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Category — Childbirth

7 Tips for Natural Childbirth

Well, I went and had a baby!  He came a few weeks ahead of schedule so it was a major surprise but we are both doing great.  I had another fast labor with no medications and a few friends have asked for advice on how to do the same so I thought I would share a some ideas that may be useful to other expecting moms out there.  Even if you plan to use medication during birth, hopefully these tips can help you get through the beginning part of labor with the best possible outcome!

1. Have a small baby.  This is the part where I disclose the fact that both of my kids were under 6 pounds and both were born prior to their due dates.  I share this because I want you to know up front that I am not a rock star mom with a high pain tolerance – I think if I were one of these women on the news having 14 pound babies the title of this blog would probably be “How to Schedule a C-Section”.  However, if you do all that you can during your pregnancy to  make sure that your baby is a size that is appropriate for you it can make labor easier.  The most important key here is to keep your blood sugar under control so that your baby doesn’t get bigger than they should be.  You can do this by avoiding sugar; eating a nourishing, traditional diet that is rich in healthy fat, protein, and vegetables; getting regular exercise; and keeping stress levels under control as much as possible.

2. Immerse yourself in positive birth stories.  Part of this is also to not let yourself watch reality tv shows about birth that just show women stuck in hospital beds, unable to move freely, experiencing difficult births that end up with all kinds of interventions!  I highly suggest reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, the first half of which is all positive birth stories (the second half is full of really helpful medical info).  Or if you have friends or relatives that had a positive birth, ask them to tell you about it in detail.  That way when you are in the throes of labor you can have in your mind positive and reinforcing images rather than the fearful and dramatic images that are projected on television.

3. Put the pain in familiar context.  This may not work for everyone but it really works for me.  I think part of what makes labor so scary is that women are inundated with statements like “it’s the worst pain you’ll ever feel.”  For me, prior to birth, the worst pain I thought I ever felt was my first bikini wax!  But to most women a bikini wax isn’t bad at all, so it’s really all relative.  Open ended statements like “the worst pain you’ll ever feel” leave a lot up to the imagination when you’re going through a new experience.  What worked better for me, rather than imagining that the pain was going to just get worse and unimaginably bad, was to take each contraction and realize that it really just felt like a bad stomach flu or really intense gas.  So the pain wasn’t a huge mystery to me, it was something I had felt before in the form of stomach pain and it was something I had already survived in my life.  Other women describe labor as feeling like bad menstrual cramps, while others say it feels like intense lower back pain.  And, not to be crude, but to me the pushing phase feels like you’re pooping a tiny bowling ball with a small wooden log attached…maybe not a familiar feeling but at least something you can imagine!

4. Make water your friend.  Hang out in the shower or bathtub (whatever is comfortable for you) and if you are not feeling nauseous, be sure to drink plenty of water between contractions.  Hydrated muscle is able to operate much more efficiently to get that baby out.  For my first child I spent about 4 hours in the shower at home (thank the good Lord for a large hot water tank!) letting the warm water run over my stomach and back which greatly eased the pain of contractions.  For my second baby labor happened very quickly and we had just enough time for me to get into the whirlpool tub at the hospital for a short time before I got to the pushing phase.  When we arrived at the hospital I was already 6 cm dilated and having very intense contractions every 2-3 minutes.  As soon as I immersed my belly in the warm water, it took all the pressure off and I actually had to send my husband into the other room to check the monitor (they put one of those waterproof mobile monitors on me) to see if I was still having contractions because being in the water took all the pain away!  Sure enough I was having regular contractions of the same intensity as before even though I could hardly feel them and within about 15 minutes I was ready to push.

5. Keep moving.  As mentioned above, the way birth is pictured on television is that a woman just lays there, yells a lot, and a baby is born.  Having been through two unmedicated births in 3 years (yes as I was pushing out the most recent baby I vividly recall thinking “how am I already back at this place in such a short time???) I can think of nothing more ridiculous or more painful than the thought that we are supposed to just lay there and magically push another human out of our bodies.  If I had been prepared, I would have had someone video me during labor so that every time The Learning Channel puts on another birth special showing a woman lying in a hospital bed I could hack into it and instead broadcast myself in labor with my first son pushing against the wall as a contraction started coming and then when the contraction was in full force running naked through our tiny studio apartment yelling “It hurts it hurts it hurts!” at 4 in the morning while my husband sits on the bed timing contractions and staring at me with wide eyes.  Somehow running and yelling helped to discharge the pain and let it move through me.  With this most recent labor, what felt right during intense contractions was to grip the bathroom countertop with my hands, stand up on my tip-toes, and quickly sway my hips back and forth like an overcaffeinated hula dancer.  I do think that this movement helped the baby get into position faster and was part of what cut my labor from 8 hours with my first boy to 3 1/2 hours with the second.  I think that this point is one of the most important even if you plan on eventually having an epidural because if you can stay in tune with your body and what feels right as far as movement you will help your baby get into the best position before the medication is administered.  As a side note, when you are driving to the hospital or birth center and obviously can’t move around then singing can be really helpful.  Keeping your neck and mouth muscles relaxed with singing or humming or deep breathing actually helps to keep your pelvic muscles relaxed and open.

6. Choose your own position.  Birth is an adventure and you should be allowed to choose what feels right to you.  Be sure to discuss this in detail with your healthcare provider so that you know that when you give birth you will be allowed to do what feels right to you.  The midwife I have been visiting with was very lenient and would basically let you give birth while swinging from the chandelier as long as it posed no harm to you or the baby.  However, when I actually went in to the hospital the doctor that was on call was one who preferred to assist birth with the woman on her back.  For my first son I gave birth in this standard position (slightly sitting up, leaning back, both legs pushed back) and I recall feeling like I needed to be on all fours but I just didn’t feel free to move because everything was happening so fast (he was almost born in the car because his stubborn mother waited until contractions were less than 2 minutes apart to go to the hospital) and I was overwhelmed.  It took me half an hour to push him out in this position (I’m not complaining!), I ended up with a second degree tear, and something was not right in the way I was pushing so I went through 6 months of pain that only resolved with pelvic physical therapy.  Yes, such a thing as pelvic physical therapy exists – it’s like a tiny gym for your nether-regions – and I highly recommend it for any woman who has lasting pain after childbirth.  With my most recent birth, after I got out of the tub I was brought to the hospital bed (no water births allowed in hospitals here in Hawaii yet) and I told the nurse I wanted to be on all fours with one leg on the ground to push into the ground.  She said I had to be completely on the bed and that I could be on all fours but when the doctor came in I would have to turn over.  Of course in my head I was thinking that if the doctor also had a bowling ball with a log attached coming out of her body then she could decide how I would be but since she did not then she would have to figure out how to physically make me turn over.  Plus a few swear words.  So, I hunkered down on all fours, face in the pillow, bare butt still swaying quickly in the air and just kept thinking over and over “animals do this every day without dying and without pain medication”.  I vividly remember one push…two pushes…the nurse next to me telling me to breathe and try not to push because the doctor was not at the hospital yet…three pushes…another nurse saying “she’s not going to wait, get the ER doctor”…four pushes…and then I looked down at the bed and there below me was this perfect little boy and the nurse was saying “turn over Jessica and hold your baby!”.  I was completely in shock that he came out so fast!  I know your second one is supposed to come faster but I honestly think that the position I was in was right for my body and how he was positioned in me and that is why he was so incredibly fast and easy to deliver and why I felt completely fine and had no pain after the birth (though this was partly due to the endorphin rush that goes along with childbirth) to the point that I didn’t even need Motrin.  Some women find that standing, kneeling, squatting, laying on their side, or another position is best for them to help their baby make his or her entrance into the world.

7. Stay flexible.  And I don’t mean physically, though that is important for helping with all the movement and positioning items mentioned above!  I mean stay flexible mentally and spiritually in your expectations – there is no other time that is such a life and death moment as the process of giving birth.  While I generally tend to be anti-medicine simply because I respect the intelligence of the body more than the intelligence of the medical realm, there is a time and a place for modern medicine.  If you went into birth hoping for a natural birth and ended up with every intervention known to man but at the end of it all you took home a baby then in my opinion it was successful and you should be proud of yourself!  Childbirth can be both exhilarating and traumatic and then add to that the huge hormone fluctuations and the lack of sleep associated with having a newborn and all I can say is…wow.  If your birth didn’t go exactly as you planned, talk about it with someone who loves you, cry about it, let all of the emotion out and let yourself move on.  And if your birth did go exactly as you planned, please do talk about it and help those around you reprogram their thoughts and expectations about childbirth!

If you have labor tips of your own please share them in the comments section – I would love to learn what helped you!

March 21, 2012   1 Comment

Postpartum Hair Loss: “When did my stylist give me bangs?”

The other day I was talking to a friend when suddenly, just like Jennifer Lopez, a luxurious lock of hair that was fabulously cut to cheek length fell across my face.  And of course, I – again like J. Lo – swept it away deftly and gracefully and kept talking.  And then I realized that I don’t have bangs and haven’t had them since I was about 6 years old.  This realization prompted me to flash back to the months right after Mr. Muscles was born a little less than 2 years ago when I would look in the mirror and see little sproutlets of hair standing straight up all around my hairline like the awkard feathers of a silkie chicken.  My luxurious movie star bangs are just the remnants of the hair shed during the postpartum days, those magical days when your body hurts, you feel like a milk cow, you’re exhausted, and you still look pregnant enough for people at the grocery store to ask how far along you are even when you’re holding your newborn.  And oh yeah, your hair falls out.  Any man reading this post – single or married – should make a mental note at this time to be absolutely certain to tell ANY woman in their life who just had a baby how beautiful and wonderful they look, while also remembering to never ask them why their hair looks like that and never ever offering to buy them hair gel as a gift to keep their weird hair spikes down as my wonderful, loving husband did (he is in fact wonderful and loving and luckily he made this comment when our son was about 6 months old and I was far enough past the post-partum months to think it was funny).

But enough about that!  Let’s talk about why postpartum hair loss happens and how to keep it as under control as possible:

  • In a non-pregnant woman, about 90% of hair is in a growing phase and 10% is in a resting stage.  The resting stage hair is what tends to fall out with brushing and every day activity.
  • During pregnancy, estrogen levels get very high.  Estrogen is the hormone that (among other things) encourages cell growth, so it makes sense that high estrogen levels would encourage more hair to stay in the growing phase and discourage hair from falling out.
  • After baby is born and breastfeeding begins, estrogen and progesterone levels fall as prolactin levels rise.  This abrupt change in hormones is what makes some women susceptible to postpartum depression and it is what is responsible for the bulk of hair loss after pregnancy.  It’s not so much that MORE hair is falling out, it’s that all the hair that was delayed from falling out when estrogen and progesterone levels were high starts to wake up and realize it’s time to fall out.  And most unkindly of all, they decide to all fall out together in those months after baby is born.
  • Other factors contributing to postpartum hair loss include stress (but new moms are never stressed so ignore that one), low iron levels (check with your midwife or doctor to see if you need to take iron after the birth), insufficient protein intake, insufficient vitamin and mineral intake, and hair being pulled too tightly by hair clips and/or baby.
  • To help keep hormones in balance during the fantastic transition after birth, I highly recommend drinking red raspberry leaf tea up to and after the birth.  I actually kept drinking it all through the nursing phase and now that I’m pregnant again it’s another regular part of my tea rotation.  At the rate I’m going, I will probably be drinking red raspberry leaf tea for the next ten years and beyond!
  • Nutritionally, it’s also really important to take iron if your healthcare provider recommends it.  This would usually be the case if you were anemic during pregnancy or you had a lot of bleeding during or after the birth.  You can also include iron-rich foods such as grassfed beef and blackstrap molasses in your diet.
  • Since low protein levels contribute to hair loss in everyone (not just pregnant women), it’s important to make sure that new moms get adequate protein in the postpartum months.  Since it’s not always easy to sit down and eat 3 square meals a day with a newborn, I encourage moms to keep protein-rich and easy-to-eat snacks handy, such as nitrate-free cold cuts, yogurt or cheese from grassfed cows, hummus or other bean dips (if your baby is ok with beans), nut butters, deviled or hard boiled eggs, smoked salmon, and protein bars made with whey or rice rather than soy.  If you have friends or family nearby that can help with cooking, enlist their help in keeping your fridge stocked with protein-rich meals and snacks.  In addition to preventing hair loss, eating protein in the postpartum months helps to prevent postpartum depression and accelerates the rate at which you’ll be able to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans!
  • I also usually recommend that nursing mothers take a double dose of their prenatal vitamin for the months following birth, since it’s such a time of transition.  Depending on the vitamin you’re taking, you may want to double check this with your healthcare practitioner.
  • Another thing that is obvious to some people but not to others (like myself) is that you want to avoid pulling on your hair in the same spot.  When Mr. Muscles was born, I had my hair back in a bun or pony tail most of the time pulled straight back from my face which is probably why most of my postpartum hair loss happened around my forehead hair line.  Most women lose hair from the front and sides of their hair rather than the back, so this is normal, but looking back I could have varied the natural part of my hair and tried braiding it into pigtails once in a while to reduce the weight of my hair always pulling on the same spot.
  • If you feel your hair loss is extreme and you see visible bald spots after having a baby, be sure to talk to your doctor or midwife about it.  They can run tests to see if your thyroid needs support or if there is another underlying imbalance that needs to be addressed.

Above all, if you’re experiencing postpartum hair loss, try to remember that it’s a normal thing that will eventually stop.  And in a couple of years you may be lucky enough to have surprise movie star bangs without having to pay your stylist!

November 7, 2011   5 Comments

Nutrition for Pregnancy: Weeks 1-4

I’m reviving my “Nutrition for Pregnancy” weekly series of blogs now that I have several friends embarking on the journey of pregnancy and parenthood, also known as the journey where you look back and wonder what you ever did when you actually had some semblance of control over your life and time and it wasn’t socially acceptable to constantly have yogurt, milk, bananas, or some other type of food smashed into your hair and clothing.  I’m starting at the very beginning, according to the medical calendar for pregnancy, which actually counts week 1 as the week you have your last menstrual period before pregnancy and in this entry going through week 4, which would be when you miss your next period…because you’re pregnant!

Week 1: You are starting your menstrual period, the last one that you’ll have for almost a year so enjoy it!  If this is a planned pregnancy, you are probably already on a pre-conception diet and are taking a prenatal vitamin rich in folic acid – one of the most important nutrients in early pregnancy.  To encourage restoration after this period, be sure to eat plenty of iron rich foods this week such as grass-fed beef, blackstrap molasses, and steamed leafy greens.

 

Week 2: You have finished your period and your body is preparing to release an egg which will become your baby!  To encourage ovulation, include yams in your diet which have been linked in some studies to increased chance of having twins because yams contain phytonutrients that stimulate ovulation.  Be sure to eat yams with plenty of butter or other healthy fats to help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in their skin and flesh.

 

Week 3: You are most likely ovulating during this week.  Most of the time, women ovulate around day 14 of their cycle but keep in mind that you can ovulate at any point between menstrual periods.  If you are trying to pinpoint ovulation to increase your chances of conceiving, please refer to Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.  This book offers in-depth information on tracking fertility.  If you aren’t tracking ovulation, this week should be the time that you are actively trying to get pregnant.  You and your partner should both drink a LOT of water this week and eat Vitamin C rich foods such as citrus, kiwi, and bell peppers to ensure that the quality of your cervical fluid and his seminal fluid is optimal for fertilization.

 

Week 4: If the right genetic match was made between your egg and his sperm, then you should have a fertilized egg traveling down your fallopian tube on its way to the uterus which will be its home for the next 9 months.  Be sure to include apple cider vinegar and other fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha in your diet this week, which can assist implantation of the embryo into the lining of the uterus.  It’s hard to know for sure, but if you track basal body temperatures then you may have a little bit better of an idea whether or not you are pregnant.  Tracking basal body temperatures may also help you to watch for an impending miscarriage, if your body decides that this fertilized egg is not “the one” to bring to delivery.  If this happens, it will manifest as a heavier or later than usual period as your body starts over and prepares for the next opportunity to procreate.  While this can be very disappointing for a couple that is eagerly expecting a child, please trust your body in the process and thank it for making sure that your baby will be the healthiest combination of you and your partner possible.  As silly as it sounds, whether you are pregnant or not you may even want to voice your thankfulness to your body out loud – sometimes our bodies need encouragement!

 

June 29, 2011   No Comments

The Many Benefits of Raspberry Leaf Tea

It seems like I have a freakish amount of friends and relatives who are pregnant or are looking to get pregnant soon.  Either the government is adding something to the water or the people I know are just happy and want to bring another life into the world to share their happiness!  In honor of all of you, I wanted to post some fun facts about raspberry leaf tea that I’ve learned either from research or from personal experience.  And no, you don’t have to drop lemons into your glass of tea from a height of 10 feet as seen in the above photo to enjoy the benefits.

Pre-pregnancy benefits

  • Has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy to increase fertility.  If druids drank it, then so can you.
  • Strengthens the uterine wall while relaxing smooth muscle in the uterus, which improves chances of implantation and prevents miscarriage (basically the bizarro opposite effect of gin).
  • Full of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that help the body to detoxify extra hormones that may impede conception.

Pregnancy benefits

  • Hugely miraculous and amazing remedy for morning sickness (according to reports from friends – I did not try raspberry leaf tea myself for this as I did not realize I was pregnant for the 4 days during early pregnancy that I was vomiting and thought I had stomach flu but actually had a parasite known as Mr. Milk).
  • Provides vitamins and minerals including A, B complex, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium in an easily absorbable form to help baby grow while keeping mom nourished.
  • Many women also report that it reduces leg cramps and swelling associated with late pregnancy.


Labor benefits

  • Has been shown to concentrate the effects of contractions to make them more effective.  From personal experience, I drank 1-2 quarts daily of raspberry leaf tea during my last 2 months of pregnancy and had a great labor (8 hours labor at home, 30 minutes in hospital, 10 minutes of pushing).  I can’t say it was just the tea – I think laboring at home helped a lot because I could run around like a crazy person with each contraction rather than being confined to a small hospital room and Mr. Milk was only 5 1/2 pounds at birth (yay for being a small Filipino mom!) – but I do think it helped.
  • May be especially helpful for women who are planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) because of its ability to tone uterine muscles (since the uterus was cut open during the C-section).
  • Many reports I have read from midwives say that the tea especially helps to shorten the second stage of labor (the pushing stage – from complete dilation of the cervix until the baby is born).  I have also heard from midwives that women who drink the tea later in pregnancy tend to have extremely strong membranes protecting the baby.  I would attest to this, since my water never broke on its own – the midwife actually had to break it when I got to the hospital since it didn’t break even as the baby was emerging – and I think the fact that this membrane remained intact was the only reason that Mr. Milk was not born in the bathroom at home or in the car on the way to the hospital.

Nursing benefits

  • Has been reported to “bring in rich milk”, most likely due to its mineral content.
  • Helps to balance postpartum hormones to prevent the drastic change in hormones that causes many women to experience postpartum depression.

Even if you don’t want to get pregnant benefits

  • Has been shown to reduce menstrual cramps and may help to regulate the flow of menstruation due to its effects on the uterus.
  • Helps to detoxify excess hormones which is very helpful during times of hormonal shift such as menopause or in the second half of the menstrual cycle (the two weeks before starting your period, which is when most women experience PMS).

Benefits for menfolk (also known as dudes but since this is a blog about herbs I thought to use midieval terms like “menfolk” and if possible I will throw the most despised of all renaissance terms – “m’lady” – in here somewhere)

  • In herbal terms, it’s a “nourishing reproductive tonic” for men, which is just a fancy way of saying it helps your junk work better.
  • Its ability to detoxify extra hormones is helpful for men also since they are bombarded with artificial estrogens on a daily basis from commercial meat and milk, plastics, food additives, and chemical fumes (especially if they are in the construction business).  These extra estrogens, along with too much unresolved stress over a lifetime, are major culprits in the phenomenon known as “andropause” or male menopause, which is characterized by a drastic drop in testosterone levels.
  • May also help with diarrhea, which if you’ve ever been kind enough to clean the bathroom at a location shared by several college age men who drink beer, you will see that diarrhea is apparently something that needs to be helped.

The nice thing about raspberry leaf tea is that it is a balanced food so it’s safe for virtually everyone at every stage of life (I even saw one article about giving it to children with stomach aches) and you can’t really overdose on it.  Herbal experts and midwives recommend between 1 cup daily all the way up to a gallon daily during pregnancy with no side effects.  I did a little bit of research on PubMed and only came up with 2 research articles on raspberry leaf tea, but neither of them found any negative side effects and the articles I saw on other research sites only found unwanted side effects when specific active ingredients were taken out of the tea and used in ridiculously huge doses.  Drinking the tea in its whole state is supposed to be “self-regulating”, meaning the active ingredients balance each other out.

To make the tea, I suggest 1 Tablespoon of bulk tea per cup of hot water.  Or you can just buy tea bags and follow the brewing instructions.  I also like to use the bulk tea to make sun tea (since I am too lazy to boil water, which is why I specialize in nutrition and not delivering babies).  I just take a handful (mind you a small, half-Filipino handful so if you have big hands ask a half-Filipino neighbor to do your measuring for you) of bulk tea leaves and throw it into a half gallon Mason jar, fill it with water, put on a lid to keep out bugs, and set it outside in the sun to brew to desired darkness (also known as, set it out and forget about it for several hours until my husband comes home and asks me why I left jars filled with dirt and leaves and is that urine? on the back porch) like so:

Then I just keep it in the fridge and have iced tea to sip on whenever the mood hits.  So drink up, m’lady!

NOTE: This blog is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner.  All information contained in this blog is the opinion of Jessica Forbes and is not to be interpreted as medical advice.

October 8, 2010   79 Comments

Update on the Battle Against Stretch Marks and Hints for Losing Baby Weight

A few days ago I turned 30!  And I’m excited about being 30 for reasons I will explain in another post if Mr. Milk stays asleep long enough for me to enjoy some birthday week blogging.  Last year at this time I was very pregnant and wrote a blog on stretch marks.  I must admit here that I did not escape from pregnancy stretch-mark free – I do have a few souvenirs around my midriff to remind me that my little daredevil baby decided not to “drop” (the term used to describe when the baby moves from kicking you in the ribs constantly to a lower position in your pelvis which makes you waddle like a penguin and is usually a sign that they baby will be born in the coming weeks) until 8 hours before he was born.  So, rather than the gradual drop that most women get to enjoy a week or two before labor, I experienced rapid stretching of the skin as my little boy planned his great escape from my uterus which will cause some stretch marks no matter how much lotion it rubs on its skin.  But they are fading with time (and liberal application of coconut oil) so there is hope.

Stretch marks and all, I’m pleased to share that I’ve been happily sporting a bikini since my first trip to the beach a couple months after the boy was born.  And somehow I’ve managed to lose the baby weight well enough that I don’t have to wear my son as an accessory to explain to other beach goers “it’s baby weight, so stop wondering if I’m still pregnant”.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m no Heidi Klum – but I was able to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly without turning into a fitness freak mom.  Here are some things that helped me, hopefully they can help you too!

  • If possible, breastfeed.  Breastmilk contains about 20 calories per ounce, and with Mr. Milk drinking an estimated 40 ounces of milk daily I’m burning 800 calories extra calories a day doing nothing but sitting on the couch!
  • Eat lots of healthy fat.  The term “lots” may mean different things to different people (gauge it by how you feel when you eat healthy fat) but to me this is about 6 tablespoons of extra fat daily in the form of butter, cream, coconut oil, avocado, and olive oil on top of a base diet of foods rich in healthy fat such as fatty fish, eggs, shellfish, organic cheese, and grassfed meat.  Eating healthy fat helps your body to get rid of extra fat pounds and has the added benefit of making sure your baby is getting all the good brain fats from your milk.
  • Eat enough protein.  This helps your body to build muscle mass, repair from birth, and keep your hormones at healthy levels to prevent postpartum depression.  A good general marker is to eat the number of grams that is equal to half your body weight in pounds.  For example, a woman who is 120 pounds should eat about 60 grams while someone who is 160 pounds should eat about 80 grams a day.  If you are under more stress or are very active you may need more protein to help conserve muscle mass.  Also, if you have kidney problems then you may need less protein (ask your doctor).  To give you an idea of the protein content of foods, an egg contains 7 grams of protein, a large chicken breast or hamburger patty contains about 30 grams, a 3 oz. piece of fish contains about 20 grams, and a cup of beans contains about 15 grams.
  • Eat small meals all day (and night, if you’re up and you’re hungry).  This one is easy to do with a newborn because unless you have a live-in nanny or your mom lives next door you probably won’t be sitting down to three big meals a day for a while!
  • Drink lots of water.  Again, amounts vary but drink enough that your urine is light yellow (even if it is fluorescent from vitamins) and your milk (if breastfeeding) flows freely.  It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger and overeat the wrong kinds of foods as a response.  I have found that drinking out of a huge cup or quart-sized mason jar with a straw helps me drink enough water through the day to keep up with demand.
  • Take the baby for walks.  This was especially helpful for me in the weeks after Mr. Milk was born because I needed to get out of the house!

So that’s it!  It’s not rocket science but it worked (and was about all I could handle as a new mom figuring out how to care for my new creature).  If any of you have tips for losing baby weight please share them in the comments section!

September 27, 2010   3 Comments

Nutrition for Pregnancy: 29 weeks

Congratulations!  You’re officially into your third trimester.  Your baby weighs about 2 1/2 pounds and is over 15″ long – about the size of a butternut squash.  It is quite appropriate, by the way, that your baby’s size is compared to food because once he is born he will likely be so cute you want to eat him up!  This week begins a state of rapid weight gain as your baby packs on muscle tissue and all his other body systems continue to develop (especially the lungs and brain).  It’s especially important from now on that you eat several small meals throughout the day to keep the nutrition flowing to your baby as he grows and also to keep you nourished as your body prepares for the amazing and intense work of delivery.  Be sure to obtain plenty of zinc in your diet during this time.  This important nutrient helps your baby to properly develop muscle tissue and proper zinc levels will help you to make a complete and speedy recovery after childbirth.  Foods that are rich in zinc include grassfed beef, wild-caught seafood (especially oysters, but make sure they’re from unpolluted waters), pastured egg yolks, sesame seeds or tahini (sesame butter), raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, and – appropriately – roasted butternut squash seeds.

April 5, 2010   No Comments