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  1. Every part of the coconut can be used to nourish and support the body. Known as the ‘Tree of Life’ you can drink the water, eat the flesh and use the shell for all sorts of things.
  1. They are always in season and grow all year round. They are easy and cheap to buy. Once you know how they are also easy to open. Young meat is jelly like and really sweet and more mature meat is whiter, firmer and less sweet. You can make your own coconut water, kefir, milk, cream, yoghurt , butter and vinegar very easily.
  1. Coconut can be eaten and the water drunk during pregnancy. Both are  repudiated to nourish mother and baby and may help with a ‘quick delivery’. The oil when rubbed into the skin can help prevent and heal stretch marks. It can also be applied direct to nipples to soothe chafing and heal wounds whilst breastfeeding. The oil is also a safe and effective sunscreen for children and adults alike.
  1. When dehydrated in the hot summer months coconut water can help. Containing all the necessary electrolytes it can help get you back to balance. Coconut water also contains antimicrobial properties so is also great when suffering from bacterial imbalance (runny tummy!) and in the re-hydration afterwards. The sugar and nectar from the flowers is also full of necessary nutrients to process the sugar (improving blood sugar levels and create energy.
  1. Coconuts have been seen to help a diverse range of conditions, mostly due to their Medium Chain fatty acids. They have a positive effect on the body as they are easily absorbed, have anti-microbial properties, can boost metabolism , enhance thyroid activity, reduces pain and swelling, improve digestion, boost immune system and improve skin, hair teeth and nails. Is there anything a coconut can’t help? (Coconut Cures- Bruce Fife)

Coconut Recipes;

20121113-154836.jpgA bounty of Coconut

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Almond and Coconut Flour  Kefir pancakes

green drink

I use coconut water/ kefir for all my green drinks

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Coconut and Carrot seed oil natural Sunscreen

Does that look so bad!

I had a tough time adjusting after my daughter was born. I felt weepy, resentful, confused, out of control and I had no idea what mothers instinct felt like. All I felt was very overwhelmed and under-slept! I thought ‘no wonder people are labelled with Post Natal Depression’.  The immediate change in your life, so completely, is very difficult to adjust to. Your body is still not yours. You are breastfeeding and your needs are very low down on the list of things to do. It was not until a year had past that I started to feel like myself again. My blood sugar levels were all over the place, my moods were awful, I was constantly confused, groggy and I had zero energy. I was on fish oils, calcium, zinc, pro-biotic capsules and magnesium and I felt like these nutrients were keeping me together.  I had heard of Placenta Encapsulation whilst studying to be a Naturopath; however children were off of my radar then, so it was one of those things that came and went.

When I became pregnant with my second baby I was watching a programme (in the UK) on alternative parenting and one of the women was a Placenta Encapsulation specialist. A friend of mine had said she had contacted her local one and that she was going to do it. I looked into it and was very interested. Thinking about how I felt the first time round, I knew with a toddler and a baby I was worried I would not have the time or energy again to be able to look after them and nurture them both. When I was moving to Hong Kong in the middle of my pregnancy, I was so relieved to find someone did it here. When I met Lizzie I was convinced it was for me.

However I was still undecided whether I would have the smoothie. I was happy taking a powder in a capsule, however knowing the fresh one was in the drink I was worried it would taste like blood, metal, liver… I remember reading someone saying that right up to their birth the thought of drinking their placenta in a smoothie was too much to think about. The minute her child was born she craved it. I was sceptical. However the very same thing happened. I had a home birth here, so when my husband asked me what I would like to eat/drink after labour- it was the first thing that came to mind.  Bless my husband he was going to have a go but it completely eluded him so when Lizzie arrived I had had no sleep and was still on an adrenaline rush! She made me two smoothies, I drank one straight away (promise you taste nothing but fruit) it was actually the most delicious thing- I had the other one a few hours later. My pills arrived a few days later and I started taking them. The energy, combined with calm is truly remarkable. It was so completely different. I felt like me, I felt whole again.

I unreservedly recommend it. It makes sense. The nutrient deficiencies I see on a regular basis post partum (especially post partum hypothyroid/hyperthyroid) alone recommend it. There is no easier way to replenish what your body has lost, than to put it straight back in again. I also have the homoeopathic pills which I have given my daughter when she has started to feel the pressure of the change for her. Her reaction after taking them was also obvious, calmer and back to her loving self. She felt part of it again and it has helped us to grow into being a family of four from 3. I wish I had done it the first time, but having felt how I did, it might not have been so obvious feeling the opposite?

Benefits:

Everything it is suggested it is good for has been and still is experienced by me;

Increased energy

Balance (both mood and hormones)

Very fast milk supply (the next day and even through mastitis and feeding from 1 boob for months, I met demand)

Lighter post bleeding (only heavy for a couple of days and gone completely much quicker)

Quick healing (from tearing and abdominal muscle tone and separation was back before 6 weeks- That was also due to exercises!)

I took them 2-3 times a day for the first 6 weeks and now I take my pills every now and then, when I feel run down, like everyone wants a piece of me, stressed and angry. They do calm me down. I took them with me on my recent trip to the UK at Christmas and took one a day and my milk supply did not suffer from the jet lag at all. My friend I mentioned at the beginning is saving hers for her menopause, so is not taking them any more  However I believe that by taking them all when needed  post-partum  you will replenish your body and not need them during menopause (a time hopefully too far away for me to consider freezing them for that long). If not I will still always have the homoeopathic potency to use and the mother tincture. I use the mother tincture also at times of need and also put a little in the bath. Again I fell nourished and energised, generally nicer and calmer!

Nutrient Value of a placenta useful post-partum:

Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone,
Prolactin: promotes lactation,
Oxytocin: for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others,
Thyroid stimulating hormone: boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events,
Cortisone: combats stress and unlocks energy stores,
Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infections,
Prostaglandins: anti-inflammatory,
Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common post-partum condition,
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing,
Gammaglobulin: immune booster that helps protect against post-partum infections.

(source)

Benefits that attracted me as a nutritional therapist that you can’t get from any other supplement or food!

The best thing I have read about placenta encapsulation and echo here is-

What’s the harm!

In my opinion, it’s ‘Why wouldn’t you?’

To see how contact IPEN or in Hong Kong see here

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Chia Porridge w/Seeds, Nuts & Berries

I have a 10k race tomorrow, my first since having my second baby 18 weeks ago. I am nervous as so far I have maxed out at 7k. My goal was and still is to finish, I never thought I would be running the whole thing. However I am very competitive and so secretly see myself sprinting to the end! So am going to give myself the best chance. This is my (very early) breakfast tomorrow. Great protein, fat and carbs- my kind of ‘carb loading!’

3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup organic unsweetened almond milk/oat milk
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp vanilla
diced strawberries, raspberries & blueberries for toppings
raw almonds, cashews & sunflower seeds for toppings (preferably soaked over night)

Method
Place almond milk in a bowl and sprinkle chia seeds in and stir immediately for a minute or so to avoid clumping. Add spices as you stir along with the vanilla. Allow to stand for 30-40 mins to thicken, or covered in the fridge over night. Add berries, nuts and seeds on top to eat.

For my son (almost 8 months old) I use 1 tsp chia and mix with 2 tsp water and let soak either overnight in the fridge or for 15mins while he eats some blueberries/mango/melon or banana!

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Lots of people ask me what I have to hand for any situation here’s my first aid kit essential for natural health.

Homeopathic first aid kit- esp aconite, arnica, belladonna chamomila, sulphur, hepah sulphur, pulsatilla, passiflor co, silica,

Tissue salts- I have a full set of all of them and some of the combinations but mostly- pp, mp, silica, nat mur, ferr phos

Bach flower remedies all 38 but mostly rescue remedy night and day

Lavender
Calendula tincture and balm
Tea tree
camomile tea flowers
Rose hips
Tulsi tea and herbal holy basil capsules
Vit c sodium ascorbate
Probiotics multi strain and infantis
Vit d drops
Vit a drops
Ultra muscleze (mag, b vits)
Super greens
Lemon
Ginger
Manuka honey
Garlic
Oats
Epsom salts
Coconut oil/water
Homemade after sun (also an insect repellant)
Pure aloe vera
Homemade bone broth

If you want to know how and when  I use each item- let me know. If you use anything else, let me know

Having just done an interview with a local tv station as a parent who is going to have Homebirth I felt compelled to share my reasoning.

My first pregnancy was very straight forward. I didn’t want a homebirth as I couldnt imagine how it would work, but I did want a natural birth. No drugs, no interventions and definately in water. I had been accepted to have it in the birthing centre I had opted for and was finally relaxing that it was gonna happen as planned. Then the day before I had ny first appointment at the centre for my birthing plan, I went into spontaneous labour at 36 weeks. I thought it was braxton hicks and when it became completely obvious tht it wasn’t my daughter just made it into the delivery room where I was for 7 mins before she was born. It was a very chaotic experience with many people in the room and I really felt I had to push for what I wanted. What happened afterwards with the lack of support breastfeeding and the dreadful food in the hospital, I just wanted out of there, when my husband had to leave and I spent my first night in hospital alone and very confused, I vowed I would not go through this again.

When I got pregnant with my second, there was not a chance I was going to go through that again, not to say the least that I almost didn’t make it to the hospital the first time, I was having my baby at home. Then life has a funny way of challenging you and we were moving back home to Hong Kong where Home-births are not the standard practice that they are in the uk. Luckily I found a midwife who is willing to do homebirths and she accepted my plan. Thankfully I did. Due to hospital policy here and from stories I have heard of births in Hong Kong C-sections in some private hospitals here are at 70-90%. In most western countries it is alarming if the percentage is above 15%.

I’m pleased to update that I had my home birth and it almost went to plan, a little compromise here and there. My perfect son is doing well and I can’t imagine it going half as well if I wasn’t at home. My two babies births couldn’t have been more different. Although the active birth part for my son was just as quick as with my first the experience was completely different.

I wasnt expecting going to 41 +5 to be so emotional. To the extent I believed I was somehow failing by going over my due date. I was so consumed with how others felt or how I perceived them to feel about me going over my due date. I kept pushing on. From 37 weeks I had strong indications that labour was round the corner then lost my mucous plug at 38 weeks. Nothing but intermittent persistent Braxton Hicks until 4th July my baby independence day.

Every week I had an emotional purge. I would cry about something, I was releasing my fears, my grief that my mother wasn’t here to meet my son, my guilt that I had everyone on standby, my anger that I couldn’t control the situation and just sheer emotional exhaustion of putting on a happy face. I was using all of the usual natural labour induction methods and some others not so usual. I was taking my Bach flower remedies and they continuously told me to let go and to trust. When my daughter chose to come in when I was at my lowest with a remedy she had picked at random that was for strength I knew I had to let go and just trust everything would be okay. It was.

When I got my show on the 4th July I was excited. Although I just checked and your bloody show still meant anytime but not imminent (with my daughter I got my show an hour before she was born- it had just been Braxton hicks pains until then) we spent the day as planned- took my daughter to her class in tst. After her class I was getting cramps at a level I could no longer ignore. So we went to city super to get food for dinner. At dinner I apologised for panicking (we were meant to be eating out) and we probably could have still eaten out- at that exact moment my waters then broke! It was a few hours after that when things changed (this was 8pm at 11.30 I was still only 2 cm dilated and my son was born at 1.53 am).

After finding I was only 2 cm dilated and still not in active labour I went in the bath to try and space out the contractions and make them more productive. Also to calm down as I was getting emotional that this was still not happening! The suspense of the last 2 weeks and longer was too much! As soon as I got in the bath it was more uncomfortable and trying to space them out was having the completely opposite effect. There was now no break between the contractions and they were getting stronger by the minute- I decided to get out of the bath. It’s just as well I did because the gear change was unreal- this was most definitely it!

My midwife came back and I started to freeze up and freak out a little as there was no breathing space- just wave after wave of contraction and I could feel his head traveling down it was the oddest sensation like a long tunnel- which is exactly what it is. My midwife was wonderfully calming and empowering and I came back into control. I made it to the bedroom (a mere couple of steps through the wardrobe area from the ensuite but what felt like a vast desert away) and onto the bed and the breathing out happened instantaneously. My hubby was a complete rock giving me sips of water with rescue remedy, words of support and physical support also. I remember the feeling of the head traveling through felt like it was taking forever (apparently it all took 15 mins the ‘pushing’ bit. I remember tensing up- it was so different. My midwife git me to feel the top of his head. It was really soft, a very odd sensation! Like a light bulb I suddenly thought- the more you resist the longer you are gonna be doing this. It changed completely- the ‘pain’ was completely different and my breathing changed. It wasn’t long after that the head was out. My midwife told me one big push which I thought was strange as we weren’t using that language. That familiar tension then complete release and gush out he came.

She was asking for the suction and I couldn’t see what was going on as I was on my knees facing the other way and the cord made it impossible to turn round, she was giving him a little shake to get him to respond. I kept asking if he was okay what was going on and he was making noise. Then my midwife said she had to cut the cord and I thought it a little odd she hadn’t given him to me or got me to turn around at all. I knew all her focus was on him and I trusted her so wasn’t worried. This was all a bit in slow motion as a memory, she wrapped him up in a towel and put him in the bed and was just holding the oxygen next to him. I could see him breathing but he was gasping a bit. My first instinct was rescue remedy. Two drops on the crown of his head. My dad came in hearing the crying and was on the phone to my bro! I asked him to wait I still had t held my boy but I was talking to him and stroking his face. He was a good pink colour and my midwife said he had a strong heart beat and was a strong boy! The second midwife then arrived, my midwife was asking if she had ever heard the noise he was making, the second midwife was not worried and they just held the oxygen for a bit longer. He quickly regulated his breathing and I could feel the contractions again we turned at tension to delivering the placenta. Again very odd sensations full on contractions.

Last time they gave me the injection as soon as my first was born I didn’t even have time to think.
After a few mins had passed I started to feed my son to get the contractions to be a bit more productive. He had such a strong latch so quickly another completely different feeling it was such a relief as my first had latch problems for 6 months. Still no placenta. After a big gush of blood my midwife started to get a bit nervous. I think we were all a little on edge after the whole breathing thing. She said it was the injection or we may have to think about going to hospital as that was a fair amount of blood and it had been half an hour almost 40 mins. So I agreed, my birth plan said 30 mins and then I would consider it. I was in no mood to argue and I could tell my midwife was getting a bit worried- I certainly did not want the hospital. I had 2 injections when I thought it might be easier if I get up- gravity and all. That’s all it took, out it came and straight into the bowl ready to consume when my placenta encapsulation specialist arrived. All I needed now was a couple of stitches and my baby to cuddle. It was so perfect doing that in the comfort of my own home. I was able to have something to eat, drink and completely relaxed and shared my baby with my husband and my dad.

Most special bit though was just as we went to bed as the sun was coming up- in came my daughter who had slept through it all- she gasped and said- he’s come out! Family cuddles all round. Priceless!

 

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Before you do any high impact exercise like running or weights (like body pump) you need to ensure your abdominals have come back together to protect your spine. There is a simple test you can do to check. Ideally I would come and show you how to do it, if you are a member of a gym, ask who is pre and post natal trained and ask them to check for you and to show you how to do it. Until then I have found this on You Tube- I thought it was the best example and well described:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OayM54bmQig&feature=plcp

There are several exercises you can do to reduce this abdominal separation. I recommend you contact a pre and post natal trained PT, Pilates instructor or Yoga teacher to show you how to do these exercises. It is better to have someone there to correct you and talk you through it so that you can be doing them correctly. Any questions or comments let me know.

 

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Over the last few weeks I have used meditation for numerous reasons. Mostly to calm me down and to help me trust nature and it’s capacity to heal and re energise.

I used it to connect to my baby whilst pregnant and when I went almost 2 weeks over my due date after expecting another early baby, to my latest mastitis pain and healing process. I have also used it to help me deal with my mums recent death and the frustrations, anger and guilt attached to adjusting to having another family member and my toddlers reaction to it. I tend to give energy out without leaving much for myself and so I am conscious that I need to reset and refuel myself and my body. This is where rainbow meditation comes in for me.

Rainbows symbolise hope for me. I love colour, wearing certain colours gives me confidence and peace of mind. I feel uncomfortable in black or white without a burst of colour. Visualisation is a key tool for me too, I use it all the time whether I am thinking of how to get somewhere or to use a specific muscle in the body. To put the two together to make changes in the body makes perfect sense to me.

Simply get comfortable and focus on your breathing. Then picture each colour whilst breathing in and focus on breathing out the murkiness. I do this until I feel like I’m breathing out white. Continue through the rainbow. If you need more guidance there are many similar ones on you tube. I’m sure many out there would object but how I see it is meditation is mostly about stopping and focusing on breathing. Getting oxygen in and around the body is so important.

Getting people to meditate can be hard because it is perceived to be this ultra zen feeling that has to be taught and done for hours. I do it for 10 mins in the bath or when I am cuddling one of my babies to sleep or even to get me to sleep myself. It can be accessible and most importantly can fit into your day no matter how much time. Even a minute concentrating on just breathing is good enough. Try it!

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Since all I can think about right now is the impending birth of my second child my posts for the next few weeks will reflect this! I have just finished my birth plan. I am 35 weeks tomorrow and my first baby was born totally unexpectedly at 36 weeks, I had barely packed my bag and had my appointment at the birthing centre the next day to go through my birthing plan. I had a good idea of what I wanted back then, a water birth, calm and relaxed in a modwife led centre with no pain relief and no interventions. I also knew I would not be giving my child vitamin K and was looking forward to a short labour.

I got some of those wishes, I turned into a drill sergeant barking orders and demanding many things such as no vitamin K I would only push on a contraction and I had to relent and be in the stupid position they insist upon in a hospital. My labour from show to baby was 1 hour and a half. I had been in labour for longer but I thought it was just Braxton hicks! Yep, mild period pains I described. When I got to the hospital I could feel my daughters head and 7 minutes later and 3 pushes she was with us. Most people say it sounds like a dream labour. But the shock of it all reverberated through both me and my daughter for a good few weeks later. If not months. This time I want to enjoy the experience and I really want my whole family to be able to enjoy it too. My 2.5 year old has been told whats going on and that she has the choice as to whether she says in the room or whether she goes. My husband has always 100% supported my decisions as they have never been made on a whim and have always been well researched and discussed with him. If he had any concerns he has always been free to voice them and his opinion is very important to me. However saying that those who know me know I am a bit of a control freak at times!

I have discussed with this baby too, whats gonna happen and have asked him to please wait until at least 38 weeks. We have just moved back to Hong Kong and all our boxes arrive tomorrow I would love to have the time to put the house together and have some tie to chill out to give him the best atmosphere to enter into. Home birth in Hong Kong is very very different from the uk. For a start you dont really see midwifes r if you do they dont speak in the public system. It is all doctor led, even a nurse takes your booking information. I find this very strange. I have been asked several times if I want my breasts examined? No has been my answer, for a start your breasts are naturally lumpier during pregnancy and anything I am uncomfortable is just gonna stress me out.

I have had my fair share of stress and heartache and happiness through this pregnancy. Every thing on that list of things to stress you out has been ticked- Money(neither of us is working at the moment due to the move), Death, Move, Birth (impending) and Wedding (brothers very happy day) all in the last 4 months. I have been kind to myself but I naturally will look after others before myself and there are a few people to look after at the moment.

This baby has definitely been a rock, always assuring me that he’s there and okay (I didn’t have a scan or hear the heartbeat until I was 22 and 20 weeks respectively) He never gave me cause for concern. I had to take 5 long haul and 2 short haul flights from 11 to 27 weeks pregnant, he always went with the flow. By all appearances he’s helping by being in the right place and position now and I can feel he’s getting ready himself. I have really enjoyed having very little intervention in this pregnancy and am looking forward to continuing that through the birth. I am prepared that I may need to go to hospital, although am in no way thinking this will happen. I have a clear vision of how it will all happen and am confident that my gorgeous boy will be born how and when he will be born, just like my daughter was! They do have a part to play and decisions to make, its up to me to try and facilitate that as far as possible.

Below I have shared my birth plan. I have done so under the understanding that it is incredibly personal to me and my wishes and should not be taken as a template for your own as you have to decide your plan of action with your partner and indeed your baby. However if it helps people to know just how detailed they can and sometimes have to be then I am happy to share.

I have used many resources to get to this plan;

Birth Reborn By Michael Odent

Homebirth- A practical guide by Nicky Wesson

Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan

Homeopathy for pregnancy birth and your babys first year by Miranda Castro

My own experience and my friends tips and anecdotes of their own births.

Please feel free to ask me any questions.

Birth Preferences:

  • To consider artificial initiation of labour only after 42 weeks and may choose to do nothing until 44 weeks if there is no medical urgency and only after discussion and agreement.
  • Will use Caulophyllum 30c every 30 mins for 3 hours and then will wait 24 hours before considering any other methods.
  • To delay artificial induction of labour until 96 hours after membranes have been release and mother and baby show no signs of infection as directed in the NICE guidelines. To be allowed to wait during this time period at home.
  • To deliver baby at home with Hulda Thorley as midwife.
  • We request patience and understanding to support our wishes to refrain from having any practice or procedures that in absence of medical urgency, including constant fetal monitoring that could stand in the way of having the most natural birth possible.
  • Manual intermittent monitoring that is agreed to and done in a non invasive manner.
  • Minimal number of vaginal examinations and only after been agreed on by the mother
  • To be allowed to ignore contractions and time period between them until forced to take notice of them.
  • The option of a water birth (bath or pool) and alternative space with a calm atmosphere
  • Be able to use lavender and clary sage in a diffuser and or massage/bath oil.
  • Allowed nutritional snacking if labour is prolonged.
  • Freedom to walk, move or not move during labour
  • Freedom to change position and assume labour position of choice as dictated by the mother.
  • To use PPMP tissue salts, rescue remedy and arnica 200c as pain relief methods. No other pain relief is to be offered or discussed.
  • Minimal number of vaginal examinations and only after been agreed on by the mother
  • To allow nature to take its course without any references to pain management, moving things along or facilitating labour.
  • To allow mother control of birthing and her involuntary processes and instinct.
  • To allow Father, Midwife Hulda Thorley as above in room at all times.
  • To allow daughter to choose to be present or not present as she decides.
  • Allow baby to be breathed out without external coaching or other methods, unless coming from the father.
  • No Episiotomy, no forceps, no ventouse unless medical urgency and it is agreed on by the mother after discussion.
  • To have the baby’s baby grow and blanket on a heated towel rail ready for when the mother or father directs its use.
  • Immediate skin to skin contact with baby placed on stomach or lower chest. Father to be able to place hand on baby’s back under a warm blanket. No wrapping of baby.
  • Father to cut cord after pulsating stops and no clamping.
  • Wait for a natural placenta delivery with baby brought to breast to assist placenta birth. No syntometrine unless homeopathy has failed to work and it has been discussed and agreed to by the mother.
  • Allow vernix to be absorbed into the baby’s skin, no cleaning or rubbing. Placenta to be retained in a container supplied by the Father. Saline is added then refrigerated to wait to be collected by Liz Purnell-Webb.
  • To be allowed between 30 mins to an hour of skin to skin with the mother before taking the baby to be weighed. Only after agreement with the mother.
  • No vitamin K administered to the baby either oral or injection.
  • Absolutely NO vaccinations of any kind.
  • Star of Bethlehem and Walnut Bach flower remedies to be applied to the crown of the baby’s head after birth by the mother or father
  • Breastfeeding only and baby to remain in the room with the mother at all times.
  • To be allowed to use homeopathic remedies and other natural remedies brought by the mother as and when either she or the father desire to use them.
  • To be allowed to bathe with baby after weighing etc if so desired.