Did you know that 60-90% (depending on age group)(1) of reproductive aged women are not consuming enough Magnesium in America? This is a big problem, and even more so in pregnancy. In prenatal nutrition, we have heard about the need for things like Folate (please don't use Folic Acid), but we have not heard much on the need for Magnesium. Possibly because the goal of prenatal nutrition is to grow healthy babies, not the functional health of the mother. With the increasing rise of maternal health issues and death, this needs to change. (I am taking a little bump off my last post where I discussed how disappointed I am in the prenatal vitamins available in the market. If you want to know why, "Your Prenatal Vitamin Sucks" click here.)
Now that we know a little bit about the biology of natural labor, and the beginning of how the hormones play off of each and other and work in the body, let's dig a little deeper.
I wanted to start off with oxytocin. Oxytocin is one of the key players in the birthing game. Without oxytocin, the uterus cannot contract, the cervix cannot efface or dilate, and natural birth does not occur.
When we think of labor and delivery, nutritionally, many of us think of the snacks (or lack of snacks allowed) during the 24-ish hours of actual labor. But, let me tell you a secret....the real nutritional works begins about 8 weeks BEFORE labor. This is when you are building up your nutritional stores that will fuel the natural birth processes.
Most women are not aware of the role nutrients play in the process of labor. I want to spend the next several articles discussing the important role that nutrition plays in processes of labor.
I want to start, today, by talking about the natural biological processes of labor. By understanding HOW our body goes into labor and the natural biological changes that happen in the process, it will be easier to explain how nutrition plays a role in your natural birth goals.