Prenatal Parenting: Practices for Better Bonding & A Healthy Pregnancy
Mary Esther Malloy of Mindful Birth NY facilitated CiC’s recent workshop, Prenatal Parenting: Practices for Better Bonding & A Healthy Pregnancy, at Explore + Discover Early Learning Center.
Mary Esther lead expecting parents in a conversation about cleaner, healthier living and the steps expecting parents can take. The questions she addressed were: how much of this matters prior to becoming pregnant? How can one eat animal products and still regulate blood pressure? What steps can a mom with high blood sugar levels take to relax when walking isn’t cutting it anymore? How does proximity to smoke, sewer steam, and pollution that’s part of the reality of urban living impact the health of the baby? And how can we find affordable, healthy options?
Patti Wood spoke first about her non-profit, Grassroots Environmental Education, whose mission is to educate the public about exposure to common environmental toxins and their impact on health, especially for children. A joint project of Grassroots Environmental Education and Environmental Health Trust is the BabySafe Project. Newborns today are born with 200-300 environmental toxins in their body, says Patti, which have known consequences in animal studies, including symptoms of ADHD. While many of these toxins are unavoidable, Patti concentrated on the changes expecting parents can make in their own homes and offices to protect their health and their baby’s. You can listen to more of Patti Wood on her podcast about wireless radiation: http://www.greenstreetradio.com/shows/.
Chef Laura Rodriguez of Duette FoodShed shared some traditional foods and recipes from her travels abroad, including fermented foods, broth as a beverage, spices, animal fats and organ meats. She had to really “walk the walk” when, during her second trimester of pregnancy, Laura developed gestational diabetes. The experience of having to check her blood sugar and manage drastic dietary changes had a huge impact on the way Laura continues to eat and feed her family. Her advice to expecting parents once they’re busy with the reality of caring for a new baby: “Remind yourself about self care and what it feels like to care for someone else.”
Certified nurse midwife, Barri Malek, introduced the crowd to some basic concepts of perinatal psychology. It was a refreshing reminder that while the first two speakers offered a number of solutions for healthier living, not all paths to health involve “doing” something specifically. “We are human beings, no human doings,” said Barri. Talking to the baby is one of the easiest ways of having an epigenetic effect on your baby: “Talk to your belly, explain what’s going on”. Babies enjoy hearing their parents’ voices and feeling your hands, and they can feel what the mother is going through with heightened environmental senses.
Finally, Taryn Longo, a long time practitioner of meditation and founder of Awakened Pregnancy, walked workshop participants through a body-grounding meditation. For those easily intimidated by meditation, believing it is too difficult to quiet the mind, Taryn kept things highly accessible. We worked to get out of our heads and “drop energy into our bodies”. Taryn explained that pregnancy is the one time where meditation is so natural. Moms are primed for this reflective time if they are able to sit and listen to the world around them for a few minutes, close their eyes, and breathe.
Some “Prenatal Parenting Tips” for detoxing your environment, your body, and your mind during pregnancy:
- Stay on the perimeter of the grocery stores, avoiding center aisles full of more processed foods.
- Cook or buy sipping broth, which offers easy electrolytes and energy. Make this a part of your arsenal of food for labor.
- Never use your belly as a “shelf” for your laptop or phone, and keep cellular phones away from your body or pockets as much as possible.
- Use an organic crib mattress, not one coated in flame-retardants.
- Keep your phone off or on airplane mode when not in use to protect against radiation exposure.
- Avoid laundry soaps and dryer sheets that contain brighteners or fragrances, use unscented laundry powder or plant-based soaps which are good for everything (hair, laundry, washing the car….). Bonus: Throw a half-cup of white vinegar in with the wash and completely eliminate neurotoxins.
- In general, avoid fragrances that contain phthalates, or neuro-disrupters. “If you smell something, it’s in your body.” Use essential oils as an alternative, especially during pregnancy.
Thanks to all who came, and a very special thank you to our host Explore + Discover, facilitator Mary Esther Malloy, and all of our speakers!
A note from Mary Esther:
I was inspired to organize this event on Prenatal Parenting for CIC after I participated in midwife Chantia Smith’s course “Womb Surround.” Chantia was unable to join us on Wednesday, but I wanted to make her information available in case anyone wants to follow up with a Pre and Perinatal Psychology practitioner:
Chanti Smith, CPM, SEP, Pre and Perinatal Birth Therapist and midwife, offers preconception and prenatal sessions to support bonding, fear release, and past trauma resolution. She also offers postpartum integration sessions for parents and babies after childbirth. Chantia lives in New York and California, and offers sessions on Skype and in person. Contact her at embodiedbeginnings.com.