|Photo taken this past week,
entering into my third trimester
with my third child.
As I am approaching the last few weeks of my third pregnancy, I thought it helpful to share some of the resources I use and have written about in my own journey through motherhood. Here are some helpful resources for you eco-saavy mothers and readers:
- Optimal Maternity Care: A Human Rights Initiative
- Eating to Improve Heredity
- Prenatal Yoga That Fits You
- Treating Nausea Naturally
- Treating Headaches Naturally
- Sleep Better
- Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth
- Born In The USA – How A Broken Maternity System must be fixed…This book educates mothers about their rights, options, and the research that supports better birth outcomes.
- Finding the Right Doctor or Midwife
- Finding the Right Hospital For Your Birth
- Free Birth Plan Template Download – Creating A Birth Plan – Hint: I have done this with all three of my children, and childbirth expert Penny Simkin and others report having one of these decreases your risk of PTSD after childbirth.
- Our Babies, OurSelves: How Biology and Culture Affect the Way We Parent. This book shaped my views on parenting as I learned that the “American way” is often not just atypical of parenting across the globe, but also not beneficial for parents or their babies.
- The Birth Partner: An excellent book written by physical therapist Penny Simkin. I recommend this for all expectant mothers and their birth partners.
- Easing Labor Pain Alternatively
There are other texts that offer methods for labor and delivery coaching that I have used in the past, including Birthing from Within and Natural Childbirth (Bradley Method). Although they are wonderful texts I found that the relaxation method(s) taught in them, if used exclusively, can hinder the process of active participation in birth. Combining my own yoga poses and breathing methods (which will eventually be available in my new book Fit and Fearless Birth) with the Bradley technique and and methods suggested in Peggy Simkin’s book can allow a mother to actively participate in the birth process.
- Ina May’s Guide To Breastfeeding with American authority in midwifery, Ina May Gaskin
- The Breastfeeding Book by Martha and Dr. Sears
- Birth and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Pain, Suffering, and Trauma in Labor – Written by physical therapist and authority on childbirth, Peggy Simkin PT, CCE, DONA.
- Yoga and Breastfeeding: Staying Healthy and Painfree
- Getting Your Body Back After Baby
- Postpartum Back Pain: Baby Carrying and Strolling Hazards
- The Baby Book – with Dr. Sears
Unfortunately support and resources after childbirth tend to dwindle rapidly and are more difficult to find. The incidence of postpartum depression (PPD) in American women is at its highest ever, with some reports being as high as 20% (Josefsson et al 2001).
Most texts available on the postpartum period center around recognizing and treating, rather than preventing postpartum depression. However, it seems that we could do better by new mothers to offer more care and support in the days, weeks, and months preceding and proceeding childbirth – by helping mothers physically – with community based support, sound advice on being fit and ready for birth, and the like. Oprah has even stated that the most common problem reported on her show centered around parenting and “how-to” do it. In a suggestion to Dr. Mehmet Oz, she said perhaps American youth need more structured learning about parenting, since we have less familial network and support due to our highly mobile lifestyles.
In addition, America’s lack of a maternal or paternal leave policy is thought to greatly contribute to the lack of support and high rates of PPD. As a developed nation the US ranks at rock bottom for maternal support. Out of 160 nations in 2010 as reported in the Save The Children Mother Index, Nordic countries place first, followed by several other developed countries. Several poorer countries, including the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania rank higher than the United States. The European states of Croatia and Slovenia also ranked higher than the US.
Factors that influence the US ranking are its high maternal and infant mortality rate and lack of maternal (or paternal) leave. At 1 in 4,800, the US has one of the highest mortality rates in the developed world, according to the report. “A woman in the Unites States is more than five times as likely as a woman in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece or Italy to die from pregnancy-related causes in her lifetime and her risk of maternal death is nearly 10-fold that of a woman in Ireland,” the report said.
However, the resources provided, in addition to future ones, such as Fit and Fearless Birth, are a start in providing more resources for new mothers to help lower PPD rates, improve their health, and increase their sense of well being.
Green Parenting & Family Life
Green parenting can go a long ways toward improving the health of America’s mothers, families, children, and of the entire planet. I encourage all parents to reduce, reuse, and recycle (The 3-R’s) when they can.
Simple strategies include ridding the home of unnecessary chemicals like cleaners, pesticides in the yard and garden like weed killers and fertilizers, adopting a “No Shoes” policy in your house, avoiding use of all plastics, and using cloth napkins and cloth diapering (and wipes) systems whenever possible. Lastly, we make a point to grow our own organic food (we have limited space but make great use of a small raised box and container gardening) when we can and when we can’t – we shop local, organic, and stick to a mostly plant based diet. My own family has adopted all of these 3-R policies, and we are healthier and happier for it.
- Simplifying Family Life
- The 411 on Cloth Diapering
- The Five Stereotypes of Cloth Diapering
- Managing Weight and Feeling Great
- Decoding Organic Food Labels
- Choosing Real Food
- Why Plastic is Bad for your Health – Over 10 years ago – I went plastic free – and stored everything in glass. When M and W came along – I used glass and stainless steel bottles and sippy cups- then somewhere along the way – I believed the industry when it said you could use BPA free products and those labeled 2, 4, or 5 on the bottom. Turns out – I should have stuck to my original plan. This house is going plastic free – Round Two. (for good)
- Safer Eating: Going Non-GMO (genetically modified organisms)
- Shopping Non-GMO
- Creating A Paperless Kitchen – Hint: I did this about 10 years ago and it’s been one of the best life simplifying (and eco-friendly) moves I’ve made.
- Everyday Chemicals That Harm Children
- The Yoga of Compassionate Parenting
Josefsson A, Berg G, Nordin C, et al. Prevalence of depressive symptoms in late pregnancy and postpartum. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2001;80:251-255. Abstract
Women on the Front Lines of Health Care: State of the World’s Mothers 2010. Save The Children May 2010.