Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Research: Chiropractic Care

Now this is truly an interesting one, just because it's so unexpected. If you asked a bunch of people what their ideas for alleviating morning sickness would be, I would bet that almost none of them would say, "Go see a chiropractor!" Neither would I!

Here's the first mention I found of this one:

"A chiropractor will manipulate your spine and joints in order to realign your body and improve digestive function. Sutdies have shown that this treatment can ease nausea."

- "Pregnancy the Natural Way" by Zita West, under "Hyperemesis: Complementary Treatments"

So I did some more research, and found numerous references. Here's a more extensive one:

"Morning Sickness: Many times, it is a reaction to all of the physical, chemical, and mental changes taking place in the mother-to-be. Sometimes the subluxation process may be altering the body's natural function and ability to adapt to the changes taking place which may cause the nausea. Also, abnormal tension may exist in the supporting fascial planes which may contribute to this feeling. If either of these two things are present, you will benefit from chiropractic care. You will experience relief from morning sickness and your body will function at your optimal level allowing you a greater chance for an easier pregnancy. Plus, as you body works better, your developing baby will grow and develop to be a healthier baby.

This is what one my of patients experienced through chiropractic care:

'I had morning sickness 24/7 for months and months. I was losing weight and barely functioning. My OB/GYN had me coming into the office for vitamin B shots which didn't help. I started getting chiropractic care and after the first visit, my morning sickness subsided for a few days. As I continued care, it subsided all together. I can't imagine how hard it was on my baby if it was that hard on me. Chiropractic care is a vital part of my life and I've since had one more pregnancy without morning sickness at all!'"

- From:

Wow! Pretty impressive!

Here's another, more technical quote:

"The treatment is adjusting the entire spine, especially T8, T6, T5, and T4, as well as the upper cervicals, and placing the patient on a liver sparing diet such as carbohydrates, no fat, fresh steamed vegetables, no sugar, no dairy products, and very small meals, eaten often. If severe, allow only juices, soups, and broths with no fat. And by no means avoid protein at this time. Digestive enzymes which contain the pancreatic enzymes and HCL must be taken right before or in the middle of a meal. Half a lemon in hot water first upon rising and last thing at bedtime will help to clear the liver and take the strain off this overworked organ.

Those practicing Sacro-occipital Technic (SOT) will see relief with Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technic (CMRT) liver pump technic; Applied Kinesiology (AP) practitioners will see results stimulating liver, stomach, and pancreas neurolymphaties.

The expectant mother suffering from morning sickness should be seen about twice weekly (until about 16 weeks gestation) to reduce the nausea."

- Victoria C. Arcadi, D.C.Sherman Oaks, California Dynamic Chiropractic - March 29, 1991, Volume 09, Issue 07 Page printed from:

Interesting how a liver-cleansing diet is also mentioned.... *sigh*. Why must they always remove all the fun from what one eats? But I digress.

So yesterday I went to see a chiropractor for the first time in my life. Reason #1 - tired of back pain. Reason #2 - See above. It was a blast! I've really been getting into alternative healthcare professionals. They actually take TIME to get to know you rather than the rushed, impersonal, grudging 10 minutes one generally gets with an allopathic doctor nowadays. The more I get into alternative medicine, the better I like it! There's no going back. But anyhow, this chiropractor did say that she had one client whose morning sickness cleared up entirely after an adjustment - and the client didn't even come in because of the morning sickness! It was just for her periodic appointment. That's pretty convincing evidence for me. I'll have to post later if I get the same effect!

Well, housework calls! Cheers!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Research: Diet & Related

Well, it's been over a week since I actually posted any research, so here goes!

Diet. It's really hard to post about this, because the research is not too well-proven (nothing is with HG - no known cause and no known cure) and I have only found snipits here and there.

Most of the research I've found concerns pre-conception diet, which makes sense, since if you have HG you're too sick to eat anyhow! That doesn't help anyone currently suffering from HG, but if you're a one-time HG mum who is looking into trying again, some of this data might be helpful.

One of the main things that I've found is a link between pre-conception saturated fat intake and risk of HG - if your diet during the year prior to conception is high in saturated fat, you have an increased risk of contracting HG. Let me find a quote to substantiate this:

"In a Harvard University study, women with a high intake of saturated fat (found mainly in meat and dariy) during the year prior to pregnancy had a much higher risk of severe morning sickness than did women eating less saturated fat. An increase in saturated fat intake of 15 grams per day (the equivalent of a four-ounce cheeseburger or three cups of whole milk) was associated with a greater than threefold increase in the risk of developing morning sickness."

- Delicious Living article "Morning Sickness", p.2

This is bad news for me, let me tell you, as I have a longtime love affair with saturated fat (mainly in the form of dairy). Also, I've been extremely fond of beef ever since recovering from my first pregnancy (why, I don't know - iron? protein?). So I guess I should try to watch it, but it's hard to do considering that I'm trying to up my protein count, and dairy is a lot easier than figuring out how to eat more beans!! :)

Moving on....

There is also the issue of diet quality pre-conception. Here is a quote:

"If moms begin preparing their bodies for pregnancy prior to conception, they will have a better chance of avoiding morning sickness (as well as other health risk factors)..... Two to three months prior to pregnancy, if possible, or as soon as pregnancy is confirmed, the Whole Foods Diet should be adopted and followed regularly."

- Shonda Parker, "The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, p. 170

I have been doing my best with this one for the past couple of months, although it is hard and I tend to buckle when it comes to sugar. Thankfully my hubby is on a health kick right now so I can avoid having to have desserts in the house - a temptation to which I nearly always succumb.

Basically, it makes sense that (1) the healthier one is before conception, but better one will be able to withstand stress, and (2) the less toxins one's body has to deal with while also dealing with a pregnancy, the less morning sickness one will have. I have terrifically improved my diet since Caleb arrived - I've ditched almost all processed/prepared foods and am even eating things like beans from scratch, yogurt, raw milk, real maple sugar, greens, etc. I've learned a lot, thanks in great part to my good friend L., so in that sector of things I'm much better than I was.

Also mentioned in this area are things like cleansing and fasting:

"Some researchers feel that morning sickness is the body's natural way to protect the baby by removing toxic chemicals from the body with regular purging. I find that mothers who prepare for pregnancy by following a regular program of cleansing and fasting for six months or so have much less morning sickness."

- "Herbal Remedies for Dummies," Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac., p. 240

I did a liver cleansing diet this past winter, to prepare for a pregnancy, but I'm not sure it'll do me any good for the following reasons: (1) I did it in January, and we're not even planning to try to conceive until probably this summer, (2) I only lasted 3 of the 4 weeks, and (3) I cheated. But at least I tried!! It was NOT easy!!

Shonda Parker (see above) recommends liver cleansing factors, such as the Whole Foods diet, water with lemon, and milk thistle (which I will cover in a different post). Basically, the healthier one's liver is, the better it will be able to filter toxins and be able to deal with the increased hormonal load of pregnancy.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wonderful Water Birth Video

Someone posted this birth video on the Arizona Birth Network, and I just had to share it - it is one of the most beautiful births I've seen. (And the lighting is great, so it's clearer than most homebirth videos.) What's even greater is that it is a birth center birth, so it shows that institutional births don't have to be disrespectful and full of interventions. I was definitely crying by the end of this one: com/watch? v=-ct8MyqhC2c

I'm a complete sucker for birth videos - I cry at them all. But I'm talking about the good ones - not the ones where the mother is strapped down to every device imaginable and the baby is basically manhandled by disrespectful delivery staff. Those make me cry too - but with rage rather than joy. Birth is the most (or at least one of the most) sacred moment in a woman's life, and attendants can really make or break it.

Anyhow, this is a keeper!! It's a waterbirth, and it's really rare to see waterbirths as clearly as you can see this one. Most waterbirths you only get to see the baby as it comes out of the water, but you get the whole show with this one, and it's just great. We tried to have a waterbirth with Caleb, but didn't quite make it. But I labored the entire time in water! I just got out for the last hour. Our midwife says we'll have a better chance next time - that primips sometimes have a hard time with waterbirth, but it's totally easy for multips. I hope so! That's definitely my goal for my next baby - a waterbirth. Not to mention that water is GREAT for easing pain. When I got into the labor pool it was totally like the contractions disappeared (for a while, that is!!!!!). I don't think I could do a birth without the help of water. After all, it is called "the midwife's epidural."

Well, gotta go! Toddler typing at the same time is NOT making this easy!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Not pregnant yet!

Well, let's see... My toddler got up at 4:45 a.m. this morning ready to PARTY, and I just found him in the kitchen drinking chili powder, so it looks like the beginning of a productive day! :)

My period started (at last) yesterday, so it seems that I shall not have to face the battle of HG quite yet. I'm getting a little tired of this monthly pregnancy scare. When I finally got my period back (at one year postpartum), we decided that we didn't want to go back on the pill, for many reasons, so we took a natural family planning class and have been doing that instead. I am super-glad that we took the class, because it has totally given me insight into my body that I was really missing before. A woman's existence - body, moods, feelings, etc. - are just so tightly tied to her monthly cycle, and knowing my cycle has made me feel that I know myself and my body like I never have before. And, as a side note, the class also gave us a chance to get to know our Catholic brothers and sisters and to become a bit more ecumenical (I've always been taught 'Catholics aren't Christians' etc. etc., and this class helped to change my mind). However, the main point is that Joe and I are just TERRIBLE at using NFP and obeying the rules! Our teachers told us that a couple's "mutual attractiveness" would be highest during the woman's fertile phase, and that's definitely proved true for us. So each month we have at least several chances of having 'messed up', and I have to wait till the end of the cycle to find out whether or not we have conceived. So far we've lucked out.

And, of course, there is also the fact that my cycle hasn't yet returned to normal (although I don't really know what 'normal' is, having only started charting postpartum). My luteal phase has only just now reached 11 days, and 12 days is generally considered the minimum for fertility (although others say 10 days is the minimum). Most women gain their fertility a lot sooner than 2 years postpartum - I've been really slow. An OB with whom I just met said that it is probably because my last pregnancy beat the heck out of my body that the process is taking so long. I agree. I noticed that it was not until Caleb was a full 15 months old that I finally felt better after going through HG. Before that I felt just beat. Of course now I'm still tired all the time (having a toddler will do that to ya), but I do feel back to normal. But gosh, it did take a while!

Each month when I am facing the chance of pregnancy, I feel an odd combination of intense hope and intense terror. Kind of a weird combination. I go back and forth thinking, 'I really hope I'm pregnant' and 'Gosh, I hope I'm not pregnant.' I never can make up my mind. I think I'm relieved each month when I'm not, though. I feel horrible for being glad not to be pregnant, considering how many of our friends are dealing with the trials of infertility. But I am just terrified of going through HG again, and the overwhelming fear that washes over me with heartstopping intensity every time I face the possibility makes me think that I am probably not ready to be pregnant yet. I just have too much fear going on.

At the same time, I'm really dying to be pregnant again. I love the pregnant body and the wonderful feeling of sharing body space with another precious human being. And, as a side note, pregnancy was the only time I've ever had a positive body image!! I can't wait for that part of it!

I have started, this week, putting together a pregnancy notebook. I have one set of dividers each for HG, pregnancy, and childbirth and have put in all the topics I could think of: nutrition, supplements, homeopathy, herbs, childbirth prep, midwifery, breastfeeding, midwife records, OB records, postpartum, prenatal test research, etc. etc. That way I finally have a way to file all the papers I print off and the articles I copy out of the Midwifery Today magazines I borrowed from our midwife. I'm looking forward to filling it up. Especially since I will have to deal with an OB during this next pregnancy (*sigh*), I want to have all of my research handy so that I don't have to depend on my own articulateness when defending my decisions. But anyhow, I'm glad that I don't have to work on it so feverishly - at least I've got one more month! LOL

I can see that it is going to be hard to keep this blog.... I had intended to share it with all my friends, but now I'm blushing at everything already contained therein! Hats off to you, J., for keeping a fertility-type blog and managing to do it so discreetly!

Well, the only reason I was able to write this long was because my toddler was nursing, but now that he's off to destroy the house once again, I'd better go!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Research: Vitamin K & Vitamin C

Well, my toddler has decided to sleep in and grant me a few minutes more blogging time, so I'm going to add another post. This one is especially intriguing just because of (1) its simplicity, and (2) the success rate it seems to have. It is simply the combination of Vitamin K and Vitamin C! I've run into this repeatedly, so I'm DEFINITELY going to try this one when the time is right.

"Vitamin K alleviates Morning Sickness: In one study 5 mg Vitamin K1 per day combined with 25 mg Vitamin C per day alleviated Morning Sickness in 91% of subjects after three days of usage." - Sprouts handout on Vitamin K

"For morning sickness, I recommend 100 to 200 milligrams of B-6 and 10 milligrams of vitamin K a day. Occasionally, more than 200 milligrams is necessary, but this amount should be taken under a physician's supervision. I also give patients an initial injection of vitamin K, which works in a day or two. Taken orally, the Vitamin K takes somewhat longer to produce results - about ten days."
- Superimmunity for Kids by Leo Gallard & Dian Dincin Buchman, p. 47

"Vitamin C and K: Both these vitamins used in combination have been shown to reduce nausea in 72 hours; used separately they showed little effect. Vitamin C - 250 mg 2-3 times a day combined with Vitamin K: 5 mg/day. Can purchase liquid Vitamin K-1 from our office if desired." - online (forgot to record url)

I have started investigating this option and have run into the problem that vitamin K is generally sold in 100 mcg doses, meaning that to get 5 mg, one would have to take 50 pills! So we're going to go check out a GNC or vitamin shop to see what they have. If liquid vitamin K is available I'll probably try that, as it seems that it might be more bioavailable.

Don't forget that vitamin K comes in three forms, and most references for this remedy refer to K-1. Don't quote me on that, but it's something to watch for.

* Later note: I just read something that says that K1 is the natural form found in plants, K2 is the form made by your body, and K3 is a synthetic form that's not really that great for you. So K1 (and maybe K2) are the ones that you want, and K1 is what you want specifically for this remedy.

Research: Tandem Nursing

Well, it's been a few days since I started this Blog, but I am determined to make an entry at least every couple of days. I want to share all the information I have (even though it isn't much) in case it might be of help to someone.

Since I'm short on time, I'm going to post something quick today - something I read in an edition of Midwifery Today that I found intriguing. Whether or not it would be of help to more than a select few is really anyone's guess. Here it is:

"I would like to comment on 'Breastfeeding During Pregnancy,' by Hilary Flower. Great article! As a midwife, I encourage tandem nursing if that is what a mother wishes to do. The one point of interest that I didn't see mentioned is the benefit nursing has on morning sickness. It seems to keep it at bay. I had one mother ask me about it when she was pregnant with her third baby. She suffered from hyperemesis with each pregnancy, then discovered as long as she nursed while pregnant she didn't get so ill. This was almost a case where I questioned continuing to nurse, since this mother was thin to start with. However, she was able to maintain her weight better if she nursed, because she could keep food down. In other pregnancies she would lose weight to the point where she would have an anorexic appearance, but always birth healthy 8-9 lb babies."

- Lizzie Sensenig, traditional midwife, letter to the editor, Midwifery Today, Summer 2004, p. 64

Well, there it is! Since I have a nursing toddler who shows NO signs of weaning any time soon (and I have no plans to wean him), I am DEFINITELY planning on trying this technique. When and if I do, I'll post as to how effective it was.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Hello, all you out there in cyber land! This is my first experience blogging, so I am new to this whole arena. I am also the mother of an EXTREMELY active little toddler, so development of this site may (1) be extremely slow, or (2) never happen at all. We'll see!

I got pregnancy in October of 2005 with our now 20-month old son. Everything was happy and healthy until I began, at 6 weeks, the rapid downward slide into the abyss known as hyperemesis gravidarum, the extreme form of morning sickness. We had never heard of the condition, and were just as confused as we were helpless. I quickly degenerated into spending literally all of my time either sleeping or leaning over the toilet throwing up, although the throwing up stopped fairly soon because (as I couldn't tolerate food by mouth) there was nothing left to throw up! I lost ten pounds the first week and pretty much stayed in bed for the first two trimesters. Thankfully, the advice of our wonderful midwife Wendi (that is, to knock off foods and try liquid nutrition drinks) kept us out of the hospital (which was good, as we had no maternity insurance), but I can honestly say that the first part of my pregnancy with Caleb was the most horrific experience of my entire life.

(And, lest I dramatize myself too much, I should say that I know NOTHING of the horrors that some women with HG experience. I was, unlike some, able to continue taking liquid by mouth. I did not have to be hospitalized. I did not have to do IV nutrition. I did get some relief from the nausea by the end of the second trimester. I cannot even imagine what women with the severest forms go through, and I take my hat off to them.)

Well, fast forward two years.... We are thinking of wanting another child, and as we do not want an open adoption (which seems to be all the rage) and do not have the funds for adoption anyway, we are considering trying to conceive in the next year or so. I am overjoyed at the thought of a new baby, but close behind that feeling is one of unalloyed terror. I am so afraid of having HG again. However, I have been starting to do my homework. I have consulted a naturopathic physician and an OB (for nausea meds) and am doing loads of research on the condition (which I hope to post here, eventually). I have also been really watching my diet and taking milk thistle (a liver cleanser, recommended by Shonda Parker, The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy). The more research I do the more in control I feel. I have also been praying for wisdom, peace and faith. I have been having a lot of trouble trusting the Lord in this area.

This Blog was inspired by some friends of ours who, having dealt with infertility for several years, are now pursuing embryo adoption. Check out their amazing blog here:

I am hoping that this Blog will serve as a sounding board for my thoughts and also as an archive for the information I am picking up along the way so that other HG mums can glean off of it. As I said before, it'll take a while. But I'll do my best!

Love to all,