New ACOG Guidelines: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean is a Safe Option

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2010

Contact:
Midwives Alliance of North America
Geradine Simkins, President & Interim Executive Director
president@mana.org
info@mana.org
231.228.5857 (O)
231.590.3742 (C)

New ACOG Guidelines: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean is a Safe Option

Washington, DC – The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), a professional midwifery organization since 1982, commends the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for their updated practice guidelines on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) released July 21, 2010. ACOG’s recent guidelines are less restrictive than previous ones. The new guidelines state that VBAC is a “safe and appropriate choice” for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery, including some women who have had two previous low-transverse cesarean incisions, women carrying twins, and women with an unknown type of uterine scar.

There has been a dramatic increase in cesarean delivery in the United States (from 5% in 1970 to nearly 32% in 2009) and a rapid decrease of VBACs (from 28% in 1996 followed by a decline to 8% in 2006). Lack of VBAC availability in U.S. hospitals due to practitioner and institutional restrictions, which diminished women’s choices in childbirth, is often cited as the reason for the conspicuous decrease in VBACs. In light of the VBAC restrictions that have become commonplace in most U.S. hospitals, it is noteworthy that ACOG’s new guidelines emphasize a woman’s right to self-determination. The new ACOG guidelines state that even if a hospital does not offer a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC), a woman cannot be forced to have a cesarean nor can she be denied care if she refuses a repeat cesarean. In addition, previous ACOG guidelines on VBAC stated that anesthesia and surgery must be “immediately available” for an institution to offer VBAC; the new guidelines have relaxed this restriction.

ACOG has seriously considered recommendations from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Meeting on vaginal birth after cesarean held in Washington DC in March 2010. Based on the scientific evidence, the NIH expert panel affirmed that risks in VBACs are low, similar to risks of other laboring women, and repeat cesareans expose mothers and infants to serious problems both in the short and long terms. The NIH expert panel concluded that in the absence of a compelling medical reason, most women should be offered a trial of labor after cesarean. The NIH expert panel further recommended that all women be given unbiased educational information during their pregnancies with which to make decisions regarding VBAC in partnership with their healthcare providers. Women should also be offered full informed consent and refusal during their labors.

“While we are pleased that ACOG has issued less restrictive VBAC guidelines and affirmed a woman’s autonomy in her childbirth experience, it is still up to women to take charge of their lives, educate themselves about childbirth practices, and put pressure on their healthcare practitioners to provide the safest birth options for their babies and themselves,” says Geradine Simkins, President and Interim Executive Director of the Midwives Alliance. The Midwives Alliance takes the position that the best interests of most mothers and infants are served when women are given the opportunity to birth under their own power and in their own way with the intention of avoiding primary cesarean deliveries and other unnecessary interventions. An impressive body of research literature shows that the midwifery model of care results in less intervention in the birth process and safe and satisfying outcomes for mothers and babies. In addition, evidence shows that birth in a woman’s home with a trained midwife, or in a freestanding birth center, results in decreased cesarean sections and other obstetrical interventions. “We want women to have all the choices they need to have healthy pregnancies and give birth safely,” say Simkins, “and we are pleased that ACOG’s new guidelines on VBAC will add another choice to the menu of maternity care options.”

For more information on the Midwives Alliance visit http://mana.org/. For information on practitioner and childbirth options visit Mothers Naturally atwww.mothersnaturally.org.

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The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn’t when You Think

The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn’t when You Think

September 24, 2008 by Misha Safranski

We have it ingrained in our heads throughout our entire adult lives-pregnancy is 40 weeks. The “due date” we are given at that first prenatal visit is based upon that 40 weeks, and we look forward to it with great anticipation. When we are still pregnant after that magical date, we call ourselves “overdue” and the days seem to drag on like years. The problem with this belief about the 40 week EDD is that it is not based in fact. It is one of many pregnancy and childbirth myths which has wormed its way into the standard of practice over the years-something that is still believed because “that’s the way it’s always been done”.

The folly of Naegele’s Rule

The 40 week due date is based upon Naegele’s Rule. This theory was originated by Harmanni Boerhaave, a botanist who in 1744 came up with a method of calculating the EDD based upon evidence in the Bible that human gestation lasts approximately 10 lunar months. The formula was publicized around 1812 by German obstetrician Franz Naegele and since has become the accepted norm for calculating the due date. There is one glaring flaw in Naegele’s rule. Strictly speaking, a lunar (or synodic – from new moon to new moon) month is actually 29.53 days, which makes 10 lunar months roughly 295 days, a full 15 days longer than the 280 days gestation we’ve been lead to believe is average. In fact, if left alone, 50-80% of mothers will gestate beyond 40 weeks.

Variants in cycle length

Aside from the gross miscalculation of the lunar due date, there is another common problem associated with formulating a woman’s EDD: most methods of calculating gestational length are based upon a 28 day cycle. Not all women have a 28 day cycle; some are longer, some are shorter, and even those with a 28 day cycle do not always ovulate right on day 14. If a woman has a cycle which is significantly longer than 28 days and the baby is forced out too soon because her due date is calculated according to her LMP (last menstrual period), this can result in a premature baby with potential health problems at birth. 

The inaccuracy of ultrasound

First trimester: 7 days

14 – 20 weeks: 10 days

21 – 30 weeks: 14 days

31 – 42 weeks: 21 days

Calculating an accurate EDD

Recent research offers a more accurate method of approximating gestational length. In 1990 Mittendorf et Al. undertook a study to calculate the average length of uncomplicated human pregnancy. They found that for first time mothers (nulliparas) pregnancy lasted an average of 288 days (41 weeks 1 day). For multiparas, mothers who had previously given birth, the average gestational length was 283 days or 40 weeks 3 days. To easily calculate this EDD formula, a nullipara would take the LMP, subtract 3 months, then add 15 days. Multiparas start with LMP, subtract 3 months and add 10 days. The best way to determine an accurate due date, no matter which method you use, is to chart your cycles so that you know what day you ovulate. There are online programs available for this purpose. Complete classes on tracking your cycle are also available through the Couple to Couple League.

ACOG and postdates

One of the most vital pieces of information to know when you are expecting is that ACOG itself (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) does not recommend interfering with a normal pregnancy before 42 completed weeks. This is why knowing your true conception date and EDD is very important; if you come under pressure from a care provider to deliver at a certain point, you can be armed with ACOG’s official recommendations as well as your own exact due date. This can help you and your baby avoid much unnecessary trauma throughout the labor and delivery. Remember, babies can’t read calendars; they come on their own time and almost always without complication when left alone to be born when they are truly ready.

Sources:

Mittendorf, R. et al., “The length of uncomplicated human gestation,” OB/GYN, Vol. 75, No., 6 June, 1990, pp. 907-932.

ACOG Practice Bulletin #55: Clinical Management of Post-term Pregnancy

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Dark Green Leafy Vegetables for Pregnant Moms

Side-Lined Long Enough! Leafy Green Veggies to the Rescue!

Women who are looking towards pregnancy and those in the midst of pregnancy have a friend just waiting to get involved: dark leafy green veggies. Spinach; kale; collards; mustard greens; turnip greens; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; red leaf lettuce; even yard greens such as dandelion; there are many to choose from. Don’t confuse these with any old green vegetable, such as green beans, or with iceberg lettuce or celery. These have leaves – one way or another and they have to be dark. With the large variety available, there’s likely to be at least one or two each woman likes. These power-packed vegetables help keep the body healthy and with growing a baby in the womb. Though many of the nutrients and benefits I’ll discuss are also found in other foods, I want to focus on the amazing benefits of this class of food.

Look at quality prenatal vitamins and then check the nutrients found in dark leafy green veggies: calcium; magnesium; molybdenum; vitamin K; Riboflavin (B2); Folate; most B vitamins except B12; vitamin A; vitamin C. These foods are chock full of what we want to have for our growing babies, but in a much tastier, easier-to-assimilate package.

Variety of nutrients/Variety of benefits:

Though most grain products are now supplemented with the artificial form of folate, folic acid, we can get all the benefits of folate from a great source: dark leafy green veggies. Personally, I think natural is best. So, to me, simply choosing foods naturally high in folate, such as leafy green veggies, is a wise choice. Folate has been shown to prevent spinal cord birth defects, so as a woman looks toward pregnancy, she wants to eat plenty of foods with this nutrient. In pregnancy, our bodies use this nutrient to actually build genetic material. If ever there was a nutrient that women in the child-bearing years should love, it’s this one.

Vitamin A and C are known for their work in helping our immune system and vitamin A is known for growing healthy bones and teeth. One study even showed that women in SE Asia who had good levels of vitamin A had lower maternal mortality rates. But, we don’t want to get too much vitamin A because there is an amount that becomes toxic and too much vitamin C can cause the opposite problem as constipation. So, what’s a pregnant mom to do? Eat dark leafy green veggies! They have both and are balanced in such a way that it’s nigh on impossible to overdose on these vitamins from this source, because you’ll be full way before the overdose.

Calcium and magnesium are known for helping our bones, but did you know they also help in keeping your blood pressure normal and are needed to help your blood clot normally? And, calcium and magnesium work together to turn our food to energy. ENERGY! What pregnant woman doesn’t want more energy? When thinking of calcium and leafy green veggies, think first of broccoli or alfalfa. Alfalfa actually has both calcium and iron in it, but they can both be assimilated and don’t ‘fight’ each other as normally happens when eating foods with both. Another wonderful benefit of magnesium is that it’s used to build genetic material. Women who are low in magnesium may get nauseous. That’s not saying all pregnancy-related nausea is due to lack of magnesium, but we sure don’t want to encourage it, do we? So, you know you want these nutrients. How to get them? Don’t think first of a pill; think of your friends: dark leafy green vegetables. They are designed with these nutrients in the right balance that’s needed in order for your body to use them. You need twice as much calcium as you do magnesium. Otherwise, they’re out of balance and can’t work as well.

We all know how iron is recommended for pregnant women. But, did you know that the iron present in the foods you eat is easier absorbed when you eat it with a vitamin C-rich food, such as leafy green vegetables? And, eating vegetables along with meat will help your body get more iron out of both of these foods. It’s a synergistic dynamo! Hopefully you already knew eating iron-rich foods with foods high in calcium, such as dairy, can cause a competition where neither nutrient is taken in as well as we wish. One answer is to eat dairy foods separate, but since this article is about dark leafy green veggies, look towards alfalfa, as I mentioned in the paragraph above.

Energy. When we think of nutrients to give us energy, we often think of B vitamins. Well, if it’s B vitamins you want, it’s dark leafy green veggies you’ll be eating. Taking in any B vitamin in a mega-dose can actually cause a deficiency in other B vitamins, so – once again – we need a balance here. The best balance, in my opinion, is to take them in the way we were designed to assimilate them: in food and the foods with a great balance of B vitamins are our friends. The darker the leafy green, the more B vitamins it has left in it. B vitamins are destroyed by high heat, so think raw.

Vitamin K is what our bodies use to help our blood clot. This is important because we want our blood to clot well after we give birth. We also want our babies’ blood to clot well after birth. Dark leafy green vegies are jammed packed with this. Although women are often told that they can’t raise the levels of vitamin K in their preborn babies or in their breastmilk, I wonder whether this is really true. CNM Bernice Keutzer, in her article “Q & A about Vitamin K” talks of a study where women who took high enough levels of vitamin K DID raise their breastmilk levels of vitamin K to the same level as fortified formula. And, I keep remembering that vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. So, it’s stored for the long haul. Surely, if we ate good levels in pregnancy with optimal amounts of fat and continued to eat well after birth, our bodies are designed to give our babies what they need.

Molybdenum is a nutrient most of us don’t think of often. But, we use this nutrient to store iron and to make enzymes we use for metabolism. Sluggish metabolism? Think molybdenum and where to get it? You know the answer, don’t you? An wonderful side benefit of molybdenum is that it may even help our bodies fight off cancer.

Instead of Side Effects, Think Side Benefits:

In pregnancy, there may be varying complaints that can be easily avoided with a diet high in dark leafy green veggies. Let’s look at some of those:

Helps Resolve Constipation

Because the growing womb may press on the lower intestine and rectum and because many women work now, with little time to eat or drink as they need to, this is a commonly heard complaint. Leafy green vegies provide fiber and fluid in the diet. Even simply taking alfalfa capsules regularly (a wonderfully easy way to up the dark leafy green veggies!) with a glass of juice and good bowel habits, is a great way to have this problem go away naturally.

Lowers risk of UTIs

Just keeping your vitamin A at healthy levels can help lower your risk for this. This is important because asymptomatic UTIs are implicated in preterm birth and other problems.

Good-bye Leg Cramps

Because of the wonderful balance of calcium and magnesium in dark leafy green vegies, these are wonderful for combating those painful, nasty leg cramps, especially if you’re eating salt to taste.

Crave Something besides Ice

Craving ice may be a sign of anemia. To be on the safe side, eating leafy green veggies with protein-rich foods may help deal with this. Choose crunchy foods, even crunchy dark leafy greens!

I Kissed Anemia Good-bye

Women of the world, unite to prevent this! Eat those leafy greens! Anemia is not always caused by nutritional deficiencies, but it often is. And, when it is, reach for your leafy green friends. If it’s due to lack of folate or iron, either way, leafy greens have part of what you need. If you suspect or have been told you have anemia, up your consumption to 3-4 times a day with a protein-rich food. Remember what you read above? The folate, C- and B-vitamins in leafy greens help your body assimilate the iron much better without all the problems that can occur from pills. BUT, don’t over-cook your friends. Keep them dark green, crunchy and tasty. That’s how you know they still have their nutrients.

Go Green to Support Skin Changes

Our bodies were designed to change to birth our babies. We often see a variety of changes in our skin as we and our babies grow in pregnancy. Some are due to hormones, but in every body system, proper nutrients are needed in order for them to function as they should. This includes the skin. Leafy greens are a skin’s friend. Eat them before pregnancy so the skin is healthy going into the pregnancy and keep on eating them so it can stretch and change as needed.

How Much?

Think at least two servings a day. Find your favorite two or three dark leafy greens and keep them in the house all the time. You may not like them frozen, but may find you love them raw, or vice versa. You’ll get more nutrition out of them raw or juiced, but eat them daily. Keep them in the highest humidity place in your refrigerator. Don’t forget to consider alfalfa or broccoli sprouts to your list of choices.

If you have trouble getting these in because you are so busy, consider keeping alfalfa capsules in your purse so you can eat them with your food on the go. Look for restaurants with dark leafy green vegetables or salads and tell them this is important to you.

I hope I’ve encouraged you to make friends with dark leafy green veggies. They were designed to meet your needs, pregnant momma!

By Debby Sapp http://www.blessedbabiesandfamilies.com
 http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/notes.php?id=37992301867

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Current Resources for Evidence-Based Practice

Four times each year, Childbirth Connection contributes “Current Resources for Evidence-Based Practice” to both Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing and Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health. The March/April column includes discussion of the new perinatal standards endorsed by the National Quality Forum (read more about the measures below).

Download JOGNN March/April (free PDF)
Download JMWH March/April (free PDF)
Click here for all Evidence Columns 2003-2009

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CDC releases birth stats for 2007

CDC releases birth stats for 2007

Yesterday the CDC released the Preliminary Data for births in 2007.  The birth rate is up, and so is the cesarean section rate, now nearly 32% of all births: “The cesarean delivery rate rose 2 percent in 2007, to 31.8 percent, marking the 11th consecutive year of increase and another record high for the United States.”

The CDC’s press release is included below. And you can find the entire report at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_12.pdf

 

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2009
Contact: CDC National Center for Health Statistics
Office of Communication, (301) 458-4800

Teen Birth Rates Up Slightly in 2007 for Second Consecutive Year

The birth rate for U.S. teens aged 15 to 19 increased by about 1 percent in 2007, from 41.9 births per 1,000 in 2006 to 42.5 in 2007, according to a report Printable PDF released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the second year in a row that teen births have gone up. They increased 3 percent in 2006 following a 14-year decline.

Birth rates also increased for women in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, but remained unchanged for younger teens and pre-teens aged 10-14. Only Hispanic teens noted a decline in the birth rate, which fell 2 percent in 2007 to 81.7 births per 1,000.

Unmarried childbearing increased to historic levels in 2007 for women aged 15-44. An estimated 1.7 million babies were born to unmarried women in 2007, accounting for 39.7 percent of all births in the United States  an increase of 4 percent from 2006. Unmarried childbearing has increased 26 percent since 2002 when the recent steep increases began.

The report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2007,” Printable PDF from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics [ http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_12.pdf ]  is based on an analysis of nearly 99 percent of birth records reported by 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories as part of the National Vital Statistics System.

Other findings:

    * Total U.S. births rose in 2007 to over 4, 317,119, the highest number of births ever registered in the United States.
    * The cesarean delivery rate rose 2 percent in 2007, to 31.8 percent, marking the 11th consecutive year of increase and another record high for the United States.
    * The percentage of low birthweight babies declined slightly between 2006 and 2007, from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent. This is the first decline in the percentage of low birthweight babies since 1984.
    * The preterm birth rate (infants delivered at less than 37 weeks of pregnancy) decreased 1 percent in 2007 to 12.7 percent. The decline was seen mostly among infants born late preterm (between 34 and 36 weeks).

The full report and a separate report with state births data are available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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Evidence-Based Maternity Care

Consumer Reports has published an excellent article based on the report “Evidence Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Do” published last fall by Childbirth Connection, the Reforming States Group and Milbank Memorial Fund.  The article summarizes the main points made in the much longer report.

The Consumer Reports article can be read at:

http://www.consumerreports.org/health/medical-conditions-treatments/pregnancy-childbirth/maternity-care/overview/maternity-care.htm


and includes a quiz (http://www.consumerreports.org/health/medical-conditions-treatments/pregnancy-childbirth/maternity-care/maternity-care-quiz/maternity-care-quiz.htm).  The first question is (answer true or false): An obstetrician will deliver better maternity care, overall, than a midwife or family doctor.  Each question includes an explanation of the correct answer.

To learn more about the Millbank Report, see February’s Charis e-newsletter.

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“Happy Birthday” – Flipsyde

A Powerful Reality Check!

Beneficial Herbs For Pregnancy

Beneficial Herbs For Pregnancy


Nettle (Urtica Dioica)

For those who have wandered into woodlands near water, stinging nettle will be a familiar memory. Nettle is a popular table green still today, eaten much the same way as cooked kale or spinach. Rich in chlorophyll, nettle is a world favorite for all urinary tract problems.

Contains: Chlorine, chlorophyll, formic acid, iodine, magnesium, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, tannin, Vitamins A and C, protein, iron, copper, histamine, glucoquinine, and facilitates absorption of Vitamin D from the sun.

Nettle is a gentle yet powerful tonic to the adrenals, and is known to rebuild the adrenal cortex, improving energy levels. It has been used with great success in the treatment of adrenal exhaustion, one of the primary underlying causes of Chronic Fatigue and a host of other auto-immune disorders. As the adrenals are the fundamental glands of immune health, Nettle is used to improve general immune function, increasing resistance to illness caused by viruses or bacteria. With its strong affinity to the adrenals, Nettle is used extensively to eliminate allergy and hayfever symptoms. It has been used throughout time to restore kidney function, eliminating edema, cystitis, incontinence, and urinary tract infections. Improving liver function, Nettle reduces jaundice. The high Vitamin C content of Nettle ensures that dietary iron is properly absorbed, reducing headaches. By improving nerve signal to the muscle, Nettle helps increase muscle response time, reducing incidence of postpartum hemorrhage. By improving elasticity of the skin, Nettle helps prevent tearing of vaginal tissue. Combined with burdock root, Nettle is extremely helpful in the treatment of eczema. Nettle is an excellent promoter of abundant breastmilk.


Oatstraw (Avena Sativa)

Oatstraw, as any livestock breeder will confirm, builds the strongest possible body, with the greatest resiliency. Used extensively in European cultures throughout time for health and beauty, the United States has let this valuable herb slide into disuse.

Contains: Starch, silicic acid, calcium, Vitamins A, C, B-complex, LE, G, phosphorus, potassium, mucin, and protein.

Oatstraw contains Avenin, an amorphous alkaloid which is highly nutritive to cells, improving normal cellular reproduction. Its calcium is so easily absorbed that oatstraw is considered the premier food/herb for the nervous system. Working directly on the brain and endocrine system, oatstraw reduces nervous disability, anxiety, and epilepsy. Due to its ease of absorption, oatstraw has been used with great success in addiction recovery. As calcium is responsible for the enzymatic process by which nutrients are laid down in the muscle, oatstraw improves muscle tone throughout the body, reducing leg cramps and heart palpations, improving digestion and elimination. Improving muscle tone allows the cardiovascular system to function more vigorously, improving circulation to the uterus and placenta, and therefore, to the baby. Its high levels of minerals make oatstraw invaluable in building excellent bone density and enamel on teeth. Oatmeal’s high levels of silicic acid are responsible for its international fame for helping heal skin disorders such as acne and relief from topical inflammations such as chicken pox and poison ivy. Oatstraw, in cases of allergic reactions, seems not to affect the individual to the same degree as the oat grain and is often used without aggravation by those who cannot eat oats.


Red Raspberry (Rubus strigosus or idaeus)

Likely the most well-known pregnancy herb, red raspberry has been used throughout Europe and the Americas for centuries as the premier herb for the childbearing years. Growing easily in almost every environmental condition, even the youngest country child can identify the wild, briary canes as they overtake everything in their path.

Contains: Fruit sugar, pectin, citric acid, malic acid, Vitamins C and B2, niacin, carotene, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and improves Vitamin D absorption.

Red Raspberry is a specific muscle toner, working on the smooth muscle of the body, including the uterus. As it soothes spastic muscle behavior, it improves contractibility of the uterus during labor. The particular properties of the herb tone and nourish the ovaries and, by relation to the pituitary, reduces nausea, morning sickness, and intestinal spasm caused by excess progesterone. This same relationship has made red raspberry a popular herb for menstrual cramps and hot flashes. Due to its astringent qualities, it is used for mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, hemorrhage, hemorrhoids, and cold sores. The unique mineral blend in red raspberry promotes healthy nails, bones, teeth, and skin.


Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa)

One of the richest mineral foods in the world, alfalfa’s roots grow as deep as 130 feet into the ground, allowing it to reach minerals not available at higher levels. The name “alfalfa” is Arabic and means “father of all foods”.

Contains: Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, chlorophyll, biotin, choline, inositol, iron, PABA, sodium, sulfur, tryptophan, Vitamins A, B complex, C, E, G, K, P, and U,

Alfalfa is a restorative tonic which promotes pituitary gland function. It contains 8 enzymes known to promote a chemical reaction that enables food to be assimilated properly, helping to normalize weight, reduce incidence of ulcers, diabetes, and other digestive disorders. It alkalinizes the body, reducing arthritis symptoms, neutralizing uric acid, improving kidney function, and reducing edema. A toning agent to the intestines, it improves peristaltic action of the bowels, improving colon disorders and normalizing bowel movements. It contains anti-fungal properties. Alfalfa’s tryptophan levels help improve sleep patterns. In tablet form, alfalfa has been used successfully to reduce heart disease and improve arrhythmia. Alfalfa has been shown, in laboratory trials, to reduce cholesterol levels by reducing plaque.

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Ways to get Kids to Eat Healthy Foods

IT ALL STARTS BEFORE THEY’RE BORN

My first child was a very picky eater.  Even to this day (he is now 21 years old), he doesn’t like vegetables.  For years I assumed that some kids are just born picky and that there’s nothing you can do about it.  Now, however, I know that while it is true that some are born more particular than others, there are a number of things that can be done to positively influence a child’s food choices.

This will be the first in a series of posts I write about what I have learned over the years from the hundreds of families with whom I have worked, from the studying I have done, and from what I have discovered in the little laboratory of my home with my own children.  (I’m very happy to report that my other 3 children have much better eating habits than my first!  More about that later.) 

Children’s food preferences can be influenced
even before they’re born! 

It’s true!  What a woman eats during her pregnancy flavors her amniotic fluid… and baby drinks that fluid.  So, if you want a junk food junkie, then eat all the sweets and fast food you want.  But, if you want a child who loves vegetables, start introducing him to a wide variety of veggies before he is born by eating them yourself.   

This fact is backed up in scientific literature and has proven itself true with my own children.  My first was born when I was 17 and clueless.  I probably ate a little better when I was pregnant than I would have otherwise, but I still ate like a typical teen– certainly not healthy by any stretch of the imagination.  The other three, on the other hand, were born later in my life when I was much more aware and educated.  My first, as I already mentioned, was (& still is) a “picky eater” who, for the most part, won’t eat anything that grows on plants.  The others, however, eat almost exclusively foods that grow on plants– and thoroughly enjoy their food! 

Of course, what we eat during pregnancy is only the beginning of influencing our child’s food preferences.  It takes more than a healthy diet during pregnancy to have the greatest possible impact. 

I will share in future posts about what can be done during a child’s infancy, early childhood, and even into his teens to help him develop a lifetime love of the kinds of food that will keep him healthy for life. 

I’d love to get your feedback about this (and any of the other posts on my blog, too).  Feel free to comment!  🙂