Finding The Optimal Fertility Diet

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If you’re considering becoming pregnant or trying to conceive, you’ll want to make sure that you’re staying healthy and fit. That doesn’t simply mean seeing a lower number on the scale or paying closer attention to how much time you’re spending on the treadmill—being your healthiest means taking a good, hard look inside your kitchen cupboards and at what you’re putting into your body. Practicing a well-rounded fertility diet is one of the first steps to successfully conceiving and carrying the healthiest child possible.

What you’re putting into your body each day is even more important than you think. Some foods may even be hurting your chances of becoming pregnant. To get pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy, you’ll need a fertility diet that increases your chances of conception and keeps you strong.

Fill Up on Fruits and Vegetables

You’re aiming for a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby. To be at your healthiest, you’ll need nutrients that take you there. That’s why eating enough fruits and vegetables is vital to optimizing your fertility.

Somehow those leafy greens and juicy fruits aren’t as familiar to the American diet as you would think. Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough of these essential foods when ordering on the run from their local restaurant or shopping for weekly groceries at their neighborhood grocery store. Although packaged foods tend to be the go-to items that people choose during a hectic workweek, they’re not the most nourishing foods for the body.

If you want to improve the quality of your reproductive system, start filling up your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Here’s a simple tip to remember the portion sizes you need: At each meal, make sure half of your plate is full of fruits and vegetables. Some raw fruits and vegetables contain a good supply of glutathione. This is highly important for your egg quality.

If it feels difficult to get enough fruits and vegetables in each meal, put your juicer to good use. Juice some fresh fruits and veggies rich in vitamins each morning at breakfast. Or, try making a delicious smoothie with frozen fruits and yogurt.

Switch to Healthier Fats in Your Diet

Remember to stay away from trans fats. It’s a cruel culprit in the food world that’s considered one of the worst forms of fat you can eat. Trans fats can hide in vegetable shortening, fast-food items, non-dairy coffee creamers, and even baked goods. They can clog your arteries, and they can also increase insulin resistance. When the body experiences high insulin levels, it can cause a metabolic disturbance. This can affect your ovulation cycles, as well.

From now on, try to only eat healthy fats. Not only are they better for you, but they can also help women who are having a tough time getting pregnant. That means focus on incorporating plant-based fats that give your body the nutrients it needs as well. For example, try adding more avocados, nuts, olive oil, and grapeseed oil to your diet.

The switch from trans fats to healthier fats may be tough, seeing as these items are popular in many people’s diets. These are common foods that you may want to indulge in when you’re craving something sweet during the day. Unfortunately, these foods aren’t healthy for your body or your baby.

Strengthen Your Diet with Powerful Proteins

It’s not always easy to get enough of the protein you need to stay healthy. Also, not all protein is created equal.

When it comes to creating a balanced diet geared toward peak fertility, you’ll want to reconsider the protein sources you’re eating. First, you’ll want to cut out the fast-food meats that may be lurking in your diet. These convenience foods are never good for you. Keeping away from these foods is crucial to sustaining a healthy pregnancy. If you’re not already eating an organic, whole foods diet, start now.

If you’re getting a large amount of your protein from red meat sources in your diet, you may want to begin cutting back. When you’re creating a meal plan, notice how much red meat you’re eating. Switch to other protein sources that will be better for your fertility. That means more chicken, pork, and turkey. These foods will give you the protein, iron, and zinc you need.

Another source of protein to include? Coldwater fish. If that worries you, you’re not alone. Chances are, you may be worried about the mercury levels that physicians warn about ingesting before or during pregnancy. However, food items like salmon, sardines, and canned light tuna are fine to eat a couple of times a week.

Choose Better Dairy Options

Maybe you’ve heard about people filling their meal plans with low-fat dairy items. Or, perhaps a particular “no-dairy diet” has made enough magazine headlines that it’s made you reconsider your stance on cream and milk products.

The truth? Dairy items aren’t the “bad foods” people have made them out to be in recent years. It just depends on what kinds of dairy items you’re consuming. For example, milk is an excellent source of B-12. It’s essential to have adequate B-12 levels in your diet. Some studies suggest that low levels of this critical vitamin are associated with infertility in some women.

Experts recommended that you get one or two servings a day of a full-fat dairy item. When it comes to milk, make it a glass of whole milk. Full-fat yogurts are always better than low-fat yogurts when it comes to an optimal fertility diet. It’s ok to have a small dish of full-fat ice cream as well.

Complete Your Fertility Diet with Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates that contain the fiber you need are different from the carbohydrates that are in cookies and cakes.

The sugar-filled cookies and frosting-covered cakes that line the shelves behind glass containers in bakeries are the kinds of carbs that aren’t good for you. These foods will digest quickly in your body, and turn into blood sugar.

However, the good carbohydrates your body craves take time to digest. These are the carbs you should be focusing on adding more to your diet. “Slow” carbs are considered to be better carbs for your body. These good carbohydrates come from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

The fertility diet that’s best for you will include nutrient-dense foods that give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to create life. The decision to have a child is one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. It can be a challenging, and beautiful journey. To create and maintain a healthy pregnancy, you’ll need someone who can give you the guidance, compassion, and support you deserve. Whether you’re deciding on the best fertility diet to implement, or selecting the best midwife to deliver your baby, you deserve someone you trust by your side to make these decisions along with you. Midwife360 is available to guide you through every step of your pregnancy journey. Visit our website today to see our array of services.

The Best Pregnancy Podcasts of 2021

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Having a baby of your very own can be a very exciting experience. However, that excitement may come with a certain level of stress and worry as well. Whether you’re on your first child or your fourth child, there are many online resources to help you through your journey.  Pregnancy Podcasts are easily accessible and appeal to a very wide demographic of parents. There is an endless range of topics, so no matter what you’re looking for there is a pregnancy podcast for you. It can be helpful to hear information and advice from someone who has been in your shoes.

There is a lot of stress and uncertainty surrounding pregnancy and parenthood, but the right pregnancy podcast could help to lighten the load. Plus, the convenience factor of a podcast can’t be beaten. You can easily turn on a podcast while you’re cooking dinner, running errands, or curled up in bed. Whether you prefer to hear real-life stories from families or factual advice from medical professionals, there’s a pregnancy podcast fit for you.

How to Choose the Best Pregnancy Podcasts For You

There are tons of pregnancy podcasts out there that cover a wide range of topics. Therefore, choosing the right one is very important. Searching for specific topics, styles of parenting, and lifestyles will help you choose. Here, we have preselected a few of our favorite pregnancy podcasts that may be beneficial for you.

Best Pregnancy Podcast for Breastfeeding

The Boob Group: Judgment-Free Breastfeeding Support

This pregnancy podcast has over a hundred episodes offering information and support for breastfeeding mothers. It features stories from women who share their personal breastfeeding triumphs and tribulations. The podcast also discusses the impact of society on breastfeeding, which relates to breastfeeding in public and pumping at work.

Listen to The Boob Group: Judgment-Free Breastfeeding Support.

Best Pregnancy Podcast for Gay Parents

 

Rose and Rosie: Parental Guidance 

Comedic duo, Rose and Rosie, launched their podcast back in 2020 as a way of documenting their journey of same-sex parenthood. They discuss various parenting and gender debates, the highs and lows that come with trying to conceive, and eventually, their success with pregnancy. You can follow their journey to parenthood by checking out their podcast below.

Listen to Rose and Rosie: Parental Guidance

Best Pregnancy Podcast for First-Time Parents

 

Pregnancy Podcast‬

A resource to support expecting moms and their partners. Host Vanessa Merten brings listeners evidence-based information to help them navigate the awesome adventures of pregnancy, birth, and becoming a new parent. With 300 episodes and counting, Pregnancy Podcast is your​ evidence-based resource to help you make informed decisions about your pregnancy and your baby.

Listen to Pregnancy Podcast

Best Podcast About Home Births

 

Doing It At Home: Our Home Birth Podcast

A weekly podcast about home birth and one couple’s decision to go from a traditional hospital birth to a natural birth at home with midwives. This show is all about adding an empowered conversation to the topic of home birth and natural birth, while keeping it real and fun.

Listen to Doing It At Home: Our Home Birth Podcast

All in all, there are many online resourses for pregnant women and their families. Pregnancy podcasts are a great option for those wanting to hear real stories and advice from experienced mommies and experts. If you have more questions about family planning, pregnancy, or overall women’s care, contact Midwife360 today.

Prenatal Vitamins: How to Choose Which Prenatal is Right For You?

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Prenatal vitamins support fetal and placenta development, and the overall health for mommy. Whether your pregnancy was planned or you unexpectedly journeyed into motherhood, the first recommendation is to become aware of your nutrition.

What are Prenatal Vitamins?

A prenatal vitamin is a supplement taken 2-3x a daily to ensure the absorption of important nutrients and minerals. These nutrients and minerals are formulated to aid in the development of your fetus, placenta and health of motherly bodily changes.

What Does My Prenatal Need to Have?

When selecting your magic supplement keep in mind that everyone’s body is different and may require variation. We recommend you meet with your midwife (or call Fadwah Halaby) for guidance on which is best for you, as an individual.

The two most common elements that you’ll notice in your prenatal supplement are folic acid and iron.

Folic acid is a form of water soluble B vitamins. Folic acid prevents neural tube defects, serious abnormalities of the fetal brain and spinal cord. Three months prior to becoming pregnant you should consider supplementing folic acid into your diet.

The second common element is iron. Iron supports the placenta and fetus development, and it helps the blood to supply oxygen to the fetus. Iron also prevents anemia, a condition where a person has low red blood cell counts in their blood.

There are other important vitamins and minerals that you’ll find in most prenatal vitamins, regardless of brand. You should look for a prenatal vitamin with calcium and vitamin D, as both of them aid in the development of the baby’s teeth and bones.

Look for prenatal vitamins with vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B12, vitamin E, zinc, and iodine. Prenatal vitamins typically will have the daily recommended value of these vitamins in them, because they are all necessary for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

Do I Need To Take Prenatal Vitamins?

We believe it is important to begin balancing your diet, water intake and supplementing vitamins as early as pre-conception.

Ways to Prepare for Pregnancy as a Family

Preparing_For_Pregnancy_Family

Pregnancy is an exciting and memorable time for both the mother and father to be. There are lots of preparations and planning to do as you get ready for the child. The bliss you enjoy during gestation is determined by the preparations you make before you get pregnant. For this reason, to help you have a simple pregnancy term and successful delivery, your preparations should start as soon as you start trying to get pregnant. This helps your body get ready for the changes you are likely to go through when you conceive. Additionally, it enables you to be receptive of the inevitable lifestyle changes after gestation. Here are some of the pregnancy preparations to do as a family before you start your term.

Talk About it as a Family

Being expectant affects not only the mother but everyone else in the family. For this reason, there is a lot to talk about and critical decisions to make before you get pregnant. For instance, you need to talk with your partner about handling the issues that may change after getting pregnant. This mainly involves duties and responsibilities that you may be unable to handle when you are pregnant. Additionally, discuss issues concerning the baby after birth. This involves issues such as your priorities and expectations in parenting. Talking about these issues even before you get pregnant unites you, thus, making gestation and parenthood easier.

Make Lifestyle Changes to Prepare as a Family

There are some lifestyle changes necessary to make before you start your gestation term. For instance, you need to strive to have a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Being underweight or overweight in gestation presents some challenges that will put you or your baby at risk. Therefore, as the family, you work together to ensure that the mother-to-be has a recommendable weight for gestation. Other lifestyle changes that you need to make include quitting alcohol or smoking. Making these lifestyle changes before you get pregnant helps you prepare your body to go without these substances throughout the gestation term. It is easier to adapt to such changes if you handle them as a family.

Go for A Pre-Gestation Checkup

Before you get pregnant, you and your partner should visit a doctor together. This visit gives the doctor a chance for a pre-gestation checkup, which helps determine whether your body is ready for gestation. The doctor will then treat some of the issues that may prevent you from getting pregnant or negatively affect your gestation. Additionally, the health care provider will advise you on some ways to make conception easier to prepare for as a family. Going through these checkups as a family or with your partner will ensure they offer you the support you need throughout the pregnancy.

Prepare Your Finances as a Family

As mentioned above, the gestation term will have a great impact on all areas of your life. For this reason, the time before you get pregnant is the time to brace yourself financially and get ready for all changes. Remember that you will have an extra expense during gestation and even more after birth. Additionally, after you conceive, you may not be in a position to work sufficiently and earn as much as you do before the gestation. Therefore, take time and prepare your finances as a family. Come up with a plan to help you manage the pregnancy and raise the baby after birth without struggling financially.

Conclusion

The process of becoming a parent starts before you conceive. Every preparation that you make now determines how easy or complicated your pregnancy term will be. Going through these pre-gestation preparations as a family helps make everybody equipped for the changes ahead after conception. If you’re looking for a pre-conception coach to help you prepare as a family contact us.

Birth Plan: Why You Need a Midwife and Doula

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The Birth Plan

If you are an expectant mother, then you understand the importance of having a birth plan. Each couple will have a different plan for their pregnancy and birth; this plan is associated with their wishes and values. Do you have a birth plan? Does your birth plan include a Midwife and Doula? First, it is necessary to understand how a Midwife and Doula can help you before, during and after your pregnancy.

Midwives and Doulas

Ever since the beginning of humanity, women have been giving birth, and they have had individuals who were there to support them in their birthing process. Midwives and Doulas are the individuals who help mothers to create and fulfill their desired birthing plan. Even though these specialists have job descriptions that pertain to pregnancy and delivery, their responsibilities are actually quite different.

The Work of a Doula

Doulas are individuals who are particularly concerned with the mother’s comfort and care before, during and after the birthing process. Doulas are able to give the mother the comfort that she needs. This comfort can include massages, soft music, aromatherapy, encouraging words or other techniques that will help the mother to have the best birthing experience possible. A Doula is not a medical professional and cannot perform any medical procedure. She cannot help a woman give birth, she is only there for the comfort of the mother who is in labor.

What is a Midwife?

A midwife is a medical professional who works directly with a mother who is giving birth. The job of this specialist may vary according to the state where she practices. Generally, midwives have received training from an accredited establishment that has licensed them as a midwife.  Midwives are able to help the mother in the delivery process. A Midwife also has the skills and knowledge to know when a delivery may require the skills of an obstetrician.

Your Birth, Your Choice

You have a choice when it comes to your birth plan and who attends (doctor, midwife, doula etc). There are traditional methods, holistic methods and natural methods that you can choose from for your labor and delivery. There is nothing that can be more special or personal than giving birth, and a midwife and doula will help make the experience more comfortable and personalized.
We’d love to help. Contact us today.

Midwife360 and the Scoop on IUDs

Many of my clients ask about birth control options that do not have hormones. There are a few, mostly they are the barrier methods like condoms (male and female), diaphragms, and cervical caps, or surgery. But the copper IUD is the only one that is long term and reversible and does not have any hormones. Since the copper IUD is not the only long term, reversible contraceptive, I wanted to break it down here for you.

What is an IUD?

IUD stands for IntraUterine Device. There are 2 types of IUDs, those with hormones and those without. Both of them are T-shaped plastic rods that are about 1.3 inches long with a string attached to the leg. The ones with hormones contain progesterone impregnated plastic, while those without have some copper wrapped around the arms and/or leg. 

Progesterone IUDs

The hormonal IUDs are called Mirena, Liletta, Kyleena, and Skyla. They are approved to last from 3 to 5 years and the Mirena and Liletta can be effective up to 7 years. The Skyla (3 year device) is a bit smaller than the others and is marketed towards young women who havenʼt had babies yet. The hormones effectively thin the lining of the uterus causing the wearer to have a super light or no period. Women usually still feel that they are cycling, as they can still get bloating or other pre-menstrual symptoms, but without the bleeding. Sometimes the IUD can cause an increase in period bleeding, but this is usually short-lived and will slow down or stop completely within a few months. This can make it more difficult to get pregnant once the IUD is removed as it can be 6 months or longer before the period returns to normal. 

Copper IUDs

The copper IUD that is approved for use in the US is called Paragard. There is another brand that is used in other parts of the world called Nova-T that is the exact same thing as the Paragard – a plastic T-shaped device with 380mm2 surface area of exposed copper. The Paragard is approved for 10 years and effective for at least 12. The Nova-T package insert says itʼs approved for 5 years. 

Pros and cons

The benefit of using an IUD is that it is placed once and then you donʼt have to think about it. You donʼt have to remember to take a daily pill, switch out your patch every week, do a monthly vaginal ring swap, or get a shot every 3 months. They are very effective, partly for this very reason – everyone is a perfect user. They are considered 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

However, if you do get pregnant, especially with a hormonal IUD, you have a greater chance of having an ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg doesnʼt make it past the tube into the uterus). As mentioned above, the hormonal IUDs can lighten or stop the period which is beneficial for those with super heavy cycles or super painful cramping – such as with endometriosis (a condition where the uterine lining or endometrium grows in places outside the uterus – when she has her period these places also bleed causing extreme cramping).

Another con with the hormonal IUDs is the tendency for those with them to be unable to lose weight or gain unwanted pounds over time.

An advantage of the copper IUDs is that one gets very effective birth control without using hormones. This means that it doesnʼt affect your cycle or your ability to get pregnant once it is removed. The only other birth control that doesnʼt use hormones are the barrier devices (make and female condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps). However if one has a copper allergy, it can cause multiple systemic symptoms and even affect the efficiency of the immune system. 

Placement

When you go to have your IUD placed, you should be on your period. This helps reduce the risk of infection as you have a flow that will carry any unwanted accidentally introduced bacteria out of the uterus. It also means that your cervix is softer and more open. You will be counseled regarding the risks of perforation and infection – which are the more common risks of placement. Your provider may also mention that expulsion of the device is also possible. Perforation would be pushing the inserter through the wall of the uterus and placing the IUD outside of the uterus. 

The provider should use sterile technique and clean inside your vaginal vault with betadine or hibicleanse prior to inserting the IUD. Some providers will numb the cervix with lidocaine, which makes the insertion much less uncomfortable. The uterus should be at least 6 cm deep, which is noted during the insertion as the inserter has cm markings on it. Once the IUD is properly placed the provider will make sure to cauterize any active bleeding with silver nitrate sticks.

Then you should be given a prescription to get an ultrasound to check placement and cautioned to refrain from intercourse for one week. Having an ultrasound assures that the IUD was placed properly in case there are questions about that in the future. It also reassures everyone that there was no perforation at the time of insertion. You can feel the strings which should be about 2-3 cm long hanging out of your cervix. These strings will be used to remove the IUD when you are ready to have it taken out. 

Removal

Getting the IUD removed is typically much easier than placing it. Sometimes the strings are no longer visible in which case an instrument is used to capture them and draw them out where they can be grasped with an instrument and the IUD removed with one swift tug. It does not hurt and I donʼt think Iʼve ever removed one where the client didnʼt say “Thatʼs it? Youʼre done?” It is important to wait a couple of cycles before trying to conceive as the risk of miscarriage is higher in the first 2 cycles of stopping any type of birth control. 

Support your local Nurse Midwife!

You can see an OB/GYN or CNM to get counseled regarding which birth control option is right for you, or if an IUD is a good option for its effectiveness in treating heavy menstrual bleeding and painful periods even if you donʼt need birth control. As always – do your research, know your body, ask questions, expect respect – make sure you are satisfied with the results!