For generations, pregnancy and birth have been treated as medical “conditions” as opposed to normal biological processes.
But change is underway. A groundswell of women are taking back their pregnancies and births and embracing a more natural approach. Now Genevieve Howland, the woman behind the popular Mama Natural blog and YouTube channel, brings you a fresh, empowering, and evidence-based guide for this precious time in your life. Featuring insights from midwife Cynthia Mason and nurse/doula Maura Winkler, this book marries cutting edge research with the intuitive wisdom of women’s bodies.
Whether you want a water birth in your living room or just want to eat healthier, The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth is for you!
We’ve packed a ton of information in the book, as you’ll see. The Table of Contents alone is over 1800 words!
INTRODUCTION—The Birth of “Mama Natural”
- Why Go Natural?
- Calling All Mamas
- The Surprising Benefits of Natural Childbirth
Part One: The First Trimester
Week 1—A Little Bit Pregnant
- Mama Fertility Tip: Ditch Fat-Free Dairy!
- Papa Fertility Tip: Go Organic!
- How Accurate Are Home Pregnancy Tests?
- Could It Be Twins?
- I’m Already Pregnant. When Should I Call My Doctor?
- The First Step to a Natural Childbirth
- What’s Your Why?
WEEK 2—Baby Steps: Preparing Your Body and Home for Your Little Bambino
- Give Up Your Vices
- Clean Up Your Medicine Cabinet
- Do a Chemical Sweep of Your Home
- Survive Mosquito Season
- Check Your Personal Care Products
- Toss Your Toxic Household Cleaning Products
- Beware the Litter Box
- Just Say No to GMOs
- The Most Important Nutrients for Mama and Baby
- Get On a Prenatal
WEEK 3 – What’s on the Menu
- Should I Really Be Eating for Two?
- Eat for Two? I’m So Nauseous I Can Barely Eat for One.
- The Big Three: Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins
- Are You a Paleo Mama?
- A Healthy Fat Throwback: Cod Liver Oil
- Do Your Grains and Beans Need a Bath?
- Skip the Deli Section
- Safe Seafood During Pregnancy
- Protein and the Brewer Diet
- Healthy Beverages
- A Word About Weird Pregnancy Cravings
- Tips for Vegetarians and Vegans
WEEK 4 – Work That Body
- When Not to Exercise During Pregnancy
- Which Workout Is Right for You?
- Exercise May Boost Baby’s Brain Power
WEEK 5 – Location, Location, Location
- So, What’s a Birth Center Anyway?
- Is a Birth Center Right for You?
- How to Find a Birth Center in Your Hometown
- Want to Deliver at a Hospital?
- Home Birth: Is It Safe?
- What About Water Birth?
WEEK 6 – Meet Your Midwife
- How Are Midwives Different From Doctors?
- Finding a Midwife Who’s Right for You
- Safe Essential Oil Use
- Finding a Natural-Minded Physician or Ob-gyn
- Tips on Finding the Right Provider
WEEK 7 – Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness
- What Causes Morning Sickness? Three Working Theories
- When Morning Sickness Seems Too Extreme to Be Normal
- Could Morning Sickness Be a Clue to Baby’s Sex?
- Why Is My Throat on Fire?
- Take the Queasy Way Out
WEEK 8 – Feeling Testy? part I: First Trimester Checkups and Screenings
- Building a Relationship
- Eating Disorders and Your Pregnancy
- Assessing Your Health
- Getting a Physical Exam
- Wading Through a Million Routine Tests and Genetic Screenings
- Prepping for Your First Prenatal Visit
- When Will I Hear Baby’s Heartbeat?
- What’s Up with the Flu Shot?
- Can I Continue Breastfeeding My Toddler?
WEEK 9 – From iPhones to Ultrasounds: Smart Technology Use
- The Potential Dangers of EMF Exposure
- So . . . Do I Need a Tinfoil Hat Now or What?
- Just Say No to At-Home Fetal Heart Monitors
- To Ultrasound or Not to Ultrasound? That Is the Question
WEEK 10 – Let the Cat Out of the Bag
- Is Your Job High-Risk?
- Know Your Rights
- Stay-At-Home Mamas Have Risky Jobs, Too
- State and Local Laws
- Making the Announcement
- Get Familiar with Company Policy
WEEK 11 – Take Care of You
- Listen to Some Live Music
- Get Your Hair Done
- . . . But Hold Off on the Hair Dye
- Visit a Pregnancy Massage Therapist
- See All the Good Movies
- Treat Yourself to a Mani-Pedi
- Go Out to Eat . . . A Lot
- Make Time for Your Girlfriends
- Read for Pleasure
- Finish Up Those Home Improvements
- Go Shopping—and Not on Amazon.com
- Block Out Some Me Time
WEEK 12 – Under the Weather? Natural Remedies for the Cold, Cough, and Flu
- If I’m Sick, Is My Baby Sick, Too?
- Antihistamines, Cough Syrups, Decongestants: Which Can I Take?
- TDAP Vaccine: What Say You?
- More Than Just Chicken Soup: Natural Remedies for Colds and the Flu
- Is It a Cold, the Flu—or Something Else?
- An Ounce of Prevention
WEEK 13 – Baby Brain and the Absentminded Mama
- How the Brain Changes During Pregnancy
- If Baby Brain Makes Us Smarter, Why Can’t I Find My Car Keys?
- Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated, Mama!
Part Two: The Second Trimester
WEEK 14 – Feeling Testy? Part II: Second Trimester Checkups and Screenings
- Second Trimester Screen
- Anatomy Ultrasound
- Measuring Small? Could It Be IUGR?
- Basic Blood Work
- Glucose Tolerance Test
- Help for Hormonal Headaches
WEEK 15 – Dress for Two
- Navigating the Maternity Department
- What to Buy—and What Not To: A Crash Course in Maternity Basics
- Maternity Clothes That Won’t Break the Bank
- What About My Piercings and Tattoos?
WEEK 16 – Doulas: Meeting Your Birth Angel
- Doulas for High-Risk Pregnancies?
- So What Exactly Is a Doula?
- Finding Your Birth Angel
- Dads and Doulas: A Labor and Delivery Dream Team
WEEK 17 – Fly Me to the (Baby) Moon
- Flying While Pregnant: How Late Is Too Late?
- The Top 4 Reasons to Get Away
- Going Tropical? Eh, Maybe Not
WEEK 18 – Your Baby Registry Checklist
- Start Here: Big-Ticket Items
- How to Find Top-Notch Baby Gear
- Bottles, Bibs, and Burp Cloths—Oh, My!
- Your Baby Registry Checklist
WEEK 19 – Catch Some zzzs
- Assume the Position: Safe Sleeping in the Second Half of Pregnancy
- Battling Pregnancy Insomnia
- Sweet Dreams—or Baby-Related Nightmares?
WEEK 20 – Let’s Get It On
- But What If We Hurt the Baby? And Other Lovemaking Myths
- Is Oral Sex Safe?
- Feeling Yeasty? Natural Remedies for Vaginal Infections
- Sex for the Win!
- Is It a Yeast Infection . . . or a UTI?
- What About Sex After Baby?
WEEK 21 – Get Schooled
- Why a Birth Course?
- Which Natural Birth Course Is Right for You?
- Pfft! I’m a Second-Time Mama— I Don’t Need to Take a Class
WEEK 22 – High-Risk Pregnancies
- What Makes a Pregnancy “High-Risk”?
- When Should You See a Specialist?
- Okay, I’m High-Risk. Now What?
- Tips for High-Risk Mamas
WEEK 23 – Work That . . . Pelvis? preparing your body and Baby for birth
- What’s the Best Position for Baby?
- Puppy Pose
- Pigeon Pose
- Pelvic Rocks
- Try This Pelvic Power Pose!
WEEK 24 – Love the Skin You’re In
- The Mask of Pregnancy, a.k.a. Chloasma
- PUPPS, a.k.a. Weird Belly Rash
- Where Does All of This Pregnancy Weight . . . Go?
- Mama Natural’s Boob and Belly Butter
- What to Do About Hemorrhoids
- Stretch Marks
WEEK 25 – Decorating a Natural Nursery
- Paint the Town, Er, Nursery Red! (Or Blue? Or Pink? Or Maybe Yellow . . . )
- Is the “Nesting Instinct” Real?
- Are Changing Tables Really Necessary?
- Rocking Chairs and Gliders
- Is Co-Sleeping Safe?
- Baby-Proofing 101
- Decorations and Toys
WEEK 26 – VBAC: the odds are with you
- A Brief History of the VBAC
- About those Risks . . .
- More About VBACS
- Given the Risks, Why Would Anyone Ever Even Attempt a VBAC?
- Are You a Good Candidate for VBAC?
- Preparing for a VBAC
WEEK 27 – Should You Really Write a Birth Plan?
- Understanding What a Birth Plan Is—And What It’s Not
- A Birth Plan Reality Check
- Should I Invite My Older Kids to Witness the Birth?
- Putting It All Together: The Visual One-Pager
Part Three: The Third Trimester
Week 28 – Feeling Testy? part iii: Third Trimester Checkups and Screenings
- Third-Trimester Ultrasound(s)
- Non-Stress Test
- Should I Bank My Baby’s Cord Blood?
- Biophysical Profile
- Group B Strep
- Basic Blood Work
WEEK 29 – Beware the Cascade of Interventions
- Intervention #1: The Routine IV
- Induction: The Pre-Intervention Intervention
- Intervention #2: Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring
- Run It Through Your B. R. A. I. N.
- Intervention #3: Labor Augmentation
- Intervention #4: Epidural
- Intervention #5: Cesarean
WEEK 30 – The Rise of Birth Photography and Other Ways to Document Your Birth
- Why Hire a Birth Photographer?
- Not into Birth Photography? Think About Documenting Your Pregnancy Instead
- So How Does Birth Photography Work?
- Finding a Birth Photographer in Your Hometown
WEEK 31 – How Would You Like Your Placenta Served?
- Why Would Any Woman Eat Her Placenta?
- Okay, But How Does it Taste?
- The Process of Placenta Encapsulation
- Placenta Encapsulation Tips
- Okay, So It Tastes Fine—But Are the Benefits Real or Just Placebo Effect?
- Okay, I’d Like to Give Placentophagy a Try—What’s My First Step?
WEEK 32 – Turning a Breech Baby
- Butt First (Sorry, Couldn’t Help Myself) Why Is My Baby Breech?
- Natural Techniques to Flip a Breech (or Posterior) Baby
- Jockeying for Position: Different Poses Baby May Strike in Utero
- Can’t Make Heads or Tails of Baby’s Position? Leo Can Help!
- Should I Be Worried About Baby’s Umbilical Cord?
WEEK 33 – I Make Milk— What’s Your Superpower?
- The Benefits of Breastfeeding You Haven’t Heard
- If Breastfeeding Is So Great, Why is It So Freaking Hard?
- What If I Really Can’t Breastfeed?
WEEK 34 – A Little Something for the Pain
- The Epidural Dilemma
- Blissed-Out Birth?
- When an Epidural Might Be Exactly What You Need
- Alternative Pain Relief That Won’t Disrupt Your Labor
- Breathing, Unicorns, and Finding Your Happy Place
- Homeopathic Remedies
WEEK 35 – Are You Positive? GBS-Positive, That Is
- What Is Group B Strep?
- Okay, I’ve Tested Positive for GBS: Now What?
- Thoughts on GBS Testing
- How to Perform Perineal Massage—And Why You’d Want To
- Do I Really Need Antibiotics?
WEEK 36 – Wait—Am I in Labor?!
- Labor and Delivery in Three Acts
- Recognizing the Signs of Pre-Labor
- Is This Amniotic Fluid . . . or Urine?
- What If My Contractions Kick in Before 37 Weeks?
- Ouch! These Aren’t Practice Contractions: When Should I Head to the Birth Center?
WEEK 37 – What to Pack for the Big Day
- Your Paperwork
- Clothes (for You and Your Baby)
- Drinks and Snacks
- Gadgets, Gizmos, and Boredom Busters
- Labor Tools, Aftercare Products, and Homeopathic Remedies
WEEK 38 – The Gentle Cesarean
- Naturalizing a Surgical Birth
- Restoring Baby’s Microbiome with a Vaginal Swab
- The Standard Cesarean
- The Gentle Cesarean
- Requesting a Gentle Cesarean
WEEK 39 – the What-If Game: Dispelling Common Fears About Birth
- Will I Poop in the Delivery Room?
- What If We Don’t Make It to the Birth Center in Time?
- What If My Baby Is Breech?
- What If I Have Back Labor?
- What If My Labor Stalls?
- What If My Vagina Tears?!
- What If I Need a Forceps Delivery or Vacuum Extraction?
- What If I Don’t Love My Baby?
WEEKS 40–42 (and Beyond) . . . Still No Baby?
- A Brief History of Induction
- The Process of Modern Medical Induction
- Calculating Your Bishop Score
- Natural Alternatives to Medical Induction
Part Four: Special Delivery
THE LABOR PLAYBOOK
- Stage One: Labor
- Stage Two: Time to Push
- Stage Three: Meeting Your Baby
POST-BIRTH INTERVENTIONS – Newborn Tests and Screenings
- The APGAR
- Antibiotic Eye Ointment
- The Vitamin K Shot
- Baby’s First Bath
- The Hepatitis B Vaccine
- Newborn Screening Part I: The Heel Prick
- Newborn Screening Part II: The Hearing Test
- Critical Congenital Heart Disease
- What If I’m Having a Home Birth?
BONDING AND RECOVERY – The First 48 Hours with Baby . . . and Beyond!
- Breastfeeding and Kangaroo Care
- The Stages of Breast Milk
- You Gotta Know When How to Hold ’Em
- Babywearing 101
- The Mighty Swaddle
- Rest and Recovery
- What You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression
- Natural Remedies for the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression
The Last Word
- When Birth Doesn’t Go According to Plan
Part Five: What to Ask Your Prospective Midwife or Doula, Plus Questions to Ask When Touring Hospitals and Birth Centers
- What to Ask When Interviewing a Midwife
- What to Ask When Interviewing a Doula
- What to Ask When Touring a Birth Center
- What to Ask When Touring a Hospital
Part Six: Pregnancy Loss
MISCARRIAGE AND STILLBIRTH
- When the Unthinkable Happens: Coping with Miscarriage and Stillbirth
- How Can I Find Out What Caused My Miscarriage?
- How Can I Prevent This From Happening Again?
- Natural Miscarriage
- Grieving the Loss of Your Pregnancy
- After the Storm