The Secrets to a Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy

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How to Prepare for Labor

Labor is exciting! The element of the unknown—when it will begin, where will you be, or what will you be doing—makes your heart beat a little bit faster. And then this soothing thought makes you smile, that as the day approaches, as each contraction hits, you will be closer and closer to holding your beautiful baby in your arms.

Here are five elements from our book The Secrets to a Healthy Pregnancy to help you prepare for that memorable day.

  1. Make your nutrition a top priority daily. Make sure you are eating well and staying hydrated. A healthy momma translates into a healthy baby and childbirth. The nutrients you consume flow into your blood that is then pumped into the placenta so your baby can receive them. This means that your baby is essentially eating what you are eating, so make sure you are instilling healthy eating habits early on. Check out Chapter 2 and 3 of book for nutritional guidelines.
  2. Sleep twice a day. A study concluded that nap duration and 24-hour sleep duration were inversely associated with labor duration in women with vaginal delivery. This means that the more the women rested during pregnancy, the shorter their births were. So, if you want to have a short labor, make sure you nap and/or sleep plenty. [1]
  3. Exercise three times a week. To experience the benefits of exercising (which include a less painful and shorter birth) studies show that you must exercise almost every day for at least 30 minutes. I recommend a goal of at least 3 times a week so you can gain momentum. Make sure to include squats and kegels to strengthen your pelvic muscles and help you push.
  4. Make sure you get these four key areas of your body checked by a chiropractor. 1) your atlas (the top vertebrae of your neck) 2) your sacrum (the lower end of your back) 3) pelvis 4) pubic bone. Being aligned will help you labor with less pain and your baby descend better. You can find a list of recommended chiropractors that have undergone additional training to better serve mothers and children at icpa4kids.com.
  5. Work on the five aspects of your birth plan. You may want to attend a natural childbirth class like Birthing from Within or the Bradley Method if you want a natural birth. Chapter 11’s Part 3 of the book helps you create the right birth plan for you and your family based on these five questions.
    • Who will deliver your baby?
    • Where will you deliver your baby?
    • Who is on your birthing team?
    • What interventions are you comfortable with?
    • What protocol is important to you?

Learn how to create your birth plan and much more in The Secrets to a Healthy Pregnancy. Available here, on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

To your health!

Maria

[1] Shao-Yu Tsai, Jou-Wei Lin, Lu-Ting Kuo, Chien-Nan Lee, and Carol A. Landis, “Night- time Sleep, daytime Napping, and Labor Outcomes in Healthy Pregnant Women in Taiwan,” Research in Nursing & Health 36, no. 6 (2013): 612-22, doi:10.1002/nur.21568.

Uncovering the Most Kept Secret to a Healthy Pregnancy

I received a question last week about how to prepare for pregnancy, or what I call “Preheating the Oven.” In the past, we have discussed the importance of visiting a naturopath to help in fertility and pregnancy, getting in shape before conceiving, and today we will discuss Chiropractic, one of The Secrets to a Healthy Pregnancy.

Getting checked by a chiropractor is just as important in preparation for conception. What if I don’t have back pain, should I still get checked out? Yes! You are about to embark on a journey that leads to a marathon race. Pregnancy is time for you and your baby to prepare, develop, and train for that day when you will finally meet outside of your womb, through the beautiful process of labor. Just like athletes use chiropractors to stay well, perform better, and not just for the occasional injury, chiropractic is a resource that will keep you pain free and stronger so you and your baby remain healthy.

Visiting a chiropractor before conception will begin strengthening all the systems in your body so that you remain strong once you conceive, and subsequently throughout your pregnancy. It will keep your spine healthy so it can support you and your spinal cord as your body changes and your baby grows. This will also minimize your risk of pregnancy discomforts like the pelvic girdle pain, SPD (symphysis pubic dysfunction), and pubic bone pressure. Lastly, through the use of the Webster Technique chiropractors help breech babies so they can turn naturally and you can avoid a C-section if you desire.

You can find a list of recommended chiropractors that have undergone additional training to better serve mothers and children at http://www.icpa4kids.com. Read more on chiropractic and how it relates to your immune system, pregnancy, and labor in Chapter 7 of our book The Secrets to a Healthy Pregnancy. You will also find information on how to choose a good chiropractor and a complete guide for preconception, pregnancy, and bouncing back to your pre-pregnancy body after you deliver. You can get it on paperback and audio book at our store, and on paperback at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

To your health!

Maria

 

 

Recommended Chiropractors:

Vivify Miami, FL

Bartell Chiropractic Life Center, Deerfield Beach, FL

Life Family Chiropractic (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico)

 

Check out:

10 Things You May Not Know About Chiropractic

No Comments in Pregnancy, Women's Health

7 Natural Ways to Heal from a Yeast Infection

Pregnancy increases the hormone estrogen. Yeast (or candida, the fungus that causes vaginal yeast infection) has been found more frequent in women with high estrogen due to increased sugar levels in vaginal secretions.

Here is a post to heal from yeast infections naturally. Antibiotics are a popular fix, but they are also the one of the most common causes of a vaginal yeast infection. So it seems that this “cure” is also a cause, which leads to a never-ending cycle. This is why instead of antibiotics the first tip will be quite the opposite.

1- Take Probiotics

You have good bacteria or flora (called Lactobacillus) in your body and vaginal area that help keep your PH and yeast level healthy. Pregnancy changes your PH, but increasing your intake of these good bacteria can bring you back to healthy levels.

According to WebMD (italics added for emphasis), “Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.”

I recommend taking Nature’s Sunshine Lactobacillus Acidophilus between meals to maximize absorption. Supplementation is many times what is needed to bring back optimal balance since bacteria found in the yogurt we typically consume may not be enough (Yes, there is good bacteria in yogurt!). Each capsule of this supplement contains a minimum of 100 million organisms, freeze-dried to maintain viability. Store them in a freezer or refrigerator for best preservation.

2- Manage your PH level

My midwife Sheila would test my urine’s PH at every check up with these little papers. The PH ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very basic). An optimal PH level is one that is slightly acidic so that good bacteria can survive. Since pregnancy drives us to drink a lot of water our OH level can become basic, so adding lime to your water is a great supplement. Also, cranberry juice (without added sugars) is a good alternative, since it contains naturally acidic compounds. It has also been used to both prevent and treat urinary tract infections for a very long time.

3- Use Coconut Oil. Coconut Oil has antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal health benefits. Laboratory tests have concluded it has the ability to explode the nucleus of Candida yeast cells, while allowing the good bacteria to survive.[1] It also relieves irritation and inflammation. Apply coconut oil to your vaginal area for relief and treatment after you shower and up to three times per day (ideally once you have washed and dried). You can also add it to your smoothies for an immune boost.

4- Kill the Yeast. Yeast (candida) needs sugar to build its cell walls, which are comprised 80% of carbohydrates.[2] Starving the yeast will slow its growth and bring your flora back to a healthy balance. Now a day we consume a lot of sugar in the form of breads, salad dressings, and sports drinks, among others. Decreasing, and if possible even abstaining from these sugars, will help you get rid of the infection.

5- Boost your immune system. Here is a quick list on how to boost your immune system: get enough sleep, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, abstain from alcohol and tobacco, spend some time in the sun to increase vitamin D, eat and juice fruit and vegetables with low sugar levels, like green chard, kale, celery, spinach, berries, ginger, garlic, use beets with leaves to sweeten. You may also try a natural supplement like Immuplex by Standard Process. I took 2 capsules for breakfast and lunch during pregnancy. You can also check out this post for more ways to boost your immune system.

6- Care after your V-area. Keeping your genital area clean and dry will help prevent and combat infection. Proper care of your vaginal area is key, especially after exercising, going to the pool/beach, and after sex. Make sure you wash or shower and change into clean, cotton underwear as soon after as possible. 98-100% cotton is best for everyday.

7-Watch out for your bath soap. Many common soaps contain harsh chemical agents that can irritate and can disrupt a healthy vaginal PH. I like Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Soap (a little on a sponge goes a long way) but you can use another baby soap that is mild and unscented.

Hope this helps you stay healthy! Please send any questions my way.

Love,

Maria

PS

Remember to check out our book The Secrets to a Healthy Pregnancy, available on Amazon and in our store.

References:

Causes of Yeast Infections

Pregnancy Hormones and Their Effects

PH Scale

[1] http://homeremediesforlife.com/coconut-oil-for-yeast-infection/

[2] http://www.thecandidadiet.com/why-does-candida-need-sugar/

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The Secrets to a Healthy Pregnancy – Publisher Edition

I have great news! My publisher has given me 100 water-marked copies to distribute to my family and friends. This way we can get reviews on Amazon right away.

As a dear part of my community, I want to give you an opportunity to get one of these 100 copies. All you have to do is pay $3.99 to cover the shipping to you!

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Click here to order your copy today!

Please feel free to share this link with your closest friends. The book has been selling for $19.95 so this is a great offer!

To those of you that have already purchased my book, use this link to promote it to your circle of friends. And, thank you for your loving support! It means the world to me.

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How to stay healthy and comfortable when traveling

My husband and I had plane tickets to Europe when we decided to forfeit our plans and adopt my two oldest children whom we had met a few months earlier. The court decided they would spend their first night with us the very same night we were supposed to leave to Paris. Postponing our trip was well worth it! But two years later, while I was pregnant with my first born Bella, we knew it was time to take that much desired trip, since it was going to be much more difficult later.

If you have a healthy pregnancy, it can be perfectly safe to fly up to 36 weeks. But you may find that your second trimester is the best time to travel, especially on long trips. The reason is that it is the least risky time and when you may feel the most comfortable (less morning sickness, more energy, belly size, etc.)

Here is a checklist to make sure you prepare and then stay healthy and comfortable during your trip!

1- Discuss your travel plans with your doctor or midwife before booking your flight.

2- When you book your flight, let the agent know that you are pregnant so they can offer any special accommodations, like a seat with more leg room, a seat next to an empty seat, or even an airport shuttle service to take you to your terminal. You may request a seat in by the window if you like to lean against it to sleep but consider easy access to the aisle so you can go to the bathroom easily and get up to walk and stretch. I like a front seat because it is more convenient for exiting and entering the plane and the air circulation tends to be better.

3- Pack in advance so you are not stressed out the day of your trip. I like to pack a travel kit and these perks: an eye mask, neck pillow, and blanket. Airlines don’t give you much. But you can take your own!

4-Travel with comfortable clothes and shoes. I like to travel with workout clothes because my sneakers are very good. Wear what you think will help you feel comfortable, but also energized and agile. Minimize your use of jewelry to reduce your changes of activating the metal detector or losing something valuable at the airport or airplane. (Tip: Metal detectors are safe but consider opting out of the new 360 scan and choose a pat down instead. This is fairly new technology with little research on its side effects.)

5-Drink lots of water starting two days prior to your trip and the day of. Have a big water bottle and fill it up once you have passed the security checkpoint.

6-Walk every hour to prevent thrombosis (the formation of blood clots) and varicose veins. You are more susceptible to it during pregnancy due to increased blood volume. You can set an alarm to remind you if you fall asleep. If you can’t stand up or you’re in the middle of a good sleep, when your alarm sounds. You can try these exercises recommend by Nicole Crawford, a NASM-certified personal trainer, doula and pre/post-natal fitness specialist: extend your leg, heel first, and gently point and flex your foot to stretch your calf rmuscles. Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes.

7-Relax with lavender oil. Take lavender oil and massage your temples to relax during the plane ride. “In the second and third trimesters, some essential oils are safe to use, as your baby is more developed,” Edwards adds. These include lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang, which calm, relax and aid sleep. Oils to be avoided include cinnamon, clove, rosemary and clary sage because they can cause contractions.

8- Take entertainment. Take a good book, and music. You can also get a movie for your iPad or tablet so you have plenty of entertainment on your trip.

9- Bring munchies. I like to snack on organic popcorn, nuts, and protein bars. You can take your favorite snacks so you have good handy when you’re hungry. It’s good to have a small meal or snack every two hours during pregnancy.

10- Fasten your seat belt under your belly and over the top of your thighs for maximum comfort and safety. I elevate my legs by placing my carry-on under the seat in front of me and putting my legs on it. Top: I take warm socks so that I can take off my shoes.

If you are traveling with children, things are quite different. Not so much relaxation going on. But you can still have a good time. Depending on their age make sure that they have toys or entertainment that will keep them busy. If your nursing (Yes, it is healthy to nurse during pregnancy!) you can pack your cover and baby carrier. I found that having a baby carrier made things a lot more comfortable for the trip and the plane ride. I used the maya wrap when my girls were younger and the ergo carrier when they were older. My babies were great in the airplane because they nursed until they would fall asleep. You can do this too!

Safe travels!

Maria

2 Comments in Pregnancy

The Long-Term Effects of Skin to Skin After Birth

Something that was important to me when planning my birth plan was to get my baby right after birth and place her on my chest, skin to skin.

Birth is a pretty tough experience for babies, and they get tired as a result. Feeling the contractions, your heart racing, the adrenaline, and all the hormones your brain produces in the process is a lot for your baby. Not only that, but your baby is now in this whole new world.

Thankfully, your baby has you. You are your baby’s comfort zone. He or she knows you, your voice, and your heartbeat more than anything else in this world. Placing your baby on your chest soothes and comforts your baby. It will calm his or her breathing and even help regulate it through his or her connection with yours as your chest comes up and down. Skin to skin immediately after birth also stabilizes and normalizes the baby’s temperature, heart rate, and blood sugar.

Yesterday, I saw this video my good friend and editor sent me about the amazing effects of skin to skin. This story lets us see the healing effects of skin to skin.

But the effects continue past the birth experience. An article published by PubMed.gov studying the effects of skin to skin a year after birth supports the practice of skin to skin contact, early breastfeeding, or both during the first two hours after birth. When compared with separation between the mothers and their infants, skin to skin positively affected the variables of a Parent-Child Early Relational Assessment, which tests maternal sensitivity, an infant’s self-regulation, and dyadic mutuality and reciprocity at one year after birth. The negative effect of a two-hour separation after birth was not compensated for by the practice of rooming-in. In addition, swaddling of the infant was found to decrease the mother’s responsiveness to the infant, her ability for positive affective involvement with the infant, and the mutuality and reciprocity in the dyad.

So, consider staying close to your baby as much as possible and as early as possible after birth. As you can see, this is a “sensitive period” during which close contact between mother and infant may induce a long-term positive effect on both you and your child.

Enjoy your pregnancy!

Maria

References:
“The Importance of Skin to Skin Contact,” International Breastfeeding Centre, ac- cessedApril,2,2014,http://www.nbci.ca/ index.php?option=com_content&view=arti cle&id=82:theimportance-of-skin-to-skin- contact-&catid=5:information&Itemid=17.

Ksenia Bystrova, Valentina Ivanova, Maigun Edhborg, Ann-Sofi Matthiesen, Anna-Berit Ransjö-Arvidson, Rifkat Mukhamedrakhimov, Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg, and Ann-Marie Widström, “Early Contact Versus Separation: Effects on Mother-Infant Interaction One Year Later,” Birth 36, no. 2 (2009): 97-109, doi:10.1111/j.1523-536X.2009.00307.x.

No Comments in Health, Pregnancy

Are you doing everything you can to help your baby thrive?

Pregnancy is a critical time in the development of your child. Many of us think of our future children with aspirations of what they could be. We envision leaders and artists…intellectuals. We see them through the lens of a parent that sees nothing but potential. Lastly, but most importantly, we want a healthy child.

However, many of us forget or neglect to care for our babies early on during pregnancy, conception, or even preconception. There are practices we can take on before we conceive to help our child have the best environment (our body) for his or her development from day 1. I want to give you my chapter called Preheating the Oven so you can prepare for pregnancy. Download it for free.

Moreover, pregnancy is a time when what we eat and how we take care of our bodies will impact our baby to different degrees. I have written a book to help you have your best possible pregnancy so you can have a healthy pregnancy, baby, and childbirth. I have created a 4-week guide series that is free until January 18. You can sign up on thehealthypregnancycoach.com.

Lastly, once you deliver your baby, there are so many decisions to make regarding his or her care. My book includes a bonus chapter called Healthy Babies that serves as a foundation to caring for your children’s health in all of its aspects–physically, emotionally, and psychologically. You can get the book plus the bonus chapter at a 20% discount ($15.95 plus $3 shipping in the U.S.) if you preorder it at mariawizel.com/preorder. It has incredibly valuable information and a life changing story you want to make sure you read.

To your family’s health!

Until next week,

Maria

PS
Want to stay connected? You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Preheating the Oven: Preparing to Conceive

Preheating the Oven is the first chapter of my book The Secrets to a Healthy Pregnancy. In this chapter, I share the foundation to a healthy pregnancy. Please check out how the chapter begins, and then download all of it at mariawizel.com/free.

Chapter 1: Preheating the Oven

Leilani tried to conceive for almost a year. She was 27 years old at the time and looked perfectly healthy. She was even in great shape—she just couldn’t get pregnant. As a registered nurse, Leilani was very knowledgeable about health. When she found out she had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), she sought treatment from her OB/GYN, who told her to go back on birth control as a way to treat the PCOS.

“I had cysts everywhere!” she remembers, “But taking birth control didn’t seem right. I wanted to get pregnant. Why would I go back on birth control?” She knew a naturopath and decided to give alternative treatment a chance. She visited dr. Gisela Hernandez, in Aventura, Florida, and began naturopathic treatment. Thirty days later, she was pregnant. Leilani now has three beautiful children.

Leilani

Leilani with her husband and children.

Cecilia is another woman who, like Leilani, had struggled to conceive. She tried for seven years. She had undergone various testing with an OB/ GYN and a fertility specialist and learned that she did not ovulate consistently. They first prescribed her different hormones that made her aggressive, depressed, and volatile. After that didn’t work, she tried artificial insemination, but still to no avail.

Cecilia was also seeing a gastroenterologist due to pain in her gallbladder. She recalls, “According to God’s perfect plan, my co-worker told me about dr. Hernandez. During my preliminary evaluation, Dr. Hernandez examined my iris and found that I had gallstones. She followed up by asking me if I had any children, at which point I started crying. I was in awe that she had pin-pointed everything my body was struggling with.” Dr. Hernandez explained to her that she would not be able to conceive until her gall bladder healed. Cecilia cleansed her body of the excess hormones caused by the fertility treatments, got rid of the gallstones quickly and naturally, and enhanced her reproductive system. She became pregnant with her precious daughter, Cecilia Maria, after just six months of naturopathic treatment.

Ceci

Cecilia and her daughter Cecilia Maria.

Want to learn more? Download the entire chapter free at mariawizel.com/free.

A warm hug,

Maria

P.S.

Join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so we can stay connected!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Today we gather with family and friends to celebrate in thanksgiving for all of our blessings. We also begin the holiday season. The weather gets a little bit cooler, Christmas decorations and twinkle lights are put up, and radio stations start playing “All I want for Christmas.”

As I finish my “arroz con gandules” (or rice with pigeon peas), I’m reminded of my native Puerto Rico and the last holiday season I spent there. That’s when I found out I was pregnant with my first-born Bella. I had been trying to conceive for a couple of months and even though the pregnancy tests continued coming negative, I knew there was a possibility that I was pregnant. And indeed I was.

I am grateful that I skipped the champagne and coquito (Puerto Rican egg nog) and cared for my body–and indirectly my baby.

If you’re preparing to conceive during this holiday season, check out the free chapter of my book on “preheating the oven.” You can download it for me at mariawizel.com/free.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! I am blessed to live in community with you. Thank you for reading our blog. It wouldn’t be worth it without you.

Love,

Maria

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Journaling during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful time. A great way to capture it is by journaling. I’m sure your son or daughter will enjoy reading about your pregnancy with him or her when they are older. So will you.

For starters, you can open an email account for this purpose only. If you enjoy handwriting much more, then buying a new journal for this purpose may be a better alternative. I’ve found that being able to quickly write an email on my phone and send it right away is more convenient. I like emailing it instead of typing a note because it keeps a permanent record of the date and time. You can also search in your inbox for specific topics. Eventually, you can print all these emails and bind them for your dear son or daughter.

Here are a few ideas on what you can write about.

Your pregnancy diet: you can have a journals of what you eat. This is helpful in identifying foods that may be causing issues or sickness, and in identifying whether or not you have a healthy diet. You can keep a draft active until your last meal of the day, then send it. (You can print a few days worth for your doctor or midwife.)

How you feel: Write about your mood and energy. If you have a good day, write about if. If you have a bad day, write about it too. It’s good to have an outlet.

Take pictures: Cherish moments through pictures. You can print them or email them to your journal account. Anything from your belly growing to ideas for your baby shower and registry.

How you bond: Share about ways you are bonding with your baby. From casual talks to singing to your belly. Write about how you are establishing that mom-baby bond starting at pregnancy.

Notes to your baby: I loved writing notes to my babies. I began during pregnancy by telling them about the first time I felt their first flutters. I still write about how incredible they make me feel and how amazing they are. You can do this too!

Name ideas: You can write baby name ideas.

Your birth plan: Write drafts of your birth plan until you have come up with your final one. My upcoming book has a part dedicated to figuring out that right birth plan for you. You can pre-order your copy until Thanksgiving eve for $15.95. MariaWizel.com/preorder

I hope you are enjoying your pregnancy!

Love,

Maria