Labor Snacks, Sweet Simple Foods To Keep You Going

Labor Snacks, Sweet Simple Foods to Keep You Going

The process of giving birth burns on average the same amount of calories as a 30mile hike! When thinking about snacks to have on hand think hydrating, juicy, and easy to prepare treats that the momma and birth support will enjoy. All drinks can be offered through a straw for ease and sips should be given to the momma at least once every 15 minutes to help her stay hydrated.

Here are some sweet simple snack ideas to get you inspired:

Home Made Labor Popsicles:

popsicles

This is a simple way to stay both hydrated, and nourished throughout labor. Many women experience nausea with contractions, and these labor pops are a great way to head that off. The coolness is also refreshing and easy to take in.

You’ll need:

1-2 oz of dried red raspberry leaf

1 quart of water

Quart size jar with lid

Honey and lemon to taste

2-3 1mg calcium tablets

ice tray or paper dixi cups

To make the labor pops, steep 1-2 ounces of red raspberry leaf in a quart of water for at least 20 minutes up to four hours. Strain and sweeten with lots of honey and lemon, these will add much needed calories and lemon can help ease the nausea (as well as the red raspberry leaf). Crush the calcium tablets and add to the tea. Calcium is a muscle relaxant and can help with some aches and pains during labor. Pour the mixture into the ice tray. When labor commences, eat throughout the labor. They really are easy to eat when nothing else sounds to good! (credit to hakima widwifery).

Also Try Peppermint Tea pops, brew up a strong batch of peppermint tea and add a decent amount of honey to taste – the honey will give you a boost of energy while the cool refreshing peppermint will give you and your birth support just the thing you need to feel refreshed.orange-julius-diy

Honey Sticks are also great for a swift blood sugar booster – these can be snuck into a hospital which does not allow the laboring mother to eat foods.honey stick

Instant Miso Soup is a nourishing swift snack that can be prepared with simple not water in the hospital or added to some bone broth at home (see article on making bone broth for instructions and health benefits).KIKKOMAN INST MISO SOUP-TOFU 1.05 Z

Fruits and avocado – think lite and easy snacks that can be presented on a beautiful plate can boost the laboring womans spirits.RainbowFruitPlate

Coconut water either from the can or from a freshly cracked young coconut provides electrolytes and hydration which is essential for a yummy smooth birthing experience.Coconut_Water

Home Made Electrolyte drink:

In a mason jar of water fill with chilled fizzy water the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, two pinches of salt and either honey or maple syrup to taste. The lemon/salt combo provides electrolytes like any energy drink without the added dyes and preservatives.lemonaid

Once your baby is born the momma is going to be quite hungry (and rightfully so!) good post labor foods to have on hand are things that can be prepped/reheated easily that are rich in good fats and carbs. Think lasagnea, cheese tamales, good burger,  her favorite comfort foods. The richness of the post labor meal will help the mothers breast milk to come in.  Good fats and hydration are key to a healthy milk supply.

Happy Birthing and Snacking!

Sperm Simplified

Sperm Simplified

What are sperm? How long do they live? Are they male and female? How do they implant in a womans egg?

The term sperm is derived from the Greek word (σπέρμα) sperma (meaning “seed”) and refers to the male reproductive cells.

The sperm cell consists of a head, a midpiece and a tail. The head contains 23 chromosomes which will join the 23 chromosomes of the female egg, there are also enzymes used for penetrating the female egg. The midpiece contains a filamentous core which helps the sperm metabolize (recharge) during the journey through the womans cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes. The tail helps propel the sperm forward for the journey up to the womans fertile egg.

Study findings have showed a range of 42 to 76 days from the time of sperm production to ejaculation in normal men.  Men are born with a set number of underdeveloped sperm cells which are not technically sperm, yet. These cells eventually mature at puberty and they will create the reproductive type cells.  Healthy males will create sperm their entire adult life from these underdeveloped cells.

The process is called spermatogenesis.

During spermatogenesis the underdeveloped cells make exact copies of themselves. Each cell will make four copies that will then mature into reproductive cells. A woman’s egg will always carry the X chromosome (female chromosome), it is the males sperm which determines the sex of a child. Sperm can carry either X or Y chromosomes. Sperm carrying the Y chromosome (male) are able to swim faster than those with the X chromosome, but also die off faster. A couple trying for a male baby who know the womans peak time of fertility could make love as ovulation occurs to give the male sperm the best chance at reaching the egg first. A couple trying for a female baby could make love in the days leading up to ovulation while the woman is fertile and abstain the day of ovulation to give the slower hardier female sperm a chance to reach the egg as it becomes ripe.

Sperm can live for up to five days during a womans fertile time of the month when she is producing favorable cervical mucus to protect the little swimmers. This means they can be resting inside of a womans cervix 5 days in advance of ovulation and still fertilize the egg. The egg, unfertilized, has a life span of only about 24 hours. If a woman is infertile the sperm are able to live for a maximum of thirty minutes the vagina. If left in the air sperm have an even shorter life span of a few minutes.

If the sperm does indeed reach a fertile egg it will meet the egg in a specific portion of the tube, called the ampullar-isthmic junction, it rests for another thirty hours.

Fertilization — sperm union with the egg — occurs in this portion of the tube (shown to the left as being cut for a tubal ligation). The fertilized egg then begins a rapid descent to the uterus. The period of rest in the tube appears to be necessary for full development of the fertilized egg and for the uterus to prepare to receive the egg.

    A membrane surrounding the egg, called the zona pellucida, has two major functions in fertilization. First, the zona pellucida contains sperm receptors which are specific for human sperm. Second, once the membrane has been penetrated by the sperm, it becomes impermeable to penetration by other sperm.

Following penetration, a series of events set the stage for the first cell division. The single-cell embryo is called a zygote. Over the course of the next seven days, the human embryo undergoes multiple cell divisions in a process called mitosis. At the end of this transition period, the embryo becomes a mass of very organized cells, called a blastocyst. It’s now believed that as women get older, this process of early embryo development is increasingly impaired due to diminishing egg quality.

What are the best ways to cultivate healthy sperm?

* Eating a proper balanced diet

*Reduce stress. Stress interferes with reproductive hormone production

*Exercise regularly. The body works as a whole. Exercise brings oxygen and nutrients to the entire body

*Maintain healthy body weight. Too much or too little body fat interferes with the production of necessary reproductive hormones

It is best to avoid:

*Chemical toxins of every kind

*Recreational drugs and prescription Drugs. They both have the same harsh effects and consequences on the reproductive system and body as a whole

When thinking of the components of the reproductive system, male or female it is worth while to look at our lives and ask what building blocks we are surrounding ourselves with that have effects on our bodies and minds. The reproductive system is a great marker of our overall health, if you are interested in conceiving a child consider cleansing and properly building up your body so the strongest and healthiest of sperm, egg, uterus and state of mind can be present during conception to give your future child a healthy running start in this life.

Happy Loving!

Credit for some content in this article goes to UCSF Medical Center.

Ovulation – Hormones Explained

So what exactly is ovulation?

Ovulation is the release of a ripe fertile egg from the ovary, it is a womans peak time of fertility in the month.

The physiological journey that a womans body goes through every cycle to achieve ovulation is the product of a series of hormones that lead into one another. This article is intended to shed light on the hormones behind ovulation in a way that any of us could understand.

 The information in this article will first cover the full function of the glands and organs involved in ovulation so there is groundwork for understanding the overall sequence of events which will be covered at the bottom of this article. If you already have an understanding of anatomy and physiology feel free to skip to the bottom of these writings.

  The act of ovulation and menstruation are the result of a hormonal dance between the Hypothalamus (master gland), the pituitary gland, ovaries, and uterus.

 A fresh cycle begins with the first day of a womans bleed. The bleed causes estrogen and progesterone levels to fall and the Hypothalamus begins to work.

 The Hypothalamus is a gland and portion of the brain located above the pituitary gland.

 * It controls many physiologic mechanisms including: appetite, thirst, emotional reactions, and temperature.

* At menarche (first period) and throughout the reproductive life of the woman, the hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary to produce both follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which in turn causes the menstrual cycle to occur.

* Hormones are chemical messengers that are produced in one part of the body, travel through the blood stream, and affect other parts of the body.

* The hypothalamus is influenced by our environment and emotional state and acts as a major computer in our body analyzing signals from other areas of the brain as well as hormonal signals.

The Pituitary is a gland is an endocrine gland about the size of a pea and weighs less than 0.02oz. It is a protrusion off of the bottom of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain.

 * The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland secrets FSH and LH that in turn stimulate the ovaries to mature and release ova (egg(s)). There is a feed back mechanism between the ovaries and the hypothalamus which increases or decreases the amount of FSH and LH produced in the pituitary. The pituitary gland also secretes prolactin to stimulate the production of breast milk.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): is stimulated into production at the beginning of the cycle, because of the decrease in the ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone production at the end of the previous cycle. FSH stimulates several of the most sensitive follicles in the ovary to begin growing.

* The level of FSH fluctuates and must reach a threshold level before any follicular growth takes place.

* Several days of follicle growth are required before the follicles secrete enough estrogen into the blood stream to signal the hypothalamus/pituitary that the threshold for FSH has been reached.

* There is an intermediate level of FSH which must be exceeded before the dominate follicle is boosted into its full ovulatory response.

*  There is also a maximum level of FSH, only 20-30% above the threshold which must not be exceeded, otherwise too many follicles would develop and multiple ovulations would occur.

* The drop in FSH after the intermediate level is reached causes the follicle to be receptive to the secondary pituitary hormone, LH which will surge before ovulation.

* Usually only one follicle is boosted to ovulation.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Stimulates certain cells that line the follicle (theca interna cells) to produce progesterone. The LH levels surge prior to ovulation and cause the egg to be ruptured from the follicle. Luteinization causes formation of corpus luteum from the ruptured follicle. Progesterone and estrogen are secreted by the corpus luteum. 

The corpus luteum (yellow body) is formed from the ruptured follicle and functions for 11-16 days in the absence of pregnancy. 

*The corpus luteum produces progesterone and estrogen.

Ovaries: Under the influence of FSH and LH the ova mature and are released from a cyst like structure called the follicle. Usually only one follicle reaches maturity and releases an ovum at ovulation. Following ovulation, the ruptured follicle collapses and becomes the corpus luteum. At birth, the ovaries contain about 500,000 eggs but during a womans reproductive life only about 500 ova will ever come to maturity. 

 * Folliculogenesis (maturation of the ova) takes 85 days.

 Estrogen

* FSH and LH, act as synergistis – cause the growth and development of follicles containing the ova and stimulate the production of estrogen.

*  Is the predominant ovarian hormone before ovulation.

*  Stimulate the growth and development of the reproductive organs prior to menarche (first period).

* Stimulates the cervical crypts to produce mucus

* Causes the endometrium to proliferate in preparation for implantation

* Causes the cervix to soften, open and rise.

Progesterone: with the rupture of the follicle and subsequent ovulation, the follicle collapses and is now known as the corpus luteum which functions of 11-16 days

* Through the influence of LH certain (granulose) cells in the collapsed follicle now begin to produce progesterone and estrogen.

* Progesterone is the dominate ovarian hormone after ovulation.

* Progesterone acts on the endometrium to stimulate the glands to produce fluids, which will nutritionally support a new human being.

 With that groundwork laid we can now understand the sequence of events that take place to make ovulation occur. 

1) Estrogen and Progesterone levels fall

2) Suppression of FSH(follicle stimulating hormone) and LH(luteinizing hormone) lifted, a new cycle commences

3) The hypothalamus produces GnRH (hormone which triggers the pituitary)

4) Pituitary produces FSH

5) The ovary grows follicles (a cluster of 6-7)

6) Which produce estrogen

7) Which causes growth of the endometrium and the cervix produces mucus

8) Estrogen feeds back to the hypothalamus which turns off FSH and sends out LH

9) which releases the ovum from the follicle

10) stimulating formation of the corpus luteum

11) which produces progesterone and estrogen

12) The progesterone changes the endometrium which affects the cervical mucus

13) If fertilization has not occurred, corpus luteum regresses after 6-7 days

14) Estrogen and progesterone levels fall

15) Suppression of FSH and LH lifted

16) Menstruation commences 10-16 days after ovulation, and a new cycle begins

Credit for the research goes to WOOMB (World Organization of the Ovulation Method – Billings).

Prenatal Tai Chi in Sebastopol California

Franchesca Schaaf & Yoga Studio Ganesha Present

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Why Prenatal Tai Chi?

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Prenatal Tai Chi teaches it’s movements in a repeated single form before moving onto another in a fluid sequence, in this way new and well seasoned practitioners are able to follow and understand how the energy is articulating itself and maximize chi flow.

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