Holistic Pregnancy

Holistic- relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.

When planning a holistic birth, it's important to keep in mind all the ways in which intentions connect to action. The people you bring into your space, the food you eat, the sleep you miss, the thoughts you think, all work together to create an environment that your carry with you through pregnancy, and ofter birth and postpartum. 

Connection to the earth and people who are near you-

Who do you see daily? How are you connected? How are these interactions nourishing your soul and your birth space? Are you attracting positive or negative? How can you manifest the connections you need to feel safe and grounded?

Consciously making space for baby both in your home and in your heart-

Have you welcomed baby into your family?  Have you made space for them, whether literally or figuratively? Perhaps a special alter in your home could be dedicated to your sweet one, or a special blanket or piece of art which says "you are wanted, you are welcome". 

Releasing both fear and control- 

These are big and important. Releasing fear is empowering. It allows you to free your mind and open yourself to an experience you will never again have. You might birth again, but you will not have *this* birth again. Open to it. Invite it in. Sit with it and collaborate. Releasing fear releases control. You cannot control your birth or the outcome. You can plan and educate and manifest, but you cannot control; and you really don't want to. Controlling your birth may very well restrict the universe from the intentions already laid for you and your baby. This experience has the potential to be so much more than you could ever dream, if you open yourself to the possibilities. 

Self-care: before, during and after birth- 

This looks different or every person, but some simple yet important ways to care for your self are get adequate rest, nourish your body, nourish your soul, and drink great water. Maybe you nourish your soul with yoga + meditation every morning before the sun comes up. Perhaps it's a hike at sunset followed by a slow evening meal. For others, family time and routine are self-care. This can be anything, as long as it feeds you well.

laughing, smiling, resting, meditating, balancing

What are your intentions for a holistic birth? Add them below! 

 

Student midwife recap, 2016

Hello all! I wanted to pop on here and give an update for anyone even slightly paying attention to my midwifery journey. I have just completed my first year at Midwives College of Utah. This college is MEAC accredited and I am pursuing my Bachelor's of Science in Midwifery. After I graduate, I will take the NARM exam to become a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife). Due to previous experience and college credits, I am on course to finish this degree in 3 years. I have 2 years left, starting in January. The school runs almost continuously from January to December, with 2 week breaks between the "trimesters" and slightly longer over the Christmas holiday. It is demanding and rigorous but that is to be expected from such an important field of education. I completed my NRP and CPR training earlier this year, as well as certification for placenta encapsulation and my observe phase for the clinical portion of the program. I am awaiting approval for the assist phase. The "assist" phase simply means I can get credit for some of the things I do in clinic and at births when helping my preceptors. 

As of this week, I am honored to be working with 3 amazing local midwives. They are beyond generous to open their practices up to me and invite me in to learn midwifery from such great practices. I am humbled and appreciative of them. This step has most definitely taken the dream into reality. Watching these women run their personal practices, interact with expecting families, overcome obstacles and always remaining ever supportive and encouraging is inspiring. I thank them from the bottom of my weepy student midwife heart. 

My favorite class to take this year was a tie between Midwife's Assistant and Herbology for Midwives. Anyone that knows me knows I love plant medicine. For this course, I was *requried* to plant a midwife's garden! Can you believe it! My favorite herb to grow by far was chamomile. I am also eagerly awaiting next year to harvest from my Vitex tree. Midwife's Assistant was really fun. I learned some basics and got to walk through case studies. 

Captured by my husband, while I studied late one night. 

Captured by my husband, while I studied late one night. 

My chamomile garden! I made tea, tinctures and glycerites from this amazing crop of herbs. 

My chamomile garden! I made tea, tinctures and glycerites from this amazing crop of herbs. 

My most challenging class this year was Prenatal Care. This was the very first "midwife" specific course I took. I was required to think like a midwife and with that brought the enormity of what I am actually doing with my life. While I love the piles of books that sometimes even contradict each other, I really enjoyed the live conferences I had for this class. When you're in such a diverse group of people, some of whom might have even been practicing as a midwife already, it's really nice to be able to ask people who have more first hand knowledge than myself what they might do in a given situation. 

In August, 2 other local student midwives and I attended a week long school conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the school is located. It was so nice to be with a group of student midwives who love to learn! We had great meals, met other amazing women, experienced growth and increased our knowledge. Salt Lake City is a beautiful, albeit hilly, place to visit. Wear your most comfortable walking shoes and take in the view. On our last night there, a group of us took a moonlight hike. It might have been my most favorite thing we did. We sat as a circle of women, at the top of the beautiful Red Butte Canyon, honoring the earth, the importance of our work, and each other. A truly spiritual experience. On the way down, the full moon showed her stunning self over the top of the butte. 

Holding sweet baby Dash as he sleeps, while his mama holds his sister. 

Holding sweet baby Dash as he sleeps, while his mama holds his sister. 

Our charming Air B&B, located a few blocks away from the retreat center our conference was held at. 

Our charming Air B&B, located a few blocks away from the retreat center our conference was held at. 

Amy, practicing IV skills on me. We did a lot of hands on learning over the course of the week. 

Amy, practicing IV skills on me. We did a lot of hands on learning over the course of the week. 

One of my successful placements! Thanks for the amazing arms, Libby. 

One of my successful placements! Thanks for the amazing arms, Libby. 

Great food. Great women. Great friends. 

Great food. Great women. Great friends. 

Looking into the city from our hike.

Looking into the city from our hike.

The full moon, lighting the way for us. 

The full moon, lighting the way for us. 

This year was interesting. I learned a lot about myself and my ability to learn. I have always been a fantastic student but this learning while holding down 2 jobs and raising 3 boys with a husband that also has a full time career thing is hard! I realized my limits include needing to leave the house to get anything done. I split my study time between the doula offices at Thrive Mama Collective, Panera Bread and All About Cha (get the Goguma latte...it's fantastic!). I also learned I actually retain more than I thought. This in itself is the highlight of my year because I thought 3 pregnancies made my brain a sieve. 

Study time at Aspen Coffee Shop. 

Study time at Aspen Coffee Shop. 

Looking forward to next year, I am excited to get more core classes under my belt, as well as working more consistently beside my preceptors and more closely with local expecting families. I am very thankful for the guidance of my preceptors and fellow student midwives, as well as their friendship. This is a hard road and we only make it by lifting each other up. This entire journey would not even be slightly possible without the support, love and encouragement of my amazing husband. I am away from my family often and he ensures the children are well taken care of and the household runs smoothly on a daily basis. He is my rock and I appreciate all of the sacrifices he makes to pave the way for me to move forward in this career. I am lucky to have him and thank him from the bottom of my heart for all the ways he stands beside me. 

My super amazing partner in crime. 

My super amazing partner in crime. 

Herbs and Pregnancy

Herbs are a part of every day life for many of us. From the basil in the marinara to infusions, tinctures and teas, herbs have many uses and many forms. I am often asked about the safety of herbs in pregnancy. There are many herbs, that while considered safe in pregnancy, consulting a certified herbalist is still recommended due to the many multi-faceted uses of most herbs. Just today, there was a discussion in a mother's group I am a part of about Red Raspberry Leaf. One person mentioned it was a uterine tonic; another mentioned it was a hormone balancer. It's both! This is the beauty of herbs. They are multi-functional. 

Below are my top 5 herbs for use in pregnancy. Remember to consult your provider about your own health care needs when choosing an herbal regime. 

1. Red Raspberry Leaf-

This herb is such a great herb for women in all aspects of life. From the young girl, just starting her cycles to the women who is going through menopause, RRL has an amazing ability to adapt to our body's needs. 

Raspberry leaves are the most famous of all the herbs used during pregnancy. They have both relaxing and toning, or astringent, actions, with a particular affinity for the uterus. Throughout history, RRL has been used to speed up birth and to stimulate lactation after birth. 

GRAS, no contraindications or side effects Starting in the 2nd trimester, take one cup of infusion daily, increasing to 3 cups daily in the 3rd trimester. While in labor, take a cupful every hour. Continue with this mixture after birth, 1-3 times daily, to tone and strengthen the pelvic tissues. 

2. Chamomile- 

A gentle herb, considered very safe, is great at relieving stress and tension. Great for babies and children. Chamomile is served in hospitals throughout Europe to calm and relax patients. Great for stomach tension, indigestion and inflammation. It is easily cultivated and beautiful in the gardenCommonly used for stress, digestive complaints, nervous disorders, inflammation in the joints, and for wounds. It is an excellent remedy for all manners of women’s disorders. 

There are many uses for chamomile including thrush treatment, fever reducer, relieves tension and spasms in the digestive tract, relieves nausea and sickness in pregnancy, relieves painful periods, mastitis treatment, premenstrual headaches, eases the pain of childbirth, used as a pain reliever, used for asthma and hay fever, used externally for eczema and to heals wounds. 

For medicinal purposes, try C. recuitita. Some people can experience an allergic reaction to chamomile since it is in the compositae family. Anyone who suffers from pollen-bearing plant allergies, should use with caution. Chamomile is exceptionally volatile and should not infuse for more than 30 minutes. 

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/chammo49.html

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/chammo49.html

3. Nettle- 

Common name is stinging nettle. Nettles usefulness can be traced back to antiquity and its popularity as food and medicine has hardly waned over the years. Nettles were used in ancient Greece and Rome to treat gout, rheumatism, and poisonous snake and insect bites. The tough stalk fibers were used as fabric. Steamed young nettle tops serves with olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of feta make a delicious dish according to Rosemary Gladstar, herbalist. Native American women used nettle as a tonic during pregnancy and as a remedy for treating postpartum hemorrhaging. 

When taken over a long period of time, nettles are a tonic that will benefit the entire body. It’s ideal for anemia. Sprinkling the powder on a wound helps it stop bleeding.  Tea is useful for asthma, chronic and acute urinary complaints, urinary stones, nephritis and cystitis, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, chronic arthritic and rheumatic problems. 

When tea is drunk during pregnancy, it helps lower high blood pressure. Drink several cups of infusion during labor to help prevent hemorrhage due to the high Vitamin K content. Nettles help with varicosities, kidney issues, encourages rich, abundant milk postpartum, are excellent for young women starting their cycles and for women in menopause. 

4. Dandelion-

Also known as Lion’s teeth and fairy dock. The whole plant can be used as medicine and is highly nutritious. Roots are best harvested in the early spring and late autumn. Leaves should be picked when young in the spring and early summer. Dandelion is most famous for a gently detoxifying bitter tonic. Dandelion has high estrogen properties and is used for a lot of female issues. 

Dandelion is used for digestives issues, liver disease, jaundice, enhancing the appetite, easing digestion, cleansing the liver, hepatitis, gallbladder infections, gallstones, skin problems and headaches. Dandelion increases insulin secretion, is effective as a diuretic and useful for hypoglycemia. 

To use, make a standard decoction or use 10-30 drops of tincture. ½ cup infusion, every 30 minutes to treat stomach aches.          

5. Echinacea-

I saved my favorite herb for last! Echinacea is my go-to for so many things. This herb is called Purple Coneflower locally. It grows wild across Oklahoma, but is also easily cultivated for personal use. I appreciate it's gentleness in easing all things in the "sick" category. 

Echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient at attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells. It increases the number and activity of immune system cells, stimulates new tissue growth for wound healing and reduces inflammation and inflammatory skin conditions. It also kills yeast and slows or stops the growth of bacteria.

Echinacea purpurea has no known toxicity and has an excellent safety record, being very well tolerated by most people. However, Echinacea purpurea should not be used in progressive systemic and autoimmune disorders such as tuberculosis, leucosis, connective tissue disorders, collagenosis and related diseases.

For additional information on herbs during pregnancy, see this handy visual aid I made! 

DNorrisHerbSafe

 

References:

“The Way of Herbs”, M. Tierra, pgs, 184-5

“Complete Women’s Herbal”, M. Tierra

 “Herbal Healing for Women”, R. Gladstar, 

‘Wise Women Herbal for the Childbearing Years”, S. Weed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a Healthy and Happy Postpartum

As expecting parents, we often want to have as much information possible to have a great labor and birth. We take classes, read books, talk to other parents, research and, generally, gather as many details and stories possible so that we may have an informed, satisfying birth. One area that is often overlooked in the preparation for baby is the time that comes after baby is here. With 1 in 4 Oklahoma mothers being diagnosed with some form of Post Partum Depression or Anxiety, I think it is essential that all new parents have a plan in place to help ease this new experience. Let’s talk about a few tips that might help you have a great and peaceful post partum transition.

Rest-

In a study conducted in 2005 by Cindy-Lee Dennis, RN, PhD, and Lori Ross, PhD , it is suggested that there is a correlation between baby’s sleep, mother’s sleep and postpartum depression.  “This longitudinal investigation of maternal mood in the first 8 weeks postpartum revealed that infant sleep patterns and maternal fatigue are strongly associated with Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale scores indicating probable major depression.” So how do we cope with such a natural instinct as sleep in order to prevent depression occurring? Below are a few suggestions:

·      Co-sleep- This can be as simple as sharing a room with baby or as extensive as bed-sharing. For safe co-sleeping habits, check out these tips via Safe Bed Sharing

·      Get help- Fathers in American take an average of 24 hours off for the birth of their child, even though 89% believe paternity leave should be given to all fathers, according to research conducted by Boston College in 2014.  This leaves many new moms not only recovering from birth but trying to take care of a newborn, solo. A postpartum doula, close relative or friend who is willing to stay with you can help you get better rest and take care of things around the house that go by the wayside after birth.

·      Stay home- Simply staying home and resting will give you a new lease on life. Order your groceries online and ask a friend to drop them off for you. Have a neighbor drop the dry cleaning off when they’re out running errands. Put off all non-essential trips away from the house until you have recovered fully and feel good enough to take short trips around town. Ideally, you would be resting in bed with baby skin-to-skin the first 2-4 weeks while others wait on you and pamper you. This is not a common occurance in America, but it should be!

Nourish-

In the study titled “Nutrition and Depression: Implications for Improving Mental Health Among Childbearing-Aged Women”, the authors discuss correlation between nutritional deficiencies and depression and how they would apply to postpartum women. “Childbearing-aged women are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of poor nutrition on mood because pregnancy and lactation are major nutritional stressors to the body. The depletion of nutrient reserves throughout pregnancy and a lack of recovery postpartum may increase a woman’s risk of depression.” Below are some suggestions that might help you stay on top of postpartum nutrition.

·      Supplements and foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oils and anti-oxidants have been shown to help minimize depression.

·      “Deficiencies of folate, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and selenium tend to be more common among depressed than nondepressed persons.” Folate deficiency reduces the response to anti-depressants. Get adequate amounts of these minerals and nutrients daily.

·      Eat! This is easier said than done, but it is an important reminder. Have prepared meals ready in the freezer before going into labor. Keep fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds handy for snacking in between meals. Stay hydrated, especially when breastfeeding.

Reach out-

In a study of first time mothers, there is evidence to suggest a correlation between social support and lowered postpartum depression, especially in those first 6 weeks postpartum. In order to better arm yourself with support, below are a few ways you can receive support while still maintaining the important mother-baby dyad immediately postpartum.

·      Create a “meal train”- There are several websites that allow you, or others, to set up a calendar that others can volunteer bringing you delicious homemade meals, or even pick up your favorite take out. Meal Train  is one such website.

·      Have a list of household chores conspicuously posted so that guests can volunteer to fold some laundry or wash some dishes once they’ve dropped off a meal. Here is a printable chart you can hang on the fridge! 

·      Ask! Often, we are afraid to burden others who have lives and families of their own with helping us while we recover from birth. Remember, these are people who care about you. If you find yourself struggling, reach out and ask for help. Create a “check-in” list for friends, suggesting they call or text you on a schedule to see how you are coping. This takes the burden of asking away since they have likely volunteered for this task.

In conclusion, if you find yourself struggling, and none of the suggestions listed above are useful to you, please reach out to professional sources. Below are both local and nation wide resources for helping mothers who might be suffering with postpartum depression or anxiety.

 

 

Oklahoma-

Postpartum Support International-

http://www.postpartum.net/locations/oklahoma/

Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services- 

http://www.odmhsas.org

Mental Health Association-

Toll Free 1-800-969-NMHA(6642)
TTY 1-800-433-5959 http://www.nmha.org

Oklahoma State Department of Health-

Free resources https://www.ok.gov/health/Child_and_Family_Health/Improving_Infant_Outcomes/Free_Materials_&_Resources/index.html

Oklahoma Postpartum Depression Treatment

Tara Fritsch-

Bristol Two - Office Park

1985 W 33rd

Edmond, OK 73013

Phone: 405.623.8899

Email: tara@newleafok.com

Website: www.tarafritsch.com

 

Balance Women’s Health-

1105 SW 30th Ct. Moore, OK 73160

(405) 378.2727

balancewomenshealth.com

Aimee Benton, M.A. LPC-

Phone: 405-250-6046

5225 N. Shartel Ave. #201

Oklahoma City, OK 73118

http://thegroveokc.com/aimee-benton/

 

If you are seeking therapy offering a sliding scale fee based on income, or free counseling services, you might try the following:

http://www.fcsok.org/services/tulsa-adult-family-counseling/

Edmond Family Counseling-

1251 N. Broadway,Edmond, OK 73034

Telephone:405.341.3554

jshaw@edmondfamilycounseling.org

http://edmondfamilycounseling.org

Nationally:

Postpartum Support International-

 http://www.postpartum.net

Postpartum Progress-

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/postpartum-depression-support-organizations-in-the-us-canada-uk-south-africa-australia-new-zealand

 

If you or someone you know is in crisis or thinking of suicide, get help quickly.

·      Call your doctor.

·      Call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

·      Call the toll-free 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889).