Pregnancy, Birth + Post-Natal Care
Just as pre-conception care is important to provide the healthiest start for a baby, the health of the mother is vital during pregnancy, as a baby is completely formed by the nutrients supplied by the mother and their life-long health is completely influenced by the maternal environment. Pregnancy should be a time of nurturing the new life forming, and in addition to the right nutrition, the mother’s lifestyle, environment and stress levels are also important factors in the health of her baby.
During pregnancy, the mother will create several extra kilograms of her own uterine muscle, as well as the nerves, bones, organs, muscles, glands and skin of her baby. In addition, she will make several kilograms of amniotic fluid, a placenta and produce a significant increase in her own blood volume. In addition, a mother’s own kidneys and liver have to work overtime, as they have to process the wastes of herself and her baby!
As a result, if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, you may need to make some modifications in preparation for these amazing changes for you and your baby’s health.
How to achieve a healthy pregnancy
Our practitioners that have substantial experience in pregnancy care can advise on natural and practical steps to contribute positively to a healthy outcome, including:
- A nutritious and individualised food plan to support you and your baby
- Lifestyle considerations and strategies to keep you and your baby in optimal health
- What toxins/products to avoid during pregnancy and how to create a clean environment
- An appropriate exercise plan
- Birthing preparation and strategies to assist with birthing and recovery
- Birthing support
Prevention and treatment of pregnancy issues
Natural medicine approaches can provide safe and effective treatment options for the prevention, treatment or management of various complaints that may arise during pregnancy, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cramping and/or restless legs
- Heartburn and Reflux
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
- Gestational diabetes
- Stretch marks
- Varicose veins
- Sciatica, back pain and tight muscles
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Threatened miscarriage
- Breech presentation
- Overdue for dates – to assist with natural induction
- Birth preparation
Eating for two… the importance of nutrition during pregnancy
Your diet is never so important than in the period prior to conception and during pregnancy. During pregnancy, a mother does not necessarily need to “eat for two” when it comes to calories. However, you do need to consume extra nutrients. During pregnancy a woman requires 70% more nutrients, but only 30% more food – which is why the quality of what you eat is essential, as is nutritional supplementation to optimise the health of you and your baby and to prevent your nutrient reserves from becoming depleted.
Unfortunately, nutrient deficiencies are common during pregnancy, and cause serious problems for you and your baby. For example, we know that folate deficiency during pregnancy can cause neural tube defects, iodine deficiency can cause neurological and developmental delays in babies, and iron deficiency can affect brain development in babies. Recent research even shows that vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of psychological disorders in offspring, including schizophrenia in later life, and may be associated with autism. Therefore, it is essential that you have enough of all of the essential nutrients to provide you baby with the right building blocks at each critical stage of its development.
Optimal nutrition, supplementation and a healthy lifestyle before, during and after pregnancy can help make the difference between having a baby who has optimal health for life, or a baby who has health problems from the start or develops them as they get older. Preparing for your pregnancy with pre-conception care helps you to be as healthy as possible before pregnancy, so you can nurture the healthiest baby during pregnancy, recover after the delivery, and be in the best possible health so you can enjoy your baby and reduce the risk of complications such as post-natal depression.
Our practitioners ideally like to run nutritional tests on mothers-to-be, to test for the vital nutrients necessary for a healthy pregnancy, before conception or at least in the early stages in pregnancy. Common deficiencies include iron, B-vitamins, zinc, vitamin D, iodine and many more. They will then advise on the best diet and pregnancy supplementation regime individually for you, based on your nutritional status, any pre-existing health concerns, family history (such as allergies), genetics (MTHFR mutations) and to address any issues that might arise along the way.
Our practitioners can also help to advise on the best type of exercise for you during each stage of your pregnancy, help you with any health problems that you might experience during pregnancy and discuss birthing options, as well as be the “natural” advisor/wellness coach in your medical team of professionals that will support you during pregnancy, birth and beyond.
In addition to traditional birthing classes, there are many other ways that you can be proactive and prepare for the healthy birth of your baby.
Natural medicines, such as herbal and homoeopathic medicines, acupuncture and meditation techniques may help you to prepare for the healthy birth of your baby, improve your recovery, promote healthy lactation and increase vitality for both mum’s and babies in the post-partum period.
Our practitioners can help you in a variety of ways, to help you feel more confident about the birth of your baby and to ensure that your body is physically ready and in the best health possible.
Naturopathic medicine to assist healthy birthing
Our naturopathic medicine practitioners who have special interests in pregnancy and birthing can help to prepare you for a healthy delivery of your baby, by:
- Helping you to maintain optimal health and vitality during pregnancy, including optimal nutritional levels, fitness and energy, to ensure your body is in the best condition for labour.
- Helping to prepare your body for labour and birth of your baby with the use of specific herbal medicines, known as ‘partus preparator’ herbs. These herbs can make an enormous difference in the birthing experience for women. The herbal formulation, which is usually commenced 6 weeks before the estimated due date, will be specifically formulated for your needs by your naturopath and is designed to help to improve uterine muscle tone, soften and tone your cervix, balance your hormones and may generally assist you in preparation for an easier and less complicated labour and birth. The herbs also assist with involution of the uterus after delivery and help with milk supply for breast-feeding.
- ‘Homoepathic Birth Kits’- that contain remedies to enhance the birth, assist with post-natal healing and encourage milk-supply.
Therapeutic pregnancy massage for birth preparation
- Massage is helpful to nurture you and your baby during pregnancy, as well as relieve the additional strain placed on your muscles with the additional weight of the baby.
- It is ideal to have weekly massage treatments in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, to help relieve the additional tension, improve sleep and improve yours and your baby’s wellbeing.
- Massage will also teach you good relaxation strategies for your labour as it is essential that you relax in-between contractions, letting go as much tension as possible, so that you are ready for the next one.
Psychology and counselling for birth preparation
- Especially helpful for first-time mothers and fathers, counselling can help to explore any fears and concerns about labour or the new challenges of parenthood.
- Counselling can help you explore and understand your own needs and expectations during labour, which leads to empowerment for the birthing experience.
- Have a couples session to talk about your expectations after the birth of your baby, including what each partners expected needs will be, parenting issues and couple issues – to enter parenthood with positivity and enhanced awareness to create the family that you envisaged.
Pregnancy places a huge demand both physically and mentally on the mother, so new mums need a lot of support and nurturing. Natural medicine, including naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, counselling and massage therapy can provide support for a whole range of postnatal complaints.
Our caring and nurturing practitioners understand the demands of motherhood and can help with a wide range of problems experienced by baby’s and mums, including:
- Feeding problems
- Lack of milk production
- Abdominal cramping
- Constipation or other bowel problems
- Uterine bleeding
- Healing and repair of damaged tissues
- Sleep issues – in babies and mums
- Emotional concerns, including post-natal depression
- Newborn issues such as colic, reflux, skin rashes and … more
We offer a phone-consultation service for those mums who are unable to make it into the practice, but need support and care.
As pregnancy is such a precious time, it is essential to seek the advice of a qualified and experienced practitioner to ensure the safety of all medicines used.