Abby Block, CD(DONA), CBC

Doula & Breastfeeding Support ~ Serving Brooklyn & NYC

healthy pregnancy

Folic Acid/Folate in Pregnancy: New Research on Potential Risks

Abby BlockComment

Folic Acid (otherwise known as Folate, in it's non-synthetic form) : we know it's important for a developing fetus, but should everyone be taking folate?? This article contains groundbreaking information on folic acid and an uncommon, but not rare, genetic condition.

"There’s no solid consensus, but some reports state that anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of Caucasians and more than 25 percent of Hispanics are unable to metabolize folic acid. Called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, or MTHFR for short, this defect refers to the MTHFR gene, which produces the enzyme responsible for converting synthetic folic acid (what’s found in prenatal vitamins and fortified grains) to methylated folate (the metabolized nutrient that protects against NTDs)."

Read the full article here.

Postpartum & Breastfeeding Nutrition For the New Mother

Abby BlockComment

Postpartum nutrition! Many women aren't aware that for breastfeeding a newborn (or older baby), that often women need to eat more than they did when when they were pregnant! Of course, quality is important as well, as it's not just about getting enough calories.  The amount a breastfeeding mother should eat also depends on level of exercise, overall caloric needs, and other variables, or course. The best rule of thumb is to eat to your hunger, being mindful of making healthy choices whenever possible. Through recent research, we know that a mother's varied diet will encourage her child to enjoy a wide palette of flavors - all the more encouraging to eat well while breastfeeding! Check out the links below for more info on postpartum eating and nourishing the new mother:

Recovery From Childbirth: Postpartum Foods

Do Breastfeeding Mothers Need Extra Food or Fluids?

Nourishing the New Mom

Maternal Nutrition During Breastfeeding

US C-Sections Rate: Too High

Abby BlockComment

If you've been or are pregnant in NYC,  probably one of the first things you did was to figure out who your doctor would be and where you would give birth. You may have spent hours googling something like "NYC OB low cesarean rate," or "NYC hospital low c-section rate." And you may or may not have found the answers you were looking for. Consumer Reports just released an article reviewing the current state of cesarean births and rates by hospitals around the country. Many of the hospitals in NYC that my clients have given birth in do not release their statistics. Considering that your biggest Cesarean risk might be the hospital that you give birth in, withholding c-section rates by hospital (and even by practice or doctor) just doesn't seem ethical.

You can read the full article here: http://www.consumerreports.org/doctors-hospitals/your-biggest-c-section-risk-may-be-your-hospital/

Seeding the Microbiome

Abby BlockComment

This is a relatively new phenomena that has come up in the birth world as more and more research on the significance of gut health and our microbiomes has emerged. In birth, this applies in particular to a vaginal vs. Cesarean birth. During a vaginal birth, the baby is colonized, or "seeded" with bacteria from the mother's vagina, which leads to long term health benefits; in a Cesarean birth, the baby does not have the same bacterial colonization opportunity. It is because of this that some women are looking to simulate this process at the time of a Cesarean.

We are just now beginning to understand that many modern day health conditions, such as colon cancer, Autism, and mental health (just to name a few) are likely affected by the balance, or lack of balance, in good and bad bacteria in our bodies. Think of the recent surge in the understanding and promotion of probiotics, our understanding of antibiotics, and the fermented food movement. 

The recent documentary "Microbirth" focuses on bacterial health in birth, as well as some recent articles below. You can also check them out to understand how some women are choosing to take vaginal seeding into their own hands in the event of a Cesarean.

https://www.scienceandsensibility.org/p/bl/et/blogid=2&blogaid=825

http://www.positivebirthmovement.org/pbm-blog/category/gauze-seeding

http://www.mostlymicrobes.com/vaginal-seeding/

 

Spinning Babies!

Abby BlockComment

Ever since I became a doula, I've been fascinated with the concept of fetal positioning. With my background in dance and yoga, and my interest in alignment, optimal fetal positioning is right up my alley when it comes to birth! A baby that is positioned well can make for a smoother birth. How does a baby get positioned well? Some of it relates to the mother's physical structure, and some of it is related to lifestyle. The good news is that during pregnancy, there are daily and weekly exercises that women can practice to encourage balance. What if you are about to give birth and haven't practiced any of these exercises? You can rest assured that most babies do turn in labor, if they haven't rotated into the optimum position already. And some babies just make their entrance in whatever position they want to be in, regardless of how "optimal" it may be. 

Interested in learning more about Spinning Babies? This is something I cover with my clients during their prenatal sessions. In addition, you can also watch the parent class, available on DVD or as a download. Visit the site here to purchase: http://spinningbabies.com/shop/

 

 

The Truth About Your Due Date

Abby BlockComment

Get some perspectives on your due date, or "EDD" (estimated due date), as well like to call it. Read what a midwife, a doula, an OB, a labor nurse, an acupuncturist, and a pediatrician have to say about. it And in case you didn't know already, only about 5% of women give birth on their due date. The rest of us tend to naturally go somewhere from week 37 (full term) to week 42. There are exceptions to this, of course - as always, with birth. My best advice on the "due date" situation is to consider it your due month, and when people ask you when you are due, you give them the month, not the date :)

Read the article on due dates from Well Rounded NY here.

Exercise & Pregnancy: Surprising Benefits!

Abby BlockComment

So many benefits! More than you think. Here's one:

But now a growing body of research — mostly done on rodents — is revealing just how beneficial it is for the offspring when their mothers exercise during pregnancy. In 2014 researchers at Dartmouth College revealed that exercise during pregnancy enhances brain function in offspring, and that this boost to the brain continues into adulthood. In 2015 a team at the Washington University School of Medicine found that exercise in pregnancy lowers the risk of heart defects in offspring.

Read the full article here.