Rosalyn’s Story – Her Baby is HERE!

Rosalyn’s baby is here.

She arrived one month ago in perfect health!

Mom and baby are doing great!  They are breastfeeding, and Rosalyn’s milk is coming in so good now that she has decided to donate to the Ontario Milk Bank!  What a wonderful gift she is giving to other new moms and their babies!

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Rosalyn and baby

What else can I say about Rosalyn and her baby?  I can tell you that I am beyond thrilled that this sweet little girl has come into the world.  In case you haven’t read the previous posts about Rosalyn, she had suffered multiple miscarriages and unexplained infertility.  I have learned a lot from Rosalyn (which is not her real name) and this experience.  I’d like to thank her now for being so open and honest with me and everyone else who is reading this blog.  It was a long journey, with plenty of frustration and heartache along the way.  When you realize what some couples go through to get pregnant, you appreciate what you have and are extremely grateful.  At least that’s what happened to me.  I have heard not only from Rosalyn, but other clients and friends who have gone through infertility treatments.  I was shocked when I learned some of the things they have to do.  Sometimes these couples never do get their babies, and I am truly sorry for them.

I don’t mean to be sad right now.  This is a happy ending!

Just look at this beautiful baby!!

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How adorable is she!?

Rosalyn is the 5th winner of my Biggest Contest Ever, a contest I created to help women achieve and support a healthy pregnancy through holistic nutrition.  It has been an incredible honor for me to work with Colleen, Denise, Melissa, Ashley and now Rosalyn as each of these women shared their pregnancy journey’s with me and this blog.

The Biggest Contest Ever is officially over.  I no longer have the time to dedicate to this contest and blog.  I thank you for reading, and sharing these stories with me.  Thank you to all who have entered past contests, and to those women who have won.

Feel free to leave a comment, should you wish to send congratulations to Rosalyn and her family.

Thank you to Jennifer Willard Photography for sharing this beautiful photo of Rosalyn just before her baby girl arrived.

Rosalyn pregnant

Rosalyn’s Story

Remember Rosalyn?  She is my contest winner who I’ve been working with and posting updates on this blog.  If you read my previous blog posts you’ll know she suffered a miscarriage.  In fact, this INTRODUCTORY BLOG I wrote was one of the hardest I’ve ever written.

I took a little break from updating on Rosalyn’s story.  I did this for two reasons.  First, Rosalyn came out.  Meaning, she shared my blog with her family and friends.  When I started this blog just over 4 years ago, it was important for me to keep the identities of my clients confidential.  I mean, who am I to share personal, intimate details about these women with the world?  No, I would never do that.  But, confidentially, I wanted to share these women’s stories.  Their challenges and successes.  And if it comes to it, their heartbreak.  There have been 4 ‘Biggest Contest Ever’ winners before Rosalyn.  I am very pleased to share that each and every one of them now calls themselves mom.

Rosalyn is no longer anonymous.  It was important for her to share this story and she wanted people in her life to know what she was going through.  I feel this was a brave thing for her to do and I’m glad she did it.

The other reason I took a short break from Rosalyn’s story is because I wanted to give her time to grieve her loss.  She was kind enough and strong enough to share her story with me, and anyone reading my blog.  I was not about to pressure her into giving me monthly updates so that I could continue regular blog posts.

Until there was something important to share.

Which there was.

Rosalyn became pregnant again.

Remember, she revealed her identity to her family and friends.   So, when she received that positive pregnancy test she did not want to announce it publically.  I understand that.  And so we did not update on my blog.

Until now.

Rosalyn is currently pregnant!  In fact, she is 34 weeks pregnant today.  She and baby are perfectly healthy! 

White Tulips

 

In the past I have written these blog posts with nutrition concerns and recommendations based on whatever the mom is experiencing.  But this time I will not be doing that.  Instead I want to share what it feels like to be pregnant after miscarriage.

It’s not the same as my own pregnancy.  When I became pregnant I wanted to tell the world as soon as I found out.  I wanted to shout it off rooftops and I was confident I had a healthy baby and that I would carry that baby to term.  I never thought for a minute that I may lose her or something bad could happen.  This isn’t what it feels like for Rosalyn.  Instead, she has anxiety.  Worry.  Fear.  She has been through more than one miscarriage and years of unexplained infertility.  She doesn’t simply accept that she is pregnant and going to have a healthy baby.  She thinks the worst could still happen.  Even now at 34 weeks.  By now her baby is healthy and strong.  There is no reason to think that something bad may happen, but it is always on her mind.  Until she has that baby in her arms she will have some doubt.  And even then, there is a possibility of the unthinkable.

Honestly, I am only scratching the surface on pregnancy after a loss.  Rosalyn asked that I share THIS LINK which is much more detailed and in depth.

If you are reading this, and experienced loss, or unexplained infertility, please remember that you are not alone.  Rosalyn is one of many who have been through this.  Her light at the end of the tunnel is almost here.  She can see it.  She is ready for it.  And when it gets here it will be the most magical, beautiful miracle you could possibly imagine.

Thank you for reading Rosalyn’s story.

If you want to be notified when I update next on Rosalyn, please sign up for my email list HERE.

Mom Friends Postpartum Care Kits – Every new mom should have one.

Have you heard of Mom Friends?  Let me introduce you.

Lisa, Aviva and Liz make up Mom Friends and these 3 ladies are on a mission to help moms everywhere by providing postpartum care kits.  They know what moms need and want.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mom Friends last year when they discovered my nursing pads on Etsy.  They were looking for a local supplier to provide reusable, cloth nursing pads for their postpartum kits.  I’m thrilled they found me!

Once we met in person, I knew right away that The F Wrap nursing pads are a perfect fit for Mom Friends kits.  They have put a lot of time and research into what goes inside their kits, and it shows.  They are filled with everything from adult diapers to granny panties (that’s right!), nipple cream and (of course) nursing pads.  You can find the complete list of goodies HERE.

These three women are passionate about child birth and they are sharing this passion with moms and soon-to-be-moms everywhere.  This is obvious in the video they posted on how to make padsicles.  I personally love this video because padsicles were so helpful for me.  I want women EVERYWHERE to know about padsicles so if you don’t, please watch the video HERE.

Mom Friends photo

 

Why did you start making postpartum care kits?

We realized that we knew very little ourselves about postpartum care. So we started gifting postpartum care kits to our friends at their baby showers. When we were putting them together we found that the items were often hard to find and the quantities often weren’t quite right for products used during the first week after giving birth.  Adult diapers, for example. So really the idea came from our own struggle as new moms and friends of new moms! Postpartum rest and recovery is primarily for the mom to figure out, but she can’t do it alone. By developing the postpartum care kits as the perfect baby shower gift we are hoping that awareness around postpartum support grows.  We would like it to start a conversation between moms and all of their supports be it their partners, family or close friends.

 

How did you decide what goes into your kits?

We had some ideas ourselves from experience however we asked over 200 women to share the postpartum items that they felt were essential to their recovery.  Their input is the reason that we have formulated the Mom Friends postpartum kits as we have. It turns out, there is a core list of items which help for all kinds of postpartum recovery. We heard from moms of multiples, moms who home birthed, moms who went to a hospital or birth centre, moms who experienced vaginal birth, C-sections, and types of birth we didn’t even know were possible. From there, we developed two kits: Beyond the Bump Care Kit and Above & Beyond the Bump Care Kit.  The Above & Beyond the Bump has all the essential items that the Beyond the Bump has including The F Wrap nursing pads, adult diapers, pads, nipple cream, etc… but it also includes some nice pampering items like soap, lip balm and chocolate from local Ottawa suppliers.

 

Who can order your kits?

Anyone can order the kits!  It’s a perfect baby shower gift as mentioned, or a gift from a supportive partner, friend or family member.  Also moms-to-be can buy for themselves as it’s more convenient than running around buying all these items nine months pregnant when they can spend time relaxing before baby comes!

 

Where can people buy your kits?

People can buy our kits through our website momfriends.ca or within our Facebook page.  We also ship anywhere across Canada through Canada Post and FREE local pickup is available in Ottawa.

 

The Sleep + Nutrition Seminar for Expecting and New Moms

Are you expecting a little one soon?!  Or has your precious bundle already arrived?

Want some help with expert advice from both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant?

Nutrition and sleep are both very important during those first few months as mom and baby recover from child birth.  It’s a magical time filled with bonding and falling in love.

But it’s also a time that can be faced with challenges.  Difficulty breastfeeding, postpartum depression and sleepless nights are far too common for many new parents.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  There are things you can do to prepare yourself and your baby for a peaceful, happy time together.

We can help.

I am excited to have teamed up with Heather Sharpe, of WeeSleep!  Together, we will cover a complete list of topics on the importance of sleep and nutrition for baby and mom.

 

Baby Boy

Some important topics we will discuss are:

Sleep –

  • The importance of sleep to both baby and mom.
  • How much sleep babies need at various ages.
  • Creating a safe and peaceful sleep environment.
  • Advice on how to get your babies to sleep on the right track from day one.

Nutrition – 

  • Nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy and where to find them.
  • Natural ways to relieve some common pregnancy symptoms.
  • Boost and maintain a sufficient milk supply to satisfy the hungriest baby.
  • Postpartum depression prevention and management.

 

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE!

 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

2:00 – 4:00 PM

Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre

2260 Walkley Road, Ottawa, ON

 

For more information, and to register please email Karen@natureprenatal.com or Heather@weesleep.ca.

 




Rosalyn’s Story

Did you read last month’s blog post about Rosalyn and her miscarriage?  CLICK HERE if you missed it.

Pink and yellow flower website photo

 

Rosalyn’s baby is gone.  As they knew it would happen, the baby passed.  Physically, miscarriage can go a few different ways.  Sometimes it happens at home, naturally.  Other times it requires a trip to the hospital for a D & C, also known as dilation and curettage.  Rosalyn was hoping a D & C was not necessary and it wasn’t.  Her miscarriage happened at home, naturally.

I don’t have much of an update this month on Rosalyn.  Except that she is living her life, day to day, enjoying her family and their dogs.  She has a busy life!  She has been enjoying ballet with her sons, and trying to focus on staying positive.  She is truly remarkable and resilient.

I should add that every parent who has suffered a miscarriage will deal with their grief in their own way.  Because Rosalyn has been busy, strong, and positive, does not mean it’s not ok to be sad.  In fact, I am quite certain she has her moments of sadness and cries when she needs to.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that yes, she is moving on, she is ok, she is not giving up.  But, there is no right or wrong way to react to a miscarriage.  And if there were I am far from an expert on that subject.

I especially like this quote that Rosalyn sent me last month.

You just got to soldier on and make it through the other side, because lying down to die is not an option. And really, that’s all people with these fertility and loss problems do, is just keep moving, like a shark that doesn’t want to drown. We’re not brave, we’re just surviving.

 

I know Rosalyn is getting some help by sharing her story.  She has friends and groups that she belongs to that support one another.  We talked a bit about these groups during our last phone call.  I myself joined an online group when I was trying to get pregnant 7 years ago.  I know my group helped me a lot to get through those hard times when month after month I was not pregnant yet, and kept trying.  In fact, I am still friends with many of these women who were in my group at the time.  They are important to me.  They were my support system.  Today I am grateful for these friends, all of whom I have never met in person!

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Rosalyn may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Rosalyn is based on a specific, detailed health and lifestyle assessment.  If you are interested in a personal assessment for yourself, please send an e-mail to karen@natureprenatal.com.

Rosalyn’s assessments and recommendations are much more detailed than what is in this blog post. Here, I am sharing her most important issues and some random topics. The information that is shared between us is extensive and continual.

Right now Rosalyn is giving her body a break from the fertility drugs she has been taking.  She is focusing on healing her body with nutrition, and rebalancing her hormones naturally.  One recommendation I gave to her was to eat healthy fats.  Does this surprise you?  A nutritionist who is suggesting to eat more fat?!  Well, healthy fats, or essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are an important part of a healthy diet.  They are necessary for balancing hormones and supporting the endocrine system, as well as the nervous system.  We need EFA’s in our diet.  You have probably heard of the health benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids.  But, this is just one type of fat.  Overall, I recommend a variety of healthy fats (both saturated and unsaturated) that include fish and/or fish oil, cold pressed oils such as olive oil or hempseed oil, coconut oil, butter, eggs (especially eggs including the yolk!) nuts and seeds.

And in case you’re wondering, eating fat doesn’t cause you to gain weight.  Too many calories will!  Just keep in mind that fat tends to be higher in calories which is why you should keep it in moderation.  Generally speaking, we need about 20 – 30% of our daily calories coming from healthy fats.

 

I will be back next month with an update on Rosalyn.

 

If you would like to be notified when I post my next blog, you can sign up for my e-mail list HERE. To thank you for signing up, I will send you my free offer, “You and Your Baby: 7 Simple Steps to Achieving a Healthy Pregnancy and Happy Baby.”

Rosalyn’s Story – introductory blog

Meet Rosalyn.

Rosalyn is losing her baby as I am writing this blog.  Or she has lost it already.  Truth is she doesn’t know.  Her baby is 8 weeks old and she was told by her doctor that the heartbeat isn’t strong enough to survive.  They know the baby will die.  They are waiting.

This is the first time I am introducing a contest winner with such a tragic story.  My heart goes out to Rosalyn and her family.  I thought Rosalyn would want to wait for the blog.  I thought she would need time to grieve and I told her we can write this blog later.  Nobody is really waiting for it anyway.  It’s not like I have that big of a following.

But guess what.  Rosalyn asked me to write the blog now.  She wants her story to be heard.  And so here we are.

Have you ever said something with good intentions that came out all wrong?  Not sure what I mean?  When it comes to miscarriage I can think of a few.  Like, ‘at least it wasn’t too far along so you didn’t get too attached.’  Or ‘at least you know you can get pregnant so you can do it again.’  Or ‘the baby is with God now’ to an atheist.  For a complete list of things you should never say to someone who has miscarried, do a search online.  These examples are in the top ten.

When a woman (or a couple – I don’t want to offend any men out there either because their feelings are just as important) is experiencing a miscarriage the last thing you want to do is make her feel worse.  You want to say the right thing.  You want to comfort her.  But, how can anything be comforting at a time like this?  What could you possibly say?  I don’t know.  “I am sorry for your loss” or “I’m here for you if you want to talk about it” are a few that come to mind (I will get into this more a bit later).  You know what you don’t want to say, and you can’t put your foot in your mouth if your mouth isn’t open.  So, you remain silent.  You assume she has a supporting husband or family that will help her get through this.  You feel sad for her until something else comes along to distract you.  And then you forget about it.

Because let’s be honest.  Losing a baby is unthinkable.  You don’t want to think about it.

I don’t know what it feels like to lose a baby.  I am very grateful to have never experienced such a loss.  I do know how it feels to yearn for a baby.  I know how it feels to learn that you are pregnant, after months of trying, and you are the happiest and most grateful you could ever possibly be.  I know how it feels to be eight weeks pregnant and you love that baby growing inside of you.  That baby is real!  That baby is real to a mother the minute she learns she’s pregnant.  You can’t see it or hear it or feel it or touch it, but it’s there.  (I will write ‘it’ in reference to the baby for ease of flow, but I want to write he or she because it is a human being no matter how small or undeveloped.)  By the way, if you would like to see what an eight week old fetus looks like, CLICK HERE.

I am going to be completely honest, although in hindsight I realize I was quite naive.  When I first started working with women who were trying to get pregnant, I assumed most of them would be quick to get pregnant and have beautiful healthy babies.  I knew some women may need a little extra help, and some were struggling with fertility.  Of course, I knew about miscarriage and stillbirths and dying babies.  But, this isn’t something that happens to me, or people I know.  It certainly wouldn’t happen to my clients.  They would all have beautiful pregnancies with no health issues or concerns.  When I started writing this blog three years ago, I imagined every pregnancy being perfect.  They would all be happy ending stories.  Success stories.

I was wrong.  That’s not reality.  Now to be fair, most of my past clients are now blessed with healthy babies.  And I truly feel Rosalyn will have her baby too.  Unfortunately, for some couples their dreams of becoming a parent never do happen.  Or they adopt or find alternative methods of having children.  Or sometimes sad stories get their happy ending eventually.  But it’s a long, arduous road to get there, filled with grief and disappointment along the way.

Rosalyn is not alone, and she is not my first client to have a miscarriage.  She is the first one I am blogging about.  But, I have seen many women with fertility issues and repeated miscarriages.  It happens a lot more than we may think.

We should talk about it.  Chances are you know someone who has lost a baby.  It could be a co-worker, a friend, cousin, sister or neighbour.  It could be anyone and they may be suffering in silence.

There is help out there.  One resource is a group called Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network or PAIL.  If you are reading this and have experienced a loss I encourage you to reach out to them.  Or reach out to your family and friends.  You may be surprised to learn that someone you know has also suffered a loss.  Find a local support group in your area.  Find help.  It’s out there.

If you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage, let them know you are thinking of them and that their baby matters.  Ask them how they are feeling and be there to listen when they need to talk.

Rosalyn has won my Biggest Contest Ever. This means from now until she gives birth, we will be working closely together on her prenatal health and nutrition goals.  If she is unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy we will end this blog after one year of trying.  Of course, this is not the outcome we are all hoping for.

When I first met Rosalyn I knew she knew her stuff.  She has done a lot of her own research on fertility and miscarriage.  I knew right away that it would be a challenge for me to come up with new methods of improving fertility that she hasn’t already tried.

She and her husband are currently undergoing fertility treatments.  Rosalyn has been pregnant in the past, a total of eight times.  Three of those pregnancies were successful and she has 3 beautiful, healthy boys.  She has suffered 5 losses altogether.  This last one is the first time they have found a heartbeat and this makes it the most difficult of all.

Next month I will post an update on Rosalyn’s story.

I’d like to do something different this time and Rosalyn has given me permission to share her thoughts after reading this blog.  Here they are.

You never think it’s going to happen to you, or probably anyone else you know, until it does. Infertility and miscarriages are shockingly common. As a society we just suck at talking about it. When I came out on (social media) with my third loss, I was amazed how many women had been through the same. We need to stop making it a taboo to talk and share our stories. And it’s more than just infertility and miscarriages, there’s also late term loss, still births, and it happens to real people. Not just to ‘other’ people you’ll never know.

I knew when I was younger and had my boys, how precarious nature was. How hard it is for every little thing to come together to make a baby. I knew, but I don’t think I *knew*, if you know what I mean? Now I look at my kids and am overwhelmed that they were ever possible in the first place.

People keep saying how brave I am, but I don’t really think so. You just…..deal with the hand you’re dealt. Like right now I still have to go through this miscarriage, I have no idea how it’ll play out, if my body will take care of it or if it’ll end up in the hospital, or if it’ll drag on and on. I have no idea. It’s ugly, it’s huge, I don’t want to do it. But there’s no way around that wall of ugly – you just got to soldier on and make it through the other side, because lying down to die is not an option. And really, that’s all people with these fertility and loss problems do, is just keep moving, like a shark that doesn’t want to drown. We’re not brave, we’re just surviving.

I used to think that RPL (repeat pregnancy loss) would be the most horrible thing ever. And somedays, it is complete hell on earth. But somehow, you make it through when it happens to you, mostly because you really don’t have a choice not to.

Thank you for bringing up the spouse! Men often get ignored. I think seeing the heartbeat has been especially tough on my husband.  Men grieve too, but somehow our society is even worse about men grieving and being affected by fertility issues than women. We ARE talking more about it, and it’s less taboo for a woman to have infertility issues, but it’s still very taboo for men. The stats are – 50% of infertility cases have a male factor issue at least partially. Which means, half the time, the guy is at least part of the problem. And yet, everyone assumes it’s the womens’ body at fault all the time – it’s not. For us, we believe that we are repeatedly creating aneuploid (chromosomally abnormal) embryos because of a combination of my older eggs and my husband’s DNA damaged sperm. It can be extremely hard for guys to accept that and it’s very taboo.

I’m not grateful for having this crap happen, obviously…..but in a way I value feeling the loss and sorrow, because it gives shadow to the bright spots in my life and makes my human experience fuller and more complete…….I’m not sure that makes sense, but somehow a life filled with nothing but good would seem a bit, shallow by comparison? That the human experience isn’t complete without the darkness too, like a yin/yang thing.

Rosalyn's baby.

Rosalyn’s baby.

 

Here are a few articles that Rosalyn found helpful and wanted to share:

“Why Are We So Bad at Acknowledging Pregnancy Loss”

“Let’s Talk About Miscarriage”

 

Right now, I ask that you please take a moment and think of these babies who have been taken too soon.  Keep their memories alive.  If you know someone who has suffered a loss, let them know you haven’t forgotten.  Those precious little lives had meaning, however short their time was on earth.  If you have any kind words you would like to share with Rosalyn, please leave a comment or send a private message to karen@natureprenatal.com.

Thank you for taking time from your day to read Rosalyn’s introductory blog.  I hope you will continue to follow her story as it unfolds.  To be notified when the next blog is posted, CLICK HERE  to subscribe to my email list.

Sincerely,
Karen.

Ashley’s Story – Final Blog.

IT’S A GIRL!

Ashley’s baby is now just over eight weeks old and doing amazing!  She is your typical healthy baby, pooping, sleeping and eating.  Repeat!  I am happy to report that Ashley and baby are exclusively breastfeeding, which is so important.

little baby sucking breast mother with open eyes

Please no offense to the formula feeding moms out there, but understand where I am coming from when it comes to breastmilk.  It is just the best possible source of nutrition for any baby.  Period.  Plus, it’s good for mom too!  I will not list all the health benefits of breastfeeding, but if you would like to know more, CLICK HERE.

If a new mom is struggling with breastfeeding, I highly recommend seeking professional help.  The nurses at the hospital and my midwives were amazing for me when I had my baby.  There are also lactation consultants, and support groups such as La Leche League.  And guess what else?  Nutrition plays a big role!

When it comes to diet during lactation, it’s important to eat about 2,800 calories per day with at least 65 grams of protein and 3 litres of water*.

*This is an estimate and individual needs may vary.

Ashley is a contest winner who won my ‘Biggest Contest Ever’.  This blog post is my final update on Ashley.

To read Ashley’s full story, CLICK HERE.

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Ashley may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Ashley is based on a specific, detailed health and lifestyle assessment. They will not apply to every woman. If you are interested in a personal assessment for yourself, please send an e-mail to karen@natureprenatal.com.

Ashley’s assessments and recommendations are much more detailed than what is in this blog post. Here, I am sharing her most important issues and some random topics. The information that is shared between us is extensive and continual.

In my last blog update on Ashley, I mentioned that things don’t always go as planned.  This is true for everything in pregnancy, including labour and delivery.  Ashley’s baby was born via c-section.  This is not an ideal situation, but it was necessary.  There are many health benefits to the baby and mom from a vaginal delivery, but when complications arise, the only thing that matters is the health of baby and mom.  In Ashley’s case, she and baby are both doing great!

I’d like to thank Ashley for this touching testimonial:

Karen is amazing to work with. She made me feel comfortable the moment I started working with her. Right away, she made me much healthier with all her food recommendations, lifestyle change and overall life outlook. Anytime I had a question, she was quick to answer and always had a response. This pregnancy went by super fast and I owe a lot of the positivity, overall health well being to Karen. I highly recommend her service/assistance through this special journey and milestone in your life. Thank you Karen!

I am so happy for Ashley and her family!  I would like to wish them all the best for a happy and healthy future together!  Thank you for sharing your prenatal journey with myself and my readers.

Sincerely,
Karen.

PS.  I have started working with Rosalyn, who is my current contest winner.  I will be writing an introductory blog for her story very soon.  If you would like to be notified when I do CLICK HERE to join my email list.  As an added bonus, I will send you my free offer, “7 Simple Steps to Achieving a Healthy Pregnancy and Happy Baby.”

PPS  If you are currently trying to get pregnant, and would like to work with me, you still have time to join my online program, “How to Make a Baby in 90 Days.”  We start July 17!  CLICK HERE  for all the details or send an email to karen@natureprenatal.com to request a free 15 minute consultation.

 

Cloth Pads, Working Out and Immunity

The F Wrap Workout with Heidi Miller

Heidi and me.

With guest blog by Heidi Miller of AIM Fitness.

 

I was asked once, “How does The F Wrap hold up during a workout?  Doesn’t it fall out of place?”

My response was “No, of course not.  It is fine to wear during a workout.”

Then I asked myself ‘Am I 100% sure about that?’  I mean, let’s be honest, I don’t remember the last time I worked out during my period.  I’m sure I have, but I couldn’t remember.  Which means, it’s possible I have not, or at least I couldn’t say with certainty that The F Wrap would stay in place during a high intensity workout.

The person who asked me this question is personal trainer, Heidi Miller of AIM Fitness.  I then asked if she would like to give me a workout the next time I’m on my period, so that we could put The F Wrap to the ultimate test.  She agreed!  In fact, she developed a one hour workout made specifically with cloth pads in mind.  It included fire hydrants, lunges, jumping jacks and yoga poses like the one legged downward dog and pigeon pose.  You know, a bunch of moves that require lower body twisty movement.

It was a good workout!

I am happy to report, with 100% confidence, that The F Wrap held up to the challenge!  My pad did not move, slip or bunch.  It stayed in its place during the entire workout.

I will mention one important factor though.  Any cloth pad will only fit as well as the underwear it’s attached to.  Meaning, if your underwear is too big or too small, a cloth pad may shift or move.  Proper fitting underwear is important.

Something surprising happened to me after my workout with Heidi.  Two days later I came down with the flu.  This was not your usual summer cold, it was a nasty flu, which took almost a week to recover from.  If you didn’t already know this, I am a holistic nutritionist.  I eat a healthy diet, and like to think that my immune system is top notch.  I started wondering if there was a reason I got so sick, and I remembered my workout.  It was a very intense workout for me.  I am normally an active person, but I will confess that recently I have not been working out.  The exercise I did with Heidi was a lot more than anything I’d done in a long time.

I asked Heidi if she thought the workout could have somehow suppressed my immune system, causing me to become ill.

Here is her response…

 

“To be honest, I didn’t know the full answer to this question before Karen asked me. As a personal trainer I wanted to say ‘no of course not, exercise is great for you, obviously’. The problem is that, as someone who believes that true professionals admit when they don’t know something, but then learn about it, and someone who did very well academically in College, I knew I had to put the research in to answer this question.

A quick Google search gave me a bit of the answer but I didn’t feel that was enough. So after reading multiple articles I have my answer.

There is a short answer to this question that is; Yes, under the right circumstances exercise can make you more susceptible to some illnesses.

Leaving it at that however didn’t sit well with me. As a Certified Personal Trainer and fitness/exercise enthusiast I had to dig deeper. So if you want to increase your own knowledge, read on for the long answer.

Exercise can stimulate the release of certain hormones (cortisol and epinephrine, aka adrenaline) that suppress the immune system. This is because these hormones temporarily redirect the body’s resources to the organs and tissues needed to sustain the activity being performed. It is however important to note that, while these hormones are released during more intense exercise, a program that builds progressively according to a person’s individual fitness level will result in less of these hormones being released during exercise over time. A take home message from this is that, when beginning an exercise program start slow and build up gradually to more advanced and intense exercise.

Additionally it is important to note that this is temporary! Your body will return to its normal range and your immune system will no longer be at risk. This is a great reason to practice good hand washing hygiene after an intense work out so as to help protect ourselves from the actual causes of illnesses like germs.

I looked for evidence on the long-term long-term effects of exercise on the immune system. There does not appear to be a direct link between exercise and increased immune system function, although there are multiple theories about ways that exercise contributes to increased immunity. However, research and health professionals agree that being physically active has numerous health benefits and that our bodies function better overall (including the immune system) when we maintain a healthy weight, good blood pressure, good cholesterol levels and much more, all of which can be improved and maintained with a good exercise regimen.

One last part to this is that there is such a thing as exercising too much which does put our immune system at risk. Excessive exercising can cause almost a constant state of increased stress hormones in the body that reduce our ability to defend itself. The take home message regarding this is, after intense physical activity allow your body adequate time to recover.

As an aside I exercise on a very regular basis and I almost never get sick. ”

– Heidi Miller, AIM Fitness.

I’d like to thank Heidi for preparing this workout and spending a beautiful Saturday morning with me.  You can learn more about Heidi and AIM Fitness at www.activitiesinmotion.ca and like their Facebook page HERE.

AIM Fitness is located in Ottawa and they are mobile.  They specialize in prenatal, mom and baby classes, working out with fido (yes, that’s dogs!), elderly, rehab, aqua fitness and more!

References:

How Exercise Affects Immunity

Does Exercise Cause an Adrenaline Rush?

How to Boost Your Immune System

Epinephrine

Exercise & Cortisol Levels

Hormones Released When Exercising

8 Hormones Involved in Exercise

Exercise and Immunity

 

 

Ashley’s Story

Ashley is now 36 weeks pregnant.  This blog post could be the final pregnancy update before her baby arrives!  Unless she goes over her due date.  Which is very possible, and very normal.  When it comes to a baby’s birth date, he or she makes all the calls (unless it’s a planned cesarean section).  There is no guarantee that the baby will come on or before the due date.  Baby may want to come early, on time, or even late.  Time will tell for Ashley.

Wild chamomile. White flowers. Selective focus. Bokeh

Some aspects of Ashley’s pregnancy did not go according to her original plans.  And that’s perfectly fine.  This is the way pregnancy goes.  And labour, I will add.  No matter how detailed your birth plan is, you can never predict exactly what will happen during labour.  All you can do is take it moment by moment and do what you feel is best for you and your baby at the time.  If you have been following Ashley’s story, you may remember she was planning to see a physiotherapist for her back pain, but the wait list was too long.  She opted for massage therapy instead, which has been very helpful.  She also had plans to wrap or bind her belly to provide support and relief.  She has not done this either, because she has been feeling very hot and the idea of wrapping her belly was too much.  I get this.  During pregnancy your core body temperature does increase by about a half a degree celsius.  This may not seem like much, but it is.

I suppose one way to look at it is, Ashley’s back pain is manageable without the physiotherapy and belly band.  I mean she is still walking and taking the stairs every day!

Ashley is a contest winner who won my ‘Biggest Contest Ever’.  This means that for the remainder of her pregnancy I will be working closely with her on the nutrition needs of herself and her baby.  She has agreed to allow me to post it here, on my blog.

*I AM CURRENTLY ACCEPTING ENTRIES FOR MY NEXT BIGGEST CONTEST!  IF YOU ARE ACTIVELY TRYING TO CONCEIVE OR IN YOUR FIRST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY, CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE DETAILS AND TO ENTER.

To read Ashley’s full story, CLICK HERE.

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Ashley may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Ashley is based on a specific, detailed health and lifestyle assessment. They will not apply to every woman. If you are interested in a personal assessment for yourself, please send an e-mail to karen@natureprenatal.com.

Ashley’s assessments and recommendations are much more detailed than what is in this blog post. Here, I am sharing her most important issues and some random topics. The information that is shared between us is extensive and continual.

Ashley is feeling pressure from the baby and experiencing some Braxton Hicks contractions.  If you are unfamiliar with Braxton Hicks, these are sporadic uterine contractions that can come and go during pregnancy.  Not all women will feel them and they are mostly painless.

Ashley has started to drink red raspberry leaf tea daily, in preparation for her labour.  When it comes to herbs including herbal tea, I strongly recommend pregnant women have a discussion with your doctor or midwife first.  Some herbs can be harmful during pregnancy and can be dangerous when used in combination with certain medications.  If you missed last month’s blog, CLICK HERE to read how red raspberry leaf tea can help.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish Ashley the best of luck for a positive birthing experience.  I hope she and her family are soon blessed with the baby of their dreams.

If you would like to be notified when I post my next update on Ashley, you can sign up for my e-mail list HERE. To thank you for signing up, I will send you my free offer, “You and Your Baby: 7 Simple Steps to Achieving a Healthy Pregnancy and Happy Baby.”

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Ashley’s Story

Ashley is currently 31 weeks pregnant.  She is well into the third trimester and feeling all the normal discomforts thatyou-want-a-baby-large come with it.  At 31 weeks, her baby is about 3 pounds and the size of a coconut.  A coconut!  Of course that is going to be uncomfortable, right?  Any moms with twins reading this is probably laughing to themselves right now….

 

Overall, Ashley is feeling good.  She was planning to see a physiotherapist for her back pain, but the wait list was too long.   She is currently receiving massage therapy instead and finding some relief in that.  She is also planning to start wrapping her belly.  I’ll be honest, I’ve never tried that during my own pregnancy.  Now that I am doing some research I wish that I had.  I will update on her belly wrapping next blog post and let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, if you wrapped your belly during pregnancy, I’d love to hear about it.  Feel free to leave a comment and share your experience.

Ashley is a contest winner who won my ‘Biggest Contest Ever’.  This means that for the remainder of her pregnancy I will be working closely with her on the nutrition needs of herself and her baby.  She has agreed to allow me to post it here, on my blog.

To read Ashley’s full story, CLICK HERE.

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Ashley may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Ashley is based on a specific, detailed health and lifestyle assessment. They will not apply to every woman. If you are interested in a personal assessment for yourself, please send an e-mail to karen@natureprenatal.com.

Ashley’s assessments and recommendations are much more detailed than what is in this blog post. Here, I am sharing her most important issues and some random topics. The information that is shared between us is extensive and continual.

Ashley is still taking the stairs every day instead of the elevator!  At 31 weeks, this is impressive!  She does admit it’s not easy, but she will continue to climb for as long as she can.

Now that she is getting closer to her due date, Ashley is thinking of her birth plan.  This is her second baby and she is hoping her labor is not as long as it was with her first.  Good news is that subsequent babies usually do come faster as our bodies remember what to do.  Another way she can prepare for a shorter delivery time is to drink red raspberry leaf tea starting now until she has her baby.  Red raspberry leaf tea has been known to reduce labor time by strengthening the uterine muscles.  I recommend drinking 1 – 2 cups per day but when it comes to herbs (including herbal tea) you should discuss this with your doctor or midwife.  Or you may seek the help of an herbalist or naturopathic doctor.

Studies have also shown that having a doula can shorten labor time.  (Source:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16881989)   If you’re not sure what a doula is, or how they can help you, check out my interview with Bliss Doula HERE.

In honor of World Doula Week (March 22 – 28), I’d like to invite any doula’s reading this now to comment below with your contact information.  Thank you for the wonderful work that you do!  I encourage any expecting mom’s to reach out to a doula in your area to learn more.

If you would like to be notified when I post my next update on Ashley, you can sign up for my e-mail list HERE. To thank you for signing up, I will send you my free offer, “You and Your Baby: 7 Simple Steps to Achieving a Healthy Pregnancy and Happy Baby.”

7stepscover