7 Tips To Prepare For A Natural Birth

tips for and unmedicated natural birth the nurturing root ohio doula

Did you know that 85% of pregnant women are able to have a safe natural childbirth experience? But, only about 2% of American women give birth without any interventions. What is the disconnect? Certainly choice plays a role. Some women aren’t necessarily interested in unmedicated childbirth. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control National Vital Statistics Report, over 60% of women use an epidural for pain relief in labor. Also our culture and institutions impact a mother’s ability to birth naturally. Since one in three women welcome their babies via surgery, desiring a natural childbirth can feel somewhat unattainable. Know that if you are considering natural childbirth, it is so crucial to properly prepare yourself. With commitment and support, you can have an awesome, unmedicated birth experience! Follow these 7 tips, and you will be on target to have the best natural birth!

Be thoughtful when selecting a birth location!
In most places throughout the United States, you have access to three different birth locations. Mothers can give birth in a hospital setting, at a freestanding birth center, or at home. There are benefits and risks to all of these locations. You also need to decide where you feel most comfortable having your baby. If you really want an unmedicated natural birth experience in a hospital setting, find out what the c-section rate is for the facility you are considering. Individual hospital c-section rates vary widely, even within the same community. If you are thinking about having your baby at a freestanding birth center, this study presents great evidence to support safe and satisfying birth outcomes for mom and baby in a center environment. The study explains that if you have a low-risk, healthy pregnancy, your chances of having a c-section (via hospital transfer) is only 6% at a birth center, versus a 25% chance of c-section if you birth at a hospital. Your risk of interventions and c-section are lowest if you are planning a home birth. In this significant study, which analyzed nearly 17,000 planned home births, nearly 96% of women delivered their babies vaginally, and only 4.5% required pitocin to start or augment their labor. Compare this to a 30% induction rate in a hospital setting for first-time, low-risk mothers. Where you decide to birth matters! Understand the risks and benefits of different birth locations, and choose wisely.

Select a midwife as your prenatal provider!
Just like birth location, the provider you choose to see during pregnancy, and to attend your birth, has huge implications in your ability to have a natural birth experience. If you are having a healthy, normal pregnancy absolutely choose a midwife over an OB/GYN. The midwifery model of care sees pregnancy as a normal life event, that almost always results in a healthy mother and child. Midwives view pregnancy and birth through a holistic lens, and support women with more individualized care and minimize technological interventions. They also will identify and refer expectant mothers to obstetrical care, when truly necessary. There are several types of midwives, including Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Professional Midwives, licensed midwives, and direct-entry midwives. The majority of pregnant women are able to access midwifery care in a hospital, birth center, and/or home environment. Research midwives in your area, find out if they attend births in your desired setting, and select a midwife that encourages your wishes for an unmedicated birth!

Take a comprehensive natural childbirth course!
Everyone knows that knowledge is power! Simply wishing for a natural birth will almost certainly not get you there. Educating yourself about birth will help build your knowledge, prepare you emotionally and mentally, and give you the necessary tools and techniques to navigate the modern birth landscape. Invest in a thoughtful, comprehensive childbirth education program that prepares both you and your partner for natural birth. Look for natural childbirth classes that covers staying low-risk in pregnancy, nutrition, exercise, relaxation techniques, choosing a care provider and birth location, anatomy and physiology of labor, birth-partner preparations, common policies and procedures, breastfeeding, newborn care, and possible complications, interventions, and alternatives. A great childbirth education course will really build your natural birthing confidence and abilities!

Take exceptional care of your body!
Preparing your body for birth is crucial. Having a healthy, nutrient rich diet and exercising regularly and appropriately, provides a strong foundation for natural birth. Caring for your body and baby with proper nutrition and exercise will help keep you low-risk, and may alleviate common pregnancy related ailments. Also consider chiropractic care during pregnancy. Find and visit a chiropractor certified in the Webster Technique. A chiropractor can help balance your pelvis and spine, so your baby can find the best position for birth. A review of studies found that women who received regular chiropractic adjustments throughout pregnancy had 39% shorter labors. Achieving optimal wellness with diet, exercise, and chiropractic will pay off big time!

Practice mindfulness!
Training your mind and heart for natural birth is just as important as preparing your body. A recent study suggests engaging in a mindfulness-based practice during pregnancy can help reduce anxiety and facilitate an easier and more satisfying birth experience. Mindfulness is simply a state of awareness, that arises from paying attention to the present moment. A prenatal mindfulness practice can be applied in a variety of ways. You may choose to facilitate your own quiet meditative practice, choose visualization exercises, engage in progressive relaxation, or even use a mindfulness app, specifically created for pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. Whatever you choose, mindfulness is a practice, so set aside time once or twice per day, and focus on the moment, to help you achieve an amazing natural birth.

Find your tribe!
Connect to other pregnant and new mothers that are interested in natural birth. It is so bizarre, but culturally normal, for veteran moms to share pregnancy and birth horror stories with expectant mothers. Disregard this negativity, and find your natural birth tribe. You can, of course, find a community of like-minded natural mothers everywhere online. If available, search for and attend a birth group or mama’s circle in your area. Cleveland mothers interested in natural pregnancy, birth, and parenting should join Cleveland Birth Village. Cleveland Birth Village has a FREE facebook group and hosts FREE monthly gatherings for families interested in natural birth and parenting topics.

Hire a doula!
Regardless of the type of birth you want or ultimately have, you should hire a birth doula! A doula is a trained maternal support practitioner who provides emotional, physical, and educational assistance to a laboring mother and her birth partner. Doulas help families have a safe, memorable, and empowering birth experience. Evidence overwhelmingly supports having a doula present during labor. With continuous labor support, women are more likely to have a satisfying and positive birth experience, less likely to have surgical interventions, and require less medical pain management. Birthing women with doulas also have shorter labors and fewer birth-related complications for mom and baby.

Having a natural birth is biologically normal, and most often physically and emotionally ideal, for mom and baby. It can prove to be a positive experience for the entire family, as well. With the right preparation, support, and education, you can absolutely achieve the best natural birth.

The Nurturing Root loves to support families that desire an unmedicated birth. We offer an exceptional array of Birth Boot Camp natural childbirth courses and holistic newborn care classes to support you during this exciting time of transition. Additionally, we support Cleveland families with in-home placenta encapsulation and family-centered postpartum doula and infant care support. We are honored to serve your family. Please contact us for more information, today!

If you are an expectant mother, a parent, or wellness professional interested in holistic pregnancy, birth, and parenting topics, we encourage you to join our FREE Cleveland Birth Village Community. We have an active facebook group and host monthly gatherings to discuss all things birth! We are also very excited to facilitate several events this autumn. Stay updated, by signing up for our newsletter!

New Childbirth Education And Baby Care Classes From Birth Boot Camp

Birth Boot Camp childbirth education and baby care classes Cleveland The Nurturing Root

It is no secret that we LOVE teaching Birth Boot Camp childbirth education and newborn care classes, to Cleveland families. Birth Boot Camp is the most comprehensive childbirth education curriculum. It presents modern, evidenced-based information from midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, chiropractors, nutritionists, physical therapists, and a community of perinatal experts. Birth Boot Camp courses are designed for couples planning an informed and empowering pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding experience. We are thrilled to announce that Birth Boot Camp has just released three new classes, so more families can experience an amazing birth and parenting journey! Here are the new programs available to Cleveland families:

Comprehensive Home Birth Series
The Birth Boot Camp Out-Of-Hospital Childbirth Education program is designed, specifically for families planning to have their baby at a freestanding birth center or at home. This 4-session course covers anatomy and physiology of labor, normal variations of labor and birth, natural pain relief strategies, comfort measure techniques, and discusses the practice of mindfulness with relaxation and visualization exercises. Couples leave this course feeling exceptionally confident, excited, and prepared for their transformative birth center or home birth experience! 4, 2-hour sessions. Preview the Out-of-Hospital curriculum.

Nutrition and Exercise Program
This Food and Fitness workshop provides a rich foundation, so expectant mothers can remain healthy and strong during the entire childbearing year. This program offers exceptional nutritional information, discusses pelvic floor health, presents beneficial prenatal and postpartum exercises, introduces chiropractic, answers several first trimester ‘FAQs’, and presents the concept of mindfulness and relaxation. You will leave this program with a greater sense of self-reliance, as you journey to achieve optimal wellness for both you and baby. 3 hours.  Preview the Food and Fitness workbook.

Holistic Newborn Care Workshop
This class, aptly named ‘Homecoming’, is an amazing manual to parenthood! This course discusses routine newborn tests and procedures, infant characteristics, normal newborn behaviors, baby comfort and soothing techniques, safe sleep practices, breastfeeding, babywearing, and infant grooming. In addition to the Homecoming manual, students also receive a 3.5 hour breastfeeding masterclass download, taught by an esteemed IBCLC. You will leave this training excited, confident, and prepared to meet and care for your sweet newborn. 4 hours. Preview the Homecoming course.

You can take Birth Boot Camp classes in a group setting, as a private class, or online! We are currently teaching Birth Boot Camp classes at Circle of Life Birth Services, in Lakewood and at Mother Rising Women’s Studio, in Chardon. We are also happy to offer families private in-home instruction. View our full class listings and schedule HERE!

We are so excited about these new classes! Please enjoy this FREE Pregnancy Nutrition ebook, courtesy of Birth Boot Camp. Additionally, we welcome you to join our FREE Facebook community, Cleveland Holistic Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting. This is a great community for families and professionals interested in a variety of natural birth and parenting topics. We are also very excited to facilitate several events, in the Cleveland area, this autumn. Stay updated, by signing up for our newsletter!

If you are a wellness professional, interested in hosting Birth Boot Camp classes at your practice, please contact us.

Five Reasons Couples LOVE Birth Boot Camp

childbirth education classes in Cleveland Birth Boot Camp

We are thrilled to offer Cleveland families Birth Boot Camp® childbirth preparation classes. This comprehensive 10-class course is designed for couples planning an unmedicated birth. Birth Boot Camp offers a modern, fun curriculum to help parents achieve an amazing birth! Our Birth Boot Camp training can help you have an intentional, empowering, and positive pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience. Here are the top five reasons couples love their Birth Boot Camp courses!

Thoughtful and Complete Curriculum
Birth Boot Camp presents the most current, evidence-based information from midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, chiropractors, and a community of birthing experts. Our 10-class series offers approximately 25 hours of in-person instruction time, complete with birth and prenatal exercise videos. Couples also receive a beautiful 170-page workbook featuring weekly nutrition and fitness information, labor comfort measures, and relaxation exercises. All students also receive a breastfeeding video download from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with over three hours of pertinent breastfeeding and troubleshooting information. Additionally, after each class, we send couples a weekly email containing further research, information, and articles related to that evening’s topic.

Supportive and Encouraging Community
It feels awesome to be surrounded by supportive people that share your values. All of our students come to Birth Boot Camp because they want to have an amazing birth. Birth Boot Camp instructors love helping couples access the resources and information they need to have a healthy pregnancy, empowering birth, and restorative postpartum experience. The 10-week series is also wonderful because it allows students to connect with other couples planning a natural birth. The Birth Boot Camp village is strong, thriving, and growing!

Your Partner is Prepared to be an Amazing Birth Companion
The Birth Boot Camp 10-week series is for couples, not just mom, and this is purposeful. The pregnancy and birth journey is a transformative time in your relationship. We help teach your partner how to lead you into deep relaxation, find and support your rhythm, and confidently provide labor comfort measures. Dads also learn all about the physical and emotional side of pregnancy, labor, and birth. Birth Boot Camp gives couples so many tools to be successful partners-in-birth.

Infant Care and Postpartum Planning Resources
Birth is just the beginning! Many couples have an awesome birth experience, but once baby is here, they are unsure about how to proceed with their little one. Caring for a fragile newborn can be a cause of anxiety for new parents. Birth Boot Camp knows this, and we dedicate an entire class to infant care. We discuss common newborn procedures, typically performed just after birth, and the alternatives. As prepared, informed parents, you will learn to confidently decide what is right for your baby. We also learn about newborn sleep patterns, normal infant behavior, breastfeeding, and soothing techniques. We help mothers and their partners prepare and plan their best postpartum experience. We want parents to have a realistic understanding of what birth recovery and infant care may look like. We talk about postpartum nutrition, healing, setting expectations and boundaries with family and friends, finding professional support and resources, postpartum emotions, breastfeeding, and even, sex and intimacy!

Birth Boot Camp Works!
Our students rock their natural births. The statistics from 2016 report that 84% of Birth Boot Camp graduates achieved a vaginal birth, and only 16% of students delivered their baby by Cesarean section. Of our students that had vaginal deliveries, nearly 80% birthed WITHOUT ANY pain medication! By comparison, the national C-section rate (2015) was 32%, and only about 20% of women who delivered vaginally did so without pain medication. These statistics speak truth! Birth Boot Camp students have the information, resources, support, intent, and confidence to have their ideal birth experience!

birth boot camp classes birth statistics 2016

It is such an honor to teach Birth Boot Camp childbirth education classes in Cleveland and help couples reach their birth goals! Birth Boot Camp childbirth and parenting education classes are now available through Cleveland Natural Birth. Please check out their website for a full description of courses and workshops and upcoming community events. (updated April 8, 2018)

Celebrate Autumn With Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds

Autumn has finally arrived in Maryland and that means that is it pumpkin season. Almost everywhere you’ll find lattes, pies, and soups with its namesake. We are celebrating the harvest with the seeds of this seasonal squash. Also called pepitas, these little seeds are extremely nutrient dense, and contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals. Here are why pumpkin seeds are fall’s favorite superfood!

Protein During pregnancy you should be consuming an extra 25g of protein per day. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of vegetarian protein with about 5g in a one-ounce serving. Adding some seeds to a salad or a smoothie is an easy way to increase your protein intake. Pepitas are also particularly high in tryptophan, one of the 9 amino acids that comprise protein. Tryptophan is used by your body to synthesize the hormone serotonin; which is partly responsible for nervous system health, sleep regulation, and muscle growth and repair.

Minerals Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of several essential and trace minerals.

  • Zinc Just one-quarter cup of pepitas provide nearly 20% of your recommended daily allowance of zinc. Consuming adequate levels of zinc helps maintain your metabolism, improves immune health, and facilitates digestion. Zinc is also vital to proper fetal development. Increasing your intake will help ensure you have a healthier pregnancy, birth, and baby.
  • Magnesium Pumpkin seeds are also a fantastic source of magnesium. This macro-mineral used by the body to form teeth and bones, synthesize proteins, regulate metabolism and maintain heart health. Obtaining more magnesium may also increase blood flow and nutrition to baby via the placenta.
  • Iron During pregnancy, blood volume increases 40-50%, and iron is required to make all those new red blood cells to transport oxygen through you body and to baby. Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest plant-based sources of this essential mineral.

Omega-3  These fatty acids are crucial for brain growth and fetal development. Consuming sufficient amounts of Omega-3’s from foods like pumpkin seeds is linked to better birth outcomes including a higher placental weight, lower risk for preeclampsia, longer gestation, and higher birth weight.

B-Complex Vitamins  There are eight ‘B’ vitamins. All are crucial to normal body functions and a healthy pregnancy. The B-complex vitamins are essential for proper metabolism function, immune support, and normal nervous system growth in baby.

After you are finished carving your pumpkin make sure to set aside the seeds. Here are twelve plant-based recipes featuring pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Introducing Solids With Baby Led Weaning

baby led weaning

Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy Of Pediatrics recommend exclusively breastfeeding your infant for the first six months. As you approach this milestone, you’re probably thinking about introducing solids to baby. There are two ‘schools of thought’ regarding the the addition of complementary foods. Feeding milled cereals and puréed foods by spoon is the traditional approach. Another way to offer solids is through Baby Led Weaning (BLW).  This style encourages baby to feed herself and skip the spoon, completely. The following is a guide to help you learn about, and decide if, a baby-led approach is right for your family.

What is Baby Led Weaning?

BLW is a theory originated by Gill Rapley, a British health nurse. The word ‘weaning’ is the UK equivalent of Americans saying ‘starting solids’.  With BLW, you forgo spoon feeding, a parent initiated method, and trust your baby to nourish herself, a baby initiated approach

When is my baby ready to feed herself?

Spoon feeding is so popular and almost unchallenged in our culture. Many families choose to introduce solids prior to six months.  Before this age, babies are not developmentally ready to feed themselves. With BLW, you wait until baby is developmentally ready to eat. When your infant reaches the following milestones, she is ready to start exploring food:

  • is at least six months of age
  • has lost the tongue thrust reflex
  • can sit with little or no assistance
  • reaches and bring objects to her mouth accurately
  • shows focused interest in food and your eating

Why choose BLW?

It’s progressive and instinctual! A baby initiated approach to food is an extension of breastfeeding. A healthy, full-term baby can feed herself as soon as she is born. Baby tells you when she is hungry, she nurses at her pace, and knows when she is full. BLW builds on this philosophy and applies it to complementary foods. This style is also easier. Your baby enjoys the foods you cook for the entire family.  There is no need to prepare separate recipes for you infant.

How safe is BLW?

‘I am worried my baby will choke on food!’ The BLW philosophy makes sense in theory, but many parents are nervous to try this approach for fear of choking. BLW is as safe, or safer than traditional spoon feeding. As long as your baby is ready to feed herself, as listed above, she can engage in BLW.

baby led weaning info
What food should baby eat?

For safety, foods should be served in large chunks that baby can easily grasp in hand. These are a good start:

  • Soft fruits cut in big pieces – bananas, peaches, ripe melon, avocado
  • Steamed vegetables – sweet potato, summer squash, pumpkin, broccoli
  • Buttered toast cut in slices
  • Omelette
  • Pasta
  • Mini muffins
  • Steamed fish
  • Well cooked steak

Here are an additional 100+ foods and recipes to enjoy.
To learn more about Baby Led Weaning, check out Rapley’s series of books.

Nourishing Recipes For The First Trimester

Nourishing recipes for the first trimester

Obtaining Essential Nutrients With Whole Foods

Eating a colorful, varied, and minimally processed diet is ideal for optimal health, and during pregnancy this becomes more apparent. Your body requires specific essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support and grow baby.

In these three recipes, I will explain why certain foods are ideal during the first trimester, and how their specific nutrients help you and baby. These nourishing dishes are all free from grains, dairy, and refined sugars.

First Trimester Smoothie

Coconut milk is a great alternative to traditional dairy; it is a rich source of several B-complex vitamins including B1, B3, B5, and B6. (There are 8 B-vitamins) Some of the many benefits include immune and nervous system support, and enhanced energy production. During pregnancy, you also require more protein to support the rapid growth of your placenta and baby. Almond butter is a delicious addition to the smoothie and a great source of plant protein.

½ sliced, frozen banana

½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

3 tbsp almond butter

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ cup full fat coconut milk

¼ tsp lemon zest

Place all ingredients in blender and mix.

Ultimate Prenatal Lentil Salad

Adapted from My New Roots

This salad is particularly delicious! Lentils are an amazing source of folate, a B-vitamin that helps baby’s neural tube develop properly. Folate also helps support red blood cell production, which is important as your blood volume increases throughout pregnancy. Lentils contain a ton of protein and fiber, which really increases the satiety factor of this dish.

1 cup black (du puy) lentils, rinsed, cooked, and drained

¼ cup dried tart cherries

handful of finely chopped fresh herbs. (I enjoy mint and parsley)

3 tbsp chopped capers

¼ cup chopped almonds

Vinaigrette:

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp strong mustard

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cinnamon

Place salad ingredients in bowl. Prepare vinaigrette by placing all ingredients in a jar with lid. Shake well to combine. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss everything together. This dish tastes best fresh at room temperature.

Wilted Greens with Creamy Lemon Tahini

Adapted from Love and Lemons

This recipe is loaded with superfoods. Dark leafy greens including spinach, chard, and kale are rich in vitamins and minerals. Greens like spinach are a surprisingly great source of calcium, which is needed for baby’s bone development. The addition of avocado lends more than creaminess to the sauce. It also contains high levels of vitamin B6, which helps baby’s brain development. Vitamin B6 can also ease nausea, a common first trimester symptom. Dark greens and the sesame tahini provide a superb source of iron, which supports red blood cell production, helping to prevent fatigue and anemia. Adding lemon to this dish enables your body absorb iron more effectively.

4 cups dark leafy greens (I prefer baby spinach)

1 cup broccoli florets

⅓ cup sesame tahini

½ avocado

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté greens and broccoli in olive oil and set aside. Blend tahini, avocado, and lemon together in food processor. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water, to thin, if necessary. Plate greens and pour sauce on top.

Enjoy!