CONSCIOUS PARENTING GUIDE


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www.consciousparentingguide.com

by Julie Le Gal Brodeur

CONTACT:consciousparentingguide@gmail.com


SITE MAP FOR PRINT VERSION

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: Pregnancy, Stages of pregnancy, The father’s role in pregnancy, Lifestyle habits and stress, Single mothers, Planning ahead for working mothers, Diet and nutrition in pregnancy, Things to avoid in pregnancy, Exposure to abuse and violence, Exercise and body treatments, Energy maintenance, Making a home


PREGNANCY

The effects of the mother's thoughts and emotions on the unborn child - How can you best support the baby's growth and development during the pregnancy? Do your thoughts and feelings affect the baby? Pregnancy is a time of preparation, a time of many changes both inside and outside. Whether circumstances around the pregnancy are joyful or difficult, personally, socially or physically, it's a good time to make a fresh start, and to open oneself to the new relationship you will have with your child, with yourself (especially if this is your first child) and with the world. If it is possible, it can be of immense value both for you and the baby if you begin to cultivate reverence for what is happening and for who is to come. It often happens quite naturally that a feeling of profound awe wells up when we are confronted with the miracle of life. Or, it comes when you go for nature walks and think of the growing baby as you see beautiful things, as you look at beautiful artwork of mother and child, sing lullabies as you muse on the baby, or think of the child as you make something for them.

 

In traditions of ancient India, China, Arabia and other cultures around the world, pregnant women were surrounded with beautiful things and fine clothing. They were taught the arts of music, singing and painting, and fed exquisite foods blessed by the holy men. They were surrounded by beauty, music and were to think of goodness. This was believed to bring the unborn child talent and beauty. In Russia and ancient Asian countries, concerts were organized for pregnant women and their unborn children. In ancient China and India, women drew birds and plants during pregnancy and sang beautiful, gentle songs to their unborn babies. In some countries, it was not permitted to argue with a pregnant woman, and if it was inevitable, she was to have the last word! In other countries, the pregnant woman's behaviour was believed to affect the unborn baby, so they were to refrain from any cruelty or bad thoughts, and were to be protected from any trauma or shock.


LEBOYER ON LULLABIES

‘Lullabies are as old as the earth, as old as man’s suffering and mother’s love.                                     They speak a language that goes beyond notes. A language that came before Babel.                                 They do not belong to any religion, any culture, or any race.

They speak the language of that country without borders called the human heart. This is why babies understand them. This is why all women knew how to sing them.

We no longer sing in our times. Machines do it for us. Or superstars. Women must learn to sing again.     Even if only to rock their baby.’ [2]

It has long been known, and studies show, that the mother's emotional state and surroundings have a profound effect on the unborn child's health and development, as do the mother's thoughts towards the father, the pregnancy and the child. Any stress or strong emotion in the mother creates a reaction in the growing baby,[1] while a soothing activity such as singing to the baby has the effect of calming the mother, and so the baby, and increasing the blood flow in her body as well as the flow to the baby.

 

In our hectic world, it is all the more important that expectant mothers find ways to reduce stress and encourage a healthy and quiet inner life for themselves to counter the pressures of modern life. So, there may be wisdom in following the ancient traditions of the mother surrounding herself and filling her thoughts with goodness, calm and beauty. The more loving, gentle and calm you and those around you can be, the more you and you and the father cherish one another, the better for you and the baby.


        ‘The marvels of life before birth are worth pondering. Whether one believes that the program that drives our development in the uterus is the result of immutable physical and chemical laws or that it expresses the divine concern of a benign spiritual power there is little doubt that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made."


I look forward to a time (...) when Life Before Birth is understood and cherished for all its wonder...’

Peter W. Nathanielsz [3]


 

See Lifestyle, habits and stress

 

Cleaning

 

The negative effects of media

 

ARTICLES

Samuels MD - Mother's emotions on unborn baby.htm

 

Stress & Pregnancy, Fetal Affects, on MedicineNet.com.pdf

 

Winnicott - the mother's contribution to society.htm

 

[1] Samuels, Mike, MD, and Nancy Samuels. The Well Baby Book. Summit Books, New York 1991


[2] Odent, Michel MD,. Bien naître, Éditions du Seuil, Paris, France, 1977 Page 72


[3] Nathanielsz, Peter W., M.D., Ph.D. Life Before Birth and A Time to be Born. Promethean Press, Ithica, New York, 1992 page 220


 

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Prenatal care and tests - When choosing your prenatal care, you may want to think about what kind of birth you would like. The care you receive during your pregnancy may affect the birth itself more than you would think. Prenatal tests are an important (perhaps in most cases the most important) part of prenatal care. It is helpful to have a caregiver that is willing to inform you about each test and its purpose without making assumptions that you will choose to have them. In many cases, a good deal of the tests and screenings that are done routinely are unnecessary, some may have potential side effects either on the baby or on the mother, and may raise stress levels for no reason.

It’s worth finding a doctor, or perhaps even better, a midwife that will be ready and willing to inform you and support you in your choices, as you weigh each option that is put before you.


Industrialized childbirth also implies a certain style of prenatal care, constantly focusing on potential problems. Countless tests are routinely offered to all pregnant women, at different stages of their pregnancy. Simple physiological reactions are presented as diseases (…). It is obvious that repeated prenatal consultations often have spectacular negative effects on the emotional state of pregnant women, planting seeds of doubt. Michel Odent, MD [4]


New research has raised doubts over the safety of ultrasound scans used to view fetuses in the womb. A study by scientists at University College Dublin found that scans create changes in the cells. Patrick Brennan, lead researcher, said, “It has been assumed for a long time that ultrasound has no effect on cells. We now have grounds to question that assumption.” It would certainly seem prudent to avoid all routine, but absolutely unnecessary, ultrasound scans for fetal observation. [5] Peggy O’Mara [6]


It is important to realize that ultrasound technology is very new and relatively untested, in terms of safety, and its main purpose is to test for abnormalities, most of which cannot be treated before birth except by termination of the pregnancy.

[…] Although a prenatal scan may sometimes be useful when specific problems are suspected, my conclusion is that it is at best ineffective, and at worst dangerous, when used as a screening tool for every pregnant woman and her baby.

[…] I would urge all pregnant women to think deeply before they choose to have a routine ultrasound. It is not compulsory, despite what some may say, and each mother must consider the risks, benefits, and implications of scanning for herself and her baby, according to their specific situation.                         Sarah J Buckley MD [7]


People, in fact, seem to ascribe almost magical qualities to these tests, believing they will solve all sorts of possible problems. Certainly an ultrasound examination can provide a great deal of information to satisfy parents and doctors alike. Ultimately, however, it only rarely tells us more than the diagnosis of a skilled doctor. Even when such an examination does tell us something we could not have discovered by other methods, we have found it seldom leads us to a procedural change.

   

[…] Aside from the principle of keeping intervention to a minimum, there are other good reasons for limiting the use of ultrasound. It is important to remember that we have no way of knowing at this time how ultrasound exposure, even for very short times, might affect the mother – or the fetus.


[…] We can only wait and wonder about what we will see forty years from now, when one or two generations will have been literally rocked in utero by sonic waves.

Michel Odent, MD [8]



Continued research is needed to evaluate the potential adverse effects of ultrasound exposure during pregnancy. […]Until long-term effects can be evaluated across generations, caution should be exercised when using this modality during pregnancy. [9]


The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine noted in 2000:

…the responsibility of an informed decision concerning possible adverse effects of ultrasound in comparison to desired information will probably become more important over the next few years. [10]

See Preparing for Birth

For articles about different tests see http://sarahbuckley.com/articles


 

[4]Odent, Michel Dr. The Farmer and the Obstetrician, Free Association Books, London 2002 Pages 62, 63

[5] Brennan, Patrick et al, New Scientist, Issue 1476, Jun 10, 1999

[6] O’Mara, Peggy Natural Family Living Pocket Books, New York, NY 2000, Page 15

[7] Buckley, Sarah J. MD. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. Celestial Arts, New York 2009 Pages 78, 93

[8] Odent, Michel Dr. Birth Reborn. Pantheon Books, New York 1984, Pages 32, 33, 34

[9] Quoted from Buckley: Marinac-Dabic D, Krulewitch CJ, Moore RM Jr. The safety of prenatal ultrasound exposure in human studies. Epidemology. May 2002; 13(3Suppl):S19-22,p S22.

[10] Quoted from Buckley: Fowlkes JB, Holland CK. Mechanical bioeffects from diagnostic ultrasound: AIUM consensus statements. American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. J Ultrasound Med. Feb 2000;19(2):69-72,p 70



Stages of pregnancy - What happens with the mother’s body, then with the baby’s body in the short span of nine months, or 40 weeks, is a wonderful journey to follow. If you are interested, there are many websites that offer a month-by-month or even week-by-week description of the changes happening in the mother’s body and the development phase the baby is in. Especially for a first pregnancy, following the baby’s progression can be helpful in making the baby’s arrival seem more real. It can also be helpful to read about things that the mother might go through at particular stages, to help recognize things like mood swings or fatigue as being related to the pregnancy and being common.

 

See Birthing Naturally in Links

 

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The father's role in pregnancy - In a nutshell, be supportive, informed and involved. The parental relationship and the father's attitude and feelings toward the mother, the pregnancy, and the unborn child have a significant impact on the baby via the mother.[11] When fathers are involved, it helps to create a bond with the unborn child, between parents, and it is strengthening for both the father and mother. For example, be involved in:

 

•      following the pregnancy

•      the changes in the mother's body

•      supporting the mother through the changes

•      not taking things too personally if there are mood swings

•      following the development of the baby

•      being part of pre-natal (antenatal) birthing decisions

•      helping to choose and prepare items or equipment for the baby

•      talking about the birth

•      planning the first weeks, the first year

•      planning working arrangements

•      discussing child rearing issues

 

If you don't already do it, sharing in household tasks is a good preparation for the first weeks after the birth and life with a child. Also, physical fitness and well being affects psychological well being. So, exercising, quitting smoking, drinking less, and eating well, helps the father be physically and mentally healthy, and is a great way to be supportive and ready for a change in lifestyle.

 

It may be helpful to note that many pregnant women experience intense emotions, and that it can be supportive to recognize these moments, respect them, and not take things too personally.


 

See Fathers and birth helpers

 

ARTICLES

Samuels MD - Mother's emotions on unborn baby.htm (& relationship to father)

 

Winnicott - the mother's contribution to society.htm

 

Lozowick,Lee  - good beginnings.htm



[11] Samuels, Mike, MD, and Nancy Samuels. The Well Baby Book. Summit Books, New York 1991


 

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Lifestyle, habits and stress - What lifestyle habits are helpful to the growing baby? Though as the mother it is crucial to wean yourself from smoking, recreational drugs and alcohol,[12] the time of pregnancy may also be a good time for the father to stop or cut down. It can also be a good time to find fun and healthy ways to spend hours of leisure together, to eat well adn rest, and to curb excessive TV watching, video games and computer time.  Your thoughts and feelings, what you see, what you listen to, what you watch on TV, read, and discuss, all affect the baby and the baby's development in some way, positively and negatively.[13] Any stress that you perceive, whether emotional or outer stress (such as violence or too much work) has a negative effect on the growing baby's neurological development.[14]

 

Pregnancy can be a stressful time, often bringing up financial worries, insecurity about work, fear about the future and can bring big changes such as moving to a new home. Work can become taxing during pregnancy, simply because you have less energy, which can become a source of stress as you work harder to keep up. And the hormonal changes during pregnancy can bring up strong emotions, and fears or can put one 'out of sorts' for seemingly little things. Being aware of all these stress factors can help you find ways to address them and put your mind to rest, or find someone who can help you find a stress easing solution. It's also important to rest during pregnancy, especially in the last weeks, when lack of sleep can affect labour[15].


In a French hospital in the 1970s and 1980s, we bought a piano so that, on Tuesday evenings, pregnant women could come and sing together. Everybody was invited to participate in these popular evenings, including the fathers, the midwives, the cleaning ladies, the secretary, etc. At the end of these singing sessions it was obvious that everybody was happy. We could assert – without measuring the levels of cortisol and catecholamines! – the hormonal balance of the pregnant women was favourable for the growth and development of their baby in the womb. Michel Odent [16]

 

As much as possible, expose yourself to beautiful, joyful thoughts and surroundings. It is of great value to find things to do such as going for walks, spending time in nature, making things with your hands, singing or playing an instrument, reading good books, going to galleries, meeting friends for conversation, things that encourage the calm and quiet that are healthy for the mother and baby. Also, quality time together strengthens the bond between the parents, helps create good habits for a healthy home life, and is good preparation for an intense time to come.



See The negative effects of media

 

ARTICLES

Samuels MD - Mother's emotions on unborn baby.htm

 

[12] 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>


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

 

[14] Odent, Michel and Pascal Odent. Pre-labour intrauterine life, Maternal Emotional States and Prenatal Care WombEcology.com 2006,  June 2009 <http://www.wombecology.com/maternalemotional.html>

 

 [15] Lee, Kathryn, RN, PhD, FAAN and Caryl L. Gay, PhD. Inadequate sleep in late pregnancy may influence labor and delivery. University of California UCSF School of Nursing December 15, 2004, researched June 2009 <http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/6819>


 [16] Odent, Michel, The Farmer and the Obstetrician, Free Association Books, London 2002 page 130



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Single mothers - It seems that if you are alone in the endeavour of having a baby and raising a child, it will be important to find or create a support system for yourself and the baby. Family, friends, other parents, and parenting groups, are good places to look for childcare support and emotional support. When parenting questions and decisions arise, it can also be helpful to have the listening ear of someone who knows you, and in emergencies, it's always good to have someone you trust and can count on.

 

For the birth, and especially after the birth, plan to have someone with you that you trust, and that can help with the first weeks of household care and meals, so you can rest and recuperate. Sometimes it can be difficult to ask for help, but most people are glad to lend a hand when it matters. If you can afford it, it may be a good idea to hire a doula to be with you at the birth and help out the first weeks.

 

See Doulas


 

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Planning ahead for working mothers - What is the ideal care for a baby, how can they can best be supported and by whom? It seems that no one would be more invested in the baby's well-being and development than her own parents, and that the genuine interest and warmth of a mother or father toward their own child are very difficult to replace. Being nurtured by one of her parents is of immense value to a baby, but it is a circumstance that seems to be rare in our day. Knowing when to return to work and deciding who will care for the baby are complex issues, involving ideals, finances, social circumstances, culture and religion.

 

If it is possible for you, it may be a good idea to put off deciding when or if you will be returning to work until after the baby is born. Some parents feel very differently about working after their baby has arrived.[17] Keeping your options open will allow you to make a decision when you're clearer about what feels right. Also, studies have linked taking early maternity leave with less risk of c-section and better chances of breastfeeding, so if it is possible, take maternity leave ahead of time to rest and prepare for the arrival of the baby. [18]

 

Since finances are very frequently part of the question of whether to work or stay at home, it may be valuable to evaluate the detailed costs involved with working (child care, transportation, work clothes, prepared meals, etc.) and see how much more your income will bring in, compared to staying at home with your baby. Another consideration is that you may be able to work part-time or find ways to earn extra money from your home.


If you can put off going back to work full time until your child is at least a year old, do. At least for the first three to four months, when you are establishing a strong bond with our baby, it is best not to work at all. “ Each extra month is like money in the bank for both mother and child, “ says T. Brazelton, MD, author of Touchpoints. [19] Peggy O’Mara [20]

See Valuing parenting, staying at home vs. day care



[17] La Leche League International. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Plume, The Penguin Group (USA) Inc. New York 2004

 

[18] Yang, Sara. Studies link maternity leave with fewer C-sections and increased breastfeeding. The Natural Child Project, 5 January 2009,  researched June 2009 <http://www.naturalchild.org/research/maternity_leave.html>


[19] quoted from Brazelton, T.B., Touchpoints. Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley, 1992

[20] O’Mara, Peggy Natural Family Living Pocket Books, New York, NY 2000, Page 118



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Diet and nutrition in pregnancy - There is a lot of sources of information available about diet during pregnancy. But here are some thoughts and suggestions. Very simply, eat well. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, organic meat and organic dairy that's been re-cultured such as yogurt and kefir, and the least processed foods possible. (Even better than organic, if you can find it, are biodynamic vegetables, dairy and meat.[21]) A good rule of thumb is 'if it isn't food don't eat it'  - things such as food colouring, chemical fertilizers, preservatives... Try to stay away from junk food, soft drinks and sweets, not only because of additives and preservatives, and inviting unnecessary weight gain, but too much sugar can lead to the baby to growing faster on empty calories.[22] Drink lots of water. To mention a few things, make sure that in your diet you have:

 

 - folic acid found in green vegetables, lentils, nuts, liver (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[23],[24] amounts not usually    available in a regular diet.)

- omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid[25], [26] found in fish and flax oils (These support the baby's   neurological development, and can lessen the chances of post partum depression.)

- calcium found in milk, cheese, egg yolks and leafy vegetables

- iron found in meats, eggs, grains, leafy vegetables, nuts and dried fruit

- B vitamins found in meat, beans, milk and cheese

- vitamin C found in citrus fruits, strawberries, melons, papayas, broccoli, tomatoes, chilli peppers, potatoes

- vitamin E found in vegetable oils, leafy vegetables, cereals, meat, eggs milk[27]

These also can be taken as a dietary supplement if they aren't sufficient in your diet  (There are multivitamins made especially or pregnant and lactating women).

- vitamin D generated with the skin’s exposure to sunlight. (In pregnancy, vitamin D is passed on to the baby through the mother, after birth, some of the required amount is passed on through the milk. During winter months, if you do not have much sun exposure you may consider taking a supplement.) [28]

 

Why organic? Organic fruit and vegetables are free of pesticides, which can be toxic in various degrees. [29] The developing foetus, and the young child are especially vulnerable to the neurological effects of pesticides, and studies have shown that eating organic food can greatly reduce exposure to pesticides. [30] Organic milk products have at certain times been found to have higher levels of Omega3 essential fatty oil, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.[31] If you are an avid meat-eater, it may be wise to invest in organic meats and eat it a little less often. Organic meats are from animals raised on organic feeds and are free of antibiotics, added growth hormones, and GMO feed. If organic food is difficult to find, or too expensive for you, look for local, fresh vegetables, and free-range (or pasture-fed) meat, eggs and dairy. If this all seems daunting, a good place to start is to just buy fresh vegetables and grains (rice, quinoa, barley, millet) and legumes (lentils, beans) that appeal and if you're not sure how to cook them, find a recipe for them in a cook book or online, and experiment.

 

Food cravings are a very real thing for some pregnant women. If the food being craved is less wholesome, it can be beneficial to see what element in the food is really being craved, and to find something healthier to eat. For example, maybe the craving for ice cream could be eased with natural yogurt and maple syrup or fruit.

        

Raspberry leaf tea is full of vitamins and minerals and is very beneficial for the health and strength of the uterus.[32] It can be a very helpful thing to drink regularly, starting at the beginning of the third trimester of the pregnancy, (four cups a day) in preparation for the labour.


Here is a recipe from The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm, MD:


Nourishment Tea

2 parts red raspberry leaf

2 parts nettle

1 part oatstraw

1/2 part alfalfa

1/2 part rosehips

1/4 part red clover

1/4 part spearmint leaf

Mix all dried herbs together and store in an airtight container away from heat and light. To prepare your infusion, place a heaping 1/4 cup (60ml) of the mixture in a quart (4 cup/1liter) sized jar. Add boiling water to fill the jar, cover, and let steep for a minimum of 30 min, max 2 hrs. Strain, sweeten and drink 1 to 4 cups a day.


See Nourishing Traditions and Foodwise in Nutrition references.

 

LINKS

Whole Food Cooking http://www.wholefoodcooking.com.au


The following site has an informative slide show of the important foods to buy organic:

http://www.webmd.com/health-ehome-9/slideshow-organic-foods

 



[21] What is Biodynamic Agriculture? Biodynamic Farming  and Gardening Association www.biodynamics.com , 2009, researched August 2009 <http://www.biodynamics.com/biodynamics.html>

 

[22] Sugar and Pregnancy, Natural Pregnancy. A Much Better Way, LLC www.pregnancy.amuchbetterway.com, 2008, researched July 2009 <http://pregnancy.amuchbetterway.com/sugar-and-pregnancy/>

 

[23] 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>

 

[24] 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>

 

[25] Helland, IB et al.. Maternal supplementation with very-long-chain n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and lactation augments children's IQ at 4 years of age. The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) 2009 Issue 3, www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com, January 2003, researched August 2009 <http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/cochrane/clcentral/articles/524/CN-00412524/frame.html>


[26] Université Laval. Omega-3 Intake During Last Months Of Pregnancy Boosts An Infant's Cognitive And Motor Development. ScienceDaily, April 11, 2008, June, 2009 <http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2008/04/080409110029.htm>

[27] Samuels, Mike, MD, and Nancy Samuels. The Well Baby Book. Summit Books, New York 1991

 

[28] Mojab, Cynthia Good. Sunlight Deficiency: A Review of the Literature. Mothering Magazine, Issue 117, March/April 2003, researched  October 2009 <http://www.mothering.com/sunlight-deficiency-review-literature>

[29] What's on my food? Pesticide Action Network North America, 2009, researched June 2009 <http://whatsonmyfood.org/index.jsp>

 

[30] University of Washington. Panna News: Eating Organics Cuts Kids' Pesticide Loads. Pan North America, 31 January 2003, June 2009 <http://www.panna.org/node/1643>


[31] DeWitt, Jerry. Organic Milk: Nutritional Benefits. Scientific Findings About Organic Agriculture, 2008, researched July 2009 <http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/organic/milk/3.html>

 

[32] Palmer, Jane. Raspberry Leaf. Pregnancy.com.au, December 2000, researched July 2009 <http://www.pregnancy.com.au/raspberry_leaf.htm>


 

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Things to avoid in pregnancy - More suggestions:

 

•      avoid any alcohol [33]

•      recreational drugs, and check prescription drugs with your doctor

•      any smoked or undercooked meats

•      cheeses made with unpasteurized milk

•      soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert and blue cheese

•      things sweetened with aspartame

 

Also, avoid things with caffeine such as:

 

•      coffee

•      black tea

•      caffeinated soft drinks

•      chocolate

 

Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic. It can reduce the absorption of certain minerals and vitamins, raises blood pressure and is passed on through the placenta to the baby, who cannot metabolize it. Too much caffeine (more than 300mg) can increase risk of miscarriage or babies with lower birth weight. [34] If coffee or chocolate is a must, buy better quality (organic) and be as moderate as possible.

 

Make sure any drugs, vitamins, teas, herbal teas, homeopathic, Traditional Chinese Medicine or other remedies you want to take are safe in pregnancy. Some herbs have powerful effects.


 

See Beauty and cleaning products, Cleaning




[33] 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>


[34] Health Canada Reminds Canadians to Manage Caffeine Consumption Health Canada www.hc-sc.gc.ca, 19 March, 2010, researched October 2010 <http://hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/advisories-avis/_2010/2010_40-eng.php>



 

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Exposure to abuse and violence - The issue of violence seems to be more common than is often thought. Any violence or abuse experienced by a pregnant woman affects the unborn child. Whether it is physical violence, emotional or psychological abuse, verbal abuse, financial, social, sexual abuse, or being ridiculed for religious or spiritual beliefs, it is all a form of violence that affects the unborn child.[35] If you find yourself in this situation, ask for help, for yourself and for the health of the baby. Find a local help line, or someone that has resources to help you change your situation in whatever way necessary.




[35] Healthy Beginnings. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario 2005


 

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Exercise and body treatments - If any time is a good time to do regular exercise, then it seems pregnancy is an even better time,[36] but it's good to be aware of changes in your body. If you do intense aerobic activities, you may want to ask your doctor or caregiver if it's appropriate and how long you can do it. It may help to hold the thought that you do your activities with and not despite the baby, and to let a feeling of gentleness and joy guide you in your actions.


While doing exercise, try to be aware of what may feel different and not push yourself too hard. Gentle exercise such as walking, yoga, or swimming, are ideal, especially later in the pregnancy. You may find that in the third trimester you start feeling practice contractions (Braxton Hicks) when you exercise. Doing pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises during pregnancy can be helpful in toning the pelvic floor to aid in the birth and recovery after the delivery, as well as helping with urinary incontinence. If you're going for massage, physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopath, acupuncture or any other body or energy treatment, it's good to let the practitioner know that you're pregnant.


In someone used to a particular level of exercise, the body is well able to cope at that level during pregnancy. General activity as well as prenatal exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvis and prepare for the birth are important.  Peter W. Nathanielsz [37]



[36] 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>

[37] Nathanielsz, Peter W., M.D., Ph.D. Life Before Birth and A Time to be Born. Promethean Press, Ithica, New York, 1992 page 161

 

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Energy maintenance - What can you do to keep your energy levels up? Some women are a lot more tired during pregnancy, so taking care of yourself and managing your energy is important. Getting lots of rest and sleep is important for your health and the baby's, and helps lessen the stress of everyday life. [38]


Nothing currently available from a physician improves uterine blood flow better than real rest.

Peter W. Nathanielsz [39]


Not that long ago, when people did work and chores, they had a song for everything. They hoed the garden, chopped trees, swept the floor, cleaned the house, to the rhythm of the song, in regular, rhythmical movements. Even if you don't have a song for everything, finding a rhythm in any task you're doing can be more fun and a lot less tiring.[40]


There are good lessons in all this for the good management of a pregnancy. Regularity of habit - eating, sleeping, work, relaxation - will give the baby a better chance to develop normally.

Peter W. Nathanielsz [41]


Finding a rhythm in the structure of the day can be very helpful too, such as eating meals and waking and sleeping at regular times. This saves you energy for going through the day, especially if you are working a lot or if you already have a little one. It also helps to prioritize and simply rest when you can!

 

ARTICLES

Samuels MD - Mother's emotions on unborn baby.htm

 

Harwood, A.C. - Rhythm.htm



[38] Lee, Kathryn, RN, PhD, FAAN and Caryl L. Gay, PhD Inadequate sleep in late pregnancy may influence labor and delivery University of California UCSF School of Nursing, 15 December 2004, June 2009 < http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/6819>


[39] Nathanielsz, Peter W., M.D., Ph.D. Life Before Birth and A Time to be Born. Promethean Press, Ithica, New York, 1992 page 160

 

[40] Harwood, A.C.. The Way of the Child. Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1974


[41] Nathanielsz, Peter W., M.D., Ph.D. Life Before Birth and A Time to be Born. Promethean Press, Ithica, New York, 1992 page 141



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Making a home - What can you do to prepare the space for the baby? It is ideal to welcome a newborn in a way that is gentle on the senses: rooms that are simple, clean and light, and though de-cluttering isn't always easy to do, it always feels good afterwards. You could ready your home for the baby and the new lifestyle to come by looking at each room and evaluating what clutter you can clear up, what objects or furniture you can give away, what can be put away, what can be cleaned, repaired or repainted. You could call it a form of anticipated nesting! This may also help you more easily accommodate the baby's changing mobility needs, and make baby-proofing much easier when the time comes.

 

See Welcoming the baby, nourishing the senses

 

Clothing and care for the baby

 

Baby proofing the home

 

About conscious parenting

 

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