Asparagus spp.

Fresh Shoots – A. Officinalis.

Useful for mild cases of cystitus, fluid retention and for slight cases of edema. After urination you can smell a distinct aroma that is caused by t breakdown of asparagus in the system.

It is an excellent source of folic acid and selenium.

Dried Root – A. Racemosus / Shatavari (Ayurvedic Medicine)

Shatavari means “she who possesses a hundred husbands” due to its usages. Used for debilities associated with female sexual organs. It has rejuvenitory properties. It can assist with fertility issues.

About Shatavari

Recipe with Fresh Shoots

Prepare shoots for cooking. While preparing pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with oil. lightly spray shoots and roll in raw sesame seeds, lay on the cookie sheet spread slightly apart. Bake until the seeds are a golden brown. Enjoy.

Body Mechanics- I


As the baby grows in the womb, your center of gravity will shift. The additional weight in the front could create a swayback posture, causing discomfort on the lower back. The following suggestions to assess and alter your body mechanics will assist in having less discomfort.



Keep your head up. Looking down all the time will throw off your balance. Of course, you will want to look at the new bulge as it grows but doing so all the time will make your posture off balance.
Keep your chin level. When your head is held correctly, the shoulders will follow as well as the back.

Drop your Shoulders

Allow the shoulders to rest in a natural position. To do this relax the shoulders. If you tend to wear your shoulders up around your ears or slouched forward, your whole body will be off balance.
Try to avoid “throwing back” your shoulder blades. This will cause back problems. You may need to have someone massage the shoulders to allow them to relax into the correct position.

Avoid Tensing / Swaying the Lower Back

As your baby grows the weight will cause your back muscles to contract as a counter-balance of the shift in weight to the front. The tension of the muscles contracting may cause a backache.
A slight curvature of the back is normal. Avoid an exaggerated curve as it will cause a “swayback”. If there was chronic pain of the back before you were pregnant, it will only get worse from pregnancy. You may need to get Chiropractic attention if you already tended toward a “swayback” before pregnancy or if you had back issues prior.

Tilt your Pelvis Forward

Pull your abdominal muscles in, tuck in your buttock muscles, and tilt the pelvis forward. Doing this will counteract tendency of the lower back to arch abnormally.

Relax the Knees

Bend your knees slightly. Avoid locking them.


co sleeping

Co-sleeping as defined here is “bed sharing”. It means to share the bed with your infant, for the purpose of breastfeeding, as well as bonding. This could encompass the use of the crib or bassinet in the bedroom (in general) or beside you when you sleep or not.

In Gettier’s article, she distinguishes between those parents who intentionally share the bed nightly, and the parents who are reactive bed-sharers. A ‘reactive bed-sharer shares the bed due to having “child sleep difficulties and / or to ease nighttime feeds (9)”. This would occur less regularly and are for shorter periods of time. Those parents who regularly sleep with the child, have the child in their bed for the full night.


• If there are two parents within the household that choose to bed share both parents must agree to be
vigilant and responsive to the infant.

• Babies who are born small for gestational age should avoid bed sharing

• If the mother smokes, she should choose same room sharing, not bed sharing if she does not
shower nightly.

• Bottle feeding parents (without breastfeeding) should also use room sharing [never prop the bottle].

• Think of the safety of the baby, and suffocation. If you have a bed set, remove the mattresses (placing
headboards, et al into storage temporarily) and move the mattresses to the center of the room.
Babies and roll and move, get wedged between the mattress and headboard (or mattress and wall)
and suffocate.

• If you choose to keep the head and foot boards , eliminate the spaces that are between mattresses
and the head or foot board.

• Older children and pets should not be sleeping in the bed with the infant.

• Co-sleeping is not recommended if you are or have been drinking. Nor is it a good idea to share your
bed with baby if you’re doing recreational drugs.

• Bed sharing should be on a firm mattress, with no duvets or heavy bedding. Infants need to be away
from pillows or other bedding that may obstruct the infant’s breathing.

• NEVER co-sleep on a couch, recliner, or chair.


There benefits to bed sharing.
These include: higher percentages of breastfeeding rates, longer feeding times, increased feeding during the night. Keep in mind, babies tummies are small and they would therefore feed more frequently.

It is known that there is a greater immunological benefit in breastfeeding. It is known to be a “protective factor against SIDS (Vennemann et al 2009, Gettier, 10)”. Mothers who breast feed longer are less likely to develop breast cancer as well.

Babies who bed share are awake for shorter time periods than those who sleep separate. It is thought that bed sharing assists in a “synchronization between mother in terms of arousals and sleep stage shifts (McKenna and Mosko 1994, Gettier, 10).” Both mother and father seem to get much more sleep with bed sharing, than those who do not.


The Careful Decision to Bedshare. Lee T. Gettier. (2010) International Doula. Vol. 18, Issue 1

*A more detailed document is available at the Hokṡiyuhab Oti Childbirth Education Classes*

Effects of Tetracycline and Aspirin in Pregnancy


Tetracycline is a wide-spectrum antibiotic. During pregnancy it crosses into the placenta, and goes directly to the unborn child’s teeth. It may continue in affecting the teeth of the fetus causing yellow mottling and staining.

While the mother is taking the antibiotic, it can slow or stop the growth of bone in the unborn fetus. It should not be taken during pregnancy.



In general, aspirin or Ibuprofen are not recommended during pregnancy. Aspirin can interfere with the blood’s clotting action. Aspirin can also cause the premature closure of the vessel in the baby’s heart leading to high pressure (pulmonary hypertension).

If you have a headache, a few low-doses will not be detrimental. You should always ask your doctor first. If your headache persists, see your doctor.

If taking Aspirin in the days leading up to birthing Aspirin can cause some problems. It can produce difficulty in blood clotting in both the pregnant woman and the baby. It also can cause neonatal jaundice.


Kitzinger, Sheila. The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth. (1996) Alfred A. Knopf.

Lowdermilk, Deitra Leonard and Shannon E. Perry. Maternity and Women’s Health Care. 9th Ed. (2007) Mosby/elsevier

Effects of Marijuana on Pregnancy – Newborns


Marijuana: Effects on the Mother

Prolonged use may lead to apathy, lack of energy, lack of desire to work or be productive, diminished concentration, poor personal hygiene, preoccupation with marijuana – the amotivational syndrome

Effects on the fetus

Marijuana can easily cross into the placenta, and causes increased levels of carbon monoxide in the mother’s blood, reducing the level of oxygen to the fetus.

With more states legalizing the sale of Marijuana, there are more users. Those that smoke or exposure to the smoke from their significant others who smoke, Need to be aware of the effect on the unborn fetus.


One issue with Marijuana use, is that often it has other street drugs combined with the plant itself. Or additional THC is added to compound the effects. These two, and other contaminants can create the issues that will be discussed regarding the development of the fetus, and the later development of the fetus through early childhood.

There have been few definitive studies conducted on humans as to the effects of Marijuana on the fetus. “A new study in animals suggests that children who are exposed to marijuana in the womb may suffer from a variety of long-term problems even if they aren’t born with obvious birth defects.”

One of the components of Marijuana, that the researchers call WIN, has shown an effect in studies conducted on lab rats. Although, not causing birth defects, Marijuana does cause memory loss and inability to learn. “Researchers say they also found that WIN interfered with the release of a brain transmitter called glutamate, a key chemical associated with learning and memory processing.”

An Italian research team found that marijuana caused a disruption from “chemical and electrical processes in the brain during gestation (Bhattacharya)” in lab rats. The effects the study indicates, can be confounded by smoking, wealth, and urban living.

Even second-hand Marijuana smoke can affect the unborn fetus. It can cause your baby to be born premature, and have a lower birth weight, both are risks for the baby. Studies are few and far between, due to the risks involved on the fetus. “In the very few studies available, there appears to be an increase in the incidence of premature labor and low birthweight. In cases in which pot had been tainted with a stimulant (cocaine, for example), there was an increased risk for dangerously fast labors (less than three hours) and for placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterine wall)” states Dr. David Barrera.

Observation has shown that “…babies born to women who abused marijuana during their pregnancies display altered responses to visual stimuli, increased tremulousness (trembling or shaking), and a high-pitched cry — any of which may indicate neurological problems in development”. Later in the child’s development these children have a lack of problem-solving skills, and poor memory.

Based on a study conducted by University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, and colleagues in the Eunice K. Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, babies born to smokers of Marijuana are two times more likely to have stillborn babies.


Bhattacharya, Shaoni. Marijuana use in pregnancy damages kids’ learning. 25 March 2003

Hackethal, Veronica MD. Smoking Pot May Double Risk for Stillbirth. Medscape Medical News. December 9, 2013

Herbert, Clare. I’m pregnant and my partner smokes weed. Will it affect our baby? November 2014

How could marijuana use affect your unborn baby?

Sexually Transmitted Infections – Part 3


Transmission “is thought to be by entry in the subcutaneous tissue through microscopic abrasions that can occur during sexual intercourse (Lowdermilk & Perry, 182)”. It also can be transmitted through kissing, biting, and oral-genital sex.

The rate of transmission declined from 1995-2004. Syphilis continues to be at a high rate in the southern states.

Primary syphilis appears 5-90 days after as a lesion or chancre, usually painless. Then it erodes into an ulcer appearing sore.

Secondary syphilis occurs 6 weeks to 6 months after transmission. Its appearance is a widespread, symmetric rash on the palms and soles of the feet; with affected lymph nodes. Some individuals also have a fever, headache, and generalized malaise (under-the-weather sensation).

In the vulva, perineum, or anal area Condylomata lata may develop. If left untreated the female may enter a latent phase. If still left untreated, tertiary syphilis will develop, in approximently 1/3 of these women. In this third stage, neurologic, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, or multi-organ system complications can develop.

Screening and Diagnosis

All women who are diagnosed with another STI or with HIV should have a screen form syphilis. All pregnant women should be screened at the first prenatal visit.

Diagnosis is dependent upon the microscopic exam of primary and/or secondary lesion tissues during the latent or late infection. Serologic tests of antibodies may not be reactive, in early tests.

There may be false-positives with VDRL or RPR screenings. This is not unusual for several reasons, such as: drug addiction or acute infection. To confirm the positive results the use of treponemal tests, fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed (FTA-ABS) and microheagglutination assays of antibody to T. palidum (MHA-TP) are used to confirm positive results.

Testing should be repeated at 1 to 2 months when genital lesions exist. This is due to early exposure not showing results until 6 to 8 weeks after exposure.

Other STI tests should be done at this juncture, for chlamydia, gonorrhea, et al. HIV should be also offered as a test if indicated.


Penicillin is the preferred drug for treatment. Doxycycline, tetracycline, and erythromycin are alternative treatments. Tetracycline and Doxycycline are contraindicated in pregnancy.

Some pregnant women may get what is known as “Jarisch Herxheimer ” reaction, that may be accompanied with headaches, myalgias, and arthalgias . If the treatment occurs at the second half of pregnancy, it may cause early labor and birth. Their doctor should be contacted if fetal movement stops or if contractions occur.

Women should abstain from sexual activity during treatment and all evidence of primary or secondary syphilis is gone. She should also tell all partners that have been exposed, and that this disease is to be reported.

Sexually Transmitted Infections – Part 1

Chlamydia Trachomatis

This is a highly transmittable disease. It is difficult to diagnose, and the symptoms are nonspecific. It is very expensive to culture.

It is important to identify this disease early. Without doing so and not getting treatment, it can lead to salpingitis or pelvic inflammatory disease.

It increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and tubal factor infertility. If this disease has infected the cervix, it can cause a cervical inflammation leading to ulcerations…increasing the risk of HIV infection.
Women under the age of 20 are at highest risk for infection. They are 2 to 3 times more likely to have it.

Risk Factors:

Multiple partners
Not using barrier methods of birth control

Cervical cultures should be taken at the first prenatal visit. The use of silver nitrate on the newborn may not be sufficient to prevent the transmission of this disease from mother to infant. Early culture and treatment is a must.


For cervical, urethral, and rectal infections: doxycycline or azithromycin.
If the woman is pregnant: erythromycin or amoxicillin.
If she has HIV, treatment would be the same as those without.


The body undergoes physical changes in pregnancy in your balance, posture, and your mobility. Your center of gravity becomes thrown off due to abdominal protrusion in the front, enlargement of your breasts, and the anterior   (frontwards) rotation of the pelvis. In order to maintain stability, a pregnant woman tends to increase the strain on the back muscles and the vertebral column.

Another cause is the shortening of the hip flexor muscle group caused by the anterior rotation of the pelvis, as well as the increased size of the muscles of the abdomen. This is not helped when a pregnant woman leads a sedentary lifestyle.

Cross-legged Pregnant Woman


• Weight of the baby and the contents of the uterus
• Constipation
• Poor posture
• Standing for long lengths of time
• Urinary tract infections
• Over-working
• SCIATICA is a severe form of backache caused by the sciatic nerve being “pinched” or pressure placed on the nerve.
• The pain radiates to the legs
• Occurs due to growing baby and the womb that causes pressure on the nerve.
• The kidneys can also be affected, do the growing uterus causing pressure.


Good posture can assist sciatic nerve issues. When you improve the posture, not only will the backache be relieved but eating and breathing will improve. You find digestion is much easier as well.

Begin by keeping your head up, looking down throws your posture off. Keep your chin level. If you hold your head correctly your shoulders and back will automatically fall into place. Drop your shoulders to a position that is more natural, and avoid allowing the shoulder blades to be thrown back as it will cause a strain on your back.

Tuck your tailbone under to bring it into alignment. Pull inward the abdominal muscles and tucking the buttocks muscles…tilt your pelvis forward. This will act as a counter-balance to the tendency of arching the back.

• Wear flat comfortable shoes. Keep your knees relaxed, not locked
• Sit up straight in chairs and when you drive

Do stretching exercises, and / or exercise by walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, leg lifts and lunges, swimming, or Yoga. Avoid too many weight-bearing exercises . Doing exercise relieves muscle tension. It also Relieves emotional tension. Another thing you can do is to rock your hips, or make love passionately (no joke), the latter relieves pelvic congestion.

Relieve constipation:

• Constipation is directly connected to lower back pain and pelvic discomfort
• To keep from having constipation, drink more water and eat whole grains.
• Increase Calcium and magnesium (see: minerals hand-out).

Elevate your legs, preferably for 20 minutes a day (up on a chair or lying down with two pillows under them)


Keep cold or raw foods to a minimum (these increase kidney strain). Eat grapes, pears, and apples as these are the least “watery” of the fruits and are less strain on the kidneys.

Minimalize fruit juices, and caffeine. (coffee, black tea, chocolate, cocoa, and soda). They act like adrenaline in the system due the chemicals they contain. Adrenaline aggravates the kidneys.


If you are tired, feel overworked, or stressed you may be experiencing adrenal gland deficiency. The best herb to nourish the adrenals is nettle leaf, in a strong infusion (steeping for at least ½ hour). Nettle Leaf is one of the herbs found in your “Pregnancy Tea”.

Take St. John’s Wort and skullcap in a tincture form. About 20 to 30 drops in water or juice a couple of times a day. You can also apply the combination of Arnica and St. John’s Wort oils externally to relieve tension and promote the healing of the muscles of the back. It’s also helpful to use a warm water bottle on the area that has been treated with Arnica and / or St. John’s Wort.

Pre-Natal Tests

What are the Different Prenatal Tests Women are Offered?

The following discussion is about tests conducted,
beyond the usual blood panel and vaginal cultures…



As with EFM, there have been questions raised regarding the use of Ultrasound, as to whether it is actually useful and if it is safe. Just like EFM it was in use before the safety of Ultrasound was confirmed. Now it is commonly used, expected by pregnant mothers.

With its use, are three ways in which women are exposed to ultrasound. First, the Doptone used in listening to the fetal heartbeat. Secondly when doctors order its use during exams, in order to check the fetal position and its growth along with the placenta (and take a picture of the baby within the womb). Third, Electronic Fetal Monitoring uses ultrasound to detect the fetal heartbeat.

So is it SAFE? Well, no one really knows for sure. The “problem lies in what happens when energy-containing sound waves strike growing fetal tissues (Sears & Sears, 82).” It is uncertain if the delicate tissues become damaged on a subtle level.

What happens is the sound-waves bombard the tissues, shaking up molecules causing heat. The heating up of the molecules cause gas bubbles of a microscopic size in the cell which are called cavitation. It is uncertain whether the heat or the bumbles damages the cells.

Not like EFM, Ultrasound has improved the practice of Obstetrics. Since it seems to be safer than X-rays, it can be used to give a more precise dating of gestational age of the fetal in early pregnancy. It also is helpful to determine if the placenta has any abnormalities, whether there is more than one fetus, and if there are abnormalities with the fetus.

Unfortunately, no study has been conducted to confirm whether there is an improvement in the outcome of mothers and their babies. Most likely, there never will be any studies, either.

Maternal Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein (MSAFP) Testing
(also known as: Alpha-Feto Protein (AFP) Screen)

The best time for this test is between 15 to 18 weeks gestation. This time frame seems to be best because the results are the most accurate.
(AFT) Alpha-fetoprotein is a substance that is produced by the liver of a fetus. It enters the bloodstream of the mother by way of amniotic fluid and placenta. It is found in the mother’s bloodstream in minute quantities. In pregnancy the level of AFP raises in progression with the duration of pregnancy. An abnormal low or high level is an indication of fetal anomalies.

MSAFP test does not harm a pregnant woman. It does seem to have an unusually high rate of false positives. If a woman has a very high level she may be referred for amniocentesis. She could be subjected to more tests that have higher risks for both herself and baby.

  • AFP increases as the baby grows.
  • It reads as “elevated” for multiples and for neural tube defects.
  • It reads low when the baby has Down’s Syndrome
  • If baby is found to have anomalies then the choices are: abortion, or keep the baby.


How the test is done:

The doctor inserts a long, sterile needle through the abdominal wall and the uterine wall, into the amniotic fluid. The test is conducted with an ultrasound, so that the fetus and placenta can be viewed.

What does the collected Amniotic fluid tell the Doctor?

The fluid contains cells from the fetus that would indicate certain birth defects. Such as: Down’s syndrome, hemolytic anemia (the destruction of red blood cells due to an Rh disease)metabolism disorders, Cystic Fibrosis, and many other diseases. It can tell the doctor the maturity of the lungs if an early labor or Cesarean is indicated.

What are the risks?

Puncture of other areas of the uterine area, such as the umbilical cord, placenta, or another area of the uterus. It can cause infection or miscarriages.

Not only that, but if an inadequate amount of fluid is collected, or the cells of the fetus do not grow in the culture, another test will be necessary.

What Happens then?

  • If the baby is found to have a disorder, then the mother needs to choose what to do next. Does she keep or abort the baby?
  • Is the test able to screen for all disorders of the fetus?No it does not. In fact it can damage the fetus.


How is it done?

Tissues are removed from what will develop into the placenta. These tissues are gathered by one of two ways: either through the abdomen or the cervix, using an instrument to collect tissue while looking at the area.

At what point in the pregnancy is the test conducted?

The test is done at the nine to eleven weeks’ gestational point.

What would it indicate?

It would indicate whether there are any chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. It is not able to detect all the abnormalities that can be seen in an Amniocentesis.

What are the risks of taking this test?

The risks include possible damage to the embryo, damage to the uterus, infection, hemorrhage, and miscarriage. It should not be conducted when an infection is already present, if there is a known Rh factor, or multiple gestations. It has a high false positive rate.


This test is conducted around 24-28 weeks of pregnancy, and then repeated again at around 32-34 weeks for high risk mothers.

How is the test done?
A sweet liquid called glucola is given to her and then the blood sugar is checked an hour later. If positive, the doctor may then order the 3 hour test, which is more accurate. Only 15% of the women with abnormal results from the 1 hour test will have the same results in the 3 hour test.

Why would the test be important?

The hormones of pregnancy normally suppress insulin release, allowing more glucose to be released for the developing baby. Occasionally the blood sugar is too high (2-10% of pregnant women) causing blood sugar levels to be raised. This is condition called gestational glucose intolerance or gestational diabetes.

  • A lengthy exposure to the high blood sugar in pregnancy causes the infant to grow exceptionally large.
  • Babies of women with blood sugar issues also tend to be born prematurely and have respiratory problems.
  • The baby may manufacture too much of his / her own insulin instead. The manufacture of too much insulin would cause the baby’s blood sugar to drop quickly and dangerously once born.

Who would be at risk?

High blood sugar during pregnancy is more common in obese women, older women, and those who have a family history of diabetes, or in women who have delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds previously. If discovered early in pregnancy, by being tested, the pregnant woman can alter her diet to alleviate the issue of high blood glucose.


How is it Done and why?

A series of x-rays are done in which the radiologist measures various dimensions of the pelvic passage in order to determine if it large enough for the baby to pass through safely. These measurements are compared to tables of “normals”.

  • The test is done on a mother whose baby is failing to descend during labor.
  • If delivery is contemplated for a breech birth
  • Or if there is a previous history of a difficult birth because of a presumed cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD)*

What Problems Can it Potentially Create?

The X Ray Pelvimetry is being used less often because of concerns over safety and accuracy. Studies have linked X Ray exposure of the fetus to higher odds of childhood cancers. This correlation is not determined accurate because of conflicting study results.

Considerations Regarding the Pelvic Opening:

What is not considered is that the process of labor is an amazing one, that changes of position such as using squatting, can increase the pelvic outlet by as much as 20%. This test also only considers the outlet, not the size of the baby itself.

A newer technique using measurements of the pelvis by X ray and the size of the baby by ultrasound, called the Fetal Pelvic Index (FPI). It considers the size of the whole baby, not just the head. It is useful for those mothers considering VBAC who have had a previous diagnosis of CPD based upon X rays.


* To be discussed in a future blog.  Next topic coming up: Teen Pregnancy and Nutrition


Recipes – Part 2


Kale or Cabbage Chips









Kale OR cabbage
Parchment paper
Mrs. Dash “Original Blend”
spray oil


Rinse kale or cabbage, and turn on oven to 250 degrees. While it warms, Kale: trim all the green portions from center white/or red “vein” looking parts…for cabbage cut the center core out, and separate the leaves. For both Kale and Cabbage: chop into (about) 1 inch squares. Place baking parchment paper on a cookie sheet, arrange the pieces of kale with just a little space between each. Spray olive oil over the pieces and lightly sprinkle Mrs. Dash “Original Blend” over the pieces.

Bake checking often.
After the kale/ or cabbage cools, put into a covered container.


Hummus (plain)


olive oil
Garbanzo beans or “Chickpeas”


Drain and rinse 1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and put into blender

3 Tbsp. Of olive oil
Peeled and chopped up, 1 garlic clove
Squeeze in fresh lemon from one medium lemon
Start with 1 Tbsp. of Tahini (make sure you mix in the oil first); once you have gotten used to the flavors you can add more… up to 3 Tbs.

Blend (if too thick, add a little water)

Lightly sprinkle with paprika, when ready to dip.

(This recipe can be varied by adding:  a few artichoke hearts or olives).
You can eat this with pita chips, lightly salted corn chips, or with carrots, celery, radishes, etc.
The usual serving size is two tablespoons.

Nutritional Information: Tahini (1 Tbsp.) = 80 calories, 3 g protein, 1 g. fiber, 0 g. sugar, 37 g. sodium
1/3 of garbanzos = 105 calories, 6 g. protein, 0 g. sugar, 20% of daily fiber, 470 g. sodium (this is why they should be rinsed), Potassium 250 mg., 10% of daily iron, 2 g. fat, 4% of daily calcium
Olive Oil (1 Tbsp.) = 120 calories, 14 g. fat, 0 g. sodium



fresh parsley
olive oil
fresh basil
1 package of pita bread (preferably whole wheat)


Drain and rinse one can of olives, place into blender

Add a whole cup of fresh Basil
Add a whole cup of chopped parsley (preferably Italian)/ cilantro can be substituted.
1 Tbsp. Capers
1 squeezed lemon
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1-2 cloves garlic

BLEND (can be small chunks)

Serve on sliced sourdough bread or eat with pita chips

Baked Pita Chips


Whole wheat pita bread
spray olive oil

Preheat oven to 250 degrees, and line with parchment paper (for baking).

chop Pita bread into triangles
spray with olive oil
Bake until crispy (watch them, ovens vary)