The following are articles that inspire, offer a new perspective, and give you more insight into birth, pregnancy and motherhood. All titles intrigue and feels overwhelming so not sure which ones to choose? Choose the one that draws you in first—that's the one you were meant to read.
Enjoy, and please let me know what you love hearing about and want to read more of in the comments below!
Pelvic Floor with Kathy Kates (a Plan Simple podcast episode)
”Kathy is the first to acknowledge that this is an area most women don’t know enough about. After surgery and chemotherapy to treat breast cancer, Kathy was in surgical menopause … and a lot of pain. She thought that because she is a nurse practitioner who takes care of women that she should be able to figure it out. It took her own nurse practitioner to tell her that she needed pelvic floor therapy. Sometimes things we think are just normal … aren’t. Like leaking urine during or after pregnancy. Kathy recommends preventative care and thinks women should see a pelvic floor specialist before pregnancy as well as during and after. One of her key messages – get rid of the shame and get aware of your pelvic floor.”
Yoga and the Pelvic Floor with Guest Teacher Diana Zotos (podcast)
”In today’s episode we decided to focus on the basics of women’s pelvic floor health and how that relates to yoga practice and yoga teaching. You’ll hear: How the alignment of the feet and legs affect the pelvic floor; What teachers and students can do if they think they might have issues with their pelvic floor musculature; When, how and why hip pain or lower back pain originate with issues in the pelvic floor; Some things pregnant women and postpartum mamas can do to keep their pelvic floor healthy; and so much more!”
How to Turn The Nerves That Arise Before Delivery Into The Empowering Energy You’ll Need
"You are strong enough. You are capable. You are worthy of this moment and you will transform your nerves into the empowering energy that will bring you through your infant’s delivery. The mind is a mighty tool. Use it wisely and never doubt its (your) power."
"Midwifery education often trains future midwives to look for and be experts in spotting problems, so they can prevent and treat them over learning to really know and honor what is normal. In the rushed nervousness of the final exam, one may first assume the scenario is a problem—but this is part of my point. We’ve become pushy about when women should push. It’s been ingrained in our training, and in childbirth preparation classes, too."
Side note: In my GentleBirth childbirth classes we discuss "mother-led pushing" as gentler option for the pushing stage. Learn more about GentleBirth!
One Hospital’s Plan to Reduce C-Sections: Communicate
”C-sections dwindled at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center because the staff decided that they should. “When you move toward a decrease, it has to be valued, not just by the people leading the project, but by the obstetricians, nurses and midwives,” Dr. Golen said. Beth Israel is forensic in its use of the newest and best evidence. Providers don’t order C-sections as early as they did in the past. Rather than surgery, they first offer laboring women “supportive care,” hewing to the recommendation of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Supportive measures really just allow the patient more time,” Dr. Golen said. “Just by making the active stage start at 6 centimeters, it allows patients so much more time to reap the benefits of the supportive care that we can provide.””
Side note: Choose your birth place carefully. Ask about c-section rates, epidural rates, induction rates, etc. Ask lots of questions to your provider. If you're not happy with their responses, you have the freedom to change providers and place of birth. This is your experience, stack the odds of having a positive one in your favor by preparing!
POSTPARTUM & PARENTING
The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am
Right now, we lack the societal, institutional, and cultural support structure to help mothers meet their breast-feeding goals. If we're telling women that they should breast-feed exclusively for six months, then we should give them—at minimum—the same amount, six months, of paid family leave. Seemingly everything about breast-feeding, which for the first few months easily takes up eight hours a day, is at odds with holding down full-time work.
Why Your Brain Needs Idle Time
“To learn something well, you need to study it for a while and then take a break.”
"The benefits of challenging and shifting one’s beliefs are immediately tangible since they influence the emotions you feel, but you’ll need to apply this method for some time to become more used to catching yourself thinking.”
People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.
Rethinking Gluten Free
To be sure, there are some people who should never eat wheat. About one percent of the population has Celiac disease, which is a very serious gluten intolerance that can be life or death. But for the rest of us, a better solution is bypassing processed foods and choosing ancient or heirloom whole wheat, which has been raised organically and prepared using time-tested culinary practices like sourdough baking. This way, we not only can continue to enjoy wheat, we can truly be nourished by it — and we can support a healthier earth and healthier rural communities too.