I recently had the pleasure of seeing the newly released film 'Micro birth' hosted by the Lismore Birth House (Midwife, Bronwyn Moir). It spoke about the microbiome and the link between how we are birthed and how this contributes to our overall health (particularly our immune system). The points that I took away from it are:
The importance of vaginal flora contact
The process of being birthed through the vagina allows the ‘seeding’ of good bacteria from the mother to the baby. This helps the babies’ immune system to develop properly. If a cesarean birth is necessary, there is a process of 'vaginal swabbing' that can happen so the baby is still exposed to the mothers flora. This is something the mother can request or do herself.
The importance of skin-to-skin contact
We know this helps the mother to release oxytocin so that she can safely birth the placenta, it also helps with bonding and moderating the babies temperature. Skin-to-skin contact also helps expose the baby to micro organisms that activate their little immune systems!
The importance of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding helps protect the newborn against infections. It helps support the babies’ immune system and lessens the risk of more serious diseases like obesity, diabetes and immunological disorders like asthma and Crohn's disease.
For more information about the film, go here: micro birth
All this talk about gut health and microbiomes gave me the idea to give you a recipe to make your own kim chi or sauerkraut.
cabbage (red makes it pretty)
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons of salt
Chop up veges and add all ingredients into a big bowl (I use a big jar) and pound until the juices come out. You need something to weight down the solids under the juices. I put a drinking glass on top (face down) and then screw a lid on top. This helps the juice to stay above the veges so it ferments properly. Leave at room temperature for around 3 days (a bit longer in winter). It usually goes fuscia pink when done. Then put in the fridge.
It is so yummy to add to any/every meal. Full of probiotics and good bacteria. Great for gut health! If you don’t want to make your own, there are some very talented people out there selling various sorts of sauerkraut and kimchi. I’ve seen them at Lismore Fundies and the Nimbin Organic Food Co-Op. Check your local health food store or organic market.
I recently had the pleasure of attending my friends Blessingway. For those that don't know Blessingways are a beautiful alternative to the conventional ‘baby shower’. They are about honouring the mother-to-be and wishing her well for her birthing journey. I am now wearing a beautiful hand-spun merino and silk anklet that was part of the ceremony. Every woman in the circle received the long piece of string that she bound around her wrist or ankle and this connected everyone. Whenever I look at the anklet, I remember the beautiful day and send some love to the mother!
Creating a beaded birthing necklace is another special part of the blessingway ritual. All the friends bring a special bead that will be threaded onto a necklace. They each say a blessing and share their wishes for her birthing journey. The mother can then wear this necklace during labour. It helps her connect to all the women, remember their blessings and give her strength to birth her baby.
The mother-to-be can also choose to have a henna pattern drawn on her belly. This helps the woman feel celebrated and beautiful. Other ideas for blessingway activities include; creating a sacred shrine with flowers and crystals, massaging the mother, singing, doing a belly cast, writing/painting affirmations and creating a post-partum ‘meal train’ so she can continue to be nurtured after the baby arrives.