Boost Your Milk Supply With No-Bake Lactation Oatmeal Bites

No oven required for this delicious unbaked treat. Full of galactagogues, which are known for increasing milk supply, these yummy No-Bake Lactation bites are sure to be a quick and easy snack that the whole family will enjoy. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of oats (old fashioned or instant)
  • ½ cup of peanut butter or other nut butter of choice
  • ½ cup of honey
  • 1 cup of coconut flakes
  • ½ cup of ground flax seed
  • ½ cup of mini chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons of brewer’s yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together
  2. Refrigerate for one half hour
  3. Roll into bite-sized balls
  4. Roll balls in coconut flakes 
  5. Enjoy!
  6. (Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator)

Recipe transcribed from: TeenToddlerNewborn.com

Bath Bliss: Relaxing & Rejuvinating Recipes for Your Soaking Pleasure

Photo credit: Jennifer Liv of Twin Cities Birth Photographers 

Photo credit: Jennifer Liv of Twin Cities Birth Photographers 

Soaking in a bath with added herbs, oils and minerals is a wonderful way to relax the mind and body. Did you know it is also excellent for healing and supporting overall health? There are many types of baths that can benefit you.  These simple, natural therapies can be used in the comfort of your own home, all while relaxing in your bath.

The following are a few examples of the different types of baths that can be enjoyed, and some of their health promoting properties that can benefit you. Whether it’s to help your body heal from a condition, or simply support and maintain your overall well-being, I am certain there is one for you to enjoy.

Herbal Baths

Adding herbal preparations to a warm bath can be very effective, as the healing properties of the herbs are delivered through the skin. Here are two ways to make an herbal bath.  

One is to put a handful of each herb you are using in a large pot. Fill the pot with water and heat to almost boiling, keeping a lid on the pot so the essential oils from the herbs don’t evaporate. Take the pot off the heat and let your bath infuse for 20 minutes to a few hours. Then strain the liquid directly into your tub, fill the tub the rest of the way  with water and your bath is ready.  

The other method is to fill a cloth, muslin bag or even a sock with your herbal mixture.  Close the top and toss your herb bundle into a tub filled with the hottest water you have.  Walk away for a while and give your bath time to cool down to a comfortable temperature.  When you come back your bath will have infused right in the tub!  This is a great method for making pre-packed baths to have next to your tub or even to give away as gifts.   

Dr. Amy's Favorite Herbal Bath Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup Rose petals
  • 1/2 cup Lavender flowers
  • 1/4 cup Green Tea leaves (try a rose or jasmine flavored tea)
  • Three drops Rose essential oil
  • Three drops Lavender essential oil
  • One drop Rose Geranium essential oil

This gentle, nourishing herbal bath tea recipe softens your skin and soothes your nerves. Deeply relaxing and healing, antioxidant-rich lavender, rose and green tea help fight the signs of aging. Scented with precious rose essential oil, this yummy aromatherapy bath recipe's sweet, floral scent brings you back to a healthy place of quiet peace.

Aromatherapy Baths

Here is wonderful and simple way to enjoy the healing powers of essential oils. While you enjoy the pleasant scents of the oils, you also allow for their healing properties to be inhaled into the lungs and diffused throughout the body. There are a multitude of beneficial effects available, simply based on the essential oil or blend of oils used in the baths. You may use calming oils to release tension, or soak in a soothing rose infused tub, or perhaps even try a uplifting blend of black pepper and juniper.

Dr. Amy's Favorite Aroma Bath Recipe:

  • 3 cups of epsom salt
  • 4 drops chamomile essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil.  

This is a wonderful relaxing bath to enjoy before bed.

Salt Baths

Epsom Salt Baths

Use 3-4 cups of epsom salt in a warm bath and soak for 30 minutes.  Epsom salt is wonderful for soothing muscles aches and is relaxing before bedtime.

Sea Salt Baths

Dissolve 5-8 cups of pure sea salt in warm bath water and soak for 15-30 minutes.  Sea salt brings the benefits of ocean water into the comfort of your home. This bath will benefit your circulation, neurological function, skin health, as well as aid in relaxation.

I will leave you with a cool fact: 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body, so bathing in herbal bath tea really does improve your health. Not only do you get the nourishing effect of the ingredients, but you also de-stress during your time in the tub. 

*Essential oils are not recommended to be used in the first trimeter of pregnancy.  In the second and third trimesters some essential oils are considered safe. It is always best to check with your provider to discuss any safety concerns before starting in pregnancy.

What to Expect if You Want a Water Birth

A birth tub at Health Foundations Birth Center in St. Paul.

A birth tub at Health Foundations Birth Center in St. Paul.

Maybe you’ve been wondering about choosing a water birth or perhaps it’s an option you may not have considered before. Either way, we’ve got the answers to your questions about water birth.

What is a water birth like?

Most of the experience is up to you. Generally it is good to wait to get into the birth tub until you are 5cm dilated or greater or you have a good active labor pattern established.  Once in the birth tub, you can change positions to see what works for you (ie. squatting, floating), or get out for a while and walk around. You may like to have your birth partner join you in the or support you from outside the birth tub.

Some women choose to give birth in the water, while others labor in the tub but get out to actually give birth – babies don’t start breathing until they feel air on their face, being delivered into the water won’t harm them.

You will probably be advised to leave the tub to deliver the placenta – this is because some women feel faint during this final stage and this can become tricky if you remain in the water.

You will have a midwife on hand who will make sure the water stay at 37 degrees or below, check the progress of your labor and monitor you and your baby’s vital signs throughout.

Is it safe?

Both the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynacologists endorse the use of birth tubs for women without complicated pregnancies.

There is no reason why you should not opt for a water birth if you are:

a) healthy

b) 37 or more weeks pregnant

c) a ‘low-risk’ pregnancy

Your provider will be able to advise you whether a water birth is a suitable option for you.

Does it relieve pain?

There is evidence that women who have a water birth are less likely to need an epidural, and many women report feeling calmer, lighter, more easy to move and more at ease giving birth in the water.

Lying in warm water relaxes muscles and calms breathing, which can give the impression of pain relief without necessarily having a genuine effect.  However, just the perception of pain relief can make all the difference in the heat of the moment!

Are there things that are required if I want to be in the birth pool?

Health Foundations Birth Center requires specific lab tests to be done in pregnancy for woman who think they may want to labor or deliver in water.  The midwives will also discuss the risks of benefits of water birth and have you sign an informed consent. 

What if something goes wrong?

One thing to be aware of while planning your water birth is that when the time comes, all those plans might go out the window!

If your midwife has any concerns about you or your baby during a water birth, she may ask you to leave the pool. 

Make your Own Pizza with Quinoa Crust

Quinoa Pizza Crust Recipe

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup quinoa, covered by 1" of water and soaked for 6 - 8 hours (or overnight)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

Soak the quinoa in water, covering it by at least 1", for 6 - 8 hours. Once you're ready to make the crust, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 9" cake pan with parchment paper and drizzle one tablespoon of oil in the center. Spread around with your hands until evenly coated and set pan aside. Thoroughly rinse quinoa, then add to a blender. Add the ¼ cup of water, baking powder, salt and remaining olive oil, and blend on high until smooth and creamy. This should resemble a thick pancake batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove, flip and return to oven baking for another 10 - 15 minutes until browned and edges are crispy. Top with sauce, cheese and any other toppings you'd like and bake for 12 - 15 minutes until cheese has melted and started to brown. Remove, let cool for a few minutes in the pan, transfer cutting board and slice. Garnish with herbs, pepper flakes, grated cheese, etc., and serve immediately!

Transcribed from: Alyssa Rimmer

Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Protein Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Poppyseed Protein Muffin
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp (56g) coconut flour (measured correctly)
  • 2 scoops (84g) vanilla whey protein powder 
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp (8g) poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp (5g) lemon zest (about one medium)
  • 1 tbsp (14g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup (60mL) agave syrup
  • 3 tbsp (45mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about one medium large)
  • ½ cup (120mL) unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk)
  • 1 cup (140g) fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat 9 standard-sized muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the coconut flour, protein powder, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the Greek yogurt until no large lumps remain. Stir in the agave, lemon juice, and almond milk. Add in the coconut flour mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack.

Notes:

This recipe was specifically designed for whey protein powder. Most protein powders behave differently, especially when it comes to absorbing moisture. If you substitute a different whey-based protein powder than the one linked to in the recipe above, you may need to add more protein powder if the batter is too wet OR more milk if the batter is too dry. Do not substitute plant-based protein powder; it tends to be much more absorbent and will most likely result in dry, crumbly muffins.Frozen blueberries may be substituted for the fresh. To do so, reserve 1 tablespoon of the coconut flour and protein powder mixture from Step 2, and toss that with the frozen blueberries just before gently folding them into the batter. The baking time may increase by a few minutes.These muffins freeze really nicely. To thaw quickly, place individual muffins in the microwave for 40-50 seconds on 40% power.

Transcribed from: Amy’s Healthy Baking

Baked Chicken Parmesan Over Zucchini Noodles

Baked Chicken Parmesan

This recipe is perfect for a cozy evening inside as the weather gets cooler. What I love about this dish is that it is hearty and protein rich and the zucchini noodles get some veggies in! Feel free to substitute whole wheat pasta if you aren't a fan of zucchini. 

Ingredients

•    2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
•    1 tablespoon chopped
•    Fresh thyme
•    6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced and divided
•    1 shallot, thinly sliced
•    1 pound heirloom tomatoes, chopped
•    ½ cup dry white wine
•    ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
•    ½ teaspoon black pepper
•    2 eggs, lightly beaten
•    4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
•    1 teaspoon garlic powder
•    Cooking spray
•    4 medium zucchini
•    2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, very thinly sliced ½ cup torn basil leaves, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add thyme, 4 garlic cloves, and shallot; cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook 8 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
  • Sprinkle chicken cutlets with the garlic powder and place cutlets on a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until done.
  • Using a julienne peeler, or a spiralizer, peel zucchini lengthwise into noodles or thin strips.
  • Preheat broiler to high. Top each cutlet evenly with mozzarella. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add remaining 2 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute. Add zucchini; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Toss with sauce, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and half of basil.
  • Arrange ¾ cup zucchini noodles on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 chicken portion; sprinkle servings evenly with remaining half of basil.

Recipe transcribed from: Betsy Life

Conception App Review: The Best Fertilty Apps

Glow App: Ovulation calculator, Period Tracker, and Fertility Calendar

This app is detailed and easy to use. It is fun to look at and explore different options. You choose how you would like to use the app: Avoiding Pregnancy, Trying to Conceive, and Fertility Treatments. There is even an option for a male to use it. It asks many questions to assure accuracy. You can fill out a health profile which customizes your use of the app. It gives you the option to input your partner's health information as well. For the "Trying to Conceive" it tells you each day in your fertile period and the percentage you have of getting pregnant. You can record details about your body every day. These details include, mood, medications. sexual activity, sleep, stress levels, etc. I really like this app a lot! Definitely my favorite!

Life - Period Tracker, Menstrual Cycle Calendar, Ovulation & Fertility App:

This app is very basic and simple. The look of it is not fancy. You can purchase the premium version which records things like mood, sex, fertility, weight, nutrition, fitness, sleep and medications. It clearly shows when your period is to arrive and days of your fertile time as well as the day of ovulation. There is a health profile to fill out but I don't see how it tailors the app to your body. It is very easy to use. Because it is so basic it just gives you basic information, it is not very detailed.

Ovia Fertility and Period Tracker:

Each day you enter in your data; you enter in temperature, cervical fluid, intercourse, period, mood, pregnancy tests, mood, symptoms, blood pressure, sleep, nutrition, activity and notes. The nutrition piece is very detailed which could be helpful. You can buy the premium version to unlock more features. It gives you a fertility score each day based on details you fill in. It also explains in detail your cycle phases. It does give you tips each day. The tips are helpful reminders such as sleep. There is an articles tab you can click on and read about many different topics pertaining to conceiving. Ovia is very easy to use and clear to read. It is a great app!

Lily App: Your Personal and Private Period and Cycle Tracker:

The app evaluates your cycles to help determine fertility.  There is a lot of reading to do in the beginning. You can choose how you want the advice for fertility to be based on symptoms or averages. Each day you enter in your temperature, cervical fluid intercourse, period, and mood. This app is very basic and easy to use. It is very quick and good for someone that just wants to know the basics of their cycle.

Clue App

Clue- Period Tracker, PMS alerts and Fertility & Ovulation App:

I like the design of this app. It starts with asking basic questions and then giving quick tidbits about each such as averages for period length, etc. The more you use the app the more accurate it is in it's predictions. It can sync with your "Health App" if you have an iPhone. You can track many things like emotions, sleep, pain and even hair! It is a fun app to use, very different design from the others.

The Definition Of Perfection: A Baby's Birth Goes According To Plan

Courtesy of Emily Grace Whebbe

Courtesy of Emily Grace Whebbe

In recounting our birth story, I finally fully understand the definition of a word I have used so many times: perfection.

Although I write this after a generous dose of oxytocin from breastfeeding, I will try not to embellish beyond belief. Perfection is a word and concept I rarely use or believed in, unsure of it's even existence. However, after going through the experience of childbirth and now being able to be a part of this incredible baby's life, I realize that what happened more than a week ago was as close to perfection as I could experience. Let's start at 3:00 a.m., Thursday, August 4th.

Read more about baby Revira on npr.org

10 Reasons a Birth Center Might Be Right for You

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you may be considering your options for birth. While the majority of babies in the US are born in hospitals, there’s another option available for women who wish to birth in a homelike setting but desire many of the resources and safeguards of a hospital. This option is called a birth center. Birth centers are designed for healthy women seeking a natural birth experience under the care of midwives instead of obstetricians. Midwives embrace the idea that birth is a natural and normal process and should be approached under the wellness model of pregnancy and birth. Birth centers are able to provide routine, woman-centered care that focuses on the natural, physiological process of birth and seeks to minimize unnecessary interventions. While birth centers are not equipped for emergency medical procedures like C-sections or other serious complications, they are typically located in close proximity to a partnering hospital for quick transfers when necessary. If you are hoping for a natural birth experience in a non-medical environment yet under the care of licensed midwifery professionals, a birth center may be for you. Here are 10 reasons you should consider delivering at a birth center.

  1. You’re hoping for a natural, intervention free birth: At birth centers, pregnancy and childbirth are seen as natural and normal events. Midwives seek to empower and support women in doing what their bodies were created to do without unnecessary intervention. According to the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, the rate of C-sections for low risk births is only 6 percent at birth centers in comparison with 27 percent of low risk births in a hospital setting.
  2. You want to have a midwife instead of a doctor: Midwives are uniquely positioned to provide personalized care to mothers during pregnancy and birth that not only focuses on physical health, but also emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing. Midwives are trained professionals that support women in having optimal pregnancies and birth experiences with minimal medical intervention. Births that are attended by midwives tend to havelower rates of C-sections, episiotomies and perineal trauma.
  3. You believe hospitals are for sick people: If you are hoping to bring your baby into the world in a more homelike environment but you want the expertise and resources of skilled professionals, a birth center may be for you. In many countries around the world birth is not seen as a medical event at all but a natural, normal experience in life. Birth centers offer many of the safeguards and equipment of a hospital without the medical environment.
  4. You want to have a water birth: Though some hospitals do offer the option of a birthing tub, it is more commonly available at birth centers. Laboring and delivering in water has many benefits from pain relief, improved cervical dilation and a soothing transition for baby from womb to world.
  5. You want to be able to eat and drink during labor: While most hospitals will restrict your intake during labor due to the risk of needing general anesthesia for a C-section, most birth centers encourage you to nourish yourself as needed to keep up your energy and stamina.
  6. You want to save money: While you should check your insurance policy to confirm benefits and birth center coverage, delivering at a birth center is typically less expensive than delivering at a hospital. Reasons for the difference in cost include a shorter length of stay and fewer interventions among other variables. Typically, your out-of-pocket cost at a birth center will be about a third less than that of a hospital birth. 
  7. You do not want to have continuous fetal monitoring: While your midwife will likely intermittently monitor your baby, you will not be hooked up to a fetal monitor for the entirety of your labor like you may be at a hospital. This enables you to move about freely throughout your labor to the positions that offer the most relief and comfort. You also will not have to worry about any invasive internal monitoring or unnecessary cervical checks. 
  8. You don’t want to deliver on your back: Midwives are typically more flexible in encouraging the mother to birth and labor in whatever position her body tells her she should. Laboring and delivering on your back has been found to be one of the least conducive positions to helping baby move naturally through the birth canal. 
  9. You don’t want to feel rushed: In a birth center you will be encouraged and supported in laboring as long as your body needs. Rather than hastening the labor process with interventions, midwives embrace the natural normal process of childbirth in which you place trust in your body to know what it needs to do and at what pace.
  10. You want your family (or friends) involved: While a hospital may limit the number of individuals allowed in the room for your birth, at a birth center you will be welcome to have whomever you feel you need to support you in your birth experience. Birth centers will often involve the family during prenatal appointments and during labor realizing that the birth of a new baby is a family experience to be shared.

If you are a healthy woman experiencing a normal pregnancy and feel that a birth center may be more in line with your hopes and plans for natural birth, contact Health Foundations for afree consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. We are here to support and empower you from pregnancy to postpartum and beyond.

15-Minute Pregnancy Chili

Pregnancy Chili

It is officially fall, mamas, and with fall comes cooler weather, changing leaves, football and chili! Here’s a super easy and quick recipe that calls for turkey instead of beef. It’s the perfect, simple dish for your pregnant belly and your family too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • ½ cup of chopped onion
  • 16 ounces of pinto beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 28 ounces of chopped, stewed tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
  • ½ cup of salsa

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, brown turkey with chopped onions
  2. Add beans, tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, cumin and salsa to turkey mixture
  3. Cook until hot
  4. Serve chili with corn bread, cooked rice or on top of a baked potato.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese to taste.

Recipe transcribed from: food.com

 

Preparing Your Child For a New Baby

Health Foundations Family with Child

Welcoming a new baby to your home is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming event for a family. Your family is growing and will be forever changed to a new “normal” the moment your baby arrives. Sometimes welcoming your second, third or even fourth child may be even more intimidating than your first as you have the added task of preparing older siblings for the big change. Here are 5 tips to lovingly helping your child adjust to the idea of a new baby before he arrives.

  1. Consider your child’s age and understanding level when deciding when to share the news: While older children will be able to conceptualize waiting 9 months for baby’s arrival, a toddler has a hard time understanding tomorrow versus one week from now. If your child is on the younger side, try telling him what season the baby will arrive in rather than how many months from now. For instance, “Next summer, when we can go to the pool again, the baby will arrive!”
  2. Find age appropriate books to share with your tot about welcoming a new sibling: There are a wide variety of children’s books (and programs) that are available and cover the topic of becoming a big brother or sister. Reading books about having a new baby can help your older child get excited about his or her new role as a sibling and aid in answering any questions they have about what it will be like. Reading books about being a sibling and new babies can also help your child learn ways that they can participate once the baby arrives which will help them realize that they play an important role in the family and as an older sibling. Depending on their age, your child may also want to know where the baby will come from and how he/she will get here. You should be able to find a variety of age appropriate books on this topic as well. 
  3. Involve your little one in the preparations: Whether it’s helping you to choose decorations for the nursery, brainstorming favorite names or picking out some special toys for the new baby, letting your child participate in the preparation will help them to feel involved in this very important family event. If your child is old enough to understand, they may even enjoy coming to one of your check-ups and hearing the baby’s heartbeat on the fetal Doppler or feeling your tummy when the baby kicks.
  4. Encourage your child to share their feelings: You may think that your little one is too young to understand that the family dynamic will be changing with the arrival of a new baby but they are probably a lot more aware than you realize. Even toddlers can sense when something is different and their parents are anxiously preparing for something big to happen. Allow your child to have any and all feelings he or she might have about the impending changes and validate their feelings as best you can. For younger children who are not yet verbal, this may mean spending some extra uninterrupted time with them if they are acting out or simply allowing them to “be the baby” when they need to be.
  5. Make preparations for your child for when you go into labor well in advance: If you do not plan to have your child present for the birth of your baby, it is important that you make plans in advance for who will care for him while you and your partner are away. For many moms, this may even be the first time you’ve been away from your kiddo for an extended period of time which can be anxiety provoking for both of you. Talk to your child about the plans for when it’s time for you to have the baby and consider even doing a dry run. If they will be spending the night with a friend or relative, have them do a practice night where you can go and help them get acquainted with what the visit will be like. Similarly, if you plan to have a friend or relative stay in your home, make sure your child is well acquainted with them and that they understand how the night or nights with them will go. Your child may express feeling scared or upset about you being away either in advance or at the time that you are leaving. Lovingly acknowledge their feelings and remind them that you will be back in no time and that they will be able to visit you as soon as their new brother or sister arrives.

Welcoming a new baby to your family can be a scary prospect for everyone, especially when you’re going from one to two. However, with some thoughtful preparation for you and your child or children, everyone will have a better idea of what to expect and feel like they are an important part of the change. For questions about prenatal care, natural birth, postpartum care and all other women’s services, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

‘Can I (FILL IN THE BLANK) While Pregnant?’

Safe Beauty During Pregnancy

Safe Beauty During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, it’s important to remember that everything that you put into or on your body has the potential to cross the placenta and be shared with your baby. Everyday beauty habits and treatments, while perfectly safe while not pregnant, may not be safe for the developing fetus. Here’s the low down on ten common cosmetic and skincare practices and whether or not they are safe during pregnancy.

1. Dying Your Hair

Verdict: Probably Safe

Whether or not it is safe to dye your hair is one of the most commonly asked beauty questions during pregnancy. While there has not been extensive research done on the effects of hair dye during pregnancy, the American Pregnancy Association has stated that it is probably safe due to the minimal amount of dye that is actually absorbed by the skin. If you want to be extra cautious, avoid any hair dye during the first trimester and opt for color treatments like highlighting or lowlighting that do not expose the scalp to chemicals. Also, make sure the room you are in is well ventilated and that you promptly rinse any excess dye from your hair after the treatment. 

2. Using Sunscreen

Verdict: Safe with Precautions

Certain sunscreens during pregnancy are not safe as they contain chemicals that can get into the bloodstream and be transferred to baby. Specifically, you should avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, homosalate, octocrylene, para-aminobenzoic acid and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor. Opt for sunscreens that are not absorbed by the skin like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Also, wear a hat and avoid sun exposure between the hours of 10 and 2 when the rays are the strongest. Pregnant women are actually more susceptible to sunburns during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and are also more prone to heat exhaustion. For these reasons, it is imperative that you protect yourself from the sun during pregnancy for you and your baby!

3. Whitening Your Teeth

Verdict: Unsafe

Because whitening treatments have not been extensively researched during pregnancy and contain potentially harmful ingredients like peroxide that can cross the placental barrier, they are considered not safe during pregnancy. Consider using a whitening toothpaste instead or waiting until after your baby is born for a professional or over-the-counter whitening treatment. It is important, however, to keep up with your dental hygiene and exams as unfortunately pregnancy can do a number on your teeth and make you more susceptible to cavities and gum disease.

4. Treating Acne

Verdict: Certain Treatments Safe

Pregnancy hormones can often wreak havoc on your skin and leave you with acne reminiscent of your freshman year in high school. To make matters worse, many of the most common and most effective acne treatments that can be prescribed by your doctor are absolutely not safe during pregnancy. Many  of these prescription options have the potential to cause serious birth defects. Acne medications that should be avoided during pregnancy include topical retinoids, oral tetracyclines, isotretinoin, and hormone therapies. There are some prescription and over-the-counter topical acne medications that are most likely safe due to low absorption rates. Always discuss these options with your doctor or midwife before using any acne products during pregnancy. To err on the side of caution, opt for drug-free approaches to healthy skincare. This may include practices such as washing your face twice daily and after exercise, changing your pillow case frequently, using an oil free cleanser and moisturizer and avoiding touching your face with your hands or cell phone. Pregnancy related acne will almost always clear on its own over time once your hormones stabilize. 

5. Using Hair Products

Verdict: Probably Safe

Using products like hair spray and mousse are probably perfectly safe during pregnancy. There has been some evidence in animal studies that phthalates (found in hair spray) have the potential to cause complications with male sexual development but no risk has been found to human babies thus far. Although, hair spray, gel and mousse are all most likely perfectly safe during pregnancy, if you wish to err on the side of caution, opt for products like mousse or gel that are applied topically versus products that are sprayed on the hair and pose the risk of phthalate inhalation. 

6. Getting Botox

Verdict: Unsafe

Because there have been no extensive studies examining the effects of Botox on unborn babies, it is recommended that you abstain from the treatment during pregnancy. Studies in animals show evidence of fetal abnormalities associated with Botox exposure during pregnancy. While the results cannot be generalized to human babies, the research presents a compelling reason to avoid the treatment while pregnant. Fortunately, you may find that your wrinkles are actually are less visible during pregnancy due to the extra fluid retention and that healthy pregnancy glow often experienced due to extra oil production. 

7. Using Wrinkle Cream

Verdict: Generally Unsafe

Because many anti-wrinkle creams contain retinol which has been linked to birth defects and miscarriages, it is safest to steer clear of them during pregnancy. Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that has been found to cause serious birth defects such as cleft palate and other developmental abnormalities in high doses. Instead, opt for safer ways of caring for your skin like a mild facial moisturizer, drinking plenty of water and getting sufficient rest.

8. Using Self-Tanner

Verdict: Better to Wait

While tanning from a bottle or spray booth is likely safer than tanning beds or excessive exposure to the sun, there is still some concern about dihydroxyacetone which is the primary active ingredient in these products. Dihydroxyacetone or DHA is able to penetrate the skin and therefore can get into your bloodstream and ultimately to baby. Because research has not been performed examining the effects of DHA on the fetus, your safest bet is to avoid self-tanning until after your baby is born. Additionally, you may find that your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy and more prone to irritation. If you do decide to use a self-tanning product, be sure to do a patch test first before covering your entire body with the solution. 

9. Getting Your Nails Done

Verdict: Safe

In general, it is perfectly safe to get your nails done during pregnancy. Nail polish, and even acrylic nails, cannot be absorbed through the nails and therefore pose no risk of getting into your blood stream and crossing the placenta to baby. The primary concern in the nail salon while pregnant is the solvent fumes which can make you feel queasy or light-headed. To avoid over-inhalation of dangerous fumes, be sure to sit in a well-ventilated area or save your manis and pedis for the comfort of your own home where you can better control the ventilation and airflow. 

Getting Your Hair Professionally Straightened

Verdict: Unsafe 

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety, Japanese and Brazillian professional hair straightening treatments are not safe during pregnancy. This is due to the fact that these procedures involve harmful chemicals like formaldehyde that have the potential to cause fertility problems, fetal abnormalities and miscarriage. If you want straighter hair during pregnancy your best bet is to use a flat iron which will not expose you and your baby to potentially harmful chemicals. 

While pregnancy may feel like it has an endless number of rules about what you can and cannot do, try to remind yourself that their all to protect the health and well-being of your future baby. There are not any beauty treatments that cannot wait nine months in exchange for the peace of mind that you are doing everything you can to protect your developing child. For questions about safe beauty and skincare during pregnancy, or for a free consultation with a midwife and a tour of our Birth Center, contact Health Foundations. We are here to answer all of your pregnancy related questions and more!

Dispelling the Top Myths About Water Birth

Health Foundations Birth Center Water Birth

With water births becoming an increasingly popular natural birthing option, there are of course many misconceptions about the practice out there. From concerns about infection, to worries about the baby drowning or inhaling water, there are plenty of scary myths about water births that aren’t necessarily true. Here are the top 7 myths we hear about water births and why you shouldn’t worry!

Top 7 Myths of Water Birth

  1. You have to be naked to have a water birth: If modesty is a concern for you and you don’t want to feel overly exposed during birth, fear not, there are no rules stating that one must be naked during a water birth. You are free to wear whatever top you feel comfortable in, be it a t-shirt, sports bra or tankini top. What’s most important is that you are comfortable and are able to more freely throughout your labor and delivery. 
  2. Your baby will be more likely to get an infection if born into water: The risk for infection is one of the most commonly cited fears about water birth. The reality is that the rate of infant infection reported in water births is less than .01 percent. Although many women do pass a stool while pushing their baby out some experts believe that the water perhaps might even provide a partial barrier to infection by diluting any bacteria making it less likely to cause harm to the baby. 
  3. Your baby will overheat if you have a water birth: The maximum temperature recommended for a water birth is 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Your baby is not at risk of overheating at this temperature and will be born into a comfortable and womb-like environment in the water. You can also choose to have the temperature cooler if that is more comfortable for you. The water temperature and your temperature will be checked routinely throughout labor and delivery to ensure that you are not overheating and your midwife will also help ensure that you stay adequately hydrated throughout the process.
  4. Having a water birth will cause more vaginal tearing: On the contrary, water births actually have lower rates of perineal trauma and vaginal tearing than non-water births due to the added elasticity because of the water. Water immersion has also been shown to help relax the pelvic floor which ultimately aids in the descent and pushing out of baby.
  5. You can’t get out of the tub if you decide to have a water birth: Water immersion can be utilized during your birth experience for any part, the entirety, or on and off throughout your birth experience. There’s no rule that says that once you are in the water you need to stay in. Should your body tell you that you need to get out and move around or you’ve decided you’d be more comfortable birthing outside of the tub, you absolutely have that flexibility to make changes as you see fit. 
  6. Your baby might drown if born into the water: Another common concern shared about delivering in water is whether or not there is risk of baby drowning. However, when your baby is born he is actually still receiving his oxygen supply from the placenta. Once he emerges from the vaginal canal he will be immediately lifted out of the water which will then signal his body to shift over to breathing through his lungs and increase blood flow to that area.  
  7. You have to be young to have a water birth: There is no age cut off for when a woman is no longer able to have a water birth. Instead, your midwife or doctor will assess your health and the health of your baby and help you make an informed decision based on those factors. Factors that may prevent you from having a water birth include maternal infection, a breech baby, excessive bleeding or other complications that may make a water birth unsafe for you or your baby. 

If you are interested in possibly having a water birth but have concerns about the process, contact Health Foundations to speak with a midwife who will be happy to alleviate your worries, address your concerns, and answer all of your questions . We are happy to offer free consultations and tours of our Birth Center, including viewing our homelike birthing suites with new built-in birthing tubs. We would love to be part of your birthing experience and help you decide if water birth is for you!

Blueberry Pancake Smoothie Full of Pregnancy Essentials

Blueberry Pancake Smoothie

Breakfast or dessert-take your pick! This delectable smoothie is not only tasty but full of pregnancy essentials like protein and calcium. Not a fan of blueberries? Swap the blueberries out for strawberries or raspberries for an equally delicious treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of reduced-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup of reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ¼ cups of frozen blueberries
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in blender.
  2. Cover and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: Parents.com

Introducing Your Breastfed Baby to the Bottle

Baby Feeding on Bottle

Whether you will be returning to work after your maternity leave or would like to get your partner more involved in feeding your new babe, introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby can be a helpful, and sometimes tricky, endeavor. Many women like to have the option to have pumped milk available that a family member or caregiver can give the baby should they need a break, some extra sleep or happen to be away for more than a couple hours. Here are 5 helpful tips to introducing your breastfed baby to the bottle so that it’s a smooth and gentle transition for you both.

5 Tips to Introduce Your Breastfed Baby to the Bottle

  1. Timing is everything: Your midwife or lactation consultant will likely tell you that introducing any sort of bottle or artificial soother must be well-timed. Too early, and you run the risk of disrupting your newly established breastfeeding routine and too late, your babe may reject the bottle all together. The ideal time to introduce a bottle is between 4-6 weeks. That way, you will have already found your groove with breastfeeding and your baby will likely not experience any nipple confusion. 
  2. Choose a slow flow nipple: When picking out a bottle and nipple for your baby, choose one that most closely mimics the breast and allows for a slow flow of milk. Sucking from a bottle requires a different latch and tongue movement than suckling from the breast. A slow flow nipple will most closely replicate the experience of breastfeeding and allow baby to take his time eating. 
  3. Have your partner give the bottle: Getting a bottle from mom who usually breastfeeds can be confusing and frustrating for a little one. If possible, have your partner be the bottle aficionado. Even better yet, take the time that your partner is learning to bottle feed your baby and do something for yourself. Take a shower, take a nap, go for a walk or run an errand. Your baby is more likely to have a successful bottle feeding experience if they can’t smell mom and her milk nearby. 
  4. Take baby steps: Rather than having your partner or family member offer the bottle when your baby is hungry, try introducing it after they have breastfed. This way, they will not be frustrated as easily with the process and can explore the feel of the bottle without the pressure of needing to satiate their appetite. You don’t need to put a lot of breastmilk in the bottle, even starting with a half an ounce should suffice. If the milk is not freshly pumped, place the bottle in warm water to heat it prior to feeding. Baby may be more likely to accept a warm bottle versus milk that is directly from the refrigerator. 
  5. Encourage paced feeding: One of the challenges with bottle feeding is that we decide how much baby should drink rather than baby deciding. To most closely simulate the experience of breastfeeding, never force the nipple into baby’s mouth and simply allow him to decide how much he wishes to drink. Give baby breaks for burping and rest and switch sides from which you feed him as he would when breastfeeding. It’s also important to make sure your partner or the caregiver is able to recognize baby’s hungers cues so that he or she can feed baby when he’s hungry versus on a set schedule. 

Introducing bottle feeding does not have to be a stressful process if approached slowly, gently and with plenty of time for practice. If you have questions about the process of introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby or are pregnant and considering a natural birth in a homelike setting, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. We are here to support you throughout your journey of motherhood.