Hello! When a woman is trying to conceive or is pregnant, it is natural for her to become fascinated with her body, reproductive cycles (menstruation, ovulation) and perhaps seek a deeper understanding of life and evolution.
There are many wonderful websites on Pregnancy on the internet. Below you will find summaries and links to sites that I have personally found very useful. The week by week guides are a fantastic tool for learning how your little one is developing.
Our webpage is a little different though, as we approach this amazing subject from an evolutionary perspective. This simply means creating a healthy environment for mother and child that is in harmony with nature / how we have evolved to live. Even for women living in cities, good evolutionary health can be creatively cultivated.
You will find evolution to be a sensible and gentle guide - which encompasses
a lot of knowledge already known by mainstream society. e.g. eating plenty
of organic greens, gentle exercise, squatting rather than sitting, minimal
medical intervention, minimal supplements (eat a good diet instead - including
organic meat), sunlight rather than taking Vitamin D, avoiding toxins as
much as possible, having a 'tribe' of supportive friends & family, enjoying
sex and trying to have a natural birth rather than c section.
Further research I would like to explore:
* The effect of vaginal semen absorption and orgasm on the baby.
* The growing rate of caesarians in modern western society.
* The immune system, morning sickness and what pregnant women find 'disgusting' (as a way of avoiding damaging toxins).
* Pregnancy and alcohol consumption. Studies suggest that small - moderate consumption of alcohol (under 8.5 drinks / week) has no detrimental effect on the fetus. A recent review of research studies found that fetal alcohol syndrome only occurs among alcoholics.
'Pregnancy' is a popular search on the internet, probably due to the web being such a fantastic free source of up to date information. Never before have parents had such easy access to knowledge! The internet is also handy for creative inspiration, with 'baby names' receiving 40,000 /day, ranked top 40.
The top ten related searches for pregnancy are;
pregnancy (16,000), pregnancy week by week (2,000), teen pregnancy (2,000), pregnancy symptoms (2,000), signs of pregnancy (2,000), pregnancy calendar (2,000), symptoms of pregnancy (1,400), early signs of pregnancy (1,400), early pregnancy symptoms (1,400), teenage pregnancy (1,000)
We hope you find the following articles & websites interesting, informative and useful. If you are pregnant (or plan to be!) I hope that you have been encouraged to think about your health from an evolutionary perspective and cultivate a healthy body, mind and environment for your beautiful child. Enjoy the journey ..
From the essay: "Pregnancy sickness, commonly referred to as morning sickness, is a set of symptoms that occurs in some women during the first trimester of pregnancy. Women with pregnancy sickness may experience one or more of these symptoms: food aversions, nausea, and vomiting (Profet, 1992). Profet argued that food aversions, nausea, and vomiting of pregnancy evolved during the course of human evolution to protect the embryo against maternal ingestion of toxins abundant in natural foods. She suggested that pregnancy sickness represents a lowering of the usual human threshold of tolerance to toxins in order to compensate for the extreme vulnerability of the embryo to toxins during organogenesis, the period of maximum susceptibility to toxins.
Profet suggested that since pregnancy sickness generally has been assumed to be a side effect of pregnancy hormones, its possible benefits have rarely been explored. Although hormones that signal the onset of pregnancy may trigger pregnancy sickness, Profet (1992) argued, the central adaptationist question is whether this triggering would have been selectively advantageous in the human environment of evolutionary adaptation."
The Natural Pregnancy Book follows the woman's journey from conception
to birth, focusing on natural health. Written by Aviva Jill Romm, who has
been providing family-centered natural health care for almost 20 years,
it was one of the first books to explore botanical medicine and pregnancy.
Includes information on herbs that can promote and maintain a healthy pregnancy (along with those you should avoid during your term) and the basics of a healthy diet, with an emphasis on natural foods. The Natural Pregnancy Book is a complete guide for the woman who envisions a safe pregnancy without technological intervention, as nature intended.
Unless your health care provider advises you otherwise, sex during pregnancy is safe for you and your baby. Many expectant parents worry that sex can be harmful during pregnancy. They fear that intercourse could hurt the baby, or even cause miscarriage. The partner sometimes worries that intercourse might cause discomfort or pain for the pregnant woman. Worries like this are common and completely normal, but most of them are unfounded.
have personally used this website and just loved receiving my week by week
email. It was so exciting to see the little baby developing!
It's really easy (and free!) to create a profile and specific information is personalised for you with regard to what week of pregnancy you are in. You can join a birth club and communicate on forums with other mums who are due at a similar time or create your own journal charting the whole magnificent process (which has its ups and downs too!).
They offer up to date information on preconception, pregnancy articles and advice, baby, toddler care and preschoolers. There is even an online store where you can buy many baby friendly products.
Health guidelines for pregnant women or those trying to conceive. Includes information on Folic Acid, exercise, diet, toxins, body and lifestyle changes.
This study looks at the effect of yoga on pregnancy outcomes. The sample
group included 335 women who were enrolled between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy;
half began yoga, the other half was the control group.
Yoga practices, including physical postures, breathing, and meditation were practiced by the yoga group one hour daily, until delivery of child. The control group walked 30 minutes twice a day (standard obstetric advice) during the study period.
The result show that women in the yoga group gave birth to babies with a significantly higher birth weight > or = 2500 grams, preterm labor was significantly lower, complications such as isolated intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) were also significantly lower. There were no significant adverse effects noted in the yoga group.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15865489&dopt=Citation- Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (sVYASA), Vivekananda Yoga. Research Foundation, Bangalore, India.
From the essay: 'Most pregnant women restrict their mobility and their participation in routine activities, but studies have proved that daily exercises can reduce chances of miscarriage by 40%. US researcher, James Clapp and coworkers have observed that moderate exercises such as walking or cycling can prevent pregnancy induced hypertension. Women who started exercise early in pregnancy, their placenta grew almost a third faster in midpregnancy and had about 15% more blood vessels and surface area at term. Exercise can also prevent early onset of labor, premature rupture of membrane, and can even help to shorten the duration of labor.
A study has shown that women who exercised during pregnancy felt better during the first trimester than those who did not exercise in pregnancy. Exercise acts in concert with pregnancy to increase the heart rate, stroke volume and cardiac output. It has also been observed that exercise help mothers to loose pregnancy weight faster; it decreases aches and pains associated with pregnancy; reduces likelihood of severe trauma from episiotomies and also reduces the number of caesarean sections. Lesser weight gain and fat retention; improved attitude and mental state; easier and less complicated labor and quick recovery are among the other advantages for women.
Fetal benefits include improved stress tolerance and advanced neurobehavioral maturation. The offspring of the exercising women were significantly heavier and longer. The offspring of those mothers who started exercise early in their gestation are leaner at 5 years of age and have a slightly better neurodevelopmental outcome.
Kegels maneuver: In this maneuver alternate contraction and relaxation of the muscles of pelvic outlet and birth canal is done. Strengthening of these muscles supports the contents of the abdomen preventing uterus or bladder from falling through these muscles, especially after having children. Relaxing these muscles teaches her how to let go so the baby can pass through the birth canal.
Squatting: Squatting during pregnancy helps increase the mobility of the pelvic joints and strengthens the legs. A squatting position during birth can increase the pelvic outlet by as much as 25% percent and allows for the greatest degree of pelvic adaptation as the baby descends.
Relaxation in the side lying position: Relaxation provides important benefits to a women's body and mind. Taking time each day to relieve stress can renew energy as well as enhance experience of pregnancy and the growing life within her. Relaxing on a side not only produces physical and mental benefits for mother, but also maximizes blood flow to the uterus, providing benefits for the baby.
Study on Exercise During Pregnancy: Higher Birth Weight, Feel
Good, Pelvic Floor Exercises, Squatting
http://www.jpma.org.pk/jpma/4Apr04/pdf/fulltext17.pdf - S.A. Fazlani. 4th year Medical Student, Ziauddin Medical University, Karachi
From the website: 'This is a book which broke new ground at the time it was published, by focusing on the physiological events of pregnancy and birth and demonstrating how a woman’s body is ideally designed to give birth in an upright position, rather than semi reclining like a ‘stranded beetle’. It clearly describes the advantages of the squatting position and suggests a programme of yoga based exercises a woman can practice throughout her pregnancy in order to prepare herself for birth.'
by Janet Balaskas and Yehudi Gordon
A very interesting essay from the journal of Evolutionary Psychology on sperm competition and its role in shaping the human penis, (size, length, width, forceful ejaculation), evolutionary strategies for successful fertilization i.e. semen displacement and coagulation. On sexual intercourse and evolutionary benefits of deep penis thrusting, function of the foreskin and effects of circumcision, premature ejaculation, female reproductive strategies i.e. copulation with multiple partners, human sexual behaviour and wife rape (males having sex with their partner if suspecting them of infidelity).
From the essay: 'In November of 1996, the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (RCOG) published an RCOG Guideline consisting of a brief overview with conclusions and recommendations concerning alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The RCOG Guideline concluded;
* No adverse effects on pregnancy outcome have been proven with a consumption
of less than 120 gms of alcohol (around 15 units) per week.
* Consumption of 120 gms (15 units) or more per week has been associated with a reduction in birth weight.
* Consumption of more than 160 gms (20 units) per week is associated with intellectual impairment in children.
There is no conclusive evidence of adverse effects in either growth or IQ at levels of consumption below 120 gms (15 units) per week. Nonetheless, it is recommended that women should be careful about alcohol consumption in pregnancy and limit this to no more than one standard drink per day.
From the website: 'Few studies have examined the effect of binge drinking on human fetal growth. The authors studied the effect of binge drinking 3 months before pregnancy and during the last 3 months of pregnancy on small-for-gestational-age (SGA) birth, using data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). PRAMS is an ongoing US survey of women who recently delivered a liveborn infant.
This study included 50,461 women who delivered at term from 1996 to 1999. Overall, binge drinkers before pregnancy were less likely than nondrinkers to have an SGA birth, but moderate or heavy drinkers (>=4 drinks per week) who also binged were 2.2 times more likely to have an SGA birth. Moderate and heavy drinkers in late pregnancy were also more likely to have an SGA birth, but there were only 46 women in these categories, so estimates were imprecise. Vascular effects of alcohol or dietary differences between drinkers and nondrinkers may explain the lower risk of SGA birth among some drinkers. The relation of these areas with fetal growth needs more research.'
By Nedra Whitehead and Leslie Lipscomb. From the Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Pub. April 17, 2003
From the study: 'The authors evaluated the association between alcohol
intake during pregnancy and risk of stillbirth and infant death in a cohort
of pregnant women at Aarhus University Hospital (Aarhus, Denmark) between
1989 and 1996. Prospective information on alcohol intake, other lifestyle
factors, maternal characteristics, and obstetric risk factors was obtained.
24,768 singleton pregnancies were included in the analyses (116 stillbirths,
119 infant deaths).
The results showed there was little if any association between alcohol intake and infant death.'
By Ulrik Kesmodel, Kirsten Wisborg, Sjúrður Fróði Olsen, Tine Brink Henriksen, and Niels Jørgen Secher
From the website: 'The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of low or moderate alcohol consumption upon fetal outcome. 2002 randomly selected pregnant women (from a large maternity hospital in Western Australia) were recruited over a 3 year period for questionnaire survey.
Of the 665 mothers who were followed through pregnancy, 605 liveborns were available at birth for measurement and detailed clinical evaluation. Low to moderate prepregnancy maternal alcohol intake was not associated with any untoward effect upon weight, length, head circumference at birth, or clinical well-being as indicated by Apgar score, respiratory distress syndrome, and overall clinical state. Other factors, particularly nicotine, were of much greater importance.
This study fails to show any significant relationship between low to moderate prepregnancy maternal alcohol intake and newborn clinical status. The outcome suggests that cautionary advice to pregnant women warning that any alcohol taken during pregnancy is potentially harmful to the fetus is inaccurate and therefore probably counterproductive.'
By I Walpole, S Zubrick and J Pontre. University Department of Paediatrics, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia.
From the website: 'In 1980, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning regarding the use of caffeine during pregnancy. While conclusions about human teratogenicity could not be definite at that time, the FDA suggested that as a precautionary measure, pregnant women should be advised to avoid or limit their consumption of food or drugs containing caffeine. Due to the large worldwide consumption of caffeinated beverages (e.g., coffee, tea, cola) it is important to know whether such a warning is actually warranted. Should caffeine consumption during pregnancy be linked to adverse effects such as spontaneous abortion or fetal growth retardation, that finding would have important implications for public health.
... This study concludes that there is a small but statistically significant increase in the risks for spontaneous abortion and low birthweight babies in pregnant women consuming >150 mg caffeine per day. A possible contribution to these results of maternal age, smoking, ethanol use, or other confounders could not be excluded.'
Page Title: 'Pregnancy: Week by Week Calendar for Pregnant Women.
Symptoms & Early Signs, Advice for Teens, Healthy Sex'.
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Analyse any human emotion, no matter how far it may be removed from the sphere of sex, and you are sure to discover somewhere the primal impulse, to which life owes its perpetuation. ... The primitive stages can always be re-established; the primitive mind is, in the fullest meaning of the word, imperishable. ... Mans most disagreeable habits and idiosyncrasies, his deceit, his cowardice, his lack of reverence, are engendered by his incomplete adjustment to a complicated civilisation. It is the result of the conflict between our instincts and our culture. (Sigmund Freud)
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Karene (September, 2012)
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