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Pregnancy

Will you conceive in 2018?

I’m no Mystic Meg and this post isn’t about me predicting if you’ll conceive or not in 2018. But, if you’re planning on trying to conceive at some point this year, or even if you’ve been trying for a while, and you want to improve your fertility, then this post is for you.

Recently I’ve been hearing from a lot of women who are preparing to conceive, and that gets me feeling excited because not only do I love doing this work but I’m also impressed by their forward planning. For me, it’s always amazing to start working with a woman at least 3 months before she and her loved one start trying to conceive, but ideally before then. Not necessarily by treating her on a weekly basis, but definitely with the idea of making a plan and suggesting things that she and her partner can do on their own in the year that they’ll start trying to conceive.

The trouble is that my diary is pretty loaded at the moment, so because I’m not able to see all the women that I’d like to right now, I’ve put together some information to get you started. (more…)

I’ve been going to births for over 10 years; here’s how I prepared for my own.

2016 was my tenth year of working as a birth doula, and the year that I finally gave birth. Here’s the post that I wrote as my due time approached. 

I’ve helped a lot of women and their loved ones prepare for birth, and now that it’s my turn, a lot of people are asking me what I’m doing to get ready for my own. So, other than trying not to eat my stash of labour snacks, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Movement.

I’m well aware of how a baby’s position can affect a labour and birth. I also know that the key to a well-positioned baby is having a balanced pelvis. Thankfully, I did *a lot* of work on my pelvis pre-pregnancy, back when I used to get extreme period pain, and I believe that’s helped me to have a healthy pregnancy (our baby has also been head down and persistently LOA – the ideal position – since around twenty weeks).

That being said, I don’t want to drop the ball so here’s what I’m currently doing:

  • Forward-leaning inversion (daily), to stretch and release the utero-sacral ligament.
  • Side-lying release (twice per week), to relieve tension and torsion in the pelvic floor.
  • Rebozo sifting (weekly), to relax the ligaments, relax me and our baby.
  • 3-5 mile walk (twice per week at the moment and shorter daily walks the rest of the time), for too many reasons to list. I tend to walk in minimal footwear which stops my hips and bump from falling forwards and also helps to lengthen my psoas.
  • Calf stretches, lunges and squats (daily), for all these really really good reasons.
  • Nadia Narain’s pregnancy yoga. I’m at the stage where travelling to North London isn’t very appealing, even for an amazing yoga class, so I’m glad Nadia has this great DVD for me to use at home (it’s also available to download on itunes).

(more…)

Are you playing Russian roulette with your hormones?

ec2343600f68bb6724378029acd9573aThere are times when I find it really easy to skip meals, particularly breakfast.

If I’m in the flow with my writing or having a lazy morning in bed at the weekend, it’s all too easy for me to ignore my belly’s need for food.

Hours will go by and I’ll suddenly realise that I’m ravenous, and before I know it, I’m shovelling a pile of hot cross buns smothered in butter and jam down my gob instead of the sweet potato fries and poached eggs I had lined up.

And that, ladies, royally screws me for most of the day, because skipping a meal and then loading up on refined carbs means that my blood sugar levels can be as up and down as a whore’s drawers.

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7 things to do now that you’re pregnant

IMG_7222You’ve peed on a stick, or possibly ten. Re-read the instructions thirteen times, checked with your partner or best friend, and yes, you are actually pregnant.

So what the hell happens now?

1. Don’t risk taking folic acid.

I’m betting that although every pregnancy app has told you how important folic acid is in preventing neural tube defects, not one of them has told that you may not be able to process it.

Yet at least 25% of the population have a genetic anomaly which prevents them from processing folic acid.

Pretty shocking, right?

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate (vitamin B9) and at least a quarter of us can’t process it in this unconverted form. So unless you know that you don’t carry the genetic anomaly, you’ll want to take a prenatal which contains the converted form (which we can all process) labelled as folate, 5-mthf, or l-methylfolate. Brands which use the converted form include: Nutri-Advanced, New Chapter and Thorne Pharmaceuticals.

You can read more about the difference between folic acid and folate, and why you might not be able to process folic acid here.

2. Lie about your due date. (more…)