Hoping for a Healthy Pregnancy, Lovely Birth & Successful Postpartum Recovery? Here’s some resources to get started!
**Note, I am NOT affiliated with ANY of these resources, and I do not receive any financial gain or otherwise for promoting these products!**
As you might know, I love trying to stay up-to-date on current research and information about having a healthy pregnancy and postpartum recovery. I really want to be able to give clients good, solid information, and help them to achieve their desires for a low-risk pregnancy, beautiful birth, and end up with a supported, successful period of postpartum recovery. None of these things just happen, though. It takes concerted effort on the part of mom and her support team, and having some quality resources available to you can make all the difference in the world to achieving these goals!
These days, there are so many resources available, that it’s often hard to know where to start. And so many places have conflicting information, which only adds to the confusion about who to believe, and what is actual fact. Between blogs, articles, mommy boards, books and free advice, you might be wondering just where to concentrate your efforts in getting some basic information.
I have been so delighted to be made aware of some great resources that are available, and the purpose of this post is to introduce you to a few of these. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you have more resources to suggest, please add them in the comments so we can all learn from each other!
This is a MUST READ for all pregnant women, and anyone even thinking about having a baby. Optimal nutrition starts now, and builds a foundation for a healthy mom and healthy baby. Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science & Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition by Lily Nichols is the BEST book on nutrition that I’ve read in a long time. She will help you to understand how lacking our standard American diet is in real nutrients, and why so many moms end up with gestational diabetes, high blood pressure & pre-ecclampsia. For all the incredible information, it’s written in a very easy-to-understand style. She will help you understand why you need quality vitamins that utilize activated forms of B vitamins and folate, how much protein and good fats you need, what type of salt your body actually needs, how to reduce your carbohydrate intake, what type of exercise you need, and so much more. There is seriously so much more in this book than JUST nutrition, and your body will reap benefits from applying the information it contains! There is another book by the same author entitled Real Food for Gestational Diabetes that is especially geared towards helping moms to balance their blood sugars and manage gestational diabetes through quality diet changes.
Have you seen the old “What to Expect” series for expectant moms? Well, you can think of The MamaNatural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth by Genevieve Howland as a new, up-to-date version from a natural, holistic perspective. It’s great, and I think it should be a standard baby shower gift for every expectant mom (though they should probably have it well before the baby shower, honestly!). With input from a CNM and a doula, this guide goes through all the typical questions you face week-by-week, and gives advice on nutrition, tests to consider (and why you’d do them or why you might opt out), what you should be thinking about and preparing for, and how to go about choosing the right caregiver, birth location and options that are right for you. I love the fact that the book gives great info on home, birth center and hospital options, helping moms to achieve a great birth no matter where their location, but helping them to do so as healthily and naturally as possible.
So, while the other two books I mention touch on exercise, there are also some resources available that FOCUS on exercise. As I’m sure you know, exercise is important during pregnancy especially as you prepare for birth (you wouldn’t expect to run a marathon without training for it, right? We should think the same way about training for birth…), but did you also know that exercise is important for your body AFTER pregnancy? Our bodies go through some pretty amazing transitions as they grow a tiny human from smaller than a speck to 7-9lbs, which pushes our stomach up, our bladder down, and challenges our circulation. And then the baby has to come out…and our internal organs all must shift and readjust, and the muscles are stretched and then must get smaller…which means that there is A LOT of changes and stress for the body to recover from!
You’ve probably read or seen articles that talk about healing from diastasis after pregnancy, and/or about incontinence issues, pelvic pain, etc. that can occur postpartum, which can increase in possibility as you have more children, or have babies fairly close together without a lot of time for needed healing. But did you know there are actually things you can do about these issues? And that there are answers out there which can help you recover from pregnancy, and help you go into and through another pregnancy in even better physical condition than before?
One of the resources that can help is to take a prenatal or postpartum class through BirthFit. I love their motto: Giving birth might be the most athletic event of your life. Train for it. Isn’t that true?? In our area, classes are taught by Julie Kulig, a local chiropractor who uses her extensive knowledge to help moms develop a program that works for them. Her prenatal classes focus more on exercise, diet and birth options, and her postpartum classes focus specifically on helping the body to heal and recover from birth. She helps moms to strengthen their core in the correct way to heal any disastasis recti, guides you in exercises to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor, and teaches you how to move (picking up fat, chunky babies off the floor, anyone??) correctly so as to prevent injury. I personally took her BirthFit Postpartum class, and have been very excited with the benefits I received…and it was really good for me to realize I was capable of doing more than what I realized I could do when it came to good workouts. You can check online to see if there is an instructor near you, and you can also access a lot of the BirthFit information on their website-they offer online classes, as well.
Now, maybe you don’t have access to a BirthFit class, or have lots of little people around, and wonder how you could ever fit something like this into your life. I get it! I’ve been on the lookout for years for a good, tailored-for-moms exercise program that could be done in 20 min. or less each day. Honestly, there are times in my life where I just don’t have more time than that, and if an exercise program is going to take longer, it just won’t get done. So I was really excited to get ahold of the Trim Healthy Mama “Workins” DVD series. What has been fun is to see so much of what I learned at BirthFit being re-affirmed by Serene & Pearl, only this program is one that I can do at home, and working along with the DVD helps to provide me with more motivation than going at it alone. Each exercise routine can be completed in 19-20 min, using mostly items you have at home, and they are geared specifically towards moms in the childbearing stage. This means they are specifically targeting pelvic floor strength & core stability, and they include modifications to use during pregnancy, or if you’re just getting started postpartum or in exercising regularly in general. I love their down-to-earth style-it makes you feel like you’re working out with your girlfriends. You can find out more and watch an intro video about the program here.
I hope you can find some of these resources helpful in your own journey to better health, especially in relation to pregnancy & postpartum! I’d love to hear what you would recommend, so please feel free to share!