Helpful Resources for Natural Pregnancy & Labor

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Pregnancy and childbirth are a beautiful time, but also very physical for the body. Preparing for childbirth is recommended, especially for women who are looking to have a natural, drug-free labor. Small exercises, both mentally and physically, can be done daily to improve the chances of having a successful unmedicated birth. I made it my mission during my pregnancies to learn everything I could about these mind body techniques and how I could use them to have the birth I desired. I have no doubt that making it a priority to learn these techniques allowed me to birth naturally with my first and my second child and what I recommend to other expecting mamas looking for more information on how to facilitate a natural pregnancy and childbirth. Here is a list of my favorite resources for natural pregnancy and labor:

Resources for Natural Pregnancy and Labor:

  • Mindful Birthing Online Course – My online birthing course is an alternative to traditional hospital classes. It gives expecting parents the information they need to prepare for their upcoming birth to digest at their own pace.
  • From Bump to Birth – This awesome ebook written by my friend Citrine over at Holistic Saffron is a great resource to learn natural cures for common pregnancy ailments.
  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – This birthing legend is the mother of modern midwifery. This guide is a must have to mamas who are wanting a natural, drug-free labor.
  • Your Baby Your Way – This book by Jennifer Margulis is a great resource for expecting mamas because it goes into great detail the business of the birthing industry and how to make informed and educated decisions when it comes to birth and your baby.

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Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy

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Pregnancy is an exciting time, but can also be filled with some anxiety. The changes that occur to the body, childbirth and becoming a parent can cause feelings of fear and stress in expecting parents, in addition to finances, childcare and changing the family dynamics. This post will share with you the benefits of meditation during pregnancy to help alleviate fears, stresses and feelings of overwhelming emotions that can be associated with this exciting milestone.

Danger of Stress During Pregnancy

Many people know that extreme stress is bad for any living thing and that it can lead to disease and degeneration in our bodies. Pregnancy itself is a particularly stressful time on a woman’s body. The physical and hormonal changes can be quite daunting whether its the first or fourth pregnancy. We currently live in incredibly stressful times. We worry about things close to home like our finances, our relationships with those close to us as well as our safety and security as a country and abroad.

In addition to everyday stressors, many women work for as long as possible during pregnancy to maximize their maternity leave after the baby is born. Many expecting woman may not be aware that excessive stress during pregnancy can have severe consequences for the health of the unborn baby if they don’t learn how to manage it.

It’s already known that extreme stress during pregnancy can lead to increased risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy. In the later stages of pregnancy, extreme stress can lead to things like premature labor, premature birth and low birth-weight babies. The latest findings indicate that prenatal stress can also increase the risk of a baby being born with asthma or allergies.

Research is showing that stress makes cells more permeable by weakening the body’s cells, and it then becomes more susceptible to allergens and that even low levels of exposure to an allergen could trigger a reaction. Stress also suppresses the immune system thereby making us more susceptible to sickness as well as being less able to deal with allergens and other pathogens. Prenatal stress can also impact fetal development. Studies have shown that it can even affect cognitive, emotional, and physical development in infancy and childhood.

Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy

Meditation is a great way to release stress and anxiety anytime, and pregnancy is no exception. The positive side effects of meditation are beneficial for both mother and unborn baby and there are no negative side effects to date!

Benefits of meditation during pregnancy include:

  • Better sleep
  • Connecting to your changing body
  • Anxiety/stress relief
  • Increased peace of mind
  • Less tension
  • Connecting with your baby before birth
  • Positive labor preparation
  • Lower risk of postpartum depression

Studies also show that meditation improves DHEA levels which is important in pregnant women. This hormone helps you keep your mind clear and focused on what’s best for your baby while simultaneously keeping your organs functioning properly. Other vital benefits include proper immunity, agility, proper vision and ensuring proper motor skills and memory.

Types of Pregnancy Meditation

There are many different types of meditation for expecting parents that can be done during pregnancy. The most common types of meditations include:

  • Fear Release – This type of meditation is used to release fears and anxieties
  • Relaxation – This type of meditation is used to create a state of relaxation
  • Bonding with Baby – This type of meditation used to connect with your growing body and baby
  • Affirmations – These are positive statements to boost confidence and release self-imposed limiting thoughts.

I used these types of meditations regularly during both of my pregnancies which helped to alleviate a lot of physical and emotional stress, alleviated discomforts and helped me to prepare mentally and physically for labor. I had two beautiful, drug-free birth experiences which you can read about here and here. Over the last several years I have taught these exercises to many expecting parents to help empower them to create beautiful birthing experiences as well. I am so excited to share my album of guided meditations on iTunes and Amazon MP3 for other expecting mothers to help find relaxation, release fears and stress and bond with their little one.

Many prenatal yoga classes will do some form of these meditations as well or you can practice meditation alone at home. One tool that really helps me to get grounded during meditation are my mala beads. Another helpful tool I use for quieting the mind is therapeutic grade essential oils. These help to release negative thoughts and feelings from the limbic region of the brain making it easier to become relaxed and at ease. It is best to try different methods and see which works best to get you grounded and to find peace.

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Natural Ways to Prevent Stretch Marks and Prenatal Belly Butter Recipe

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Pregnancy is an amazing time, the body can accomplish great things and it’s almost unbelievable just how big that belly can get! All that stretching of the skin really causes a mama to earn her stripes. Fortunately there are some natural ways to prevent stretch marks, which I will share, as well as my prenatal belly butter recipe.

What Causes Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are lines that appear on the skin usually during or after pregnancy or when there is a rapid change in weight.  Stretch marks can appear anywhere, but they’re most common on your stomach, breasts, upper arms, thighs, and buttocks areas. They have been found to be a result of skin stretching and an increase of cortisone in your system. Cortisone is a hormone naturally produced by your adrenal glands. However, having too much of this hormone can make your skin lose its elasticity. Stretch Marks are not harmful or dangerous and pose no health risk. Fortunately there are some natural ways to prevent stretch marks and to treat them if they occur.

Natural Ways to Prevent Stretch Marks

It is important to keep the skin healthy and hydrated to improve skin elasticity. A healthy diet high in healthy fats and antioxidants will help to prevent and heal stretch marks, prevent premature aging and other degenerative diseases. Here is a list of foods that can be incorporated in your diet to help prevent and treat stretch marks.

  • Coconut Oil
  • Diet full of healthy fats
  • Essential Oils
  • Gelatin
  • Hydration
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc

 

Prenatal Belly Butter Recipe

  1. In a double boiler combine all ingredients except essential oils.
  2. Bring to medium heat and stir constantly until all ingredients are melted.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly and add essential oils.
  4. Cool in fridge for 1 hour or until starting to harden but still somewhat soft.
  5. Use a hand mixer to whip for 10 minutes until fluffy.
  6. Return to fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.
  7. Store the mixture in a glass jar with a lid and use as you would regular lotion or body butter. If your home stays above 75 degrees, it may soften and need to be kept at the fridge, but it will stay whipped at a temperature lower than 75.
  8. Apply mixture to belly once or twice daily!

For the best possible results I recommend using therapeutic grade essential oils and this is why! You can click here to learn where to order quality essential oils.

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