Hello! Let's talk for a minute about protein in pregnancy. Why do you need so much? What does protein do? Protein is essential in building healthy muscles and the uterus is actually a muscle. When you are pregnant, you should be eating approximately 70 grams to 100 grams of protein a day. That's a lot of protein!
However, if you break it down into bite size pieces (literally), it is doable! A greek yogurt could be 14grams, a piece of toast may be 2-5 grams or a protein bagel 20 grams, a handful of nuts may be 20 grams, or some chia seeds added to applesauce or a smoothie could be another great source. Even eggs are a great source of protein. Eat meat or fish at least 3-5 times a week if your diet allows you to. Eating beans or bean dishes can also be a protein boost.
The benefits of eating lots of protein in pregancy are: a uterus that will function well, a potentially healier weight baby, a strong amniotic sac that surrounds your baby and protects from infection, and a better labor and recovery.
So though it may take effort, take the extra time to jot down how much protein you are eating daily. Then assess if you are getting at least 70 grams a day for you and your baby. Even an organic protein powder added to a smoothie is a quick boost during the day.
As an added hint, vary the types of protein that you eat. If you have peanut butter one day, try a sunflower or almond butter a different day. If you do dairy milk one day, you may try a goat milk or coconut or almond milk some other days of the week. The benefit of mixing up protein sources and food sources is that it is less likely that your baby will have food allergies if they are exposed to a variety of foods in utero instead of the same thing every day. Sometimes infants have food sensitivities to the very thing that you ate the most of during pregnancy.
Eating a varied diet that is rich in protein and vegetables is the best thing that you can do to lead to a wonderfully effective labor. Stay hydrated daily with at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day. You can do this! You are building a wonderful person and preparing for a great labor, delivery, and recovery!
Knowing what is going on with your body in labor is one of the most comforting and best things that you can do for yourself. Preparation for this event is the key to a better birth experience. If you have fears in labor, or don't understand why this is the way it is, you are more likely to want to give up or have complications.
Taking a childbirth class and educating yourself on the basic stages of labor, will enable you to let go and be in the process. Your body will typically go through these phases in whatever timeframe it needs. 1st stage is where your body is dilating (opening) to 10 cm., 2nd stage is pushing your baby out (this can take one to four hours in a first birth), and 3rd stage is delivery of the placenta.
In the 1st stage of labor, you go through three different phases:
* Early Labor: contractions that are more than 5 mins apart and a cervix that is 1-4cm. dilated. Usually the longest phase of labor. This phase looks like life as normal, with more contractions. I recommend conserving some energy and doing equal amounts activity to rest.
* Active Labor: Contractions that are 3-5 mins apart, lasting about one minute long. The cervix dilates about 5-7cm. Breathing and relaxing through this phase while changing positions often, will help you cope. Comfort measures are also very effective.
* Transition: Contractions are 2-3 mins. apart and dilation finishes opening for the baby and is 7-10cm. The shortest phase typically, but also more intense. Sometimes known as the "I-give-up" phase, because you are almost done.
Then in 2nd stage: You begin pushing. Pushing is more active. Contractions are spaced out to about 5 mins. apart to give your body and baby lots of time to recover in between. Some mom's even get food, water, a quick nap in between pushing contractions. The baby's head is rocking "two steps forward and one back" with each strong pushing contraction. Finally Your baby is born!
In the 3rd Stage: The placenta separates from the uterus wall and once you deliver that amazing organ, you are considered "un-pregnant" officially having completed all three stages.
There is so much information to learn about what helps during each stage of labor and all the details of what is happening. Yet just knowing the basics will build a framework of knowledge to help you succeed!
Why??? Why would we want to go through the labor process as women. Why not numb the whole thing and why not escape the fears that leap to the forefront of thoughts regarding birth in our current culture?
There are many reasons related to health of the baby, and even health of the mom. A baby needs this process to help stimulate her or him for life outside the womb. The contractions are a valuable process medically as well. Also, a woman in labor goes through an amazing process too that is much safer than a surgery to get a baby out.
But I want to talk to you about what lies underneath any great feat. An amazing thing happens as a woman labors, she experiences an internal testing that results in strengthening of character and parenthood. If she persists in following the process and allowing her body to labor well, it can instill confidence... an enduring kind. It also helps to bond her to this child that she labored for.
Now I understand that everyone's birth path is different and it is ok to do birth in many ways. But even if it has been tried and attempted as long as it is possible with you, to trust this process and surrender to a greater creative work going on inside of you, you will find it transformative. At the very least, you get to experience a piece of strong that you didn't know you had. You also get to know that you are able to do more than you ever thought possible.
I don't recommend that you attempt giving birth without adequate support in this vulnerable place, because the people around you can make or break you in this instance. However, if you choose to do this natural birth, to the capacity that your body, health, and baby cooperate together; it will be a dynamic introduction to so much more as an individual woman as well. Welcome to birth, welcome to more powerful moments, and welcome to newness of self.
Birth is an intrinsic gift given to women on this Earth. Yet the knowledge, know how, and over-all experiences vary greatly depending on many factors. Some of those factors are completely out of our control. Some all factors that are changable. Nothing can totally prepare us for what will happen. Yet you were made to be able to do this. Let nothing stop you as you transition through your birthing experiences and enjoy the wonder of this gift. The work is worth the rewards.