified in the Webster techniques. Find a reputable chiropractor who will work with your midwife or health practitioner to provide the care you need while pregnant.

I had hoped to take a class in the Bradley method (yes, even though it was my fourth time around!), but unfortunately it didn’t fit into our schedules. Instead, I checked several resources out of our local library that offer a few chapters about moderate, appropriate exercise that involved mainly stretching and positioning. (Kegel exercises are very important as well.)

I spent at least half an hour each day relaxing my body and practicing mental relaxation. This helped tremendously to relieve stress and tension pain that often accumulates with pregnancy. Most importantly, this was the first labor and delivery during which I was actually able to maintain relaxation the entire time! My support team and I were all astonished, and we’re convinced that practicing throughout pregnancy made all the difference.

Water retention is usually a sign of dehydration. I’ve known this through all my pregnancies, but have not paid attention to it as closely as I should have and by 30 weeks, I usually look more like a sausage than a person! But thankfully, between the chiropractor helping blood flow through the pelvis with a loose and straight spinal column, the stretching exercises, and increased water consumption, I did not have to battle thick extremities. This was not only beneficial to me but also to the little one, as good hydration for mom helps insure good blood flow to baby.

#3: Rest

This last aspect is easier said than done, but it’s so very important. Get enough sleep. Do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Since I am naturally a night owl, I began enforcing an earlier bedtime for myself and thankfully began sleeping for longer stretches. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable, and that your room is as dark as possible. Turn off electronic devices well before bedtime, and remove them from your room.

Even though I haven’t attained that “perfect” pregnancy yet, I’m excited about the significant progress on my journey of making this process healthier for myself and my future children. I hope it won’t take you as long as it did me to discover the joy of feeling good while pregnant!

Mary Ewing has been with Beeyoutiful for six years (through three pregnancies!). She enjoys exploring life with her husband and five children as they cook, garden, play and dream of homesteading. Her interests include traditional cooking, learning about herbs and essential oils, and traditional art forms such as sewing, crocheting, knitting and smocking.

3 Things That Banished Discomfort From My 4th Pregnancy, Part 1

3 Things That Banished Discomfort from My 4th Pregnancy

Thanks for joining us for Pregnancy Week! Start here with Part 1. Some of this information originally appeared in a slightly different format in our Winter 2011 catalog

After three pregnancies, each featuring quite a number of “pregnancy symptoms” and baby complications following the birth, I resigned myself to the idea that all my pregnancies would be difficult, and my health would never be great while expecting. I envied women who actually enjoyed pregnancy. Many feel wonderful and love every minute of it, but I had never experienced such a thing!
pregnancy

Throwing up was a way of life for me with most of my pregnancies, sometimes continuing the entire nine months. I was constipated, had blood sugar problems, anemia, backaches, swelling, you name it! Since I was convinced that a lot of my problems centered on nutrition, I decided to change my diet and be faithful with supplementation to see if my fourth pregnancy could be any better.

The first few weeks were still hard with plenty of tiredness, vomiting, migraines, and dizziness, but I stuck with my plan. Slowly I noticed a difference, and by week 15, I was actually starting to feel good. By 20 weeks, I consistently felt wonderful! For the first time ever, I was pregnant and felt fine at the same time.

Despite my success, I was quaking in my boots as I went for gestational diabetes and anemia checks around 30 weeks. I just knew some of my problem was “genetically me.” I’ve always battled hypoglycemia and anemia, so when my midwife took blood samples, we waited nervously as her machine ticked down the seconds. I almost fell off her couch when the results came back with textbook normal levels! As the weeks passed, I continued to feel fine, sleep well, and have fairly decent energy levels.

There were three things that I did differently this time around. Let’s look at the first one today in two parts, and the other two tomorrow.

#1a: Traditional Diet

In an earlier post, I recommended the Weston A. Price Foundation approach to a healthy diet as preparation for pregnancy: raw milk, farm fresh eggs, good fats (butter, animal fats, coconut oil, olive oil, cod liver oil), bone broths, lacto-fermented vegetables, and grass-fed meats and vegetables (see Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon for tips and recipes).

This plan has become the mainstay of eating for my family and me. I’ve also limited my intake of white flour, white sugar, empty calories, preservatives, and chemicals. Eating 2 tablespoons of coconut oil each day helped to decrease my cravings for carbohydrates and starches, and to maintain pregnancy-appropriate weight gain. My protein intake is 80-100g per day, spaced evenly throughout the day and making sure to have a healthy portion in the morning.

Protein is crucial to the development of your baby during pregnancy. Most people consume only about 35g per day; that level can sustain you and your baby, but it increases your risk for developing toxemia or pre-eclampsia.

Early on, it was sometimes a struggle to eat these things when I felt yucky; soda and a chocolate chip muffin sounded much better. But if I chose to have a bowl of bone broth, I would often start to feel normal again soon. Thankfully, as I entered my second trimester, I felt much better and was able to eat the suggested diet without problems.

Even the best diet often lacks key nutrients crucial for ourselves and our developing babies. Therefore, supplementation is essential, and I can only attempt to tell you what a difference it made in my fourth pregnancy. (My husband is also grateful for Beeyoutiful because supplements have meant he’s heard a lot less complaining on my part!)

#1b: Supplementation

Yesterday I posted about crucial supplements to take before pregnancy even begins. Many of them are the same that I recommend throughout pregnancy, with a few additions to keep on hand.

Red Raspberry Leaves and Evening Primrose Oil are both excellent hormonal supports during pregnancy, and they prepare the uterus and body for labor. I have read many different suggestions regarding when to start taking them; I suggest personal research and asking your midwife or health practitioner what is best for you. Each woman’s body and pregnancy is different, and unique needs should be specifically addressed.

Activated Charcoal was a lifesaver during pregnancy, for two specific reasons. A horrible stomach flu went through our family while on vacation; I immediately grabbed the charcoal and began regular doses. Although I typically catch any and all stomach viruses, it totally skipped me! It also greatly relieved my morning sickness and indigestion.

When I felt bad or had that acidy feeling in the pit of my stomach, I drank a slurry of Activated Charcoal powder. While I don’t mind the slurry’s taste and texture, others may prefer tablets or capsules. (NOTE: With regular use of charcoal for morning sickness, be sure to take either a mineral supplement or to mineralize your water because charcoal can decrease the minerals present in your intestines.)

Oh, what a comfort Pregnancy Tea has been to me! When I am not feeling well, have a lack of energy, feel extra emotional, cold, or just want to enjoy a cup of warm tea that’s good for me, I relish Pregnancy Tea. Its slightly spearmint flavor is quite a comfort when mixed with a little honey and sipped while I rest in my favorite rocking chair.

For those back aches or round ligament pains, Ow!-Ease is my favorite pain reducer. If occasional back or neck-aches creep up, Ow!-Ease delivers instant relief.

Join us again tomorrow when we’ll talk about the important roles that exercise and rest played in my pregnancy. 

Preparing For Pregnancy, Part 2: Choosing Supplements and Avoiding Morning Sickness

Preparing for Pregnancy: Choosing Supplements and Avoiding Morning Sickness

Thanks for joining us for Pregnancy Week! Start here with Part 1. Some of this material originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Fall 2010 catalog

Our Food Doesn’t Always Cut It

Ideally, you would get all your nutrients from food, but that is just not possible these days with our nutritionally-depleted soils and food supplies, busy lifestyles, and other deficiencies. That’s why the wonderful resources of Beeyoutiful are invaluable if you’re preparing for one of life’s greatest joys and hardest tasks.

Preparing for Pregnancy: Choosing Supplements and Avoiding Morning SicknessBoth parents should take a multivitamin that’s derived from whole sources, and is easily absorbed to work within the body to help build and restore nutrient reserves. SuperMom and SuperDad are excellent multivitamins which also feature “bonus” nutrient-packed ingredients such as spirulina and chlorella. (Bear in mind that dad contributes on the front end to the baby’s health, so he needs to take his vitamins to build his own immune system well in advance of conception.)

In addition to the multivitamin, Folate is a must. A sufficient level in both parents decreases the rate of several genetic problems, including spina bifida and Down Syndrome. SuperMom and SuperDad each offer 400 mcg of Folic Acid, but most midwives and health practitioners advise 800 mcg per day for women anticipating pregnancy so you’ll need to boost that nutrient separately.

Many times during pregnancy, due to insufficient diet, increased demand, and absorption issues, iron levels can drop into a range that is dangerous for both mom and baby. If you reach delivery without enough iron, it can lead to low blood levels and the need for additional interventions as well as increased recovery times.

Floradix® Iron + herbs is a safe, low dose, organic liquid iron supplement. It contains highly soluble iron gluconate as well as herbal extracts, whole food concentrates and co-factors Vitamins B and C. The addition of Vitamin B and C aids your body’s ability to absorb the iron and better utilize it once absorbed. Best of all, it is easy on the stomach and non-constipating, making it helpful for pregnant and lactating women.

Cod Liver Oil is one of my newer personal favorites that I wish I’d taken it prior to all my pregnancies. Cod Liver Oil provides the EPA and DHA required for proper brain development. I suggest using Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil along with Butter Oil because it also provides Omega 3 fatty acids and good amounts of Vitamins A, D, and K. These three crucial vitamins work together to help build strong bones, maintain the cardiovascular system, keep skin clear and healthy, balance the clotting factors in your blood, reduce the chance of diabetes, strengthen the immune system, and myriad other great benefits. Since these are fat soluble vitamins, it is also vital to take them with a meal containing a moderate amount of healthy fats for proper absorption.

lotteHeading Off Morning Sickness

One of the most-dreaded parts of pregnancy is morning sickness and it often lingers as a “what if” when we are considering having a little one. While the babies are worth every second of agony, there are definitely things we can do that might help protect us or at least lessen the intensity. Take comfort: I had severe morning sickness with my first three pregnancies, to the point of needing to be medicated throughout, but by my fourth and fifth pregnancies I was managing well with several natural remedies instead.

Maximizing your nutrient-dense foods and thus nourishing your system is the foundation, but often our diets need a special boost. Two nutrients in particular seem to impact morning sickness the most.

Magnesium plays crucial roles in managing cortisol and blood sugar and even impacting hormones. When we are deficient in magnesium, our body is not able to properly maintain these other areas, leading to what we call morning sickness. Usually having optimal magnesium levels prior to pregnancy will help this. (For more information on magnesium deficiency, click here.)

We need to add B Vitamins, particularly B12 and B6, because they aid our body’s ability to absorb magnesium. Having daily intake of food rich in Vitamin B is a great place to start, but if your body has difficulty converting it to a usable form, you may also want to consider using a methylated form of both folate and B12 instead.

Putting it All to Use

To make sure your body can actually use the foods and supplements you’re giving it, you’ll need to do all you can to keep your digestive system working its best. Even if you are blessed with an iron-clad stomach, you’re likely to have taken antibiotics sometime in your life, or have been exposed to toxins that could wreak havoc on digestive flora. Here are two key ways to help build a strong digestive tract.

Probiotics, taken daily, rebuild good intestinal flora which will pass to the baby growing inside of you. It also protects against harmful bacteria. And here’s a big plus I wish I had known during my first stomach-churning pregnancy: daily use of probiotics such as Tummy Tuneup can help decrease nausea while pregnant.

Digestive enzymes are crucial because enzymes are the tools your body uses to extract nutrients from food. Most people are deficient in enzymes and unable to use well what their food offers. Without sufficient enzymes, many people experience fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, food cravings, and various stomach complaints. Eliminating these problems before pregnancy will help you feel better during pregnancy. And it will help maximize the nutrient building blocks available to help grow your child’s body.

Red Raspberry Leaf is an invaluable herb for women of all ages, but specifically for pre-pregnancy. The leaves are known to increase fertility in both men and women, prevent miscarriage and hemorrhage, and decrease morning sickness. Many midwives agree that Red Raspberry Leaves are safe to take throughout your pregnancy, but some advise against use during the first trimester, so (as always!) check with your preferred health care provider before continuing any supplement during your pregnancy.

A Matter of Timing

The plans I’ve shared here should be started six months to a year prior to pregnancy, if at all possible. Certainly, if you are experiencing specific health concerns such as thyroid dysfunction, extreme fatigue, chronic infections or illness, etc., it would be best to get control of your health immediately, whether or not pregnancy seems to be in your future. Whether through diet modification, adding supplements, or working with a naturopath, the more you work to build your health now, the less effort will be required to restore it in the future, and you’ll reduce the chances of passing on chronic problems to your children.

Whether your first or your tenth, pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in life! Every baby brings a wealth of expectations, joys, and new experiences. As you contemplate bringing a life into this world, I hope you can learn a little from my early bad choices and the subsequent better ones. The most rewarding result of my better choices has been the noticeably better health enjoyed by my third child, who is by far healthier than my older two.

Join us tomorrow for Part 3 when we’ll talk about exercise and rest during pregnancy.

Mary Ewing has been with Beeyoutiful for six years (through three pregnancies!). She enjoys exploring life with her husband and five children as they cook, garden, play and dream of homesteading. Her interests include traditional cooking, learning about herbs and essential oils, and traditional art forms such as sewing, crocheting, knitting and smocking.

Preparing for Pregnancy, Part 1: Laying a Nutritional Foundation

Preparing for Pregnancy: Laying a Nutiritional Foundation

This material originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Fall 2010 catalog

When I married in 2004, I was almost 26, and my husband and I knew we didn’t want to wait long to have children. Although many women have children after thirty, we both wanted a large family and weren’t sure how long our child-bearing years would last. Even so, we were slightly surprised when just six weeks after the wedding we found ourselves expecting our first child! Excitement filled our house, and to add to our own joy, this would be the first grandchild for both his parents and mine.

Preparing for Pregnancy: Laying a Nutiritional FoundationAt the time, I was a practicing registered nurse, and although I did not work in obstetrics, I’d always been fascinated with the subject. Despite the fact that I had scored a perfect 100 ranking among my peers that year in the OB/GYN national competency exams, I gradually found that I actually understood little about the importance of preparing my body to be a mother.

I knew I needed to take a prenatal vitamin once the pink line appeared on the pregnancy test. I knew the importance of Folate to prevent birth defects. I knew I needed to generally take care of myself. But I did nothing to really prepare my body for pregnancy.

My pre-pregnancy diet consisted largely of fast food, meals from a box, and sodas. I had done nothing to eliminate my chronic gut problems, build nutritional storehouses, or make sure my body was in shape for this miraculous event.

Due to long work hours, my entire day’s nutrition consisted of an orange for breakfast, half a sub sandwich for lunch, and half for dinner (and when I say sub, I mean a foot-long white bread sandwich with nothing but processed cold cuts, American cheese and jalapeño peppers). I washed that all down with the largest cherry limeade I could buy, because it had to last my entire shift; it was a healthier choice, I figured, since it did not have caffeine. I often went an entire week without eating unprocessed meat, fresh vegetables, and whole grains.

My bouts with morning sickness (to the point of vomiting) lasted from early in the pregnancy until three days after my baby was born. With my second pregnancy came nine months of migraine headaches, followed by my newborn son’s chronic health issues. I finally decided there had to be a better way to do pregnancy! The challenges I faced have led me to some fascinating factors that make for a healthier momma and, therefore, a healthier baby.

The Two-Way Gift of Health

maryOur health is a gift, not just from the Creator, but also from our parents. The field of genetics is still full of mystery, but we do know that the health of our parents when they brought us into the world plays a large role in determining what our own level of health will be, and your health will play a major role in your children’s health.

People generally assume that most health issues depend simply on the genes we pass on, that they determine what makes us more or less vulnerable to various diseases and health conditions. Many of us don’t make the connection that we directly pass on to our children a reflection of our own state of health, apart from genetic factors.

As a result, our children often suffer from the same digestive, immune, and chronic health issues that we do, not just because of genes but also because of how we care for ourselves. If you’ve had problems with your digestion, it should not come as a surprise that your child is colicky. So before you think about having a baby, first consider how to rebuild and restore your own health. Not only will you be passing on to your future children a head start in health, but the habits you develop will benefit them throughout life.

Getting Your Gift in Shape

The place to start building your health is with your diet and your nutritional lifestyle. Nutrients are the building blocks of cells, and it is vital to take in nutrients that build healthy cells. Diets full of healthy fats, grass-fed and organic proteins, fermented foods, properly prepared grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables are vital. While there are several very good diet suggestions out there, I personally recommend Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers as a good starting place. It’s published by the Weston A. Price Foundation and offers great guidance for nourishing your body and preparing the inner stores of nutrients necessary for pregnancy.

Most people recognize the need for protein, iron, and vitamins from fresh fruit and vegetables, but it is only recently becoming known that healthy fats are needed as well. A British publication noted that for a healthy reproductive system, a woman needs 25 to 30 percent body fat, while the American recommendation for women of child-bearing years is 21 to 33 percent. Healthy fats include coconut oil, whole milk, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and grass-fed butter and meats (with healthy portions of the fat included). A great primer in the study of fats is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Just as important as what you put in your body is what you don’t put in. Fats to avoid are shortening, margarine, vegetable oils like corn, soybean, and canola oil. Other no-no’s include artificial sweeteners, white sugar, white flour, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, caffeine, and soft drinks (even cherry limeades!). Not only are they empty calories, they are often toxic to the body.

Another crucial part of your lifestyle evaluation is your level of physical activity. At any time in life, exercise keeps the body feeling well, the joints moving, aches and pains dispelled, and increases overall vitality. To “get in shape” for pregnancy, it’s important to incorporate into daily life activities and exercises that increase stamina, flexibility, and cardio function. If you’re wary of exercise because of pain, I recommend you read Pain Free. I’ve followed its guidelines for almost a year now and have found incredible relief from aches and pains, while increasing my flexibility and balance.

When you exercise while pregnant, it’s important that you not burn too much fat. High impact aerobics and long distance running often burn more than the recommended amount of body fat for a healthy pregnancy. The key here is to research the regimen you will be participating in and maintain a level that’s right for you.

Join us tomorrow for Part 2 when we discuss choosing supplements and avoiding morning sickness. 

Mary Ewing has been with Beeyoutiful for six years (through three pregnancies!). She enjoys exploring life with her husband and five children as they cook, garden, play and dream of homesteading. Her interests include traditional cooking, learning about herbs and essential oils, and traditional art forms such as sewing, crocheting, knitting and smocking.

4 Natural Tools to Extinguish Pregnancy Heartburn

4 Natural Tools to Extinguish Heartburn

4 Natural Tools to Extinguish Heartburn Few things are more uncomfortable and dreaded in pregnancy than heartburn! I made this video when pregnant with our second, and these tips held true for me a year later through our third pregnancy.

Keep in mind that with heartburn, the motto “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very true. Focusing primarily on the positive things you can do to prevent heartburn is better than trying to address it when you’re already miserable.

While my midwives were aware of my health history and were comfortable with me using these tools, please make sure to check with your pregnancy healthcare provider before making any dietary changes or adding supplements to your routine. Watch this 4-minute video and then read my summary below!

1)   Take Raw Apple Cider Vinegar on a daily basis. Use it in a salad dressing or drink it diluted in a glass of water. Kombucha or Water Kefir can also be helpful. Any raw, cultured foods can also make a huge difference as they add enzymes and good bacteria (probiotics), as well as other miscellaneous nutrients that support digestion.

2)    Digestive Enzymes. Chewables work well for some, but others benefit from more concentrated broad spectrum enzymes.

3)    Probiotics. Since the purpose in this context is not for gut rebuilding but to assist in keeping the stomach calm, make sure they are in a form that is accessible directly to the stomach and not prevented from this by enteric coating. If using Tummy Tuneup (or a similar enteric coated probiotic), be sure to put the powder directly in the mouth so it benefits the stomach.

4)    Activated Charcoal. This is not to be used as a preventative, but is useful as a tool to quickly quell a problem that may flare up despite preventative measures. This should NOT be taken on a daily basis for very long, as it will not only bind with the excess acid causing the heartburn but can also bind with minerals and other nutrients that you’d much rather stayed in your body.

With these tips, your chances of experiencing a heartburn-free pregnancy just went up!

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