The idea for this blog came to fruition in a very round-about way. Tara, a friend of mine, is hoping to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with her upcoming baby. She wanted to know what she could do to help increase her chances of a successful vaginal delivery. The first thing I told her was to align herself with a care provider who supports VBACs. Then Tara asked, is there anything else that she should do, such as acupuncture or a special diet.
This last question got me to thinking. The circumstances for my friend’s first cesarean were fairly common, and displayed a clear example of the “cascade of interventions.” Tara’s water broke before the onset of labor. Her midwife gave her 12 hours to see if labor would initiate on it’s own before asking her to come in for some intervention. After 12 hours and no signs of labor progressing, Tara was put on pitocin and took an epidural. Several hours later, she got to about 7 cm, but she had spiked a fever and the baby was starting to show signs of fetal distress. The care provider thought it was best to birth the baby via cesarean section.
After thinking about Tara’s story I started to wonder- what if her water didn’t break? PROM (Premature Rupture Of the Membranes) in common in 10% of women and out of that 10%, 90% of these women will enter spontaneous labor within 24 hour of the rupture. The odds are good that labor will start to kick in on it’s own! But back to the idea of trying not to be in that 10%… I started wondering- is there a way to build a strong amniotic sac so there is less chance of a premature rupture? To my very pleasant surprise, I found some information about additions to a pregnant diet that suggestions they will help the mother create a strong amniotic sac.
Here are my findings:
First I went to my favorite resource- Holistic Midwifery; A Comprehensive Textbook for Midwives in Homebirth Practice, Volume I by Anne Frye.
Here is what the author said, “Vitamin C, along with its associated nutrients, the bioflavinoids, helps to strengthen all bodily membranes. It will make the amniotic sac strong, elastic and resilient, thus minimizing the possibility of early rupture of the membranes. The mineral zinc is also important for tissue integrity and adequate amounts assist in maintaining intact membranes as well”
The following information came from Kathryn, author of Empowering Birth and a midwifery student.
She believes that foods rich in beta carotene can be helpful in building a strong amniotic sac.
Fruits and vegetables containing beta carotene (orange or deep yellow)
The final recommendation is maintaining adequate daily protein, about 80 grams of protein a day. This comes from the Bradley Method of Childbirth and the Brewers Diet. At first 80 grams of protein sounded very daunting. However, there are several feasible options for hitting this daily goal
Lean ground beef, 3.5 grams = 25 grams
Chicken, 3.5 ounces = 25 grams
Quinoa, 1 cup = 24 grams
Fish, 3 ounces = 15-17 grams depending on the fish
Yogurt, 1 cup = 12 grams
Milk, 1 cup = 8 grams
Beans about 1/2 cup = 7 grams
Almonds, 1 ounce = 6 grams
Egg, 1 large = 6 grams
Of course, there is never a guarantee the amniotic sac won’t break even with following this diet. But regardless of the outcome, including these nutrient rich foods in your daily pregnant diet are good for building a strong healthy mom and baby!