By Danielle, contributing writer
As a doula, I get loads of fertility, pregnancy, and birth questions in my inbox.
“What prenatals should I take?”
“Do you have any midwife recommendations?”
“How do I know if this is my water breaking…or pee?”
The problem is that women don’t always follow the advice.
Making major life changes is difficult for all of us. Going natural is a step-by-step process, you don’t toss out your Tylenol and aluminum baking pans on the same day. But, pregnancy is an area that you should take the time to plan and prep for — to avoid 9 months of misery or a less-than-ideal birth experience.
Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to get pregnant. But not just to get pregnant — have a wholesome and easy pregnancy, amazing labor and delivery, and healthy baby. If so, read on. This is the post for you.
We are going to take this in steps, because conception, pregnancy, delivery and postpartum is quite a lot.
How to Have a Naturally Healthy Pregnancy and Labor
- First, plan to not get pregnant. Yes, that’s a strange first step, but you need to hold off on conceiving while you do the actual first step, which is detoxing. So, cool your jets for just a few months. Change your mindset from “baby, now!” to “I will do everything I can to prepare my body and baby for the healthiest pregnancy.”
- To begin your detox, start with a zeolite and clay combination supplement, like this one. The zeolite is going to detox most heavy metals and other toxins, while the clay scoops them up and out of your system. Take this for about 4-6 weeks. Then, work on your gut. Consume bone broth daily, as well as slippery elm bark or aloe vera juice (without additives). Eat a traditional foods diet, focusing on good fats and proteins from local, organic, grassfed and pastured farms, with fresh produce. Limit dairy, bread, and processed foods. Once you begin the gut protocol, you’re ready for the next step.
- Boost your fertility and balance your hormones with seed cycling and herbs. Some of the best fertility herbs include maca, schizandra, red raspberry leaf, and nettle. Research these more, and choose 1-2 to consume as you try to conceive. If you suffered from toxemia during your previous pregnancies, consider detoxing longer. If you experienced severe nausea, consider using monolaurin and a liver tincture to prevent that this time around. Your partner isn’t getting out of this one, either. It’s actually a really good idea for him to detox, as well, before conceiving.
- After the detox and fertility protocols, you can start trying to conceive. Now is the time to build your birth team. Yes now, not when you’re pregnant. Research the hospitals, birth centers, and homebirth midwives in your area. Interview doulas and birth photographers, and know who you will pick. You can even let them know that you are trying to conceive and will call them when you know you’re pregnant. Don’t wait, good professionals get booked and you want to spend your pregnancy relaxed, not struggling to make a choice. Go through your decisions (eye ointment, vitamin K, circumcision, water birth, etc) with your partner and make your choices now.
I can’t say enough how choosing your birth setting and support team is the most important thing you can do to have the birth you want. So, really research and really get to know your team. Be sure that your birth is planned to be exactly what you want.
- You’re pregnant? Awesome! Now, focus on your health. Be religious about your sleep, exercise regime (see below), and what you eat. Again, eat whole foods, with plenty of fat and protein.
- Do daily exercises. Yes, this is critical! I know you’re finally pregnant and think you can eat whatever you want, but exercises to keep you fit for labor are vital. I suggest doing the Spinning Babies exercises everyday. Getting your baby into the right position makes for a quicker and easier birth. Finding a prenatal chiropractor to help you throughout your pregnancy is also a great idea.
- As you near birth, you want to prepare your space well before 36 weeks so that you can relax, especially when you are feeling like a blimp. It’s tempting to get lazy those last weeks, but at 36 weeks, it’s time to keep up your exercises and double down on labor food prep. Plan daycare for the birth and postpartum for other children if needed, and prepare freezer meals for after baby’s arrival. Your diet now should still include plenty of good fats and protein, but also pumpkin seeds (for the fatty acids), dates (for minerals), and melons (for hydration). Many now suggest discontinuing prenatals at 36 weeks that contain high amounts of omega 3’s, because these actually thin your blood and you don’t need that during delivery. Talk to your midwife and doula about herbs that may help you prepare for and during labor. They also suggest skipping evening primrose oil for the same reason.
- After delivery, be sure to have natural remedies on hand for your recovery (like herbal pain relief and perineal sitz baths), and for baby.
There is my down and dirty on how to plan for a natural pregnancy and birth. I could add a lot more, but if you follow this list, you will be doing more than the majority of even the crunchiest moms.
One thing I didn’t add was this: mentally prepare yourself, too. We physically workout, eat well, prepare our nurseries, but our mind and thoughts are just as important in bringing a healthy babe into this world.