CONSCIOUS PARENTING GUIDE


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by Julie Le Gal Brodeur

CONTACT:consciousparentingguide@gmail.com


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WELCOME,     ABOUT,     PRE-CONCEPTION,     PREGNANCY,     PREPARING FOR BIRTH,     BIRTH,

THE FIRST MONTHS,     CLOTHING AND CARE FOR THE BABY,     THE FIRST YEAR,     FROM ONE TO THREE,

ARTICLES,     RECOMMENDED READING,   LINKSBIBLIOGRAPHY


ON THIS PAGE: Pre-conception, Physical readiness for conception, Lifestyle and attitude, Beauty and cleaning products and cleaning


PRE-CONCEPTION

Preparing for conception - What thoughts and feelings are a good environment for conception? What can help bring one's consciousness into readiness for pregnancy? It is known that the pregnant woman's thoughts and feelings have an affect on a growing foetus,[1] and that stress can make it more difficult to conceive [2]. With this in mind, it may be beneficial to look at stress factors in your life, at changing any negative thinking habits and feeling patterns that you may have, and to begin cultivating positive ones.

 

Here are some things to do that may be helpful: You could start by creating a quiet inner space for the child that may come, by holding a place for them in your feeling life. You may have a song you hum to yourself while thinking of the child, you might become aware of an image in your mind's eye of a child, or you may have a feeling of a presence that is with you during the day and in sleeping and waking. An image to ponder: in some cultures, the life of the child is said to begin at the time of conception, and that at that moment, the heavens open and touch the earth. You may enjoy looking at beautiful art work depicting mothers and children, or you can cultivate a welcoming feeling by thinking of the child that may come with warmth and love.


See The effects of the mother's thoughts and emotions on the unborn child

 

The negative effects of media

 

[1] Odent, Michel and Pascal Odent. Pre-labour intrauterine life, Maternal Emotional States and Prenatal Care. WombEcology.com, 2006, researched June 2009

<http://www.wombecology.com/maternalemotional.html>

 

[2] University of Oxford. High stress levels may delay women getting pregnant, study suggests. ScienceDaily. 17 August 2010. researched 22 March 2011 <http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2010/08/100817111658.htm>



 

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Physical readiness for conception - On a physical level, preparing for a pregnancy is in some ways like pregnancy itself: eat well, get lots of rest and plenty of exercise.[3] It is also important to take folic acid in supplement form.[4],[5],[6] Though supplements are not always the preferred way of getting nutrients, folic acid has been shown to help prevent neural tube defects in daily amounts above 0.4 mg a day or more,[7] amounts not usually available in a regular diet. Because folic acid is important at the very beginning of the pregnancy, at times of rapid tissue growth, it is important to have enough store in the body before pregnancy is noticed. If your diet has been poor, you may also consider doing a diet cleanse or a fast before trying to conceive, which one should not do when pregnant.

 

Because each pregnancy is different and some women don't have much energy or have nausea the first months of pregnancy, it is important to eat well and be fit before conceiving. It's a good idea to be at your optimum weight when you conceive, since being both over and underweight can have a negative impact on the baby, and being fit can be a great help during the pregnancy in reducing typical symptoms, increasing general wellbeing and for decreasing the delivery time in labour.[8] Find something gentle to do and refrain from pushing yourself too hard, and remind yourself that a key part of exercise is enjoyment.


See Diet and nutrition in pregnancy


 

[3] Davies, Gregory A. L., MD, FRCSC, et al.. Exercise in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. JOINT SOGC/CSEP CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINE No. 129, June 2003, researched August 2009 <http://www.sogc.org/guidelines/public/129E-JCPG-June2003.pdf>

 

[4]Folic Acid. Public Health Agency of Canada www.publichealth.gc.ca, September 2008, researched July 2009 <http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-gs/know-savoir/folic-folique-eng.php>

 

[5] Scholl, Theresa O. and William G Johnson. Folic acid: influence on the outcome of pregnancy. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 71, No. 5, 1295S-1303s, May 2000,

researched July 2009 <http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/71/5/1295S>

 

[6] Public Health Agency of Canada - What is Folic acid? www.publichealth.gc.ca, researched March 2010 <http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/fa-af/index-eng.php>


[7] Wilson, R. Douglas, MD, FRCSC. The Use of Folic Acid for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects and Other Congenital Anomalies. SOCC Clinical Practice Guidelines, No. 138, November 2003, researched August 2009 <http://www.sogc.org/guidelines/public/138E-CPG-November2003.pdf>

 

[8] Jacalyn J. Exercise Guidelines and Recommendations During Pregnancy. from The Active Female: Health Issues Throughout The Lifespan. Humana ress, Springerlink.com, 2007, researched August 2009 <http://www.springerlink.com/content/q68q7062m7211053/>

 

 

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Lifestyle and attitude - Are there lifestyle changes to make before conception? The healthier and most free of drugs and toxins you and your environment can be, the better for the health of the baby. Long before conceiving is maybe a better time to quit smoking, than having to stop when you find out you've conceived. Before conceiving, it also seems preferable to stop smoking marijuana and taking any recreational drugs, and for the mother to stop drinking alcohol, and to reduce caffeine intake.[9] It is even better if both future parents stop smoking etc., which helps to create a healthy environment for pregnancy and gives the mother support in changing her habits. If you could become pregnant this month, it's best to leave alcohol aside altogether, since early in the pregnancy it can do a lot of damage to the foetus.[10], [11]

 

Also, because your attitude can make a difference, it may be a good time to look at your inner life. Some studies reveal that the mother's thoughts and attitude both in general and toward the baby have a direct effect on the unborn baby (measurable especially later in the pregnancy) and have a long-term impact on the baby's development.[12] So before conceiving may be a good time to observe your unresolved issues and fears and emotional habits, to make peace with them, and as much as possible to try to find inner calm and gratitude for life. This endeavour is, of course, a lifelong one, but bringing special attention to it at this time can be a great help for later.


See The effects of the mother's thoughts and emotions on the unborn child


 



[9] Caffeine and Your Health. Health Canada www.hc-sc.gc.ca, 28 March 2003, researched August 2009 <http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/facts-faits/caffeine-eng.php>, and 9 September 2009, researched October 2010 <http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-gs/know-savoir/caffeine-eng.php>

 

[10] Alcohol and Pregnancy. Public Health Agency of Canada www.publichealth.gc.ca, September 2008, researched July 2009 <http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-gs/know-savoir/alc-eng.php>

 

[11] Cornell University. How Babies Are Ushered Into Life Determines How Healthily They Will Live As Adults, Book By Cornell Pregnancy Researcher Says. ScienceDaily, 19 January 1999, researched June 2009  <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990119075650.htm>


[12] Van den Bergh, Bea R.H. Antenatal maternal anxiety and stress and the neurobehavioural development of the fetus and child: links and possible mechanisms. A review. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 29 (2005) 237–258. Researched March 23, 2011, <http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=88289>



 

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Beauty and cleaning products - Since skin absorbs much of what it is exposed to, especially the hands and feet, if you're planning to get pregnant, it's a good idea to stop exposing your body to unnecessary toxins and chemicals. Because a lot of skin creams, make-up, soaps, shampoo, conditioner and hair products have toxic chemicals in them, it's a good idea to start using organic brands.[12],[13] The same goes for laundry and dish detergents and household cleaning agents, where the level of toxic chemicals is much higher. The less toxic chemicals one is exposed to (the less the skin absorbs), the less will be in the body and the better for a healthy baby. Alternative beauty and cleaning agents can be found in health food stores, and natural make-up can usually be found in large department stores. For efficient and cheaper household cleaners, try using baking soda and vinegar separately or together for various cleaning tasks.





[12] Chenery, Narelle.  Decoding today's cosmetics. EcoVoice, Natural Living September 2005, Issue 23 <http://www.ecovoice.com.au/evonline/evo-23/evo23-decodingcosmetics.html>

 

[13] ONEgroup. Toxic Ingredients and Toxic Ingredients Directory. June 2009 www.mionegroup.com <http://www.mionegroup.com:80/en/toxic>


 

        

Cleaning - Though cleaning is usually perceived as a chore to get over and done with, it could become a good time to practice cultivating presence of mind, and gratitude for life. Since cleaning is often more or less mindless, it can be a good time to focus your thoughts fully on what you are doing and to practice being totally present. For example, observe as objectively as possible, refraining from sympathy or antipathy, how you hold the mop, the sponge, how you clean the sink, your gestures, and see what you find in that. Perhaps with this full awareness of what you are doing, you can find beauty in these simple things, in the movement of your hands, of the rhythm in your body as you work, in the kind of light in the room, and if you look for it, maybe a sense of gratitude will be there, for life, for other people, for all we have, and all we are able to do.

 

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