NUTRITION AND ACTIVITY IN PREGNANCY AND BEYOND

Let food be thy medicine.
— Hippocrates

As someone who loves food, loves growing it, loves preparing it and especially loves eating it, I tend to place a high value on food in pregnancy.  The Internet is rife with dos and donts about what to eat when you are pregnant.  The variety of diets one can choose from is staggering, and changing all the time, from vegan to paleo and everything in between.  In working with Midwifery Care your diet and lifestyle choices are always respected.  Because we don't subscribe to a specific diet ourselves, we find ease in helping women make healthy nutrition choices for their growing babies that don't infringe upon philosophical or religious beliefs.  Additionally we bring a great understanding of food allergies and sensitivities to our practice and look forward to working with women who are challenged by these.  Indeed, recognizing and helping to manage food sensitivities can be an essential component of a healthy outcome.

In October of 2014 I successfully completed  certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) through the Nutritional Therapy Association.  Throughout this educational year I have gleaned a wealth of knowledge that is already proving very beneficial in my midwifery work.  As a client of Midwifery Care you will receive thorough and on-going nutritional support and counseling in order to optimize the health of your pregnancy, baby and beyond.  

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A whole foods diet is highly valued above a processed/fast food diet.  We encourage women to eat minimally processed foods, whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies and proteins.  A well-balanced diet complete with vitamins, minerals, and proteins, the building blocks of life, will nourish the soil in which your baby is growing.  Just as with plants, babies need rich, healthy "soil" to thrive in, and they need to be adequately "fertilized" and watered.  We work with women to choose the most nutrient dense foods for their bodies, helping to create menus and recipes, and strategize ways to nourish themselves and their babies while on the go.

At Midwifery Care we believe that many of the common complaints of pregnancy can be addressed through nutrition,  from morning sickness, to insomnia, fatigue and mild depression. In many cases improving the timing and/or frequency of meals and snacks will improve a woman's symptoms.  At other times we are looking more closely at the specific foods being consumed, possible food sensitivities and satisfying alternatives.  

While nutrient dense foods provide the foundation of a healthy diet and support a healthy pregnancy, there are times when herbal and vitamin supplements must play a role in rounding out one's overall well-being.  We believe prenatal vitamins are an important element in each woman's healthy diet as they provide necessary support on a daily basis, filling the gaps in our diets.  We encourage whole food vitamins and supplements.  In addition, we view herbal supplements as food for your body.  For example a pregnancy tea blend of nettle, raspberry leaf, oat straw and alfalfa can provide a boost of minerals and vitamins while being both refreshing and tasty.

While most OB/Gyns have little to no experience with nutrition in pregnancy, midwives place an emphasis on the nourishment of the body and mind through food.  Because each prenatal visit lasts for about one hour, we have ample time to discuss symptoms and seek solutions.  These extended visits ensure that we can explore food choices, supplement and herbal alternatives, and lifestyle as tools for easing some of your symptoms of pregnancy.  

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We encourage all women to find an enjoyable way to move their bodies each day.  Some women are inherently athletic and need support to consume enough calories to support their activity level.  Other women benefit from regular contact with a supportive midwife to maintain the motivation necessary to walk regularly.  We believe that staying active, using your body in a variety of ways, helps prepare a woman for the rigors of labor, elevates her moods, prevents many complications of pregnancy and creates a positive environment for her baby to grow in.

We work with each woman to recognize challenges to exercise and create a plan that is satisfying and sustainable.

Because midwives approach your pregnancy holistically, we are very comfortable making referrals for supportive therapies when indicated.  We believe strongly in preventative care, and will often make referrals to physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists for a variety of reasons.  Round ligament pain, low back pain, symphysis pubis disfunction can all be addressed through PT, massage, cranio sacral work and/or chiropractics.  In many instances the symptoms are relieved and underlying structural imbalances are corrected, possibly allowing for optimal positioning of baby at the time of birth.  Through diet, exercise and the complimentary practices of acupuncture and massage, we are often able to maintain blood pressures in a safe range, lower blood sugar levels and address mild depression and anxiety.

As women progress through pregnancy, becoming increasingly confident in their nutrition and lifestyle choices we find that this knowledge and confidence are then brought to parenting.  Many women report having more tools for keeping their kids healthy because of what they learned about nutrition in pregnancy.  Other women come to pregnancy with a strong foundation of eating optimally but enjoy the feelings of support that come from a care provider who understands the importance of nutrition.  Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum I look forward to talking about food with you and swapping favorite ideas.

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