Microbiome Diversity & Childbirth
Probiotics are the "good" bacteria in and on our bodies. We have a symbiotic relationship with them. More and more research is pointing to the benefits and necessity of a healthy microcolony.
As it applies to labor and delivery, probiotics are extremely important, influencing not only the health and labor outcome of the mother, but the health of the infant into adulthood.
Other Aspects of Childbirth Health
It seems to me that there is so much emphasis put on the progression of labor, that we fail to address the many other aspects to the process.
The Amniotic sac and the fluid it contains is as crucial to the initiation of labor as it is a home for the growing infant.
Cervical Ripening - The Key to Natural Labor
All of the processes leading up to delivery are important. A hiccup with any one and normal natural labor and delivery is affected.
That being said though, . If the door cannot open, the baby cannot pass. If the cervix cannot soften and efface, then no amount of contracting will delivery your baby.
Even research supports this. There are a couple of comparative studied out there that compare induction methods (synthetic oxytocin, synthetic PGE2, and Hyaluronic Acid - we'll bring this up later in the is article). In this study they found that women who showed no ripening and were induced with synthetic oxytocin, had longer labors, and more cesarean deliveries. Why? Because they were missing a huge part of the process...the cervical ripening. Add in Prostaglandins to cause cervical ripening and inductions so quicker and with fewer cesareans as compared to pitocin inductions only. But, there is still a high rate of cesarean delivery with both inductions methods.
They are both missing the key to every process that goes on in our body, nutrition. As you'll see as we go along here, if you have any of the several nutritional deficiencies associated with cervical ripening, you cannot progress. I believe the body is capable of delivering babies...if giving the correct tools (nutrients) to do so.
Hormones in Childbirth
In the female reproductive system, there is a delicate play between Estrogen and Progesterone. The yin and the yang in TCM of the reproductive system; Estrogen is the yin cooling aspect, and Progesterone is the yang warming aspect.
Both Progesterone and Estrogen are steroid hormones. Meaning they are made from cholesterol...there it is again. If your body doesn't have enough cholesterol, you cannot make steroid hormones (this includes Vitamin D, which is technically a steroid hormone).
Oxytocin - The Elvis of Childbirth
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.
Natural Biology of Labor
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.
Preparing Nutritionally for Labor and Delivery
According to the many pregnant women I work with, the biggest fears they have for Labor and Delivery are:
What if I told you that proper nutrition in the months leading up to labor could help prevent these common fears?
In the next several articles, we will discuss these fears and how nutrition plays a vital role in your labor outcome.
Implementing an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
There has been a LOT of information presented in this series, and there is so much more that was left out. I wish we had more time to discuss many of the topics more in depth. I tried to pick those that were the important basics. A place to start the processes of illuminating inflammation in the body.
My goal in this series was not only to educate you on how food can change your inflammatory pathways (good and bad), but to also give you the information to encourage you to make the change. Lastly, my goal is to give you the tools you need to take charge of your own health. The knowledge into HOW to make these changes, and make them last.
Today, I want to bring it all together with some tips to help you implement and make this a lifestyle, not a diet.
Food Allergies & Environmental Toxins May Be Causing Your Autoimmune Inflammation
I did not add food allergies into my original set of principles. Mostly because I believe that before you address this, you need to clean up your existing diet. These changes are meant to be lifelong, not a fad. In order to do so, and remain committed, it is important to take baby steps.
For many of you, the principles I have listed are things that you have already started to do. It is time, then, for you to take the next steps.
I have talked about fat soluble vitamins many times in previous posts. Please take a look at these, as there is information in them that I will not repeat here.
Kids Lunchbox - Importance of Fat Soluble Vitamins
Fat Soluble Vitamins and the Epidemic of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Today we will take this and build, looking deeper into their specific role in pain and inflammatory conditions.