Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Late Pregnancy Preparations...
The Body

What is pregnancy about? Soul and body.
The baby inside is "a melody softly soaring through my atmosphere....Where soul meets body..."
(A quote from this song by the band Death Cab for Cutie) ~~~
So I have talked a bit about the spiritual preparations I have going on.

For the body, well...let me talk about what I am doing, so as to eclipse the glaring lack of exercise I am getting. Yep, unless it works by osmosis, my prenatal yoga videos are not doing me much good. They have stayed pretty lonely on the shelf.

Didn't I say I was going to talk about what I AM DOING?

Anyway, here is a little sample of the extras I like to add to my life for late pregnancy.

Sleep. Yep, as much as life will allow. I believe whole heartily in SARK's instruction/ affirmation that "You Can Change your Life Without Getting Out of Bed". She talks about the fact that it takes a lot of energy to become your true self. Well, it also takes a lot of energy to build another's entire being! Pregnancy involves heavy work, both physical and psychic, and I believe laying still in slumber allows this work to unfold.

From her book:
"Changing your life can happen when you're not trying so hard, or when you're asleep!

I think that change often slips in when we're relaxed inside of ourselves.

The process of truly becoming yourself takes a lot of energy, and this energy can be replenished during naps.

This book can be tacked under your pillow and it will induce naps. Inside are: Nap permission slips, great nap places, nap clothes, nap exercises, ways to make more money while napping, napping without guilt, special naps for parents, suggestions and games for making changes in your life and more...

My first and best job was as the wake up fairy in kindergarten.

I had a magic wand and touched each sleeping child on the head with it. They awoke from their nap to have little cups of juice and a cookie. Sometimes you could get extra.

As adults, we still need these nap-times. We need tender places in which to repair our souls and put special glue on the broken places.We replenish and repair during naps. Even if you don't actually sleep, setting up for a nap provides an atmosphere of safety and kindness for the interior.

Napping softens all the edges and smoothes the shredded places. Naps are the adult version of a child's fort. A love of privacy and place for make-believe. I believe I can do it now.

Rest adds strength to our souls." - Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (SARK)

Walking: I could do better here, but I get at least two decent walks a week in right now. I walked quite while today, and my toes are suddenly like little sausages, so I think the window for upping the number of long walks in my regimen may be over. But hey, what else do I have to do? And I finally have a functional stroller my older daughter will go in, so that makes neighborhood walking an option when she is home, which is nice.

Pelvic Tilts and Squats: I am doing is squats, especially in my nice deep bath tub. I wish I could get into my old AquaNatal routine here, but the pools are just too cold. It cost about $10 a pop to go to the pool, and it is 72 degrees. When I was in Florida and had a pool, I realized my comfort level for water is about 80 F. Now they won't even let me in the hot tub here since I am visibly pregnant, so my bathtub works ok for the "golden goddess" yoga pose/ squat.

And I do the occasional pelvic rocking...especially good with some circling/ rocking on the birth ball.

Healthy Food: I am eating just normally, as I have through pregnancy. I am not much of a stickler for following a special diet regimen, I tend to trust that the body tells you what it needs. And when it says chocolate, I know that means protein and maybe some magnesium, so I listen to my body's food messages with the same caution I would a when listening to a three year old, which means I am listening for the subtext behind the actual request... I was sick for a pretty extended time in the winter, and had a much lower veggie and protein intake at that time. I think the baby is going to be smaller than my daughter because of it.

Red Raspberry Leaf or Nourishment Tea: I have been consuming a french press pot of either red raspberry leaf tea, or the nourishment tea I posted in this old post.
Red Raspberry leaf is rich in vitamin C complex, thiamine, niacin, carotenes, calcium, magnesium and trace minerals. it is used in folk herbalism to tone the uterus, and is used to nourish the muscles, make labor contractions more efficient, reduce bleeding after birth, and help the uterus return to it's not pregnant state easily, as well as to enrich the quality of the breast milk. I was out of nettles for quite a while (not anymore, thanks Erica) and so I was drinking straight red raspberry for most of the early third trimester. Since i went very over due with my daughter I thought it wouldn't hurt to ingest large amounts of an herb that is purported to help babies not be overdue!

Now I have my nettles I am back to using the exact recipe for nourishment tea mix in Aviva Jill Romm's 'The Natural Pregnancy Book':

2 parts red raspberry

2 part nettles

1 part oatstraw

1/2 part alfalfa

1/2 part rose hips

1/4 part red clover

1/4 part spearmint

Floradix Herbal Iron: even though I do eat red meat these days, and a fair amount of leafy greens, cook in cast iron, and am drinking sooo much iron rich tea I was still lagging a bit in my iron stores which are important for pregnancy. being low in iron is known as anemia, and makes the mom more tired than she needs to be. The baby also will have a low iron diet in it's early life, and relies on the stores of iron it gets from the mother in late pregnancy to carry it through it's first few months. So I have been adding the old midwife standby Floradix. Here is Sweden it is known as "Blut Saft" or blood juice and is widely available. It is the standard, recommended iron source for pregnancy, which is unusual to me because overall the Swedes use fewer herbs and natural remedies than I would have thought. This is largely due to the very regulated state run pharmacy system, which I will post about in another post about 'Only in Sweden' I think.

Super Nutrition Vitamins: My favorite brand of Vitamins is Super Nutrition. I get them in the USA. I found the regular vitamins contain almost the exact same things as the prenatal, and come in a one a day formula. I tend to forget dose 2 and 3 if required to take more than one a day, so I just do two of these once a day, and it has about the same stuff as the prenatal formula.
Nordic Natural Omega- 3's: I also take the Nordic Natural brand Omega -3's, which are good for baby's brain development, keep depression at bay, and help provide the building blocks for the hormones you need. I buy expensive good quality fish oil, because you want to make sure it has been micro filtered so you do not inadvertently consume a bunch of brain cell killing toxic mercury when you are working to boost your baby's smarts. These come in a variety of forms and flavors, and are good to give to little kids with growing brains, or to take when nursing.

Kelp: Yep seaweed. There are lots of creative ways to get seaweed in your diet- in soup, etc.. and I like to snack on straight dulse. But I am out of that right now, so I am munching on a bit of kelp daily. It actually is tasting good to me right now. It is a great addtion for anyone pregnant, but especially valuable in the third trimester. But WHHHhhhhy? You may ask? Well, all seaweeds are super rich in minerals, help the nervous system, and are specific helpers to keep the placenta chug, chug, chugging along in optimum condition until baby is ready to be born. Which is important for people like me, who went way overdue last time. When the placenta starts putzing out, it results in low amniotic fluid, less exchange in general with baby, and can mean more fetal distress in labor. I ate lots of seaweed last pregnancy, and had a *lovely* placenta 17 days after my due date. When eating it is not in the plan for me, I pop a few kelp pills. These are also rich in iodine and help people with low thyroid, which is a family issue, so that is good for me too.

Antacids: These are not actually good for you, they have calcium but the wrong mineral mix to be absorbed properly. but I could not talk about late pregnancy with out mentioning these, my life line, which i do not leave the house with out. Having a balanced ph would help, but I am already so acidic I can not manage lemon water often, so alas, I default to the not very great practice of neutralizing the acid. But guess what, it means I sleep, and see #1 here, that's my favorite thing so I will do what I gotta do.
Dandelion Tea: This really is my latest addition, just added today! But the last two days, I have found that after walking my toes are rather plump and my sock line visible. So dandelion root tea has been added to the tea mix. It is a liver toner and natural safe diuretic in pregnancy. I am hoping it will give me my normal ankles back. I long to go get in the deep end of a pool and recover my ankles via hydrostatic pressure, but the pools, as I mentioned are too costly and too cold for my comfort. So dandelion it is. 1 tsp per cup of boiling water, steeped 15 mintues.

Coffee: I also drink coffee, 1-2 cups a day. This contributes to the acid issue, and overrides some of the benefit of the kelp for the nervous system, but I do it and love it and thought I oughta come clean about that. Starbucks sumatra in a french press with cream and sugar. I really do it up. I am no saint, and no purist. So there. But things that are good for the soul are good for the body, so perhaps its a good habit after all.

Visualizations: So, the "Journeying Through Pregnancy" is getting a good listen to, tuned to track two, the birth visualization. You can click here to read about it, my absoltue favorite pregnancy visualization. but I really wish Sunni Karll would do one, to go with Sacred Birthing, as this is good but does not reach as deep as her work does.

MAP sessions: This makes up for the lack of deepth in the visualization CD- MAP sessions are a personalized energy work program. This where I come clean as a woo-woo, energy worky type. I have been greatly helped by a variety of energy work, craniosacral therapy, and other energy clearing techniques done by healers. I found some great people to work with in my home town, and even did some work with some Mexican shamanic midwives I hosted for a conference a ways back. I got familiar through their work on me of what it feels like to release blockages in the body, and this is ultimately the work that helped me get over the three years of pain I had from two ruptured disks in my back after my daughter's birth. MAP sessions are taught in the "Sacred Birthing" book, and are brief 30 minutes session where you lay still and call in your 'team' of guides, and the healing energies of the natural world, and ask to release things that are not helpful. It's like a prayer you do with your body. The instructions for how to work with this in pregnancy are in Sacred Birthing. I find it really helpful to be able to do this type of work on myself. I can get really stuck in my brain about things or problems, and this is a technique where you basically just ask for things to be released, and never have to know what it was that had you stuck, by passing the brainy brain part of things. I find it works, and feel the shifts happen in many ways after doing the work.

1 comment:

bellyboojmama said...

THANK YOU for this practical and honest advice. I really appreciate the tea recipe, as I've been sipping from red raspberry leaf tea bags, but have been contemplating making my own. I'm 23 weeks now and have seen a couple "sock lines". I'll throw some dandelion in for good measure. Also, because of your recommendation to Jennie on the Sacred Birthing book, we've decided to split it. I'm looking forward to reading it, especially after reading the passages you reprinted below.