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Getting Pregnant Naturally & the Benefits of Natural Childbirth

26 Jul

The links between Fertility, Sun Exposure, and Vitamin D

6 Jul

Water Birth

19 Jan

I frequently discuss birth options with my newly pregnant clients. ‘Should I have a home birth, birth center birth, or a hospital birth?’ ‘What is the difference between a certified professional midwife (CPM), a certified nurse midwife (CNM), or an M.D.?’ In pursuit of our goal to help shed some light on these questions, I encourage you to read this blog in our series from guest blogger, Elizabeth Spring.



Water birth is a topic that has been making recent headlines, and inciting conversation between women, obstetricians and midwives.

What are the Benefits?

Imagine yourself drawing a warm bath, slipping in and relaxing your cares away… Similarly, when a woman who is in intense labor settles into the bath or birth tub, the warm water alleviates some of the physical discomfort of labor by easing muscle tension and creating the effects of buoyancy. When the woman has less discomfort, she will naturally relax more and produce more of the amazing hormone oxytocin! Oxytocin – also called the “love-hormone”, is the primary hormone involved in love-making, labor/birth, and breastfeeding. This feel-good hormone causes more effective contractions while allowing the mother to cope with labor pains more easily. Studies conducted on the safety and efficacy of water birth to ease labor pain concluded that women who labored and/or birthed in clean, warm water were less likely to use analgesic, less likely to have severe perineal lacerations, had shorter first-stage labor (1) and were more satisfied with their birth – with no increased risk to the mother or baby (2), (3).

Common Concerns

Many people are concerned about an increased risk of the newborn acquiring an infection from a water birth, but studies show that there is no increased risk between water and land births (1). Another concern is that the baby may take a breath under the water, it is forgotten that the infant has been living in water for 9 months and that he is still receiving oxygen through the umbilical cord. You may have seen on your ultrasound that your baby is making breathing movements, this is to build muscles needed for breathing outside of the womb. 24-48 hours prior to birth however, babies stop practicing these movements due to the presence of the hormone Prostaglandin E. Until the newborn’s face makes contact with air, it will not attempt to breath unless it is in distress – which your healthcare provider would detect beforehand (4). Moms-to-be, consider adding a tub to your birth plan!  In combination with good health practices, water immersion has been established as a safe and comfortable method of child-birth, and an extremely helpful coping method during labor.

References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16147851
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15346814
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10971083
  4. http://www.arquitecturadematernidades.com/sites/default/files/administrator/BLOG/20140707BagneraVSpotro/estudio-queensland_waterbirth_2013.pdf

****** If you’re not pregnant yet, pre-conception care is what you do to prepare yourself to become pregnant. Come learn how to enhance your health in preparation for optimal fertility, a healthy full-term pregnancy, a straightforward labor, a rapid recovery, successful breastfeeding – and of course,a bright, healthy beautiful baby! Learn how nutrition, changes in body composition, exercise and sleep can positively impact female and male fertility and impact the health of any future pregnancy. 

The Midwifery Model of Care

8 Dec

I frequently discuss birth options with my newly pregnant clients. ‘Should I have a home birth, birth center birth, or a hospital birth?’ ‘What is the difference between a certified professional midwife (CPM), a certified nurse midwife (CNM), or an M.D.?’ In pursuit of our goal to help shed some light on this question, I encourage you to read this blog in our series from guest blogger, Elizabeth Spring.


The Midwifery Model of Care

Licensed midwives have specific guidelines on which they base their method of care. Midwives themselves vary as much as any one person from another, but their core beliefs and practice protocols are built upon the same foundation. The Midwives Alliance of North America and the Midwifery Task Force have defined this foundation in a statement titled The Midwives Model of Care (1), which  includes the following:

  • Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • Minimizing technological interventions
  • Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention

The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section while providing a healthy outcome for mother and baby (2).

 

From this foundation, midwives develop common philosophies of the midwifery model. The International Coalition of Midwives has written a document outlining common philosophies entitled The Philosophy and Model of Midwifery Care. Some of the foundational aspects included in this document are used to define the model of care that midwifery provides: 

  • Midwives trust that women are capable of natural childbirth, thus midwives partner with women to achieve each mother’s desired birth.
  • Birth is a natural physiological process, and pregnancy is a state of health.
  • Childbearing is a hugely profound experience in women’s lives.
  • Women should be supported in healthy choices for their pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Midwives are to be continuous partners with women in their decisions and experiences during this time, not authoritarian “providers”.
  • Midwifery care is holistic, avoiding unnecessary interventions and using a thorough knowledge of the expectant families’ cultures, beliefs, and life experiences. (3)

 

For other blogs in this series please see:  What is the Home Birth Experience Like? and Is Midwife Attended Birth Safe?

References

****** If you’re not pregnant yet, pre-conception care is what you do to prepare yourself to become pregnant. Come learn how to enhance your health in preparation for optimal fertility, a healthy full-term pregnancy, a straightforward labor, a rapid recovery, successful breastfeeding – and of course,a bright, healthy beautiful baby! Learn how nutrition, changes in body composition, exercise and sleep can positively impact female and male fertility and impact the health of any future pregnancy. 

What is the Home Birth Experience Like?

21 Nov

Lincey KnoxAs you can imagine we have a lot of newly pregnant women here at Holistic Wellness. It’s a huge perk of the job! I frequently discuss birth options with my newly pregnant clients. Should I have a home birth, birth center birth, hospital birth? Should I use a certified professional midwife (CPM), a certified nurse midwife (CNM), or an M.D.? I’m excited for you to read the following post regarding the safety of midwife attended birth from midwife and guest blogger Lincey Knox, LM, CPM

What is the Home Birth Experience like?

______________

When a woman is empowered to set the tone for her own labor and birth she will naturally desire a safe and relaxing atmosphere.

In a home birth setting, the client is surrounded by the scents, sounds, and familiarity (own bed, bathroom, etc) that she is accustomed to, adding to her sense of safety and security. Feeling safe and allowing one’s body to relax and surrender to the natural process of labor is important. “It is safe to say that a woman should give birth in a place she feels is safe…For a low-risk pregnant woman this can be at home…” The relationship built between client and midwife facilitates a sense of trust and security and is an important aspect of safety in home births. Trusting the caregiver allows a woman to focus on the task before her rather than being concerned about what procedures may be done to her or the baby, which you find in most hospital settings. Midwives provide woman-centered care for low risk pregnancies. A midwife enters the home of her client with an attitude of respect continuing to facilitate a feeling of trust and safety as the woman labors and births at home.

Studies show risk in home birth is equal to or lower than the risk of delivering in a hospital and is associated with a much lower occurrence of intervening procedures during labor and delivery.

“Recognizing the evidence that births to healthy mothers, who are not considered at medical risk after comprehensive screening by trained professionals, can occur safely in various settings, including out-of-hospital birth centers and homes.”

In the right setting, with a low risk mother/baby pair and a trained and trusted midwife home birth is safe. Research your options and find a midwife that supports you in choosing what is best for you and your baby!

For other blogs in this series please see:  The Midwifery Model of Care and Is Midwife Attended Birth Safe?

Byline: Lincey Knox, LM, CPM

For those seeking additional information, the paper, Care in Normal Birth: a practical guide from the World Health Organization is an amazing resource.

****** If you’re not pregnant yet, pre-conception care is what you do to prepare yourself to become pregnant. Come learn how to enhance your health in preparation for optimal fertility, a healthy full-term pregnancy, a straightforward labor, a rapid recovery, successful breastfeeding – and of course,a bright, healthy beautiful baby! Learn how nutrition, changes in body composition, exercise and sleep can positively impact female and male fertility and impact the health of any future pregnancy. 

Is Midwife Attended Birth Safe?

10 Nov

Lincey Knox, MidwifeAs you can imagine we have a lot of newly pregnant women here at Holistic Wellness.  It’s a huge perk of the job!  I frequently discuss birth options with my clients. Should I have a home birth, birth center birth, hospital birth? Should I use a certified professional midwife (CPM), a certified nurse midwife (CNM), or an M.D.?   I’m excited for you to read the following post regarding the safety of midwife attended birth from midwife and guest blogger Lincey Knox, LM, CPM

Is Midwife Attended Birth Safe?

Is Midwife Attended Birth Safe? As a midwife, this is probably the question I hear most often. While the mother generally asks about the more relational aspects of care, the father is often more concerned with the impact a home birth will have on the family’s finances – and more importantly – the safety of his wife and child. As a midwife, one of my greatest responsibilities is to help my clients make informed choices by presenting them with accurate facts and the most up to date information available. Midwives are advocates and a source of support for mother and baby.

Planned home births are chosen by more and more women. The questions surrounding the safety of home birth are currently at the forefront of several studies. Women who receive care with a midwife are receiving woman-centered, personalized care that empowers women to make informed choices about their prenatal care and labor preferences.

So what are the studies saying? Almost all of the studies examined showed that women who had a planned home birth with a midwife had significantly less vaginal tears, postpartum hemorrhages, episiotomies (3.1% v. 16.9%), and labors ending in cesarean deliveries (7.2% v. 11%).  With home birth deliveries there are fewer unnecessary antepartum interventions for both the mother and the baby.

OUTCOMES FOR NEWBORNS:

Depending on the study you read, you will find conflicting reports. Some studies show that the risk of home birth is too great to consider it safe, while others show that the incidence of neonatal death (death of a baby between days 1 and 28) and the rate of medical interventions are much lower at home compared to at the hospital.  Where the studies differ is in the outcome for the newborn. Some studies show that neonatal mortality rates are higher for women that choose a planned home birth with a midwife. However, it is important to point out that not all of these studies used “planned” home births in compiling their data. A planned home birth is safer than an unplanned home birth and should not be lumped together in the same category of home birth.  An unplanned home birth is often an unattended birth and thus the mother and baby are at increased risk as there is no provider attending to the mother/baby pair.  In addition, there are strict guidelines that midwives use in order for a mother/baby pair to qualify for a home birth. In cases where working within the safety of these parameters can not be assured, then a birth center or hospital birth is recommended for the safety of both mother and baby.

A study entitled “Outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician” conducted in Canada looked at home births with midwives vs. hospital births. This study showed perinatal death at a rate of 0.35 per 1,000 births for home births and 0.64 per 1,000 births for hospital births,. The study also showed other benefits of home birth including less need for neonatal resuscitation, decreased meconium aspiration, and decreased need for NICU admittance. The safety of the baby is reliant on the health of the mother, risk factors associated with her pregnancy, the overall feeling of safety and trust of the client in her caregiver, and the education and experience of the midwife attending the birth.

Stay tuned for part II of this blog!

References:

1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2742137/
2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2742137/
http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Planned-Home-Birth
4 http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Planned-Home-Birth
5 http://www.nct.org.uk/birth/home-birth-safe
6 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2742137/
7 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9271961

****** If you’re not pregnant yet, pre-conception care is what you do to prepare yourself to become pregnant. Come learn how to enhance your health in preparation for optimal fertility, a healthy full-term pregnancy, a straightforward labor, a rapid recovery, successful breastfeeding – and of course,a bright, healthy beautiful baby! Learn how nutrition, changes in body composition, exercise and sleep can positively impact female and male fertility and impact the health of any future pregnancy. 

Turn on Some Tunes

11 Jun

Turn on Some Tunes

Everyday the energy my (almost) 3-year-old son expels makes my jaw drop. Music is one of the tools my husband David and I often use to channel this boundless energy.

I’m lucky that said husband is a composer and plays the guitar beautifully. From the moment we found out we were pregnant – almost 4 years ago now – David has been singing to our son. Back then, at night before we went to bed, David would make “whale sounds” on my belly to calm our growing baby down so I could get some sleep.

Here are my suggestions for using music to joyfully rein in that, at times, overwhelming kid energy in a way that helps us cultivate peace and connection.

I’ve divided this up into a daily ritual because “transitions” and other stressful times during the day offer great opportunities to stop for a moment and honor the shift from one activity to another… Music could be used a background, but it’s even more effective when there is an official music break.

Morning Music:

  • Some mornings we put recordings of birdsong on to help wake up – seems as though it helps us get out the door since it sounds as if we already are! Feel free to flap your wings like a bird.
  • Once a week, my husband leads a drum circle at our little one’s school in Oak Cliff. An empty water cooler container makes a great makeshift hand drum – you can’t really destroy it! Drumming gives my husband time to connect with our son and watch him interact with his little friends.

Head over to D-Mom’s Blog to read more of Dr. Naumes’ music suggestions.

Cocoa is Good for Your Brain (Really!)

28 May

Cocoa is Good for Your Brain (Really!)

By Dr. Deneb Bates, ND

Taking steps to promote and protect brain health is important at any age. Short-term and long-term brain health is greatly determined by how we live, the choices we make, and the foods we eat. Fetal brain formation during pregnancy; childhood brain growth, development, mood, and function; and cognitive longevity in our adult years can all be impacted, either positively or negatively, by how we live our lives.

Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a critical time for brain development. It is important for a pregnant mother to have optimal nutrition so that her baby’s brain develops properly. Some of the most important nutrients for brain formation during pregnancy include adequate folic acid and Omega-3 essential fatty acids, particularly DHA. Folic acid is naturally found in green vegetables, like spinach and asparagus, and is also abundant in beans such as black-eyed peas and red kidney beans. Pregnant women should also supplement with a pre-natal vitamin to assure adequate folic acid intake during pregnancy.

DHA is an essential fatty acid that is especially important in brain and central nervous system development as well eye health. The standard American diet does not contain enough DHA for optimal health. Food sources rich in DHA include wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and anchovies. A quality fish oil supplement is an option for people who don’t eat fish regularly.

To read more of Dr. Bates’ post head over to D-Mom’s Blog.

Natural Remedies for Spring Allergies

15 May

Natural Remedies for Spring Allergies

This time of year, Dallas women often ask me if I can help them with their allergies. They are tired of taking Zyrtec, Claritin, or Benadryl on a regular basis and unhappy with the side effects that sometimes accompany such medications. For women that have experienced some of those side effects – such as headaches, fatigue, and even a possible (though so far unproven) connection to infertility – there is often a strong desire to understand why the allergies exist in the first place and what options are available beyond simply masking the symptoms.

 

‘Allergies’ is a term commonly applied to symptoms such as runny nose, conjunctivitis, asthma, hives, or eczema that often occur in association with a season or exposure to certain foods or substances like pollens, pet dander, or dust. In fact, a wide variety of symptoms and systems may be involved in allergic or ‘sensitivity’ reactions that occur when a person’s immune system no longer tolerates seemingly harmless substances. Although some allergies are fixed, correcting imbalances can minimize the severity of symptoms. Indeed, other sensitivities may be reversed entirely with the proper attention.

Read more of Dr. Naumes’ post over at the D-Moms Blog.

 

Green Products for Mom on “D-The Broadcast”

8 Mar


Dr. Naumes shares her favorite Green Products for Mom on “D-The Broadcast“.

Dr. Naumes speaks about Fertility on “D – The Broadcast”

7 Mar

Fertility Tips with Dr. Naumes on D Broadcast

Dr. Kate Naumes on “D- The Broadcast” discussing fertility tips.

The Importance of Preconception Care

29 Jan

Importance of Preconception Care

If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, your health in the months prior to pregnancy is more important than you might think. Preconception care is important for making healthy, happy babies. If a woman is in optimal health before conception, she increases her chances of having a full-term pregnancy and a successful delivery with minimal medical intervention. Cases of premature births, low birth weight, and health problems in newborns and infants could be prevented with proper preconception care.

According to an article in Midwifery Today, the health of the mother and the father prior to conception is reflected in the health of the pregnancy, delivery, and the new baby. As a further benefit, women who have gone through a guided detoxification program before conception have an easier time during the third trimester.

A licensed naturopathic doctor can work with you to set the stage for a healthy pregnancy. If you have already been trying to get pregnant for over a year or have been told that you have infertility, you may particularly benefit from working with a holistic practitioner. Just how effective is preconception care? The Foresight Study implemented a program of integrative preconception care for 300 couples struggling with infertility. Within two years, 89% of these couples that had previously been declared infertile had conceived naturally without the help of IUI or other similar fertility interventions. Of those who had experienced a previous miscarriage, 83% had given birth to a healthy baby within three years of the study without experiencing another miscarriage.

Read more of Dr. Naumes’ post over at D-Magazines DMoms Blog

The Safest, Most Effective Beauty Products for Expecting Moms

22 Jan

 

Safe Effective Beauty Products

 

During pregnancy, women often find that they are more mindful about the products they use every day on their skin. How can you find skin-nourishing and pampering products to enhance your glowing skin? Nature provides wholesome alternatives to the usual toxin-laden drugstore products. Choosing botanical and all-natural body products is important because most of what we apply on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream and can have effects on a developing baby.

The cosmetics industry is largely self-regulated and conducts little to no research on the long-term safety of their products. Unfortunately, conventional body products contain some hormone-disrupting ingredients that are toxic to the reproductive system. How can you avoid these? A good rule of thumb is to choose products with fewer, more natural ingredients whose names you can pronounce. Busy moms often want to switch to natural products but don’t know how to navigate the many options in the organic body care aisle.

Read more of Dr. Naumes’ post over at D-Magazines DMoms Blog

Optimizing Your Fertility

15 Jan

Optimizing Your Fertility

This week we’ll talk about some ways to naturally improve your fertility. As an added bonus, achieving your optimal state of health before getting pregnant makes it more likely that you will have a healthy, glowing pregnancy and a healthier baby.

The year leading up to pregnancy is a key window for making changes that support radiant health, inner beauty, and optimal fertility. Some of these changes might sound like your new year’s resolutions, so if you’re trying to get pregnant, here’s extra motivation to stick with them!

    1. Start decreasing your exposure to harmful chemicals now.
      • Reduce the pesticides that you ingest by choosing organic fruits and vegetables
      • Use all-natural body products, choose green cleaners for your home, and never dry-clean your clothes.

Read more of Dr. Naumes’ post over at D Magazines D-Moms Blog

Demystifying the Doula

28 Nov

What is a doula?

As a naturopathic doctor having also received training as a midwife, I frequently discuss birth options with my newly pregnant clients. Should I have a home birth, birth center birth, hospital birth? Should I use a certified professional midwife (CPM), a certified nurse midwife (CNM), or an M.D.? No matter what you choose, I recommend that you have a doula at your birth.

A doula, as it pertains to childbirth, is a woman trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and some informational support to the mother before, during, and right after labor.

Let’s cut to the chase. Doulas of North America (DONA) International reminds us of the following facts:

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications.
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience.
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans.
  • reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals.


Research shows parents who receive support can:

  • feel more secure and cared for.
  • are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics.
  • have greater success with breastfeeding.
  • have greater self-confidence.
  • have less postpartum depression.
  • have lower incidence of abuse.

Read more of Dr. Naumes’ post over at D-Magazine’s D-Moms Blog