Nashville Dietician

Don’t Forget A Doula

09 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  6 Comments


By Annie Scott, B. Comm, Doula, CBE, Lactation Support

You just found out that you are pregnant. While making list after list of items that you need to start accumulating for your new baby it is very important to focus on your actual labor and birth itself. You need to allow yourself some time to think about what kind of birth experience you would like to have and the kind of birth team are you going to surround yourself with. Are you and your partner ready for the postpartum period? Breastfeeding? These days it is becoming common for expectant parents to hire the services of a Doula for their labor, birth and postpartum needs.

Let’s have a quick look at why people are choosing to hire Doulas.
Studies have shown that having a Doula supported labor significantly decreases the following:

  • the length of labor,
  • the incidence of medical complication,
  • and the amount of medication and medical intervention needed during labor, including epidural anaesthesia, c-sections,  and forceps or vacuum delivery.

Doula support has also been shown to:

  • improve the effectiveness of medication when it is used,
  • improve postpartum outcomes in areas such as healing, bonding, and breastfeeding.

As an example of the positive benefits of Doula care, we can look at a study examining the benefits of Doula support by McGrath & Kennel that looked at labor induction and labor support in 1999, a sample of 531 women were studied and it was shown, with significant statistical difference that there was a decrease in cesarean rate, oxytocin use, epidural rate, and narcotics use.

So what is the role of a Doula and how do they create these positive benefits?
Doulas are trained to support their clients’ psychosocial and emotional needs. They also provide resources to help clients assess their labor, and give advice on comfort measures and positioning. The most important role of a Doula is to ensure constant and continuous support for the laboring mom and her partner without interruption.

What a Doula doesn’t do
Doulas specialize in non-medical skills which means they do not perform clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams or fetal heart rate monitoring. They are not midwives. Doulas do not diagnose medical conditions, offer second opinions, or give medical advice. Most importantly, Doulas do not make decisions for their clients; they do not project their own values and goals onto the laboring woman. A Doula is present to be an advocate for their client, to make sure that their client is being heard, and to help clients have the confidence to ask questions and be involved in different medical procedures and choices.

What reaction will I get from my OB or hospital if I hire a Doula?
Doulas are slowly becoming a respected member of the maternity care team, but I do stress the word slowly. There is still apprehension that exists due to some Doulas practicing outside of an appropriate scope of practice or being argumentative and inappropriate with hospital staff. This is a struggle for Doulas who abide by a professional code of conduct.  Through an ever expanding pool of certified Doulas and marketing of best practices, this apprehension can be turned into repeated positive experiences for medical staff with the end goal of a Doula being a supported member of the maternity care team. Midwives are often very pleased when clients express the desire to hire a Doula, and obstetricians are slowly warming up to it as well. In the end, it is your choice to hire and have a Doula present for your birth. You are the one giving birth, not your care provider.

How to choose a Doula
Choosing a Doula comes down to personality and fit. I suggest that you interview quite a few Doulas before settling on “the one”.  Get references and ask a lot of questions. Remember that your Doula is going to be a main support to you during one the most vulnerable times of your life, so make sure that you feel comfortable, and most of all, like her. If you are looking for a doula in your area and can’t find one through a basic Google search you can check out www.dona.org.

But Doulas can be expensive…why should you consider one?
The value of labor support is to ensure the presence of an experienced and focused partner in your journey through your birth experience. A Doula adds value to an expectant mother by knowing how to read her needs and adds value for her partner as someone to coach them and support their needs as well.

The hiring of a Doula should be something that all expectant families consider with as much care as they use when choosing a car seat or a stroller. After all, this is the birth of your child and you won’t get a second chance to make sure that you are prepared for this life experience.

About Annie: Annie is a Doula and prenatal educator committed to supporting and nurturing women and their families through their birth experience. Her goal as a Doula is to help each woman develop her own confidence and ability to give birth the way she wants to. She practices in Toronto, On. She runs her blog: www.doulaannie.com, teaches classes through www.prenatalclassestoronto.com, and runs an online prenatal class www.mybirthonline.ca. Have a question? Contact her: annie@doulaannie.com

References:
Kennel and Klaus, DONA Position Paper and Klaus, “Maternal Assistance and Support in Labor”

McGrath SK, Kennell JH, “Induction of labor and Doula support,” Pediatric Res, 43(4):Part II, 14A, 1998.

Everyone Needs A Vacation

07 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

Last week, my husband and I went to Hilton Head Island, SC with my family.  I must say, this vacation came at the PERFECT time.  About two weeks before the trip, my joints decided to have a flare up (pain and inflammation).  I hadn’t had this problem at all since I went gluten free and completely changed the way I viewed food. (Read my story here.)  I could not understand what was causing this flare up (neither could my doctor).  I knew that I had to do something, because I hated the pain, and I’m the type of person who has to know answers to everything (like what could be causing this). I know, I know, sometimes there are no answers. But I still dig for them.

So what did I do? I juiced more, I practiced hot yoga, I ate healthier (more than I already do), and I prayed.  The day we left for the beach was my worst day yet.  To make a long story short, after being at the beach a few days, my pain was so much better.  Some days, I didn’t feel pain at all.  You know what that means?  I’m definitely supposed to move to the beach. :) j/k  It means that I need to slow down more; take time for myself.  We could all use a beach vacation, right?  If you can’t go on vacation and relax, then find something that you can do for yourself: get a massage, read a book at a coffee shop (to get away from your to-do list at home), go to the pool, or anything that makes you calm and relaxed.

All that being said, we all need to listen to our body more.  If we are in pain, than our body is trying to tell us something.  If you’re exhausted and tired, it’s okay to skip a workout and rest.  Rest is good for us.  (I’m speaking to myself as well)

Now onto more exciting things.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the delicious food we had on vacation, but I was too busy enjoying it.  I’ll try to remember for next time.  Since I won’t be telling you about all the amazing fresh seafood we devoured, I’ll end this post with pictures from our beach vacation with my mom, dad, brother and his wife, and my twin niece and nephew.  We had an amazing time!  I am so thankful for that time we had together.

Eric & I: Dinner at Skull Creek Boathouse

My niece, Chloe, & I Before Dinner at The Black Marlin

Caden & Chloe on Memorial Day: It's Hard to Sit Still When You're 15 Months

Date Night @ Skull Creek Boathouse w/ My Brother & Amiee

My Mom & Dad w/ Their Grandbabies

My Sister-in-Law & I with the Twins

I hope you have a fun & relaxing summer!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Babies With Benefits

06 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

 

Photo Source: NewParent.com

This blog post by: Erin Moore, IBCLC (Certified Lactation Consultant), RLC, Doula
Twitter: @theIBCLC
Website: Mother Nature Birth & Lactation

It seems these days that we are inundated with news articles and medical studies that expose the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. It seems that everyone is trying to be so careful in their language and the way that they put this information across to the public.

If we are to say that breastfeeding is good for babies’ health, then what do we call the alternative?

If I can tell you with no argument all of the health benefits of breastfeeding, but what if I tell you that there are health risks to NOT breastfeeding your baby?

According to the U.S. Government, the health risks of not breastfeeding your baby include not providing your baby with disease-fighting antibodies that protect them against illnesses including diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia, not providing “joyful bonding” with your baby, increasing your baby’s risk of developing asthma and allergies, increasing your child’s risk of developing obesity, increasing your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome to name just a few.  Lower IQ is another risk of not breastfeeding your baby.

As a mother, if you do not breastfeed your baby, you are increasing your own risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. With growing concern among mothers and healthcare providers about postpartum depression, it’s also important to point out a 2009 study by Dennis & McQueen citing decreased breastfeeding duration as a likely contributor to postpartum depression.

It seems that when you put it that way, NOT breastfeeding sounds awfully dangerous from a physical and mental health standpoint, doesn’t it?

One of my favorite resources on really just putting this out there and being up front about the risks of not breastfeeding is the Normal Fed website by Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC called “Breast or Bottle?” The article goes into great detail about the benefits of breastfeeding while presenting facts about bottle feeding and artificial baby milk.

I do understand why it’s almost taboo in our society to denigrate artificial baby milk when we, as mothers, seem to crave validation and reassurance that we are doing the best we can by our children. The rub is that you cannot be doing the best thing and not doing the best thing at the same time. Does it mean that you are a bad mother if you choose for whatever reason not to do the best thing for your child? Not at all.

Because of the lack of breastfeeding support in every healthcare situation and in every community, because of the aggressive and unethical marketing strategies of the companies who manufacture artificial baby milk and accessories, because of the obsession with growth charts and our desire to know exactly “how much” food our babies are getting in a feeding down to the milliliter; because of those things and more, mothers are often passively choosing not to give their baby the nutrition that their baby needs out of fear and worry and not getting the support needed to give their babies what they need.

Let’s support each other through the first few challenging weeks of breastfeeding a newborn.  If you can make it past the first weeks of your baby’s life, then breastfeeding only gets easier.  When challenges hit, call your lactation consultant at the hospital you delivered.  Or call your local La Leche League where you can connect with other parents and have an instant support group.

Kale Breakfast Smoothie

25 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  2 Comments

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  You’ve heard this phrase countless times in your life.  Honestly, I think all meals are important and should be used to maximize your health.  But what you eat for breakfast truly does affect your hunger and choices for the rest of your day.  For most people, when they eat a healthy and satiating breakfast, they tend to choose healthy foods the rest of the day.  Here is the recipe for a Kale Smoothie that I make frequently for breakfast or after a workout.

Kale Smoothie:
2 servings

Ingredients:
2-4 kale leaves
1 cup water or milk of choice (coconut milk, raw milk, almond milk, etc)
Frozen strawberries
Frozen blueberries
1/2-1 scoop good quality protein powder (Optional)
1-2 tsp. chia seeds or ground flaxseeds
1 Tbsp. unrefined organic coconut oil

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in blender. Enjoy!

*Any frozen fruit can be used in this recipe. If you want to mask the green color of the smoothie for your kids (or husband), then add more blueberries.

Here is a simpler Kale Smoothie recipe:


Ingredients:
1 large ripe banana
2-4 kale leaves
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup milk (raw milk, coconut, or almond)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in blender. Enjoy!

Are You Stressed?

12 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  4 Comments

Image Credit

STRESS. Seeing that word even makes me feel the effect of it, and I cringe.  Sometimes I get so angry at stress because I feel as if it is controlling me, and I don’t know how to let it go.  What makes me even more frustrated is when I don’t feel like I’m stressed, but internally I am and my body gets hit with the repercussions of it.  Do you ever feel that way? You tell yourself over and over again, “I’m not stressed.  I’m fine.  Everything is good.”  Yet, deep down, you know something is going on because you’re not sleeping well, you’re moody, or your body is holding onto that extra weight even though you’ve tried so hard to be extra healthy.

Well, I’m just going to be honest with you.  I don’t have it all together, and I’m not going to pretend like I do.  Who really does?  I’ve been extremely stressed lately.  There is a lot on my plate at the moment, and I just can’t seem to find time to get it all done.  What I’m learning is that while all the good things in our lives are wonderful, too much of anything can be bad.  You’re probably thinking, “She’s just now learning this?” :)   I feel like this is something that some of us will always battle…the challenge of simplifying our lives when the world around us tells us the complete opposite.  Even though we justify our activities/commitments because they are “good,” it’s imperative for our health and our sanity to practice the magic word, “no.”

Maybe these harmful effects of stress will motivate you to find ways to de-stress:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Weight gain
  • Acne or other dermatological issues
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Insomnia
  • Back/neck problems
  • Heart disease
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Migraines
  • Fertility problems
  • Diabetes
  • Hair loss
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic inflammation
  • And More!

How do I deal with stress?  As I said earlier, I’m slowly learning how to say, “no.”  I also spend much time in prayer and meditation.  Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night is another goal of mine.  Finally, bikram yoga has been great in helping me de-stress.  A study performed by Boston researchers concluded that people who practice yoga 3 times a week report better mood and lower anxiety compared with people who walked the same amount of time.  Of course, ANY exercise is beneficial to help you beat stress.

What about YOU? What are some things that you can cut out so that you’ll be less stressed?  And what methods do you use to de-stress?

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

 

Eating Organic on a Budget

05 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  16 Comments

Of course it would be ideal to be able to eat all foods organic, but I understand that is just not possible for everyone.  The major dilemma I hear from most people is that they cannot afford to buy organic foods.  While eating organic tends to be pricier, it will save you money in the long run due to less medical expenses later on down the road.  Pesticides, found on many of our foods, are said to be linked to cancer, hypothyroidism, ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple other health problems.

5 TIPS FOR EATING ORGANIC ON A BUDGET:

  1. Buy produce in season & buy local. When you purchase fruits and vegetables when they’re in season, you save a great deal of money.  Not to mention, the produce tastes better and lasts longer. (It isn’t sitting in a truck traveling across the country, before it gets to you.)  I love this time of year because the farmers’ markets begin to flourish with colorful foods for your plate.  Another great option is to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Some CSA’s and farmers’ markets are certified organic, and some do not use pesticides or fertilizers but are not certified organic. The great thing about them is that you can actually speak to the person who produced the food, and ask them how they grow it.  To find out more about CSA’s and to find one near you, go here.
  2. Grow your own organic garden. I understand this isn’t an option for everyone.  For example, I live in a townhouse and our HOA doesn’t allow us to plant anything in the ground.  For those of us who cannot grow our own, a great idea is to have an indoor herb or small patio garden.
  3. Avoid buying processed food. It’s a lot more expensive than making things from scratch and storing/freezing in bulk.  It’s also much healthier to make your own foods, because you are able to control what goes in them.  Examples of things to make yourself: Breads, granola bars, trail mix, cookies, etc.
  4. Enjoy meatless Mondays. As you know, meat can be pricey, so a great way to save money is to celebrate “Meatless Mondays” with your family.  See what great recipes you can come up with together that do not include meat.  Great substitutes for meat are beans and lentils.  At our house, we love using black beans instead of meat in our spaghetti and tacos.
  5. Cut those coupons. Even the organic companies have coupons.  Check out sites like Faithfulprovisions.com and click on “Coupons,” then scroll down to “Natural & Organic Coupons.”  Another great way to find organic coupons is to visit the companies’ website. Here are a few: Stonyfieldfarms.com, Mambosprouts.com, WholeFoods, etc.  I actually emailed Amy’s, and they were so kind to send me a coupon booklet in the mail for their organic products.  Love me some coupons!

If you can’t buy all your produce organic, here is the list of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables.  These are the ones that have the highest pesticide count, so consider these a must-buy organic:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Potatoes

Here is a printable version of EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.

In my opinion, other foods that should be bought organic are meat and dairy.  Animal products have added antibiotics and hormones added to them, which is increasing antibacterial resistance in humans, and causing a host of other issues.  (We’ll talk about this on a different blog post.)  It’s important to know where your food is coming from.  (If you don’t believe me, watch the documentary, “Food, Inc.”)

A short book that I recommend you all read is “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan, who is featured in the above documentary.  This easy to read book has simple rules to live by when trying to eat wisely.

I hope this post helps you as you start eating more organic foods!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN