Prepping the ole birth canal…

Okay, admit it.  You just read the above post and thought, “Oh Lord Lola, please don’t post about perineal massages…”

You’re in luck.  I am most certainly NOT going to write a blog post about perineal massages.

You’re welcome.

I am going to write a quick post about probiotics, which is a lot more fun to talk about and definitely not as gross.  I took a probiotic sometimes when I was pregnant with Poppyseed, but I’ve kind of gone to a whole new level with this pregnancy!

So here goes.  I’ve read more than a few articles on the importance of good bacteria in a mother’s body during pregnancy and birth.  In fact, there are a lot of studies out there that show that babies born vaginally can really benefit from all of the bacteria that they encounter in the birth canalThere’s even good news for moms who need cesareans, as a very recent study just came out that showed that, actually, bacteria in the birth canal isn’t too important as long as the mom had plenty of good bugs in her gut in the weeks preceding birth.

(I cannot seem to find that specific article right now, which is really driving me crazy because I literally just read it!  If I do, I’ll post the link here soon because it was truly interesting!)

Anyway, it just makes sense to me that probiotics would be of huge importance for a mother and new baby’s health.  Probiotics used to be abundant in our diets, but as people have come to rely more on processed/pasteurized foods and less on home grown crops, the amount of dietary probiotics have been more and more limited.  (Some of the healthiest probiotics are soil-based… when was the last time you ate a good bowl of soil?)

Plus all of us kids of the 70s, 80s, and 90s pretty much grew up taking antiobiotics, which probably did a great job of destroying all of our naturally occurring, healthy gut flora.

I used to eat a few servings of yogurt a week and think I was checking the box.  But the more I learned about probiotics, the more I learned that there are thousands and thousands of strains.  Most of the store-bought yogurt I was eating only contained one or two of the more common ones (lactobacillus acidophilus, for example).  So several years ago I started dabbling with taking a probiotic supplement.  I’ve tried different brands and strands (ha) and can say that my digestion and “women’s health issues” (awkward pause) definitely improved!

Anyway, I really want my baby to come into this germ-infested world with a strong immune system, so I decided to really step up my probiotic intake.  Beginning at 36 weeks I’ve followed the following strict protocol:

  • I’m taking an oral probiotic every single day.  I’ve never been good about doing ANYTHING religiously, but I can say that I have not missed a dose in 2 weeks.  Currently I’m taking a soil based one called Prescript Assist that I got on Amazon.  I chose it because I kept seeing it reviewed and endorsed on some of my favorite nutrition websites.
  • Every two or three days I make a smoothie with a full package of these probiotics mixed in.  This is REALLY potent stuff.  If you’ve ever looked at probiotics in a store, you’ve probably seen numbers like 2 billion, 8 billion, or 40 billion CFUs on the label.  This particular product, Ortho Molecular, was recommended by our naturopath because it has 225 billion CFUs.  It’s actually what she prescribed for Poppyseed last summer when she got really sick with pneumonia.  It was the first and only time she’s had to be on antibiotics, and Dr. Campbell reassured us that giving her the full dose of antibiotics and then following it with a 2 week protocol of these specific probiotics would put her little body back in full swing.  It absolutely worked and was worth the money, in our experience!
  • I eat at least 2, but usually 3, servings of probiotic rich foods daily.  What that looks like for me is usually yogurt with breakfast, a kombucha after the gym, and sauerkraut with dinner.  (FYI, homemade sauerkraut can have up to hundreds of beneficial strains of bacteria, as compared to only a couple of strains in yogurt.  So I make sure to eat sauerkraut daily, even though I would much rather just eat the yogurt and drink the kombucha!)  Ironically, Oatmeal and I had a conversation on our very first date about our dislike for sauerkraut.  And here we are today, making our own and eating it daily.  The things you do for your health and the health of your children!  I actually feel like this step is much more effective than any of the other steps, because it just makes more sense to me that eating something good has got to be more effective than taking it in the form of a supplement.
  • I won’t go into lots of detail here, and sorry guys if you’re reading this, but I even read that you can take a probiotic capsule and use it “down there.”  Hey, I won’t say I will, but I won’t say I won’t.
My guilty pleasure as of late is a bottle of this!  I don't mind this part of my protocol one bit.

My guilty pleasure as of late is a bottle of this! I don’t mind this part of my protocol one bit.

Stocking up on homemade, local sauerkraut at the Home Sweet Farmer's Market in Brenham, Texas last week.

Oatmeal is so supportive of my “probiotic birth prep” that he drove down to the Brenham Farmer’s Market last weekend to stock up on fresh sauerkraut.  He actually learned to make it this year, and does a wonderful job, but it takes a few weeks to properly ferment and we didn’t have the time to wait.

If you had told me five years ago that I'd one day eat a huge serving of sauerkraut (with a 2 year old) almost every day, I'd have gagged.  Things change.

If you had told me five years ago that I’d one day eat a huge serving of sauerkraut (with a 2 year old) almost every day, I’d have gagged. Things change.  I am actually learning to appreciate it now!

So, every since I started doing all of that, my digestion is completely different!  I’ve always taken a probiotic supplement several times a week, but stepping it up like this for the past two weeks has been a major shock to my system (in a good way).  I really do hope that Baby Middle will benefit from all of this extra effort.

If any of you have any tips, good reading, or comments, I’m all ears.

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