Fertility Supporting Lifestyle Tips

Fertility Promoting Lifestyle, Habits and Supplements

Remember that the eggs and sperm you have now are based on lifestyle and environmental factors from 3 months ago. It is a good idea to work on detoxification through diet and lifestyle changes for 3 months prior to aiming for conception through natural or artificial reproductive measures.

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Diet: In general following the Mediterranean diet that is abundant in vegetables and fruits and fishes and cold pressed oils, has been shown to promote fertility and egg and sperm quality in both men and women. Many people have undiagnosed sensitivities to wheat that may impair the immune system and effect fertility so avoiding wheat products may be an important step to take as well. Aim for as many organic and ocean fresh rather than farmed seafood and free range/grass fed poultry and dairy and meat sources. Full fat dairy (organic preferably) has also been shown to enhance fertility.

Drink: Aim for 1/3 to ½ of you weight in ounces of filtered water a day. Limit or discontinue coffee and other high caffeine and or sugar beverage consumption.  Aim to drink most beverages at room temperature or warmer, especially in the cooler months. It is best to drink the bulk of your water 15 minutes before meals or 45 minutes to an hour after meals.

Exercise: Exercise is a key to balanced health and vitality, however too much can impair fertility. Aim to exercise 3 to 5 times a week with a goal of maintain a heart rate of between 120 and 140.  Exercising in nature is powerful medicine beyond the benefits of exercise. Also consider gardening and yoga as rejuvenating forms of exercise.

Reduce Exposure to Environmental Toxins: If you or your partner work in an environment that may expose you to toxins (construction, chemical labs , lawncare, farming, computers…etc.) be sure that all protective measures are taken to limit exposure at work and be sure to remove and  isolate work soiled clothes and shower immediately. A shoe free household can help limit household exposure to environmental toxins.

Drink filtered water, avoid pesticide treated lawns and eat organic as much as possible and at least avoid the dirty dozen, heat and store food in glass or nonreactive metal, do not drink or heat food in plastic containers or covered with plastic wrap, follow safe seafood consumption guidelines and use green cosmetics and cleaning products. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource to help you become a safety savvy food and product consumers.

Do not wear cell phones close to reproductive organs. Do not use a laptop directly on the lap. This is especially important for men.

Menstrual products should be organic and unbleached. Menstrual cups are a good affordable option.

Stress management: Too much stress shuts down reproductive pathways in men and women. Regular acupuncture, adequate/appropriate food and water intake, regular moderate exercise helps reduce stress. Aim for at least 15 minutes of joyful activity every day. Be in harmony with your partner. Seek out counseling if you need to. Meditation, mindful based practices and time in nature are stress relieving. Saying no to excessive commitments and saying yes to yourself and family are essential to allow a family to grow.

Medications: Some medications including calcium channel blockers, sulfasalzine or mercatopurine, Cimetidine, Cyclosporin, Spironolactone, Keoconazale, steroids or antidepressents may affect fertility and vitality of pregnancy and offspring. Talk with your provider about alternatives if you are on any of the above medications.

Substance use and abuse: Cigarettes, excessive alcohol consumption and recreational drug use are not compatible with maximizing fertility. If either partner has a substance use/abuse issue, it should be treated and discontinued to optimize fertility and maximize parenting potential.

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Male behaviors and habits: Sperm are very sensitive to overheating. It is essential to avoid hot tubs and tight briefs to allow for proper temperature regulation of the testicles. Cyclists should  invest in a special seat to limit restriction and pressure on the genitalia and if sperm count is an issue may want to discontinue cycling while trying to conceive.

Sexual Habits:  Timing of sexual intercourse and ejaculation is important to maximize the likelihood of pregnancy. Tracking cycles with a Basal Body Temperature chart, and ovulation predictor kit(OPK)  and observing cervical mucus can be a powerful tool in identifying fertile times as well as helping highlight possible areas of imbalance in the cycle.

At the very least sex should occur three to four days before ovulation and definitely on the day of the LH surge (which can be identified through an OPK).

Another way to consider optimal times of sexual activity ending in male and ideally female orgasm, is to pay attention to cervical discharge. A few days after the menstrual flow has stopped completely cervical mucus should begin to appear. Once the mucus appears have intercourse ending in orgasm every other day. Keep each other revved sexually on the off days through foreplay and romance that does not end in male ejaculation.  Look for the egg white slippery cervical discharge and be sure to have sex that day.

If there is no noticeable cervical mucus: Through acupuncture, diet, herbs/supplements, cervical mucus can be improved. It is the medium that makes it possible for the sperm to meet the egg. A lack of healthy cervical mucus can be the barrier to conception. If you do not seem to have noticeable cervical mucus, it is important to use a lubricant called Pre-seed during 4 days before ovulation.

Once male ejaculation has taken place, it is important for a woman to rest for half an hour or more on her back, possibly with her legs up the wall to promote better blood flow to the pelvis and allow the sperm to travel into the uterus to prepare to meet and penetrate the egg. This resting time is a great time to visualize and caress and whisper sweet nothings to each other.

supplements

Supplements: Supplementation helps ensure that there are ample building blocks present to promote healthy sperm, egg and fetal development.

Basic supplementation includes a well balanced, bioavailable prenatal/multivitamin and fish oils. Thorne, La Sante and Standard Process daily pack are some of the quality multivitamins available.

I recommend roughly 2,000 mg of a cold pressed screened for toxins fish oil a day, for men and women.

Zinc is also essential for reproductive health and can be supplemented with and handful of raw pumpkin seeds a day.

A yummy health shake to incorporate pumpkin seeds includes a handful of soaked (overnight) pumpkin seeds or almonds, a few dates, half a banana and water blended cinnamon and vanilla can be added to taste.

Co Q 10: Helps improve energy production at a cellular level. It has been shown to increase vitality of egg and sperm. It is especially helpful in increasing sperm motility. (60-400mg per day is recommended. I usually recommend 200mg two times a day.)

Additional herbs and supplements may be indicated based on specific challenges a couple may be facing.

 For a printable copy of this information click this link: Fertility Promoting Lifestyle

Nontoxic and Stink Free: Homemade Deodorant

I often say to my patients and friends, if you wouldn’t put it in your body you shouldn’t put it on your body.

We live in an ever more toxic environment; much of our exposure to environmental toxins can not be completely controlled.

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However, we can control what we choose to put in and on our body.

Hygiene products, like body washes, shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant can be a huge source of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

deodorant

Of course, most people want to feel and smell clean and are afraid that stepping away from their favorite store brand may leave them sticky and stinky. Unfortunately, many “natural or organic” deodorants leave you smelling worse than you did without them. Since I work in close proximity with my patients, I needed to find a way to smell good (at least not bad) and honor my mantra of “only put on your body what you would put in your body.”

Fortunately there are many helpful resources to find ways to make really good products to use in your daily body and household maintenance with substances you probably have in your kitchen pantry.

Following are a few that I have found helpful:

http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/

http://www.healthextremist.com/

http://www.crunchybetty.com

The last batch of homemade deodorant I made has received rave reviews:

I followed the recipe from http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2013/01/homemade-all-natural-deodorant.html and added some delicious essential oils for their therapeutic benefits as well as divine scents. With just three basic ingredients this recipe is quick and easy.

Ingredients:

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred over cornstarch, but cornstarch can be substituted if that is what you have)

I added about 10 drops of frankincense and lime essential oils to this and everyone who has tried it has loved it.

You can also add a bit of vanilla from your cupboard or any other yummy scents that come from pure essential oils.

For more information about safe body and household products, and to see if your products withstand the test of reducing your toxic load check out:

The Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/

Skin Deep: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Washington Toxics Coalition: http://watoxics.org/

Be the change you want to see. Yes we should have policies that protect us from corporations dumping toxins into our food, body products and our environment. We can work towards that, while taking care of ourselves.

Pox Naturally-Another Family’s Experience

Following is another family’s experience with chickenpox. They attended a pox playtime at our house within the first three days of our children’s outbreak. Names have been changed to protect identity.

Nancy D. a mother of 4-year-old Claudia and 11-month-old Cullen (who is still nursing) writes:

“Overall, our chicken pox experience was manageable.  Claudia got the worst of it, with 200 or so spots.  She had about 30 on her scalp!  But, she did not scratch or pick at them.  She had one really rough night, because they were so itchy.  She had four oatmeal baths between 7:00 p.m. Tuesday and 4:00 p.m. Wednesday.  It looks like she will come out scar-free.  Most of her scabs are gone at this point, and she will be re-joining Preschool this afternoon.

Cullen, on the other hand, didn’t have any pox appear until Thursday (four days after Claudia).  His case was very mild, with 50 or 60 spots total.  He seemed completely unaffected by it and didn’t seem to be itching.  His worst day was Sunday, and it really wasn’t too bad.   He was just kind of tired and whiny.  The last of his chicken pox scabbed over yesterday, so he will not be contagious tomorrow.  Yeah!  We are so proud of our kids’ immune systems!  If you ask Claudia, she will tell you a lot about white blood cells.”

Chickenpox Naturally

Chickenpox Naturallypoxy ladies
As the mother of four children under the age of 10, and a busy holistic health care practice, sick children are not a reality I have the time to deal with or desire to promote. Of course, nobody wants to promote illness in their children. Yet, childhood illness has an important place in the development of a healthy immune system.
In fact, avoiding illness or the symptoms of illness, by heavily vaccinating, washing with antibacterial soaps, and regular use of antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDS, acetaminophen, and other pharmaceuticals that mask symptoms may have a problematic affects on our children’s long-term health.
A strong healthy immune system-with good nutrition, adequate rest and activity, good hygiene practices, and lots of love and healthy physical contact- is the best defense against illness.
There is a time and place for pharmaceuticals, including vaccinations. I invite everyone to make informed choices about the substances she or he puts on and into her or his body and her or his children’s bodies. Integrative healthcare is healthy health care.
My life is busy. I certainly don’t have time for my kids to be out of school, and I don’t want to make them miserable intentionally. However, when I heard that one of my friend’s children had chickenpox, we packed all four of our children over and let them play together. They hugged and played alongside each other. They also played bingo, and everyone blew on a shared whistle or harmonica every time they had a match. The older kids knew we were trying to expose them to chickenpox. They saw their friend who was itchy and pock-marked and uncomfortable. They empathized with him and wondered how they would feel when they had chickenpox.
Exactly two weeks after exposure, all three big kids had full-fledged chickenpox outbreaks.
Havivah, my 9-year-old, really wanted to get chickenpox in order to have complete immunity and hopefully less of a chance to developing shingles. Once she got them, she was uncomfortable and whiny for the first three days and then she was fine. Her symptoms started out looking like a stomach bug; she was head-achy and nauseous and did vomit. She had one spot by her eye that I did not suspect to be chickenpox until two days later when the pox popped out all over her body.
My 4- and 5- year-old sons fared well too. They were lethargic and itchy and whiny for the first three days, but we had natural comfort tools that kept it more than bearable for all of us.

Regular soaking baths (oatmeal, raw apple cider vinegar or baking soda), calendula salve, homeopathic remedies, immune supporting herbs, and good nutrition allowed my family to sail through the pox. We had some great family cuddle time and played with lots of friends who hoped to share this very manageable childhood illness.
As with many life challenges there were many tools we used that supported us through this minor illness.
First we trimmed everyone’s nails to limit damage that scratching may cause. Then we sought out tools to limit the itching and discomfort naturally.

I  consulted with my midwife Cathy Weston (www.birthjourneymidwife.com/), our in-house Naturopathic Physician, Laura Flanagan, N.D. (spokanenaturopathic.com), and Monica German, M.D. (www.medicine-naturally.com).

Both Cathy Weston and Dr. German recommended homeopathic remedies for the symptoms (www.homeopathic.org). These remedies included: Rhus toxicodendron for the itchy lesions, Chamomilla for fussiness, especially if one cheek is redder than the other, Belladonna for fever and irritability.
Dr. Flanagan recommends “Increas(ing) Vitamin A and Elderberry. Vitamin E is good topically to decrease scarring and help skin healing – once they get to the scab stage… Oatmeal baths are a staple too…[Dr. Flanagan] recommends that the oatmeal goes into a old nylon stocking or thin sock. Let the water run over the sock, squeeze it a few times to get the stuff out and then use the sock to rub over your kiddos’ bodies if they feel itchy.”

The following are Dr. German’s recommendations for managing viral infections:

• Increase the dose of Vitamin D3 for the first three days to ‘boost’ the immune system. The daily winter dose is usually 1000-2000 IU per day, but it depends on your child’s age and his or her Vitamin D status.
• Other immune boosters that I like to use are Probiotics, Omega 3’s and Elderberry syrup .
• Other herbs that have been used as immuno-stimulants in adults are olive leaf, Astragalus and Lysine. (Lysine has been shown to help with the herpes virus, which is, as mentioned above, related to the chickenpox virus.)

Adequate water intake is very important. This is in addition to any smoothies or fresh juices that are consumed. The daily target of water intake (in fluid ounces) can be calculated by dividing your child’s weight by two. (For example, the goal for a 30 lb. child would be 15 oz). This amount needs to be increased if fever is present.

Diet considerations:
• A diet rich in whole foods, with plenty of vegetables and fruits in a variety of colors. This “rainbow diet” has been shown to provide the phytonutrients needed to strengthen the immune system.
• Juices rich in vitamin A and C, such as fresh carrot juice or fresh-squeezed lemon juice with water and honey.
• Chicken soup (chicken should be organic or at least antibiotic- and hormone-free).
• Vegetable broth with shiitake mushrooms.
• Smoothies with kale, cabbage, beet, broccoli.
• Acerola cherries.
• Blackberries.
• Elderberries.
• For painful mouth and throat ulcers, a soft diet should be used. Infants should receive fluids by cup, spoon, or syringe rather than bottle because the nipple can cause increased pain.
• Limit sugar and processed foods. No corn syrup. No sodas. Limit dairy, especially if mouth sores are present. Fermented dairy is OK (yogurt or kefir).

Fever Treatment:
• Hydrotherapy and “warming socks”.
• Do not treat a mild fever with medications if it is below 101.5 and your child is feeling relatively OK. Studies have shown that children do better overall when some fever is allowed to continue during this illness. If medication is necessary because your child is bothered by the fever or the fever is high, then use acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol).
• Never use aspirin because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome.
• Ibuprofen is also not recommended because it might increase the risk of severe streptococcal skin infections.
• How do you know your child is well hydrated when fever is present? He or she should be voiding at least five times per day and the urine should not be too dark in color.

Topical remedies that you can use to soothe the rash:
• Calendula cream.
• Cool/lukewarm baths in which you can add two ounces (60 ml) of baking soda per tub.
• Calamine lotion: Apply lotion to the chickenpox that itch the most or massage them with an ice cube for 10 minutes.
• Other options: tea tree oil, oatmeal baths, aloe vera gel.

Chickenpox is typically a benign, self-limited disease, but serious complications can arise, including shingles and secondary bacterial infections (most often with strep or staph bacteria) like impetigo or cellulitis. The risk of complications is highest in people with compromised immune systems, newborns, and adults. Although rare, serious complications in children include pneumonia, deep tissue infection, joint infections, and encephalitis.

We are grateful that we had tools to weather this childhood illness and now I can count on the immunity my children have against chickenpox.

For more information about immunizations:  www.greatergoodmovie.org, www.drtenpenny.com, http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/vaccines

Breath Matters

If you are reading this you are likely breathing.
However how much of your lungs are you really using? Are you nourishing every cell with your inhalation and really expelling the old stale air with your exhalation? Or are you breathing shallowly, you diaphragm barely budging, your breath filling only a small portion of your lungs?

So many of us are starving. Our breath is shallow and our diet is suboptimal. It is a marvel we have energy to do anything, much less move beyond the basics.

I invite you this week to nourish yourself more completely. Through food, breath and movement.

If we want to move beyond survival we must hold fast to the basics:

Drink half your weight in ounces of purified water daily.

Aim for at least 80% of your food to be a close to nature as possible (the farmers markets are in full swing and a great resource for local food).

Breath deeply and completely, as if your life depended on it.(Since it does.)

Following is a breathing technique from a lovely birthing resource:

Though this book is geared toward a laboring mother. It is remarkable for anyone. This is from page 68-69 of Labyrinth of Birth by Pam England. I am modifying the language to make it more inclusive.:
Step One:
This works best with a straight spine, so sit up, stand or walk tall.
In breath: Imagine, as you breath in, you are pulling life giving energy from your root chakra downward and backward along (the inside) of your perineum, and up your spine to the crown of your head. It is important to imagine your breath moving upward following the curves inside your spine. Attention on upward-moving inhalation is uplifting and refreshing.

At the end of your inhalation, in the brief pause before exhalation begins, focus your attention on the crown of your head or on your forehead between your eyes.

Keep your eyes slightly open, gazing softly downward. Looking up distracts you from your inward journey. Closing your eyes completely would interfere with walking or allow you to fall asleep. A soft downward gaze allows you to “be here now.”
Practice this inhalation meditation for a few breaths.

Step Two:
Out Breath: Follow your outward breath, from beginning to end, downward through your body, from the top of your head to the bottom of your belly, just above your pubic bone. Imagine this life giving breath re-energizing every organ, every tiny cell, in your body. Practice this exhalation meditation for a few breaths.

Step Three:
Fill and spill the “cup of breath.” During this step you will begin to experience the circular pattern of breath: breathing up the inner curves of your spine, breathing down into your body, up and down. Feel the relaxing rhythm of circular breathing for several breaths.

Now notice the brief pauses between your in-breath and out-breath, and between your out-breath and in-breath. Bringing your attention to this still place between breath slows down the mind and deepens meditation. Pay attention to this in-between-breaths place for the next few breaths.

It may help to deepen your meditation to add the “cup of breath” imagery. Imagine a little “cup” sitting behind your pubic bone area. As you exhale, instead of letting the breath dissipate, imagine it is pouring into the cup. During the pause between outward and inward breath, imagine the full cup tips backwards and, as you breath in, you pull the life giving breath from the cup across your perineum and up your spine.

Step Four: Walking in Circular Breath Meditation. Now you are ready to combine circular breathing with walking. Focusing you attention on breath and walking together works like clockwork to deepen your peace of mind.

Shulamit Devorah’s Birth Story and more

I had expected her to come close to or after her due date  of December 26.

I had work left to do: I had clients to see, money to earn and save, more household order to create, baby clothes, diapers and blankets to find and clean, important discussions to have, fears to express and destroy, sleep to catch up with, big issues to resolve.

Early Labor:

I had two nights of just a twinge more than Braxton Hicks, a few hours of interrupted sleep. I was scheduled to work through the 23rd and should have planned to stop sooner, but I had patients’ needs to consider, and income to earn. I did not want to be waiting, watching my belly, waiting, waiting, and waiting.

I worked Thursday the 16th; thankfully it was a short day. I was contracting off and on, able to work but not always able talk through the contractions. Maybe I had just been too busy and not drinking enough water or eating enough protein. (Yes, I strive to do what I advise, and very humanly fall short.)

So after consulting with my midwife, Cathy Weston, I ate a good dinner and drank lots of water. I went home and directed my household to complete undone nesting in order to create the birth-space I needed. I took a bath to stop the contractions or relax into them; whichever needed to happen.

They let up a bit. We got the children to sleep. I rested and slept, awoke every twenty minutes with achy moany contractions. I got up and discovered that I had lost my mucus plug. Clear signs baby was coming sooner rather than later.

Active Labor

I filled the bath tub. I called Cathy, texted, and then called some of my birth support team. I still wasn’t completely convinced I was in labor and felt a bit guilty waking people in the middle of the night; especially if it wasn’t really happening…

But it was. While in the tub, I moaned through my surges and swayed my hips in a figure eight or spiral and invited my body to open. The surges rolled in, irregularly and intensely. I asked my friend Johanna to get the birth tub set up while I relaxed in the bath tub a bit more. The surges flowed on, I moaned and swayed, then got out to help facilitate the birth tub filling. I had never given birth on dry land and preferred the heavy labor in the water.

The tub was filling and too hot for me to get into. Cathy had arrived, she arranged her supplies strategically, checked the water, and checked my blood pressure.

I labored in the kitchen bracing myself between our island and counter, moaning, swaying, opening… praying. I labored draped over the couch holding my husband’s hand or chatting between contractions. I drank labour aid, I pottied as needed, I wanted the birth tub to be full I wanted the warmth, the buoyancy and comfort…the midwife’s epidural was calling to me… we filled it more it was at safe temperature. I immersed myself and surrendered to the surges that kept coming irregularly with immensity. As surges rolled in, my throat opened, a birth song bellowed out my hips swayed, my body opened and my baby continued her journey out.

I stuck in a few spirit calming needles, in myself and some of my birth team. Daniella used the OHM forks to soothe us and move us through the intensity and beauty of this time.

In my previous births, my water would break right before I began to push. Pushing was a primal urge that embraced my core as I provided passage for my baby out. This time was no different, after a longer lull in surges…I knew my water would break with the upcoming surge. I became a freight train, my horn rang out, my water broke, I pushed and the baby’s head soared down to my opening. I felt her head, a lot of it, I felt the burn that often summoned Johnny Cash and chugged through the end of the freight train surge.

Havivah woke with my sounds, just in time to assist Cathy with perineum support and new baby head guiding. Anthony held my hand; we declared that we can raise our family with the love and compassion that we aspire. We have room in our life for this new baby. We will do the work we need to be a strong family and a joyful couple.

The next surge was an avalanche, I roared and pushed and her head completely emerged with no time to sing a Burning Ring of Fire and no need. Her head was almost completely out. I guided my flesh around her head, to smooth out the last of our journey. In my third push, her head was fully delivered. With the next push, she rushed out into the water; I reached down to her and saw her hands, her head, her raven hair and blue green eyes. I kept her in the water for a bit to marvel at her beauty before her first breath.

Out of the water, her sweet pink tongue tasted her first breath. I held her in my arms and drank her in and fell in love again.

After the Birth

So often we mothers focus on the birth as being the feat to overcome. Forgetting that the minutes, hours, days, and weeks following birth are extreme.

There she was in my arms at 3:33 Friday morning, December 17th, 2010, our Shulamit Devorah, whom we had waited for so long.

Solomon woke up at some point and couldn’t take his eyes off his newly birthed sister. She gazed at me; she turned her head toward her dad and her siblings’ voices. She opened her mouth and nestled me, a baby bird needing to feed.

Many babies are ready to feed minutes after birth. Early feeding helps minimize uterine bleeding, can facilitate delivery of the placenta, and soothe and nourish the newly born. I put Miss Shulamit to my breast, her cord was short (12 inches) and still attached to the placenta and still attached to me. Her position on my nipple was not ideal and it hurt…but I was so euphoric and in love I let her plug through. (I would pay for this later with a very sore cracked nipple.)

The placenta finally released and I delivered it: Achy and oogy.

The cord no longer pulsating, Cathy clamped it and Havivah helped cut it.

We moved from the birth tub to the bath tub. Cathy had filled the tub with some soothing herbs. I rested in the tub for a bit while Anthony and Havivah and Solomon held Shulamit and bonded with her. When she came to me Cathy told me to support her by her jaw and let her float and unwind in the tub. She stretched out and moved and swayed. I could see the movements I had felt for months; they made so much more sense to see them on the outside. We looked at each other in awe.

From the tub there were more feedings, more sibling cuddling and finally sleep.

The first waking after birthing is surreal. What had been one are two. There is a baby bobbing on my chest looking for food. I feed her, it is tender: Her tiny mouth does not quite match my anatomy. Though I can’t see it, I trust she is getting colostrum and keep alert for her first eliminations.

We feed when she is awake or cueing in her sleep. When it hurts through the suckling, I readjust her to minimize nipple trauma. That first feeding injured my most challenging side.

After pains:

They say that every subsequent birth the after pains are worse. I vaguely remembered them with my three previous births. I think we are primed to forget them.

These after pains roar in with a vengeance. They are worse than the labor pains and I cannot stay in the water with them. They come on strongest with nursing and the nipple pain at initiation is toe curling, then the after pains surge in. I must stay in the moment and get through it. I know it won’t last forever. It may be days before this passes, so I get through each feeding, each after pain one at a time.

Cathy tells me to take one teaspoon of Calcium and Magnesium every two hours. Maybe it helps. The she brings me a Black Haw and Cramp Bark tincture to take every 5 minutes if needed. I take it before and during nursing and it helps some. I also take Motherwort tincture to help with the emotional challenges. I also take Rescue Remedy in my water and sprinkle it on my kids and husband.

After a day and a half of after pains, that continue to make me moan to get through, I remembered to use my OHM forks. Oh, bliss. The forks directly over my uterus mellowed the roar to a hum. I would also use them on other points and I was able to move through after pains with more grace and less distress. I also began taking a Postpartum Chinese formula to help with the after pains and rebuild my Qi and Blood. The heated health stone in a moxa-infused pouch helps comfort my belly and back, and helps rebuild my strength.

After three or four days the after pains are done. The nipples are healing.

Breastfeeding:

Baby is nursing beautifully every 2 hours or so, with some help. The initial nipple damage from her first nursing is still healing and historically it has been my hardest breast to feed on due to the flatness of the nipple.

Alecia Burgett, a local independent IBCLC, referred me to biologicalnurturing.com. Following the recommendations of reclining and nursing and resting made a world of difference. Also trusting that as my baby grows as long as I teach her how to latch on properly with a wide open mouth and lips flanged out we will get by and thrive. It takes at least six weeks to really get breastfeeding established and then it becomes second nature.

I am in baby bliss: Living in baby time. The demands of work and schedules are merely a whisper. I will stay here as long as I can.

Then I will create the balance of family and work.

It is hard, but it is worth it.

Knowledge, support and self care allow us to weather these storms and soar.

We are blessed and we keep breathing.

Success with a Painful Condition

This is not the most comfortable health concern to talk about for many reasons, but many people suffer from it and feel helpless.

You need not be helpless against:

Hemorrhoids

What a pain in the tush!

They often crop up during pregnancy or after delivery. They are common in people with sedentary jobs and poor fiber intake. Men and women alike have found themselves cursed with this painful condition. Yet suffering an embarrassing silence, or relying solely on Tux or other witch hazel products are not the only recourse.

I have had success in a number of cases or dramatically reducing the pain and discomfort associated with this condition. Sometimes within minutes of treatment.

Acupuncture and herbs (collinsonia root) and appropriate water and fiber intake can dramatically improve hemorrhoids.

One client after almost two weeks of not being able to work and barely able to mother because of her discomfort. Received some improvement from the herb collinsonia root alone and was virtually pain free within hours of her acupuncture treatment.

I promise there is no local needling involved with the acupuncture treatment!

Let’s get to the point: Hemorrhoids hanging out and making it hard to sit, stand or eliminate? Get some acupuncture, one treatment may give you remarkable results. With herbs and slight diet modification results may last a lifetime. Life is challenging enough without a real pain in the butt.

pregnant bellys
Pregnancy and childbirth can be common causes of hemorrhoids.

Kale Salad

This recipe comes from one of my clients, it sounds delicious. I am going to make some for dinner tonight. This would be appropriate to eat year round and with the 21 Day Purification program.

Cut one, clean bunch of kale into bite sized strips.

Drizzle enough olive oil (or other cold pressed healthy oil) over the top of the chopped kale to coat it.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (or my salt combo of equal parts sea salt, kelp or dulse flakes and onion or garlic powder)

Massage the oil and salt mix into the kale (you will be using your hands), this makes the kale the perfect texture for a raw kale salad.

Once the kale had been oiled and softened add whatever other veggies and salad bits sound delicious or eat the kale salad as is.

Sample salad: Kale, apples. avocados, olives, sesame seeds, shredded carrots and cabbage.

You may add an additional dressing for added flavor.

Delicious, beautiful and certainly nutritious!

Happy Meals!

I have spent much of my life determining the best foods to eat in order to support and sustain wellness, vitality and joy. Food should be a pleasure and nourishing. I aim to guide my clients in choosing an optimal diet to support their health and healing.

Simpler is better.

I recommend Simple Quad system of eating where you eat what can fit in your two open hands. Half of the food should be veggies, half of the veggies should be raw and the cooked veggies should still be full of vibrant color and flavor. A quarter of your plate should have high quality protein, and a quarter should be a whole source of carbohydrates- whole grains or starchy veggies.

To view what a balanced meal looks like and get some menu ideas, click here:Simple Quad Form

Food should be as close to nature as possible.

There is little room for processed foods in a vitality supporting lifestyle.

“Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants.” Michael Pollan

That is your way to happy meals and vibrant life. Bon apetit!

Four Generations

This New Year I made a Treasure Map to map out my aspirations for the coming year. One of the quotes I put into my career section was “If you get paid for doing something you love, then every paycheck is a bonus.” This past Sunday I felt especially blessed to be able to do the work I do.

Within a two hour time period I had four generations of one family flow through my office. Ninety year old great grandma came in for my community clinic, to receive support for a variety of health concerns and a stress reset since she is caring for her husband who I s receiving hospice support. Grandma came in for a maintenance treatment.

New-mom-to be, was in early labor and came in for her scheduled labor preparation treatment.She had been contracting off and on through the weekend. The last she knew she was 3 cm dilated and fully effaced. This was her first baby and she was in good spirits and well aware that she could meet her baby in many hours or many days. I administered acupuncture focusing on points that are known to promote and sustain labor. I gave her a postpartum folder that provided directions for stimulating the labor induction points, and tidbits of information about tools to move though labor and postpartum. I sang birth songs to her and reminded her that loose lips help open the pelvis and pelvic floor. Then I left her to rest with the needles.

She rested for about an hour. She said she flowed in and out of a sleep like state and when a contraction came she relaxed her jaw and blew through her lips. At the end of her treatment, she felt rested and ready for the birth journey ahead of her.

Her water broke about 12 hours after her treatment and she delivered her beautiful daughter less than 7 hours after her water broke. I get to meet the baby tomorrow, what a bonus!