Building A Prenatal Healthcare Team
A glance at what my personal holistic prenatal healthcare team looks like.
At Balanced Friends we truly believe that it takes a team of healthcare professionals to help keep us thriving in this life! The best part of all?! You have the freedom to assemble your own team that works for your individual needs! So your healthcare team may look a lot different than mine does and that's OK.
First off, I give a well deserved shout out to my very own Integrative Health Practitioner, Alyssa, for always keeping me balanced. Although we went through the same training and are both very knowledgeable about holistic health in general, we love bouncing ideas off each other when it comes to our own personal wellness journeys. I have Alyssa (for those of you new to us she is the other half to Balanced Friends) review my labs, gain another perspective on my supplementation, and be my constant health coach in life always reminding me that balance is key! As an Integrative Health Practitioner and Health Coach, we are a great addition to any healthcare team. We give you an new avenue to be your own health detective. We help you gather loads of information about your health that is not offered to you through a western medical health professional. We dive deep into the root cause of your symptoms and use things like safe supplements, functional medicine lab testing, detox, diet and lifestyle adjustments, and so much more to help you reach your individual wellness goals all without ever leaving your home. We are a virtual health practice which makes reaching your wellness goals easier than ever before! We truly are the future of healthcare.
**Here we are with our Integrative Health Practitioner certificates and a special promise to keep each other and our families healthy for life using the knowledge we gained during our training! If you want to obtain this same knowledge you can learn more here!
I suppose Alyssa deserves another shout out for also being my dental hygienist! During pregnancy (actually during your entire life) taking care of your teeth and gums is so important. Infection and bleeding in the gums is linked to preterm low birth weight babies as well as miscarriage. Even though I'm also a dental hygienist and very good at keeping my teeth clean at home, I still need to see a dental hygienist for routine professional cleanings. During these visits the hygienist removes bacteria on our teeth that cannot come off at home with proper brushing and flossing. So never skip your dental visits! Especially during pregnancy. You should be seeing your dental hygienist for cleanings at least every 6 months if you are healthy and every 3-6 months if you have history of periodontal disease (permanent bone loss around the teeth caused by bacteria) or gingivitis (bleeding, inflammation, and infection in the gums from bacteria). It's worth noting that bleeding gums can be common with pregnancy due to hormone changes but it's been my experience that many of my pregnant patients also were not performing proper home care and are leaving bacteria behind to only make their bleeding gums worse at cause baby to be more at risk. When visiting the dentist during pregnancy some offices may require you to get medical clearance from your OBGYN or Midwife. So be prepared and call your dental office ahead of time so you don't waste a trip. At the last dental office I worked at, we rescheduled any pregnant patient that did not have a medical clearance. Another note about the dental office and pregnancy is that some dentists will encourage dental treatment and xrays if they feel the infection in your mouth is putting your baby at high risk. Depending on your individual needs, other dentists will recommend having treatment completed as soon as possible once the baby is born. It is common to see new cavities appear after pregnancy due to frequent snacking, morning sickness making brushing difficult, and the baby depleting Mama of nutrients causing teeth to become weaker. If you did not have xrays taken at your first dental visit, most offices will take them when you return after the baby is born. You may notice that these xrays show more cavities than expected but it's truly the first time your dental professional is able to get a better look at what's going on in your mouth. You also may be offered a fluoride treatment while at your dental visit. I personally choose to decline this service. A topic for another day!
**This is Alyssa getting back to cleaning teeth for the first time since COVID. Did you know dental hygienist are #1 at risk job to catch COVID due to aerosols?!
Next up I'd like to shed some light on my Midwife, Jill. She is able to take care of all my low risk pregnancy needs. She is also there to help me with routine women's health visits even after my baby is born. Jill, like most Midwives, take a more holistic approach to women's health which is a great fit for me!
I also plan to hire a Doula to help guide me through the birth of my baby. Doula's wear many hats but most of all they are there to help me stick to my low intervention birth plan. And to remind me that my body was made to give birth to my baby and that birth is natural. Think of a Doula as a health coach but for birth! Depending on which Doula you hire, they may be cross trained in things like aroma therapy, birth photography, placenta encapsulation, and so much more. They are an excellent person to have on your pregnancy healthcare team if you ask me!
I've also recently added a chiropractor to my healthcare team. I did some research and found a local chiropractor that is very well trained in prenatal chiropractic care. Routine prenatal chiropractic visits are important for many reasons but my main reason for adding one to my prenatal healthcare team is to help guide baby into a birth position that is more favorable for a vaginal delivery. But helping with back pain is also a major bonus!
I would go crazy without my prenatal massage therapist! They are located at the same facility as my chiropractor which is important for me due to convince. A prenatal massage is also helpful for many reasons but for me it's been extremely helpful to promote relaxation, back pain relief, and improved circulation. Let me tell you one thing. Growing a baby isn't easy! And it comes with some major moments of anxiety. I also knew that once my baby arrives I won't have as much time to get away and spend time (or money) pampering myself as much. So choosing to indulge in some self care now while also promoting better health is a real win win for me! Us pregnant ladies also have 50% more blood to move around our bodies! So I'll take all the help I can get when it comes to circulating all this blood around my body. There is a reason spider veins can appear with pregnancy and as always at Balanced Friends we live by the motto "prevention is key". When it comes to my health, I personally choose to be more proactive and preventative instead of reactive if I can help it.
Once COVID restrictions are lifted further, I plan to add prenatal yoga and my gym membership back into my wellness routine. Yoga has always given me life! The meditation at the end of a sweaty yoga session makes me feel so mentally strong. I feel like the birthing experience will require a lot of mental strength as well as some open hips! Both of which yoga provides me. Other Mamas have said that giving birth is the most physically exhausting event us women put ourselves through. So this holistic Mama plans to do some regular cardio and light weight training to increase my chances of rocking this future birth! Until gyms open, I rely heavily on long walks outside and workout videos.
**I've been known to call yoga my church for it grounds me and brings me complete peace. This was a yoga pose I held on the balcony of our room on our honeymoon to Bora Bora many years ago. SO PEACEFUL!
Now I want to take some time to shed some light on a few other key players on my prenatal healthcare team that you may not have thought about before. Whole Foods grocery, Thrive Market online grocery, and Pure Encapsulations supplements are absolutely essential in keeping both Baby and I as healthy as possible on this pregnancy journey! Real whole foods and safe supplementation is literally how our baby grows and develops. Our baby consumes what we consume. So I highly recommend investing in high quality food and supplements. This area is not a category worth pinching pennies!! You know how our baby eats what we eat? Well we eat what our animals and plants eat. So choose organic whenever possible. Try to pick pasture raised or wild caught fish, meats, and dairy. In my opinion it's not worth it to consume products with artificial hormones, toxic fertilizers, harmful additives, and so much more. Keep it simple and eat mostly foods made from nature.
Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village of healthcare professionals to keep us thriving! So there you have it, a look at the village of healthcare professionals that help me thrive. My wish for you is that feel empowered to be your own health advocate and get busy building your healthcare team. A team that lines up perfectly with your values. One that treats you like the individual that you are. Most of all, remember not to put all your eggs in one basket. Don't give all your power to the white coat (or anyone for that matter). Don't be afraid to ask questions, get a second opinion, or find a new provider that better suits you! Pick your team wisely because only you (well I guess now baby does too) live inside your body so make it a happy healthy pain free place to live. No one deserves to live a life of pain and disease! So please remember that prevention is key and it's up to you to invest in a healthcare team that works for you. Do not settle for a script and be on your way!! The band-aid approach to your health is behind you now. And you deserve so much better than that! Hope you have fun adding team players to your healthcare team! I think I'll add acupuncture next. What's next for you?!
In good health,
Sam- Balanced Friends
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