Nutritional Window

I learnt something very interesting today, which I had never considered before. The window of opportunity for introducing new foods to infants is limited. It best time usually ranges from around 4-6 months to around 12-14 months. This, interestingly, corresponds to the time at which they begin to sit up with support to when the begin walking and running around freely on their own. This is an evolutionary protective mechanism so that once kids are up and running all over the place they become suspicious of unfamiliar fruits, vegetables and meats. This is a good thing because, lets face it-we can’t keep an eye on our kids every second of the day. This protective mechanism is designed so that if we were still ‘in the wild’, it would (hopefully) protect our kids from picking up and eating something which could potentially be poisonous. As this time frame is limited, it is so important to introduce infants to a wide range of colorful foods. According to Dr Greene, ‘if you let them sample something enough times…they can more easily acquire a taste for it than at any other period in life’. It is important to make the most of this nutritional window. Introducing infants to a rainbow of colorful tasty fruits and vegetables, whole grains and varied textures, rather than bland processed flavors, will set them on the right path for healthy eating through in to adult life.

The Sweet Truth

 

Does anyone else think the traditional oral glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes, is enough to put anyone in to a diabetic coma? For regular healthy women who are conscious about what they eat, this test is highly inappropriate.

Let me explain why…

Firstly, let’s go over some basic physiology to understand how a healthy body deals with the breakdown of sugar (glucose). As glucose is ingested, blood glucose levels rise almost immediately. The pancreas responds by secreting insulin. Insulin helps the liver store excess glucose as glycogen until it is needed. As blood glucose levels begin to fall a few hours later, the stored glycogen is converted back to glucose to provide energy until more food can be eaten.

What many people don’t realize is that during pregnancy the placenta produces the hormones Lactogen, Estrogen and Progesterone, all of which counteract the function of insulin. The placenta also makes potent enzymes that destroy Insulin. Why would that be, I hear you ask. The body suppresses insulin purposely to allow more glucose to remain available in the mother’s bloodstream for longer periods of time. This is known as ‘glucose sparing’. Glucose sparing increases as pregnancy advances, peaking during the third trimester when the fetus gains most weight and needs more nourishment to grow. In other words, at 28 weeks (the time gestational diabetes screening is performed) the body actively creates higher levels of blood glucose (the very thing the test screens for) so that it is available for the baby to use to support its growth in the last trimester. In the medical field this is seen as a malfunction, a glucose ‘intolerance’, however this is normal pregnancy physiology.

For those of you who are not familiar, I will briefly explain the procedure of the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

  1. A woman fasts for (at least) 8 hours before the test
  2. Her fasting glucose level is taken via a blood sample to gain a baseline result
  3. She is given a sugary drink containing 100g of glucose (often with artificial colors and additives too) within 5 minutes
  4. Blood is taken at 1, 2 and 3 hour intervals after the drink is consumed

The problem with this test in women who don’t ordinarily ingest such high levels of glucose, is that their body is not used to handling the overload. The pancreas cannot produce sufficient quantities of insulin fast enough to meet the demand. Therefore levels become temporarily elevated until the pancreas has chance to catch up. This decreased carbohydrate tolerance is known as starvation diabetes. When the pancreas catches up with the glucose overload, insulin surges, and glucose levels plummet. This is called the rebound effect. This shock reaction is not true diabetes. A woman with a diet with a low intake of refined carbohydrates is at high risk of starvation diabetes.

Giving a woman a concentrated refined sugar load before testing is not recommended. She can have a physiological reaction to the glucose overload which can mimic diabetes. When the pancreas is presented with such high levels of glucose, not enough insulin can be produced fast enough to compensate. A temporary peudo-diabetes results, making results abnormally high. When the pancreas catches up insulin surges and blood glucose levels crash. This rebound effect actually mimics hypoglycemia. The period of time for this to occur varies, but often the 1-3 hour OGTT is not long enough to allow levels to come down to a normal baseline.

This test is bad enough to put the mother through, but think what effects this has on her unborn baby. Think carefully before willingly undergoing this seeming ‘harmless’ procedure.

Ask your health care provider for alternative screening methods.

 

The (Post) Pregnancy Waterworks

Out of all the embarrassing pregnancy, birth and post partum issues women love to talk about – gas, excess sweating, varicosities, pooping while pushing, leaky boobs, this one hardly ever makes it to the coffee table. Incontinence is a huge issue that affects more women that you think. Around 25% in fact. That’s 1 out of every 4 of your mommy friends. While we all sit around forgetting to do our kegels and hoping it will never happen to us. For many women this is a very real reality.

When I was approached by the Public Outreach Department at DrugWatch.com to see if I was interested in hosting a guest blog regarding this issue, I was happy to accept. Below is their post. Whilst doing my own research on the topic, I came across another fantastic blog post from fellow blogger CrapAtPregnancy, ‘Nobody wants to be ThatWoman‘.

Childbirth is a joy in many ways, as any mother knows, but some of the effects it can have on the body aren’t always quite so joyful, such as incontinence. If you are one of the many women who feel the need to keep the incontinence pads just as handy as the Kleenex when cold and flu season arrives, joy probably isn’t the term you’d use to describe that particular problem. The good news is you probably won’t have to live with the threat of flash flooding when you cough or sneeze forever, since most women can reduce or eliminate incontinence with treatment.

If you have a tendency to get a little moist “down there” when you laugh or sneeze, what you have going on is a common condition called stress urinary incontinence, or SUI, which often has its roots in the strain that pregnancy and childbirth place on the pelvic floor muscles. It affects about 25 percent of women at one time or another — during pregnancy, soon after childbirth or around the time of menopause.

Causes

SUI happens when the pelvic floor has been weakened or stretched to the point that it lacks the strength to hold back urine flow when pressure is placed on the bladder, resulting in that annoying dribble that can happen when you laugh or cough. Pelvic floor weakness is most often caused by pregnancy and childbirth, but there are other factors that can contribute, such as obesity, heavy lifting, chronic coughing or frequent straining due to constipation.

Treatment

Physical therapy is the first line of treatment for SUI and has helped many women. Since the pelvic floor muscles are the ones at that are at the root of the problem, therapy typically involves Kegel exercises to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor, often with the addition of biofeedback to monitor muscle function and specialized weights and other tools to enhance results. Many therapists also use other exercise techniques in SUI therapy, such as yoga and Pilates, which aid in strengthening core muscles as well as the pelvic floor.

If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, losing weight can help, since that extra weight puts pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor. Adjustments to your daily diet can help control your moisture problem too, such as limiting foods and beverages that can irritate the bladder. So cut back on coffee, tea and soft drinks that contain caffeine, and avoid spicy and fried foods. Constipation can worsen SUI symptoms, so make sure you have plenty of fiber in your diet, and make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals every day to support muscle function and healing.

Surgery

If non-invasive treatments don’t help, surgery is an option that has helped many women. However, you should know that procedures that use vaginal mesh implants, such as bladder slings, to treat SUI are riskier than traditional surgeries. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released safety alerts on these products due to a drastic increase in reports of serious complications over the past few years, such as mesh erosion, organ perforation, mesh shrinkage and infection. These complications have caused many women severe pain. Thousands have sought justice through the filing of a transvaginal mesh lawsuit. Since most SUI cases can be resolved without mesh, talking to your doctor about procedures that don’t use mesh is probably your safest bet.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the general public about defective medical
devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

You’ve Been Moby’ed

At nearly 3 weeks old, our little one has decided he no longer wants to be put down in his bassinet, which is making it tricky to get anything done. So I figured this was my cue to master the Moby! I’ve been trying to get him in the Moby off and on for the last week without success. What with yards of fabric and a squirmy newborn, it is not as easy as first anticipated! We’ve had it too tight, too loose, too low, and his feet hanging out on one attempt! However today I think we may have just got it!

We’ll see if he likes it…

One Week On…

This week has been like no other I have ever experienced.

Last Thursday marked the arrival of our beautiful baby boy, and although it’s only been one week since he made his peaceful entrance in to the world, I now can’t imagine life without him. One week in to motherhood, and yes, sleep deprived, sore, and covered in milk, it is still the most magical experience. I can’t help but stare at him sometimes as he sleeps, wondering what he dreams about, but also wondering how I got to be so lucky.

The birth was by far the most challenging experience I have ever encountered, both physically and emotionally, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The birth pushed me beyond limits I never knew I had. It pushed me through intense moments of fear, doubt, excitement, fatigue, pain and finally intense elation, joy and love. Surrounded by love and support, our baby boy was born at home in our bedroom, without intervention or medication, without being rushed, in exactly the way he needed to be born, which was important to me. I was supported with my amazing husband by my side, and fantastic Midwives who knew us both and knew our desires and wishes, and who I love and trust.

The whole experience has reinforced my belief not only in natural birth, but in nature’s design for life and the miracles our body can perform without instruction. As a mommy now, I know the birth of my son will only enhance my abilities as a Midwife, bringing another level of confidence to my practice, and help me to connect with the women I care for on a deeper level.

The journey was wild, but worth every moment. I look back on it with nothing but satisfaction, joy and love.

That Thursday one week ago, June 28th 2012, I will remember for a lifetime.

Get Your Copy Now

As we become more and more dominated by the usual TV birth dramas – placental abruptions, epidurals, emergency cesareans and endless agonizing pain, familiarize your self with some real birth stories. Grab this box set today and get 75% off, and listen as 5 couples tell their real birth stories, covering everything from pregnancy to the first few weeks of life with their new babies.

Visit realbirthstories.com to pick up your copy today.

Buy Yours Now


The Bomb

Whilst in England recently, I came across the ‘Natural Birthing Company’ at a baby show event. They are consist of a group of Midwives with a holistic approach to Maternity care. They offer a number of services including doula support, educational classes and luxurious baby moon packages!

They also have a range of aromatherapy products to pamper moms and moms-to be in preparation for birth and motherhood. This is where I discovered the ‘Midwives’ Bomb’, which I think is a genius product! A yummy fizzy bath bomb which you can either use as a pre-labor treat to prepare your body, or during labor as a labor enhancer. It contains a great combination of goodies designed specifically for labor and birth:

Rosemary – for aching muscles and exhaustion

Vertiver – stress relieving, calming and grounding

Flax Seed Oil – for ripening the cervix

Raspberry Leaf – for toning the uterus and effective contractions during labor

Clary Sage – another uterine tonic, promotes relaxation and reduces emotional stress

 

Simply pop into the bath (or birth tub), sit back and wait for the magic to begin…

 

Honest Bananas & Bunz

I came across an article earlier this week on Honest.com titled, ‘What’s Inside Disposable Diapers?’, which discusses, as you may have guessed, the contents of your average disposable diaper. They revealed that disposable diaper companies have no obligation to state on their packaging what the ‘ingredients’ of their diapers are. Which to me is quite shocking. Why would you not want to tell your customers what is inside your brand?-Maybe because they are full of all kinds of nasties which may be off putting to your consumers?

After a certain amount of their own research, they found that disposable diapers contain:

  • Sodium Polyacrylate (SAP) – which is the gooey gel stuff at the bottom of the diaper which soaks up all the liquids, known to be a skin irritant. This substance is banned in many countries, except the U.S. It is a similar substance used in tampons which was linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – disposable diapers emit these compounds which have a possible link to asthma.
  • Fragrances and Lotions – made using phthlates, which have been linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity.
  • Toxic Pollutants – which can cause hormonal problems.
  • Synthetic Dyes –researchers suggest that exposure to synthetic dyes causes 20% of all diaper rash.
  • The Bleaching Process itself produces dioxins, known to be one of the biggest carcinogenics known.

With potential skin irritants, diaper rash, toxic shock syndrome, asthma, reproductive, developmental and hormonal disturbances and carcinogenics, why are we exposing our baby’s butts to all these substances? At the risk of sounding even more ‘crunchy’ than usual, I feel very satisfied with my decision to cloth diaper. Not only do you reduce your baby’s exposure to these chemicals, but you also save money in the process!

Did you know that cloth diapering is about one tenth the cost of disposables?

I decided to go with both Fuzibunz and Charlie Banana cloth diapers. They are the perfect combination of both eco-friendly and ultra cute! I decided to go with the ‘One Size’ rather than the sized variety, as it saves changing sizes as your baby grows. They both come with pockets and removable washable inserts. The Charlie Bananas also come with the option of using a disposable insert for those times when washing poopy diapers isn’t always possible, or for example, when traveling.

Obviously, cloth diapering is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, which is why I also love Honest diapers. If you are going to use disposable diapers, I would recommend using ones like this! The Honest Company have developed a range of safe, eco-friendly disposable diapers. They have created them using plant-based materials, making them naturally biodegradable. They state they do not contain: chlorine, perfumes, phthlates, lotions, optical brighteners, PVC, heavy metals or oganotins (MBT, DBT, TBT).

“We believe our babies (and planet) deserve much better diapers”

Honest.com

What will you choose?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lydia!!

Hmmmm Crunchy!

I have come to realize over the last couple of months, that I am in fact, a ‘Crunchy Mama’.

It never really dawned on my before. I thought everyone was in to this kind of stuff. However as I’ve sat across the table from unsuspecting family members and friends, watching their horrified faces and raised eyebrows as I go on about my plans for a totally natural birth and encapsulating my placenta, or my desire to cloth diaper and take my baby to work…it got me thinking, that perhaps not everyone is as crunchy as me!

But that’s ok. I’m fine with being a crunchy mama. In fact I am rather enjoying it! I smile secretly to myself as I’m telling my holistic tales while the other person wishes they had never bothered to ask which hospital I’ll be birthing at!

Oh well, I love living in California and embracing this lifestyle!