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Birth Boot Camp® Natural Childbirth Education Classes - Online and Instructor-

Prep Work for Pregnancy

Good nutrition in the 3 months leading up to when you conceive can help you get ready to create a safe and nutritious haven for your unborn and rapidly developing baby. The first 3-8 weeks of pregnancy are vital for fetal development. This is often before you even know you are pregnant! So planning and getting your body in prime condition is very important. Good nutrition habits can also increase fertility, meaning it may help you to get pregnant faster.

Women with poor nutritional status have been linked to a number of negative outcomes, both for the mother and the baby. This includes decreased fertility, gestational diabetes, neural tube defects, autism, obesity in later life, an increased risk of pregnancy complications, low birth weight babies, and a number of other risks. Wow! That’s a scary list. There is good news, though. There are small things you can do now, to be the healthiest you.

Start taking a prenatal vitamin at least 3 months prior to conception
You may not be getting enough of the proper nutrients in your diet. The right prenatal vitamin contains important nutrients that you need and may not get enough of in your diet. Look for one that is natural, meaning it doesn’t have any additives or fillers. Beware of nutritionally deficient prenatal vitamins.

Lose (or Gain) Weight
Underweight women are more likely to give birth to low birth weight  babies and increases the risk of birth defects. Being underweight may also negatively affect your menstrual cycle.  Overweight women have increased risks for complications in pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and can see a reduction in fertility.

Focus on Key Nutrients

  • Folic Acid intake is linked to neural tube defects and 70% of cases likely could be avoided with proper folic acid intake. 800mg a day for at least 4 weeks prior to conception and continuing  through pregnancy is recommended.
  • Iron – in order to avoid a deficiency during pregnancy, stock up now! Eat high iron foods, make sure your prenatal vitamin has iron, and get a blood test if you are unsure of your levels. Lots of women are at risk for iron deficiency anemia. If you are deficient you can increase your intake by eating the lean meats, chicken, and iron rich vegetables.
  • Essential Fatty Acids – These play a key role in brain development, so make sure to eat plenty of these good fats.  Sources such as nuts, avocado, and fatty fish will give you plenty of tasty Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats.
  • Iodine – Insufficient iodine levels may lead to fetal brain damage and may also increase the risk of miscarriage. 150 μg per day during preconception and 220 μg per day when pregnant are recommended.
  • Zinc – Adequate levels of zinc can help increase fertility and is also important for your baby’s development. Oysters, roast beef, and peanuts are all rich in zinc.
  • Vitamin D – Insufficient levels of Vitamin D have been linked to preterm birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and prenatal infections. Get your levels checked to see if you have a Vitamin D deficiency and if so, get a good supplement to increase your levels. Check out www.grassrootshealth.net for information on what your levels should be and how to get them there.

Quit Smoking/Taking Drugs
This one is super important and can impair fetal growth. Smoking and drug use also have a negative effect on fertility. Quit now before you start trying for a baby.

Reduce Alcohol
This is a good chance to minimize your alcohol intake. Drinking can decrease fertility and increase the risk of complications in those vital first few weeks of pregnancy.

Reduce Caffeine
Start weaning yourself off those morning cups of coffee (this one is hard!). More than 200-300 milligrams of caffeine per day may reduce fertility by 27 percent. Caffeine also impedes upon your body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium, which are needed for fetal development.

Exercise
If you don’t already have an exercise routine in place, now is the time! Exercise insures that your body is in tip top shape to handle the stresses of pregnancy.

Mimimize Environmental Pollutant Exposure
Try to avoid chemicals found in paints, paint thinners, paint strippers, strong cleaning products, and insect and weed killers. They can store up in your body and be passed on to your baby leading to a higher risk of asthma, ADHD, and cancer. Eat organic to avoid pesticides and watch what fish you eat to minimize your exposure to mercury.

If you are already pregnant, it is not too late to make these changes! Remember, this is the start of your baby’s journey through life. Providing a place for them to grow where they are exposed to all the nutrients they need will set them up for a healthier life.

 

My name is Vanessa Wells and I started True Nature Nutrition in 2011 with the goal of providing nutritional consulting services to the North County area, and online. I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Auckland. After a few years of working in an office, I returned and completed my Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition (BS in Nutrition without all the 101 classes) and am working towards an MSc in Human Nutrition. I realized that my “dream job” was not in an office building. I love discovering how interesting and important nutrition is in life, and the impact that food has on the environment.
Then my daughter was born and my eyes were opened to the world of healthy eating for life. Giving your child the best health in life begins before they are even conceived and good habits start to develop in the womb. The foundations for a lifetime of good nutrition is laid in the first few years of life. It’s my goal to help women give their children the best start possible, with healthy eating for the whole family.

Choosing a provider: Understanding the medical and midwifery models of care

What is the difference between the midwifery and the medical model of care?

One of the first decisions that a woman makes, after her discovery of pregnancy, is her choice of care provider. In most countries, there are two basic care providers available- the obstetrician and the midwife. There are many factors that contribute to which provider will work best for your birth. A basic understanding of the common differences in their approach can help you make the best decision for your family.

Midwifery model of care-

Most midwives, whether working out of a hospital or attending home births, practice what is known as the “midwifery model of care.” The basic midwifery approach to birth and the pregnant woman tends to be more holistic. This means that they look at all factors which may contribute to the health and safety of the woman and her birth. Emotions, living situations, nutrition, and education should all be addressed by someone providing the midwifery model of care.

At the time of birth, this care provider will be aware of and trained to spot things that may go wrong, but will, overall, consider childbirth a natural process that frequently proceeds normally and safely.

Those trained in the midwifery model of care routinely refer out to an obstetrician when they observe that the pregnant woman needs to be cared for by someone with a deeper knowledge of pathology.

The Citizens for Midwifery note that,

“The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence

of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.”

Medical model of care-

A practitioner using the medical model of care, as is common among western medical doctors, tends to approach the patient from a problem solving approach, searching for the defect or dysfunction and trying to fix it. Unlike the midwifery model of care that seeks to understand the whole person and prevent unnecessary intervention or surgery, things are viewed from a pathological model searching for the problem and a solution.

Obstetricians, who provide the bulk of medical care for birthing women in the United States of

America, frequently approach their patients and their pregnancy and birth from this angle.

Which is right for me?

When choosing your care provider, there are many factors to consider. One would be your own philosophy towards birth. Do you view birth as a normal life event or as a pathology or disease?

Assessing your own beliefs will help you choose a care provider that best matches your own needs.

Another thing to consider is your own health and wellbeing. If you or your pregnancy are high risk, for some reason, then choosing an obstetrician who approaches birth from the medical model of care and who is versed in your risk factors in particular may be the choice that works best for you and your family.

It is also important to realize that not all midwives use the midwifery model of care and not all obstetricians use the medical model of care. You may be able to find an OB who views birth as a normal, healthy life event and approaches it with minimal interventions. You will also find midwives who have come to view birth as dangerous and pathologic and who have high intervention and cesarean section rates in their practices. Interviewing your individual care provider and asking for experiences from other mothers, doulas, and your childbirth educator will help give you some idea of their practice and philosophy.

Take your time and research your care provider. Your birth and your baby are worth the effort!

References:

Citizens for Midwifery- “Midwives Model of Care” brochure

http://cfmidwifery.org/mmoc/brochure_text.aspx

CIMS- Coalition for Improving Maternity Services

http://www.motherfriendly.org/MFCI/

Three Basic Baby Carriers

Three Basic Baby Carriers From Newborn To Toddler

Babywearing is one of the seven B’s of attachment parenting. While Dr. Sears told us all the benefits of babywearing, he could have written a completely separate book on the different WAYS to wear your baby. Like most things with babies, I am of the mindset that baby carriers are largely transitional with the different stages of development. While one type of carrier is great for a newborn it might not be ideal for a toddler and visa-versa.  So how does a new mom, a first time mom, or even a first time babywearer pick the best baby carrier for their family’s needs? A friend and I have developed what we call the trifecta of baby carriers. These are the three carriers that we feel are great for any babywearer.

In my experience, most everybody starts with a stretchy wrap or carrier. It only makes sense, it is the cheapest of the trifecta and is available in most big box retail stores. Moby is the most widely known and available, though there are other comparable brands such as the Boba Wrap. Stretchy wraps and carriers are usually made out a stretchy jersey material. Wrap versions can be very versatile, but also carry a bit of learning curve. This is usually overcome by a pre wrapped stretchy carrier, such as the Baby K’tan.  Two problems I had with the stretchy carrier were:  I was unable to back wrap, due to it being unsafe, in addition to the fact that the weight limit was very low. By the time my son was about 15lbs my lower back was looking for a different solution. None the less, the stretchy wrap did serve its purpose very early on.

Another problem I had early on with my stretchy wrap was the length of time it took me to tie it in public. Not to mention the fact that it drug the nasty, dirty parking lot while I was trying to get it tied on outside of my car. With practice I got much quicker at this, but as I mentioned before there is a bit of learning curve. My solution to the learning curve was the ring sling. Ring slings are WONDERFUL to nurse in discreetly, as well as getting a baby in and out of the car quickly. The weight limit on ring slings can vary. The brand that I chose was SlingEze. I chose that one largely due to the padded shoulder and adjustable size. There are a variety of slings available some offer those options, others simply don’t.  The choice on those features are largely personal, but I knew when hanging 20lbs from one shoulder that I wanted a little bit of cushion.

Even though my sling offered a great cushioned shoulder, eventually even that was overcome by gravity. Hang a 20lb baby from your shoulder for a couple hours and you will understand. This, combined with my husband’s reluctance to participate in what I found to be a quite enjoyable and meaningful experience lead me to buy my first soft structured carrier.

The soft structured carriers or the dad carrier is the final rung of the trifecta of carriers. If dad will wear a backpack, he more than likely will wear a soft structured carrier. It is not recommended that you ever face your child forward on your front due to stress on their spine; back wearing was my solution for the curious toddler who wanted to see everything as I saw it. Soft structured carriers are the only carrier in the trifecta where back carries are recommended. If not for back carries my babywearing relationship might have ended at least a year before its prime.

Besides being dad and back carry friendly, soft structured carriers also have one of the broadest weight limits, most will start as early as newborn (some require extra parts for this) and go up to 45lbs. One of the main things to look for in a good carrier are a wide seat, you want to see the butt of the carrier stretch from knee to knee like the Boba 3G. Narrow seats put undue stress on the hips and are contraindicated by the International Hip Displasia Institute. Unfortunately, the soft structured carrier is also the most expensive carrier of the trifecta. 

There are a thousand different types of carriers, these are the top three basic carriers. Anything beyond this is what I, personally, consider intermediate or advanced baby wearing devices, in that their learning curves and prices increase, sometimes, exponentially. For more information on the trifecta or intermediate or advanced carriers find a local specialty store, visit them, AND shop with them. You will find a hidden wealth of knowledge in many cloth diaper stores, plus the time and man hours that are required to give you the personal attention you deserve. Another option is to search out local babywearing groups. Additional resources can be found nationwide at www.babywearinginternational.org or  www.thebabywearer.com

Credit: Valerie Cannon Photography

Tiffany Carra owns the Fort Worth Cloth Diaper Store, Simple Baby, and is a chapter leader for the Tarrant County Birth Network, a chapter of BirthNetwork National. For more information about attachment parenting and cloth diapering topics visit the Simple Baby Blog.

Birth Story – Kadence

One of our goals at Birth Boot Camp is to train couples in natural birth.  This tender birth story from one of our former students exemplifies everything we hope for our couples.  You will see a father go from scoffing the idea of natural birth and frightened of birth videos to being an amazing and integral part of a family birth experience.

This is truly what we seek to do as a company- improve the birth experience for the mother, her partner, and their baby. 

Enjoy this amazing birth story!

It was just about a year ago when we found out that we were pregnant.  I’d been a little too anxious with the first pregnancy test and despite assuring results up to 5 days sooner; the test still came back negative. A week later when Mother Nature still had not run her course, I tried again.  POSITIVE!

For reasons I don’t even completely know, I’ve always desired to have an un-medicated childbirth.  Granted, that wasn’t a conversation that really came up in our dating days, so when I told my husband this after we received the pregnancy news, he was a little unsupportive.  Okay, he might have even scoffed and said, ‘yeah, we’ll see how you feel when the time comes.’  Thankfully, I was with my mother-in-law at the time and she does a wonderful job trying to help me understand my husband.  She explained that his only up-front experience with childbirth had not been a very positive experience.  My husband has an adorable 6 year-old son (whom I love with my whole heart) from a previous relationship.  They were young and unprepared.  The mom is tiny and my (step) son’s head is rather large.  All of that resulted in a lot of pain and eventually a C-section.  This is what my husband had in his mind.

After explaining my desires a little bit more and reading a book that got us both on the same page, my husband jumped on the un-medicated band wagon with me!  We enrolled in a local Birth Boot Camp (instructed by none other than Donna herself!) so that we could both be educated.  Friday evenings were one of our favorite times.  It was great having time to be so intentional about understanding the birthing process.  What we both found most useful was the emphasis on the husband’s active role throughout the pregnancy, labor, delivery, and beyond.

What my husband found most uncomfortable was the birthing videos.  Seriously, he’d turn away, cover his face, catch glimpses of the video and be totally disgusted.  Uh….he was supposed to be my #1 support during the delivery; how were we going to make sure this happened?!  As classes went on, the whole birthing process became a little less…disgusting…to him.  However, to this day, he still will say he found the videos revolting.  Bless his heart.  However, having been exposed to un-medicated births via those videos let him know a little bit more about what to expect on D-Day (Delivery day).

When the day arrived (I would say finally but she came a few days early despite me being convinced she would come late – so perhaps unexpectedly arrived would be more accurate), we were as ready as we were going to be.  My husband had his affirmations written down for me, lots of lyrics and scripture saved, and an entire playlist put together for during labor.  I think we got through a few songs before she came much quicker than anticipated!  My husband was my #1 support that day as I had hoped he would be.  He was calm, encouraging, supportive and calm.  Did I mention calm?  When meeting my husband, calm probably wouldn’t be one of the words used to describe him.  Yet, thanks to a lot of prayer, the classes and conversation (and, yes, even the videos), he knew what I needed that day to have a positive birthing experience.  It was an incredible day all together.

I had a friend there with us taking pictures of the whole experience.  When talking to her a few days later, she told me the first thing she told her husband after watching our daughter’s birth was that she was super impressed (and even a little shocked) with how well my husband responded throughout the process.  Even my midwife commended him for his support.  While he might not have been the one to catch our daughter, he did manage to peak and even caught a glimpse of Kadence coming into the world – with her arm raised high by her head.  Really, Kadence?!  But to think he might have missed that if not for everything we had learned ahead of time.  I’m so incredibly thankful for our experience and how prepared we felt going into all of it.  My husband was so enthralled with how alert our daughter was immediately upon entering the world.  Really, he’s just enthralled with her in general.  I’m so thankful for Donna, Birth Boot Camp, our fellow Birth Boot Campers and the healthy arrival of our tiny newest addition.  We couldn’t have asked for anything more; we are incredibly blessed.

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