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Category Archives for Natural Healthcare

Dates for easier labor

Can Eating Dates Make Labor Easier?

Dates Make Labor Easier? Who Knew?


AKA- Can eating dates make labor easier or will they just jack up my blood sugar and make my baby and me gain excess weight?


Every single pregnant woman on the planet has probably had thoughts about how to have a shorter, easier labor. Recently, info has been circulating again regarding the study saying that dates make labor easier.

Heres the scoop.

This promising info is based on a ????small study that was done in 2008 with 114 women divided into two groups. One group ate 6 dates a day in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy and the other didnt. They were similar in all other major aspects. The outcomes were significant. Of those who consumed the dates the study found:


  • They had significantly more dilation progress when admitted in labor than the non-consuming women.

  • Spontaneous labor occurred in 96% of the date eaters vs. only 79% in the non date eaters.

  • Pitocin induction rates were significantly lower in the date eaters (28%) vs. the non date eaters (47%).

  • The first stage of labor on average was only 8.5 hours in the date eaters vs. 15 hours on average in the non date eaters.

So those stats look really good, right?

I always ask my clients to weigh interventions (yes...eating dates for a perceived benefit can be called an intervention:) on a risks vs. benefits scale. So what could be the downside to all this optimism?

Sugar!

We know that women who consume lots of simple carbs and sugar in pregnancy grow bigger babies which can contribute to all kinds of bad things like...


  • Carb-babies grow big and dont fit through the pelvis as well.

  • Sugar addicted babies sometimes have difficulty regulating their own insulin after birth causing the need for a bunch of heel sticks to check then correct their glucose levels.

  • Then theres the dreaded Gestational Diabetes and all of the interventions and general messing with that go with that high risk diagnosis.

So what about the sugar content in dates?

If you look at the nutritional profile of a date, they look more like a sugar bomb than a healthy snack so..


Let me start with a little blurb about nutrition...specifically protein and how it affects your glucose levels. Growing the right size baby for your body is one of the best things you can do to keep your birth normal.


For the purpose of this short blog post, Im going to really simplify the way your body processes its 3 main fuel sources, Protein, Carbs and Fat.


In a nutshell, you ALWAYS need protein. Eat some at every meal and every snack. Protein is the primary building block you need to grow your baby. Proteins are things like meats, cheeses, beans, quinoa, eggs, fish, nuts and nut butters, hummus, etc.


However, you need other macro-nutrients as well which are carbs and fats.


Ill touch on fat next. The main point I want to get across regarding fats is that good fats do NOT make you fat! They grow your babys brain and are a clean-burning fuel source for your body. They help you feel full longer and offer all kinds of benefits to your heart, brain, mood, joints and skin.


Good fats are things such as grass fed butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, walnuts, small fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, anchovies, (wild caught) salmon, and herring, just to name a few. Heres some great info on fats.

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And then theres the carb lineup.

Carbs get such a bad rap that its important to separate out the good from the bad.


Good (whole) carbs that you want to be eating are things like veggies, oatmeal, ezekiel breads, sweet potatoes, quinoa and other whole grains. OH and DATES!


The risk of dates raising your blood sugar is significantly reduced due to their high fiber content. Fiber slows absorption of the date sugar and protects your blood glucose levels much like protein consumption helps protect your blood sugar levels. The effects of daily date consumption and its effects on blood sugar levels is referenced in another small study.

To reduce that risk even further, just eat a bit of protein with your dates to slow their sugar release into your bloodstream.

Alternately, bad carbs...the ones that will help you grow an 11 pound baby..ugh...are things like fast foods, sugary foods, white breads, white rice, white potatoes and fries, anything with white flour in it, not-so-healthy breakfast cereals, bars and bagels and the like.

Dont do it!! Just say no! Seriously, youll thank me after your birth.

The simple key to growing the right size baby for your body is eating whole foods 95% of the time and combining them correctly.


Strive for one of these 2 options at each meal.


1. Eat protein at every meal and snack (I know, now Im nagging), coupled with a whole carb.

Almonds and dates anyone? How about a smoothie?

Enter your text here...


OR


2. Eat protein at every meal and snack coupled with a good fat.

This sounds like a juicy steak and pile of broccoli with cheese or grass fed butter!

Combinations to avoid

Unless you are purposely trying to put on extra weight, combining fats and carbs together in the same meal is a bad idea.


They collide!


Carbs and fats are basically 2 different sources of energy and when eaten together, one will be used and one will be stored. Your body cant burn both at the same time and most women dont need extra pregnancy weight.


That said, for the rare woman who is having a hard time gaining weight, the collision of fats and carbs, coupled with good protein, is exactly her solution and can help her gain enough weight to support a healthy pregnancy.


You can find much more detail on healthy pregnancy eating at TrimHealthyMama.com, including a lot of really yummy recipes for clean eating.


So back to dates

dates make labor easier

Other Health Benefits of Dates

Aside from the "dates make labor easier" camp, there are so many resources out there talking about the many benefits of eating dates that I wont try to reinvent that wheel. Dates will feed you and your baby some amazing nutrients! Here are the cliff notes according to the website Organic Facts.


Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals. Its a good source of energy, sugar and fiber. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in dates. It also contains vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.


Here are a few more posts talking about all the benefits of dates.


http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/dares-and-your-health-the-ideal-food/


http://naturalsociety.com/health-benefits-of-dates-7-reasons-eat-date-fruit/

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Just a few more (VERY IMPORTANT) things that you can do to have a strong pregnancy and easier labor and birth.

As a midwife in SC, Ive seen some amazingly strong women grow incredibly healthy babies by just doing a few things that Ive listed below.


I strongly encourage you to take control over the things that are within your control.


These basic tenets of the Midwife Model of Care are the foundation that will support you and help keep all your options open.


  • Excellent Nutrition

  • Whole Food-based Vitamins

  • Exercise Regularly (walks 3-4 times a week is perfect)

  • Take a Great Childbirth Education Series

  • Know and Practice Optimal Fetal Positioning

  • Hire a Midwife or Doula

And if the study holds true... eat up because dates make labor easier!


When youve been a great steward of your pregnancy, the reward of experiencing your own strength in giving birth is invigorating!!


Girl power!!!

Love and birth joy! Lisa

How about you? Did you eat 6 dates a day in late pregnancy? Do you think that dates make labor easier?

Here are a few keepin it real anecdotal responses I received on my facebook groups. Be sure to add yours below.

>I did and had a great labor, pushed about 30 minutes...no perineum tearing. Sarah M.


>Just had my third, didn't eat any for the first or second pregnancies. Third I at 6 every day. Water broke naturally (not with the first two) and I had a kick ass labor! Amy G.


>I did. I ate them like mad because they were delicious with my last.. even though I started eating them because of their supposed labor help. My dilation was never checked. My water broke as he was crowning. Labor was right around 6 hours, I suppose. I didn't feel a need to call and let my midwife know it was the real deal until about 3 hours into it. Transition and pushing were about 2-5 minutes (but that was pretty much the case with all three of my homebirths). Tia W.


>I did with first baby. He still went to 41 weeks. I was 4cm from 37 weeks til the morning I was induced. Labor was 4 hours, but all of my labors have been 4-5 hours with or without having eaten dates. Sarah R.


>I did! Labor 8 hrs, kind of an arom at around 5 hrs? I think. I'm not sure how dilated I was when midwife arrived, but I had been 5 cm. So when she checked me I said don't tell me unless it's greater, and she said nothing, so I assume 5cm. Nancy A.


>(midwife) never checked me to say how much I was dilated, but my water broke at 9:22pm and she came out at 1:22pm. First baby. And I believe (midwife) showed up around 2ish and I was already in active labor. Joanna B.


>I did. Still went to 42 weeks, still had 18 hours of unproductive labor that en??ded with a 3rd section :-/ not the story you're looking for, but there's always an exception to every rule. Kristyn L.


>I did! I ate 4-6 dates/day during the last trimester of my third pregnancy. My first two labors were pretty long but my third labor had some prodromal stuff and then maybe 60 minutes of active labor, so....antidotal? Lol. Brittany H.


>I did! I ate 6ish a day during the last few months. I had an awesome natural birth on our due date. But i was also drinking raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose and I saw an acupuncturist the week prior. Kristen B.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214443

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19681613

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html

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Oil Pulling Using Essential Oils

Oil Pulling Using Essential Oils

Oil Pulling Using Essential Oils


The many health benefits of oil pulling has been understood for centuries by other cultures but is just becoming more popular in America.

Oil Pulling is an ancient detoxification method which involves swishing oil around in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes. Some of the benefits are to reduce harmful bacteria, reduce plaque, support the remineralization of teeth, help gum issues, and overall provide for gum health, thus affecting the entire body.

?You can ramp up those health benefits even more by adding essential oils!

I was poking around online and stumbled across this really cool silicone candy making mold and got the great idea to make my oil pulling efforts even simpler!

Silicone mold for oil pulling

I basically pour melted coconut oil into each little hole?, drip in 3-4 drops of my preferred essential oil, then pop in the freezer for an hour to solidify.  I keep these in a jar in my fridge and grab one in the morning. EASY!!

NOW, instead of steps 1 & 2 below, I just grab one of my Oil Pulling Melts, pop it in my mouth and swish away!?

Essential oils that support oral (and whole body) wellness

  1. Protective Blend (supports healthy immunity)
  2. Clove
  3. Peppermint
  4. Basil
  5. Melaleuca
  6. Myrrh

How it works

The oil pulls bacteria, parasites and toxins from your body via the saliva.  The bacteria count in your mouth is the highest first thing in the morning before eating or drinking.  According to Ayurvedic medicine, mucous is poisonous and must be removed.

Helpful tip #1 - Tilt your head and chin up several times during your oil pulling sessions so the oil gets back into your molars. Do NOT gargle in the throat.

Helpful tip #2 - Sesame oil is the traditional oil in Ayurvedic practice. Many people have had great results using raw virgin coconut oil, however.

Helpful tip #4 - Worsening symptoms is an indication that your condition is improving through detoxification.  It's called a Herxheimer reaction. This may be lessened by reducing the number of times a day or week you are oil pulling but don't stop completely. Just take it down a notch to a more comfortable level based on your goals and your symptoms.  There is absolutely NO danger in oil pulling. This is an aggravation that can be adjusted by reducing the frequency.


Oil Pulling Basics:

  1. First thing in the morning before eating or drinking, put 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth. Use 1 teaspoon if you have a strong gag reflex or are just learning to oil pull. Swish, swish until your oil is liquid.
  2. Add 2 drops of your favorite essential oil or one that serves your health goal.  OR, GRAB ONE OF YOUR PRE-MADE OIL PULLING MELTS!
  3. Swish the oil around, pulling it through your teeth, back and forth for 15-20 minutes. I like to oil pull while I'm in the shower. It's helpful in case I drool and keeps people from wanting to chit chat:)
  4. Afterwards, spit the oil into your trash or into a paper towel. Do not swallow it! It is now FULL of toxins and bad bacteria.
  5. Rinse your mouth with warm water then brush your teeth with a non-chemicalized/non-fluoride  toothpaste.
  6. Understand that you may experience some detoxification symptoms if oil pulling is done several times a week. Start with 2-3 times a week at first. Feel well!
miracle detox bath

Miracle Detox Bath

Check Out This Miracle Detox Bath Using Essential Oils!

(**See Pregnancy Caution Below)


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I recently posted a blog on the wonderful benefits of a detox bath for kids. Here's the follow up Miracle Detox Bath for us mamas and papas!

Try this simple detox bath, especially if you are feeling under the weather, achy, dieting or increasing your work outs. This simple detoxification trick will help your body rid itself of toxins and other cruddy yuckies that would prefer to stick around. You'll feel refreshed and it's super simple to do.

** Some Caution Applies to Pregnancy. See Note at the Bottom of This Page

Once a week for 20 minutes, sit in a hot bath that contains:

2 cups of epsom salts or Magnesium Flakes (where to buy)

1 cup of baking soda

10 drops of essential oil (where to buy)

Essential Oil Benefits

While you can do a detox bath with just the recipe above, adding **pure essential oils to your bath can work miracles!

Lavender - All things calming

Grapefruit - Uplifts

Peppermint - Fatigue

Cedarwood - Funky Mood

Roman Chamomile & Rosemary - Head tension

Metabolic Blend Detoxification of fat cells. Increases the sweat.

Ginger- Steam room Effect. Increases the sweat. Great for seasonal threats.

Respiratory Blend or Eucalyptus - Supports easy breathing.

Calming Blend - Promotes amazing peace, calm & sleep

Grounding Blend - Grounding & balancing

Protective Blend - Extra umphf to support your body when seasonal threats loom

Other additions that can create further therapeutic effects.

To change it up try using one of the following in the recipe above:

1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (targets inflammation)

2 cups Hydrogen Peroxide (oxygenates)

cup Bentonite Clay (draws heavy metals)

1 TBSP Virgin Coconut Oil (hold in moisture and keeps essential oils on skin)

This miracle detox bath draws out toxins, lowers stress-related hormones, and help balance your pH levels.

Make your Miracle Detox Bath as hot as you can stand it and stay in at least 20-30 minutes. Your goal is to SWEAT then cool with the water temperature. Rinsing afterwards with a cool shower closes the pores.

You will be amazed at how relaxed you feel.

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Get help if you need it getting out as your body will feel like a wet noodle! Wrap up in a warm towel, grab a cup of chamomile tea and pour yourself into bed!

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Special note: Be sure to drink at least 2 glasses of filtered water in the hours following and 2 liters over the next 24 hours. Lemon essential oil in your water will further help rid your body of toxins.

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**PREGNANCY NOTE! Hot baths are not recommended in pregnancy. You can certainly do a detox bath in pregnancy but keep your water temperature warm, not hot, especially in the first trimester.

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