Denise’s Story

Denise is a mother!

She gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy in August. Baby is now just under five weeks old.

If you haven’t read Denise’s complete story, you can find it here.

During her pregnancy, Denise was told that her baby was measuring over the 90th percentile, and she may require a caesarean section to accommodate his larger than average size. Although sometimes c-sections are medically necessary, a natural, vaginal birth is always a better option for many different reasons. In Denise’s situation, a c-section was not necessary! Her baby was born vaginally, weighing just over 8 pounds.

Denise immediately began skin-on-skin contact with her baby and introduced breastfeeding. Her and baby are now at home recovering and doing well.

I am grateful to Denise for sharing this experience with me, and allowing me to share it with you. Becoming a mother is the most powerful, emotional and rewarding time in a woman’s life. It’s simply indescribable.

little baby sucking breast mother with open eyes

Breastfeeding baby (not Denise’s).

Thank you Denise.

 

“Not only do I feel Karen provided me with the nutritional knowledge to have a healthy pregnancy (down to pre-pregnancy weight and clothes at 3 weeks postpartum) she provided advice and support for the total pregnancy not just nutrition. Our discussions about breastfeeding and vaginal (after threatened c-section) delivery aided significantly in our advocating for the birth we wanted. Obviously all decisions were made with mom and baby health being the top priority but we advocated heavily for immediate skin-to-skin and kept pushing the vaginal delivery.”

                                                                                                                                    -Denise

Denise’s Story

Denise is currently 34 weeks pregnant.

Closeup on tummy of pregnant woman, wearing long green dress, ho

She is experiencing much discomfort from carrying a larger than average baby.  In fact, he is measuring over the 90th percentile.  She has been told by her doctor that she will likely be induced or an early c-section will be scheduled to avoid complications.

The good news is that her placenta has moved enough for a vaginal birth.

A natural, vaginal birth is what Denise has been planning for.  However, at this point she is prepared for all options.  It’s important to be open and accepting of a less than ideal birthing experience.  Sometimes situations arise that are beyond our control.

If you haven’t read Denise’s complete story, you can find it here.

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

Denise’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.

Please send Denise warm thoughts and wishes for a safe birth and healthy baby.

He will be making his grand appearance soon!

Denise’s Story.

belly April 2014 blog pic

Denise’s baby belly at about 26 weeks.

Denise is currently 29 weeks pregnant.

Her doctor has confirmed that baby’s position is head down, ready to make his big appearance in about ten weeks!

There is a chance Denise may need a cesarean section. Her placenta is lying low and if it doesn’t move in time, a C-section will be scheduled. The good news is that her placenta has moved up a little bit at each doctor’s appointment. She is hopeful for not only a natural childbirth, but one that is drug-free. I believe she can do this!

She has been attending birth and prenatal information sessions, preparing for her baby’s arrival. She is working on a birth plan, making decisions about circumcision, vitamin K, vaccinations and more. She is doing all of her homework.

If you haven’t read Denise’s complete story, you can find it here.

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

Denise’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.

Denise has maintained a low-meat diet throughout her entire pregnancy so far. She has however, kept up a good intake of protein with foods like beans and legumes, eggs, nuts and nut butters. She was eating fish until a few weeks ago when she developed a strong aversion to seafood.

Iron is a mineral that doctor’s keep a close eye on during pregnancy. Iron is needed in extra supply for Denise and her baby. Since iron is best absorbed from meat sources, it is a concern that Denise may fall short. She has recently received blood test results that show she has excellent iron levels!

Speaking of iron, one of the richest sources of iron is liver. Remember, Denise doesn’t like meat, never mind organ meat! Just to be perfectly clear, when a pregnant woman is repulsed by the sight or smell of a certain food, I would never, ever expect her to eat that food. But, if you happen to like liver, and if you can eat it without gagging (Denise has confirmed that she sometimes can handle meat and she does plan to eat liver), I strongly recommend it. It is one of the healthiest foods you can eat during pregnancy, not only for the iron but for other nutrients, like protein, vitamin A, zinc, and more!

It is important that any liver consumed come from clean, healthy, free-range animals that are fed a natural diet.

As for pregnancy symptoms Denise is not experiencing anything significant at this time. She has some minor swelling and she plans to buy some compression socks for future travel plans. Her blood pressure is good, so there is no concern about preeclampsia. She is maintaining an exercise program that consists of a light to medium cardio workout on the bicycle, elliptical and stair master machines. She is also actively participating in prenatal Pilates classes.

Overall, she is doing amazingly well and can’t wait to meet her new baby!

Denise’s Story.

Denise is currently 20 weeks pregnant.

She’s officially reached the half-way point!  She is smack in the middle of the famously comfortable second trimester.  And loving it!

It’s true.  The second trimester is when the nausea of the first trimester settles down, and before the discomfort of the third trimester begins.  It’s also commonly called ‘the honeymoon stage’.

I am truly ecstatic for Denise.  I know that pregnancy does not come easily for all of us.  Sometimes it doesn’t happen at all.  But, sometimes, we overcome our struggles and we are blessed with these tiny miracles that will forever change our lives.  This is what happened to Denise and her husband.  My heart is overflowed with joy.

If you haven’t read Denise’s complete story, you can find it here.

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

Denise’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.

Denise is still on a meat-reduced diet and struggles to fit the required amount of protein into her daily diet.  She eats plenty of fish, which is good.  Fish is not only a source of protein, but also healthy fats, vital for her baby’s development.  But, caution must be taken when choosing seafood.  Toxins can be found in farmed fish, canned fish and fish caught from polluted waters.  Some seafood can be high in mercury, which is especially harmful to a growing fetus.  Denise is aware of these risks and chooses local, wild fish as often as she can.  Other sources of protein in her diet include hemp seeds, Greek yogurt and a plant-based protein powder.  I recommend she also eat more beans, lentils and whole grains such as quinoa.

About protein powders – I don’t want to pick and choose or recommend any one particular brand.  There are some good ones out there and some not so good.  I like to focus on obtaining nutrition from food first, and supplementing when and if it’s beneficial for an individual.  What’s important to consider is that some protein powders have added vitamins, minerals and herbs.  Some contain whey, some contain soy and others have plant-based proteins like hemp, pea or brown rice.  Not all of these are right for everyone.  The ingredients in your protein powder matter.  Know what you’re consuming.  Read labels.  Do your research.  A better idea is to talk to your doctor or nutritionist.

One item of concern for Denise is sodium consumption.  She has noticed some swelling when she eats salty foods.  Sodium can be harmful when high levels are consumed.  By eliminating or reducing processed foods, there is no real danger of too much sodium.  Denise uses an online food tracker that will add up her daily sodium content as well as other nutrients.  Sodium is actually beneficial for human health, especially during pregnancy.  I recommend Denise use sea salt to season her foods and include foods rich in potassium, to balance her sodium intake.  The AI (adequate intake) for sodium during pregnancy, according to Health Canada is 1,500 mg per day.

Mild swelling is considered normal and a sign that blood volume has expanded enough to meet the needs of pregnancy.  Some things she can do to reduce swelling are elevate her feet for 20 minutes, 3 – 4 times a day, and lie on her left side while sleeping.  If the swelling increases, I recommend she discuss it with her doctor to rule out possible complications. Pink and yellow flower website photo

Other than some minor swelling, Denise is feeling great!  She is exercising regularly with prenatal Pilates and cycling.  She is sleeping well at night with her Snoogle Total Body Pillow and above all else, thrilled about her recent doctor’s visit.  She is carrying a perfectly healthy baby boy!

Denise’s Story.

DENISE IS PREGNANT!!!!!!

This is such wonderful news and I’m thrilled to announce that she has officially entered the second trimester!

If you haven’t read Denise’s complete story, you can find it here.

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

Denise’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.

For a brief update, I met Denise last August when she won my ‘Biggest Contest Ever’. She and her husband were trying to conceive at the time. Sadly, they achieved pregnancy only to lose that baby in a miscarriage. Since then I have not spoken to Denise. Until now.

We met up last week and I immediately felt the excitement in the air as she told me about her current pregnancy!  She definitely has the pregnancy ‘glow’!  She has been experiencing nausea and food aversions, and all those wonderful things that let a woman know she has a growing baby inside her belly!  Denise has quit drinking coffee, easily because that is one of her aversions.  She also has lost her appetite for meat.  By eliminating all meat from her diet, it is especially important she watch her intake of protein and iron. She needs more of these during pregnancy for herself and her baby.  Luckily, she likes fish and seafood.  By eating fish a few times a week, as well as beans, legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds, she will do well.

I look forward to sharing her prenatal journey with you, as she nears her due date in August.

Please join me in sending warmest wishes and congratulations to Denise and her family!

ultrasound

Denise’s baby at 12 weeks.

 

Denise’s Story.

I have some sad news.  Denise has recently suffered a miscarriage.

Denise and I first met in August.  You can read her complete story here.

My heart breaks for Denise and her husband.  I know that they are not alone in their struggles.  Babies are a miracle and a blessing.  I wish and pray that they will receive that gift some day.  They have lost their first from an ectopic pregnancy, and now their second from a miscarriage.  They have decided to stop trying for now while they grieve.

White flower

If you have any kind words of support for Denise, please leave a comment.

 

BIGGEST CONTEST EVER! Denise’s Story.

Denise and I have had our first follow-up visit. I will address the question that I know is on everyone’s mind. No, she is not pregnant. Yet.

She doesn’t want to become consumed with the thought of having a baby. So for now, she and her husband are being relaxed about it. For the quickest way to pregnancy, I do recommend the fertility awareness method. However, Denise is not interested in charting at this time.

If you haven’t read Denise’s introductory blog, you can find it here.

Pink and yellow flower website photo*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Denise may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Denise 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.

Denise has made some big improvements in her diet since we met! She still drinks coffee, but she is down to one cup a day. Although I suggest that she stop drinking coffee completely, I do understand our nation’s love of coffee. Reducing her intake to one cup a day is a good step in the right direction. More importantly, she has stopped drinking diet pop! Almost. There was one diet drink in her recent food log, along with some beer and nachos. But hey, everything is ok in moderation. Of course, it’s important to understand what moderation means exactly. I am a believer in the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of the time you make good, healthy food choices. The other 20% can be less than perfect.

Let’s talk about nachos for a minute. Because, let’s face it, they’re delicious! You can actually make your own nachos at home that are not so bad for you. You can use baked tortilla chips, home-made salsa, organic cheese, free-range ground beef or chicken and fresh vegetables. This can actually be a good food choice. Unfortunately for Denise, her nachos were from a restaurant or pub. Maybe yummy, but not so healthy.

Denise has started tracking her food intake daily! This is great, because it lets her know exactly how much she is eating in calories, proteins and fats, etc. It will even add up her nutrients and fiber count. Which, she has been maintaining at between 20 and 30 grams a day. At this rate, I suspect she will reverse her signs of hypoglycemia in no time.

Denise’s biggest concern right now, besides getting pregnant, is insomnia. She has recently gone through some significant changes in her lifestyle, so I’m hoping this is temporary caused by stress. Stress can be good and bad. There is such thing as good stress, like getting a new job or getting pregnant. To help her sleep I recommend she increase her food intake of tryptophan, with foods like banana’s, dates, figs, nuts and seeds, nut butters, eggs, tuna, chicken or turkey. Tryptophan can help the body produce serotonin and melatonin, neurotransmitters that regulate sleep patterns. She should develop a bedtime relaxation routine that includes meditation or yoga. Regular exercise and reducing stress can also help.

Denise has made some beneficial changes to her diet and lifestyle. I hope we will be hearing some good news from her very soon!

BIGGEST CONTEST EVER! Denise’s story.

First blog photo 2

Meet Denise.  She is the second winner of my Biggest Contest Ever!  She has won free nutrition and lifestyle coaching from now until she gets pregnant and has a baby, up to a maximum of 15 months.  This includes six months of preparing and actively trying to conceive.  Not everyone gets pregnant on their first try.  It’s very common to take 3 to 6 months before a couple gets that positive pregnancy test, sometimes longer.  Our goal for Denise is that she and her husband make a baby within the next six months.  Hopefully sooner than later!

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Denise may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Denise 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.

Denise is 30 years old.  She and her husband do not have any children yet, however they were pregnant once.  They lost their first baby due to an ectopic pregnancy.  For anyone who has never heard of an ectopic pregnancy, it’s when the embryo implants itself somewhere outside of the uterus.  In most cases, it’s the fallopian tube.  I won’t get into details, percentages or statistics.  If you would like to learn more about ectopic pregnancies you can find the information easily enough.  What I will share with you is that once you have one ectopic pregnancy, your risk increases to have another.  Denise is now high risk.

Although she has recently gone through this tragedy, Denise remains hopeful and in good spirits.  It truly amazes me how resilient we are as human beings.  Not only physically, but emotionally and mentally we must allow ourselves to heal.  Our bodies, minds and spirits are all closely connected and dependant on one another for true health.

As far as physically, Denise is in very good condition.  She is a healthy weight and active.  She enjoys regular vacation, just returning from her most recent trip.  She eats well, choosing organic meats as well as fruits and vegetables.  She drinks a green smoothie every morning for breakfast.  She makes her own pasta from scratch!  It’s hard to find anything with her diet and lifestyle that she should improve on.  Until I dig a little deeper…..

According to Denise’s assessment forms, she has a high score for a digestive imbalance.  Digestion is the key to good health.  It’s where it all begins.  You need a healthy digestive tract in order to absorb the nutrients that you eat.  You need a healthy colon to move and dispose of toxins and other harmful matter.  Without proper digestion, all kinds of health problems can occur.

The first thing I notice in Denise’s food log is that she drinks diet soft drinks and coffee.  These both contain caffeine and the diet drinks contain aspartame.  I recommend that Denise stop both of these bad habits.  We all know you shouldn’t drink coffee while pregnant, but it’s also good to stop before you get pregnant.  Too much caffeine can have an effect on fertility, as well as the nervous system.  Besides, while actively TTC, it’s best to treat your body as though you are already pregnant.  There are about two weeks after conceiving that a pregnancy test will not register as positive.  During these two weeks any caffeine, alcohol, or other toxins like aspartame, may interfere with normal fetal development.

Denise also showed some signs of hypoglycemia, which can lead to diabetes, or if she is pregnant, gestational diabetes.  It’s important to reduce this risk now before she is pregnant.  Denise needs to eat small meals frequently throughout the day that are low sugar and contain fiber.  As with most of my recommendations, I advise Denise to eat lots of vegetables.  I also suggest sprouted grains, nuts and seeds to increase digestion.  However, it’s important to note that with raw sprouts, there is an increased chance of being contaminated.  This can harm her and her baby, if she becomes pregnant.  To be on the safe side, I recommend making her own sprouts at home and lightly steaming or cooking them.  They can be used in baking, or add them to soups and stews, etc.  For more information on sprouts, visit this blog.

Denise is currently taking prenatal vitamins including folic acid.  Folic acid is important to reduce the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects.  Every woman who is actively trying to conceive should be taking a good quality prenatal vitamin that includes at least 400 mcg of folic acid.

 

First blog photo

I hope to share some good news very soon about Denise’s prenatal journey.  Please check back often and feel free to say hello or wish her good luck in a comment below.