Melissa’s Story

Melissa had her baby!  Baby boy was born 2 weeks ago at 7 lbs and 14 oz.  He is adjusting to his new life wonderfully.

Melissa lives in a different city than I do.  In fact, we have never met in person.  Our consultations have been via e-mail and phone.  We spoke on the phone for her last update on the birthing experience and life as a new mom.  During our phone call she nursed her new baby to sleep twice and held him the entire conversation.  This is the life of a newborn.  Drink, sleep, repeat.

In case you don’t know, Melissa is a contest winner who has been featured in my blog since she was 17 weeks pregnant.  You can read her complete story HERE.

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

Melissa’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.

Melissa had a home birth with a midwife.  It was her second baby born drug-free.  Her first was born in a hospital, also naturally and with a midwife.  She knew since she had her first baby without an epidural that she could do it again.  And she did!  Her baby boy was born six hours after her water broke, four hours since contractions started with 30 minutes of actively pushing and zero complications!  In case you didn’t know, this is a fairly quick labour time.  Subsequent pregnancies usually have shorter labour times.  Once the body has done it once it remembers and can do it again more effectively.  Pretty amazing, isn’t it?  (Ok, I didn’t research this so it’s just my opinion, but it makes perfect sense to me so I’m going with it.)

Speaking of Melissa’s first baby, she is also adjusting well to her new life as a big sister.  Melissa has already returned to her usual playgroup schedule, sleeping baby in tow.

There is one subject of our conversation that I found interesting.  That is her placenta.  Melissa’s midwife gave her the option of encapsulating her placenta.  Encapsulation is recommended for boosting milk supply, increasing energy and preventing postpartum depression (more on placenta encapsulation).  Melissa gave this consideration and decided not to encapsulate.  Her midwife then advised her that she is responsible for disposing of her placenta.  Wait – what?  Think about this for a moment.  It’s because she had a home birth that she was left with the placenta and since she did not want it encapsulated, it was her responsibility to dispose of it.  Now, in case you haven’t experienced a hospital birth, let me tell you how they do things there.  You don’t see your placenta.  You don’t know what happens to it or where it goes.  Unless of course, you ask.  The hospital staff take care of it.  It’s part of the job.

For Melissa and her family, right now they have a frozen placenta in their home, waiting for the ground to thaw so that they can bury it.  That’s another thing!  It’s not like she can throw this out with the garbage.  There is a certain way to dispose of a placenta.  Apparently you need to bury it at least 3 feet into the ground, for obvious reasons.

If you have any experience or knowledge on placenta disposal or encapsulation, feel free to leave a comment.

Of course, Melissa doesn’t mind storing and burying her placenta.  I’m sure she will be telling her children all about it someday.  As it is her experience, and her story.

Congratulations Melissa on the birth of your beautiful baby boy, and thank you for sharing your experience with me and my readers.

XO

Karen.

newborn

This is not Melissa’s baby. Hers is much cuter!

 

I can not recommend Karen’s prenatal services enough! She is knowledgable as well as kind and easy to talk to.

Karen helped me to learn how much food choices impact my overall health and relate to certain pregnancy symptoms. Our discussions inspired me to get back on track with healthy eating habits. I felt healthy and energized throughout my pregnancy and was happy knowing that I was making informed healthy choices for myself and my growing baby.

Every question I asked was responded to promptly with evidence based resources. I always felt confident in Karen’s recommendations and appreciated that they were realistic suggestions that I could work into my busy life.

I am grateful for Karen’s support throughout my pregnancy and I wouldn’t hesitate to use her services during any future pregnancies.    –    Melissa.

PS:   I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT I WILL BE DOING THIS AGAIN!

IN MAY 2015 I WILL OPEN REGISTRATION FOR MY NEXT ‘BIGGEST CONTEST EVER’!

This contest is open to all women (in Canada) who are actively trying to conceive or in their first trimester of pregnancy.  The rules are simple:  FREE nutrition and lifestyle coaching in exchange for regular updates to be featured in my blog.

To be notified when I open registration, be sure to sign up for my e-mail list HERE.  You will also receive my free offer, “YOU AND YOUR BABY:  7 SIMPLE STEPS TO ACHIEVING A HEALTHY PREGNANCY AND HAPPY BABY.” 

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Melissa’s Story

Melissa could have her baby any day now!  She is officially 38 weeks today.  If you’re new to my blog, let me give you a brief update.  Melissa is a contest winner who has won free nutrition and prenatal coaching in exchange for sharing her prenatal story.  I have been updating this blog monthly with pregnancy symptoms and concerns that she has been experiencing and recommendations I have made to address them.  If you would like to read her complete story, click on ‘Melissa’s story’ in the blog cloud to the right.  Or, go HERE.

Melissa has experienced a very healthy pregnancy so far, although she has recently reached a point of considerable discomfort.  It’s the same feeling I’m sure every pregnant woman gets just before the baby makes his or her grand appearance.  It’s nearly impossible to roll over in bed, tie your shoes or walk a flight of stairs.  Of course, every woman is different, and some may achieve these goals with more ease than others.  But, I think it’s fair to say that at the 38 week mark, most pregnant women feel done with pregnancy.

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

Melissa’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.

Melissa Baby Bump photo 38 weeks

Melissa’s baby bump at 38 weeks

If you read my last update on Melissa, you may remember she was experiencing dry skin.  Since then she has become aware of her water intake and she now makes a conscious effort to bring water bottles with her when she leaves the house.  It is recommended during pregnancy to drink about 3 litres of water per day.  Melissa is drinking more water now and she has noticed a significant improvement in her skin!

Melissa plans to have a home birth.  She does not have a formal birth plan, but she knows that her midwife will avoid any unnecessary interventions, delay cord clamping and encourage immediate skin to skin contact.  I am happy to see that skin to skin contact has become a normal practice not only at home births but also in hospitals because of the wonderful health benefits it provides.  It regulates the baby’s temperature and breathing, it encourages a good start to breastfeeding, it enhances the bonding between mother and baby and it strengthens the baby’s immune system by transferring good bacteria from mom to baby.  These are just a few of the reasons skin to skin is so amazing!

My next update will be in April.  If you wish to be notified, please leave a message or send me an e-mail.

I wish Melissa all the best for a beautiful birthing experience and happy, healthy baby!

Melissa’s Story

Melissa is 34 weeks pregnant with her second baby.  If you’ve been following her story, you will know that she is under the care of midwives.  Midwifery has grown very popular among parents recently, with a demand that actually exceeds the midwives that are available.  Unfortunately not all parents who want midwife care are accepted.  For anyone reading this who is currently trying to get pregnant, and wishes to have a midwife, I recommend you find one in your area and have them on speed dial, ready to call as soon as you get that positive pregnancy test.  I’m not going to bother with statistics, or even the pros and cons of midwifery, but I will say that I was under the care of midwives for my own pregnancy and it was a wonderful experience.  Please, doctors don’t be offended.  There are situations when doctors are necessary and preferred.  But, speaking from personal experience, I was very happy with my midwives and the level of care that they gave me.  I would like to take this opportunity to give a small shout-out.  Yay for midwives!

Now, back to Melissa.  She has won my Biggest Contest Ever, and will be featured in this blog until she has her baby.  In the last blog post (click here to read it) she was advised that her iron levels were low.  She was given a few weeks to boost her iron intake with food before she was tested again.  Now, there is nothing wrong with taking supplements, and often these are necessary when recommended by your doctor or midwife.  But, it is best to obtain your nutrients from food first and this was Melissa’s goal.  She did it!  Her iron level is now normal and supplements are not necessary.  The biggest change that she made in her diet was to include leafy green vegetables daily, both cooked and raw.  Leafy green vegetables are so full of nutrients, they are one of the healthiest foods you can eat!  Not only do they contain iron, but calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene and more.  EVERYONE EVERYWHERE SHOULD EAT LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES.  Not just during pregnancy, but always.  Some options are kale, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, collard greens, chard and cabbage.  Eat a variety of leafy greens to broaden the range of nutrients.  Eat both cooked and raw greens.  I know it’s difficult to find fresh, local vegetables during these cold winter months, but in the spring plant your own garden or shop at your local farmer’s market.

Other than leafy greens, Melissa has been snacking on pumpkin seeds (another excellent source of iron) and she ate liver.  Once.  Liver is high in iron and other nutrients like folic acid, Vitamins A and B12.  But, it does have a distinct taste that doesn’t agree with everyone’s taste buds.  Melissa is one of those people, although it had been a long time since she ate liver and she was willing to give it another try.  I suggested she hide it in some chili to disguise the flavor and she did.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to hide the taste, which she still doesn’t like.  She ate the chili, but I doubt she will try that again.

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

Melissa’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.

Melissa Blog Photo Feb 2015

Melissa’s baby bump at 34 weeks

One small concern that Melissa has right now is dry skin.  When I asked how much water she was drinking she couldn’t say for sure.  During pregnancy it is recommended to drink about 3 litres per day.  A good way to ensure this is to fill a jug with 3 litres of water and empty it before the end of the day.  Alternatively, she may keep a note pad on her kitchen counter and make a check mark every time she drinks a glass.  In addition to water, essential fatty acids such as nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, fish and fish oil, avocado and butter will help with her dry skin (also very important during pregnancy for the growth and development of her baby’s brain and nervous system.)

Other than dry skin, Melissa has no pregnancy issues or concerns right now.  She is enjoying pregnancy and now thinking of her birth plan.  She is open to the idea of a home birth, and considering that as an option.  However, her birth plan details are still undecided.  One thing she knows for sure is that she plans for a drug free birthing experience.  Her last baby was born without an epidural, and she is confident she can do it again.

Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail if you have any questions about Melissa’s pregnancy.

I will follow up with Melissa in March for her next blog entry.

If you would like to be notified when I post my next blog about Melissa, 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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Melissa’s Story

Melissa is 30 weeks pregnant today.  For those who don’t know, she has won my Biggest Contest Ever, which includes continual nutrition coaching throughout her pregnancy.  We are nearing the end of her prenatal journey as she prepares to meet her baby!  If you would like to read previous blog posts about Melissa, CLICK HERE.

Melissa Blog Photo Jan 2015 (2)

Melissa’s baby bump at 30 weeks

 

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

Melissa’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.

Melissa has not had any serious issues or concerns during her pregnancy so far.  However, she has recently been informed by her midwife that her iron levels are low.

Iron is one of those nutrients in which more is needed during pregnancy.  The Recommended Dietary Allowance according to Health Canada increases from 18 to 27 mg per day (source).

I previously provided Melissa with a list of iron-rich foods to include in her daily diet.  Foods like pumpkin seeds, cashews, beef, liver and quinoa are on this list.  Since she is now low on iron, it’s important to take a few extra steps to increase her levels.  She can do this a few different ways.  First, I recommend she include food sources of iron with almost every meal and snack.  Second, she should be supplementing daily with a good quality prenatal vitamin.  One thing I will mention briefly about vitamins and supplements is that they are not all good for you.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that any prenatal vitamin will provide you with what you need during pregnancy.  Some brands have unnecessary binders and fillers, some contain sugar and artificial sweeteners, and some even contain toxic heavy metals like lead and mercury.  I will confirm that Melissa is currently taking prenatal vitamins that I would not recommend and she is now switching to a higher quality brand.  I don’t know if her iron levels are low because of her supplement choice, but I believe it’s possible.

In addition to iron-rich foods, and quality prenatal vitamins, there are a few more ways Melissa can improve her iron absorption.  She should increase her intake of heme iron foods, which is only found in animal sources (beef and liver are best).  Non-heme iron is found in vegetarian sources like beans and legumes, leafy greens and quinoa.  By combining heme with non-heme sources, the non heme iron will be better absorbed.  She can use a cast iron skillet to cook her food.  Not only will a cast iron skillet add iron to the food that’s being cooked, but it is non-toxic (please, if you are pregnant or trying, do NOT use pans with a non-stick coating).  It should be noted that long-term excessive use of a cast iron skillet may cause iron toxicity (too much iron).  Caffeine will interfere with the absorption of minerals like iron and calcium, so do not drink coffee or tea with meals.  Iron competes with calcium and zinc for absorption, so it’s best to eat foods high in these nutrients separately.  Vitamin C, on the other hand, will increase iron absorption.  Food lists of all these nutrients have been provided to Melissa so that she can decide which combinations she will try.  But, to give an example, a good boost of iron could be Swiss chard sautéed with garlic and butter or coconut oil in a cast iron skillet, served with quinoa and some beef and/or liver.  Add tomatoes, bell peppers and hummus for extra iron and vitamin C.

Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail if you have any questions.

I will follow up with Melissa in February for her next blog entry.

If you would like to be notified when I post my next blog about Melissa, 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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Melissa’s Story

Picture this: a 21 week pregnant mom with a twenty-month-old toddler at an open play gymnastics centre. If you’ve never been to a place like this, let me explain the sponge pit. It’s exactly what you think. A big hole in the floor, filled with large blocks of sponge. Kids love the sponge pit! Basically, they jump in, sometimes with hesitation, but most times with fearlessness, cushioned by the sponge. Once in the pit, it is not easy to get out. This is part of the fun, of course. Sometimes they climb out on their own. Sometimes they need a little help from a grown up. Then, they do it all over again. Now that you have a vivid picture in your mind of the sponge pit, remember the 21 week pregnant mom with her toddler? This is Melissa and her daughter. They were at such a gymnastics centre and Melissa’s daughter was inside such a sponge pit. She could not get out on her own. She was in fact, drowning in sponge! What’s a 21 week pregnant mom to do but cautiously enter the sea of sponge and rescue her daughter? She did it! I’m sure that was not easy for either of them, and I wonder if the sponge pit will be included in their play-time during Melissa’s third trimester.

Melissa is having a wonderful pregnancy. She is currently 24 weeks and not experiencing any complications or discomfort. She has been eating well, with the nausea of morning sickness behind her. She admits she would rather eat a baked potato with sour cream than any kind of vegetable, but she knows how important it is to eat a balanced diet that includes nutrient-dense foods. So, she eats her potatoes and cream, as well as fruits and veggies, even if that means hiding her greens in a smoothie or pasta sauce.

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

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

Melissa’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.

One topic of conversation I had with Melissa was on the use of raw apple cider vinegar (ACV). If you are unfamiliar with ACV, it has a long list of health benefits, including relief of heartburn. It is important to note that raw, or unpasteurized ACV is what’s recommended. Raw ACV contains enzymes and minerals called ‘the mother’, which is destroyed by pasteurization. Many health authorities claim that pregnant women should not consume any unpasteurized foods to protect their unborn baby. If you do an online search, you will find conflicting information. Many claim that raw ACV is safe and many claim that it is unsafe, or that not enough is known about unpasteurized vinegars during pregnancy. I am confident in the safety of unpasteurized ACV (as long as it is a trusted brand). However, for all pregnant women, I encourage you to do your own research and form your own opinion on what is safe for you and your baby.

I will be following up with Melissa soon as she enters her third trimester. If you have any comments or questions you would like to ask, feel free to send me an e-mail.

If you would like to be notified when I post my next blog about Melissa, 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.”

Melissa’s Story

Meet Melissa.

She is currently 17 weeks pregnant with her second child.

She has won my Biggest Contest Ever. This means from now until she has her baby in March, we will be working closely together on her prenatal health and nutrition goals.

Wild chamomile. White flowers. Selective focus. Bokeh

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

Melissa’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.

When Melissa and I first started working together, her main complaint was nausea.   As we all know, morning sickness is very common for a lot of women. One thing I want to stress for all pregnant women, is to take prenatal vitamins. In fact, women should start to take prenatal vitamins 3 – 6 months before conception. Often nausea is a result of a nutrient deficiency, and something as simple as taking a vitamin can ‘top up’ levels if they are too low. Of course, I have said this before and I’ll say it again, do not rely solely on vitamins to give you what you need. Nutrition in the form of real, natural foods is the best form of nutrients you can get. Of course, I’m talking about foods like fruits and vegetables, legumes, meat and eggs, etc. You know, real food. Not so much the processed food that comes in a box, bag or a can. Women who are pregnant require extra nutrients to support the growth and development of their baby. When experiencing morning sickness or nausea, it is crucial to mom and baby that all essential nutrients are being absorbed. The best way to ensure this is by eating a varied, whole food diet in addition to high quality vitamins and/or supplements.

*Always talk to your doctor or midwife about any vitamins or supplements you take.

In addition to prenatal vitamins, I have recommended that Melissa take fish oil and probiotic supplements. There have been various studies on both that confirm their benefits for mom and baby during pregnancy. For example, probiotics may reduce the risk of pregnancy complications like preeclampsia as well as reduce the baby’s risk of developing allergies. A good quality fish oil supplement will support a baby’s brain development and nervous system.

Now that her morning sickness has passed, Melissa is enjoying the second trimester and all the joys that come with pregnancy!

If you would like to be notified when I post my next blog about Melissa, 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.”

Please feel free to leave a comment for myself or Melissa.