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For women planning a home birth since early in their pregnancy, or through a desire late in pregnancy to be in the comfort of their own home, planning for a home birth can seem exciting.  However, for families that might need to make a quick change of plans due to fear of their desired birth location, changing your birth team and environment might feel overwhelming.  Here are some tips to guide you through preparing for a home birth no matter which path led you here.

GET HEALTHY TO PREPARE FOR HOME BIRTH

Being healthy for home birth is quite ideal.  Birth at home is safe when the woman birthing at home is healthy.  There is no technique, skill, knowledge, or care provider that can make birth safer than the woman herself.  Home birth is statistically so safe because the women birthing at home have been, by default, some of the healthiest women in the population as someone unhealthy to birth at home is risked out if their lifestyle cannot change to improve their overall wellness.  Even the medications used to treat complications only buy time for the body to do what it was designed to do, and the nutrients and environment provided throughout and after the birth are at the base of healing.  This is up to women to eat well balanced, eliminate non-nourishing foods and other chemicals, and to live a movement-based lifestyle with reduced fear.

  • Eat an ample portion of dark leafy greens at every meal
  • Eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruits throughout the day
  • Drink at least 2-3 quarts of water and/or herbal tea (such as red raspberry leaf, alfalfa, and nettles) daily along with hydrating foods
  • Take supplements where you’re lacking, and be sure they’re bioavailable to your body
  • Walk an average of 3-5 miles daily (throughout the day, even if this is through your daily chores)
  • Stretch throughout the day, change positions, and get bodywork (even if this is a basic massage by someone in your family)

KNOW HOW TO DO A BASIC PRENATAL ASSESSMENT

Knowing signs and symptoms to watch for through pregnancy and birth can help you know when it is truly necessary to seek additional care.  For a detailed explanation of how to perform these basic prenatal care assessments and normal ranges, read THIS POST.

  • Your blood pressure should be balanced. You will likely feel off if it is not.
  • Your pulse should be calm. Hydrate if it is not, seek additional support if this does not balance it.
  • Your temperature should be normal during pregnancy.
  • Your baby should grow about a centimeter each week. Sometimes, baby’s position changes this measurement, but the measurement should be within 2 weeks +/- of the week of pregnancy you are currently.
  • Your urine should be clear to pale yellow.
  • Your bowel movements should be easy and smooth and a minimum of once daily.
  • You should not have swelling that doesn’t subside with rest or a change of activity.
  • Your baby should be moving well after you’ve started feeling movements and reacting to you stimulating them if you palpate your belly.

REDUCE FEAR TO PREPARE FOR HOME BIRTH

Fear causes tension.  Tensions causes pain.  Pain causes fear.  Fear increases blood pressure and pulse.  Fear increases adrenaline and stresses mom and baby.  Explore your fears and find the information that helps to allay them.  If you are preparing for home birth that you are not fully desiring, this is especially important.  (This approach is the same for preparing for any birth anywhere, as fear is one of the biggest factors outside of wellness that contribute to complications in birth).

  • Practice relaxation techniques that help you to stabilize your breathing
  • Read positive birth stories and remind yourself that birth is normally safe (even when moms are not at their ideal health)
  • Most birth variations have multiple approaches that a few basic skills, or herbs, can remedy – learn them DOWNLOAD BIRTH COMPLICATION BASIC MANAGEMENT.
  • The less we rely on others to “take care of us” or have the answers, the more confident we become. Learn – no matter where you’re planning to birth – so your fear is a non-issue
  • Learn comfort techniques like walking, swaying, rhythmic movements, birth balls, hip squeezes, how to move baby’s position, and so much more. These can be learned through Birth Classes, or in-home prenatal care.  These options are available virtually, as well.
  • Take the Esali Birth Labor & Birth Overview course for a quick run-through of expectations of labor progression and tips for pregnancy and postpartum, or the complete Esali Birth Online Birth Class for more thorough information

 

GATHER SUPPLIES TO PREPARE FOR HOME BIRTH

Basic home birth supplies can help your home birth be more comfortable and provide you with tools in case labor doesn’t take a straight forward path.  Most of the supplies you’ll need are around the house, and a few a midwife can provide.  It is helpful to have all your supplies together in one location no later than 36 weeks.

  • Prenatal Records (lab results, prenatal care notes, vital sign baselines, list of allergies, back-up provider information, and any other details about your desires that would be beneficial to anyone supporting you – including a birth guide for your desires of how to be cared for)
  • Towels & Wash Cloths
  • Package of Underpads or absorbent material to place wherever you are during labor and birth
  • Sturdy Plastic Sheet to cover and protect your bed in case you birth there
  • Nettles & Red Raspberry Leaf tea (or chlorophyll), High-Quality Grape Juice, and anti-hemorrhage herbs if you can get them (though nipple stimulation and your placenta/cord/membranes can be used in lieu of these herbs)
  • A long clean string, clean crocheted cord tie, or sterile cord clamp. DON’T cut the cord routinely after birth.  Wait until the cord is white and the placenta has been birthed!  This is only for if the cord snaps or in a rare case the cord has to be cut early.
  • Nourishing, easily-digested, foods. Fruits, soups, dark leafy greens, protein, broths.  For you and anyone that might be supporting you.

For a full list of supplies for optimal comfort, DOWNLOAD HOME BIRTH SUPPLY LIST

KNOW YOUR BIRTH SUPPORTERS FOR HOME BIRTH

There are so many people throughout our communities with wide ranges of knowledge about natural childbirth.  Many mothers that have planned home births in the past.  Doulas that have supported home birth (which is a bit different than supporting birth in the hospital).  Midwives and their assistants that have cared for women from pregnancy, birth, and postpartum – as well as provided routine checks on baby.  Have a list of people you can call for phone or video support if you plan (or need) to be alone.  Find a provider – the sooner the better.  If you wait too long in your pregnancy, a provider may not be available.  Likewise, a large part of the support a provider gives during labor is from learning about you and your baby during pregnancy.  The more time they have to do this, the more care they can provide.  If you’re considering home birth because of world changes like COVID19, waiting until the last days of your pregnancy to make a decision might decrease the safety of preparing to birth at home.  You can start receiving in-home prenatal care, learn techniques for self-prenatal care in case the home birth caseload for providers significantly increases, and learn techniques for birthing unassisted should the worst-case scenario occur.

SMILE, LOVE, & LIVE LIFE

While planning for a less-than-ideal birth might increase panic, once you become comfortable with your knowledge, these fears will subside.  Make the majority of your day focused on positivity, centering yourself, prayer, meditation, a walk in the woods, spending time with family, and going about your daily routine.  Women have birthed babies in far worse circumstances with joy and love and health over many centuries.  The health and happiness of birth is on your side.  Use the last weeks of your pregnancy to be amazed by your incredible body and how wonderfully it has been created.

 

If you would like more guidance on home birth, self-prenatal care, birth classes, education on birthing unassisted, reach out!  My virtual office is open to those outside my radius and support for my local community is available.

The Prenatal Wellness Tracker helps you track your food intake, movement, and self-care routines during pregnancy for a happy health birth.  This prenatal health guide is available in both Excel and App form and helps you to document your food intake, movement routines, and relaxation routines daily and see a visual graph to easily see where you might be lacking in nutrition or other prenatal wellness routines.

Prenatal Wellness Tracker Includes

  • Due Date Calculator
  • Food Group Recommendations based on Simple Portions prenatal nutrition
  • Movement Recommendations
  • Self-Care Recommendations
  • Weekly/Daily Wellness Tracking
  • Visual Chart of Wellness Routines
  • Indicators of High Wellness, Medium Wellness, and Improvement Areas
  • Printable format for daily and weekly averages to communicate with care providers

Prenatal Wellness Tracker - EXCEL

The Prenatal Wellness Tracker Excel version is the traditional robust version of the prenatal wellness guide.  This version provides mothers that want a look at their average weekly health with a way of daily input and savings and a more accurate way of determining your balance of wellness as well as options to print off weekly charts for communicating with your care provider and for your reflection journal.

Prenatal Wellness Tracker APP

The Prenatal Wellness Tracker App provides a simple quick overview of your daily input for nutrition and lifestyle routines for great on-the-go monitoring of your wellness habits and routines.

mans guide to birth esali birth

Man's Guide to Birth is member's only resource; a guide for dads and birth partners through pregnancy, birth, and the first months of parenting. This short and to the point guide for men will help you to better support a pregnant and laboring woman and understanding your needs as a birth partner and father.  The Man's Guide to Birth is easy to navigate on your phone and makes a great bathroom reader for pregnancy.

Man's Guide to Birth Includes:

  • Fertility and Conception Tips
  • Nutrition and Wellness Tips
  • Pregnancy Discomfort Relief Tips
  • Emotional Guidance for Dads
  • Emotional Guidance for Dads supporting Moms
  • Birth Partner Tips
  • Labor Comfort Tips
  • Unassisted Emergency Birth Tips
  • Breastfeeding Tips
  • Newborn Health Tips

Join the Free Birth Community!

The Esali Birth Perinatal Pocket Guide is member's only resource; a pocket doula guide for pregnancy, birth, and the first weeks postpartum.  This easy to navigate pregnancy guide can be easily viewed on your phone or printed on index cards.  The labor guide is a great labor bag reference for dads, birth partners, and doulas.

Perinatal Pocket Guide Includes:

  • Prenatal Wellness Tips
  • Baby Alignment Tips
  • Pregnancy Discomfort Remedies
  • Pregnancy Belly Mapping Tips
  • Early Labor Tips
  • Early Labor Progression Tips
  • Active Labor Tips
  • Active Labor Progression Tips
  • Birthing (Pushing) Tips
  • Birthing (Pushing) Progression Tips
  • Placenta Uses
  • Unassisted Emergency Birth Tips
  • Breastfeeding Latch Tips

 Join the Free Birth Community!

Pregnancy safe herbs are easy to find.  If you're pregnant, this may be the first time you've tasted the herbal waters as you look for ways to improve your nourishment or find a warm alternative to your morning cuppa.  Learning more about how to safely select and use herbs in pregnancy and throughout the childbearing and parenting years was a strong drive for me completing The Science & Art of Herbalism course through Sage Mountain.

Are Herbs Safe for Pregnancy?

That's a general question for such a broad range of herbal choices.  So, the general answer is, yes, most herbs are safe for pregnancy.  Herbs are food - they're not pharmaceuticals.  That is, they are a whole plant - and we're not talking about essential oils, here.  We're not talking about extracted constituents from an otherwise safe herb for pregnancy.  We are talking about the whole herb, and like food, whole herbs are designed to provide the body with nourishment so the body can work optimally.  The more you move away from whole herbs, the more you have to think about in terms of type, dosage, and quantity.

What are Herbs Safe for Pregnancy?

Generally, you're looking for tonic herbs, as in toning to the body.  This doesn't mean toning like muscle-contracting, it means toning as in providing the body with optimal nutrients.  In addition to toning, using herbs that have a long history of herbal use will be a great place to start.  These tonic herbs are typically drank as a tea or infusion steeped for at least 5 minutes, and up to overnight, drank 1-3 times a day.

Tonic herbs that are considered generally safe for pregnancy include:

  • Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)
  • Strawberry Leaf (Fragaria vesca)
  • Nettles (Urtica dioca)
  • Oat Straw (Avena sativa)
  • Hawthorn Leaf & Berries (Crataegus spp.)

What are Herbs Safe for Pregnancy Specific Conditions?

While tonic herbs are herbs that can be used generally through all trimesters to nourish the body, there are some pregnancy-specific conditions that herbs can be used to treat, and these are intended to be used topically or as a tea drank 1-3 times daily  as needed.

Morning Sickness

  • Peppermint Leaf (Mentha piperita)
  • Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale)

Anxiety & Sleep

  • Oat Straw Tincture in Milky Stage (Avena sativa semen)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Stretch Marks & Topical Skin Health

  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
  • St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • Comfrey (topical only) (Symphytum officinale)

When are Herbs Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

When to use herbs during pregnancy is really dependent upon your personal health.  Most herbs have far less side effects than commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals; however, we can still choose what we put in and on our body with knowledge and a few things to keep in mind.

  • Tonic herbs are generally safe during all trimesters
  • The second trimester is typically the safest for using stronger herbs as there is an increase of risk of miscarriage in the first trimester and an increase of preterm labor in the third trimester
  • Avoid oxytocic and anthelmintic herbs unless under the direction of your care provider
  • Be cautious of most emmenagogue herbs, especially during the first and last trimester
  • Be cautious of introducing new herbs if you have a history of miscarriage
  • Be cautious of strong laxative herbs (yes, this includes castor oil)
  • Be cautious of herbs with high volatile oils (i.e. essential oils), particularly avoid internal use of essential oils.  In moderation, these herbs in whole form are generally considered safe during pregnancy when they do not fall under other caution categories
  • Be cautious of bitters and avoid strong bitters
  • Be cautious of your personal allergies to plants
  • Use 3 quality sources for reference (not google and not "this is good for this" lists and not random people in mom groups) and make an educated decision based on your current situation

Let thy Food be thy Medicine

There are so many herbs safe for pregnancy.  This list is just the tip of the teapot when it comes to all the herbs you have for nourishment, calming, and pregnancy-specific conditions.  The bottom line is, start learning and finding your quality resources and choose foods, and herbs, that are generally nourishing throughout the day so that you are being provided with optimal nutrients more than just a few cups at a time.  If you are looking for personal guidance choosing herbs during the childbearing years, get in touch.

Other Resources for Herbs Safe for Pregnancy:

  • Herbs for the Childbearing Year - Susun Weed
  • Herbal Healing for Women - Rosemary Gladstar
  • AvivaRomm.com
  • Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine - David Hoffmann, FNIMH, AHG

Mushroom Coffee?  Herbal Coffee?  Mushroom Hot Chocolate?  No way, you say?

Coffee.  Caffeine.  Morning Cuppa.  Chai.  [Black] Tea.  What is it about those deep dark flavorful aromas that we love to fill our sit down and sip time?  Why is it that with all the energy-boosting methods out there, we turn to caffeine the most?  With the push of a button, that's all we need now for our favorite flavor.  Around every corner you see another coffee shop popping up to fill this addiction.

Kicking the coffee habit during pregnancy or breastfeeding is a great idea...  putting that idea into a practice can be another story, though.  I'm a sucker for the smell of coffee... the flavor... the depth.  I could just sit in a coffee shop just for the smell.  My favorite ice cream blend is chocolate & brownies with a scoop of coffee ice cream.  It is simply intoxicating.  Nevertheless, I cannot drink it regularly.  I will use it after a long birth, or a stressful night.  I'll use it when it gets super cold and there's snow all around and I just want that experience standing on my porch in the crisp morning.  Autumn is a weakness for me, for sure.  And that's why I have this Mushroom Herbal Coffee blend.  I can get my fix, and feel nourished while doing it.

While the consensus is one cup of coffee per day during pregnancy or breastfeeding may be OK... it is not the ideal.  Caffeine, and acidic foods, in any addictive manner can be detrimental to adequate hormonal balance and overall health.  It causes a draining affect on the body and creates a dependency for circulation and tension-relief.  Coffee and black tea can deplete the body of nutrients through their diuretic affect, even when they're decaffeinated.  Coffee and black tea can make it harder to stay hydrated, which effects multiple health aspects, and can effect your milk supply.  Starting out the parenting journey with overall healthy sleep and nutritional habits will be crucial to your future health.  Want to sleep when the baby sleeps?  Need to mellow out your moods?  Try this delicious mushroom herbal coffee alternative to help you break the caffeine, and preservative habit.

This is not just another herbal coffee blend.  This mushroom coffee mix is naturally decaffeinated and nourishing on multiple levels, wonderful for all ages, and can spice up any cool night around the fire.  That being said, as with all herbs that stimulate the digestive and diuretic nature of the blood - they can be overdone.  You can use these blended with coffee to slowly work your way to reducing the caffeine in your daily routine.  Then you can reduce the amount you're relying on these types of drinks altogether where they eventually turn into a treat now and then.  Anything that makes you feel as if you need it to function, be motivated, or relax daily is detrimental to your overall health.  Use sunshine, movement, sleep, and social connection along with a well-balanced habit of whole foods whenever possible to nourish your mind and body, and these treats for now and then or special occasions.

Mushroom Herbal Coffee Key Ingredients

Roasted Dandelion Root - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Dandelion is well known as a liver-supporting herb able to help the body detox while not depleting the body of potassium like many diuretics.  While non-roasted dandelion is the best medicinal form, using a roasted dandelion (even 1/2 roasted and 1/2 not) is a key ingredient in this mushroom herbal coffee blend for a bitter rich flavor.

Roasted Chicory Root - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Chicory root has long been used as an herbal coffee replacement and additive.  You'll see this soft blue colored flower blanket the roadsides through the summer as with most liver-supporting herbs, it grows well in poor soil working to improve the soil conditions for future plants, just as it can improve the conditions of the body for future health.

Roasted Chicory Root gives this blend a dark rich color and the bitterness you know well from your favorite cup of ahh.

Roasted Carob - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

While there are many coffee alternatives, unfortunately, some do lack the rich flavor that we know so well in coffee.  Roasted carob helps to bring back that richness in this mushroom herbal coffee blend.

Carob is often used as cocoa replacement.  You can get it in powder or chopped form, and even sweetened carob chips for cookies.  We're using the chopped form here for flavor and boldness.  It isn't quite as rich as cocoa, but brings a depth to this blend with many nutrients included such as magnesium and calcium.

Burdock Root - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Burdock root, like dandelion root, is wonderful for the liver and detoxification system.  If you're experiencing skin-eruptions and other skin-conditions in pregnancy, burdock is a great support to the liver so it can do its job of removing toxins.  It also has a nice bitter flavor, building up that coffee replacement profile.

Ground Milk Thistle Seed - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Milk Thistle Seed doesn't give this blend much flavor at all; maybe a little nuttiness if anything.  This addition is almost purely for the work it does on the liver.  While most of the other herbs in this blend support the liver through their diuretic and elimination nature, milk thistle has the added benefit of actually improving the liver's ability to regenerate so it functions better overall.  The beauty of the liver is that it has the ability to improve its function and even reverse diseases that are often thought of as incurable.  Because so many in our world aren't nourishing themselves by not only reducing meats, repetitive foods (mono-diets), and reduced processed foods alongside adding healthy doses of greens and a variety of whole vegetables and fruits, they become more and more reliant upon supplementation, medication, and intervention.  Our body only functions if we nourish it well and regularly.  Balanced nourishment (through food, movement, sleep, spiritual and social connection) are the foundation to full-body function.  With that foundation, milk thistle can improve the time the liver regenerates and may also support the body's ability to prevent pregnancy complications like acne, mood imbalances, PUPPS, cholestasis, HELLP and pre-eclampsia.

Reishi Mushroom - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

It is a common belief that a pregnant woman has a decreased immune system.  What if, they were simply not nourishing their body and due to the extra energy to gestate a baby, they became more susceptible to illness?  Reishi is very nourishing to the entire immune system helping you to avoid and fight off viral infections and other disease.  Reishi, like many mushrooms, has a mild flavor and gives this blend more depth.

Cordyceps Mushroom - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Cordyceps are packed with antioxidants and are also thought to improve muscle efficiency in the body, including the circulation system.  They can also help to balance blood sugar levels, something many women are concerned for during pregnancy.  Cordyceps, in powder form, build texture in this blend with more flavorful depth.

Maca Powder - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Maca is known for improving the health of the blood.  It is high in potassium, b-vitamins, vitamin c, manganese, and iron (even protein).  Maca can also help to balance moods.  The Maca Powder in this herbal coffee blend has a sweet buttery flavor to the mix.

Raw Cacao - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

While not a part of the basic blend, adding raw cacao gives this a mocha or hot chocolate option for kids and adults alike.  There is conflicting information as to if cacao actually contains caffeine or if it only contains a substance that stimulates similarly to caffeine.  Regardless, it adds a bit of an energy boost and depth of flavor.  Why raw cacao?  Because it has more nutrients.  There really isn't a big different in the roasted form many are familiar with (cocoa), but we keep it raw for the deeper flavor.  In fact, a lot of the this vs. that are looking at the differences in chocolate vs. cacao - two completely different products.  That's like comparing eggs vs. cake.   It does depend on where you get your cacao or cocoa from, but we prefer to stick with raw cacao for this blend when we can.  Cacao is high in magnesium and antioxidants, improving the nutrient profile of this mushroom herbal coffee blend.

I hope you enjoy this easy peasy mushroom herbal coffee mix and share your favorite way to enjoy with me on social media!

Mushroom Herbal Coffee & Hot Chocolate

To see this recipe, you must be a member of the FREE Esali Birth Community.  JOIN Esali Birth.

This whole herb recipe is for all you exhausted, adrenal fatigued, immune-compromised, inflamed, 1+ per day coffee drinkers, trendy supplement takers, long-hour working parents, low-milk supply mommas, baby-won't sleep, woke up with baby on my boob and I didn't know it, need a little afternoon pick-me-up, can't get enough greens, and all the humans out there.  I'm telling you, with the right herbal blends, you can find much more wholesome nourishing foods to put into your body for energy and healing as you work to balance your life.

Esali THRIVE herbal blend contains herbs known for their highly tonic (nutritive) benefits.  THRIVE can be used as a smoothie mix or snack ingredient for all ages and is available in a loose powder or encapsulated form for convenience.  If you are my client, you can order this blend through me, but I don't keep it in stock anymore so it takes about 1 month for me to fill orders.  The loose powders are great for smoothies and mixing in water or other foods, or they can be made into convenient capsules (even blended in with dehydrated placenta during postpartum).

If you're more of the DIY type, are learning to blend herbs, or just want to save some money - I'm sharing my easy step by step herbal blend because it's too amazing to keep to myself.  Wanna share some love if you're blending on your own?  Share the link!

Why Whole Herbs?

Let thy food be thy medicine... whole foods have nutrients and constituents that work together that simply cannot function the same way when those constituents are extracted one by one.

Many herbs are simply nutritive - foods that were once a typical part of the human diet.  Is this a meal replacement?  Absolutely NOT!  Can this be my vitamin?  I cannot tell you yes or no.  I don't test my blends for nutrient percentages.  I can tell you that I use this as my family's "supplement" and I personally feel much better using this blend than any other vitamin supplement I've ever taken (including other whole foods forms from excellent brands).  This is not an MLM ploy - it's just traditional knowledge and wisdom being shared with the people.

Whole herbs are the food you should be eating.  Many of these "herbs" are simply food that used to be a normal part of our diet and we stopped picking them from the wild so they're simply not a standard part of our diet any more.  Powder them, and that just makes it easy.  No, not quiet like fresh foods because they will start to break down their potency when they're powdered, but by using very high quality herbs and quality storage, the powders can do great through a few months of storage.

Where do I buy the whole herbs?

Normally, I would say try to grow the herbs or shop local.  If you know you're growing your herbs in high quality soil (or finding them in the woods in high quality conditions)... or you know the source of your local herb shop and their storage is high quality - then absolutely, grow or shop local.  However, otherwise, Mountain Rose Herbs is my recommendation.  Their business practices are incredible and they source from the best sustainable high quality sources possible.  The history of the company is wonderful as well.  There are others I will go to in a pinch, but this is my recommendation.

What are high quality whole herbs?

The soil the plants grow in determine the nutrient content of the herbs, of course.  Beyond that, the storage in the facility before getting to the storefront as well as during shipping and at the storefront make a big difference in the potency of the herbs.  Here are a few points you can use to help you determine that you're not only purchasing from a high quality source, but the shipping and storage retains the quality once it arrives at your doorstep.

  • The herb should look like its fresh state without added chemicals and fillers (If the plant is green, the dried herb should be green.  If the plant is red, the dried herb should be red...etc.)
  • The herb should smell like its fresh state without added chemicals and fillers (Peppermint should smell like peppermint.  Valerian root should smell like fruity floral dirt socks...etc.).
  • The herb should do what it is intended to do [when used in the correct application for the correct individual].
  • The storefront should be willing to share their sourcing and storage practices so you can know your farmer.
  • Herbs should be shipped and stored in dry conditions, out of direct sunlight, in a cool area, and not for extended periods

How do I store my whole herbs?

For the powders, after blending, I recommend storing in a mason jar (or other air tight container) in the freezer or refrigerator.  You don't have to do this, of course, it just extends the shelf life.

Otherwise, store in an air tight container in a cool dark place.

What are the ingredients already?!?

First things first - this is FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THRIVE's ingredients are known to be packed full of phytonutrients, antioxidant, plant-based proteins, vitamins, minerals, herbal nervines (nerve nourishing, building, and soothing), herbal tonics (nutritive and body-strengthening) all in whole-foods form; however, I make no claims for its ability to do anything for you.

Parts

Your "part" is simply the unit of measurement you choose to use.  I normally use "ounces" by weight when I am blending this particular blend.  So, 1 part would equal 1 ounce.  2 parts would equal 2 ounces. 1/2 part would equal 1/2 ounce...etc.  I could use a handful, a teaspoon, a bowl full...etc., and the same concept would apply.  Ounces as a part gives me almost a whole quart full of powders blended which will last us around a month or so.

2 Parts Nettle Leaf

If you're looking for only one ingredient as a powder (or tea, or food for soup) to use - nettles is the one!  I use whole nettle leaf in omelets, quiche, soups, and as a tea.  I also use the powder form for this blend.

Nettle leaf is a nutrient powerhouse high in calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium.  When used regularly over time it may provide a natural balance for seasonal allergies with its anti-histamine properties.  It may be great for joint support and suppressing arthritis with strong anti-inflammatory properties.  It is high in Vitamins A, C, E, F, K, & P as well as B complexes providing powerful energy and body support.  Its toning properties provide blood building, toxin cleansing, and odor cleansing abilities.

2 Parts Oat Straw

Oat straw is another tonic, nutritive, herb.  In its milky form, it is excellent as a nervine to soothe and calm.  In its dry form, oat straw has demulcent properties and is high in calcium which provide nourishment to the nervous system. Additionally, oat straw can support digestion as well as adrenal and liver support.  Oatstraw may provide blood sugar balance and cardiovascular support.

2 Parts Alfalfa

Another power green, alfalfa is a complete plant-based protein and offers digestive support.  It is high in Iron, Calcium (needed for iron digestion), potassium, and magnesium.  It offers Vitamins A, D, E, K as well as B complexes.  It’s blood building, toxin cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties increase its headache suppression abilities.

1 Part Beet Root

Beet root is a dark red sweet vegetable offering phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties.  It offers Lutein to support healthy vision as well as Vitamins A, C, and B complexes.  It provides toxin cleansing, digestion support, and cardiovascular support.

1 Part Barley Grass

Barley Grass provides Vitamins A, C, and B complexes as well as Folate, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, and Zinc making this a powerful immune system supporting herb.  It is a complete plant-based protein and offers digestion support with pH balance.

1 Part Wheat Grass

What Grass is a mineral-packed complete plant-based power green known for its anti-inflammatory support and toxin-cleansing abilities.  It offers amino acids as well as Vitamins A, C, E, I, K and B complexes.  Its blood sugar balance can support many of modern culture's ailments.

1 Part Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake is a powerful super food with ancient uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Shiitake may aid in suppressing cancer and offers cardiovascular support, and immune system support.  It is a great source of iron and antioxidants.

1/2 Part Chlorella

Chlorella is another well-known power green known for its cleansing abilities. It offers Chlorophyll, as do all greens, as well as Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Gamma Linolenic Acid.  It offers Vitamins A, C, E, K as well as B complexes.  It provides blood building, strong toxin cleansing, and odor cleansing abilities as well as blood sugar balance.

1/2 Part Spirulina

Spirulina is another well-known power green known for its body-building and anti-inflammatory properties as a complete plant-based protein.  It offers Chlorophyll, Vitamins A, C, and E as well as B complexes and calcium.  It provides blood building, toxin cleansing, and odor cleansing abilities.

1/2 Part Cranberry

With today’s diet and lifestyle, bacterial imbalances are high. Cranberry’s antioxidants and immune system support may aid the body’s healing abilities while also pinpointing urinary system support.  It is high in phytonutrients and antioxidants.  It also provides cardiovascular support, may help to suppress cancer, and is anti-inflammatory.

1/4 Part Kelp

Many people today, despite a high fortified diet, do not consume enough natural levels of iodine needed for thyroid health. Kelp is naturally high in iodine and also provides Iron and the Vitamin C that increases iron absorption.  It provides estrogen balance, antioxidants, and breast cancer suppression (which even males can suffer from).  Kelp is an anti-inflammatory and may help balance blood sugar-making this a super food for modern culture.

How do I blend the THRIVE Herbal Powders?

By using the "part" measurements from above (or the easy to read version below) - weigh/measure your parts.  The "parts" make it super easy to scale down or scale up your recipe at any time from a "pinch" to bulk ounces.

Don't have one of the ingredients?  No biggie!  When I get low on powders, for myself, or if I'm drinking a lot of nettle infusions, I leave various herbs out.  I also add things in like marshmallow root powder on occasion.  Blending your own herbs makes things like that easy and fun.

Stir everything altogether and then put it in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.  Or, if you're lazy efficient like me, just measure everything out in a quart size mason jar, with a kitchen scale you can zero out each time, and then just put the lid on and shake.  In all seriousness, there is some serious therapeutic artistic energy when you take the time to measure by hand and swirl all these beautiful herbs together.  I love doing this on a weekend morning while drinking a cup of energizing nettle tea... or maybe even a raw cacao hot cocoa... or even after a rough night and a cup of coffee (my heart is thanking me that this isn't routine).

How Do I use the THRIVE Herbal Powders?

The Esali THRIVE Herbal Powders can be used in any way you would like them to enter your mouth - a few options include:

  • Mix with water
  • Mix with Juice
  • Eat it right off the spoon (have some water handy so you don't choke breathing in powders) - this is my kids favorite because on the occasion they get juice, they want that full flavor of juice and eating it off a spoon is just quick and easy
  • Mix with yogurt, cereal, granola, or sprinkle it on some ice cream if you'd like
  • Excellent green smoothie blend!!
  • Blend with a little bit of honey or date puree, just enough to roll it into little balls for a chewable... or any sort of nut and date blend for a great on the go breakfast or snack
  • Encapsulate these (by hand or) with an easy capsule machine.

How Much of the Whole Herb Blend Do I Take?

The amount you take depends on you.  While you can't pinpoint exactly what a "serving" is to each person - a general estimate is that 1 teaspoon of powder is equal to about 1 serving of fresh leafy greens, for an adult.  This gives you a bit of an idea of how convenient these herbal powders can be if you have trouble getting in enough greens and balanced foods.

Start with 1/2 teaspoon per day (or about 2 size 00 capsules packed tight) for an adult.  Slowly increase.  These are PACKED with greens... chlorophyll... which means they help toxins move through your system by providing the liver and the blood with nutrients that make your system work.  If you're not working to change your lifestyle, adding a bunch of greens into the mix isn't going to fix you and it may just make you feel kind of... blech... maybe even just stimulate your system enough to give you a bunch of zits rather than actually eliminate the toxins through your bowels.  So, start slow.  Build up to an amount that makes you feel good.  I usually don't take more than about 3 teaspoons a day, and I take less when I know I'm eating really well, and sleep is amazing, and... so usually I take about 3 teaspoons a day.  My kids, of course, take an amount proportional to their size, which you can determine with these children dosage guidelines here which is in line with the amount I am currently taking since we have similar eating and lifestyle patterns.

Esali THRIVE Whole Herb Powder Blend

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

- 2 Parts Nettle Leaf

- 2 Parts Oat Straw

- 2 Parts Alfalfa

- 1 Part Beet Root

- 1 Part Barley Grass

- 1 Part Wheat Grass

- 1 Part Shiitake Mushroom

- 1/2 Part Chlorella

- 1/2 Part Spirulina

- 1/2 Part Cranberry

- 1/4 Part Kelp

Directions

Choose your "part" (i.e. 1 teaspoon, 1 cup, 1 ounce).  Use this "part" measurement with the numbers above to measure out each ingredient.

Mix well, breaking up any small clumps - especially in the beet root and cranberry powders.

Store in a glass, air-tight container in a cool dark place (preferably the refrigerator).  Consume within three months.

Want help blending?  Let's set-up some time where I pour you a cup of a tea, or wine, and let's blend this together.  Super fun for a group night out!

What's your food vice?  What is your food you feel you need every day, multiple times a day, or multiple times a week that isn't totally nourishing?  No worries - we're going to focus on foods to add for a healthy pregnancy, not foods to eliminate.

It's easy to tell someone what not to do.  It is another thing altogether to provide someone with the information to actually take a positive step forward.  Changing habits, lifestyles, is daunting enough.  Taking away that "thing" can be overwhelming.  We want to build oxytocin for a happy healthy birth, so let's start with a positive approach to choices with these seven foods to add for a healthy pregnancy.

Nettles - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Nettles - one of the most nutritious and healing wild foods available.  Nettels are high in calcium, vitamin A, iron, plant-based protein, fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, folate, lutein and many other nutrients your body needs for healthy function.

This tonic (nutrient-rich) herb can be purchased online and in many of your local health food stores as a tea.  You may even find a patch of this stinging plant in your back yard (wear gloves when harvesting, the sting will go away when it is steeped, cooked, or dried).  Nettles are wonderful for removing proteins from the urine, improving protein digestion, nourishing the liver, and supporting immune function improving atrophied parts of the body systems.

As clinical herbalis David Hoffmann tells us, "When in doubt, give nettles."

Drink nettle tea 1-3 times a day.  Throw nettles in a bowl of soup or make nettle pesto.

Eggs - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Eggs are another one of those complete meals all in one.  Eggs are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Choline, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Omega-3, Omega-6, protein, lutein and of course many more things your body and baby needs.

Eggs can be scrambled, poached, fried (try a high-heat tolorant oil), baked, soft boiled, hard boiled, deviled....  Add them to a sprouted-grain blend pancake with nut butter and fruit on top.  Add them to a stir fry for texture and flavor.  Put them on a salad.  Pair them with a cup of nettle tea and some fresh fruit.  Put apple sauce on them.  Eat them, love them, share them with your baby's placenta, amniotic sac, and eye health.

Not all eggs are built the same, so be choosy when you can.  Free range eggs (not the same as cage free or organic) provide chickens with the most natural-based living environment to graze on wild edibles both plant and insect-based.  These chickens will be healthier and their eggs will be more nourishing.  In many areas, purchasing a few laying hens for the duration of your pregnancy will prove to be valuable (especially if you've seen the cost of free range eggs at the store).  Befriend a local farmer or find your market for fresh free-range eggs (be sure to ask about their living and eating conditions to be sure).

Fish - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Fish is a great source of protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B2, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, potassium, and Omega-3 fatty acids.  Your body needs healthy fats.  Your brain needs healthy fats.  Your digestive system eats healthy fats.  In fact, as you start digesting healthy fats, oxytocin is released in higher amounts than if you eat meals without healthy fats.  Score one for the spontaneous labor team!

Stick to the smaller sized fish to avoid high levels of mercury.  But, if fish sticks are all you've got, add them.  Fish is great seasoned in a taco, added to a rice and veggie casserole, or grilled with some seasonal veggies.

Rainbow Salad - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Get all your colors.  Pick whatever fruits you have available to you each week that touch all the colors of the rainbow, and prep a salad as soon as you get home from the grocery store, put it in a glass container, and pop it in the refrigerator.  Yes, fresh picked and uncut fruit is going to be better - but pre-prepped likely means you'll eat more of it.  Do what works.

The colors of your food come from the phytonutrients and other constituents contained in that food.  A lot of food has a little of many of the other colors phytonutrients, but the main color you see will be the main phytonutrient you're consuming.

Red - Pomogranate, Cherries, Grapefruit

Lycopene, Anthocyanidins...etc - Urinary System, Cardiovascular System

Orange/Yellow - Squash, Mango, Citrus

Beta-carotene, lutein...etc. - Immune system, Visual system, Cell Growth

Green - Dark Leafy greens, Kiwi, Avacado

Isoflavones, chlorophyll...etc. - Liver, Kidney & Digestive System, Cardiovascular System

Blue/Indigo/Violet - Eggplant, Blueberries, Blackberries

Resveratrol, Anthocyanidins, Flavonoids - Brain Health, Cardiovascular System

This is just the tip of the iceberg with the nutrients these food color groups contain, but all whole colored foods are vital to whole body health - even the whites, though most are getting many white foods.  Vary your selection, too.  Add variety to not only the types of colored foods you're selecting, but the species within those same food choices that might not be available at just one grocery store.  Mixing these colors up into a salad gives you a quick snack or lunch side.

Avacado - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Avacado is an easy source for healthy fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 as well as, Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and many more.

Avacados can be sliced on a salad or sandwich, seasoned with any seasoning of your choice, blended into guacamole, mixed into some amazing chicken salad, or added to a smoothie.  Remember the importance of healthy fats for digestion, smooth bowel function, brain health, and a boost of oxytocin.

Sprouted Lentils - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Lentils are a great plant-based protein as well as high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Omega-3, and Omega-6.

While lentils are low in phytic acid when compared to other legumes, lentil digestion and bioavialabilty can still be improved by soaking and then sprouting before consuming.  However, lentils cook super fast, so even if sprouting isn't an option now and then, you don't have to wait hours to enjoy their creamy texture.

Lentils go great in just about any soup or stew.  They're also a great addition to tacos, blended into a dip, or sprinkled on a salad.  You may even enjoy them like cream of wheat in the morning with some cinnamon and raisins or pressed into a patty and grilled for lentil burgers.

 

Now you have six foods to add to your meal planning calendar to play around with and turn them into a new healthy routine.  How will you enjoy them?

Healthy eating isn't always easy when it comes to all the new trendy diet plans.  It seems like the only options are elimination, pre-mixed shakes and caffeine, or counting calories.  None of these options are very practical to get someone started for a life-long habit of wholesome selections that don't deplete the body in some other way.  Let's look at the Esali Birth Simple Portions perspective for some insight.

What are Wholesome Foods?

Wholesome foods should nourish your mind and body for short and long term.  They should not deplete the systems and they should leave you feeling satisfied and emotionally content.  They may not be a quick solution, but they are the only reasonable long-term solution.

Simple Portions is a quick way to look at your plate and balance your foods.  Once you start selecting balanced snacks and meals, it is a lot easier to start making those balanced selections come from a more nutritious food market.  For many, adding in healthy choices is easier than taking away healthy choices - so rather than start eliminating, let's just start replacing the foods you love with better homemade options and start adding in things you may not be getting enough of, like dark leafy greens.

Simple Portions will have hydration, healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and approximately:

  • 1/4 dark leafy Greens
  • 1/4 Other colorful vegetables and fruit
  • 1/4 whole proteins, bone stocks, broths, sprouted legumes...etc.
  • 1/4 sprouted grains and legumes

If you look outside, you will see sources for each of these in every season.  Let's take our cue from nature.  Thinking of this, we see seasonal choices for every type of food from meat and grains to vegetables and fruits.  We never see mass amounts of food in abundance that would allow the high levels of processed foods of the same kind in our diet.  Many allergens are caused from excessive use.  Work toward a seasonal varied diet.

Crunchy Granola

It wouldn't be a wholesome blog without a granola recipe, right?!  This is my family's favorite lightly sweetened (no sugar) granola.

  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Honey
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Pepitas (unsalted)
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Fruit

Melt the honey and butter together.  Pour over the oats and toss until coated.  Layer the oat mixture on a stone pan and bake at 350 deg. for about an hour - stirring every 10 minutes until oats become a golden brown color.  Cool and then mix in remaining ingredients.  Store in an airtight container.

Makes: ~15 Servings

Simple Portions: Healthy fats, whole proteins, colorful fruit.  Pair this with a cup of red raspberry and nettle leaf tea for hydration and balance.

This granola is great on its own.  Lovely in a fruit-sweetened parfait.  It also makes a hearty cereal, especially when blended with single-ingredient puffed millet or kamut.  Add any other seeds or nuts you prefer - its the oats, honey, and butter base that makes this crunchy granola wonderful as an alternative to sugar-loaded store packaged items.  Keep this granola as a staple item, and stick it in your nursing bag for easy snacking.  Be sure to grab sprouted ingredients whenever possible for better digestion, increased nutrient profile, and better bio-availability. Also remember seasonal options and rotate some of the ingredients around each time you make it.

 

Lentil Soup

This is another hearty soup to make for the birth team during labor and one for the postpartum doula all your families are sure to love.  I do think you have to appreciate soup to be able to eat something that has a reddish green tone to it when its served, but the flavor is so worth it.  It will feed a crowd, or you'll have leftovers for days.  Lentils are some of the most nutrient-dense and high-protein plant-based foods.

  • 1/2 lb Spicy Italian Sausage OR Mushroom-based Sausage or Burger
  • 2 Cups dried lentils (soak and sprout)
  • Olive Oil
  • 6 Cups Bone Stock
  • 1 Med. Yellow Onion, diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 Ribs Celery, diced
  • 1 Cup Chopped Spinach, kale or other dark leafy green
  • 5 peeled & pureed large tomatoes (or 15 oz tomato sauce)
  • 1+ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Black Pepper, Basil, Parsley
  • Salt to taste

If you're using Italian sausage, cook this first.  (If your sausage isn't spicy, add an additional 1/2 tsp. to the sausage while you cook it).  On medium heat, add some olive oil to a cast iron dutch oven (or other large pot) and add your cooked sausage, onions, garlic, carrots, and celery.  Cook until the onions are clear, stirring often.  Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer over high heat then reduce heat and cover.  Let simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft.

Makes: ~12-15 Servings

Simple Portions: Hydration, Healthy Fats, Whole Proteins, Sprouted Legumes, Dark Leafy Greens, Other Colorful Veggies

This soup will get the blood flowing.  It is so warming, and you really only need a small bowl to go a long way.  Lentils are very filling and have such a fun texture.  You can puree the soup for a smoother feel, but the texture and spice of this soup is really what makes it so wonderful.

 

Avocado Chicken Spread

This spread is a quick addition for leftover chicken that is creamy and garlicky.  Avocados are an amazing healthy fat.

  • 4 pieces grilled chicken tenders, diced or shredded
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, or olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 Garlic clove, riced
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Lemon or lime juice

Mix all ingredients together with a spritz of lime or lemon juice to help maintain the color a little longer, until avocados are well blended.

Makes: ~4-6 Servings

Simple Portions: Hydration, Healthy Fats, Whole Proteins, Other colorful veggie.  Add with a green salad or cup of iced red raspberry leaf and nettle tea for balance.

This spread is great as a dip for snacking or an appetizer, and wonderful in arepas.  It makes a great flavorful addition to any sandwich or on its own in a grilled panini with extra melted cheese.  You'll want to plan to eat this within 1-2 days, even with the citrus juice it won't last long - but a fresh meal is so much better than the preservative-rich alternatives.

 

Looking for more guidance on nutrition?  Register {FREE} on the Esali Birth site and download the nutrition & wellness tracker from the My Journey section along with many other freebie goodies, or contact for a perinatal mentoring and wellness session.

 

 

It is common for mothers to hear the word "doula" and a birth story that goes along with it and believe the doula was the most important part of the positive birth experience.  While a doula does provide a level of trust and comfort to a mother, this would be typical of most anyone that is comfortable and confident in the physiology of birth providing continuous support to the mother.  The key to a positive birth experience, however, is knowledge and utilizing your human rights to make your own birth decisions.

Maybe you've heard, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink," and that statement very much applies to birth decisions.  A doula can show you paths to take, and caution you of possible road bumps along the way, but they cannot create your healthy birth.  A doula should no make your birth decisions.  Making your own birth decisions is a significant part of feeling empowered from the birth and bringing confidence in your abilities into parenting, specifically early parenting.

Birth Choices and your Birth Journey

This birth, this pregnancy, is a part of your journey.  Your experience now and in the future will shape who you are as a human.  What you experience is meant for you, and the the way people experience the journey with you is meant for them.  There really isn't a right or wrong answer when it comes to birth choices.  However, we don't simply get the birth journey we're meant to have because we have influence over much of our experience.

You grow from your birth journey through the way you interact with your pregnancy, birth and postpartum.  The way you feel now will be similar to the way you feel during birth.  Build your confidence now, and your confidence will grow in birth.  Improve your physical health, and you will experience improved health during birth.  Allow everyone else to make your decisions, and you likely may feel out of control during birth.

5 Ways to Create a Healthy Birth

You've heard it so many times that your health, your birth location, and your care provider will be the biggest influences on your birth experience.  You've heard doulas improve birth experiences as well.  But simply knowing these three influences and then hiring a doula to make it all happen is a bit unrealistic.

Resolve to make decisions.

Right now.  Make this choice for yourself.  Choose to make your own birth decisions.  Choose a care provider and birth location that you know practices in a way that blends with your ideas for birth care.  If your care provider does not, know that it is up to you to make a change.  Your doula will not change the way your provider or location practices in the middle of birth.  Your birth plan and a signature doesn't change the default routines or they can kind of get a little murky in the process.

Think of it this way.  You don't tell a pastry chef how to bake his cakes.  If you're hiring a pastry chef, it is likely because you want a skill of his that you don't have.  You don't find a pastry chef and simply because he has this title expect that his cake tastes the same as anyone else's.  You don't have him sign a contract that says he will bake a cake the way you want it with ingredients he's not used to using and expect it to turn out exactly like you imagined.  You don't bring in a friend and have that friend encourage you through eating this cake that isn't turning out exactly like you imagined, either, and expecting them to tell the chef how to do their job at the same time.

Making your own decisions means you get to be comfortable with the outcomes.  Knowing the possibilities you have with your choices lets you to be informed and understanding of your birth experience.

Eat well.

Eat well for a healthy happy birth.  While you may not be able to afford everything organic or have the space to grow everything you eat, you can eat well.  You buy your food.  Your doula doesn't buy your food.  Your doula cannot change eating fast food every day during labor.  Your doula cannot force water in you and hide the soda.  Even if your spouse and other children don't want to eat the same way you do, you are still the one putting food in your mouth and eventually the family tends to follow along with what mom is eating, even if it takes a while (sometimes years).  If you are in a situation where someone is holding you down and force feeding you, or emotionally manipulating you to not eat healthy food choices, then I urge you to seek counseling or find a shelter that will help protect you from abuse.  Otherwise, search for recipes of snacks and meals that have little to no sugar and make bulk items ahead of time.  Eat a rainbow of colors of whole foods and little to no processed foods.  Eat only real ingredients.  Properly assimilated adequate nutrients means your hormones and your body systems function at their peak, and your birth risks are at a more even level.

Move regularly.

Make movement a routine part of your day.  Maybe going to a physical therapist or chiropractor or bodyworker isn't an option for you, but movement is always an option. You can stand at your desk.  You can stretch and move positions (off the sofa) while watching TV.  You can go barefoot.  You can squat to use the bathroom and for any movement that requires up and down.  You can belly dance.  You can sway.  You can do side-lying stretches.  You can walk.  You can move a little bit at a time regularly throughout the day and not have to block out time for "exercise" and in fact, this is the way you should be living.  Take opportunities for longer times of movement and walking, but not making that time doesn't mean you should live a mono-movement and low movement lifestyle.  Better movement now means the baby has a clearer path through the pelvis and you're less likely to feel crampy during birth.

Find time for self care.

In some way, soothe your mind without a screen for even 5 minutes a day.  Better if it can be 1 hour a day.  Pray.  Stretch.  Deep breathe.  Walk.  Use herbal teas or essential oils to soothe the thoughts of the day.  Take a bath and close your eyes to relaxing music.  Make a routine part of your day uninterrupted.  Find a person or a thing that can help you with kids - even if this is a blanket in your bathroom with a quiet toy they can play with or wear your earbuds with relaxing music to mellow out the sounds.  Every day work to explain to your children their need for respect during this time and set a routine with them that allows them to feel nurtured also when you're done so you both can enjoy some relaxation time.

Learn about birth.

Birth doesn't have to be scary.  Review your previous births and discover new choices for a different (or similar) experience.  Listen to positive birth stories, and learn about the choices that supported those births.  Discover the parts of birth that cause fear and BELIEVE that you have the ability to learn about those aspects of birth and how to prevent and deal with those complications.  Don't allow someone else in your birth space to project their fear upon you.  If they do not learn or cannot reduce their fear with the choices you've made, it may be necessary to request them to not be a part of your experience.  If you are unable to move past a fear, seek counseling - there is likely a deeper struggle causing this fear response.

The information is here.  For selecting a birth environment that supports you, to steps to take if you find yourself in less than ideal birth situation.

You don't plan your birth.  You don't "plan a home birth" or "plan a birth center birth" or "plan a hospital birth."  You prepare for birthIf you take a prenatal prep approach of learning about your body, birth choices, and even a basic knowledge of birthing and supporting a birth, then USE the information you've been given to support your body and your mind and then birth happens.  You simply birth your baby and make decisions during that process to support your body (physically and emotionally) and your baby.  Don't get stuck in the idea that you have to birth in a certain location once you've chosen where you want to begin labor and experience labor.  Prepare for the ways to prevent complications and feel holistically supported now and during postpartum.  If your birth location and care provider changes in the middle, you'll be more empowered and confident to speak up and utilize your birth rights.

 

 

just breathe Reflection Journal Prompt - Week 4

Reflect: What questions have you had answered and how are you using those answers to seek the birth you desire? Write some new questions or topics you feel you need to learn about. Research those this week and jot down some notes and feelings.

#TheOxytocinMethod is an approach to the role we play during our childbearing years of the responsible consumer. I can provide you with information, but only you can choose what you do (or don't do) with information. You birth how you live.  You birth how you feel.

 

 

Be empowered - take responsibility and experience the joy from making your own birth decisions and allowing those choices to build your confidence for parenting.  If you're looking for more in depth information on your options for birth and building your confidence for making decisions, schedule mentoring or join an Esali Birth class.

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