natural motherhood, part 6: herbal baby care

i know that some of you out there love the super-informative posts, but i also know that there are a lot of folks who really love the project-y d.i.y. stuff—-this post is for both of you but will be a special treat to the latter.  (i’m right there with you, hands-on people!) for this entry, i wanted to take a good long look at all of the stuff we put on our babies (creams, ointments, lotions, oils, soaps, powders, balms…..oh my!) breaking everything down into the good, the bad, and the ugly.  a walk down any baby care aisle in the grocery store bombards us with all this crap (yes, most of it is crap), but because “that’s what you put on babies,” that’s what we all buy.  if you’re at all concerned about what goes into your baby, you should pay mind to what goes on her as well—pores, after all, are like little gateways to the bloodstream. Read the rest of this entry »

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natural motherhood, part 5: breast care

i googled “natural breast care” tonight—just to see what would pop up.  to my great disappointment, seven of the nine links were for breast augmentation or “enhancement.”  i cringed and peeked through one eye as i changed it to an image search—while i was glad to see as many pictures of breast self-exams as  i did pictures of blown-out self-tanned porn-star racks, i was horrified by the wide selection of machines that apparently use intense and prolonged suction for the purpose of “growing” larger breasts for you.  oh, and there were the creams for larger breasts, the contorting bras (watch how your pulled-around back fat can be made into more side-boob!), and the scary mixes of unnamed “herbal supplements” just shipped in from china—and all this from searching natural breast care.  what’s wrong with us? Read the rest of this entry »

natural motherhood, part 4: downstairs maintenance

whether you’re planning on getting pregnant, are already pregnant, or have just given birth, it is essential to do your research on “downstairs maintenance.”  odds are pretty much in favor of your having to deal with at least one of these issues, and (although we’ve gotten better about it) women tend not to have as many frank discussions as we should when it comes to our lady parts.  actually, this post branches out a little further than “lady parts”–the uterus and vagina are not the only bits of anatomy affected by pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  you’ve also got to talk about your bowels, your bladder, your vulva, and your rectum.  how many of you cringed when you read that last sentence? lol. see what i mean?  we don’t talk about this stuff enough. Read the rest of this entry »

natural motherhood, part 3: the big, bad list of “no-nos”

you knew this was coming, right?  amidst talk of all the wonderful new things you get to do (be goddess-controller of the air conditioning, add frivolous things to grocery lists, stop sucking in your gut for the first time since you were eight) is the dreaded list of “thou shalt nots.”  now, i’m not a doctor, so my word isn’t law here (funny how we assume that five extra years in college=always right!) but i do have some good source material and a lot of common sense.  i’m a teacher and a researcher by trade, and birth is my subject of choice.  just sayin’……this isn’t THE list; it’s the herbwife’s list.  amend as you see fit.  ask for second (and third, and fourth) opinions.  also, don’t assume that doing a few of these things a few times=sure trouble.  repetition increases risk with any harmful substance.  plenty of women have had beautiful, healthy babies after doing a whole slew of these things—-these are just guidelines for giving yourself and your baby the best chance at health. Read the rest of this entry »

natural motherhood, part 2: iron, calcium, and folate

as i began my foray into the world of alternative medicine, i made  the mistake that many (if not most) people make.  i adopted the heroic tradition’s view of the body as a dirty temple–one that must be punished and purified.  go into any health food store and you’ll see aisles of pills and potions meant to purge you from every end.  you’ll see bowel cleanses that work by irritating  your colon so badly that its only recourse is to pull precious water from your cells and flush out all contents.  you’ll see testimonials of people marveling at the horrible things that their bodies pushed out. Read the rest of this entry »

natural motherhood, part 1: easing morning sickness

because many women today don’t track their menstrual cycles, and because some women have very irregular cycles, morning sickness can sometimes be the first sign of pregnancy.   this rather unwelcome herald of otherwise great news was a major focus of the pharmaceutical industry in its 1950s infancy.  anyone familiar with the drug thalidomide (sold as thalomid), given to women in the 1950s to assuage morning sickness, remembers that it was taken off the market a few years later after it was found to cause terrible birth defects.  most notably, “thalidomide babies” were born with phocomelia—they suffered from craniofacial deformities and were often born with missing or underformed arms and legs.  more than 10,000 cases of thalidomide-related phocomelia were reported, and an astounding 50% of these infants died. Read the rest of this entry »

paths to becoming a midwife

since my decision to become a cpm (certified professional midwife), the strangest thing has started happening.  in my many conversations about birth-related issues, several women (mostly older women) have told me that secretly, deep down inside, they’ve always wanted to be midwives.  the feeling, they say, seems irrational given their chosen life paths, and many of them brush it off as a “in my next life” sort of thing.  the rationalizations go something like this: “well, i’m certainly too old for a career change,” or “but i’m almost finished with graduate school for an entirely different field,” or “people would think that i’m crazy!” Read the rest of this entry »

iron tonic syrup

most women who have investigated supplements for a healthy pregnancy have come across a lovely (and expensive) concoction known as floradix.  pregnant women need to consume nearly twice as much iron as their non-gravid sisters, and this sends many women after this lovely and mysterious elixir.  floradix liquid differs from typical iron pills in that it is plant-derived iron and therefore much more easily assimilated into the body.  anyone who has taken regular iron pills can tell you (as can their sore behinds) that floradix is well worth the cost since it bypasses the nasty constipation associated with the pills.

the good news?  you can make your own floradix-esque concoction!  for very little money!  below, you’ll find a recipe for what i (rather selfishly) call “lucadix”…..feel free to tweak the recipe to your liking, and please share it with others.  also, anemic women will benefit from a daily dose of this yummy syrup! Read the rest of this entry »