Pregnancy Support

So, the cat’s out of the bag! Or should we say babies!

I wanted to share with my CNHP family that my husband and I are expecting twin boys this spring and we are over the moon excited to meet these two. Anyone who has experienced pregnancy or supported someone through pregnancy knows how challenging certain aspects of this amazing journey can be. I wanted to share some tidbits of how I have navigated these challenges and ideas you can discuss with your health care team to support your journey!

Morning sickness

I often joked the reason I was so ill the first months of pregnancy was that I was probably carrying twins, and well, that turned out to be true! Once the shock of this news wore off, next came the task of how to navigate food. Morning sickness is a very common symptom of pregnancy that occurs with fluctuating hormone levels in the body. Unpleasant as it is, it is typically not a sign of anything wrong, it just makes it more difficult to keep up with balanced nutrition. Here are some tips I used:

  • Ginger – Ginger is a natural anti-nausea herbal that can ease a sour stomach. There are lozenges, chew and teas that are available so you can have it handy all day long for when the moment strikes. I think I drank and ate so much ginger the first few months that I can’t even look at it these days!
  • Vitamin B6 – It is not fully known how vitamin B6 can help with nausea, but I feel it helped take the edge off. Discuss with your health care practitioner on dose/frequency of use.
  • Crackers/Bread/Oatmeal – While I know we normally recommend avoiding carb heavy snacks, crackers or another quick carb snack can come in handy, especially first thing in the morning when you wake up. I found the faster I had something in my stomach the better off I was. Nibbling on a few crackers before you even get out of bed can buy you some time to be able to get up and get to a more protein filled breakfast.
  • Eating frequently – Going too long between meals can make nausea symptoms worse. Keep quick and easy to eat foods at your workspace so you are always prepared!

The biggest thing is to try not to get frustrated. I have a colleague who reminded me that the reason I feel so sick is that there is a healthy baby (or babies!) growing inside and it usually turns a corner in the second trimester.

Back pain and Headaches

Dr. Vitali performing osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) on Dr. Burkman’s ever expanding baby bump!

Growing a baby bump is no easy task! It is fun to see your body change and to dress in clothes that help support your ever-expanding body, however, it can be uncomfortable! This is where I employed the help of my Osteopathic, Chiropractic and Acupuncture Colleagues to ease the burden on my body.

Dr. Vitali uses her Osteopathic manipulation skills to help release tension points in my body and around my growing abdomen. OMT is a very relaxing experience and my abdomen is much less tense the following weeks after a treatment. See our website for more information on OMT therapy.

Dr. Chella, my husband and personal chiropractor, has experience working with pregnant mothers to support all those physical ailments that pop up. Through exercises to keep my posture appropriate and physical adjustments, I have found my pregnancy to be virtually back pain free. While I was lucky enough not to experience hormonal headaches, chiropractic and osteopathic treatments are a great way to ease them, especially when analgesic medications that can be taken are limited.

Dr. Edgerton and Dr. Zitserman are talented acupuncturists in addition to being naturopathic physicians in our practice. Acupuncture is a safe and gentle way to help treat nausea, physical pain, insomnia, headaches and just about anything associated with pregnancy. I highly recommend these two for a consultation to make your pregnancy a breeze.

Heartburn

I never knew heartburn until these babies came on board. Heartburn is a very common complaint of pregnancy, making eating and sleep a challenge. Food choices are extremely important when it comes to heartburn prevention. Eating highly acidic foods, too many carbs and drinking bubbly drinks can be an immediate trigger. Making sure to eat plenty in the morning and through the day and keeping meals light later in the day to allow enough time for digestion. I’ve found sipping apple cider vinegar water through the day very helpful to enhance digestion and prevent flair ups. Ginger and peppermint tea might feel reliving as well!

Lactation

As a new mom, you truly need all the support you can get once your bundle is here. I feel prenatal support is equally important to help prepare you for this new journey, especially when it comes to breast feeding. I highly recommend seeing a lactation consultant before your delivery to learn techniques and tricks that can make the first weeks go much more smoothly. Especially with twins on board, I wanted all the help I could get! Between Susan Forrester, a lactation consultant in West Hartford, and our very own Dr. Padilla who is naturopathic physician in addition to lactation consultant, I feel much better prepared!

Setting up a postnatal visit is not a bad idea, in case you might need help with latching or production concerns.

Mental Health

Something that many of us don’t think about as this time is our risk of postpartum depression.  This is a very exciting time for sure and should be celebrated! However, assessing your risk for this very common condition and having a plan in place ahead of time is key. Naturopathic physicians have many tools to prevent and support mental health including herbs, nutrients, acupuncture and nutritional guidance. Additionally, taking recommendations for a therapist who specializes in postpartum support is a good idea to have just in case you feel you need some extra support. All mama’s have moments when they feel overwhelmed, but you don’t want postpartum to inhibit you from experiencing the joy of these new moments.

Something I have found helpful is connecting with other moms since no one will understand you like another mom who has been there! Our very own Amy Smith-Bassett APRN and certified midwife made me positive affirmation cards with love notes that remind you just how strong you are as a mama. These simple words of encouragement can help shift your mindset into one of, “How can I do this?” to “I’ve got this!”

Postpartum healing

Physically, no matter how you deliver your baby, you need to heal for some time after your delivery. From healing herbs and nutrients to specific recommendations on safe workouts for healing your postpartum body, there are many tips Naturopathic and Osteopathic doctors recommend that can make this time go much smoother. From omega 3 fatty acids for skin and mood health to herbals for energy promotion and lactation support, there are often natural ways to support all that comes with being a new mama!


Dr. Burkman will be on maternity leave from May through September. While she will be missing all of you, she will have BOTH hands full with her new bundles! Should you have health needs or concerns while she is out please contact the office for guidance. At Collaborative Natural Health Partners, we work as a team and you are always in good hands!

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