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Thrive Birth Center Blog

5 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy and Birth

Lara Sodergren has been a home birth midwife of seventeen years and recently joined Thrive’s midwifery team. Merging evidence based care and informed consent into every interaction with our clients, Lara upholds our vision for quality midwifery care through the childbearing years. We asked her to share her 5 favorite tips for a healthy pregnancy and birth, and here is what she has to say: 

Pregnancy is a time of profound transformation; a journey into the unknown that encompasses a full range of feelings, emotions as well as a myriad of physical changes. There is a whole host of things that a woman may experience while pregnant, from joy to fear, elation to uncertainty, profound love to curiosity. Each woman’s experience of pregnancy is completely individual and unique. Here are five suggestions to help you rock your pregnancy, labor and birth experience.


1. Find a provider that you trust! Explore your options. Interview. Dive deep and figure out where it is that you feel the safest having your baby. Whether that be at home, at a birthing center or in the hospital. Only you can decide where that is! If you have a provider and it isn’t feeling right, keep looking. Don’t stop until you know you have found that person who can meet your needs and can support you and your family in the best ways possible. Even if that means changing providers a month before your due date.

2. Keep your mind and your body healthy. Try to do something daily that moves your body or quiets your mind. Walk, swim, find a yoga class that works for you, dance in your living room. In addition to movement, quieting your mind is one of the best ways to 74956680_wideprepare for labor and birth. Even if you only find 5 minutes a day to sit and still your thoughts, this will help you when it comes time to have your baby. Your body knows how to give birth! We just have to ‘get out of the way’ so to speak and meditation is a great way to prepare your mind to step aside and let your body do the work.

yaourt dans un pot en verre,fabrication artisanale 3. Boost your immune system by building up your gut flora. It is a well known fact that the seat of our immune system lies in the gut. Eat a diet rich in probiotic foods to help build up healthy gut flora. This includes fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, dairy kefir as well as probiotic beverages such as water kefir. By cultivating a strong immune system, you can prevent things like Group Beta Strep, which is tested for at around 35-37 weeks and can require IV antibiotics in labor if you test positive.

4. Learn about optimal fetal positioning. Help your baby find the best position before labor by going to www.spinningbabies.com and working some of the exercises recommended there. Avoid reclining back in big cushy chairs and keep yourself upright in order to keep your baby aligned with your spine thereby preventing positions that can make labor longer. OpenKneeBreech

5. Trust yourself and your body! Your body knows how to grow and birth your baby. If something doesn’t feel right or you need more information, seek it out. Talk about it and don’t push it aside. Your body is your guide, trust it!

Thrive Birth Center Blog, Thrive Birth Talk

Treasure Every Moment As A Mom? No way! ~ Tina Stanley, L.C.S.W.


“Treasure EVERY moment?” Really?

OK, all you nice old ladies out there. Listen up!!! Please stop telling all the moms with babies and toddlers to “Treasure every moment. It passes so quickly. This time when they’re little is so precious!”  Yeah, yeah, yeah…

Perhaps you’ve forgotten how challenging it might be to treasure the many sleepless middle of the night moments, or temper tantrum moments or cracked nipple moments or baby screaming while you try to take a shower moments or …..(You know I could go on!)

I know I sound cranky and I know you mean well. And I know there is a wonderful kernel of good advice in what you are saying.

However… mothers so often put so much pressure on themselves. As the mom of babies and toddlers, it’s so easy, in the midst of the mess and the chaos, to feel like you’re not doing it right. You should be more calm and cheerful. You should be enjoying it more. You should be treasuring every moment.

As a psychotherapist, I work a lot with moms who are struggling. Good, smart, devoted moms who are having a hard time. They are struggling to keep their heads above water. They are questioning themselves and comparing themselves to others. This is not a rare experience!

And I remember struggling. I remember feeling so sleep deprived that I felt like I had the flu and probably having some days when I wasn’t able to treasure any moment much less every moment.

Now, let me be clear, I am a big, huge fan of being present in the moment and savoring the treasures that are there. I’ll never forget looking down into my babies’ eyes while nursing and just falling into the beauty of that gaze. I’ll never forget the sound of my baby’s laughter or feeling the warmth of their soft, warm bodies snuggled up to mine. But, it isn’t ALL like that and I feel protective of moms who care SO MUCH about being good moms and get bombarded by unrealistic messages and expectations about what being a good mom should be like.

So, nice old ladies, (yeah, I know I’m coming into the old lady category myself, which is partly why I give myself permission to speak to you like this)… next time those words “oh, be sure to enjoy every single moment when they are little” start to come out of your mouth, pause and consider. Look closely at this mom that you are about to address. Remember that she is a unique person having a particular day and your comments may either make her day a little easier or a little harder. Don’t project your nostalgia about the idealized memories of your early mothering onto her life. Smile. Say hello. Maybe say something like, “I remember how wonderful AND challenging those days could be when my kids where little. How’s your day going today?”

Nutrition, Thrive Birth Center Blog

Watermelon Cooler Recipe For Families

When it’s this hot, there is one person that Thrive staff tend to turn to~ Tessa Mancini Gillen, our lovely nutritionist, herbalist, and local foodie. If you’ve met Tessa in person, you’ll know that she always carries a large woven basket filled with homemade nutritious treats and jars of yummy hydrating juices and coolers. Yesterday, around the 93 degree peak in Santa Rosa, we reached out to Tessa to see what she was drinking. Watermelon Cooler Recipe, she says? Yes please!

Watermelon Cooler photo-2

Servings: 2

Muddle a handful of mint with the juice from one lime. In a small blender, puree two cups of cubed watermelon. Add the puree to the muddled lime/mint combo and add 1 TBS chia seeds. Add ice, and garnish with a lime wedge, slice of watermelon, or mint. Enjoy! 

*Watermelon can be cubed and frozen in advance for extra coolness! For more of Tessa’s recipes for families, check out our class or event schedule on our calendar.