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Prenatal Nutrition

My Absolutely Essential, Non-Negotiable Birth Prep Strategy: Acupuncture

By | Acupuncture, Pregnancy, Prenatal Nutrition | No Comments

Once you have reached the 35th week of pregnancy you are officially ready to start preparing your body for labour. These natural strategies do not induce early term labour, but rather prepare your body for an efficient and successful birth. If you are anxious about the birth process, and I’m not sure who isn’t, it’s also helpful to have someone to talk with and provide education on what to expect to ease your anxiety. If you have not been seeing a naturopathic doctor throughout your pregnancy, I highly recommend seeing one to prepare for birth. It is never too late.

In the final weeks of your pregnancy the focus is on:

  • YOU
  • Preparing home for the new baby and mom
  • Healthy nutrition – avoiding sugar and increasing protein
  • Preparing some crockpot recipes to make meals easy after birth
  • Light physical activity – walks, yoga, stretching, sex, birth ball etc.
  • Deep breathing and relaxation – listen to music, go for a massage, meditate, practice your breathing techniques etc.

Now let’s talk about acupuncture:

Weekly acupuncture beginning at 35 weeks is the most simple and effective strategy for preparing your body for the labour process. All you have to do is have a 20-minute nap, and let the acupuncture do the work.

Acupuncture is extremely safe in pregnancy and has been proven to: 

  • Reduce the length of labour by 2 hours 
  • Improve efficiency of contractions (makes them more purposeful)
  • Reduces the need for interventions like medical induction and epidural
  • Ripens the cervix and prepares the pelvic floor and muscles for labour
  • Helps manage end of pregnancy symptoms (carpal tunnel, hemorrhoids, insomnia etc.)
  • Provides relaxation and mental calmness
  • Turn a breech baby in combination with moxa (more on that another day)
  • Induce late labour – different acupuncture points are used after you have passed the 40 week mark and need to get things going

I also swear by this pre-birth snack with a tea and a fruit!

Dates – eating 6 dates a day starting at 36 weeks has shown to increase cervical dilation, promote spontaneous labour, shorten the first stage of labour, and decrease the need for Pitocin!

Red raspberry tea – 3 cups a day, hot or cold, to tonify the uterus and promote pelvic blood flow. Other optional add ins: chamomile, lemon balm, rose, oat straw, nettle

And there you have it, the naturopathic way to prepare for labour. If you have more questions, book a complimentary consultation

The 10 Foods You Should be Eating During the 2-Week Wait (and during IVF)

By | Natural Fertility Support, Prenatal Nutrition | No Comments

You’ve made it through! (or you’re getting there!)

Through the countless appointments, medications, and procedures! Now all there’s left to do is wait, and maybe wait a little more. These two weeks are a time for you to do absolutely nothing: love yourself, hug yourself, and reflect on how you’re stronger than was ever thought humanly possible!

I’ve heard from my patients that the hardest part of the 2-week wait is feeling like there is nothing else they can do, which makes the wait that much…crappier. They want to support their body in every way they can and they’re not sure how to do this after the embryo transfer. Luckily there IS something you can do, and that’s optimize diet! There are simple foods you can eat to increase pelvic circulation, build blood, decrease inflammation, and support progesterone. Eat them often and feel confident that you’re supporting your embryo and overall health! These foods are also great for egg quality during IVF, and have just the right amount of carbohydrates to support egg maturation. You do not want to be on a carb-free diet during IVF, the sugar is needed to help follicles grow and divide.

  1. Blackstrap Molasses

    1 tbsp of molasses has the same iron content as half of a small steak! Iron is needed to build nutrient rich blood. You can add it to oatmeal, smoothies, and in place of sugar in baking and cooking.


  2. Beets

    Beets produce nitric oxide (NO), which dilates the pelvic blood vessels. Beets allow your nutrient rich blood to be delivered to where it matters most – your embryo!


  3. Spinach

    Not only does spinach contain lots of iron, but it also benefits pelvic blood flow so that you can build a thick and plush uterine lining.


  4. Lentils/ Beans

    They’re the ultimate vegetarian source of protein, iron, fiber, zinc, potassium, and b-vitamins…everything your growing embryo needs.


  5. Beef/Tofu

    Organic, grass fed, hormone-free beef for the omnivores and non-GMO, organic tofu for the vegetarians. Both are powerful blood building foods. Beef is a source of heme iron, which is better absorbed than plant based irons for a quick boost. If you’re feeling adventurous, liver and oysters contain even more iron but they’re a hard sell with my patients!


  6. Oats

    Are you tired of hearing about iron yet? You need a heck of a lot of it to grow a baby and oats are another great source! Oats also contain beta-glucans, which support your immune system which takes a pretty big hit when you’re growing a baby.


  7. Nuts: Almonds & Walnuts & Brazil nuts

    Almonds and walnuts contain anti-inflammatory fatty acids AND nitric oxide for improving blood flow. The embryo implantation process actually requires a small amount of inflammation to succeed, but too much inflammation is detrimental.


  8. Salmon

    Alaskan, non-farmed salmon is the healthiest and highest source of omega- 3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA). These fats are found in every cell in your body, even your embryo’s. They support hormone production and cellular regeneration.


  9. Seeds: Sunflower & Sesame & Hemp seeds

    These 3 seeds have fatty acids that mimic progesterone, thus increasing overall progesterone levels in your body. Progesterone is needed to maintain endometrial thickness.


  10. Pineapple

    It’s a well-adopted symbol for the fertility community, and for more reasons than one! Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which can support embryo implantation and endometrial receptivity.

The 2-week wait is all about doing things that support your body and mind and make you feel happy; the hardest part of the IVF process is over. If you can fit in some of these healthy foods too, your embryo will thank you. They’re also all foods that are great for pregnancy nutrition.

Book an appointment to prepare for your upcoming IVF or FET cycle