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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the abundance of resources out there when it comes to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting? Trust me, you're not alone. In this age of information overload, it's easy to get lost in the sea of options and end up not taking action at all. I'm Natalie, and you're listening to the resource doula podcast. Join me on this mini series designed to help simplify this journey. In each episode, I'll go through my favorite resources for a specific category, making it easier than ever to find the information you need and leave behind what doesn't resonate with you. Our approach here is all about embracing a holistic, natural, and non toxic lifestyle. So let's get started today. We're talking about my favorite resources. For pregnancy, pregnancy is such a wildly transformative season of life, and it can often be filled with doubts, insecurities, and other people's opinions. I encourage you to do your own research, stand firm in your own decisions because you are the only expert on your own body and your body knows exactly what it's doing. So I encourage you to trust it, to lead you well, set boundaries so that you can enjoy the season to the best of your ability. my intention with this episode is to not add to the noise, but to empower you to know that whatever decisions you make and whatever products you use, you know what's best for you and for your family and for your baby. We're going to start out with books. The first book I recommend is Lily Nichols Real Food for Pregnancy. Now I mentioned this in the preconception episode as well. It's just that good. Lily is the food genius of our time and has incredible resources and information not only in her book, but on her blog as well. I also recommend Nine Heng Ou, which is the sister book in that trilogy Awakening Fertility Which is the preconception book nine golden months is the pregnancy book and then the first 40 days is the postpartum book this is the only one of the trilogy I have not read yet, but it is next on my list. And this series is really excellent for Information more from a traditional and Eastern medicine standpoint mixing in traditional Chinese medicine as well. So really important read, really good to know kind of what other cultures in the world are doing if you are in the U. S. The third book I recommend is Expecting Better by Emily Oster. This book comes from a perspective of asking the question, Why do all of these rules exist for pregnancy? And do I actually need to follow them? So she goes into the research and the history of why certain recommendations have been made during pregnancy. Like you can't eat lunch meat or you can't dig in the garden. Barehanded things like that. And she talks about the pros and the cons and how to make it educated and informed decision for yourself. The fourth book I recommend is the Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Pregnancy and Birth. And this book is really an excellent resource for someone who's looking to do things a little bit more naturally, a little bit more holistically. She gives you a, a week by week. The synopsis of the common tests and things you might encounter when you go into your provider. The natural choice, the kind of in between choice, and the conventional choice, and the pros and cons of all of those. So it's kind of almost like a what to expect when you're expecting version for Crunchy Moms. next, I want to talk about podcasts that I recommend. There's two that I'll talk about on this episode. The first one is Birthing Instincts. If you have not listened to Dr. Stu and Midwife Blyss yet, If you are questioning the mainstream advice, then Or if you want to know more about breech birth and twin birth, dr. Stu is famous for his approach to breech vaginal birth, VBAC, home VBAC, and teaching. all of these techniques to other birth professionals. I actually had him on the Resource Doula podcast episode 33 if you want to check it out. The next podcast I want to talk about is the evidence based birth podcast. This is a great podcast. They include birth stories and science based information. So if you're not familiar with evidence based birth, they have an amazing website full. of resources. So if you are a parent who is like, okay, what are the pros and cons and what are the research on certain topics like delayed cord clamping or circumcision, things like that, you can go and they've digest digested all of the research for you and put it into an easy to read format. So you can go in and it's presented in a fairly unbiased way, and they also have birth classes, education classes online as well. So highly recommend evidence based birth. Next, I want to talk about some products that can make you more comfortable during pregnancy. Now, I'm really a minimalist when it comes to products, and I want to recommend The ones that really will make a difference for you. So the first one is a squatty potty. If you don't already have a squatty potty in your home, you need one. It's the more natural way to poop and it helps you to relax your pelvic floor better on the toilet. So this can be really excellent for pregnancy constipation. It can be really great for that first postpartum poop or all of the postpartum poops that you have when you are. a little timid about sitting on a toilet, pushing something out of your body. Um, it can also be double used as a birth stool during labor. So excellent, excellent product. Um, you can always use a stool that you find in your own home as well. Just make sure that it makes your knees higher than your hips and you're able to bring your feet wider. So you don't want your feet together when you're sitting on the toilet. The next product I would recommend is a multi use product as well. It's a stability ball, a birth ball, yoga ball. You've probably heard it called a lot of different things. They're the same thing. A ball that you sit on and you can move your hips around. You can strengthen your body. prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and in postpartum. It's an excellent tool. It's also really, really helpful during labor. There's a ton of different positions that you can use the ball for and it encourages movement during labor, which we know has improved outcomes for. And then in postpartum, besides exercise, you can use it to bounce your baby so your legs and your low back don't get tired when you're up late at night in the middle of the night, bouncing that crying baby. The third and final product I want to talk about is kind of more of a category. And if I were to recommend. And one thing for your life, for your pregnancy, for postpartum, I would really encourage you to make the shift to minimal footwear. Now, if you've been following along for a while, you know, I like to talk about this all the time, but if you can allow your feet to function. As they should, as they were designed, then you're helping the rest of your joints up the chain function as they should as well. So think your ankles, your knees, your hips, your low back, and if you wear zero drop shoes, so that means that there's no increase in the heel, there's no lift in the heel compared to the ball or the toe of your foot. So it's completely flat. Then you are helping your pelvis be into be in a more neutral position where you're untucked. You're not tucking your tailbone under and turning off your glutes, which is not only helpful for lower back pain. And most of my clients report immediate back pain relief when they take their shoes off and shift their pelvis back, but it's also allowing the back of your pelvic floor, the posterior pelvic floor muscles to lengthen and open and allow your pelvis to move as it should, which is beneficial for a smoother and more efficient vaginal birth as well. So the shift or transition to minimal footwear is one that you won't regret. And I have a lot of other resources. On that, um, in my podcast, on my website, on the resource list that I will link as well. Um, but my top recommendation for you, if you're curious about minimal footwear, is going to Anya's reviews and seeing what she recommends. And she has a ton of resources as well. That kind of brings us into a section that I wanted to talk about. That's not really a resource or a product, but it's exercises. And a lot of people wonder what they can do. For exercise during pregnancy, I'm going to keep it really simple. I could go into a lot of details on this, but that's not what this podcast episode is about. Being strong during pregnancy can help really eliminate lots of pain and symptoms that are commonly associated. With pregnancy and considered normal, like low back pain, achy hips and achy joints, things like that. If you are strong, you're not only prepping yourself for labor, but setting yourself up for a better recovery, a healthier baby, a healthier postpartum. so if you were to come see me and you're pregnant and I was to guide you through an exercise session, or if I was training you regularly, multiple times per week, these are the exercises that I would incorporate. To most all of the workouts that I would have you do. So first one is doing stairs. Um, ideally with a load. So whether you're on a stair climber, or you're just going up and down the stairs at your house, or you're doing step ups, then either hold weights in your hands, or load a backpack, or have a weighted vest on you. Because this preps you for hiking, for walking with a baby. It also really helps with your leg strength, which is incredibly important for a multitude of reasons. The next thing I would have you do is Farmer Carries or Uneven Weight Carries. So many times moms will carry their They carry their car seat, carry a diaper bag, carry groceries, carry a laundry basket, carry a work bag, carry so many things. There's so much gear that goes along with being a parent. And so if you are carrying objects and walking with them, moving forward, then you need to learn how to carry them in a stable and supported way. So farmer carries, where you are holding a weight down by your side or holding the weight racked up on your shoulder. or even an overhead carry as well, really recommend those. The next exercise that is probably maybe my most favorite exercise is deadlifts. So learning to hip hinge, thinking about putting your baby down in a crib or picking them up. And putting them back down on the ground, you're dead lifting. So, and picking anything up in your life, it's really important to have strong glutes and hamstrings, and that will carry you through your postpartum recovery and help you to feel way, way stronger as you're gaining your strength. The next one kind of goes without saying, but. Squats are hugely important, especially for labor. So if you start practicing squats as early as you can, all the better, the more benefit they're going to give you lots of different types of squats, sumo squats, narrow squats, normal squats, deep squats. Asymmetrical squats where you don't have both legs and the same position. Maybe you have one out to the side a little further. Try all different kinds of squats, add load, add weight to them. Practice them all the time. The next exercise is kind of like a group of exercises. I would have you practice labor positions. Get on your hands and knees. Crawl around. Um, do a half kneeling lunge. Stand up and sway. Practice stretching your hamstrings. Practice releasing your glutes. Do some side lying leg lifts so you know what it's like to be on your legs. On your side with your leg up in the air for a long time, work on manipulating your hips practices with whoever's going to be your birth partner as well, because Practice makes perfect, right? And if we are familiar with the movements that are going to help us through labor, and we're strong for those movements, we're all the more likely to be able to move better during labor, and have the strength and endurance for however long it ends up being. The next thing that I would really recommend is doing overhead movements as well. A lot of times in life, we don't put our arms over our head in a daily routine. And so, we need to... put our arms overhead and push things up overhead. Um, whether it's putting things up on a shelf, lifting your baby, overhead strength is huge and really important. So start pushing weights overhead. You can combine those. One of my favorite, um, combo deal exercises, as I call them is a squat press. So you have weights, maybe dumbbells on your shoulders. You go into a squat, you come down and you push all the way back up to standing and then Do an overhead press at the top. That one is great for your heart rate as well. It's an upper body. It's a lower body. And if you use the core breath, you exhale with effort, then you're using your core. The last thing I would recommend for an exercise routine, if you will, during pregnancy is making sure that you're training your pelvic floor to be balanced. Now during pregnancy, a lot of times people recommend doing a ton of kegels. And now kegels have their place, it's really important to learn how to do them correctly. Ideally you see a pelvic PT if possible, sometime during your pregnancy because they can really help you. Figure out where you're at and what you need to work on to have the most excellent delivery you can, but we need to learn how to relax our pelvic floor. It is the uterus that pushes the baby out, not your pelvic floor. And so if we are tightening, tightening, tightening all the time, doing a ton of kegels, and then the uterus is. Contracting and pushing down and all our public floor knows how to do is lift and squeeze then it's going to be, you're almost working against yourself. And so by learning how to relax and lengthen and let go of your pelvic floor, then it's going to allow for a more efficient pushing and moving that baby down and out as well. If you want a lot of visuals for labor positions, ideas for exercises as well. Uh, if you follow mama stay fit on Instagram, they have incredible visuals, labor prep, they have classes as well. So highly recommend. next up, we're going to talk about. Herbals and oils. So, um, I'm not a provider. I can't recommend certain herbs, can't recommend any supplements or things like that. I'm just going to talk about a couple brands that I like and I use myself and that I recommend. Village Herbals is a great brand. They're a local to Alaska company. They have supportive tea for all stages of life, pregnancy and postpartum. They have infusion blends specifically Designed for the unique needs of postpartum pregnancy. They have a sits bath, things like that. Highly recommended them. Um, my husband and I both love the powerhouse infusion blend that they have. another herbal brand is the Mother Love products. People swear by their nipple balm. They have supplements. They have salves. They have sprays. They have a lot of products that are really, really high quality and they're transparent as well with all of their practices. So definitely check them out. As far as like essential oils go, there's a lot of information. On them, on the internet, you can find anything to back up your own perspective and opinions. Um, my go to for information on essential oils is Eden's Garden. They're a non MLM, family owned, women operated company. They're dedicated to quality oils and evidence based information. And so they're, they have a specific article that is, about what essential oils are safe for pregnancy and why. So I'll link to that article in the show notes. Another thing that people always ask recommendations for is clothing. So maternity clothes, things that transition well to postpartum and have easy nursing access as well. Um, one of the top recommended brands is Kindred Bravely. They have so many options for clothing during pregnancy, postpartum, lots of nursing tanks and bras. Anyone who's tried their nursing bras tends to swear by them and love them, especially their combo nursing pumping tank that they have. I do have a couple pairs of their joggers, and I lived in them. I use them as pajamas. I lived in them after I had my endosurgery. They're super soft. So, they're a really nice, low waistline that's not too squeezy, which is what I needed after my surgery, which is what is comfortable after. Um, you can get 15 percent off your first order with my code trainer, Natalie 15, or use the link in the show notes as well. A brand that I really enjoy and I'm working on building my sustainable wardrobe with is Pact. They offer really great quality organic cotton clothes that are more affordable than ones I've seen elsewhere. And they're also pretty transparent with their practices as well. They do have maternity and nursing options too. And another one I wanted to throw in here, I have not tried for myself, but the brand Explore, I K S P L O R. They have a merino wool top, they do merino wool. Base layers, but they have a nursing top. That's really really helpful If you are an adventure mom, you want to get back out on the trail and you're nursing It's really easy nursing access in this top to also not expose your belly or So if you're using a carrier, a baby carrier, then you can easily nurse in that. So I will link to that one as well. The final category I wanted to talk about is mental health. So pregnancy is really a test of your mental health and then postpartum even more so. I recommend getting a handle on things as early as you can and making a plan for how you're going to handle labor, how you're going to deal with postpartum. And we'll talk about postpartum in another episode as well, and how to plan for it and establish your boundaries. But the mental push plan, if you're not familiar with them, mental push plan is an amazing resource for kind of getting a handle on what your strategies are going to be. During pregnancy for labor and for postpartum as well. Carolyn and Lauren are the founders and I've had them on the podcast actually several times. You might have heard them on the push corner as well. So episode 7 and episode 14. I believe is where they appear on the podcast and they have a lot of resources on their website. Check them out. You can also get 10 percent off any of their products with the code NATALIE10. And the final thing I wanted to talk about is, it relates to mental health, but something that Pretty much every single podcast guest I've had, every mom I've talked to for advice, um, really echoes just the idea that you need to embrace your intuition and you need to listen to it. You have a mom gut for a reason. It's really important that you learn how to tune into it during pregnancy so that you can easily establish how you feel. And what you feel about certain choices and things and when in doubt, lean on your gut, trust your intuition because you know your body best and you and your baby are a unit. And so, as you are making decisions throughout pregnancy, If you're bombarded by so many opinions, so much information, everybody's birth story, feel free to tap into your intuition, set up boundaries so that you know you're making the right decision for yourself, for your baby and for your family. That's it for this episode. All of the resources I mentioned and more are part of a larger list that's a live document, meaning I update it regularly. You can follow the link in the show notes or just go to resourcedoula. com forward slash resources. Please remember that these are all just suggestions and not medical advice. Thanks so much for listening. I'll catch you next time.