As we start to clean up our diets, cleanse, get rid of our toxic cleaners and beauty products we need to look at our tampons/pads too. Monthly menstrual products are necessary for women, unless your already using menstrual cups. We spend a lot of money on them and I bet you we all have our favorite brand/style. What you don’t realize is that the technology for these products is very advanced, that might sound silly but it’s true. They are more absorbent, moisture wicking and leak proof than EVER before. Chemicals and plastics are what make these products work well. With that technology and the fact that cotton is one of the largest GMO crops, it makes sense to go organic. If that doesn’t persuade you enough, just know that most people are allergic to GMO’s and it causes all types allergic reactions that we might not associate with menstrual product use. You might not even see the effects now but after decades of use these chemicals can cause infertility and recurrent miscarriage. Studies have shown Dioxin- like agent orange (we used in war to kill trees) is found in tampons. I don’t believe this is an added chemical in production but somehow in growing/managing the crop of cotton it is present after production. Having that in these products is dangerous. They cause birth defects in babies and change the chemical balance of our very important vaginal PH. A study from 2012 was done to show the chemicals and toxins in tampons/pads cause infertility and CANCER! Why this isn’t mainstream knowledge is saddening but also just a part of our culture. Don’t take my word on it please click the link above and check out the data!
Just think about it. These products come in contact with our most private parts. If you wouldn’t eat those chemicals/toxins you really shouldn’t put it in your vagina. Your body absorbs those the same way as if it were in your mouth!!! From the packaging they are wrapped in, to the wings on pads and the tape that makes them stick, there are a lot of different toxins at play. They are all endocrine disruptors.
The good news is there are great brands of organic tampons and pads that work well. Even better, the brand CORA helps women in our country and abroad to have access to sanitary products. Every order you place, they send products to those in need. On top of that they hire at risk women in the U.S. to give them opportunities for better lives! You can even have them shipped to your house monthly to make it impossible to ever have to run to the store for the toxic brands. My favorite pads/panty liners are from L. Organic (I found them at Target) they also give to women in need with every purchase you make! Hooray for women helping women!!!! I mentioned above that there are menstrual cups that can take place of tampons and pads. I personally didn’t have luck with them because of my body shape. Please don’t let that detour you. I know many women who use them and LOVE them. The most popular is Diva Cup. They have different sizes and other companies have different shapes that might work better. There might be a day that I switch to this but for now I am happy with my chemical free tampons.
If you enjoyed this information you might like my blog on Natural Hormone Balancing through Seed Cycling or my blog about Your Menstrual Cycle. I will be putting out a blog soon about why it can be very helpful to get OFF birth control!
I talk to women often who are experiencing Amenorrhea (absence of a period) from being on birth control or from PCOS. I became aware of seed cycling when I was searching for natural hormone balance. I came back to it after my miscarriage. We are exposed to many toxins and environmental factors that cause hormonal imbalance. Too often we think that that a lack of a period (when avoiding pregnancy) is not harmful. I'm here to start the conversation that it is harmful to not have a normal cycle. That's for anther blog but lets start with seed cycling and HOW to do it!
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling in the simplest terms is incorporating seeds into you diet and different parts of your cycle to help balance your hormones. The idea is that seeds carry certain oils, vitamins, and nutrients that can help support the body’s production, release, and metabolism of hormones. You use ground up (for easier digestion) flax and pumpkin seeds, and sesame and sunflower seeds.
The Herbal Academy breaks down how this works with a bit more science; "Proponents of seed cycling say that lignans in sesame seeds and flax can help the body bind excess estrogen, supporting its release, and that omega-3s help cellular receptor sites to remain in good condition, which in turn keeps hormones in balance. Certain seeds are high in vitamins or minerals like zinc and selenium that help support hormone release."
Essentially these seeds contain what your body needs to balance your hormones naturally. This isn't a quick process but in time it has proven effective for me and many of my friends. Usually 3-5 months!
How to Seed Cycle:
The seeds are rotated based on the follicular and luteal phases. The follicular phase of your cycle starts with “Day 1,” which is the first day of your menstrual cycle and the day that you begin to bleed. The luteal phase is from ovulation (or about day 14 or 15) to day 28. My "normal cycle is 32 days and most women experience shorter or longer cycles than the “ideal” 28-day cycle. A big misconception is that everyone ovulates exactly on Day 14. It is important to know other signs and symptoms of your body like basil cell temp or cervical fluid/position to get a better idea of your phase. For those who don't have a cycle it is fine to start with the last NEW MOON as your Day 1. You are giving your body a starting point!
Follicular Phase: Day 1 to Day 14, or until ovulation:
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw flax seeds and pumpkin seeds daily.
Luteal Phase: From Day 15 (about) to 28, or until you bleed:
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw sunflower and sesame seeds daily.
Keep it simple!
Don't over think it. I add my seeds to my salad or into my morning smoothie. It's pretty simple! Most of my friends have a hard time just STARTING. It may feel overwhelming but its all about taking the first step. I get my seeds online, often on amazon. I don't buy in huge bulk because seeds can go bad. A seed grinder is necessary for the sesame seeds but my bullet blender will blend the other seeds just fine (and much faster). I spend a few minutes grinding the seeds I need just for that week, to make sure I don't waste any. That also makes it easy, day to day to throw the seeds in whatever meal. Some days I just throw a table spoon into my mouth as I run out the door.
I pulled these tips below from the Herbal Academy website, they are a great reminder that our health and hormones are related to our environment.
Tips for Happy Hormones and Seed Cycling Secrets
One last thing I want to add is that I track my cycle. I talk about it in my blog Understanding Your Cycle. The reason I share this is if you are searching for hormone balance or want to have a better understanding of your cycle it is very important to start using an app or journal to track your symptoms. This gives you a great view into your overall health and when you seek others medical advice this can be very helpful to show your provider. There are many other reasons I think women should track their cycles and know what is "normal" cycle symptoms. Too often I hear women say they have terrible bleeding or cramps and in general think PMS symptoms are normal. I want to tell you that it's NOT and that you should seek more information. My favorite book is Taking Charge of Your Fertility, check out their website for great information on where to start. I also love the podcast Fertility Friday, she has a tone of podcasts on all things related to fertility and women's health. Her website is also a great resource and you can work with her to learn how to chart!
Please reach out with questions, it helps me learn and helps me create better content!
I want to focus on helping you build a great birth plan. I am going to walk you through what I talk to all my clients about. There is so much information out there about birth plans and I am sick of referring my clients to templets that just aren’t extensive enough.
It’s time to plan, we all know a stork doesn’t just drop off your baby, so you need to figure out what you want for your birth.
A birth plan is necessary in hospital births so that you have a written plan for what your wishes are for you and baby. This gives you a voice and the ability to feel empowered. Most expecting moms have an idea of what a birth plan is and what it consists of in general terms. It is a buzz word these days. I ask my clients to start with just a bullet point list. Things they know they want and do NOT want for their birth. This is just a starting place. Even if you aren’t sure of all your options or what you want. Don’t get over whelmed!
Do not want/NO:
This information helps you start to think of your day of birth. I then have my clients spend some time thinking about what that day looks like. Do they envision birthing at home? When would they want to go to the hospital or birthing center. How do they envision the atmosphere being when they give birth? Do you want dim lights, your favorite slippers, your own pillow? Who do you want in the room? What about a pushing positon or baby care postpartum?
I then I go over their bullet point birth plan. It gives me a good idea of what sort of research they have done. I may point out options or areas to do more research in. I then ask them to write more details/specifics in these main stages of labor.
The main points to focus on when writing a more complete draft of a birth plan are; admitting, labor, pain management, pushing, third stage(placenta), after birth for mom, and after birth for baby.
A good sample birth plan to look at is Healthwise. This gives you a format to follow if your feeling stuck. I don't recommend this format as a final draft.
There are some things I would like to point out, that you might want to do your own research on. It will help you decide if you want to include them in your plan. During labor not having vaginal exams done, eating/drinking during labor, your preferences for music/ lighting in the room, how much staff you want allowed in the room, clothes you want to wear, having your water broken and continuous fetal monitoring. After birth Pitocin after birth to deliver placenta, how you want to deliver the placenta (unassisted or Pitocin/care provider assisted), placenta (are you keeping it to encapsulate), delayed cord cutting (for how long), chest to chest bonding (for how long), baby led breastfeeding, medications for baby (Vitamin K shot, eye ointment, hepatitis shot, circumcision), and delaying babies first bath.
I also like to remind my clients that just because you have a birth plan; detailed or not, it might go out the window because of a medical reason that warrant intervention or your choice to medicate/use interventions. In that case you still are informed and know how to handle those decisions if they were to arise.
Creating a birth plan insures that you don't give someone else the ability to form decisions for you and baby, you allowed them to make necessary lifesaving interventions for the best outcome or interventions you felt comfortable with.
Once I email them back with those suggestions I tell them to print what they have and bring it to their next appointment with their care provider. It is so important to talk to them about all the details. This way they know where you stand and they can tell you beforehand what they will or won’t do. You then have the choice to change providers if necessary. Most of my clients want to have a natural birth but will be in a hospital with either a Dr. or Midwife. If you are having a home birth, then it would change your birth plan and you might not feel you need one. Kristen Burgess at Naturalbirthandbaby.com has a great birth plan templet for a home birth.
Again let the focus when creating this birth plan be about learning your options and preferences for Your birth. This gives you a voice when you talk to your care provider. Feel empowered! As always comment below if you have specific questions or email me. I would love to help you.
There are many things you can do to relieve pain and discomfort that comes with pregnancy. I like to give options that are natural and safe. I wanted to touch on some simple remedies for the common issues, you can always comment and ask about specific problems.
First, I want to go over common carrier oil options; you use it along with a few drops of essential oil to properly dilute. For normal skin my favorite is fractionated coconut oil, other options are hempseed, coconut, grape seed and sunflower. Oily skin works best with grape seed, apricot, jojoba and sunflower. There are many levels or dry skin but these all seem to work well; avocado, rosehip and olive. With sensitive skin you should always test on a small patch of skin before using all over but these are great options; jojoba, sesame seed and apricot. For mature skin try jojoba, sesame seed, rosehip and apricot. In general, sweet almond oil can be used for all skin types but my personal favorite is fractionated coconut oil.
Just like skin types can be different and you might have to try a few different carrier oils in order to find the right one. We are all so uniquely different to you might react differently to these remedies, just be open to trying different options!
Here are common symptoms in pregnancy that essential oils can help with. Remember oils need to be re-applied every few hours or more. The good news is they don’t cost nearly as much as per application as medication/prescriptions can! Also please remember that the quality of essential oils matter. Do your research to find grades that can be ingested. I use Doterra essential oil.
Pregnancy symptom: Oil options: Application:
Breasts (to soothe) Lavender and Geranium 3-5 drops to 1tsp of carrier oil
Breasts (sore) Roman Chamomile Same application
Constipation Lemon, Peppermint, Fennel 1-3 drops undiluted on abdomen
Depression Frankincense 3-5 drops under tongue, chase w/ water
Fatigue Peppermint, Grapefruit, 1-2 drops in your palm, inhale deeply
High Blood Pressure Ylang Ylang, Geranium 3 drops of Ylang Ylang in bath 2x a week
Nausea/Vomiting Ginger, Peppermint 1-3 drops on ear, jawbone *
Sleep Lavender 1-3 drops on bottoms of feet or diffuse
Swelling Water, Lemon, Cypress, 3-4 liters a day, 3-5 drops oil to message
Lavender, Ginger legs or 3-5 drops lemon to all water
*High blood pressure- combine in 1 oz. carrier oil and rub over heart and on reflex points of left hand and foot.
*Nausea- and on reflex points of the feet or place 1-3 drops in a capsule and swallow or diffuse
I would love to hear other uses for oil in pregnancy and if you need any help with oils let me know. Oil on ladies. Take control of what you put in and on your body. You got this!
I talk with my clients about the importance of relaxation in pregnancy and ways to help them relax in labor. It can be important to use visualization and mantras during labor and to ease anxiety in pregnancy. I figured I would share some of my favorite visual mantras, that you can print out and hang up during your birth to create a birthing space you love.
Remember that this is just a part of your coping techniques and needs to be practiced! Having a birth plan (envisioning the birth process) along with other coping techniques like essential oils and movement are necessary components of birthing your way! Check out my other blogs on creating a birth plan and essential oils.
Hope you feel empowered by these cute images.
Essential Oils For Birth
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and Primal Health Couch. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
I love that you want to share the inspiration you have found here. Please keep in mind that all images and text on this site are property of EllenBBirth. Feel free to use one or two photos provided that a link back to my original post is included. Please do not remove any watermarks, crop, or edit any of my images without first obtaining written permission from me. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!