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Things You May Find At Your Midwife's Office

 

The list below shares with you 15 wonderful things you may find during prenatal care visits with midwives, especially those who practice in relatively small group private practices, out of hospital - in free standing birthing centers and home settings across the United States. Other countries may have slightly different models, but authentic midwifery practice shares many common core philosophies of care, so I suspect there would not be much difference.  They are:

  1. Time – as in actual time for connecting and developing a relationship with your midwife; so that you can ask your questions and speak about your concerns. Time for the midwife to ask you the questions she needs to make assessments about your health and wellbeing, so she can best guide and support you.

  2. Continuity of care - the midwife (or one of the 1-2 partners, if in a small group practice) you see during your prenatal visits will most likely be the midwife who attends your birth.

  3. A big heart - your midwife will give you every ounce of her heartfelt knowledge, expertise and care for you and your baby. You may just feel so close with your midwife after a while, she is like your best big sister or wise friend, and her office is a safe space for you to share, laugh, or cry about anything.

  4. Education - your midwife will teach you and your loved ones about your body, what’s happening, what to expect along your childbearing journey, and what you can do to make it easier, healthier, more positive. This includes diagrams and models of pregnant moms and babies, placentas, umbilical cords, membranes and pelvises. Your midwife might just have a mirror for anatomy lessons of your own body if you are interested....like in seeing your cervix.

  5. Tea and healthy snacks for everyone.

  6. Inspirational quotes, affirmations and art about pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding, baby wearing and parenting.

  7. Pictures of graduates on the wall and/or in photo albums.

  8. A collection of thank you notes and birth stories (I call them love letters) in collages and/or scrapbooks.

  9. Midwifery and holistic health text/reference books and a lending library of books and movies on pregnancy, natural childbirth, breastfeeding and newborn care.

  10. Enough seating arrangements for the whole family and even some friends, as well as toys and books for the little ones.

  11. Hands - your midwife’s hands are skillful both in their assessment AND the supportive touch they offer.

  12. Tools - all the supplies and knowledge of how to use them, that could possibly needed for your journey. These include equipment such as blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, fetoscope, Doppler and gel for checking baby’s heart rate, scale, measuring tape for assessing the height and growth of your uterus, and lab supplies for checking your blood, urine, screening for infection and pap smear AND so much more! If she uses an exam table, the stirrups will be covered with oven mitts, and it will probably have a nice comfortable and decorative sheet and pillow on it, with a stool for climbing up and down or for the little ones to be involved.

  13. A boutique, where you can buy needed items like supplements and natural remedies, books, affirmation cards, birth kits, and rent a birth tub.

  14. Office and birth assistants - your midwife may also have students, apprentices, and even have a doula or two to choose from; she may have space to host childbirth classes, pregnancy and postpartum support groups, prenatal and postpartum yoga, parenting groups and all sorts of relevant helpful workshops and community events.

  15. Needed medical and midwifery knowledge and clinical skills; and she will also be familiar with and use a variety of holistic, alternative and natural modalities that can help you during and after pregnancy, birth and beyond.

As you go about choosing your midwife and planning for your birth, you might want to ask yourself what is important for you from the above list. Does your midwife or obstetrician offer some of these things, or what you feel you want and need?  Start writing down your questions and your preferences now in a journal, so when you meet her - you have them handy. My online Love Your Birth course will not only help you prepare for having optimal health in pregnancy and beyond, but will also help you to hone in on your own inner calm, joy and strength, as well as empower you with ways to speak your voice, and ideally avoid unnecessary interventions, medications or surgery. It will guide you get clear on what you really want, and make informed decisions given all your available options.

 

My Two Books Pre-launched #1 Bestsellers

 
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I have some exciting news to share with you! I have officially published my first two books on Amazon today...and they both became #1 International Bestsellers! The titles are below. 

I am forever grateful of your support and would love for you to share this with any of your friends or family that you think would enjoy this as well! 

 

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Trauma Release Formula: The Revolutionary Step by Step Program for Eliminating Effects of Childhood Abuse, Trauma, Emotional Pain and Crippling Inner Stress, to Living in Joy without Drugs or Therapy Kindle Edition 

by Anne Margolis CNM, MSN, Yoga Teacher, Clarity Breathwork Practitioner (Author)

If you’ve experienced intense stress, emotional pain or any type of trauma, this program is a must - it represents true hope that saved my life and the lives of countless others. Once you know the key that unlocks the emotional pain, suffering, your ongoing personal life, work and relationship issues, and ongoing stress related physical symptoms and illness, and how to unlock it all, you experience such a powerful healing. 

For the last 22 years I have worked as a holistic nurse midwife, then with the added expertise as a yoga teacher, advanced grad and volunteer staff of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, and Clarity Breathwork practitioner. I have shared the most intimate experiences with women and their families as they move through young adulthood through and beyond menopause, and as they have their babies. I have held space for the huge powerful transformation of birth – that involves challenging situations of extreme intensity and vulnerability, pain of all degrees, facing enormous fears head on, surrendering to a process far greater than all of us…as well as great joy, love, and miracles. There is no pain – physical or emotional – that scares me – I am comfortable with it all; I have either felt it myself, heard about it, witnessed it, and helped others move through and heal from it. Over many years, the women in my practice, their partners, extended families and friends have shared with me and sought my guidance for their deepest darkest sufferings.

I would say just about everyone has baggage, past trauma of some sort, emotional pain and inner stress that is part of being human. Or it comes out as physical problems. Even if there is no apparent history of physical, sexual or verbal abuse unfortunately occurring at staggering rates (beyond 1:3 what is reported), most -people tell me they are one or more of the following:

From my book signing trip!

A Doctor and Midwife Recommended, Guide For Pregnancy To Postpartum Bliss Whether Birthing At Home, Hospital or Birth Center- even if this is not your first baby! 

This is a unique approach on how to have a deeply positive, empowered, and joyful journey through pregnancy, birth, and becoming a mom postpartum. Whether you have visions of a cozy home water birth, giving birth in a birth center free of pain meds and intervention, or a hospital birth with the latest technology and emergency care access just in case, this is the ultimate pregnancy to postpartum training so you can be prepared from an emotional, physical, and spiritual perspective to relax into birth and momma-hood with excitement and ease.

This comprehensive training will help you find your center and feel balanced, strong, relaxed, and calm within yourself during this special rite of passage into momma-hood- in the midst of all the chaos of life along the way. It will help you tune into your deepest desires and create joy and pleasure in your pregnancy, birth, an life as a mom - to take you and your family higher.

I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, trained and supported thousands of women, babies and their families with for over twenty years in my private practice locally and around the world, to create this book and do my part in improving maternity and newborn care and experiences, by empowering women and their families to speak up. These are my insiders secrets to increase your likelihood of avoiding high rates of risky medical and surgical interventions, serious complications including birth trauma for you and your baby, and having the birth of your dreams.

- stressed out, worried and anxious,

- overwhelmed, overworked and depleted, burned out, taking care of everyone but themselves

- filled with resentment, anger, rage

- irritable, cranky, and reactive

- unhappy, uninspired, unfulfilled, sad or downright depressed – do not feel joy

- addicted to harmful habits and do not do much to take care of themselves

- embarrassed or ashamed by some part of their body or not liking the way they look

- struggling with eating disorders,

- stuck and can’t make decisions

- disconnected from themselves and others

- shut down, powerless without a voice

- longing for something more and better, but don’t even know what they want, or thinking something outside of them will rescue them and make them happy

- plagued with self loathing, self doubt, not feeling valued, worthy or good enough, like a failure

- filled with shame, blame or a sense of being wrong

- lonely and isolated – without community, or even within their circle of friends and family

- sensually and sexually shut down and turned off

- troubled by relationship issues (immediate, extended, friends and/or professional)

- battling  career and work problems

- suffering with ongoing physical symptoms or chronic health conditions from body aches and pains, to migraines, intestinal issues, acid reflux, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer …the list goes on. If you can relate or have some of these feelings or issues, you are in the right place.

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I want to thank my mentor Mike Koenigs for guiding me to prelaunch two books on my two passions for helping people!!! Both are available on Amazon already! Will be released on kindle in March and paperback in April!! 

 

Group B Strep: What Does it Mean for Me and my Baby?

 

Group B Strep: What Does it Mean for Me and my Baby?

Group B Streptococcus, otherwise known as GBS or Group B Strep, is a normally occurring bacteria that lives in the lower intestines of human beings - from babies to the elderly.  It's a hot topic in the world of having babies, and there are no easy answers. I encourage educating yourself, weighing the risks and benefits of each option regarding testing, prevention and treatment, and deciding what is best for you and your baby.

 

Around 10-30% of pregnant women are colonized with the bacteria, depending on the population studied - but about 25% are reported to have vaginal GBS in the US. When there is a large amount of GBS in the colon and rectal areas, it can come forward to the vaginal and urinary tracts.

If detected vaginally in a non-pregnant woman, there is nothing wrong, and no need for treatment. The main concern is if a pregnant women has it in labor, and baby is exposed to the vaginal bacteria after the 'bag of water' breaks (during pregnancy, the baby is encased and protected in a double layered membranous sac of amniotic fluid, in lay terms referred to as the bag of water).

Although the vast majority of pregnant women with vaginal GBS have healthy babies, half are simply colonized - test positive for it but stay healthy, and about one in 200 babies in the US who are exposed to it during childbirth, can get infectious illness. GBS infection can become very severe or life threatening for about 1-2% of these babies, which is thankfully rare, but potentially devastating for those who are affected. 

Every human life matters, and I take those 1 or 2 babies per a thousand very seriously, as would any parent of a very gravely ill newborn.

I’ve collected some information for you below. I hope that this bite-sized chunk will save you from endless searching on the internet. Take note, that if you are in any doubt, please consult me, your midwife or doctor.

After a positive GBS test, don’t let anyone pressure or scare you out of having a free-standing birth center or home birth, if that’s what you want. GBS can easily be managed in the out-of-hospital setting. And know you do have options and can speak up on how the issue is dealt with; even though there is a standard of care that is strictly upheld in the US, there are different standards in other Westernized countries like the UK, that might just make more sense for you.

Risks During Pregnancy

Serious complications in pregnant women are rare. Complications of GBS can lead to urinary tract infection in women, but often the positive test results are actually from vaginal discharge, even if a ‘clean catch’ culture was obtained. In my practice, I found that out early on, after sending women with persistent GBS on clean catch urine culture tests, to a wonderful local urologist; she found them all to be negative for GBS in the urine using a sterile straight catheter specimen, and said there was no urinary infection to treat.

In the United States, GBS is routinely managed in the United States according to the Center For Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. It is tested for between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy, by taking a Q-tip like swab from the vagina and rectal area, and sending it to a lab. This is currently the best time for obtaining results closest to the onset of labor.  It takes several days to get results, which are allegedly valid for 5 weeks. Current testing is not completely predictive, as tests can yield different results at different times because GBS can come and go intermittently. A mom can test negative in late pregnancy, but actually be positive for GBS if tested in labor. Likewise, but less commonly, a mom can test positive in late pregnancy, and test negative for GBS in labor. There is a new home GBS test in the UK called Strepelle that gives accurate results 3 days from receipt of the sample - but it is not without controversy. Unfortunately at this time, there are no reliable, widely available, cost effective, rapid test available during labor - which would at least address this issue. 

In other countries like the United Kingdom, women are not routinely tested in pregnancy for group B strep, according to recommendations by The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence; this is because they determined that evidence of the effectiveness of routine GBS testing in all pregnant women remains uncertain. Per guidelines of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women are treated with antibiotics in labor only if there are risk factors - such as signs of infection like fever in labor, a prolonged time between 'water breaking' and birth, or if a preterm baby is expected.  Until 2002, in the United States, GBS in pregnancy was managed this way as well. The change in American obstetrical practice guidelines was based on analysis of some large studies around that time, even though there are limitations to the quality of those clinical trials, as is common with research; one major bias that concerns integrative, holistically minded practitioners, which most of the mainstream medical world discounts, is that this research is largely funded by for profit pharmaceutical companies who manufacture the antibiotics.  Today, in the US, all women who test positive for GBS during the late third trimester screen are given IV antibiotics in labor. That is a lot of healthy women and babies exposed to antibiotics when the risk of serious infection in newborn babies is rare. Additionally, most cases of group B strep in term newborns occur after screened pregnant women tested negative. 

Care Recommendations, Alternatives and Issues

The current standard of practice in the USA is based on the guidelines published by The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which dictates that antibiotics are to be given during labor, to all women who tested positive for GBS in current pregnancy. This is hospital routine, and is based on the interpretation of the available research, indicating that IV antibiotics in labor significantly lowers the chance of infection in babies from 1 in 200 to 1 in 4000. But antibiotics can have serious side-effects. Many healthy moms in my practice don't want routine IV antibiotics, even though they can be given both in the home and freestanding birth center settings. It feels too medical for them; they are worried about it interfering with their ability to have a beautiful natural birth, have valid concerns about the consequences of the antibiotics and feel their risks do not outweigh potential benefits. Some pregnant moms do want the standard treatment, as they are more concerned with GBS than a few doses of intravenous antibiotics, and do not feel the IV in labor will hinder them or their birth dreams. 

If you do want the IV antibiotics, know you can still move around during the infusion, and be in the tub or shower if the access site is covered properly. I was gifted with a home IV pole on wheels, by a family in my practice. We had previously hung the IV on whatever we found in the house - like a door hook or hanger on a curtain rod (once antlers on a wall-mounted moose head did the trick); or when she needed to walk, someone would personally hold it up, and follow her around with it. You also don't need to be attached to an IV the entire labor and birth, but can have a saline lock, also known as a hep-lock. This is an IV catheter that's inserted into your vein, used only for the 15-30 minutes it takes for the medication to infuse; it is then disconnected from the access portal, so you are not attached to the IV tubing, pole and solution bag in between doses for the majority of your labor.

One reported side-effect of IV antibiotics in women is a harmless rash. Another potential annoying but treatable consequence is a vaginal yeast infection, which can lead to thrush in baby's mouth and on your nipples, and make breastfeeding painful for you until it resolves. A far more serious but fortunately very rare side-effect is Anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction which can be life-threatening, but most often managed effectively with medication. What concerns us most is the effect antibiotics can have on us and our little ones.  

Microbiome disruption is the disturbance of the intestinal tract balance of normal flora in babies (and mothers). More research is needed, but a recent Harvard magazine article tells us that this can cause life-long complications in infants. It also ups the antibiotic resistance in adults and infants, another life-long consequence and can lead to other serious infections for them both.  The award-winning chilling documentary MICROBIRTH, delves deeply into the microbiome - the trillions of bacteria that live on and in us that could be critical for human health.

Microbirth
Starring Martin Blaser, Maria Gloria, Dominguez Bello, Rodney Dietert

Chlorhexidine gluconate vaginal wash is commonly used in Europe for pregnant women who have been diagnosed with Group B Strep. Some studies have shown that the treatment of GBS using Chlorhexidine is safe, cheap, and as effective as antibiotics, without negative side-effects. Other studies suggest Chlorhexidine reduces GBS colonization, but not GBS infection in newborns. It is known in the US as Hibiclens, and is available over the counter without a prescription. It needs to be diluted and there are several effective protocols in pregnancy or during labor. It is not natural. It's a potent antiseptic and does disrupt the vaginal flora, which can hopefully be restored with vaginal probiotics; but it doesn't travel through the body and cross over to the baby like the IV antibiotics do. While it prevents the baby from exposure to GBS, it also does not allow exposure to the healthy vaginal bacteria during birth. But many moms in my practice prefer this to IV antibiotics in labor. I have tested its efficacy in my practice. After its use, I get back a culture swab negative for GBS, and have had no cases of newborn infection.  Chlorhexidine for GBS is increasing in the US, mostly in out-of -hospital settings.

Another treatment in late pregnancy that has been used especially among out-of-hospital midwives is a vaginal antibiotic.  Research is sparse, but suggests possible effectiveness. There is currently only one medication that apparently works, if the strain of GBS is not resistant to it, called Clindamycin; its IV use in labor is an alternative within the CDC guidelines, if mom is allergic to the drug of choice.  When testing for GBS, it’s sensitivity to the various antibiotics can also be tested. There is a small study, done by a colleague of mine, on its effectiveness to reduce GBS infection in newborns of moms who had tested positive for GBS in pregnancy. My relatively large homebirth practice was included in her research, as for years, I had been offering this option to pregnant women who tested positive for the bacteria. The option includes a Hibiclens daily wash protocol, other recommendations for prevention of recurrence and weekly GBS follow-up testing. The study demonstrated that this treatment was effective in the vast majority of women without any known complications; but it is only one small retrospective study, not a large, gold-standard, randomized clinical trial. I am still impressed by the negative follow up testing in my practice, and that no baby in my care, after this treatment had GBS infection or other problems. It is also not natural. It is an antibiotic medication, but with more of a local vaginal affect. Moms who have follow up cultures negative for GBS, feel better about declining the IV antibiotics in labor, especially if there are no risk factors. But it also disrupts the healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina, can similarly cause yeast and thrush, and contribute to the issue of disease causing bacteria developing resistance to the antibiotic. 

Both of these treatments are easily accessible and thus convenient for home births, as well as birth center and hospital births. You can be empowered and learn to administer them yourself, once you have the supplies. It is important to know that Hibiclens or vaginal Clindamycin are NOT standard of care in the US, and they are not recognized to date by the medical world as a valid treatment to prevent GBS infection in babies. Women who chose either option are educated on the symptoms to watch for, advised to inform their pediatrician, and have the baby evaluated in 1-2 days. I also tell women who opt for either Hibiclens or vaginal Clindamycin, that they would be considered untreated for GBS and given antibiotics if transferred to the hospital - unless they refuse. Although you have the option to decline IV antibiotics in the hospital, disturbingly, it can get nasty if they are not supportive, involve social services or you are reported to the child protection agency and investigated for child abuse and negligence. Do discuss your plans with your provider and setting in advance, to avoid problems. 

Although I prefer natural remedies when they are effective, unfortunately in my 22 years of midwifery practice, I have yet to find one that works once GBS is detected; and I have had numerous moms who have used just about all of them, then have a positive GBS test on follow-up. There is forever a place in my heart, for a naturopathic mom who declined antibiotics and Hibiclens, and her severely ill newborn with GBS infection - the outcome was tragic. She tested positive for GBS repeatedly despite using the best of the best of protocols of natural remedies. What baffled all of us was there were no risk factors; it was a relatively short beautiful healthy birth with no interventions, water broke on its own during pushing. Yes, countless babies of moms treated naturally did not get sick even though follow up cultures were still positive for GBS. But the one case was enough for me. There is currently insufficient evidence of the effectiveness of any natural treatment remedy for preventing GBS infection in newborns. Holistic care includes all modalities, and sometimes there is a role for medication. When a pregnant mom tests positive for GBS, I discuss the issue, give her literature to read, present her with the pros and cons of all the options, from doing nothing to the alternative modalities, to IV antibiotics in labor, and honor her informed decision. Some want to use the UK’s risk factor protocol and decline GBS testing during pregnancy, and I respect their informed choice. 

It must be said, however, that no treatment is 100%. Cases are still reported in the medical literature where babies were infected with GBS after any treatment - including IV antibiotics, even though IV antibiotics have significantly reduced the incidence and severity of GBS illness in babies according to the research to date. I therefore recommend to keep a close eye on your newborn if you carry GBS, regardless of treatment. If any symptoms present themselves, consult your pediatrician immediately.  

Symptoms To Look Out For (Scary But Rare)

Early onset GBS occurs within the first week of life, most commonly within hours after birth. Signs and symptoms include: Lethargy; irritability; poor feeding; very slow or fast heart rate; abnormally high or low temperature; difficulty breathing such as flaring of the nostrils or grunting noises; too fast or slow breathing rate; blueness of the skin of baby's trunk, and/or pale or grey appearance. 

Late onset GBS occurs in 1/3 of babies with GBS infectious illness but is uncommon - effecting about 0.3 per 1000 babies, mostly who are premature. It can happen anywhere between the first week and 3 months postpartum; but it is rare after one month of life. Unfortunately there is no known prevention and like early onset GBS infection, can occur even when mom tested negative in pregnancy. An otherwise healthy baby can become critically ill within hours. Symptoms of late onset GBS are the same as early onset infection, but can also include: having a high-pitched, inconsolable cry, whimpering or moaning sounds; blank staring or trance-like expression; appearing floppy and listless; having an involuntary stiff body or jerking movements; not moving an arm or leg; excess sleeping and difficulty arousing; tense or bulging fontanelle (soft spot on baby's head); turning away from bright light; blotchy, tender skin; projectile vomiting; pus and red skin at base of umbilical cord or at any puncture site (from internal monitor).

Lets Talk Prevention!

Supplements during pregnancy can’t completely prevent GBS, but I highly advise taking them regardless, as I have had tremendous success with lowering the vaginal GBS rates in pregnant women who take the specific daily probiotic I recommend. Many of my colleagues report similar success with these probiotics. There is finally a small but growing amount of actual research - studies documenting the effectiveness of certain strains of probiotics to reduce the incidence of GBS. Probiotics are also safe and have many other health benefits. The other whole prenatal vitamins and minerals I recommend supplement a healthy diet with nutrients that enhance health and immunity.

You can lower the risk of infection also by minimizing exposure. You can try to lower the amount of GBS in your vagina, with natural remedies, such as in Dr Aviva Romm's protocol - even though there is no guarantee. If you have GBS in a healthy pregnancy and labor, you certainly can decline or limit vaginal exams, invasive procedures like internal fetal monitoring and having your bag of water broken artificially. If your bag of water has definitely broken before or early in labor, you can use natural remedies to gently stimulate labor and lessen the time it takes to birth. Some studies suggest that water birth can possibly help prevent GBS infection, because of less interventions and invasive procedures, as well as the bacteria being diluted or washed away, so baby is exposed to less of it.

Research is on the horizon regarding a vaccine for both early and late onset GBS infectious illness - which sparks an entirely different debate, as well as more accurate and available rapid testing in labor. There is much to be done to decrease risk and rates of preterm birth. But, my hope is for more research demonstrating prevention with probiotics in pregnancy, holistic modalities to improve immunity against infection, and the benefits of out-of-hospital midwifery care in terms of reducing newborn GBS infections. My dream is that there is widespread cessation of routine medical interventions in normal childbirth - one of the main pillars of authentic midwifery care. If there were more midwife-led birthing centers, out-of-hospital and home birthing for the low risk healthy population, according to evidence based NICES recommendations, this would decrease the rates of invasive procedures and hospital exposure to pathogens - especially resistant ones, that all increase risk of infection. And hopefully this would result in a major reduction of serious GBS illness in babies.

Can I Still Give Birth in a Birthing Center or Have a Home Birth?

Of course! And you might be better off doing so specifically in terms of GBS, by having a provider who honors your choices, possibly lessening infection risk by having a water birth, avoiding routine invasive procedures, as well as exposure to bacteria and infectious illnesses that are common in hospitals. Again, testing positive for GBS in pregnancy does not risk you out of either. Even the the usual protocol in the US to administer antibiotics by means of an IV, can be done at home or birth center with licensed midwives, which is good news!

If you are a carrier of GBS and experiencing a healthy pregnancy, I hope that you now feel confident that a home or birth center birth is still possible and actually a wonderful idea. I hope you have a better perspective about the issue, and feel more educated and empowered to make an informed decision about how you want to deal with it. Know you have alternative options to consider and most importantly do what you can in terms of prevention. Definitely take top quality prenatal supplements and probiotics!

I have a holistic approach to life, including healing after pregnancy and birthing. Nothing replaces abdominal toning and exercise for restoring muscle strength and tone - which I encourage for all mamas as soon as they feel up to it postpartum. Nothing replaces touch, slow deep abdominal breathing, and a 'love your postpartum body' perspective that I promote.  But I have found many mamas simply feel comforted by this support garment, especially early postpartum and temporarily as needed....to be used without forfeiting abdominal toning and strengthening exercise, breathing well and touch. I have found Bellefit supportive garments to help like they use belly binding around the world such as in Indonesia. They do aid in early postpartum healing and provide support many mamas feel comforted by. I deal with human beings and the reality is many postpartum mom's struggle with body image, feel frustrated that getting back to themselves takes longer than expected. Being into holistic health and healing includes being sensitive to real human struggles - the mind, body, heart and soul of each person and their unique situation. Having helped countless women with these issues after having a baby as a midwife, I have found many still love that binding and feel better with this support, and ability to fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably and sooner than they would if they went through a C-section or natural childbirth recovery without it - especially when they have to dress up and fit into a certain favorite outfit for a special occasion or wedding not long after having a baby. For more info on the Bellefit girdle, check out my blog about it hereHave a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)! I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.

 

If you are desiring the most natural, holistic pregnancy...

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life.

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, planning a VBAC

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are intending to birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams, ROCK your VBAC

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

Image by Megan Hancock Photography

Image by Megan Hancock Photography

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor

  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby

  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy

  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly

  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum

  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Art by @spiritysol.

Art by @spiritysol.

Want to connect with like-minded women supporting each other through their natural birthing journey? Join our Facebook community, available to all moms in my local or global practice, who consult with me, are taking or have taken my Love Your Birth online course.

 

What To Eat and Drink in Pregnancy and Beyond

What To Eat and Drink in Pregnancy and Beyond

Photo by Crystal Engel

Supplements I Take Daily & My Recommendations For Pregnancy

 
 
 
 

I am often asked what supplements do I recommend and why. I like to recommend what I do, and do what I recommend. I must believe in something and love it, in order to promote it. And when I find gold I like to share it so others can benefit. I have given birth to four babies. I was too nauseous to supplement in the first trimester each time, but when that passed, as far back as I can remember, I was very devoted to eating and living healthfully. And I took my supplements daily. I was blessed with feeling wonderful vitality and rarely got sick - even when a bug was going around my house. I knew my well-being had a lot to do with my habits, and my supplements played a huge role. Getting my little ones to supplement as I did was challenging; I was happy when they took the basics. My husband did not take any supplements, no matter what I said. He just wasn’t interested. But he was sick often and still remain unsurprised. I just love to feel awesome, and once I touched that feeling, I wanted to keep it, and help others feel their absolute best.

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So what’s my supplement magic? I take whole food organic supplements from trusted, high quality, professional grade companies - like Innate or New Chapter. I take a multivitamin/mineral combination, vitamin C, B complex, CoQ10, Bone Strength with calcium, magnesium, potassium and D. I also take Nordic Naturals or Vital Choice omega three fatty acids DHA/EPA from wild caught fish in waters tested free of toxic pollution, and natural immune support. I take this every day, and additional natural remedies as needed periodically. Since I am not pregnant, my recommendations for pregnant women are different, and mentioned here. This is what I took and would take if I would be pregnant.  I recommend these to pregnant family members and friends, as well as to the mamas who seek my care.

How Our World Has Changed

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Our ancestors did not take supplements. I often wonder if we are healthier than our ancestors or not. Modern day living has benefits, but also comes at great cost to our well-being on many levels. Although we have more knowledge now, growth had deleterious consequences.. As the population increased, consumerism increased, along with the over use of resources without awareness or concern for the effects, and the world has more pollution now. Processing and pesticides have increased, which adds toxicity to the food that is not as nutrient-dense as it was in the past when we ate from small local farms, wild growing produce and gardens.

Organic whole food is basically eating real food as it was before it was sprayed with chemicals, highly processed and refined. Animals are given grains sprayed with unmonitored pesticides to fatten them up cheaply, hormones to boost milk production, and antibiotics to treat infection that develops from overproduction of milk and inability to be active from confinement. At one time, animals were free to roam pastures, free to eat their natural, varied green diet and use their muscles.

Pasteurization came about to increase shelf life of dairy, but it destroys the enzymes needed to digest and process milk, as well as its vitamins. The mass production and industrialization food also messes up the soil which further contributes to the lessening of essential nutrients it used to have, which made the food nutrient-rich naturally. So much of what is called now, is so refined that its original form is gone. The outer part of grains, for example, is removed and processed down to get white flour, which is basically sugar without the nutrients and fiber. Then they supplement it with synthetic vitamins, artificial dyes to make it look more appealing to sell, chemicals to alter it and preservatives so it lasts longer from factory transport to the supermarket shelves.  Most products labeled as food found in the middle idles of typical supermarkets and fast-food restaurants have ingredients many can not pronounce, let alone recognize, and are laded with various forms of sugar and unhealthy fats. This has contributed to a wide array of symptoms of dis-ease and multiple health problems from obesity, lactose and gluten intolerance to mental illness, inflammatory conditions, adult onset diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension and cancer.

The standard diet is really empty of needed nutrition and most busy, stressed-out moms in the modern world, do not eat all of what is needed for the health of themselves and their pregnancy, even if they try to eat healthfully.

Many articles you read today will mention how we have gotten away from a hands-on lifestyle. We don't grow our own food anymore and have moved into a place of what is convenient and affordable...at least in the short term. What people may not realize, is the higher cost of eating healthfully today, pays off with huge savings from healthier lives, and less need for medical care over the the long haul.

It's actually a really exciting time right now because we are recognizing that we need to slow down and cultivate a lifestyle based on mindfulness. It's not just theory anymore, as it's more popular than ever to live a life of awareness. This includes consciously incorporating raw, whole foods into our daily diet, and removing toxins that can be found in processed foods, beauty and cleaning products.

Many of us recognize that we have grown out of alignment with our true nature and it's time to get back to our original design.... get back in touch with the cyclic nature of our human bodies, our minds and our spirits.

“Centripetal energy is the grounding force that makes women the centers of their households. When a woman elevates her life for the better, her entire family benefits because she sets a new level of awareness and clarity in the home. Good nutrition is one of the central pillars of a healthy pregnancy.” - “Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation”, Gurmukh Kau Khalsa

Start With The 80-20 rule

The 80-20 rule means that at least 80% of the food you eat should be whole and unprocessed and hopefully organic. Moderation is important. It is more realistic and doable, if most, not all of of your food is whole food, varied and organic. Enjoy the other 20% without the guilt. Hopefully you will also enjoy the 80% as well as I do.

Most of the nutrients we get are going to be from the food we eat. Colorful, whole foods are going to be the bulk of what provides the most benefit. As Dr. Christiane Northrup says, we can eat well most of the time as well as leave some wriggle room.  "Eat a low-glycemic diet that keeps blood sugar stable and contains adequate protein, essential fats, and micronutrients." - Dr Northrup.

For my dietary recommendations in detail, I suggest downloading my 'Healthy Living Tips' here and get a free peak at what is inside my Love Your Birth online course.

Supplements are an important part of any healthy and holistic lifestyle. Even with the best diet of whole grains, greens and proteins, our bodies still need additional help in supporting a well nourished body and life. Especially during pregnancy, when all of a woman's nutrients are needed to support not only mama, but also passed to the developing baby, it's necessary to supplement a healthy balanced diet.

 

I love helping a mama at such a time as pregnancy, when she is so eager to make changes towards a healthier lifestyle for herself, her baby and her family. My 'Healthy Pregnancy Starter Kit Package' includes the premium hand-picked supplements and comprehensive recommendations that the women in my practice have used and benefited from over the years, with great success - and they are listed below:

Supplements I Recommend (available in my online Health Dispensary at discount)

“What prenatal vitamins do I recommend?” and “What do I suggest you do to achieve the best health in pregnancy?” are actually two of the most common questions I get.

Pregnant mamas are so motivated to make healthy changes for themselves, their babies and growing families – and it is one of my passions to help them with this.

  • Prenatal multivitamins with minerals - My favorite brands are Innate Response or New Chapter.

    • For women that aren't pregnant or breastfeeding both brands above make wonderful multivitamins with minerals.

  • Fish oil - free of pollutants; at least 300mg combined DHA/EPA, 1-2 times daily -Nordic Naturals and Vital Choice are top quality brands, as is Innate Response and New Chapter

  • Vitamin D3 - 1000-2000 units daily or 4000 units per day if blood levels are low, with Calcium and Magnesium – the amounts I advise are dependent upon diet and lifestyle evaluation. - again, I recommend Innate Response or New Chapter Bone Strength (makes Tiny Tablets many find easy to swallow).

  • Herbal iron - as needed, especially with low iron stores and advancing pregnancy. The dose is dependent upon labs and evaluation of symptoms. As a wonderful adjunct to the supplements, superfoods, like powdered or freshly juiced greens can be added to veggies and fruit smoothies. Herbal sources of iron like nettle or yellow dock root can be made in the form of a drinkable infusion. Innate Response and New Chapter are fine, but I have had great results with Floradix in liquid or tablet form.

  • Probiotics – Colon and urogenital-specific, mega-probiotics have been demonstrated to help prevent group B vaginal strep that normally live in the lower intestines. If group B strep grows in the vaginal canal during pregnancy, it can increase the risk of potentially serious newborn infection if exposed in labor/birth - I have had much success with Klaire Labs Prothera Therbiotic.

    • When not pregnant , there are other formulas to maintain a healthy balance of good flora. Probiotics help boost your immune system after taking antibiotics; also, they help with intestinal issues and other health conditions.

  • Drink the following herbal infusion daily, which is rich in needed nutrients and is specifically nourishing for pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

    • Place 1 oz of dried red raspberry leaf, 1 oz of dried nettle leaf in a quart-sized glass canning jar, fill it with boiling water, cover and steep for at least 2-4 hours at room temperature. Strain and place in a covered pitcher. You can make it in larger quantities and store in the fridge.

    • For taste, dilute with water or steep for less time (but no less than half an hour), add lemon or lime juice, mint leaves or a teaspoon of honey. Drink 1-4 cups daily, hot or cold

    • I use Frontier Organic herbs in my pregnancy starter kit, which includes canning jar and strainer, or you can grow and dry your own.

The Mind-Body Connection

In conclusion, supplements are just that.... supplemental... to a mindful, well-balanced nutrition plan. Also, the thoughts we think and the perspective we carry during pregnancy works with our bodies and what we put into it.

Putting good thoughts and positive energy into our minds, are a great supplement to the way we nourish our bodies during this special time! 

The 80-20 rule teaches us that there is not such thing as perfection. Every woman that I work with is doing the best she can and I encourage all women to take this time to slow down, listen to her body and take things one step at a time. Any positive choice incorporated is a great one. 

For further inspiration during and after pregnancy, please make sure to click here to receive my complimentary 60 page Guide to Healthy Living ebook. 

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor

  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby

  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy

  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly

  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum

  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

It’s wonderful alone, a great refresher or adjunct to any other course!

Welcome to my Online Health Dispensary

Healthy Living for Healthy Women

My online dispensary is a convenient way for you to purchase my hand-picked, professional-grade, whole food supplements and other natural health products. Ordering is simple, and the products will be shipped directly to your home or work within a few days.

Click  here  to enter my dispensary at Fullscript.

Click here to enter my dispensary at Fullscript.

I have listed my recommended prenatal supplements in the PRENATAL SUPPORT section, but you can search their catalog for other supplements and natural remedies as well.

You can also access your personalized prescriptions and dosage instructions for the products that have been recommended for you after a consultation.

Open an account and register for free!

 

 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

 
 
 

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