Body Mechanics- I

START WITH GOOD POSTURE

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.

STANDING POSTURE

Head

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.

ProfessionalLaborSupport-Pt3

doula at workMONITRICE /MIDWIFE’S ASSISTANT

The Monitrice can assist in providing a continuity of care, from pre-pregnancy through post-partum. They are trained in all the basic skills that a midwife is trained, but without the certifications to actually “catch” the baby.

At the point of a woman going into labor, the Monitrice/Midwife’s Assistant attends the birth in the manner of a Doula. See the blog post: ProfessionalLaborSupport-Pt1 regarding how a Doula assists in childbirth.

A Monitrice/Midwife’s Assistant:

-Assists women with the pre-pregnancy and fertility issues they may have, along with natural birth control methods.

-Has knowledge of local resources

-Monitors the pregnancy with training in taking the blood pressure, FHT, and urine collection
They enter the labor room in a Doula capacity.

-Assist with neonatal care

-Supports breastfeeding of the baby

-May assist in post-partum care

-Knows alternative complimentary methods for pregnancy and childbirth

 

Backache

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

REASONS FOR BACKACHES

• 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.

RECOMMENDATIONS

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)

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

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.

HERBAL RECOMMENDATIONS

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.

Recipes – Part 2

SNACKS

Kale or Cabbage Chips

cabbagechips1000

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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)

INGREDIENTS

olive oil
garlic
lemon
Tahini
Garbanzo beans or “Chickpeas”
paprika

INSTRUCTIONS

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

Add:
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


Bruchetta

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

Ingredients:

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)

 

 

Pregnancy Diet

PREGNANCY DIET

 

food-pyramid-pregnancy

Plan your meals, AND SNACKS around fresh veggies and fruit, grains and legumes, and ample calcium-rich / protein-rich foods.


Start your day with a good breakfast:

-Helps energy levels
-maintains optimum weight
-Even just a small meal with some protein and carbs will be beneficial

Eat meals and snacks every 3 to 4 hours:

-snacks should include one fruit or vegetables with one serving from another food group.
– Fruit, or vegetable juice (non-sweetened preferably) can substitute for a fruit or vegetable serving.

THE 5-MINUTE MEAL

The trick to preparing a quick, low-calorie meals and snacks are advanced planning,
having a basic inventory of ingredients and the right kitchen tools/appliances.
Tools/appliances: microwave oven, slow-cooker, wok or non-stick skillet and a blender

Plan your meals using fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and legumes (beans), along with protein rich food. Try not to have canned fruits packed in syrup, eat oatmeal instead of granola bars, steamed broccoli instead of the packaged broccoli with creamed cheese…
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables when in season, as often as possible. Dried (unsulphered) is next best for fruit then frozen, instead of canned.

You can add Nuts such as:

almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts
peanut butter

And / or seeds such as:

pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds.


SUPER FOODS

Kale
Spinach
kidney beans
Tofu
Wheat germ
Broccoli
Papaya
Salmon
Non-fat Milk


PROTEIN RICH FOODS

Proportion size should be three ounces of extra-lean meat, skinless chicken, fish
or one cup of cooked dried beans, lentils, split peas or chickpeas.
~Limit eggs to just one per day.

CALCIUM RICH FOODS

Cooked black-eyed peas
Bok Choy
Low-Fat Cheese
Broccoli
Collard greens
Kale
Cottage cheese
Yogurt
Rice Dream
Whole grain Total cereal
Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle
waffles

GREAT GRAINS

Whole wheat bagel
Whole wheat breads
Sourdough bread

Cooked cereal:

Oatmeal, barley, farina
Cornbread
Whole wheat Pita
Rice, preferably brown
or white basmati rice
Noodles or pasta

QUENCHERS: Sparkling water, apple cider, apple juice, apricot nectar, carrot juice, grapefruit, grape, orange, papaya nectar, passion fruit nectar, peach nectar, pineapple juice, prune, tomato juice, V8 juice.

If you eat well, the occasional treat will not be a problem, so long as it is not a substitute for whole nutritious foods.

 

  • Drink at least 32 ounces water (by itself), a day. .
  • Drink tea instead of drinking coffee (it dehydrates).
  • You should try to drink at least two cups a day of the Red Raspberry Leaf / Nettle tea.

 

Herbal Teas – Part 5

red clover illusRed Clover
Trifolium pratense, L.

Constituents: Phenolic glycosides, isoflavones, flavonoids, salicylates, coumarins, cyanogenic, glycocides, mineral acids, vitamins

Actions: Alterative, antispasmodic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, possible estrogen activity

Common Names: Purple Clover, Trefoil, Cleaver grass, Cow grass

Medical Parts: flowers and leaves


USE:

Renal Conditions (233) IHONA

“Very soothing for the nerves” (233) IHONA

As a gargle for sore throats (234) IHONA

Promotes fertility, restores hormonal balance, and balances Alkaline/Acid.  (2) WWHCY

Useful for coughs, and colds…mucus congestion (220) TWOH

Stimulates the liver and gallbladder/for constipation and sluggish appetite. Outside the body a fomentation is used for rheumatic or gouty pains, and to soften hardened milk glands (395) THB

Ointment: Lymphatic swelling (128) CGTMH

Eye Infection (99) WWHCY

Homeopathic: Cancer, constipation, cough, mumps, pancreas (affections of), throat (sore, mucus in), Uvula (pain in). (234) IHONA

 

VITAMINS AND MINERALS: Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Calcium.

References:

Gladstar, Rosemary. (1993) Herbal Healing for Women. Fireside Books: New York.

Hutchens, Alma R. (1991) Indian Herbalogy of North America. Shambhala: Boston.

Lust, John. (1983) The Herb Book. Bantam Books, NY

Ody, Penelope. (2000) Natural Health: Complete Guide to Medicinal Herbs. Dorling/Kindersley Lmt.: London.

Romm, Aviva Jill.  (2003) The Natural Pregnancy Book: herbs, nutrition, and other holistic choices. Celestial Arts: Berkeley

Tierra, Michael. (1990) The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books: New York

Weed, Susan S. (1986) The Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Ashtree Publishing; Woodstock NY

Herbal Teas – Part 4

nettleNettle
Urtica dioica

Constituents: Histimine, formic acid, acetylcholine, serotonin, glucoquinones, many minerals (incl. silica), vitamins A, B, C, tannins.

Actions: Astrigent, diuretic, tonic, nutritive, stops bleeding, circulatory stimulant, promotes milk flow, lowers blood sugar levels, prevents scurvy.

Nettles take minerals, including iron, from the soil and the aerial parts are a good tonic for anemia; high vitamin C content in the plant helps ensure that the iron is properly absorbed. Clears uric acid from the system to relieve gout and arthritis, and the astringency stops bleeding. (131) CGTMH

Said to reduce Rheumatic problems, stimulates the digestive system and promotes milk flow in breastfeeding women. Used for excessive menstruation flow and blood in urine. (191) THB

Good for asthma, chronic and acute urinary complaints, urinary stones, nephritis, and cystitis. Nettle also used for helping with diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids and chronic arthritis and rheumatic problems. (202) TWOH

Nettle is considered to be an herb that is “rich” in calcium, iron, and numerous other vitamins and minerals.  It is an herb that is recommended for pregnant women who have low energy or suffer from chronic fatigue.  Nettle aids as a diuretic, to eliminate excess water from the body. This herb is considered a pregnancy “Tonic”, which stems from Native American usage as a pregnancy tonic, a preventative of hemorrhaging after birthing, and energy restoration after childbirth . (177) HHFW

It is an anemia preventative, reduces varicosities, and decreases the likelihood of hemorrhaging during childbirth. TNPB

Nettle will expel phlem from the lungs and stomach; clean the urinary canal, valuable for diarrhea, dysentery, piles, as well as inflammation of the kidneys.  IHONA

Nettle is known to increase male and female fertility, will assist in the rebuilding of kidney function as well as kidney stone removal. Eases leg cramps and muscle spasms.  High in Calcium, vitamin K. WWHCBY

VITAMINS AND MINERALS: The tea is a good source of Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A

References:

Gladstar, Rosemary. (1993) Herbal Healing for Women. Fireside Books: New York.

Hutchens, Alma R. (1991) Indian Herbalogy of North America. Shambhala: Boston.

Lust, John. (1983) The Herb Book. Bantam Books, NY

Ody, Penelope. (2000) Natural Health: Complete Guide to Medicinal Herbs. Dorling/Kindersley Lmt.: London.

Romm, Aviva Jill.  (2003) The Natural Pregnancy Book: herbs, nutrition, and other holistic choices. Celestial Arts: Berkeley

Tierra, Michael. (1990) The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books: New York

Weed, Susan S. (1986) The Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Ashtree Publishing; Woodstock NY

Herbal Teas – Part 3

nettle Nettle Leaf
Urtica dioica


Constituents: Histamine, formic acid, acetylcholine, serotonin, glucoquinones, many minerals (incl. silica), vitamins A, B, C, tannins.

Actions: Astringent, diuretic, tonic, nutritive, stops bleeding, circulatory stimulant, promotes milk flow, lowers blood sugar levels, prevents scurvy.

Nettles take minerals, including iron, from the soil and the aerial parts are a good tonic for anemia; high vitamin C content in the plant helps ensure that the iron is properly absorbed. Clears uric acid from the system to relieve gout and arthritis, and the astringency stops bleeding. (131) CGTMH

Said to reduce Rheumatic problems, stimulates the digestive system and promotes milk flow in breastfeeding women. Used for excessive menstruation flow and blood in urine. (191) THB

Good for asthma, chronic and acute urinary complaints, urinary stones, nephritis, and cystitis. Nettle also used for helping with diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids and chronic arthritis and rheumatic problems. (202) TWOH

Nettle is considered to be an herb that is “rich” in calcium, iron, and numerous other vitamins and minerals.  It is an herb that is recommended for pregnant women who have low energy or suffer from chronic fatigue.  Nettle aids as a diuretic, to eliminate excess water from the body. This herb is considered a pregnancy “Tonic”, which stems from Native American usage as a pregnancy tonic, a preventative of hemorrhaging after birthing, and energy restoration after childbirth. (177) HHFW

It is an anemia preventative, reduces varicosities, and decreases the likelihood of hemorrhaging during childbirth. TNPB

Nettle will expel phlegm from the lungs and stomach; clean the urinary canal, valuable for diarrhea, dysentery, piles, as well as inflammation of the kidneys.  IHONA

Nettle is known to increase male and female fertility, will assist in the rebuilding of kidney function as well as kidney stone removal. Eases leg cramps and muscle spasms.  High in Calcium, vitamin K. WWHCBY

VITAMIN AND MINERAL CONTENT:

Vitamins A, C, D. and K, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron and Sulphur.

REFERENCES

Gladstar, Rosemary. (1993) Herbal Healing for Women. Fireside Books: New York.

Hutchens, Alma R. (1991) Indian Herbalogy of North America. Shambhala: Boston.

Lust, John. (1983) The Herb Book. Bantam Books, NY

Ody, Penelope. (2000) Natural Health: Complete Guide to Medicinal Herbs. Dorling/Kindersley Lmt.: London.

Romm, Aviva Jill.  (2003) The Natural Pregnancy Book: herbs, nutrition, and other holistic choices. Celestial Arts: Berkeley

Tierra, Michael. (1990)  The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books: New York

Weed, Susan. (1986)  Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Ashtree Publishing; Woodstock

 

 

Herbal Teas – Part 2

Red Raspberry Leaf

Red Raspberry Leaf

Red Raspberry Leaf
Rubus idaeus


Constituents: (leaves) fragarine (uterine tonic), tannins, polypeptides.

Actions: (leaves) astringent, preparative for childbirth, stimulant, digestive remedy, tonic.


Infusion:

used for period cramps and discomforts, in pregnancy helps prepare the womb for childbirth. It is useful for diarrhea, sore throats, and mouth ulcers.  This herb is a cleansing diuretic. (113) CGTMH

“When combined with cream it will relieve nausea and vomiting”. Prevents miscarriage, reduces labor pains, assists in the increase of breast milk. (328) THB

The infused tea can be used also for menstrual irregularities. Tones and prepares uterus
for childbirth. (219) TWOH

Tones and nourishes the uterine muscles, and considered the “pregnancy tea”. Packed with vitamins and minerals, ” especially high in chelated iron”. It assists with enriches breast milk and milk flow. After childbirth, assists in restoration. (177) HHFW

It nourishes muscles and can be used for prevention of hemorrhaging due to the high iron content and its stringent quality.  (91) TNPB

Used by native peoples in soothing the kidneys and urinary tract, for relief of painful menstruation, a miscarriage preventative, aiding flow of menstruation yet if too abundant, will decrease the flow without stopping it. (231) IHONA

Red Raspberry will help with male and female fertility (when combined with Red Clover). Eases morning sickness, reduces labor pains and post-partum pains. It does not strengthen labor pains but allows the muscles to function properly and will assist the undelivered placenta. (19) WWHCY

VITAMIN/MINERAL CONTENT:

Calcium, Iron, Vitamins C and E, Vitamin A and the B Vitamin complex, as well as many minerals… two of which are Phosphorus and Potassium.

 

REFERENCES

Gladstar, Rosemary. (1993) Herbal Healing for Women. Fireside Books: New York.

Hutchens, Alma R. (1991) Indian Herbalogy of North America. Shambhala: Boston.

Lust, John. (1983) The Herb Book. Bantam Books, NY

Ody, Penelope. (2000) Natural Health: Complete Guide to Medicinal Herbs. Dorling/Kindersley Lmt.: London.

Romm, Aviva Jill.  (2003) The Natural Pregnancy Book: herbs, nutrition, and other holistic choices. Celestial Arts: Berkeley

Tierra, Michael. (1990)  The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books: New York

Weed, Susan. (1986)  Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Ashtree Publishing; Woodstock

Herbal Teas – Part 1

HOW TO MAKE AN HERBAL INFUSION

Herbal infusions are made with the “aerial parts”  of the plant. This would be the leaves, flowers, or “fruits”.  Generally, for most infusions you would heat your water to boiling, then add your plant matter to the water.  At this point, you would cover and let it steep 5-15 minutes.

For herbs used in pregnancy, the time allotted is a bit different.  You would want to let it steep a minimum of 2 hours. Some teas are better having been allowed to steep up to 8 hours.

If you can afford it, buy a good 4-6 cup teapot.  It makes this longer brewing process much easier.  You can also buy or make a “tea cozy” (a padded warmer for the tea pot) or wrap the teapot with a heavy kitchen towel. It will keep the hot water warm for a longer period of time, to allow for the longer steeping time frame.

If you are making a brew with roots, bark, nuts or seeds…you would bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat. Let it simmer for at least 30 minutes or until 1/4 to 1/3 of the water is gone.  This allows for the hot water to extract the portion of the roots, bark, or seeds that you need. This is called a: decoction.

For this set of discussions, you are going to use the infusion method.  This method works best for the teas I will be discussing in the next four blogs. The next four blogs will be information on the teas most recommended for women during the childbearing years. They are highly recommended for pregnancy, but can be a beverage to drink before and after pregnancy as well.

All the herbs recommended are packed with nourishing vitamin content.  The herbs are good for the body and good for the growing baby!

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