January 21, 2015

No Reason to Restrict Food and Water During Labor

No Reason to Restrict Food and Water During Labor


Drink up, laboring moms! Well, drink up your water and juice and homemade sports drink*, that is.


For many years women in labor in the United States were encouraged (or required) to restrict their food and water intake. A recent large-scale analysis, however, has shown no reason for such restrictions, as reported in Restricting Food and Fluids During Labor is Unwarranted (www.cfah.org). The study found no difference between births with food and drink restrictions and births without, in terms of whether the birth was vaginal or by cesarean, the mother’s satisfaction with the birth, the baby’s APGAR score, and the baby’s blood glucose levels.


The practice of limiting food and drink stems largely from a 1940s study that showed an increased risk of aspiration during general anesthesia. Modern cesarean sections, however, are most often performed using regional anesthesia. And even when general anesthesia is needed, modern general anesthesia techniques reduce the risk of aspiration.


At Bellamins, we believe strongly that women should have choices in their birth experiences. We’re glad to see science supporting the idea that women should be able to eat and drink as they choose during labor.


* See our post on infused waters and homemade sports drinks!

January 20, 2015

Vitamins Linked to Lowered Rates of Miscarriage

Vitamins Linked to Lowered Rates of Miscarriage


Vitamins supplements before and during pregnancy protect against birth defects and support the overall health of both mother and baby — and they may reduce the risk of miscarriage, as well.


A 2009 study showed a 50% reduction in the rate of miscarriages among women who took prenatal or multivitamins. Nearly 4,800 women participated in the study. Ninety-five percent took some form of vitamin supplement; those who took neither had roughly twice the risk of miscarriage. Read more at Study links vitamins with lowered rate of miscarriage (www.mc.vanderbilt.edu).


According to the study’s senior author, Dr. Katherine Hartmann, “While this is a large study, it is observational and so it has its limitations in drawing conclusions about cause and effect. But there are many studies that indicate folate protects against birth defects, like neural tube defects and cleft lip/palate. There should be no hesitation to use our observed 50 percent reduction in the risk for miscarriage to bolster the use of pre-conception prenatal vitamins.”


“Today’s nutrition might be worse for early pregnancy,” she went on. “More women have type 2 diabetes, we’re exposed to more environmental threats and it may be that advancing maternal age changes needs.”


Studies like this one were part of our motivation for developing Bellamins. We put a lot of love and research into coming up with our Belly Blends prenatal vitamin supplements, specially tailored for each trimester. We believe that optimal nutrition during pregnancy — and while trying to conceive — supports mothers and babies in myriad ways.


Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

January 19, 2015

Stay Hydrated with Homemade Water Infusions and Sports Drinks

Stay Hydrated with Homemade Water Infusions and Sports Drinks


Everyone knows that staying well hydrated is important throughout pregnancy. But plain water can get boring, and when you’re exercising or extra hot it may not be enough on its own.


Looking for ways to add some flavor to your water without adding artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners? Try a simple infusion! Let fresh fruits and herbs soak in ice cold water for a few hours or overnight, and you’ll have a delicious spa-quality refresher. The flavor combinations are unlimited. Here are some ideas to get you started: Fresh Fruit-Infused Waters Aplenty (www.organicauthority.com). And don’t forget that ingredients like mint and ginger can help calm a queasy pregnant belly.


When you are exercising or sweating from the heat, you may need an electrolyte boost to keep dehydration at bay. Commercial sports drinks have electrolytes… plus artificial colors and other ingredients you probably don’t want. Skip the artificial stuff by making your own sports drink, using a recipe like this one: How to Make a Homemade Sports Drink (www.runningtothekitchen.com). It’s so simple: water or coconut water mixed with any juice you choose, plus sea salt and calcium magnesium powder for electrolytes (the recipe links to a source). If you like it a little sweeter, you can add honey. That’s it!


Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

January 18, 2015

Pregnancy After Age 35

Pregnancy After Age 35


There are many reasons women choose to have children in their late 30s and early 40s. It used to be believed, however, that these “late” pregnancies were difficult to conceive and even dangerous for the mother. Now, science shows that women can safely deliver healthy babies into their 40s. This article sums up the information from a number of studies: The Crumbling Post-35 Pregnancy Myth (www.thedailybeast.com).


You may have heard that one out of three women over age 35 will not be pregnant after a year of trying, but did you know that statistic is based on birth records dated from 1670 to 1830? Things have definitely changed since then! Modern studies have found that about 80% of women 35-39 will get pregnant naturally in a year of trying.


For those who still find it difficult to become pregnant, new in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology just within the last few years has led to higher success rates. In 2011, only 27% of women in their late 30s had a baby after one IVF cycle. Now, comprehensive chromosome screening allows IVF clinics to identify chromosomally normal embryos for transfer, and pregnancy rates can top 70%.


As for the effect of a so-called “late” pregnancy on a woman’s long term health, a recent study found that women who had their last child when they were 33 or older lived longer than those who had their last child by age 29. The study can’t show that having a baby in your 30s or 40s will make you live longer, of course, but it certainly questions the conventional wisdom that pregnancy after 30 is hard on a woman’s body. At Bellamins, we think it’s time for a new name for pregnancy after age 35. How about… “pregnancy”?


Don’t forget that optimal nutrition throughout pregnancy provides a healthy foundation for mother and baby! We crafted Bellamins Belly Blends with love and science to provide the right nutrients in the right amounts at the right time.


Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

January 17, 2015

Nutrient-Dense Plant-Based Foods – and a Recipe!

Nutrient-Dense Plant-Based Foods – and a Recipe!


At Bellamins, we are passionate about optimal nutrition to support a healthy pregnancy. After all, we put a lot of love and research into formulating our Belly Blends prenatal vitamin supplements for each trimester’s unique nutrition needs.


But we also know that supplements are best when they are taken alongside a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, which is why we love lists like this one: 15 Nutrient Dense Plant-Based Foods You Should Eat Every Day (www.onegreenplanet.org).


As the article says, “You might be a flexitarian, gluten free eater, fruitarian, vegetarian, omnivore, paleo eater, nutritarian, or a carnivore, but everyone, no matter the diet you subscribe to or don’t subscribe to, can benefit from consuming nutrient dense foods.” For this list they’ve picked 15 foods that are excellent sources of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients.


You’ll see that they refer to each food’s “ANDI score.” ANDI, or Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, is a system that rates foods on a scale of 1 to 1000 based on how much of certain micronutrients they contain. It’s a great measure of how nutrient-dense a food is. Of course, variety is also important, and some foods that have relatively low ANDI scores may be rich in especially-important nutrients, so you’ll see a range of ANDI scores on the list.


Here’s the list; click over to the article to read more about each one. These are nutritional powerhouses for everyone, but especially for a pregnant mother!


* Kale

* Watercress

* Bok Choy

* Spinach

* Brussels Sprouts

* Carrots

* Broccoli

* Strawberries

* Plums

* Raspberries

* Blueberries

* Onions

* Oranges

* Flax seeds

* Cherries


Just in case you cringed when you saw Brussels sprouts on the list, we found a recipe that you might want to try (if you’re troubled by heartburn, take note of their suggestion for reducing the hot sauce): Roasted Brussels Sprouts With A Peppery Kick (www.mindbodygreen.com).


Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

January 16, 2015

Natural Labor Induction Ideas

Natural Labor Induction Ideas


Every minute your baby spends developing on the inside is precious, and at Bellamins we believe that babies come when the time is right. Your baby can’t read a calendar and doesn’t know that a date has been assigned for her arrival! If you’re past your due date (or “guess date”—a much better description!), have patience: no pregnancy can last forever, no matter how much it feels like yours might be the first.


But we also know that some mothers don’t have the luxury of waiting for their babies to arrive on their own schedule. Maybe your birth provider is starting to talk about medical induction, maybe you have a work schedule that isn’t as flexible as you might wish. Maybe you’re well past your EDD and just really ready to give your baby some encouragement to make his arrival—we understand! Whatever the reason, if you want to try to get things moving before labor begins spontaneously, this article has some great tips for natural induction methods to try: Induce Labour With Natural Methods — Bring On Labour Naturally (www.bellybelly.com.au).


There are some things to consider before trying any of these ideas. Be sure to talk to your birth provider and inform yourself about what is involved in any induction method. Once you are sure that you are ready and your provider is on board, consider one or more of these methods of natural induction:


1. Sex

2. Acupuncture

3. Acupressure

4. Evening Primrose Oil

5. Homeopathics

6. Nipple Stimulation

7. Castor Oil

8. Sweeping Membranes / Stretch & Sweep

9. Black Cohosh

10. Raspberry Leaf

11. Spicy Food / Curry

12. Induction Massage

13. Eat Date Fruit


Each of these methods has pros and cons, and none is 100% effective, so be sure to read the article and talk to your birth provider to get all the information you can before you start.


In the end, remember—your baby will come when the time is right. If it is at all possible to be patient and let nature take its course, consider letting your baby choose her own birthdate.


Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester