August 20th, 2008How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy - the Dr. Christopher Way
by Traci Sellers
with Kal Sellers, MH
An un-healthy pregnancy was how I got my introduction to Dr. Christopher, his herbal aids and dietary recommendations. These priceless truths saved my life, my baby and changed my life forever. As a result, my subsequent 4 pregnancies have been wonderfully healthy. (This gives me about 40 months of experience over the last 10 years of having healthy pregnancies.)
In my first pregnancy, I had severe hyperemesis gravidarum (throwing up constantly, 14-15 times a day) and was hospitalized several times for the first 5 months. My husband put me on Dr. Christopher’s Mucusless Diet and where all the drugs of the medical community had failed for 5 months, I became well in only two days.
Healthy Pregnancy Key #1: Diet. I remained well so long as I adhered to this plan, which was basically to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, (sprouted, low-heated). I had a little problem with this outline, however. In the narrowness of my experience, I could only apply these instructions to one meal: salad and a baked potato. But it worked, and I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, 8 pounds, 3 oz. During subsequent pregnancies, I was determined to eat better, and more creatively. I dedicated my life to creating delicious recipes that fit the Dr. Christopher recommendations.
I would like to note that when I am in my first trimester of pregnancy, I strictly stick to olive oil as the only pure fat in my diet. (I also consume Nuts, grains, avocados and other whole plant sources of fat, just no isolated fats) This is because during the first trimester of pregnancy, the hormonal load on the liver is so intense, it is prudent to do anything we can to relieve excess burden. Isolated fats can increase the workload on the liver.
Healthy Pregnancy Key #2: Herbs. The first thing I begin on is the Red Raspberry leaf tea blend. Because Kal is a Master Herbalist, we usually tailor the mix to my needs at the time, however there are a few things we always blend into the mix:
We begin with 2 parts of the Red Raspberry Leaf, add 1 part Alfalfa, 1 part Comfrey leaf, and ½ to 1 part of Peppermint (for flavor and settling the stomach, which it will do briefly, or as long as you’re constantly sipping the tea). I take these and mix up a large batch, where a part is equal to cup or so.
I then use the brew basket of a coffee maker to make the tea. This saves me so much grief over tea making that I will actually do it, which for me is well worth any compromise in utilizing this method. The way my coffee maker works is that the brew basket begins to fill with boiling water and then it trickles through the filter. It doesn’t trickle as fast as it fills, allowing the tea to steep. Eventually it will all trickle down into the pot, filling it with the steeped tea, in addition to the little bit that came out first that was not really steeped. This is the compromise, but I feel it to be better than not drinking the tea at all. Some coffee makers percolate, or send the hot water over the leaves many times, which would also ’steep’ the tea, but I consider the brew basked method with an unbleached filter to be superior. Or just make your tea the traditional way!
I sweeten it to taste with honey while it is still hot and then after drinking my first dose of the day with a little ice in it, I will stick the glass coffee pitcher in the refrigerator to chill the mixture. I can then drink iced minty pregnancy tea all day and I find it to be much more refreshing in the late day. Sometimes a batch will last 2 days (especially if you have a 12 cup machine) if your older children (or husband) don’t drink it all up!
I also take Vitalerbs with my lunch and dinner. I use anywhere from 2 to 6 capsules with each meal. I take these only with food because capsules on an empty stomach will make me feel nauseous whether I am pregnant or not.
When I need a pick-me-up, (because it is a lot of work to grow a baby, and I get tired) I stir one tablespoon of Blackstrap Molasses into 8 ounces of water. It actually tastes okay, and gives me a hefty dose of calcium, iron and potassium (hence the pick-me-up). NOTE: Dr. Christopher recommends taking one teaspoon of blackstrap molasses three times a day as a routine.
In later months of pregnancy, to prevent heartburn and to ensure I am getting optimum digestion (especially of proteins) I use a small amount of Cayenne Pepper in water right before my meals (15 minutes before). My favorite way to take it is in the context of what I like to call the Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drink, as taken from my Principles book, where I melt honey into the water, add vinegar and then the pinch of cayenne. I keep a bottle of this in the fridge to swig when I am fixing lunch or dinner. (It does get hotter as it sits, just to warn you)
This drink will thin excess mucus so it is easy to remove from the body, help you metabolize calcified minerals and (importantly for pregnancy!) reduce cravings for unhealthful foods. For more info, download the Principles book for free (see information at the end of this article).
One thing I make a real staple, too, is Dr. Christopher’s Calc Tea. Calcium needs skyrocket during pregnancy, and this becomes vital. I use a liquid version in the first 3 months (a preparation Kal makes called Super Calc Tea–recipe available on www.KalsSchool.com ).
Finally, I use Dr. Christopher’s 6 week tea, or Pre-Natal tea, for the last 6 weeks of the pregnancy as directed. The result? Short, easy labors that come on their due date! I average 3 hours of labor and my last 3 daughters arrived within 1 day of their date. Perfect!
Healthy Pregnancy Key #3: Education. At the beginning of each new pregnancy, to remind myself of all the things I need to be doing, I will read the Pregnancy sections of Herbal Home Health Care by Dr. Christopher and Dr. Mom’s Healthy Living, by Sandra Ellis. These are two of the most valuable resources I possess on pregnancy, and after becoming a certified natural childbirth instructor, my bookshelf is full! Other materials are nice, but these two I consider essential.
Taking a high quality natural childbirth course can alleviate fears about the delivery process, it is something that a woman’s body is designed to do, just like breathing or digesting food.
I have delivered my last 3 daughters at home with the aid of an herbally competent midwife, and had zero complications with those deliveries. When a person is willing to take responsibility for their own health during pregnancy, the risks/complications associated with a traditional delivery become a non-issue. Dr. Christopher’s wisdom in having a healthy pregnancy is unsurpassed.
Thanks for reading.
Traci and Kal