In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I want to feature one of my favorite breastfeeding images from last year! This mama was courageous and strong! She birthed at home with the aide of Midwives and her loving husband by her side. It is my privilege to share this stunning photo with you!
The excitement of becoming a parent for the first time is indescribable. So you can imagine how I was feeling when I found out that I would be with these folks through their whole journey to parenthood. You may remember Bryndan and Bree way back a few years ago when I did their engagement photos. I was so happy to hear the news that they had a little bun in the oven, and I was honored to do their maternity photos. And now, I am honored once again, to be able to document this little man, who has entered the world, and has 2 of the most amazing parents!
Portland Family Maternity Photographer | Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens | Merlin's Family Maternity Session
There is always something so exciting when I'm shooting a family session. This family session had a little extra joy, because they are expecting their second baby. The excitement on this little girls face says it all!
Well enough typing,,,,,Have a look for yourself!
Photographing families is something that gives me such joy! This family was so much fun to get to know. They are sweet, very kind, and super hillarious! The great thing about photographing in Portland, Oregon is that you can never run out of gorgeous locations! Practically any place can be a backdrop. This family session focused on the Mom Yana and her lovely daughter Kristina. Their bond is unbreakable. Here is a little sneak peak of their session:
Why Do Midwives Matter?
From my early childhood, the thought of a Midwife was a bit foreign to me. Growing up in the US I believed that babies are born in hospitals, with moms huffing and puffing in their hospital beds, until the doctor says "PUSH", and then magically this little tiny human was born. While this may have been the experience for many expectant parents in the late 80's, today's parents have a variety of options to choose from aimed to have the best possible birth experience.
"But why does all that even matter?" you may ask. The short answer is trust me, IT MATTERS!
My own birth experience was unpleasant and not at all what I expected. I was uneducated, unaware, and had no clue what to expect. I delivered at a Los Angeles Hospital, I had an epidural, I had an episiotemy, and virtually no support. If I could describe my birth experience in one word it would be OBLIVIOUS. Anyway I can go on and on about my sad birth story, but thats not the point of this blog. All I can say is, I wish I did have a midwife to support me not only in my birth, but in the stages of my life before and afrter pregnancy. I wish that our government could see how important their role is.
After photographing many births with and without midwives, I'm here to say that MIDWIVES DO MATTER!
What's the big deal you ask? Read on...
I found some interesting facts that help show why Midwives matter?
Evidence shows that midwives save lives.
Midwifery, when provided by educated, trained, regulated and licensed midwives that are integrated into the health system, increases quality of care and leads to a sustained improvement of maternal and newborn health outcomes.
Yet, there are major gaps in maternal and newborn health outcomes across the world. Annually, approximately 287,000 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Further, 2.7 million babies die every year in their first month of life and a similar number are stillborn. An estimated 56 percent of these deaths could be prevented through strong partnerships with midwives.
If we ensured women had access to professional midwives everywhere in the world, we could save more than 8,000 lives every single day. I don’t think I have ever heard of a better return of investment.
The problem is, we don’t have enough midwives today, and far too many midwives lack proper support, compensation and respect to conduct their jobs. To make things worse, many midwives also face discrimination and harassment in the workplace, many times due to skewed gender norms because they are women. Many midwives also face economic barriers to conducting their lifesaving work, with many midwives reporting low salaries that sometimes are not enough to live on.
In today’s global context, we are seeing too many strikes against women’s and babies’ lives, through the lack of political commitment towards maternal and newborn health, leading to inadequate resourcing of midwifery services.
With the Sustainable Development Goals that have been set to be met by 2030 - the member states of the United Nations have agreed to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births and end preventable deaths of newborns. They have also agreed to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
Now, these are bold statements that require action. To achieve those goals we need more midwives. We also need to ensure that all women are respected and free. We need to listen to their voices and acknowledge them.
There should be no question about it ― having access to a midwife should be the norm. And we should all care to make it so.
May 5th is the International Day of the Midwife, with this year’s theme being Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life. Learn more through the International Confederation of Midwives and their partners and support them in their work to strengthen the midwifery workforce and improve the health and rights of women and children worldwide.
*The above images are of the lovely Melissa Gordon Magnus CPM, LDM - Rose City Midwifery doing what she does best!
"Nothing stands out more in my mind, than the day I met you"
Being a Birth & Family Photographer, serving the Portland Oregon Metro and surrounding areas. I have been photographing newborns for 5 years and have captured so many brand new babies through my lens. Here is a little peek into baby Kai's session.
Kai was 12 days old during his session and was such a dream baby. He had the most gorgeous, skin and loved to sleep. I absolutely love being able to incorporate the Seattle Seahawks theme into his session. So much fun!
Kai's newborn session was captured in Kai's home by Masha Georgiev Photography. For booking information and availability, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org or simply call 503.875.0461
Senior season has started! And although Senior Photography is not my primary specialty, I do enjoy getting out of the delivery rooms and out in the beautiful outdoors! I especially love getting creative and experimenting with different poses and lighting. Meet Nastya, she is smart, intelligent, and ready to graduate!
I promise I won't make this long. But I just had to say something about this. For those of you who haven't heard, in the past couple of days, a viral post quickly started to circulate the internet. For the most part, I saw it on the Sanctimommy Facebook page. Here's a little taste of what I'm talking about:
Being part of a huge worldwide community of Birth Photographers, Midwives, and Doulas I was quickly notified of such disgraceful comments. I must admit, I spend a few hours trying to research whether this was an actual Birth Photographer or a hoax. I was unable to confirm whether these texts were real of fake, but for certainty, they are sending shock waves throughout the birth world.
As a birth photographer, I was completely disgusted when I read these texts. "How dare someone to speak this way to an expectant Mom?" I thought to myself. I was angry. I was furious. I honestly could not calm myself down.
I sincerely hope these texts are fake, and a sad attempt at going viral. Whatever the case, I want to speak out and set matters straight.
I belong to a worldwide community of Birth Photographers all over the world. I can honestly say, that no real birth photographer views a cesarean as surgery and not as birth. That would just be impossible. A baby has entered into this world. He or she was born, and a new life has begun. Regardless of how that baby was born, it is and always will be a birth.
What do you think? Leave your comments below ☺
We all know that giving birth is HARD WORK! Most of the time, we tend to focus on the laboring mom to be, and how hard it is for her. We look at the pain her face reflects, and the clenching of her fists as she works through each contraction. But for this blog post, I would like to focus on the often forgotten hero behind the scenes. THE DAD TO BE. After all, dads are there even before labor begins. They have been putting up with us for 40 weeks (that's a long time). They had to clean our throw up, get us to bathrooms, fetch us random foods at all hours of the night, survive our mood swings, and if you already have kids--become MOM. Ultimately I would like to shed some light on this whole experience from a father's standpoint. For the purpose of this blog post, I interviewed a recently new father and asked a few questions about his experience. (Father's name has been changed to Ryan protect the manliness of this super awesome dad)
Masha: Hey Ryan, thanks for agreeing to do this! Ryan: Hey it's no problem at all, I'm glad I can help.
Masha: So I guess the first thing we need to know is, is this your first baby? Ryan: Well actually this is our third.
Masha: Wow! Congratulations! Ryan: Thanks.
Masha: When you first heard the news that you were going to become a father for the first time, what were your thoughts and feelings? Ryan: When my wife sat me down, to tell me that she was pregnant, I kind of already knew it. We had been trying for a few months at that point, and I was secretly hoping that this was the month, and it was! I have to admit, I was a little scared and excited at the same time. My first thought was "This is actually happening, I'm going to be a father, I am now in charge of someone else's life and I better not screw it up!" (chuckles)
Masha: If you can remember, what was the first trimester like for you? Ryan: Going to the doctor to get the pregnancy confirmed had me worried sick. I remember thinking "could the test be wrong?" Thankfully everything went well. Throughout the first trimester, I felt a lot of anxiety. Not knowing the sex, not knowing what to expect, planning, calculating, it was all a lot to take in, but through it all, I was super excited!
Masha: Did your wife have morning sickness? Ryan: Uh yeah she had it pretty bad. It started a few weeks after our first doctor's visit and pretty much lasted all day and night. I felt really bad for her.
Masha: Did she have it for all three pregnancies? Ryan: Yeah pretty much, but not through the whole pregnancy, just the beginning.
Masha?: How did you feel? Ryan: Helpless. Like I couldn't help in any way. But by the third baby, I was pretty used to it. It was just life.
Masha: Did you guys want to know the sex of your baby(ies)? Ryan: Oh yeah, I couldn't wait!
Masha: What are the names of your children? Ryan: Emily, Emma, and Ethan
Masha: Wow they all start with the letter E! Ryan: Yeah, it's my wife's thing. I'm cool with it.
Masha: What was it like to see your baby for the fist time on the sonogram? Ryan: It was amazing! I couldn't believe that tiny little blob, will be a full human. I have to admit, deep down, I was more excited than my wife. Don't tell her!
Masha: Do you feel the pregnancy lasted too long? Ryan: Towards the ends, it's like "come on out already" but that's because my wife was uncomfortable, and therefore I was uncomfortable. But now that I look back, they all seem to have gone by pretty fast!
Masha: Tell me your experience the first time your wife went into labor. Ryan: Uh, well it was a lot of back and forth. We kept thinking labor was starting, but then it would stall. I guess that's normal. When the real labor was actually confirmed, I started to panic a bit. At that point, you just don't know what to expect. I remember trying to drive as smooth as possible. We got to the hospital at 4 am. For some reason, I was expecting it to be like in the movies. Her water breaks, we get to the hospital, she's screaming and squeezing my hand, the baby comes out, and its all over. But she labored for 14 hours after that.
Masha: Did she choose to have an epidural? Ryan: Yes. That was kind of scary. But it did help a lot. Finally after hours and hours of exhausting labor, and almost 2 hours of pushing we welcomed our first little girl!
Masha: Were your other two children born in the hospital? Ryan: No, actually the other two children were born at home. After the first baby, we wanted a more calm setting, and my wife wanted a water birth. So we found a midwife and doula through a birth center, and she had both of our babies here at home.
Masha: Did you like the home birth more vs the hospital birth? Ryan: YES!
Masha: Why? Ryan: It was a totally different approach. With the home birth, we chose not to have an epidural, and try to go all natural. I kind of got into the whole birth process thing because the midwives included me and I felt part of it. I have to say it made me so much less anxious and stressed out. I was still freaking out though. Both of our home water births were much shorter than the hospital birth. She labored for 8 hours with the second baby, and 9 hours with the third. Watching a home birth, vs hospital is so different. Our doula and midwife really supported my wife. When the babies came out, it was calm. I have to honestly say, it was beautiful. I would do it again.
Masha: If you were to give any words of advice to any dad's to be out there, what would it be? Ryan: Hire Masha to be your birth photographer! (laughing)
Masha: Haha, but seriously. Ryan: I would have to say-Don't overthink it. Embrace it. Be there for every part of it. Don't miss anything. Document everything. Your life will totally change, for the best. Support your wife, it's not weak to show feelings, to be kind, to care. Do it. And if possible, I would recommend doing it at home if you can. It makes a huge difference!
Masha: Thank you so much for being willing to do this. I really appreciate it. Ryan: Anytime.
Thanks for reading this interview. Please like and comment below.
DISCLAIMER: The father in the photo above is not the person being interviewed.
Sometimes it's simply not possible for Moms to get into the studio right away. And because of this, sometimes my newborns are, well,,,,, not newborns anymore. But that does not stop me from taking amazing photos! I loved photographing little Milana. Her big blue eyes were fixed on my and my camera the whole time! I bet when she grows up, she will love her photos just as much as her Mom and Dad did!
To book your Newborn, Birth, or Family session with Masha Georgiev Photography please call 503.875.0461
Bree and Bryndan are going to make such amazing parents to their little boy! The two of them share an enviable love with one another and are just so at ease in each others arms. While shooting they were laughing, joking, and hugging. Sweeter words have never been uttered and I love being witness to such affection. They are both so blessed to have each other and I’m so happy to share these images with you all.
There is so much anticipation right around this time. Every day you wonder if it’ll be the day you meet your little one. And then one day he comes and you can’t remember what life was like before he came into this world.
Bree and Bryndan, I am so incredibly excited for you both and I can’t wait to meet the little one!
To book your Maternity Session please call 503.875.0461
To book your newborn session please contact email@example.com
EARLYBIRD OCTOBER SPECIAL: Book anytime during the month of October and receive 20% OFF ANY SESSION! Book now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
TO BOOK YOUR SESSION PLEASE CALL 971.220.2630
This is something that is near and dear to my heart. Being a PCOS sufferer myself, I wanted to write about this for a while. My TTC Journey
My dear husband and I have been TTC for over 5 years now. Without getting into too much details, my story is that I have PCOS. I ovulate sometimes. And I have suffered 5 miscarriages. I have a 12 year old son, however sadly he's not my husbands son. We have been TTC ever since we said "I do". It's been a rough journey, with so much sadness. Only a couple who have gone through this can understand it.
I think many women don't realize that being able to have a baby is something that women are made for, and when a woman cannot do this, she feels "broken". PCOS breaks you. It messes with your hormones. It messes with your body. It messes with your mind. And sometimes, it destroys families. I am happy to say that my dear husband is very understanding, and does not see me as broken, nor does he feel like I am inadequate. He understands that PCOS is impartial, and his wife has it.
The reason I wanted to write about PCOS is that so many women today still have no idea what PCOS is, what the symptoms are, what the causes are, and how they can manage it. So I wanted to gather some useful links to sites that are a great resource for every woman with ovaries.
Causes of PCOS
Signs, Symptoms & Risks
Tests & Diagnosis
Menstrual Cycle Irregularities
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome may be one of the most complex female health issues of our time. It is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. PCOS is accompanied by a variety of different health issues, many of which directly impact fertility. Classic PCOS presents with obesity, polycystic ovaries (multiple ovarian cysts that look like a strand of pearls), elevated levels of androgens and absent or irregular menstrual cycles. Not all women who will go on to be diagnosed with PCOS will have these issues though. What Causes PCOS?
Doctors are unsure of what causes PCOS, but information suggests there are several links including genes, possible abnormal fetal development, insulin resistance and inflammatory response contributing to the cause. We know that insulin resistance plays a key role in PCOS, but what leads to the development of this has not been pinned down. PCOS is also negatively affected by diet, lifestyle and exposure to certain environmental toxins. PCOS directly impacts fertility, but has serious health implications as well, especially if left untreated. Genetic Predisposition and Abnormal Fetal Development
Women whose mothers, sisters or grandmothers had PCOS are at a higher risk for developing PCOS. Research suggests that exposure to excessive amounts of male hormones (androgens) by the developing fetus may alter proper gene expression. This means that the affected genes will not function correctly later in life, which may cause PCOS during the reproductive years of a woman’s life. A recent, first of its kind genome-wide association study of PCOS has identified two areas of DNA that leave women of European ancestry susceptible to developing PCOS. The researchers also found one region of susceptibility in the DNA of Chinese women. Of particular interest was one area of DNA that contains the gene for the hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This finding provides evidence of disruption of the pathway that regulates FSH and in turn ovarian function which plays a crucial role in the development of PCOS. The human genome project has allowed researchers to pool more than 700,000 genetic markers from the DNA of thousands of women with PCOS. This is what helped them identify regions of genes associated with PCOS.
“For a number of years, researchers had been thinking that it was testosterone produced by the ovary that was a major problem in PCOS, but our study did not find signals for genes regulating testosterone… In contrast, we did find a signal for the FSH gene, which is produced in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. This suggests that FSH, in either how it acts on the ovary or how it is secreted, is very important in the development of PCOS. This is a new way of thinking about the biology of PCOS.”
– Dr. Andrea Dunaif
Researchers are planning on mining the DNA of women of African ancestry with PCOS next to see if there is a shared genetic basis for PCOS over other ethnicities. Doctors plan to use all of this research to identify girls who may be at-risk for developing PCOS and create a medical treatment protocol to cure it. Another interesting study of 235 women with PCOS sought to discover if there is a link to the development of PCOS later life that may be influenced by factors beginning in the womb. The women were divided into two groups. The groups were categorized by: 1. obese women with elevated androgens, elevated LH and testosterone, and 2. by thin to normal weight women with elevated LH and normal levels of androgens. The results of the study showed a pattern in both the mothers weight and baby’s birth weight and fetal gestation time. The women in group 1 had above-average birth weight and were born to obese mothers. The women in group 2 were born after 40 weeks gestation. The conclusion was that events occurring during fetal development may have long-term effects on endocrine function later in life. Insulin Resistance
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and is responsible for signaling cells in the body to function correctly, most importantly to convert glucose to energy and to control their growth. It also plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Insulin resistance happens when the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. When this happens, higher levels of insulin are needed so that insulin can have the proper effects. At this point, the pancreas must overcompensate, working harder and harder to produce more insulin. Insulin signals the ovaries to secrete testosterone and inhibit hepatic sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) production which leads to an increased level of circulating testosterone. This is why many women with PCOS experience acne, facial hair growth and male pattern baldness (hirsutism). Excess insulin in the bloodstream also signals the ovaries to release more estrogen which can suppress ovulation. Low-grade Inflammation
It has also been found that women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation, which may be a cause for insulin resistance. White blood cells produce substances to fight infection, this is known as inflammatory response. In some predisposed people eating certain foods, or exposure to certain environmental factors may trigger an inflammatory response. When inflammatory response is triggered, white blood cells produce substances that may contribute to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Signs, Symptoms and Health Risks
Signs and Symptoms of PCOS Irregular menstrual cycles
Abnormal mid-cycle bleeding
Excessive or heavy menstrual bleeding
Hirsutism (excessive body hair)
Acanthosis nigricans – a darkening of the skin in the armpits, back of the neck, or groin
History of ovarian cysts
Health and Fertility Risks Associated with PCOS Infertility
Menstrual cycle irregularities
Possible increased risk for endometrial and breast cancer due to unopposed estrogen
Gestational diabetes How is PCOS Diagnosed?
When PCOS was first discovered it was named Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome because of the presence of polycystic ovaries seen by ultrasound. Over time doctors began to realize that PCOS was a complex array of health issues. To date there is a push by doctors to change the name of this condition. “Patients read into the name and just think, ‘Okay, this is about my ovaries, it’s really not about anything else…’ But from a doctor’s perspective, the most worrisome aspects of the disorder are the long-term consequences, such as diabetes.,” said Dr. Melissa Goist, ObGyn. (Livescience, 2013). This led to certain criteria that must be recognized to be diagnosed with PCOS, rather than just the presence of polycystic ovaries. In fact some women with PCOS do not have polycystic ovaries. In order to be diagnosed with PCOS the following should be evaluated by your healthcare practitioner: Pituitary and Ovarian Hormone serum levels: Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
Circulating Androgens: Free testosterone
Free androgen index (FAI): 17-hydroxyprogesterone
Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG): 24 hr. urinary free cortisol
Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S)
Glucose Tolerance Test
Blood Lipid Profile Are you wondering what your test results mean? Please talk to your doctor in detail about what your test results mean for your fertility. Some doctors may tell you that you have mild PCOS. Women may have some or all of the symptoms of PCOS, some may have normal menstrual cycles and some may not. Testing is the best way to find out if you have PCOS for sure or not. Click here to learn more about the different presentations of PCOS… How PCOS Affects the Menstrual Cycle
What happens in a normal menstrual cycle? In very simple terms the hypothalamus produces GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone) which signals to the pituitary to produce LH (luteinising hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). The release of GnRH is pulsatile in women with regular menstrual cycles. The normal pulsatile release of GnRh signals some of the follicles in the ovary to begin maturing and for the ovaries to release estrogen and progesterone. This estrogen/progesterone signal is recognized by the pituitary gland. As the follicles begin maturing they release and increase the hormone estrogen over time. The rising estrogen level signals the pituitary gland to curb the release of FSH. This communication allows for ovulation to occur. In women with PCOS the menstrual cycle follows a different pattern of endocrine function and communication. What the menstrual cycle is typically like in a woman with PCOS… In women with PCOS the menstrual cycle starts off irregular, with the hypothalamus releasing GnRH in a higher than normal pulsatile frequency. This allows for increased LH and decreased FSH, which in turn leads to excessive production of the androgens androstenedione and testosterone. This causes the follicle to only mature some, but not enough to achieve full maturity in order to be released for ovulation. This also allows for continued increase of estrogen, primarily estrone. During a woman’s reproductive years, estrone levels are relatively low. Typically we associate estrone with menopause, not the the fertile years of a woman’s life. The higher levels of androgens and estrogen create a chronic state of low to very low progesterone and anovulatory cycles. Classic polycystic ovaries are a result of chronic anovulation. Endocrine function is imbalanced from the very beginning of the menstrual cycle causing mild to severe hormonal imbalance, depending on the individual. Excessive levels of estrogen may also cause uterine hypertrophy, also known as endometrial hyperplasia. Unopposed estrogen may cause excessive cell proliferation of the endometrium. The endometrium is the innermost layer of the uterus that is shed as menses during menstruation. Endometrial hyperplasia may cause heavy menstrual bleeding or prolonged bleeding during menstruation. The uterus may become bulky and larger than normal. Medical Options for PCOS
Anovulatory Cycles Oral Contraceptive Pills (birth control) are the number one most prescribed medication to regulate menstruation in women with PCOS. While this may help to create a regular menstrual cycle (which is important) it prevents pregnancy. This is not helpful for women with PCOS who are trying to conceive. OCPs do not solve the root of the problem and may actually cause long-term reproductive health problems.
Other hormonal medications may be commonly used as well. This is determined by case. Clomid is commonly used for women with PCOS to hyperstimulate the ovaries to ovulate. Once again the problem we encounter here is that Clomid does not resolve PCOS, though it may help a woman to get pregnant. Ovarian drilling done by laparascopic surgery. This is done with the intent to stimulate ovulation. Insulin Resistance Metformin
This drug is commonly prescribed for women with PCOS, even if they are not insulin resistant or have any signs of type 2 diabetes. Metformin helps to control the amount of glucose in the blood. Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetes. PCOS can often be helped by specific diet changes, similar to a diabetic diet. Metformin comes with risks and side effects, please talk to your doctor in detail before choosing to use Metformin to control PCOS. Many natural therapies may be used with Metformin with your doctor’s approval.
Note: Long-term treatment with Metformin has been shown to cause malabsorption of vitamin B12 in some patients. Before choosing to use this medication, talk to your doctor about the long-term goal and duration of treatment. There are a variety of other medications prescribed depending on the symptoms of PCOS. There are medications for hirsutism or alopecia, weight gain and more. Your doctor can provide you with specific information on medications. Learn to Eat a PCOS Fertility Diet
Eating a specific PCOS Fertility Diet is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of becoming pregnant. Eating a specific PCOS Fertility Diet is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of becoming pregnant.The biggest part of the problem with PCOS is insulin resistance. Resistance to insulin increases the body’s insulin levels which can have a negative affect on ovulation by limiting the maturation process of an egg and in turn delaying or preventing ovulation from taking place. Insulin resistance also makes it difficult for the embryo to attach properly to the uterus for implantation. This has a direct impact on your fertility and ability to conceive. Women with insulin resistance are 4-5 times more likely to have a miscarriage. PCOS is also a huge red flag for the beginning of type 2 diabetes. I do not say all this to scare you, but I do want you to know that this is a serious matter. Fortunately, there are many natural options you can do on your own to turn this all around. The biggest step you can take is to change your diet to a PCOS diet. The benefits of following a PCOS Diet are: Increases the rate of spontaneous ovulation
Significantly improves the environment of the uterus, preparing it for implantation
Increases the likelihood of a healthy conception
Decreases the potential for miscarriage
Helps to prevent insulin resistance from turning into diabetes
PCOS Diet Guidelines
1. Balance your daily protein intake with an equal amount of carbohydrates This will help to eliminate the insulin yo-yo. When you eat equal amounts of protein and carbohydrates this helps to keep your insulin at a balanced level, thus increasing your fertility. A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet helped insulin resistance. A high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet made insulin resistance worse.
– Medical Journal Metabolism; no. 12: 1481-1487 A diet containing 25% carbohydrates improved insulin resistance, whereas a diet that included 45% carbohydrates did not.
– International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders; 20 no. 12:1067-1072 The types of carbohydrates you choose are also an important factor. Choose whole grain, or sprouted grain products. They contain more protein and fiber (better for balancing insulin levels) than their processed counterparts. Avoid processed carbohydrates, especially the white variety (white flour, rice, potato, etc.) which cause a spike in insulin levels and provide little to no fiber, or nutrients. Some examples of whole grain and sprouted grain products are: Ezekiel Bread Ezekiel breads
The best place to find these foods are at your local health foods store or Whole Foods Market. Make sure the proteins you are eating are complete and organic. Organic meats and dairy contain essential fatty acids and will reduce the negative impact on hormonal imbalance. 2. Eat foods low on the glycemic index and glycemic load list Blood glucose rises and then falls when you eat a meal containing carbs. How high it rises and how long it remains high depends on the kind of carbs (glycemic index, GI) and the amount you ate (glycemic load, GL). Low glycemic index foods are carbohydrates that break down slowly in the body, and don’t cause such a dramatic spike and then drop in insulin levels. The glycemic load takes into consideration the amount of the glycemic index food you consumed and how that affects your blood sugar. The glycemic load combines both the quality and quantity of carbohydrate into one ‘number’. It’s the best way to predict blood glucose values of different types and amounts of food. The serving size of the amount of carbohydrates consumed really matter here. Be sure to eat no more than 100g of low glycemic index carbohydrates a day if you have insulin resistant PCOS and are overweight. Increase the amount of low glycemic index carbohydrates consumed a day to over 100g if you are thinner or underweight. Some examples of low glycemic index foods are: Kale, broccoli, asparagus
Beans and lentils
Grapefruit and apples
Walnuts and almonds
Processed carbohydrates that break down quickly make insulin levels jump dramatically. Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index such as sugary and starchy foods such as: pancakes, syrups, sugar, white potatoes, jams, scones, white bread products, pasta, soda, alcoholic beverages. Click here to learn how to make low GI fertility smoothies friendly for PCOS… 3. Eat a diet high in fiber Fiber helps in two ways with PCOS. The first way it helps is by slowing down the digestion of sugars in the body, so there is no spike in insulin. The second way fiber helps is by promoting healthy estrogen metabolism which aids in the reduction of elevated levels of androgens. Great sources of fiber are: broccoli, celery, whole grains, Ezekiel bread, apples, and dark leafy greens. 4. Eat 5 meals a day PCOS portion size plateBy eating more often, the body will not go into fasting mode. When you look at the way most Americans eat, it is usually three big meals a day. With such a large gap of time between meals the body goes into fasting mode which may cause the metabolism to become imbalanced. Your five meals a day should consist of three regular meals and two healthy snacks, or 5 small meals. The first snack should be eaten in the mid-morning before lunch and the second snack to be eaten less than an hour before bed. At each meal a day be sure you are eating a serving of protein (3-4 ounces), a low GI/GL carbohydrate (1/4-1/2 cup or serving size), and vegetables (1 – 1 & 1/2 cup). Here is what the 5 meals a day could look like: Breakfast (right away, when you wake up): 2 eggs scrambled in 1 tsp. coconut oil with spinach and 1/2 cup of black beans
Snack: Smoothie with unsweetened coconut or almond milk, 1/2 of a peach, 1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon, hemp protein powder and spirulina
Lunch: Organic Turkey lettuce wrap with celery sticks and hummus on the side
Dinner: Organic chicken with steamed broccoli and half a cup of baked yam
Snack (less than an hour before bed): organic unsweetened yogurt with half a serving of low glycemic index fruit (blueberries, raspberries, papaya) and 1/2 tsp. chia seeds
Alternately, you could have your last snack between lunch and dinner, eating your dinner right before bed. Find out what works best with your lifestyle. 5. Eat essential fatty acids daily Eating essential fatty acids (EFA’s) helps you to lose weight, aids hormonal balance, and are important building blocks for the body to create a healthy environment for conception. The best source of omega-3 EFA’s is Cod Liver Oil, and omega-6 EFA’s is Evening Primrose oil. Cod Liver Oil– Take 1 capsule daily with one of your meals. Cod Liver Oil is a rich source of DHA which is essential for a developing baby’s brain health. You can take this daily and during pregnancy. Evening Primrose Oil– Take 1500mg of this oil from day one of your cycle (menstruation) till ovulation. Evening Primrose Oil helps to increase cervical mucous and metabolic function. Use in addition to flax or cod liver oils. 6. Exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week Exercise helps PCOS by improving insulin sensitivity, increasing metabolism and helping to shed any excess weight. Both aerobic and resistance exercises are good. Researchers found that participants of resistance exercises showed better improvement in insulin sensitivity than with aerobic exercise alone. Avoid excessive exercise programs because too much exercise overworks the adrenal glands which increases inflammation and in turn makes PCOS worse. Restorative exercise programs are best. You could walk and lift weights, or take a Pilates class and run on the treadmill, or do some Zumba and then Fertility Yoga. Discover what you enjoy doing and do this 5 days a week for at least thirty minutes a day. 7. Eat Organic You will be eating a high protein diet, so it is essential that any animal proteins (meats and dairy) you are eating are organic. In commercial meats there are large amounts of added hormones (estrogens) that make the animals grow bigger, faster, and produce more milk. With PCOS there is usually a progesterone deficiency and adding more estrogens can make it even worse. Studies have shown that organic foods contain more vitamins, minerals and healthier proteins. 8. Quit Coffee Caffeine increases estrogen levels. A study from Fertility and Sterility shows that drinking just two cups of coffee a day boosts levels of estradiol, a natural estrogen. Women who drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day produce 70% more estrogen in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle (when the body is trying to produce a viable follicle for ovulation, which is already an issue for women with PCOS.) If you need help getting off the bean, check out Teeccino. It is a coffee alternative that tastes great and is alkalizing for the body. Click here to learn more about Teechino and other herbal coffee alternatives…
PCOS Herbs and Supplements
Important note: It takes at least 6-12 months of consistent lifestyle and diet changes, along with natural therapies to bring about real change in the body when living with PCOS. In addition to eating the PCOS diet, supplements have shown to be effective in helping those with PCOS boost their fertility and give birth to healthy babies. The overall goal with PCOS is to balance blood sugar levels, maintain hormonal balance, promote healthy digestion for improved estrogen metabolism, while also working to promote regular ovulation and menses. Adaptogen herbs are also important, this is because adaptogens increase resistance to mind-body stress and enhance overall vitality and health through non-specific adrenal (known as stress glands) support. Plants recognized as adaptogens help to normalize the body’s functions, most importantly the endocrine system, even during diseased states, are non-toxic, nutritive, and have been deemed safe for long term use. Herbs and supplements are not meant to be a substitute for dietary and lifestyle changes! If diet and lifestyles changes specific to PCOS are not in place, herbs and supplements cannot aid the body properly! Supplements That Are Beneficial for PCOS… Whole Food Multivitamin
A major part of decreasing the effects of PCOS on your health and preparing the uterine lining is to take a prenatal multivitamin. Making sure your body has all of the nutrients necessary is a lot easier when you are taking a whole food multivitamin. Synthetic multivitamins won’t have the same effect. Other vitamin and mineral considerations… Chromium
This trace mineral enhances the action of insulin. Some studies have shown supplementing with chromium may improve blood sugar control. In one study, women with PCOS were given 1,000 mcg per day of chromium for two months and in that time results showed improved insulin sensitivity by 30% in average weight women and by 38% in obese women with PCOS.
Foods that are high in chromium are onions, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast, oysters, whole grains, and bran. Most foods contain very little chromium, so supplementation may need to be considered. Calcium and Vitamin D
Both calcium and vitamin D play significant roles in the health of many parts of the body. Where PCOS is concerned, calcium protects cardiovascular health. Vitamin D plays a role in glucose metabolism. Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes are often deficient in vit. D. A small study of 13 women with PCOS showed that 7 out of the 9 who had absent or irregular menstrual cycles, had a return of normal menstrual cycles within two months after being given 50,000 IU once or twice per week of vitamin D and 1,500 mg per day of calcium. This is a marked improvement! Of the 13 women, 5 were shown to be vitamin D deficient. Good food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, eggs, salmon, mackerel, tuna and whole fat yogurt or other dairy products. Vitamin D can also be obtained for free by sitting out in the sun for 15 to 20 minutes per day. Forget using sunscreen it will actually block the ultraviolet light that is needed to produce Vitamin D. The warm sun helps your skin to create Vitamin D3 that is then transformed into the active hormone form of Vitamin D by the kidneys and the liver. In fact, by being out in the sun for just a few minutes a day, a woman’s body can create between 10,000 to 25,000 IU of Vitamin D. Calcium can be found in kale, turnips, collards, mustard greens, kelp and wakame seaweed. Hiziki, a type of seaweed has 10 times more calcium than a glass of milk. Herbs and supplements that promote hormonal balance and support regular ovulation: Cod Liver Oil Again, cod liver oil is a rich source of omega-3 EFA’s. Eating omega-3 essential fatty acids can help to lose weight, balance hormones, and creates a healthy environment for conception. Omega-3 EFA’s have been shown to aid hormonal regulation and reduce inflammation. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Licorice root helps the body to maintain proper hormone production and release. Licorice also supports healthy insulin levels and liver health which is important for women with PCOS. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) Maca works to balance estrogen and progesterone in the body which may help to encourage a healthy menstrual cycle. Maca is an adaptogen and an incredible fertility superfood. It helps to balance the hormones, but does not contain any hormones itself. It is able to do this by nourishing the endocrine system. Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry) is one of the most powerful herbs for women’s fertility and menstrual health. There are numerous studies and testimonials of Vitex and its effects on the body. Vitex supports hormonal balance in the body by having an effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (hormonal feedback loop), correcting the problem at the source. Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris) Tribulus has been found to help encourage regular ovulation in infertile women when used prior to ovulation. This herb has been found to be wonderful in aiding women with menstrual irregularities, improving the timing of the entire menstrual cycle. Tribulus has also been found to be a nourishing tonic for the female reproductive system as a whole, especially concerning the ovaries. White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) and Licorice Rt. (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Most clinical trials have found that when White Peony is combined with Licorice Rt., it performs better, especially for relaxing muscles, reducing painful menstruation, as well as lowering serum and free testosterone levels in women with PCOS. Natural Progesterone Cream Progesterone cream can help to oppose estrogen dominance that may occur in some women with PCOS. Through the topical application of progesterone cream one can mimic a natural cycle and help the body to establish its own cycle, including ovulation, once again. Dr. John Lee believed that with progesterone cream, along with changing to a PCOS specific diet and regularly exercising, PCOS could become obsolete. Healthy Estrogen Metabolism DIM DIM balances the hormones and aids in the breakdown of estrogen. Estrogen is a major culprit to many of the fertility issues women face today including PCOS. Unopposed estrogen has been shown to cause menstrual cycle irregularities and in more advanced cases, endometrial hyperplasia. Removal of excess estrogen is vital to overall hormonal balance in women with PCOS. Insulin Resistance Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) A pilot study published in 2007 by Fertility and Sterility showed cinnamon to greatly reduce insulin resistance in women with PCOS. Another study suggests cinnamon may also reduce insulin resistance by slowing the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. This slows the breakdown of carbohydrates, which is important for people with diabetes and women with PCOS. Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre, G.sylvestris) Gymnema has been used for hundreds of years to reduce high blood sugar. This herb has a “sugar blocking” action on taste buds and the small intestine. Gymnema blocks the typical paths that sugar molecules take during digestion, delaying the absorption of sugar. It works by stimulating the regeneration of pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which aids in more insulin production; in turn stimulating production of enzymes that help with the uptake of glucose into cells; and then prevents stimulation of the liver to produce more glucose. Gymnema also appears to have a lipid-lowering effect, which aids in weight loss. Hirsutism and Endometrial Hyperplasia Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) Saw Palmetto has been found to inhibit DHT production by reducing 5 alpha-reductase production, which may help prevent hirsutism in women with PCOS. This herb also helps to reduce endometrial hyperplasia and hormonal acne symptoms. To purchase a harmonizing herbal blend supportive of hormonal balance click here… Inflammatory response
Because women with PCOS usually have low-grade inflammation constantly present in the body, it is important to support the body by promoting a healthy inflammation response. Some foods are known to trigger inflammation in the body. If you have food allergies, avoid foods which you are sensitive to because they trigger an inflammatory response. Omegas Omega essential fatty acids decrease the risk of inflammation, especially omega-3 and 6. Getting enough essential fatty acids in the diet may help, both through foods you eat and through supplementation. Systemic Enzyme Therapy Systemic Enzyme Therapy or using systemic enzymes is another option. Systemic enzyme blends work as a biological response modifier; working with the bodies own immune defense system to moderate inflammatory response. They also break down the proteins in the blood that cause inflammation. Royal Jelly and Bee Propolis Royal jelly and bee propolis have been shown to reduce inflammation and naturally boost the body’s immune system. They may also aid in hormonal balance through endocrine system support. Click here to learn about other herbs helpful for women with PCOS…
PCOS is a complex female health issue. It consists of many different health concerns and risks. If permanent diet and lifestyle changes are implemented, these risks and health issues may become obsolete. There are many ways to support the proper health of a woman’s body that is dealing with PCOS. Important key tips… 1. Make sure your doctor performs the correct tests and you get a proper diagnosis. 2. Follow a PCOS specific diet to help decrease insulin resistance, balance weight, and improve estrogen metabolism. 3. Promote hormonal balance and support regular ovulation through supportive herbs and supplements. 4. Support a proper inflammatory response. 5. Stick to your plan, believe in yourself, only you have the ability to change your circumstances!
Scared. Worried. Nervous. Excited. These are all the emotions I remember feeling when I realized I "this was it!" I remember thinking to myself "at the end of this day, I will be holding my baby in my arms."Read More
-Seeking a Maternity Model to photograph a “Milk Bath Session” in exchange for 5 professionally edited high resolution digital images.
-Must be 30-36 weeks pregnant.
-Must fill out and sign model release form.
-Must have big enough bathtub with natural window light.
-Must be available to photograph within the next two weeks for the session.
Email email@example.com with “Maternity Model” in subject line.
Please include a full length photo of yourself, and your due date.
Photo Credit: http://www.chelseahaworthphotography.co.nz/services
One contraction, at a time...
In addition to pain medication and epidurals, moms have lots of natural pain-management tricks up their sleeves. We surveyed more than a thousand moms to learn how they eased their labor pain. Here's what they had to say.
A full three-quarters of BabyCenter moms used breathing exercises to ride out those contractions.
- I found that blowing out deep breaths really helped me get through the contractions.
- The contractions were very intense and breathing through the pain was very helpful for me.
- It felt like I had to take all my energy and focus it, especially during the tough contractions. If I moved or lost focus on my breathing, I felt like I lost control of my body and the pain would take over.
Half our moms found that a simple change of position helped relieve the pain. (Exercise balls can be great for this – a quarter of BabyCenter moms used one).
- Don't be afraid to move around, walk, sit on a ball, or whatever, it progresses labor faster.
Many moms rocked their way through contractions.
- I got through it just one contraction at a time, through breathing, rocking, and moaning.
If you're up for it, try a little walk. It helped about one-third of the moms in our survey.
- I definitely recommend walking to help with labor and delivery
Don't underestimate the power of a good massage – be it your back or your feet!
- I packed a rice heating pad, which was amazing for my back labor.
- A handheld massager was very useful in early labor when the pain was in my back.
- My husband rubbed my feet with aromatherapy lotion. I was in heaven.
Soaking in the tub
Almost one-fifth of BabyCenter moms got some watery relief.
- I spent the majority of my labor in the bathtub, which helped manage the pain and also relaxed me.
Got a nice beach in mind? Go to it during contractions. You can also try visualizing labor before it happens.
- The biggest advice I have is to envision labor in your mind beforehand. I prepared by telling myself that it's going to hurt, but it won't last forever... like a tattoo.
- Take yourself somewhere else mentally during contractions.
If you're a music lover, try a few tunes for natural pain management, as 14 percent of our moms did. (Looking for some song ideas? Check out our labor playlists).
- I packed my MP3 player and used it while in labor. The music helped me relax and took my mind off the contractions.
Article credit: http://www.babycenter.com/0_moms-say-top-pain-management-techniques-during-labor_10339940.bc
Dear Fabulous Blog Readers!
I have another announcement for you.
Sadly, I will not be booking any more photography sessions in California. I will now be working solely in Portland Oregon and surrounding cities.
I am grateful for all the friends I have made here in Los Angeles. Some of you started out as clients, and quickly became more. Many of you have taught me so much. I am grateful to have worked with you, and to know you as a person. I will strive to keep in touch with all of you. You know who you are.
This is a happy announcement. And don't forget, I do travel. So if you need me in any part of the world, just contact me and we will work something out!
-Masha Georgiev, Birth Photographer
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