What You Need to Know About Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

Breastfeeding While Pregnant

If you are pregnant with your second (or third or fourth) or are considering becoming pregnant, you may be wondering about the safety of continuing to breastfeed your baby or toddler throughout your pregnancy. There’s a lot of misinformation about the risks associated with breastfeeding during pregnancy and we want you to have the necessary information to make an informed decision for you, your child and your baby-to-be. Here are the most commonly asked questions about breastfeeding during pregnancy. 

Is it safe for my baby-to-be?

In most normal, healthy pregnancies there is no risk to your unborn baby if you choose to continue breastfeeding your toddler (or baby). A common misconception is that breastfeeding during pregnancy will lead to preterm labor or miscarriage. In actuality, the uterine contractions caused by the release of the hormone oxytocin from breastfeeding are quite mild and no different than the contractions you might experience following sexual intercourse. If you have not been placed on pelvic rest and have a normal, healthy pregnancy, there is no reason why you cannot continue to safely breastfeed as there should be no harm to your developing fetus.

Under what circumstances is it not safe to continue breastfeeding during pregnancy?

It may be advisable to wean your current nursling if you have a high-risk pregnancy for any of the following reasons:

  • You are carrying multiples
  • You have a history of, or are at risk for, preterm labor
  • You have bleeding or pain in your uterus
  • You have been placed on pelvic rest
  • You have been identified as high-risk for any other reason that may make breastfeeding dangerous for you or your developing baby

These reasons alone do not mean you must stop breastfeeding at once but it is important that you discuss it with your healthcare provider who may advise that weaning is the safest option for you and your baby.

Are there any risks to my current nursling if I continue to breastfeed during pregnancy?

Fortunately, the amount of pregnancy hormones released into your milk is minimal and pose no risk to your current breastfeeding child. You toddler may find that you milk supply begins to decrease by the fourth or fifth month of your pregnancy or that the taste of the milk begins to change. Because of this, some toddlers and babies who are nursing while mom is pregnant will naturally self-wean. It is important to ensure that your current nursling is receiving adequate nutrition once you experience a drop in your milk supply. Particularly if your baby is under six months and has not begun eating solids or if they are over six months and breastmilk is still their primary source of nutrition, you will want to make sure they are receiving sufficient daily caloric intake.

What will breastfeeding while pregnant be like for me?

While many women go on to successfully breastfeed their baby or toddler through subsequent pregnancies and beyond, there can be some discomfort due to your rising pregnancy hormones. Up to 75 percent of women report having sore nipples during pregnancy which can consequently make breastfeeding painful at times. Some women also report feeling some nausea when their milk lets down but keeping light snacks on hand while nursing can help prevent this discomfort. In addition to making sure your nursling is getting adequate nutrition, it is vital to make sure you are also getting plenty of nutritive calories per day. During the second trimester of pregnancy, the average woman needs to consume an additional 350 calories per day. By the third trimester, it is recommended that you consume an additional 450 calories per day. When you are breastfeeding during pregnancy, in addition to those extra calories, you need to add an additional 500 calories per day for a nursing baby over six months and an additional 650 calories for a nursling under six months of age. A nutritious diet is important during any pregnancy but even more imperative while also breastfeeding your baby or toddler. Aside from a healthy diet, you’ll want to make sure you drink plenty of water and get as much rest as possible. Try laying on your side to nurse your toddler for naps and you may even be able to catch a few zzz’s yourself.

Deciding whether or not to continue breastfeeding during pregnancy is a personal decision that you should make based on your own comfort level and your toddler’s current nursing habits and physical and emotional needs. It also doesn’t have to be an all or nothing decision and you can decide to cut back the number of nursing sessions per day or to limit the amount of time your toddler spends at the breast during each feeding. This may be a good option if you want to continue nursing but are experiencing any discomfort such as sore nipples or nausea.

For questions about breastfeeding during pregnancy, prenatal care, natural birth, and other women’s services, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife or for a tour of our Birth Center. We are here to help you make decisions that work for you and your baby.

Why We Love The Business of Being Born (And You Should, Too!)

Business of Being Born Banner

Did you know that the US currently has one of the highest infant mortality rates among industrialized nations? Though you may find this to be shocking given the wealth of our nation and available technology, this issue is among several concerns about birth in the US that Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein set out to explore in their documentary, The Business of Being Born. This cutting edge documentary was created with the intent to provide women with a thorough examination of the current state of the birth industry in the United States. Through raw footage of empowering homebirths, candid interviews with mothers, doctors, midwives and other health professionals, and an analysis of common hospital birth practices, Lake and Epstein have created a provocative and informative film that is a must-see for all women. 

Why They Created It:

Ricki Lake initially sought to create a film examining common birth practices in the US after her own first birthing experience left her feeling unsatisfied and like something was missing. Interested in the factors leading to the decline of the use of midwives and the increase in the use of medical interventions, including C-sections, Lake hoped to expose some of the reasons women feel unequipped to have a natural birth. Epstein, a strong proponent of natural homebirth directs the documentary while pregnant herself and as you see in the end provides viewers with a firsthand account of why it is necessary to be flexible sometimes with your birth plan in spite of your own wishes.  

Why We Like It:

This film is all about empowering women to realize the tremendous and natural capabilities of their own bodies without intervention. Through extensive and awe-inspiring footage of natural births, The Business of Being Born successfully shows that women need not fear childbirth and that they have the strength within themselves that they will need to birth their baby. The post-birth euphoria that the new moms experience in the film is palpable through the screen and allows viewers to see some of what they might be missing should they feel pressured to undergo a cascade of medical interventions at the hands of their doctors. Lake and Epstein also take a look at the potential motivations for hospitals to encourage the use of interventions and in some cases even favor the use of Cesarean sections to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit. This film is beautifully feminist yet will appeal to any individual who is expecting a baby and wants their partner to have the dignity of the choice to have a childbirth that is best for her and her new baby. 

What You’ll Learn:

The Business of Being Born is a treasure trove of interesting facts about the history of childbirth in the United States, the decline of midwifery and the rise of and reasons for the medicalization of birth. A few topics explored in the film include:

  • The cascade effect of childbirth interventions 
  • The reasons many obstetricians are ill-suited to attend to natural births 
  • The economic implications to hospitals when allowing women to follow their body’s natural birth plan without intervention
  • The risks associated with repeat Cesarean sections
  • The primal bonding mechanism of the natural birth process
  • The relationship between the growth of technology and the changes to the childbirth industry in the US
  • The power, pride, and strength a woman experiences through natural birth.

The Take Home Message:

All women deserve the right to make informed decisions about their childbirth experience. Whether you choose to birth at home, in a birth center or at the hospital, you are entitled to the right to be educated, empowered and supported in the process. Lake and Epstein have created a powerful film that boldly personifies this mission through real life accounts, professional commentary, and raw footage. The Business of Being Born is a must-see for all women expecting a baby. This December, Health Foundations is thrilled to welcome the esteemed creators of this cutting edge documentary to our EVERY WOMAN CAN event at Aria. Lake and Epstein will give the keynote address during this night of celebration, community, and empowerment. For more information about EVERY WOMAN CAN, visit our website at http://www.everywomancan.co/.

Red Lentils with Sweet Potato and Apricots

Red Lentils

Want to increase your milk supply, combat fatigue and get a large dose of your daily vitamins all in one serving? Try this delicious, Moroccan-inspired stew complete with vitamins A and C, potassium, and complex carbohydrates. Apricots are also known for increasing your body’s prolactin production which is the hormone responsible for signaling your body to make more milk. Another great benefit of this dish? Purée the leftovers and make baby food!

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
  • ½ cup of chopped dried apricots
  • 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Fry onion for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently or until browned. 
  2. Add cumin and cinnamon and sauté for one minute or until spices are fragrant.
  3. Add water, lentils, sweet potato and dried apricots. Bring to a boil, cover pot and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes or until sweet potato is tender and lentils have broken down completely. 
  4. Add ginger and salt and simmer for two minutes.
  5. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro

** To create baby food from the leftovers, set aside one cup of mixture prior to adding ginger and salt and puree in a food processor.

Recipe transcribed from: Today's Parent

 

The Quick Guide to Natural Childbirth

Natural Birth

If you have decided on or are considering birthing in a setting like a freestanding birth center, it perhaps has to do in part with your desire to have a natural birth experience. It is estimated that approximately 85 percent of childbearing women are considered low-risk and are great candidates for a natural birth. But what is a natural birth exactly and what does it entail? Are there really worthwhile benefits to it and how much pain will I experience? These are all important questions when considering your birth plan. Here are the whos, whats, wheres and whys of the choice of natural birth.

What is a natural birth?

Natural birth is a vaginal birth that is free of pain medication and has minimal, if any, medical interventions. With a natural birth, the mother is in control of the labor process; she is a part of each and every decision, including when it’s time to rest, change positions and push, with her care providers acting as support throughout the process. 

Why do women choose to have a natural birth?

There are many reasons women choose to have a natural birth. Whether you are expecting your first baby or had a past birth experience that left you wanting to try something different, here are a few of the top reasons moms choose natural birth:

  • To have a sense of control over the birthing process
  • They view birth as a natural, normal, non-medical event
  • To have a sense of presence and awareness during birth
  • To have the ability to move about freely during labor
  • To have the ability to follow the lead of your body’s natural instincts
  • Less invasive
  • To avoid unnecessary medical interventions
  • To avoid undesirable side effects of pain medication to mom and baby (such as drowsiness, a drop in blood pressure or nausea)
  • To avoid undesirable side effects of pain medication on labor (such as slowing or stopping the progress)
  • A sense of empowerment
  • Reduced risk of certain interventions such as the use of synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin), forceps and vacuum extraction
  • The ability to eat and drink throughout labor

Where do women have natural births?

While you can absolutely have a natural birth in a hospital setting with the right supportive team and a clear birth plan, you might find that a birth center is more conducive to your goal of a natural delivery. Birth centers tend to place a strong emphasis on empowering women to realize the amazing capabilities of their own bodies without intervention or pain medicine. Some hospitals are equipped with a birth center which gives you the benefit of a comfortable environment that is supportive of natural birth while also having access to medical professionals, equipment, medications and procedures should a complication arise. Another option for natural birth is having your baby in your own home. This approach typically includes the attendance and care of a midwife. 

Who can have a natural birth and who attends them?

As previously stated, approximately 85 percent of women are considered great candidates for a natural, vaginal delivery. However, in order to plan for a natural delivery, a woman should ideally have a low-risk pregnancy with few complications or other existing serious conditions. 

A natural birth can be attended by a doctor or midwife, along with a birth assistant and a doula, depending on your setting and personal preferences. Continuous care and support from a midwife or doula throughout labor has been associated with lower rates of the use of pain medicine, incidence of C-sections and other interventions in addition to shorter labors and greater overall satisfaction with the birth experience.

How do women cope with the pain of a natural birth?

Every woman will experience the pain of childbirth differently. Fortunately, there are many alternative forms of pain management that can be used during a natural birth instead of medication or an epidural. Here are just a few of them:

Nitrous oxide for Labor Pain
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Water immersion/water birth
  • Massage
  • Relaxation
  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture
  • Visualization
  • Hot/cold compresses
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Deep breathing
  • Yoga
  • Changing positions
  • Distraction
  • Visual imagery
  • Meditation
  • Walking
  • Hypnosis
  • Birthing ball

Consider taking some child birth preparedness classes that focus on natural birth and pain management. The better prepared you are, the more tools you will have to help you achieve your goal of a natural birth.

What if something goes wrong?

The most important thing with any birth plan is to approach it with flexibility and a willingness to heed the advice of your caregivers who have you and your baby’s best interest at heart. While having a natural birth is typically very safe, complications do arise occasionally where medical interventions are not only suggested but necessary. Beginning with a caregiver that you trust is an important step to helping you feel confident and comfortable in the event that a change is made to the plan involving unexpected interventions. Just know that no matter what course your birth ends up taking, whether it is perfectly natural or ends in a C-section, you and your body have done an incredible, life-giving thing. There is no shame in a birth that does not go as planned.

For questions about natural birth, prenatal and postpartum care and all other women’s care services, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. Our goal is to support you in realizing your body’s tremendous strength and potential.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad For an Achy Tummy

Photo via recipeshubs.com

Photo via recipeshubs.com

This light and summery salad is a great lunch or dinner option from the first trimester on. With tummy calming ingredients like ginger and mint and plenty of protein to help you meet your daily needs, this salad is the perfect meal for any mom to be.

  • 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 chunk of ginger root, peeled 
  • 1 serrano chile, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 5 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of whole peppercorns
  • 1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound of heavy savoy or Napa cabbage, shredded
  • ½ cup of chopped scallions, green parts only
  • ½ cup of loosely packed cilantro
  • ¼ cup of loosely packed mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger, freshly grated

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  2. For chicken, place 2 quarts of water in a medium saucepan on high heat. Add celery, onion, carrot, ginger, chile, garlic, soy sauce, cloves, and peppercorns.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to cook uncovered for 5 minutes. 
  4. Add chicken breasts to saucepan, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes until chicken is 
  5. Strain broth and set aside. Discard vegetables and set aside chicken to cool.
  6. To prepare the salad, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  7. In a large bowl, toss cabbage, carrots, scallions, cilantro and mint leaves.
  8. Place on serving platter and mound chicken on top.
  9. Drizzle with dressing, garnish with roasted peanuts, serve and enjoy!

10 Cool Facts About Nitrous Oxide for Labor Pain

Nitrous Oxide In Labor

Rapidly increasing in popularity in the US, nitrous oxide is a safe and affordable option for pain relief during labor in both hospitals and birth centers alike. With both anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) and analgesic (pain reducing) effects at low doses, nitrous oxide is becoming the choice of many women who want to forego or postpone more invasive options like an epidural yet wish to have some relief from pain intensity throughout labor and birth. Here are ten cool facts about the use of nitrous oxide during labor that you may not know!

  1. Nitrous oxide was commonly used for pain relief during labor in the US up until the 1960s and 1970s when the use of the epidural rapidly popularized. With the rise of epidurals, the use of nitrous oxide became virtually obsolete until around 2011 when midwives began bringing the practice back. You will now find nitrous oxide available for pain relief during labor in over 100 hospitals and over 50 birth centers in the United States. 
  2. While the use of nitrous oxide for labor pain plummeted in the US with the inception of the epidural analgesic, the practice remained commonplace in other areas with sophisticated healthcare systems around the world such as Australia, Europe, New Zealand and Canada.
  3. While many believe that the nitrous oxide received during labor is the same as what you receive at the dentist, it’s actually less concentrated. When you utilize nitrous oxide during labor, the gas you are receiving is 50 percent N2O and 50 percent oxygen. Dentists use varying concentrations of nitrous oxide for their patients but can use up to 70 percent N2O and only 30 percent oxygen.
  4. Another way that nitrous oxide for labor is different than the nitrous oxide you receive at the dentist is that during labor it is controlled by the woman only. You will be given a handheld mask that contains a demand valve which opens to release the nitrous oxide when you inhale. When you exhale, the valve will close. This allows the woman in labor to use the nitrous oxide when she feels she needs it and to place it aside when she does not. This is much different than an epidural which is inserted into your spine and typically gives a continuous dose of analgesic throughout the rest of labor. Conversely, once you remove the nitrous oxide mask during labor, the effects will dissipate in about five minutes.
  5. While epidurals typically remove or greatly lessen the pain of labor, women who have used nitrous oxide report that they still feel the pain but their perception of it is altered. Because of the anxiety-reducing effects of the nitrous oxide, many women are better able to handle difficult contractions and other painful parts of the process with its use.
  6. You may begin using nitrous oxide for pain relief at any stage of labor or even post-delivery. There is no cut off in the process of labor when the treatment becomes unsafe making it a great option for moms who wish to try to make it as far as they can without any sort of medical intervention. Some mothers even decide not to use it until they are undergoing repairs following the birth for any tears occurred.
  7. If there was not an initial need for continuous fetal monitoring of your baby prior to your decision to use nitrous oxide, there will be no need for continuous monitoring after. You will still be free to move about, change positions, use a birthing ball or tub or any other position you wish to labor in after you have used the nitrous oxide. Your midwife or doctor will just want to ensure you are not experiencing any dizziness from the treatment before you go walking around but this is a quite uncommon side effect.
  8. There has been no evidence found that the use of nitrous oxide during labor slows the progression of labor at all. Particularly because you are able to move about freely in positions that are conducive to birthing, baby is able to further make his way into the birth canal. Nitrous oxide also does not impede the body’s natural production of oxytocin which is necessary for labor to progress.
  9. One of the most important factors to know when considering the use of nitrous oxide during labor is that it is safe for both mother and baby. Unlike certain narcotics that are often used during labor such as fentanyl, there is no risk of depressing baby’s breathing with nitrous oxide. It also should not negatively impact the infant’s alertness upon delivery and consequently, there should not be an effect on his ability to breastfeed and bond with the mother or father during the time period following delivery.
  10. Although unfortunately many insurance companies do not cover nitrous oxide treatment for labor at this time, the cost of nitrous oxide is significantly cheaper than having an epidural. And, unlike an epidural which requires a hospital birth and the presence (and a bill from) an anesthesiologist, nitrous oxide can often be offered at a birth center by a midwife.

If you are considering alternative options for pain control during labor, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife to discuss the benefits and risks associated with the use of nitrous oxide. We’d be happy to give you a tour of our Birth Center and answer any questions you might have about delivering at our Center and becoming part of the Health Foundations family.

 

Pregnancy Nachos Loaded with Fiber, Calcium, Protein and Folate

Pregnancy Nachos

You probably didn’t think it was possible that someone would recommend nachos as a healthy food while you are pregnant. It sounds just about as likely as your midwife recommending you visit the McDonald’s drive-thru. But, believe it or not, these nachos are actually healthy. Loaded with fiber, calcium, protein and folate, here’s how to feel like you’re cheating without actually cheating.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce of corn chips
  • 1/3 cup of kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped olives
  • 1/4 cup of shredded reduced-fat cheese
  • 1/2 cup of shredded lettuce of your choice
  • 3/4 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup of fresh salsa
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Layer corn chips with kidney beans, olives and shredded cheese on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake in oven or toaster oven for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  3. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and Greek yogurt.
  4. Enjoy

Recipe transcribed from: Parents.com
 

 

Five Things to Expect During Your Postpartum Recovery

As mothers and mothers to be, we typically spend a great deal of time planning and preparing for our child’s birth. We read books, take prenatal classes, write birth plans, pack bags, wash, fold and organize baby laundry and so much more in preparation for the big day. Very few of us however, give much thought to what the postpartum period will be like for OUR bodies. Consumed with the excitement of our baby to be, we may forget that once we bring home our bundle of joy we too will need care, rest and healing as we recover from the amazing feat of giving birth. Here are 5 things to expect from your postpartum recovery.

  1. Heavy bleeding: As your body sheds the uterine lining and also bleeds from where the placenta was attached, you will experience heavy bleeding known as lochia. You may see blood clots in this bleeding and it will likely appear bright red at first. The intensity of the bleeding should subside with time and gradually turn to spotting before it stops. Typically, this should last approximately 2-6 weeks after you give birth. To prepare, stock up on heavy duty overnight strength sanitary pads, mesh panties and even adult diapers can be a great option. This applies whether you had a vaginal delivery or a C-section.
  2. Some pain and discomfort: Take a moment to consider what an incredible thing it is that your body is going to birth a 6-10 pound baby. With this incredible miracle comes hard work and its fair share of aches and pains. Whether you have a natural birth or a C-section, you can expect to experience some cramping, soreness, muscle aches and joint pains. With a vaginal delivery you may also experience some burning and soreness of the perineum and with a C-section, pain at the incision site and abdominal pain as you recover from major surgery.
  3. Hormonal side effects: As your body seeks to adjust hormonally after giving birth, you will likely experience a few unpleasant side effects. These may include fluctuating emotions and weepiness, hot flashes, night sweats and chills, and continued feelings of clumsiness from the production of the hormone relaxin. Give yourself some grace during this period as you may not feel like yourself despite your excitement over your new baby. If you are concerned that the baby blues may be developing into something more serious like postpartum depression, contact your midwife, doctor or a counselor for support. There are many wonderful resources available for women suffering from postpartum depression. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 
  4. Breast changes: As your milk comes in after baby is born, you may experience some engorgement and sore nipples and breasts as your supply adjusts to meet baby’s needs. You may also notice that your nipples appear darker. If you are recovering from a C-section, breastfeeding can initially be more challenging due to pain from your surgery and having to find a position that is comfortable for you and your newborn while you heal. Fear not though, it will get easier with time and your milk supply will adjust as you and your baby find your rhythm. Consider having nipple pads on hand for leaking breasts, cooling pads or ice packs for sore breasts and a nipple cream for aching and cracking nipples. Be sure to signup for our next Pumptalk 101 class if you have extra questions or would like some more suggestions.
  5. Constipation, incontinence, and frequent trips to the bathroom: Depending on how you delivered and your own personal recovery, you may experience a period of constipation following giving birth and/or urinary or fecal incontinence. A vaginal delivery can cause temporary nerve damage around the bladder making it more difficult to sense when you need to go to the bathroom. You may also have weakened bladder muscles, hemorrhoids and though less common, tears to the anal sphincter causing fecal leakage. Conversely, you may also experience constipation due to the slowing of your metabolism and digestive tract. Talk to your doctor or midwife for effective ways to manage these various side effects.

It’s not uncommon for the postpartum period to be filled with excitement, exhaustion, trepidation and feeling a bit overwhelmed. Make sure that amidst all the emotions and adjustments, you allow time for your own care and recovery. Your body has just undergone the incredible journey of childbirth and needs time to rest and heal so that you can focus on caring for your new, beautiful baby. 

Curry Egg Salad Wraps

Curry Egg Lettuce Wrap

Choline, Vitamin E and folate are just a few of the essential prenatal nutrients that you will find in this tasty variation of a lunch time classic. Want to add some carbohydrates and fiber? Simply modify the recipe to include whole grain toast in lieu of lettuce leaves.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons of light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon of curry powder
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • ¼ cup of finely chopped radishes
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup of sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup of chopped fresh parsley (or dill, chives or cilantro)
  • 8 large Bibb, Boston or Butter lettuce leaves

Directions:

  1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. When water reaches a boil, immediately cover saucepan, remove from heat and let sit for 12 minutes.
  2. Remove eggs from saucepan and place in ice water for 3 minutes. When cool, rinse under cold water and peel. Chop eggs coarsely.
  3. Stir together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and curry powder in a large bowl and add chopped eggs once blended.
  4. Add the celery, radishes, red onion, parsley, and sunflower seeds and blend everything together. 
  5. Divide egg mixture among lettuce leaves and roll to create wraps.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: fitPREGNANCY

Pregnancy After Miscarriage: Common Concerns & Questions

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images

Pregnancy following a miscarriage can feel like a rollercoaster of emotions. While miscarriages are unfortunately quite common, occurring in approximately 10-20 percent of pregnancies, they can often make the miracle of pregnancy feel like it’s lost some of its innocence. An experience that was once only filled with excitement and joy is now riddled with anxiety, questions, lingering grief and doubts. Here are some common concerns and questions you may have if you are trying to get pregnant again following a miscarriage.

Why did it happen to me? 

One of the most difficult aspects of having a miscarriage can be the feeling of not understanding why it happened. Having answers or a reason why something has happened can sometimes make it easier to accept and move forward. With miscarriages, there is often no explanation, leaving the parents feeling bewildered and distraught. In most cases, miscarriages occur because the fetus is not developing properly or there is a chromosomal abnormality. The abnormalities occur by chance as the embryo develops and have nothing to do with anything you did or did not do during or before your pregnancy. It is rare that a miscarriage happens due to something inherently wrong with the mother’s health or habits. Typically, in these uncommon cases there is an existing health condition such as poorly controlled diabetes or an undiagnosed uterine problem. More often than not, the cause is unknown.

Will it happen again? 

Because most miscarriages are typically due to unexplained and random chromosomal abnormalities, your chances of having another miscarriage remain about the same as your previous pregnancy: between 10 and 20 percent. However, only approximately 2 percent of women have two miscarriages in a row, so you can take comfort in knowing that the chances of this occurring are rare. Most women fortunately go on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. 

Is there anything I can do to prevent it? 

Unfortunately, because miscarriages are often due to random chromosomal abnormalities or the fetus not developing properly, there is usually nothing that can be done to prevent their occurrence. However, there are measures that you can take prior to and during pregnancy to help ensure a healthy, full-term pregnancy for you and baby. These include:

  • Starting a regular prenatal vitamin regimen several months prior to trying to conceive
  • Eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol, recreational drug use and excessive caffeine consumption before trying to get pregnant
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a nutritious and balanced diet
  • Avoiding risky activities, contact sports and other scenarios in which you might experience abdominal trauma.

Am I ready to be pregnant again? 

This is a question that only you (and your partner) can truly answer. Miscarriages can be physically and emotionally trying and allowing yourself time to grieve the loss of your baby is an important step towards healing. It is not uncommon to feel sadness, anger, confusion, and even guilt following the loss of a pregnancy. Take the time necessary to process your grief, whatever that time frame may be.

How long do I need to wait before trying to get pregnant again?

Following a miscarriage, it’s not uncommon to be wondering when you can try to get pregnant again. For many women, the urge to become pregnant again with a viable pregnancy becomes quite strong following a loss. If you are eager to conceive again after your miscarriage, talk to your doctor or midwife to determine when it is safe for you to try again. Typically, you will be advised not to have sex for two weeks following the miscarriage to prevent infection. If you do not experience any complications, your period should return within six weeks and your cycle should return to normal. Although many doctors and midwives will advise you to wait one or two menstrual cycles before trying to conceive, some research suggests that there is no medical need to wait. 

What will I do if it happens again?

If you do experience more than one miscarriage, it is a good idea to ask your doctor or midwife about having additional testing done to rule out any underlying medical issues that may be causing them to occur. This may include hormone imbalances, uterine fibroids, obstructions in the fallopian tubes, autoimmune disorders and other medical issues affecting fertility and pregnancy. Tests that your doctor or midwife might order include bloodwork, ultrasounds, chromosomal tests, and other exams and procedures to rule out problems with uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes.

How can I process the grief I’m experiencing?

It’s not uncommon to feel alone in your grief following a miscarriage as they are unfortunately often not a subject that is openly discussed. Particularly if the loss occurred before you had shared the news of your pregnancy with family and friends, you might feel as though you have no one to turn to as you process your grief. The grief that accompanies the loss of a pregnancy should not be experienced alone. Reach out to friends and family members who can support you during this time and who may have even experienced loss themselves. Seek out online support forums for women who have experienced a miscarriage to connect and hear stories of hope and future pregnancies. Let your partner know how they can best support you during this time whether it’s simply through listening or through creating some sort of small memorial honoring your baby in your home. Talk, write, cry, listen, hug and grieve as long as you need to in order to move past this difficult time in your life.

Trying to conceive and becoming pregnant following a miscarriage can be a scary and confusing journey. Take comfort in knowing that most women will go on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies following a miscarriage. For more information about coping with loss, pregnancy, natural birth, the postpartum period and infant care, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife. We would love to support you in your journey.

The Facts on Circumcision: FAQ's & What You Need To Know

Baby Boy Circumcision

There are few topics surrounding newborns that can incite such heated debates as the decision of whether or not to circumcise baby boys. For many families, the decision to circumcise their sons is easily made for cultural or religious beliefs, or simply wanting them to be like dad. But critics of the circumcision often liken the procedure to female genital mutilation and denounce its inherent risks and long-term consequences. No matter what decision you make for your son, the important thing is that you educate yourself on the risks and benefits beforehand and choose the path that is right for your family. Here’s what you need to know.

What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis exposing the glans or penis head. Circumcision is a surgical procedure typically done within the first ten days of life by a doctor in the hospital or pediatricians’ office, or in religious exceptions, in the home. 

How common is circumcision? 

Although circumcision rates are declining with more and more parents choosing to forego the procedure, approximately 55 percent of infant males are still routinely circumcised. 

Does circumcision have health benefits?

Research suggests that circumcision reduces the risk of urinary tract infections in infants by up to 90 percent and penile cancer in older men by more than 50 percent. However, these conditions are rare in uncircumcised individuals as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics does acknowledge that circumcision reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Does circumcision have risks?

Like any surgical procedure, circumcision does have risks. Complications occur in approximately .2-2 percent of circumcision procedures and may include bleeding, infection, negative reaction to anesthesia or problems with the foreskin such as failing to heal properly or reattachment to the end of the penis. Fortunately, complications are rare and are typically easily addressed with treatment. 

Will circumcision hurt my baby?

With proper use of a local anesthetic, the pain experienced by the infant will hopefully be minimal. Historically, doctors did not use any sort of anesthesia or pain relief prior to the procedure which can be quite painful. Fortunately, now, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants receive a topical or injectable anesthetic before being circumcised. Talk to your doctor about what type of anesthetic will be used for your baby before the procedure. 

Is it more hygienic to have my baby circumcised?

Both a circumcised and an uncircumcised penis require gentle cleansing with warm water. If you choose not to circumcise your son, it is not necessary to retract the foreskin to clean beneath it. This will happen on its own typically before puberty. As your son ages , it’s important to instruct him on how to properly cleanse his penile region whether he is circumcised or not just as you would with other areas of bodily hygiene. 

If I choose to have my son circumcised, how long will it take to heal?

Circumcisions typically take 7-10 days to heal. The doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to care for the penis as it heals. During this time, take special precautions to clean the area gently and apply petroleum jelly during diaper changes to prevent the incision site from sticking to the diaper. Do not use baby wipes on the incision site.  

The decision of whether or not to circumcise your son is a personal, family decision that should be dealt with as such. If you have questions or concerns about the procedure or would like more information, contact a pediatrician before he is born to set up a time to talk. As with any medical procedure, it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of the risks and benefits beforehand so that you can make an informed decision that is best for your child. 

For questions about pregnancy, natural birth, infant care and the postpartum period, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

Green Tea Poached Salmon with Buckwheat and Lemon Basil Oil

Poached Salmon Salad

Looking for a light, flavorful and healthy option to satisfy your pregnant appetite? Loaded with DHA, magnesium and fiber, this salmon dish is the perfect nutritious meal for the expectant mama. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of loose-leaf green tea or 3 green tea bags
  • 4 slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup of kasha buckwheat
  • ½ cup of fresh basil
  • Juice of ½ of a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 pound of wild salmon filet, sliced into quarters
  • 1 fennel (anise) bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • Lemon wedges

Directions:

  1. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Place green tea, ginger and peppercorns in the pan, turn off heat and let steep for 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add buckwheat and reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Mix basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a blender or food processor until well mixed.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove solids from tea pan. Place salmon in tea broth and bring to a slight simmer. Cook for 8 minutes or until salmon is opaque and flaky. Adjust heat as needed.
  5. Break up salmon with a fork once cooked and toss with fennel, buckwheat and green onion in a large bowl. 
  6. Divide among plates and drizzle with basil dressing.
  7. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: fitPREGNANCY

Nutrient-Rich Avocado Chocolate Mousse Desert

Avocado Chocolate Mousse Desert

Avocados have been called the pregnancy superfood and now you can even have them for dessert! This delectable Avocado Chocolate Mousse is rich in potassium and folate, both which are essential in pregnancy. This recipe feels like an indulgent treat but has the added bonus of being packed with pregnancy approved nutrients!

  • 2 large avocados, flesh scooped out
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup of coconut milk
  • ¼ cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or chocolate extract
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of chili powder or cayenne powder (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  2. Serve immediately or place mousse in an airtight container to save for up to 2 days. 
  3. Serve in bowls garnished with your choice of berries.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: fit PREGNANCY

10 Signs Labor Is Near

In Labor

If you’re expecting your first baby, it’s not uncommon to wonder how and if you will know when labor is coming. We’ve all seen the images of women in movies whose water breaks right in the middle of a very important and public moment, followed by a mad dash to the hospital to beat the baby’s arrival. In reality though, the start of labor is a much more progressive and likely less dramatic event. Here are a few signs to watch for that may indicate your body is gearing up for labor. 

  1. Your baby drops: The technical term for baby dropping lower into the pelvis in preparation for birth is lightening. Lightening may occur several weeks before your baby arrives or may not happen until you are in active labor. For some women, they can see a noticeable difference in the location of their bump when they look in the mirror while for others it may be more subtle. When lightening occurs, you will likely feel some added pressure on your bladder and pubic area and you may notice you are using the bathroom as frequently as you did in the first trimester. The good news is, your diaphragm will get some relief and you may be able to breathe a bit easier as the drop will free up some space around your chest.
  2. Nesting: Something about the impending arrival of baby tends to send moms into an organizational frenzy. You may think it’s just your Type A personality but there is actually a very powerful instinct that takes over in those final weeks before baby arrives. If you’re on your knees cleaning the baseboards and organizing baby’s socks by color according to the rainbow, don’t worry, this is completely normal. Just be careful not to overdo it as your body needs rest before the big day.
  3. Exhaustion: When you’re not experiencing a surge of energy for alphabetizing your spice rack, you may be feeling extra exhausted in those final weeks before labor begins. The final stage of pregnancy can be uncomfortable making it difficult to sleep, tougher to move around and leaving you feeling like you’ve run a marathon when you’ve only climbed a flight of stairs. 
  4. Increasing Cramping and Back Pain: You may notice in the final weeks of pregnancy that you are having more cramping and lower backaches than usual. As baby is preparing to make his debut, your body is getting into gear and a lot is happening in that general region to help position baby for birth. Muscles are stretching and joints are loosening due to the release of the hormone relaxin which allows your pelvis to expand for childbirth. Don’t be alarmed by these aches and pains and instead take it as a sign to get off your feet and rest for a bit. If the cramping or pain is severe or is accompanied by bleeding, call your doctor or midwife to be seen. 
  5. Your weight plateaus: Up until this point, you’ve been consistently gaining as your baby grows to his or her birth weight. In the weeks before labor begins, you might find that you stop gaining weight and may even lose a pound of two due to decreasing levels of amniotic fluid. This is nothing to be alarmed by and is actually quite normal in the home stretch.
  6. Dilation and Effacement: Dilation refers to the opening of your cervix while effacement is the measurement of how thinned out it is. As baby puts pressure on your pelvic region and your uterus contacts in preparation for delivery, your cervix will become dilated and effaced. Dilation and effacement can be measured by your midwife or doctor if you choose to have internal exams leading up to your delivery. The tricky part is that you can be a few centimeters dilated and a percentage effaced for weeks before your delivery. The good news is that it does indicate that labor is coming in the near future and your body is working hard to prepare. Conversely, don’t be discourage if you are not dilated or effaced at your visit as this process can happen at a different point for every woman. 
  7. Feeling loose: Unfortunately, your pelvic muscles and ligaments aren’t the only area of your body affected by the hormone relaxin. Consequently, you may experience other side effects of the release of this hormone into your body such as diarrhea and clumsiness. The good news is that these not so desireable side effects of the increased relaxin levels in your system are a good indication that your body is getting ready for baby!
  8. More frequent Braxton Hicks contractions: Braxton Hicks contractions or prodromal labor, are practice contractions that are usually felt from mid-pregnancy on. In the final weeks of pregnancy, you may notice that you are having more frequent Braxton Hicks contractions that feel more intense than usual. If the contractions are happening closer together, increasing in intensity, lasting a minute or more or seem to fall into a rhythmic pattern, it is likely labor has begun. Call your midwife or doctor to find out what the next steps are and when you should come in. 
  9. Mucus plug loss: As your cervix begins to soften in preparation for birth, you may experience some mucus discharge. The mucus will be thick and white and may be streaked with blood and dispel gradually or in one clump. This is considered the loss of your mucus plug. The mucus plug is considered the seal to the uterus and its dislodging indicates labor is near.
  10. Your water breaks: The rupture of the amniotic sac is actually much rarer than Hollywood would lead you to believe. Approximately only 15 percent of women experience their water breaking before they are in active labor. Your water breaking may feel like a slow trickle or one gush of fluid but is not usually as dramatic as we see in the movies. If your amniotic sac ruptures, it’s go time. Call your midwife or doctor and get ready to head to wherever you plan to deliver.

The last month of pregnancy can often feel like an eternity with your big bump, aching back, tired feet and lack of sleep. Try as best you can to use these weeks to rest up for the big task ahead of childbirth. Your baby and body are hard at work preparing for the big day that will be here before you know it. 

Remember also that all women experience the above symptoms at different times and to different degrees, so try not to compare yourself to other pregnant mamas or feel concerned if you don’t match up. Your baby will come when she’s good and ready and it will be one of the greatest moments of your life!

For questions about labor, natural birth and other women’s services, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

Excerpt: Ten telltale signs labor is on it’s way!

Pregnancy Protein Muffins

Healthy Protein Muffins

Keeping healthy snacks handy when you’re pregnant is a great way to stay energized and beat the bouts of nausea. It can even be wise to keep a snack on your bedside table at night to munch on before you get up in the morning. These pregnancy protein muffins are a nutritious and yummy snack that will help you meet your necessary 3-4 servings of protein per day. 

Ingredients:

  • 10 egg whites
  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • 1 scoop of organic vanilla protein powder
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Optional: Fresh berries, dried berries, almonds, walnuts or pecans.

Directions: 

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Scoop mixture into nonstick muffin tin.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool before serving.
  5. Enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: Michelle Marie Fit