Thursday, June 30, 2016

Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy (PT-5 What else am I doing?)

Every time you take good care of yourself, know your baby feels that care. Right now the both of you share an extremely special connection, so whatever you do, baby does essentially. When you are relaxed and happy, so is baby. Your choices to move each day, drink lots of water, avoid toxins, eat well, being sure to remember your supplements, rest daily and at night as much as possible especially in the beginning and end of your pregnancy, practicing methods for stress reduction, and spending quality time with your spouse connecting in romantic ways and more. In this article I will discuss specific areas that I've been engaging in either on my own or with my husband to enhance and celebrate this natural and so beautiful part of life's circle.

 (Engagement Photo June 2015 to the left...found this one and loved it because of his hands on my belly, very suiting. Imagine 4 months after our wedding we get the joyous news! I know we didn't waste any!)

I was really excited to get to this particular blog article because there's so many things you can do throughout your pregnancy to make it enjoyable for you, baby, and spouse. Much like essentials oils in which you can get your spouse involved by using them himself for his own daily health and wellness (with oils appropriate for him), there are other practices that you both can and should take part in, as you are both equal parts in this beautiful making of new life that the Lord Yeshua has brought you both together to do for His glory. From the moment of conception this new phase in your family began to form and be knitted by your Holy Creator. You all hold so much value and carry very special roles. Make sure to life up your spouse always and let him know how important he is in this entire life long process. The making of a family never ends as it takes hard work and commitment. This is only the beginning!

What Else Am I Doing?


One commitment that I made to myself from the get go was to be active through the pregnancy whenever possible. I was already pretty active before pregnancy, and fitness experts as well as pre-natal care providers now say to keep doing whatever movement you were doing before pregnancy in pregnancy, as you get further along to modify as needed. Staying active through the movement of your choice encourages a healthy labor due Momma's strength, endurance, and flexibility all being supported beforehand. I will share what my movement choices have been, but know you can surely do something different according to your liking and what your pre-natal care provider approves of for your safety. Also if you haven't been very active before getting pregnant, consider getting active, but go slow and again discuss your movement plans with your health professional so you can make the best decisions.

I've really been motivated to stay active throughout all of these months. I walked quite a bit, not as long as I would've liked, but I kept it up, right until these last few weeks. Walking is not so easy with this sweet extra cargo. I would walk 2-3 miles max, I couldn't go farther than that, and that is okay. I found I could not walk farther without becoming too fatigued. I did not walk too much in my first trimester because of the weather and I was very nauseous.

Other ways that I have kept moving have been through an awesome pre-natal Pilates on DVD with Lizbeth Garcia and also Suzanne Bowen's pre-natal barre Slim & Toned workout on DVD. I found it simplest to work out from home as well as cost effective. I've loved both DVDs. I really have enjoyed the option of combining as many Pilates workouts as I wanted. She offer's 5 on the DVD so you can do one 10 minute Pilates workout or all 5, I always have done 3. Do not push yourself if you are new to fitness. Start with walking. I am very familiar with Pilates and barre since I've taken formal classes at studios. I've had excellent barre instructors actually using Suzanne Bowen's method at a local studio here in Raleigh called Barre Up. If you are in the area, you can drop in to take classes. Please tell them I sent you if you go.  It would be an excellent idea to take some classes at a local studio so you can truly understand the method and form of both types of exercise. They are both similar in that they utilize the core muscles all of the time.

Oh I cannot forget to mention my exercise ball! This has been invaluable for comfort, flexibility, core building, practicing kegel exercises, and stress relief for me. If you do not have a ball, consider the one in the link made with more eco friendly materials. I love the size of this ball for me. If you opt to purchase one, get the right size that fits you. Perhaps go to a sporting good store in the exercise section and see if they have several inflated so that you can sit on them and try them out before purchasing one. I spend probably 10-15 minutes or more on the ball everyday. I start out on it in the morning soon after getting out of bed. I find it relaxes my hips and back. If I feel discomfort throughout the day, I will sit on it and do side rocks. This is very helpful for me. I am bringing my ball to the birthing center on delivery day. They already have them there, but again the size of mine is perfect, and just in case the one they have there that is a good fit is in use, I now will not have a need for concern. Balls are very useful during labor.

In the picture is featured my Think Sport Pilates mat. I had gotten rid of my old one quite some time ago due to the toxic chemicals that it contained. The Think Sport Mat is composed of safe non-toxic materials - free of Bisphenol-A (BPA), PVC, lead, phthalates, dioxins, and biologically toxic chemicals.


Let me tell you something, sleep is sacred. Do not get between a Momma and her good night's rest. Right around 4-5 months in pregnancy a regular pillow in between my legs was not doing it. I was up night after night in discomfort until the Snoogle. I've not spent a single night of this pregnancy without it since my husband brought it home. It was the best $60 EVER spent! Do not second guess it, do not pass go, bring home the Snoogle to Momma! You can purchase a cover for it as well. The person who thought of this was a genius! Unfortunately, it does kind of put a damper on snuggling with hubby since the pillow completely envelopes you, regardless a happy better rested wife inevitably makes for a happy husband.


Through my Momma friend, blogger, and health coach, Madeline Blom, owner of Mommas Organics, I learned about something called HypnoBirthing. Madeline and I have been pregnant together, she is just a week behind me, so it's been a fun journey sharing stories, and encouraging one another on this beautiful walk through pregnancy. I only wish we lived closer to each other. Anyway...back to HypnoBirthing...I was excited to learn about it from Madeline because I had noticed her mention it twice and I absolutely had to find out what it was she was taking classes for with a certified friend of hers. I'd been on a search, as a crunchy, healthy Momma for a way to experience pregnancy and birth as a natural progression life that could be much more peaceful and even serene unlike the way pregnancy and birthing is most often treated here in the United States. I was through with everyone's negative birth stories including my own. In my heart and mind I knew there had to be a better way.

It turns out what I was searching for could be found in HypnoBirthing. Already resolving to give birth out of a traditional hospital setting, I knew there had to be more. There are several websites and instructors who teach HypnoBirthing in which there are variances. After research I'd found I like the combination of several. I typically gravitate toward European thought in several areas. I enjoyed watching some YouTube videos. Here is one set of videos I've enjoyed.

 I finally settled down to study with HypnoBirthing the Mongan Method. Specifically from the website here is the HypnoBirthing description: The HypnoBirthing® program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Most importantly it fosters an air of mutual respect for the birthing family, as well as the health-care provider in a traditional health-care system or an alternative setting. 

Despite my love for a great British accent, Marie Mongan, creator of the Mongan Method is a US native. I am as well, so it's all good. Marie Mongan holds credentials as stated on the HypnoBirthing Website: She is a counselor and is certified as a hypnotherapist, hypnoanesthesiologist, and instructor of hypnotherapy. She is the mother of four adult children, all born in the late ’50s and early ’60s. She experienced all four labors without labor medication, using the theories of Dr. Jonathan Dye, of Buffalo, New York, and Grantly Dick-Read, of the UK, two pioneers in natural childbirth. Two of her birthings were entirely free of anesthesia at a time when it was unheard of, and her husband was by her side in both the labor room and the “delivery” room.

When I spoke to my husband about studying the method he was instantly receptive as he too was concerned with things going as peaceful as possible through the rest of our pregnancy and in labor/delivery. Having a supportive spouse is so very very important. He has such a special role and is much needed. This is not to say one could not study HypnoBirthing on her own if that support was not present, having that support makes things so much better though. If a supportive spouse is not available, a close family member, friend, or doula would also be excellent.

You can choose to study the method a variety of ways either by working with a certified HypnoBirthing instructor one on one, taking a certified class, or reading the book and listening to the included CD on your own. While I would've loved to have taken classes, due to my current schedule, I opted to read the book with my husband at home. Daily, sometimes twice, I listen to the included relaxation CD.

Allow your midwife or obstetrician, whoever is currently conducting your pre-natal care, to know that you are studying the HypnoBirthing Method. If you have hired a doula, include her on the information as well. If any healthcare provider is not familiar, give them the website to do further research. Get as much support as possible. It is important for your healthcare providers to understand your desires and train of thought for your pregnancy and your birth. Women have practiced this method in traditional hospitals, outside birthing centers, and at home births. Do not think if you are having a hospital birth that you cannot utilize this method. While some on call at the time may not understand it completely, I'd venture to say most staff would be very supportive of any measures you'd be taking to ensure a more joyful and calmer birthing experience.  More and more hospitals are realizing a woman's desire for less medical intervention and more natural means whenever possible.

More Reading & Research

Onto more adventures, another topic that I began to read about and decide that I'd like to embark on is the joy of cloth diapering. I decided that I wanted to cloth diaper because I really wanted to avoid the chemicals that are in disposable diapers. I knew I didn't want plastics, petroleum, and dyes against my baby's skin, especially in the diaper area. I also did not want to spend a fortune on greener and cleaner disposable diaper choices. I know I will probably keep some around for emergencies or the church nursery, but other than that, I'm really not interested in that crazy expense if I can avoid it. Sadly, I became weary quickly in my research. DO you have any idea how many choices there are today? This is not the cloth diapering of long ago. Fortunately, I knew where to turn! The image to the left is the logo for my friend and cloth diapering expert, Jenny's blog, Cloth Diaper Revival. She is an excellent resource, so do please check out her blog. Jenny and I attend the same church. As soon as Jenny found out I was pregnant, she was elated, and when I mentioned my interest in cloth diapering she was right there. She even gave me a tour of all she has in her home, her best tips, ways to make cloth diapering the least expensive (after all this is a huge reason to do it...saving $$$). If you are not fortunate enough to know Jenny personally, please understand that before reading her blog I was way overwhelmed. She has the best advice, and knows what it is like to be on a budget. Jenny also advised that I read this book (picture above), Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering, by Kelly Wels. I've found the book helpful as well. I will not go into whatI've chosen to use right now, because quite frankly that might change. I feel very confident in my choices though, and will blog about that later.


As a certified IIN Health Coach, I am a enormous advocate for positive, healthy, self-care. Something you might consider luxuries, are really necessities. Especially as women and mothers in our culture here in the United States, we tend to get things backwards, run ourselves ragged, and really not see an accurate picture of what is going on in our bodies. When we take care of ourselves we are taking care of others by setting a good example and making ourselves the best we can be in order to serve those around us.

Two services that I've chosen to take regular part in have been chiropractics and massage. I have chosen these two because I understand the importance of a healthy lymphatic system, good muscular skeletal support, and stress relief all the time, and especially during pregnancy. These two services are not the same, but go hand in hand. Remember when Momma is well, so is baby.

I have been seeing my chiropractor since 2009. Her name is Dr. Melissa Roccos. My teens and husband are also her patients, as will be this little pumpkin after birth. I'll blog about the baby's first chiropractor visit later and the why behind chiropractic care for infants. If you are local to SE Raleigh, here is her practice website, Elite Chiropractics. Please tell Dr. Roccos I referred you. Here is a coupon for a free consultation to her practice. I've chosen to be diligent about my chiropractic care through my pregnancy because as my baby belly grows that puts more stress on my entire body. Getting properly aligned really assists the body with proper function.

Massage to many is misundertood. Those who take part in it regularly understand the significance in healthy, non-sexual touch. The human body responds to positive touch as part of  a healing mechanism. This is why I prefer layering essential oils on my husband and children instead of using roller bottles. While I love the convenience of roller bottles, and certainly keep them around, without getting into a deep discussion, much better save for another article, our energy in our bodies receives other's touch, as long as it again is positive, as a way to put the mind and body at ease in a very special way (wow, there's so much more I could say...holding back for now). Professional massage is such a needed regular therapy. If you are in the Raleigh area, my wonderful licensed massage therapist, is Sonja Galan. Her website is Unwind Massage Therapy. If professional massage is not an option for you, do not discount massage from your spouse or another loved one. My sweet teens will rub my hands and feet often. Engage your spouse if he is not already in daily body massages. My husband uses Young Living Valor, frankincense, and lavender when he massages me for support and enjoyment. On my feet he will use peppermint as well.

Please comment below on what you did during your pregnancy to encourage health and wellness! As time gets closer, so does my excitement! I'll be 39 weeks tomorrow! Look for my next blog article soon! Blessings, love, and grace to all!

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

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