Procreating and child rearing is the most important job for a woman, but sadly, is rarely viewed as such. When you are pregnant you have some control how your baby develops by what you eat, how you sleep and how you manage stress. These three areas must be considered long before you conceive even.
[Please don’t tune me out if you are already pregnant or already have your children, there is still much to learn. Its never too late to be nourished!]
Books I’m Reading for Prenatal Care
Many of my friends are reading the usual slew of pregnancy and mothering books but I am mainly focusing on two under the radar: The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth .
Sally Fallon and Dr. Thomas Cowan’s book of Nourishing Traditions is helpful for what foods to eat before, during and after pregnancy. They list many resources and tips for acquiring the sometimes unusual foods. There is a focus on real food for nourishment rather than a lackadaisical reliance on prenatal pills. The book carries into early childhood as well and discusses possible illnesses, remedies, and relevant case studies from many countries. In the back are all the recipes Sally and Dr. Cowan recommend throughout the book. An excellent read when you are looking to strengthen your children’s health.
Ina May’s guide book is empowering and invigorating! I haven’t even given birth yet but her compilation of birth stories and successes sure make me impatient for the opportunity! Ok, so I’m that weirdo who is looking forward to the labor process… Her information places childbirth back in the category of natural phenomenon rather than medical procedure. Our bodies were created for the birthing process – lets not interfere!
Alright, I’m done with my book reviews, but seriously, you need to get ahold of these and read them if you are a mother or considering becoming one.
[Recently I pre-ordered Genevieve’s soon-to-be-released book The Mama Natural Week By Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. I get it in a couple weeks and couldn’t be more excited!]
Update: I love this book! I felt no pressure to get it finished before my baby came because it is a week by week book. It has lots of great recipes, too!
Foods I’m Focusing On for Prenatal Care
Some of the people groups Weston Price studied sacrificed their finest foods (organ meats, grassfed dairy products, etc) for the newly engaged/married couples. The tribe understood that if they didn’t have healthy babies, there was no future of healthy, strong warriors to protect their people.
I don’t live in a tribe that gives me luxurious foods, but I am trying to obtain these foods on my own. I have a relatively healthy diet normally but lately have been focusing on getting more raw liver, broth, eggs, cod liver oil, butter oil and raw cream into my diet. These are all foods I normally consume, just not to the amount Sally Fallon and Dr. Cowan recommend. In addition to my regular diet, these are the foods I’m putting more emphasis on.
- Raw Liver – I try to grate a little bit of raw liver into a glass of milk each day. This is an excellent source of vitamin A, folate and iron. Or fix it like this occasionally as a meal.
- Raw Milk – We have a dairy farm so this is pretty easy for me. I love milk and drink it with every meal. Raw milk provides lots of enzymes and healthy fat.
- Raw Milk Kefir – I make my own kefir. I enjoy the tart, fizzy taste of kefir so I drink it plain in the mornings. Otherwise it makes a great smoothie! I also substitute it for buttermilk in many recipes. Kefir has most of the milk sugar, lactose, broken down in it. During the fermenting process lots of probiotics are created – even more than in yogurt!
- Leafy Green Veggies – This is the hardest one for me to incorporate right now since it isn’t garden season yet. Cold salads don’t appeal to me much on cold days. I buy spinach and enjoy it steamed and buttered with my eggs in the mornings. Otherwise I have frozen broccoli from last year’s garden. Any vegetables are great but leafy greens are especially beneficial for a variety of vitamins and added fiber.
- Farm Fresh Eggs – Our wonderful Egg Lady brings us fresh eggs every week! I enjoy fried eggs for breakfast. Also, when I have a kefir smoothie I throw in an egg yolk or two. Eggs, especially the yolks, are a great source of healthy cholesterol and choline.
- Healthy Fats – I don’t shy away from bacon grease, coconut oil and butter. Everything that sounds good with butter is better with more butter! Eggs Benedict anyone? I also make deep fried dinners now and then in bear or pork lard.
- Broth – When I get a whole chicken I like to cook it in the crock pot and save the broth. I freeze it in ice cube trays and include a cube in my meal here and there. Otherwise I just heat it up, add a little salt and pepper and sip like a cup of tea. There are many health benefits of broth but the main one is collagen which helps our skin, muscles and tendons repair and build.
Supplements I’m Taking for Prenatal Care
My first choice for nutrition is always whole food forms. However, because I’m preparing to grow a whole new human being inside of me I desire to build up my stores and provide the best start to life I can give my child.
- Standard Process Cyrofood – This is a whole foods multivitamin recommended by my chiropractor.
- Standard Process Folic Acid B12 – Earlier I mentioned that I eat raw liver for my source of folate. Some days I just can’t stomach the thought of it so I got this folic acid supplement from my chiropractor as well.
- Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil – I always supplement with this high quality cod liver oil, but in preparing for pregnancy, I ramped up my dosage. Taking that much oil in capsules can get pricey so I switched to liquid. I watched Sarah’s video on how to swallow it without the gross factor and her method works like a charm! I take cod liver oil because it provides vitamins A and D in nature’s balance. Too much vitamin A by itself can be detrimental, yes. However, when vitamin A is consumed from a whole foods source it beautifully nourishes your baby.
- X-Factor Gold Concentrated Butter Oil – This supplement provides vitamins A, D, and E, but I mainly take it for its source of vitamin K2. It also is an excellent source of arachidonic acid: a fatty acid helpful in all stages of development but is especially essential to fertility and blood clotting.
- Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate – When I get lazy and don’t get enough bone broth into my diet, this is my go-to. This is a powder form that dissolves nicely in hot liquids and more slowly in cold liquids. I enjoy a scoop in my cup of tea. Collagen provides many amino acids that aid in the formation and maintenance of bone, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, hair and nails.
- Natural Vitality Natural Calm – This is a magnesium supplement. I take it for the benefit of the role magnesium plays in many body functions. Occasionally I take it in higher doses for its laxative effect.
No, just because you eat healthy doesn’t mean you will have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and child. Being proactive about your prenatal care can’t hurt! And who knows, starting off on the right foot may give you what you need for a whiz of a pregnancy and birth and the chance to raise a well nourished, well balanced child.
What are your goals for pregnancy? For birth?