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Family Homesteading Advocate
Simple Living for the Urban and Rural Homesteader

Pregnancy

Books for Pregnancy - Pregnancy is the time to get informed,
know your choices. Here are a few of my favorites.
Natural Relief for Common Discomforts of Pregnancy - Avoid over-the-counter drugs which are questionably safe and try some proven safe alternatives.
Book Reviews- Having a Homebirth? Here are a couple books that can help you prepare for your Special Delivery!
Pregnancy Journals - Don't forget all the special moments of your pregnancy! Discover the convenience and value of a pregnancy journal.
Send Me Your Book Review!
If you have a favorite book on Pregnancy & Birth
please send it to me along with your review of it
so I can post it on this page. Thanks!
 

Pregnant?  Alone?  Afraid?
Stand Up Girl!


Pregnancy Resources
Click here for lists of websites and other resources for all you prenancy and birth needs.
Immunization Information
Get informed about immunizations BEFORE your baby is born. Whether you decide TO immunize or NOT TO immunize you owe it to yourself and your child to know the facts.

Natural Relief for Common Discomforts of Pregnancy
by Kelly Frohnauer

Natural remedies can be used during pregnancy and will safely help you through times of discomfort. Using a natural remedy should be your first choice before choosing an over-the-counter drug. All over-the-counter drugs should be avoided while you are pregnant. Most have not been proven safe for pregnancy and even if they do claim to be safe, are you willing to take the risk?

When choosing to use a natural remedy be wise and study the therapeutic effects of each herb. Use extra caution during your first trimester. Your unborn baby is making tremendous growth and changes during this time so it's best to avoid anything that may interfere with this process. Also be familiar and aware of the herbs that are known to cause uterine contractions as you will want to avoid using these (unless you are more than 38 weeks pregnant).

Your body, while pregnant, is going through many metabolic changes which may influence the herbs effects in your system. Herbs that may have worked well for you while not pregnant may not work as well for you while pregnant. The opposite could also be true meaning your body may be extra sensitive and could be overstimulated even by a regular dosage. Moderation is the key. Start small and build up slowly. 

The following is a list of some common discomforts of pregnancy and the herbal remedies that has been proven helpful for relieving that discomfort.

Nausea
Before getting out of bed in the morning munch on some protein and carbohydrates like cheese and crackers to help bring up your blood sugar levels. Eat plenty of protein rich foods all day. Protein helps prevent blood sugar levels from dropping too quickly which can cause nausea. Drink soothing herbal teas like Red Raspberry, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Peppermint, Ginger and Meadowsweet.

Constipation
Drink plenty of fluids. Eat lots of whole grains, especially bran. Leave the skin on fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugar, white flour and heavily processed foods. Add psyllium seeds to your foods. Prunes and prune juice help to relieve constipation and are very high in iron. Avoid supplements that contain unnatural sources of iron such as ferrous fumerate. Exercise is a must.

Heartburn
Eat smaller and more frequent meals instead of 2 or 3 large meals. Chew food slowly to insure that plenty of digestive juices get added. Sip warm milk or hot peppermint tea. Yoghurt is also helpful. Many women find relief by chewing several Papaya tablets or you can try some candied ginger. Sleeping in a propped up position can also help. Chew some Anise seeds or make into a tea.

Headache
Be sure your are drinking plenty of water. Do not space your meals too far apart. Put some Lavender essential oil in an oil burner and burn while resting. Put your feet in hot water and put a cold wash cloth on your forehead at the same time - helps to decrease the pounding blood flow to the head and bring it to your extremities.  Get some fresh air. Drink soothing herbal teas like Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Meadowsweet and Peppermint. Get a neck and shoulder massage using a massage oil that has Lavender or Chamomile essential oil added to it.

Bleeding Gums
Increase your vitamin C supplements. Rinse mouth daily with 1 or 2 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract added to a cup of warm water. Use a soft bristle toothbrush. Rinse mouth daily with a mix of tincture of Myrhh and water.

Hemorrhoids
Avoid developing constipation (see constipation section). Elevate feet and relax pelvic floor while having a bowel movement. Kegels can help to keep hemorrhoids from buldging (see kegel section). Apply St.John's Wort oil directly to hemorrhoids. Also helpful is to apply Witch Hazel - soak a cotton ball in Witch Hazel. Tuck it in place and leave for 15-20 minutes.

Insomnia
Be sure to get fresh air daily and excercise daily. Take a hot bath before retiring. Add lavender oil to the bath. Also put 1 or 2 drops (only) of lavender oil on pillow case to help you relax and sleep. Avoid caffeine. Use pillows to prop your legs up and support your belly while side-lying for more comfort. A body pillow works great for this. Listen to a book on tape or quiet music while laying in bed. Drink soothing teas such as Lemon Balm, Hops, Chamomile, Passion Flower and Catnip.

Edema/Swelling
Eat lots of protein rich foods trying to get at least 75 grams of protein per day. Drink plenty of water. Salt your foods to taste (do NOT avoid salt, as some believe). Sleep with legs elevated and elevate legs often throughout the day. Avoid restrictive clothing. Take liver strenghtening herbs such as Dandelion and Milk Thistle and eat foods such as beets, beet greens and artichokes.

Leg Cramps
Increase your calcium/magnesium supplements and possibly potassium. Extra vitamin E is helpful, too. Eat plenty of calcium rich foods, including dark, leafy green vegetables and tofu.  Exercise helps your circulation. When having a cramp, stand and put the cramping leg behind you. Keeping your heel touching the ground, bend forward to create a stretch down the back of your calf muscle. Or while sitting, point your toes towards your knees. Avoid chocolate - it reduces the bodies absorption of calcium.

Yeast Infection
Avoid excessive sugar and refined flours. Eat cultured yogurt products. Drink and also douche with liquid acidophilus (NOT the milk with acidophilus added). Always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement. Wear 100% cotton underwear. A very effective natural remedy is boric acid. The boric acid remedy can be found at
http://www.naturalfamilyhome.com/communitymeds.html

Anemia
Eat plenty of iron rich foods daily. Apricots fresh or dried are high in iron. Also prunes, prune juice and Blackstrap Molasses. Liquid Chlorophyll can bring iron levels up very quickly. Herbs that are good for anemia are Yellow Dock and Alfalfa. Regular exercise helps also.

Kegels
Kegels are an important part of every pregnancy. The Kegel exercise strengthens the pubococcygeal (pbc) muscle which holds up your organs in the pelvic region. Exercising this muscle helps prevent hemorrhoids, helps support your uterus and your growing baby and also helps with labor, delivery and assists with post partum recovery. You can isolate the pbc muscle by trying to stop the flow of urine while urinating. Exercise this muscle by squeezing it as hard as you can, hold, then release. Do this 50 times or more daily throughout your pregnancy and beyond! 

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(c)2002 - Kelly Frohnauer is a WAHM of 5 children. She has been involved in Midwifery for the past 15 years and has attended many homebirths. Using natural remedies and herbs has been a way of life for her and her family for over 22 years now.

(Please note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to medically prescribe nor is it intended to replace qualified medical healthcare.)

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Book Reviews - Books for Pregnancy
by Kelly Frohnauer
Special Delivery by Rahima Baldwin
I first read this book in 1985 as part of the required reading for my Childbirth Educator training through Informed Homebirth, Inc. After reading it I wished that I had read it before my first baby's homebirth (he was born in 1981). This book is an excellent resource for anyone taking the responsibility of planning to birth at home. Chapter titles are Prenatal Care, Planning For The Birth, Normal Labor and Delivery At Home, Tools for Handling Labor, Working Together During Labor and Delivery, Complications and Emergencies, Spiritual and Psychological Aspects of Pregnancy and Birth, The Newborn and After The Birth. Also contains the authors birth stories and a few others. An important guide book to help you prepare for your Special Delivery.
 

Gentle Birth Choices - A Guide to Making Informed Decisions About Birthing Centers, Birth Attendants, Water Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birthby Barbara Harper, R.N.
Another excellent resource for anyone planning to have a baby! The elements for a gentle birth are discussed in the beginning of this book which should be the basis for all births no matter where they occur. The rest of the book thoroughly covers the information that all birthing women need in order to be able to make decisions based on facts, not fear and prejudice. The factual section on Medical Myths alone could revolutionize birthing! There is also a whole chapter devoted to waterbirth. In fact, Barbara Harper established the Global Maternal/Child Health Association and Waterbirth International in 1989. Her organization provides the most complete resources for waterbirth. You can visit her website at www.waterbirth.org/

~~For a link to another wonderful website about Water Birth go to the Birth, Babies and Breatfeeding Links & Resources page and look under the Pregnancy & Childbirth section~~

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Pregnancy Journals
by Kelly Frohnauer
Pregnancy is a time of many changes and the days go by so quickly (except for those last few weeks!). After the birth we are busy adjusting to life with our newborn and soon some of the memories of our pregnancy and the birth slowly begin to fade away. 

I found that a pregnancy journal is a wonderful tool to use during pregnancy. You can record all your daily experiences and then, when time has passed and the memories begin to fade, you will have a valuable means for reminiscing. It brings me warm, fuzzy feelings when I read what I jotted down. What a wonderful, miraculous time pregnancy is. It's definitely worth remembering!
~~Below are a few Pregnancy Journals worth checking out!~~
coverThe Pregnancy Journal; A Day-To-Day Guide to a Healthy and Happy PregnancyI looked at several pregnancy journals during the beginning of my last pregnancy and this particular journal was the one I chose to use. I liked how it counted down the days till the birth, each day listing facts about the baby's growth and development at that exact time. The different changes and events that mom might be experiencing at that time was also daily noted. Tidbits of fascinating facts, Food Facts, Childbirth Then and Now and in other cultures and great Health tips are dispersed throughout. There are places to record belly measurements, weight, how you are feeling and other notes every few pages. For the birth there are several pages with guided questions to help you record the momentous occasion. This book is homebirth friendly! and includes a section for recording your homebirth and midwives names, etc.

This journal does not have a space to write something for every day so if you need to write something everyday this journal might frustrate you. I personally found that the notes sections came often enough for me, sometimes too often, but I am not normally much of a journaller! (click on book link to the right for more reviews)
coverExpecting You : My Pregnancy JournalI haven't personally seen this journal but the informative review at Amazon.com was very positive and I felt it was worth mentioning here. If interested just click on the title link above or the book link to the right and decide for yourself.

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by Barbara Harper, R.N. (see review on this page)
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