The Masculine Role in Empowered Childbirth

  The Masculine Role in Empowered Childbirth

Protector, Guide, Pillar of Strength, Pillow of Comfort.

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  The celebration of the birth of a child is centered on baby, yet through all the celebrating it can be easy to forget that a mother, father and family are also being born in the birthing process. As a pregnant mother goes deeper into her pregnancy, her partner begins to embody the all the healthy aspects of the masculine as he births himself as father. This process also applies to same sex couples, if you are in a same sex relationship please replace father with partner in your mind as you read the article.

What does empowered childbirth mean? It means giving birth in a way that is mother directed and driven by her informed choices, giving her the feeling of having the amazing and successful birth she has always wanted. Be her birth unassisted at home, supported by midwives in a birth center, or a scheduled cesarean. At the end of the birth, when the baby is in their mother’s arms and the birthing mother has a strong sense of accomplishment and joy, that is what I mean by empowered childbirth.

I often hear from my pregnant mamas as they get close to their birthing date that they begin to feel vulnerable. I always smile and tell them that another word for vulnerable is open. Open is exactly where a birthing mother wants to be so she can fully give over to the birthing process, letting every sensation wash over her as she physically opens her cervix. This time of openness is also a time of suggestibility, anything that is said to her can and will go straight to her heart and mind so it is paramount that she only be around positive voices, stories, and messages of encouragement and strength. This is the point in time where I see most fathers step up and come into their healthy protector role. It is totally acceptable for papas to ask friends who are telling stories of challenging births to stop. It is powerful for papas to rephrase dialogue and comments made by health care providers that are phrased in fear instead of love. It is perfect for papas to turn off the television if a negative birthing scene is being portrayed. Papas get to hold the boundaries while mamas go through the natural transformation of ripe openness. Papas also get to hold the space for endless encouragement and belief that their partners can and will have an empowering birth; constantly reinforcing that desire brings a couple closer.

In the HypnoBirthing classes I teach, I tell a story about the scene of a father gorilla protecting a laboring gorilla. The laboring mother will sit on the forest floor while she is giving birth, and as she does so the male gorilla will pace around her in a circle. He is protecting her while providing her with company. All of my students chuckle at the image and then it clicks for the fathers in the room … they are the supposed to be the gorillas.

People ask how hypnosis can help them in their birthing experience. I tell them that openness, the time of suggestibility that every woman feels is ripe for old programs of fear to be plucked out of the subconscious while new seeds of truth, strength and encouragement are planted. While giving birth, the birthing mother is going deep into herself through relaxation techniques practiced in class. At the same time, birthing fathers are able to lean on all of the tools they were also equipped with in class. All tools given to fathers are centered on allowing them to be hands on in the birthing experience so they get to be present in the richness and feel like they are contributing. Light touch massage, affirmations, hypnosis scripts, assistance in birthing positions, rotating cool wash cloths on mamas forehead, and offering sips of water in-between each sensation help fathers feel useful and they get to experience the birth as a team.

At the end of every one of my class series I drive it home that fathers should never underestimate their power in assisting birthing mamas stay in their center. Fathers get to be awe struck by the power of their laboring partners while offering them the same magnetic love that helped pregnancy occur in the first place. It is a profound moment in a mans life and I hope that every man has the ability to embrace and enjoy every minute of it.

 

  • Franchesca Duval 2015

 

HypnoBirthing® How it serves our nervous system and birth experience

HypnoBirthing® 

How it serves our nervous system and birth experience.

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We have all seen the disempowering scenes of a woman giving birth in a movie or on television. Often times the birthing mother looks terribly uncomfortable, she is screaming at her spouse who is utterly useless. Hospital staff is yelling and running about while machines are beeping and general chaos seems to swirl around the room.

It is no wonder so many women have feelings of discomfort around the idea of giving birth; all our subconscious is fed is negative images.

Birth can be a calm and beautiful event that a couple experiences as an empowered team, consciously brining their child into the world. Having the perfect birth you dream of is as easy as understanding how your nervous system operates and practicing how to work with it while in labor.

Our nervous system is the great controller of our overall state of wellbeing. We have two states that our nervous system takes on, parasympathetic (when you are relaxed in a comfortable environment) and sympathetic (your fight, flight or freeze state which is triggered by anxiety or fear). When we are in a parasympathetic state all body functions act normally and perfectly; our heart beats at a comfortable pace, our food is digested and we feel secure. When we are in the sympathetic state our body prepares to fight or run. All of our adrenalin is directed to the heart. The heart starts to race and send blood to our arms and legs so that we can flee. When blood is directed to our hearts arms and legs it is taken from the uterus, placenta and baby. If hooked up to a fetal monitor the babe would start to show signs of distress, causing further anxiety to the birthing mother and the cycle of medical intervention begins.

This scenario of mother and fetal distress in birth can be EASILY side stepped if the birthing mother can keep herself in a parasympathetic state of empowerment and calm. Doing this is simple with proper training in breathing techniques and understanding that fear needs to be completely out of the birthing mothers mindset.

In Hypnobirthing we spend a great deal of time dehypnotizing couples from all of the messages and ideas they have been given about birth. We dispel fear with knowledge of how our birthing bodies actually work and equip couples with practical relaxation techniques. A large part of the curriculum is geared towards giving tools to fathers and partners so they can be active participants in the experience.

Natural childbirth is a powerful life changing experience. Our bodies are perfectly designed and if allowed to operate naturally our hormones beautifully carry us through each stage labor no matter how long or short our birth may be. Natural childbirth takes preparation, focus and work but the rewards are well worth the time. Getting to feel your baby move through you, working with you to come down and out of your body is beyond words. When in active labor we act as a bridge between heaven and earth, filling the birthing room with oxytoxin, inspiring and uplifting everyone who witnesses us. You deserve to feel that internal power and it is your birthright to birth on your own terms without regret.

Sign up for a class today and get the tools you have been looking for. Your beautiful birth awaits you!

 

  • Franchesca Duval 2015

Effects of Alcohol on Female/Male Fertility

Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Infertility?

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The risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy are well understood, with heavy drinking linked to fetal alcohol syndrome, miscarriage, premature delivery and low birth weight. For this reason, Government guidelines recommend that all women stop drinking before trying to conceive(1). However, can drinking alcohol prevent pregnancy altogether? Lifestyle choices certainly have an impact on fertility and besides keeping active and choosing foods to help fertility, specialists in reproductive medicine advise that women give up alcohol, cigarettes and drugs to increase their chances of conception. Even if you are not thinking of starting a family just yet, you may want to consider the impact of your drinking habits now, as heavy consumption of alcohol may still affect your future fertility. Equally, it is not just an issue for women, with many men unaware that alcohol can also affect their fertility too.

Alcohol and Female Fertility

With CDC figures showing that just over half of women of reproductive age drink alcohol, the association between alcohol use and fertility is an important issue for a lot of women(2). This is especially the case as it is not only heavy drinking that has the ability to limit a woman’s reproductive potential, as research on the link between the menstrual cycle and alcohol shows(3). While female alcoholics often experience irregular menstrual cycles and their periods might stop altogether, drinking alcohol at a level below which it would cause liver damage or have other adverse effects on your health is enough to disrupt the hormones that control female reproduction. Even for women who don’t drink daily and are just social drinkers of alcohol irregular periods and infertility is a real possibility. This relates to the fact that when your periods are irregular, there is a chance that you will not ovulate each month, so without the release of an egg it is not possible for conception to take place.

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Researchers believe that alcohol exerts its effects by raising levels of estrogen and testosterone, while lowering levels of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, all of which need to be in balance for the female reproductive cycle to take place normally. More relevant to heavy drinkers is the fact that large quantities of alcohol can reduce the absorption of B vitamins, which play an important role in maintaining the monthly cycle, and a poor diet that occurs as a consequence of alcohol addiction can also interfere with the menstrual cycle.

Alcohol and Male Fertility

It isn’t just women who need to consider their alcohol intake prior to conception, as drinking can also take its toll on a man’s sperm as well(4). While drinking just a single alcoholic beverage each day does not seem to adversely affect male fertility, and may in fact protect sperm against damage to their DNA thanks to its antioxidant content, the same cannot be said about heavy drinking. If you have two or more alcoholic drinks each day, this classes you as a heavy drinker, and this can damage your sperm’s DNA, leading to problems conceiving, and if fertilization does occur, possible birth defects.

Alcohol problems seem to affect male fertility by lowering levels of testosterone, which controls the number and health of the sperm that men produce. This means that with heavy consumption of alcohol sperm countis typically lower, reducing the chance that a sperm will meet with the egg for fertilization to occur. Similarly, with high intakes of alcohol sperm motility and their size and shape are also adversely affected, making it harder for them to reach the egg and for successful conception to take place.

Early Abuse of Alcohol and Fertility

If you are under the impression that as long as you rein in your drinking before you try to conceive that this will not cause a problem, you should think carefully before you continue to drink more than is recommended. While doctors previously thought that your earlier lifestyle choices had little impact on your chances of conception, research is emerging that shows that there is a link between early behaviors relating to alcohol and infertility.

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One study that supports this association, certainly among women, investigated the relationship between alcohol dependence from a young age and the age of first childbirth(5). The researchers found that among women who were dependent on alcohol and had taken part in binge drinking in their teens and twenties they were more likely to have their children when they were older, though the same effects were not seem among men. Although the study did not explore the precise reason behind delayed reproduction in the women with a history of alcohol abuse, it is plausible that it took them longer to conceive due to the impact of alcohol on their menstrual cycle.

Regular Moderate Drinking and Fertility

If you drink within sensible limits, but you do not want to give up alcohol till you are actively trying to conceive, you may wonder about the impact of your recent intake of alcohol and trying to get pregnant. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, if you do stick to moderate drinking, you do not have to worry when it comes to your fertility(6).

When these two organizations reviewed the evidence for the impact of alcohol on conception, they only found that with heavy use of alcohol infertility was an issue. While two alcoholic drinks daily reduces the chance of pregnancy occurring, this was not the case among women who only had one drink daily. Interestingly, they found evidence that a daily drink may even increase your chances of successful conception when compared to women who drink no alcohol at all. Based on this information they strongly advise against drinking two or more alcoholic beverages daily, but conclude that there is limited evidence that recent moderate drinking impairs fertility.

Can Alcohol Affect Conception

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Although historical binge drinking and recent heavy drinking appear to adversely affect fertility, you may wonder about the link between alcohol and conception when you drink on the day of intercourse. The answer to this question very much depends on when you drink during your menstrual cycle. For fertilization to occur, the timing of when you have sex is important, as while sperm can survive for up to five days, they must be present in the female reproductive tract around the time that ovulation takes place. Anything that affects the release of an egg from a woman’s ovaries will therefore lower the chances of conception. As we have previously answered the question “Can alcohol affect ovulation?” it is possible that drinking can reduce the likelihood of pregnancy, particularly if intercourse takes place on the predicted day of ovulation and not on other days around this time. The fact that female blood alcohol content reaches higher levels close to ovulation(7), when its adverse affects are likely greater, means that withalcohol fertility around ovulation is lower than you might expect.

Drinking During IVF

There are many reasons why couples may need to seek fertility treatment, but usually before you begin medication or assisted conception techniques you will be asked to modify your lifestyle to see whether these adjustments will aid natural conception. If you still need to pursue fertility treatments despite making these changes, it is important that you continue to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes paying attention to your alcohol intake, as when drinking alcohol conception through assisted means is also affected.

If there are concerns that you are not ovulating, your specialist may initially prescribe the fertility drug Clomid for you before pursuing IVF. This medication stimulates your ovaries to produce and release an egg. As alcohol and Opioid Addiction can adversely affect ovulation, hindering the effectiveness of this treatment, the advice is to either cut back your alcohol intake to within recommendations or stop drinking altogether(8). Although ideally you should abstain from drinking during treatment to maximize your chances of success, if you do decide to drink you should limit yourself to at most one alcoholic beverage daily.

An alternative fertility treatment is intrauterine insemination, where sperm are placed directly into your uterus, which is an option if your partner has mild problems with his sperm. However, as we have already seen that alcohol can affect sperm size, shape and mobility, he should seriously consider looking at his drinking habits if he continues to use alcohol and consider alcohol recovery.

Meanwhile, if you need invitro fertilization, there is evidence that drinking alcohol during IVF reduces your chances of a successful outcome. Indeed, a recent study that reviewed the results of research to date on this subject found this to be the case(9). The researchers concluded that women drinking within the week and month before IVF were more likely to experience failed treatment and less likely to go on to have a successful pregnancy, and these outcomes were affected even when women were not drinking heavily. For instance, drinking just one shot of spirits, a glass of wine or 12oz of beer each day during the week prior to IVF increased the risk of failure four fold, and drinking at this level during the previous month increased the risk two fold. Women who drank at least four alcoholic beverages a week were also less likely to give birth, highlighting a higher rate of miscarriage. Finally, the research showed that a man’s alcohol intake in the previous week and month also reduced the success of IVF. The best advice is therefore for both partners to avoid alcohol in the run up to fertility treatment.

As alcohol intake has a significant impact on fertility, whether you are trying to conceive now or wish to do so in the future, if you struggle to control your alcohol intake it is important you seek help to do so without delay.

Written by Amy Linton

IVF Treatments

If fertility has become a problem for you and your partner, there are many options to explore to increase the chance that you are able to conceive. While there are many natural and holistic remedies, an IVF Treatment Procedure may be the answer to your struggles with fertility.

http://www..stepstorecovery.com/effects-alcohol-fertility/

Resources:

 

Ever Wondered What Your Uterus and Cervix Are Up to Each Month?

Have you ever been curious as to what is actually happening in your reproductive system each month? Check out this 4½ minute animation of the cycle:

It is a brief explanation of the complexities of what happens in your body each month. You will be amazed at how intricate it all is – what extraordinary creatures we women are!

The Billings Ovulation Method® can help you to manage your fertility safely, successfully and naturally.

It is the most thoroughly researched method of regulating fertility available today – natural or artificial! Over 850,000 individual hormone assays and 25+ years of research into the role and function of the cervix in human fertility. Plus countless cycles of clinical study of women’s charts.

If you are interested in details of that research we can supply them, but probably you just want to know that it will work for you. And the best way to find that out is to give it a go. What have you got to lose?

The quickest and most efficient way to learn is to find your own individual, confidential tutor Franchesca Duval right here at Blue Lotus Fertility!

 

 

 

6 Reasons to Delay Your Babies First Bath

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There are many reasons to consider not having your baby bathed in the first hours or even days after birth. Many hospitals seem to have an urgent need to have the baby bathed in the first hours after the newborn has been born, but as parents, you can make the decision on when to bathe your baby and who is the one to do it. There are several benefits to delaying baby’s first bath and you may reconsider when you would like it to happen after learning about the advantages of waiting. (Much of the research on bathing newborns is related to the preterm or low birth weight baby.)

  1. Babies are born with a natural skin protectantIn utero, babies are protected from their watery environment by a special substance called vernix, found on their skin. You may notice some vernix on your just born baby, it looks a bit like a white, waxy cream cheese, and some babies seem to have a lot and others not so much. Babies tend to lose the vernix the longer the mother is pregnant, so those babies born at 42 weeks might not have a lot of it visible anymore, though usually there is still some hidden in the folds of their skin and under their arms. Babies born earlier often have a larger amount. Newer research indicates that vernix has immune properties and leaving it on your baby’s skin provides a layer of protection while your new baby’s immune system is getting stronger. I think this is a great benefit especially for babies who are born in the hospital, with lots of potential for exposure to hospital-acquired infections. Vernix also is the best moisturizer ever and helps to keep your baby’s skin soft and supple. It’s important to note that the research is on the properties of the vernix but as of now there is no clinical data to prove this connection.Amniotic fluid, which bathed the baby before birth has the ability to provide some extra resistance to infection as well, so the longer it remains on the skin, the better for baby.
  2. Baby wants to be near momAfter birth, your newborn baby wants to be as close to you and your breasts as he can get. Snuggling on your chest, close to the food source, where he can hear you, smell you and feel you against his skin is a source of comfort for your new little one. Being close to your breasts can help encourage breastfeeding and support the baby making a smooth transition to life on the outside. Taking your baby away from you soon after birth for the purpose of a bath can disrupt the process of your baby getting to know you, feeling safe and secure, and interfere with those very important first feedings.Bathing-beauties-baby
  3. Lowered body temperature New babies are still figuring out how to maintain their own body temperature. Taking a baby away from his mother for a bath, may result in the baby working harder to keep their body temperature in the normal range. I have seen babies who need to be placed under the heat lamp to bring up their temperature after their bath. Mom’s chest is the perfect place to maintain baby’s temperature. A mother’s chest has the ability to heat up or cool down to help the baby stay at just the right temperature. Adding a bath into the mix just makes it harder for baby to maintain their body temperature.
  4. Keep stress hormones low and blood sugar normalBeing separated from her mother can add an additional layer of stress to a new baby just figuring out life on the outside. When your baby is taken from you to be bathed, she may cry, feel uncomfortable and upset. This causes her body to release stress hormones in response to this new situation. Her heart rate and blood pressure may go up, she may breathe a bit faster and become agitated. Working hard to respond to this stressful situation may also lower her blood sugar temporarily. If your baby’s blood sugar is being monitored due to mother’s gestational diabetes, or her size at birth, the baby’s health care providers may be concerned and want to introduce formula to bring her blood sugar back up to the normal range. When she remains closes to you, she is better able to regulate all of her body systems and maintain her blood sugar where it should be.
  5. A bath with mom or dad sounds niceSince your baby feels most secure when she is close to a parent, you might consider taking the first bath with your baby, when you are ready. Getting in the tub with your baby and holding her in your arms is a wonderful way to have that first bath. Your baby will feel secure and loved, when she does not have to be separated from you in the first days. She will enjoy the soothing water while being held, happily splashing and giving little kicks. It might feel so good that she may even fall asleep! Remember, little babies are very slippery when wet, so you will need someone to hold the baby while you get in and out of the tub. It creates special memories to take that first bath with your baby, rather than having staff do it, shortly after birth, when mom is still recovering herself and not really able to engage in the process.babybath0306_468x349
  6. Handle with glovesIn many hospitals, it is policy for staff to handle all unbathed babies with gloves on their hands, so as to protect staff from coming into contact with any amniotic fluid, blood, or vernix that remain on your newborn. Considering that the transmission of hospital-acquired infections is on the rise, some consider it good practice to have all hospital staff wear gloves when handling a newborn baby, even if a bath has already occurred. Some studies show glove use in very low birth weight babies have fewer infections when staff handle the baby with gloves on, despite the bath status.

 

There are many benefits to delaying the bath of your newborn until both you and baby are stable and ready to participate in this special “first” moment. There is no medical reason that a newborn must be bathed in the first hours or days. I encourage you to learn more about the appropriate time to bathe your baby and make a choice to do so when you and your baby are ready. Sharing your wishes with hospital staff can be done respectfully and your wishes can be honored.

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Sources:

Loring, C., Gregory, K., Gargan, B., LeBlanc, V., Lundgren, D., Reilly, J., . . . Zaya, C. (2012). Tub bathing improves thermoregulation of the late preterm infant. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs, 41(2), 171-179. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2011.01332.x

Medoff Cooper, B., Holditch-Davis, D., Verklan, M. T., Fraser-Askin, D., Lamp, J., Santa-Donato, A., . . . Bingham, D. (2012). Newborn clinical outcomes of the AWHONN late preterm infant research-based practice project. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs, 41(6), 774-785. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01401.x

Ng, P. C., Wong, H. L., Lyon, D. J., So, K. W., Liu, F., Lam, R. K., . . . Fok, T. F. (2004). Combined use of alcohol hand rub and gloves reduces the incidence of late onset infection in very low birthweight infants. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed, 89(4), F336-340. doi: 10.1136/adc.2003.031104

Preer, G., Pisegna, J. M., Cook, J. T., Henri, A. M., & Philipp, B. L. (2013). Delaying the Bath and In-Hospital Breastfeeding Rates. Breastfeed Med. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2012.0158

Visscher, M. O., Utturkar, R., Pickens, W. L., LaRuffa, A. A., Robinson, M., Wickett, R. R., . . . Hoath, S. B. (2011). Neonatal skin maturation–vernix caseosa and free amino acids. Pediatr Dermatol, 28(2), 122-132. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2011.01309.x

Photo Credit: Goldmund Lukic/E+/Getty Images

 

Oxytocin – 15 Fascinating Facts About ‘The Hormone Of Love’

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If you’ve given birth before, you’ve probably heard of oxytocin – especially if you’re a breastfeeding mother. Oxytocin is the hormone that controls uterine contractions during labour, and helps with the milk ejection in breastfeeding. But this amazing neuropeptide is involved in so much more than just those two functions.

Studies show that oxytocin is calming and can improve mood – it lowers your blood pressure and blocks stress hormones. It can help relieve inflammation and stimulate metabolic functions, like digestion and growth. It is present in females and males, and is active in social interactions. It brings about feelings of relaxation, selflessness, and love. World renown obstetrician, Michel Odent, says, “Whatever the facet of love we consider, oxytocin is involved.”

And oxytocin may be the key to adapting to motherhood. Synthetic oxytocin, however, which is often used to induce or augment labour, does not act the same way in the body as naturally occurring oxytocin. Pitocin/syntocinon does not cross the blood-brain barrier; and while it does produce the same mechanical effects on the body, it does not lead to the same behavioural effects, like maternal attachment promoting behaviours.

The amazingly versatile hormone is present throughout the body during many different activities, and it serves many functions. Here are 15 fabulous and fascinating facts about oxytocin:

Oxytocin Fact #1:
Oxytocin is released in pulses, and the more pulses the more effects seen from the hormone. Baby’s suckling triggers these pulses, which improves milk production and release.

Oxytocin Fact #2:
A surge of oxytocin is released as a baby is being born (due to stretching of receptors in the lower vagina), and baby’s oxytocin levels are high at birth, as well.

Oxytocin Fact #3:
The highest peak of oxytocin in a woman’s lifetime is right after her baby is born, but before the placenta is delivered – we can maximise the hormone’s potential by placing baby skin to skin with mum and leaving the two undisturbed during the time.

Oxytocin Fact #4:

Skin to skin contact increases oxytocin release – whether it’s mother and baby right after birth, dad massaging his infant, or mum and dad holding hands.

Oxytocin Fact #5:
Speaking of birth, an epidural can impact the effects of oxytocin by blocking the pathways it travels. Since oxytocin increases your pain threshold, the epidural may not even be needed.

Oxytocin Fact #6:
Prolactin, the milk-making hormone, is dependent on oxytocin for its production. The levels of these two hormones are strongly correlated during breastfeeding.

Oxytocin Fact #7:
Oxytocin helps mothers interact with their babies. Oxytocin levels correlate with the amount of mother baby interaction, and both benefit from its effects.

Oxytocin Fact #8:
When a baby kneads at the breast, oxytocin is released – so let your baby hug the breast during feeding rather than tucking or swaddling those hands away.

Oxytocin Fact #9:
Oxytocin release can be hindered by a stressful environment, as fight-or-flight hormones inhibit oxytocin. But if someone feels emotionally supported, calm and warm, the environment works in favour of her hormones.

Oxytocin Fact #10:
Oxytocin helps your body use nutrients through digestion, and aids in transferring those nutrients into breastmilk (and to the fetus during pregnancy).

Oxytocin Fact #11:
Oxytocin has direct effects on brain growth, especially the neocortex of the newborn.

Oxytocin Fact #12:

Oxytocin is released during orgasm (male and female). Orgasm has a host of physical and emotional health benefits, so don’t forget to give your partner the nudge now and again!

Oxytocin Fact #13:
Problems with the oxytocin system have been implicated in mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, drug dependency and suicide.

Oxytocin Fact #14:
Positive effects of oxytocin exposure last well past weaning – repeated ‘doses’ of this hormone over the months of breastfeeding can improve maternal health, though more research is needed in this area.

Oxytocin Fact #15:
Aside from its reproductive roles, oxytocin is released when sharing a meal with a friend, hugging someone you care about, and even when petting your dog. So if you’re feeling down, spend some quality time with a good girlfriend, get your hug on with those you care about and love (and ditch the quickie hug, give it longer than a few seconds, relax into it and see how different it feels!) or get connected with your partner… and we’ll leave the rest up to you!

References

  • Bell AF, Erickson EN, & Carter CS. (2014). Beyond labor: The role of natural and synthetic oxytocin in the transition to motherhood. J Midwifery & Women’s Health, 59(1), 35-42.
  • Carter CS. (2014). Oxytocin pathways and the evolution of human behavior. Annual review of psychology, 65, 17-39.
  • Odent M. (2001). The scientification of love. London: Free Assn Books.
  • Odent M. (2002). The first hour following birth: don’t wake the mother! Midwifery Today, (61), 9.
  • Uvnas-Moberg K. (2012). Short-term and long-term effects of oxytocin released by suckling and of skin-to-skin contact. In Mothers and Infants. Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 299.
  • BellyBelly.com

10 Most Important Foods For Women

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What are the 10 most important foods, especially for women?

FOLIC ACID – 400 mg daily, 500 mg if you are breastfeeding, 600 mg if you are pregnant. Get it from green leafy vege, fortified fruit juice, nuts and beans.

CALCIUM – 1,000 mg/day if you are under 50, 1,200 mg if you are 50 or over = 3 servings of low-fat dairy or fortified juice.

IRON – 18 mg/day if you are under 50, 8 mg/day if 50 or over, 27 mg/day if you are pregnant. From red meat, beans, fortified cereal and spinach.

VITAMIN D – up to 70 years of age you need 600 international units per day, over 70 increase to 800 IU, from fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackeral, sardines) or fortified juice.

SODIUM – LIMIT to 1,500-2,000 mg/day (a small teaspoon) and remember, even if you don’t add salt, many processed foods and a lot of restaurant foods contain high levels of salt.

FOODS FOR HEART HEALTH – to remove ‘plaque’ from your arteries – fruit, vege, fat-free/low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean meat and poultry, fatty fish, nuts, vegetable oils.

PROTEIN – fish, poultry, red meat, eggs, nuts – 46 gms/day = 2 servings.

FIBRE – at least 25 gms/day from beans, nuts, fruit, vege, whole-grain bread.

VITAMIN C – 75-85 mg/day from broccoli, red capsicum, citrus fruit.

OMEGA 3 – FATTY ACIDS x 2 servings per day from fatty fish, flaxseed, walnuts.

Supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet!

Drink plenty of water and get some regular exercise. If your eyes are bright and your hair is shining, chances are your fertility and general health will also be in tip-top condition!

Sourced from the Billings Institute

 

 

Your Cervix Is Amazing!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Has anyone ever told you how amazing a woman’s cervix is?

A woman’s anatomy is hidden inside, causing it’s sophistication and perfect design to go unnoticed but I am here to tell you, the cervix is one of the coolest parts of our body!

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The cervix is an incredible and intelligent gateway between the vagina and uterus. Throughout the month the cervix opens and closes as we become fertile and infertile, allowing sperm to travel up into the uterus with its agenda of implanting an egg.

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When we are infertile our bodies view sperm as possible bringers of infection so our cervix remains tightly closed and sperm die in our vaginas within 30 minutes due to the naturally acidic environment.

When we are fertile our cervix (which I like to think of as a grand hotel with a nice solid door) opens and cervical mucus is released providing small rivers and channels for sperm to swim up. The cervix has small indentations in its walls called cervical crypts, which can be thought of as little hotel rooms. The cervix is so intelligent, it traps sperm that are shaped imperfectly or swimming oddly in the lower crypts while sperm that are healthy and superior are ushered with specific cervical mucus into the upper crypts of our cervix, right next to the uterus.

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A woman can be fertile and secreting fertile cervical mucus for up to seven days, the fertile mucus and cervical crypts hold the optimal sperm, feeding them glucose until the moment we ovulate which is a 24 hour window at the end of our fertile cycle. With the sperm released the cervix begins to close back up, our cervical mucus dries up, our fertility leaves and our vaginas become protectively acidic once again.

This dance happens (for women who are ovulating) once a cycle regardless of sexual activity. There are ways to chart the comings and goings of our fertility and use the knowledge to avoid or achieve pregnancy. Once we master our bodies language of fertility we can monitor our fertility regardless of age or what is happening in our lives (breastfeeding, menopause etc.).

Our cervix is also responsible for keeping itself closed while we are pregnant, protecting the uterus from any infections and helping us hold our babies inside until we are ready to give birth. Once we give birth the uterus opens to 10cm to allow our babies to pass down into our vaginas and into the world and then closes up once again, it is an incredibly busy part of our bodies that deserves recognition.

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Lets hear it for our cervixes!

HypnoBirthing® Online Home Study Course

Blue Lotus is now proudly offering a HypnoBirthing® Online Home Study Course!

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 Do you live too far from Franchesca to be able to attend a group workshop or have a full schedule that is challenging to work around? The HypnoBirthing® online home study course could be for you.

 In the online course Franchesca guides you through all of the same material she teaches in a group workshop. The classes are comprised of five units and are around two hours each. Homework assignments are given at the end of each class and a phone or email follow-up (clients choice) will be scheduled with Franchesca to go over any specifics or answer any questions that arose while watching the class material.

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Steps for Registering for HypnoBirthing® online course

 Step One: Follow this link and create a user account for yourself. Be sure to include your mailing address in the registration process so I can send you your practice materials and HypnoBirthing® book in the mail. Self Registration

Step Two: Once you have created an account you will log in and be taken to a page that says “You are not registered for any courses at this time”. Click on the blue tab that says “Catalog”.

 Step Three: You will be taken to a screen where the HypnoBirthing® class will appear along with a green button that says “Add to Cart”. Click the green button and the class will be placed in your online shopping cart.

 Step Four: Click the green shopping cart in the upper right hand corner and complete the checkout process.

 Step Six: Once you have paid for the course click the tab on the upper right hand corner that says “Dashboard” and you will be taken to the HypnoBirthing® Online Class, you can expect your class packet and practice materials to arrive within one week of registering for the course.

Cost for the online course is $385

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