Pregnancy & Birth Resources From a First-Time Mama

Hey folks, Kate here.  I’m a couple of short weeks from my due date and feeling oh so excited/anxious/ready/not ready to be walking this brand new path of mamahood.  Thank you to our dear @Heathersaba for helping to maintain our blog and social media accounts as I cross this threshold in the next few days or weeks, she will be continuing to take the lead in helping you stay connected in the Alpine Botanicals community. 

 

This journey has had many highs and lows, and one thing is for sure, I am so so grateful for my community near and far, and especially for all of the resources that have been available to me and my husband throughout this critical time.  Reading and online resources I found and committed to from the very beginning of my natural pregnancy and birth journey have helped me feel prepared in a time that in-person birth classes and support groups were not possible. 

 

A few weeks ago I had set the intention to share my favorite go-to pregnancy resources.  Time did get away from me slightly these last weeks (nesting mode is real in late pregnancy!!) but I wanted to make sure to follow through with that promise before our little bean arrives.  In this article, you’ll find a non-exhaustive round up of my favorite books & online resources.  I also hope to be able to share some extra insight in our IG stories and on my personal page @maitrimandarinmarigold but have no expectations about what the role of social media might play in this new path for me.  


This has been such a challenging time for new mothers and I send my heart out to the women who have been walking the pregnancy path this year.  Folks can’t imagine the added layer of stress this pandemic has added to an already physical and emotional rollercoaster.  Never in my life have I felt more vulnerable, exhausted, energetically taxed, or fiercely protective of my energy.  Pregnancy is such a blessing to behold, in both oneself and in others, and at its very core, it is the work of a warrior.  To be isolated during this time was difficult in ways I can’t describe.  If one thing is clear to me more than ever, women are meant to bring life into the world while being surrounded and supported by a strong community, not just their close family members.  That community just wouldn’t have been as accessible for me without social media and technology, and I honor it for being a tool for connection during this crazy time.  


As you’ll see below, @AvivaRomm is my #1 resource for all things natural birth and pregnancy.  She is also an amazing resource for all women and humans looking to up their game in and around the latest health and wellness resources, herbal medicine, and more.  Her books and online support groups were some of my most valued resources during this time and will continue to be my go-to for months to come.  Even after having studied in her online courses, and having listened to her podcast for many years, I still find myself recommending more people to her work than any other single herbalist/midwife/doctor on this planet.  Thank you Aviva for the gifts of your wisdom and for making it even more accessible regardless of a person’s financial background or level of expertise.  

Books for natural health in pregnancy:


Aviva Romm - “The Natural Pregnancy Book” - Covering every trimester, it focuses on changes happening in the physical and emotional body and addresses challenges that come up with a holistic protocol.  For women curious about what herbs are safe (or not) in pregnancy, this is a great resource.  


Sally Fallon - “The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care” - Sally Fallon has a very thorough knowledge of ancestral food traditions and isn’t afraid to call out how the agricultural industrial complex has changed what mothers are encouraged to eat or not eat during pregnancy.  This is an invaluable book for mothers looking to get back to the roots of nourishing foods and is a great compliment to Sally’s other book "Nourishing Traditions".  


Emily Oster - “Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know”.  At first, I was quite resistant to read this book as it’s written by an economist (and mama) from a much more conventional perspective than what I personally come from. But it’s always great to get more sides to the story, and Oster breaks down the data around birth and pregnancy in the US like no one else I have come across.  For nerdy types who appreciate understanding the data behind making (or not making) many important birth decisions, this book is a great resource. 

Birth classes and online resources:

Mama Natural’s Birth Class and https://www.mamanatural.com/- Since we weren’t able to attend an in-person birth class and needed something self-paced, we chose Mama Natural’s highly regarded 8 part natural birth class.  You can log in to the course from anywhere, and it includes a TON of bonus resources, videos, and I found it to be an affordable option at $264.  Though it covers many of the conventional interventions offered at hospitals, its main focus is supporting and empowering women to have an unmedicated and totally natural vaginal birth from start to finish.  The Mama Natural website has been an amazing resource for my family, and offers a ton of free articles for folks, even if not in their birth class community.


Aviva Romm’s #IDeserveBirthSupport Facebook Group - This amazing free resource was something that Aviva put together specifically for mothers struggling to get necessary support during the Pandemic.  This Facebook group has been one of my absolutely most cherished pregnancy resources.  Aviva filmed live classes each 1-2 hours long highlighting the most important information for each trimester, tips for supporting natural labor, and so many more resources.  Her videos remain available on the Facebook group so anyone can join and benefit from her wealth of knowledge.  

Books with a postpartum focus:


Aviva Romm - “Natural Health After Birth” - With a focus on caring for the mother, this book helps equip especially first time mothers, their partners, and anyone who will be around them in the immediate days and weeks after delivering with all the information on challenges and best ways to heal (especially with herbal/nutritional tools) and provide a supportive container.  When mama gets what she needs from her partner and community, she can focus more on taking care of the new baby. 

 

Heng Ou - “The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother” - A similar theme to Aviva’s “Natural Health After Birth” but with a particular focus on nutrition, meal planning postpartum, and some herbal therapeutics as well.  Amazing recipes and overall guidance. 


Books about Natural baby/child care: 

Aviva Romm - “Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide” - Still diving into this one. This book is considered an essential reference for parents who want to empower themselves with the real data around vaccines, vaccine schedules, and how we can utilize herbal, nutritional, and lifestyle therapeutics to keep our family healthy when vaccines may not be a viable option, or before they are able to be given.  


Aviva Romm - “Naturally Healthy Babies & Children” - Starting from birth, Aviva outlines herbal and other therapeutics for keeping kids healthy and vital.  


Harvey Karp, M.D. - “Happiest Baby on the Block” - Written by one of America’s most well-known and well-respected Pediatricians, Dr. Karp speaks to the importance of the Fourth Trimester, much in the same way that Aviva Romm does. Another data-heavy book for parents and mothers looking for all the information in regards to decisions like bed-sharing, breast-feeding, and more.  

Thanks for reading my suggestions!  Any of these books that weren’t gifted to me, I purchased from local bookstores, other apothecaries, and Bookshop.org

Wishing you the best in your birth journey and in this new year!  Whether you’re a newly pregnant mother, a friend, partner, or family member looking to support a pregnant mama, or just simply interested in natural birth and wellness, I wish you all the power in providing a supportive space for yourself and your community.  Birth and child care is community work, and my wish for the future is that we continue to find creative ways to support each other in these trying times so that we can usher in a more loving and conscious generation of young ones ready to heal the earth and themselves. 


With love from this first-time mama,


Kate

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