Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. --John Milton

Monday, August 31, 2015

Pregnancy Choices: Birth Defects Screening

Before switching practices, I sat on the exam table while my midwife explained to an intern, "She's not getting the test - it's if you might want an abortion." Abortion - not a word I was comfortable hearing said nonchalantly from the mouth of one whose hands I trusted to cherish the life within.

I was going on instinct then. Now I understand a little more. There are a couple routine fetal screenings to test for birth defects during the first and second trimesters.

Nuchal Translucency Screening Test (ultrasound) plus Multiple Marker Screening (blood)
"These tests do not provide a definitive answer as to whether your child has a deformity or chromosomal abnormality, only statistical indications. Should they indicate possible problems, additional testing may be recommended, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS)."(Morell, 63)
(Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are dangerous diagnostic tests.)
"Such testing is completely pointless unless the parents would choose to terminate the pregnancy." (62)
Is "completely pointless" too strong? What benefits or risks for any of these tests come to mind? I'm about being informed and making responsible choices, not having the same opinions. You have a valuable perspective to share.

More info: The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell and Thomas S. Cowan, MD. MidwifeThinking provides a helpful resource for understanding screenings and diagnostic tests.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pregnancy Choices: Glucose Tolerance Test

Thankfully, I didn't take any glucose tests. If you did though, I want to hear about it. Was it helpful, not helpful?

Here's what I've found:

#1. The test is risky.
Hmm. Let's tell a pregnant woman to skip a meal and then drink a lot of sugar.

#2. The test result can be harmful.
Testing positive for gestational diabetes is more likely to bring risky interventions plus anxiety and less likely to encourage the nutritious diet that could actually make a difference.

Here's a quote from The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care:
"Ironically, this dangerous test is mostly reserved for pregnant women. For the rest of the population, the main test used is the 'casual plasma glucose test,' in which a sample of blood is drawn without regard to the time of the last meal or the content of that meal. You are not required to abstain from eating prior to the test nor take a highly sweetened drink - the very worst thing a diabetic can do, especially a pregnant diabetic." (69)
Aviva Roma MD thoughtfully explores this in "Glucose Testing in Pregnancy: Should it Be Routine?"
"Aside from problems with food colorings and other potentially unhealthy ingredients in the glucola, which are actually small compared to the risks of untreated GDM, we need to consider the mental and emotional impact of a pregnant woman thinking of herself as having a 'disease' rather than just emphasizing the importance of a healthy diet and appropriate follow-up, perhaps with the exception of women whose blood sugar cannot be controlled with diet alone and who require medications."
So are the risks worth the benefits? In what instances?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Soy is Toxic

I didn't realize until I got home from shopping, that I had grabbed imitation mozzarella made from soy. Have you consumed soy without realizing it?

Soy is tough to avoid. Today I noted it in the ingredients of a health drink. But is it healthy - particularly for mothers and infants? 

Here's a great article about it.
Soy is particularly harmful for women and men trying to conceive, for women already pregnant or breastfeeding and for infants. 
A study at the Harvard Public School of Health in 2008 found that men who consumed the equivalent of one cup of soy milk per day had a 50% lower sperm count than men who didn’t eat soy. 
In 1992, the Swiss Health Service estimated that women consuming the equivalent of two cups of soy milk per day provides the estrogenic equivalent of one birth control pill. That means women eating cereal with soy milk and drinking a soy latte each day are effectively getting the same estrogen effect as if they were taking a birth control pill. 
This effect is even more dramatic in infants fed soy formula.  The key ingredient in soy formula is soy protein isolate, a compound that is not even recognized as safe for human consumption by the FDA. 
Infants fed soy receive 6.25 mg of soy isoflavones per kilogram of body weight per day.  This is more than 10 times the amount of soy isoflavones that has been shown to cause problems in adults. 
In a baby that weighs 13 pounds, 10 mg of soy provides the estrogenic equivalent of a birth control pill.  The average amount of soy formula given to an infant in a day contains 40 mg of soy.  This means that feeding soy formula to a baby is the equivalent of giving her 4 birth control pills.
Continue reading "5 Myths About Pregnancy Nutrition – #4: Soy is a Healthy Alternative to Meat & Dairy."

More info: The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell and Thomas S. Cowan, MD.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ann Voskamp is Pro-Voice

 Ann Voskamp offers stunning commentary on ISIS, abortion, and being a mom.
Using our voices to ask: Why does the Church shame a woman for getting pregnant, shame her for aborting that baby —- yet what about realizing that it can be this shame for sin, that actually bullies into further sin,  and what if instead of shaming —  we weren’t ashamed of the Gospel of extravagant Grace? 
The abortion debate offers that a woman is ultimately responsible alone for her child; the Gospel offers that no woman is ever alone and the Body of Christ is response-able to both woman and child.
[Continue reading ...]

I choose to open my eyes today to the hurt.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Nutrition for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding - 5 Doable Foods

Inspired by Nourishing Traditions, here's what I do to make sure my boys and I get lots of nutrition.

1. Homemade Broth
- My two-year old can be picky, but chicken broth with egg noodles is a victory.
- I put the whole chicken (except the liver) in the slow cooker until the meat is falling off the bones or longer. The meat goes in tacos and the broth makes noodle soup.

2. Eggs
- The white gives protein and the yoke is packed with nutrients. Make yourself an omelet!
- Free-range eggs have even more goodness.

3. Raw Milk
- This might not seem doable at first because where do you get raw milk, right? This website might help you start your search:

4. Butter
- That's right. Even pasteurized butter helps the greens go down (a win-win because butter aids digestion and provides vitamins A,D, K, and E).
- Nourishing Traditions recommends 4 Tablespoons  a day for moms (Morell, 33).

5. Sourdough
- Starting my own was as simple as flour and water. Feeding it can be every day or once a week.
- Sourdough crackers have replaced animal crackers and goldfish and other processed snacks.

There is so much to learn and share about nutrition for mamas and babies. Let me know what you're doing.

More info? The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell and thomas S. Cowan, MD. Or the

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Evening Primrose Oil to Ripen the Cervix

My midwife recommended Evening Primrose Oil to ripen the cervix during the third trimester. Did you know you can pick it up at Walmart in the vitamin section?

I enjoyed this gentle aid both pregnancies and believe it works well.

Starting at about 34 weeks (obviously not before), take one daily with food. Then close to estimated due date, take three times daily with meals orally. Plus at night, insert three vaginally.

The capsules dissolve and the oil softens the cervix.

Anyone else found this helpful?

More info: Basic explanation of Evening Primrose Oil on LoveToKnow. And I appreciate this careful, easy-to-read review of Evening Primrose Oil on Natural Motherhood. She also asks a fair question, "Do our bodies really need something to help us go into labor?" What do you think ...