Books That Support You in Your Pregnancy

Sacred Pregnancy book

Let’s start with the assumption that pregnancy is amazing. If you are pregnant right now and you haven’t taken time yet today to remember that, just pause. Close your eyes and breathe. Feel your belly and your baby and remind yourself how amazing pregnancy is.

As told to me by a midwife I knew well during my pregnancy, Jeannine Parvati Baker, “Most women stop giving birth just when they get good at it.”

Love every minute you can, and surround yourself with those who will remind you live in the moment because this phase of your life passes very quickly.

You don’t need yet another mainstream voice telling you that pregnancy is anything but amazing. The fact that your body is building a human being outweighs the petty discomforts of pregnancy—most of the time. Yes, take care of yourself. Better yet, get your partner to take care of you. You deserve all of the pampering you can get right now. So, support your belly, moisturize your skin as it stretches, and grab a cup of nutritious tea because I want you to sit down with those comforting voices that will remind you to enjoy your pregnancy.


These are a few books you can count on to trust and empower you as a pregnant woman.


Sacred Pregnancy

Annie Daulter

Sacred Pregnancy book by Anni Daulter

Sacred Pregnancy by Anni Daulter offers mothers-to-be the kind of spiritual, emotional guidebook they have hoped for in their special journey of pregnancy. With generous journaling space, key practical advice, inspiring photography and thoughtful contributions from leaders in midwifery and childbirth such as Ina May Gaskin and Anna Getty, this book touches on every personal milestone of the full gestation period of a pregnancy.

Each week the mother-to-be is given specific, helpful information on her baby, her body, and her spirit, and is asked to reflect on these via the topic of the week, which touches on such issues as sexuality, fears about labour, becoming a mother, courage, rite of passage, adornment, body image, meditation, and sisterhood, to name a few. Sacred Pregnancy is not only a grounding companion through the pregnancy and childbirth process, but can be a precious and beautiful keepsake for a mother’s unique birth story, a gift to share down the road. Sacred Pregnancy includes a large resource section on various birthing options and support for pregnancy women.

Review by Ricki Lake, actress, and Abby Epstein, filmmaker, The Business of Being Born: “Pregnancy is such an amazing time in a woman’s life and should be honoured and valued. Sacred Pregnancy helps empower women and encourages them to personall reflect on their internal process before having children. This is a beautiful gift to all pregnant women!”

Review by Mayim Bialik, actress and author of Beyond the Sling:
“I wish I had read Sacred Pregnancy when I was pregnant instead of the dozen books I had to piece together to try to make sense of it all. Anni Daulter has created what should be the new standard for today’s mom: birth journals, labour workbooks, pregnancy memoirs, and holistic wisdom. It is gentle and enlightening, and lays the foundation for what we know helps women have the labour and birth they want and deserve: support, self-knowledge, and empowerment.”


The Birth Book by Dr. Sears

William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, R.N.

The Birth Book by Dr Sears

The Birth Book by Dr. Sears is a comprehensive, reassuring, and authoritative guide to childbirth. It is rich in information as well as inspiration that enables you to plan and create the birth you want.

Since women enjoy more birthing options today than ever before, the path toward a safe and satisfying birth can be fraught with important decisions. Planning, understanding the resources available to you, as well as developing your own birthing philosophy can make all the difference. This book explores the abundant choices couples face when anticipating the birth of their child.

Review from NOM, a bynature.ca customer:
“I was scared of birth, so I wanted a book that was not going to terrify me with horror stories (like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”). This book was amazing. I learned a lot of essential things, and the language used was positive and reassuring. The authors definitely have the mentality that birth is an amazing experience that every woman CAN do WITHOUT interventions. I loved that.”


Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Ina May Gaskin

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.

Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.

We know we can’t compete with megabookstores at bynature.ca, and we don’t try. What we do is choose carefully the few books that we offer, so you know that our books will support you in your desire to parent naturally.

Nutritious Herbal Teas for Pregnancy

Woman drinking tea
There is no more important time to be vigilant about your nutrition than during pregnancy, when your eating choices have lasting consequences for the health and development of your child. Does that sound intense? It should, but good nutrition is within your reach.

During pregnancy, you need more vitamins and minerals, more protein, more omega-3 fatty acids, more amino acids. You need more than just extra calories; you need nutrient-dense extra calories.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I met a midwife in my town who was over 90 years old. She had attended births for even some of my older friends and acquaintances. She was the grandmother protector of all midwives in town. Her only hard rule for eating during pregnancy was her requirement that a pregnant woman have at least one leaf of romaine lettuce every day. That made me laugh, but I ate the lettuce every day. It turns out that romaine is nutrient-, protein-, vitamin-, and mineral-dense. My midwife, considerably younger, asked all of her patients to drink tea every day, and she started every office visit with stinging nettle tea. So, I also drank a lot of nettle tea, raspberry leaf tea, and oat straw tea, all of which both science and tradition tell us are very good for a pregnant woman.

To boost your nutrition during pregnancy, in addition to eating home-cooked whole foods, drink tea. You can switch teas depending on your needs in the moment, and you will help yourself and your baby.


Feeling Queasy?

Ginger and mint. If you are experiencing morning sickness or mild nausea, during pregnancy or any other time, both ginger and mint can help settle your stomach. When I was a child, at the first hint of me having a stomach ache, my mother went outside to pick mint from around our house and made tea. She continued to do this for me then for my children.

Organic Morning Wellness Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby includes ginger and spearmint along with a hint of peppermint, chamomile and lemon balm.

Herbal Tea for Pregnant Women


Feeling Anxious?

Lemon balm and chamomile. Lemon balm, especially with other herbs, can help reduce the feeling of stress and anxiety, and chamomile is so gently calming that many mothers use it with their babies and children as well.

Organic Peaceful Mama Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby includes tension easing lemon balm, calcium rich oat straw, calming chamomile, and a whiff of red raspberry leaf and orange peel.

Calming Herbal Tea for Pregnancy


Getting Ready for the Birth?

Red Raspberry Leaf. The nutritious properties of red raspberry leaf are great for all women, but it is particularly good as a tonic for muscles of the pelvic area.

Third Trimester Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby includes 100% organic herbs, including red raspberry leaf (an all-around great pregnancy herb), iron-rich stinging nettle, calming chamomile and rosehips (both full of vitamins and bioflavonoids), and calcium filled oat straw.

Herbal Tea for Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Drinking herbal teas is a gentle, easy way to ensure that you are getting more of the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy from natural foods. Better nutrition is good for you and for your baby. Drink up!

Image © Andres Rodriguez | Dreamstime.com

3 Essentials of Belly Skin Care During Pregnancy

Child hugging mother's pregnant belly

The skin on your belly has to expand a lot to accommodate your baby during your pregnancy. That leaves your skin tight, dry, and itchy. The irritation of itchy skin isn’t a medical problem, but it is uncomfortable. You can relieve that discomfort naturally.


1. Don’t Scratch

Yes, if feels a lot better to scratch the itch, but the relief is temporary because this irritates your skin even more.


2. Moisturize

Your main defense against belly skin discomfort is moisturizing. At bynature.ca we carry several natural body butters and skin lotions that work wonderfully to soothe a pregnant belly.

Maintaining the elasticity of your skin can also lessen (or even, if you are lucky, prevent) stretch marks, those little silver lines that show up on belly, breasts, and bottom as they blossom faster than your skin can comfortably grow.

Shea Butter Pregnancy Belly Itch CreamAnointment Natural Skin Care, Shea Butter Cream includes shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil, lavender and other natural ingredients. Made in Canada

Anointment Natural Belly Butter for PregnancyAnointment Natural Skin Care, Cocoa Butter includes cocoa butter, grape seed oil, coconut oil, vitamin E, and other natural ingredients. Made in Canada.

Dimpleskins Sweet Cheeks Body BalmDimpleskins Sweet Cheeks Body Balm includes Coconut Oil, Apricot Oil, lavender, vanilla, and other natural ingredients. Made in Canada.

Earth Mama Mama to Be OilEarth Mama, Mama To Be Herbal Stretch Oil includes calendula, chamomile, and other natural ingredients. Made in USA.

Graydon natural body balmGraydon Natural Skin Soothing Balm includes avocado oil, grape seed oil, hemp seed oil, calendula, arnica, manuka honey, and other natural ingredients. Mindfully made in small batches in Canada.

miniOrganics Nourishing Body OilminiOrganics Nourishing Body Oil includes jojoba oil, avocado oil, patchouli, frankincense, and other natural ingredients. Made in Australia.

Motherlove Pregnant Belly SalveMotherlove Nurturing Life Gift Box contains a sample of Pregnant Belly Salve, which includes marshmallow root, rosehips, lavender, chamomile, calendula, and other natural ingredients. Made in USA.


3. Relieve the Itch

You probably already have the best natural solution to itchy belly in your kitchen cupboard: oatmeal. An oatmeal bath can help relieve the itchiness you feel from your stretching skin much the same way it relieves itchiness with sunburn, poison ivy, chicken pox, and other skin irritations.

For a soothing oatmeal bath, start with about 1/3 cup oatmeal. Grind either with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. You can add herbs or non-irritating essential oils, but you might already be getting those in your moisturizers. You aren’t trying to create oat tea, so don’t put this in a bag. The goal is to create an oatmeal suspension in your bath with the powdered oatmeal evenly dispersed through the warm (not hot) water. Start to run your warm bath then add the powdered oatmeal under the faucet where it can get stirred into the water. Continue to mix the powder into your bath water until milky then get in. You probably will end up with a light layer of the powder on your skin, so just rinse lightly. Don’t scrub it off, since that soft, silky feel is exactly what you need from the oatmeal bath.

An itchy belly is one of those minor irritations during pregnancy that is easy to relieve with a little self care. Unless you have a problem more serious than expanding skin, natural oils, herbs, and grains can provide all of the skin care you need for your pregnant belly.

For a list of chemical ingredients to avoid during pregnancy, see “Safe Skin Care During Pregnancy” at BabyCenter.

Image © Marina Dyakonova | Dreamstime.com

Abdominal Support During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Support Band at bynature.ca

Once you add an extra 30lbs of weight right up front during pregnancy, your body needs extra support. Abdominal exercises can give you that support, and a pregnancy support band can give you more help when needed.

Ideally, exercises throughout your pregnancy will build your abdominal muscles to support the weight of your growing baby. It only takes a few minutes a day to tighten your abdominal muscles while you are sitting or standing. For a specific workout, consult an expert. You do need to avoid lying on your back after the first trimester, avoid certain exercises if you are experiencing diastasis, and be particularly careful if you are carrying multiples. Your trainer can help you assess your specific situation and suggest helpful exercises.

Your body was built to support your baby, but you need to work the muscles designed to do the job, and you may need to adjust your posture as your weight changes.

Whatever workout to decide on, you may still feel some lower back pain. Especially late in your pregnancy, when you are probably carrying an extra 25-35lbs, you might find that you need extra support to prevent back ache.

Abdominal support belts for pregnancy have become very popular. If you decide to use a support belt, use it sparingly—no more than a few hours a day. Your own muscles need to support your baby and all of the extra fluid you are carrying, and you use those same muscles that support you during pregnancy as you push your baby out during labor. The more efficiently all of the layers of your abdominal muscles work in both cases, the better.

When you choose a pregnancy support belt, make sure that it gives overall support without putting extra strain on your back.

Seamless Pregnancy Support Band

We carry the Pregnancy Support Band, a medical, seamless compression band that you slip into. When you wear this maternity band, you will feel immediate relief for lumbar and abdominal pain. The flexible fabric has tri-dimensional support zones for the most comfort, and it stretches to adapt to all shapes and sizes. And, the Pregnancy Support Band is Made in Canada.

Build your own body’s support system for your pregnancy then you will only need to rely on a belly band or maternity belt in exceptional cases. Be strong!


More resources for a well-supported pregnancy

Ready, Set, Push workout from Fit Pregnancy

“Back Pain During Pregnancy: 7 Tips for Relief,” Mayo Clinic

Vitamin D During Pregnancy

Vitamin D Drops

Vitamin D is a building block in repair and maintenance of the body. Because of its role in building the body of a developing fetus, it is particularly important for every pregnant woman to eat vitamin D-rich foods and even to take a supplement. As research accumulates, it becomes clear that adequate vitamin D during pregnancy has far reaching health effects throughout our lives.


The Risk

Research has found pregnant women who get sufficient vitamin D are less likely to have pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and general infections. For babies, a vitamin D deficiency can cause more serious problems because it can interrupt normal development. Children born with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to experience wheezing, dental caries, rickets, and even multiple sclerosis (MS). One study showed that children whose mothers had higher levels of vitamin D during pregnancy had higher bone density at 10 years old.


Sources of Vitamin D

There are few foods rich in vitamin D, but we can find it naturally in mushrooms, whole eggs, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Some foods are frequently vitamin-D fortified, such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, and cereal. We also synthesize vitamin D through our skin when exposed to ultraviolet rays.


Supplements

It’s important to maintain optimal vitamin D levels during pregnancy. If you suspect that you might have been deficient when you became pregnant, you can have your levels tested to determine the proper amount for your supplement.

Though the importance of vitamin D is clear, there are still questions to be answered such as “How much?” and “When?” A 2009 study found that “even with supplementation, only a small percentage of women and babies were vitamin D sufficient. Further research is required to determine the optimal timing and dosing of vitamin D in pregnancy.”

For now, if you are pregnant, be sure that you eat foods rich in vitamin D and consider a supplement for your health and for the future health of your child. The Canadian Dermatology Association recommends people concerned about vitamin D levels take 1,000 units of vitamin D supplements a day. We carry D Drops and Baby D Drops, a lanolin-derived supplement without additives or chemicals. Read more about vitamin D and its importance in the “Details” section of D Drops.