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Hi, pod fam! 

I LOVE getting to interview such incredible, fascinating, brilliant people for the podcast. The hour or two I’m with them flies by, and I always wish I had more time to pick their brains and continue these convos. Lucky for me (and all of you!), I got the chance recently to reconnect with one of our guests from Season 1 as we recorded this week’s episode. 

So excited to welcome back Dr. Kara for another juicy conversation! Dr. Kara MoraMarco-Kendrick is a Doctor of Acupuncture (DAOM), a board-certified California Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc), and the owner of Aculand in Los Angeles. And she welcomed a beautiful baby boy, Jai, into the world last year.

In this ep, we’re talking all things pregnancy: how to “prepare the palace” before conception and ways to support yourself during pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. I love Dr. Kara’s holistic perspective on this incredible journey and all of the tips she has to share from her personal experience. Let’s get juicy!

Pre-Pregnancy

Thinking about having a baby at some point? It’s never too early to start prepping! Dr. Kara tells us she had been preparing her body for a good 5 years before trying to conceive. Everything she put in her body and her daily habits were to support/reflect a future pregnancy (and it paid off).

Here are her tips for “preparing the palace” (aka making sure she was giving her future child the best environment to start off in).

Food

  • Eati organic whenever possible
  • Be sure to wash fruits & veggies well to remove any residue
  • Up intake of protein & healthy fats
  • Stop consuming caffeine before actively trying to conceive

Warming the Womb

  • Think of yourself as an incubator (you want your womb to be warm and cozy)
  • Conserve your jing (vital energy/vitality) by not wearing yourself out, limiting drinking/partying, etc. (Olivia note: I love Fo-ti, Schisandra and Rose for supporting your jing)
  • Consume kidney tonics, Natal Nourish, and Mane Magic (Dr. Kara used both of these OO formulas!) to nourish the body & blood

Herbs

  • American ginseng
  • Eleuthero (Dr. Kara’s favorite adaptogen)
  • Royal jelly (excellent for fertility/beauty/skin; your partner can take, too)

Sleep

  • You don’t want to go into pregnancy with any deficiencies (and that includes sleep)
  • Aim for 8–9 hours each night
  • Sleep in and rest when your body calls for it to “stock up” on sleep

Prenatal Vitamins

  • Start taking before pregnancy (Dr. Kara took for ~6 months before)
  • Look for quality vitamins (Dr. Kara likes Thorne; Seeking Health is another good one)

Your Environment

  • Everything we put on our body goes through our bloodstream, so be conscious of what you’re exposing yourself to
  • Get rid of toxic chemicals (look at household cleaning products, cosmetics, your mattress, your carpets, etc.)

During Pregnancy

Building upon your pre-pregnancy habits, here are some additional lifestyle and diet suggestions to help support your differing needs during pregnancy.

Food

  • Focus on blood-building foods (your blood volume doubles during pregnancy)
  • Up your calorie intake (you’re not necessarily “eating for two” but you do need to nourish your body and eat when you’re hungry)
  • Make sure to eat breakfast and eat frequently (may help with nausea/morning sickness)
  • Be mindful of your health and make sure you’re nourishing your body with food and not using this time as an excuse to eat unhealthy all the time 

Pregnancy Tea

  • Hydrating is super important during pregnancy
  • Tea can help with hydration (something different from water)
  • Starting in the 2nd trimester, Dr. Kara drank this tea, as recommended by her midwife, who’s also an herbalist 

Exercise

  • Keep your chi moving and flowing during pregnancy
  • Walking is a great low-impact, gentle exercise for all trimesters
  • Stick with just walking during the first trimester
  • 2nd/3rd: don’t strain your body too much (listen to your body’s cues)

Labor/Delivery

Labor and delivery will be a different experience for everyone, but—in addition to nourishing yourself through pregnancy—here are some tips from Dr. Kara.

Prepping

  • Have a birth plan in place, but prepare for the unexpected (birth/labor doesn’t usually go as planned)
  • Consider a birthing center (midwives can do ​​blood tests, cultures, ultrasounds, etc.) if low risk

Right Before:

  • Dr. Kara took a homeopathic remedy (recommended by her midwife) to soften the cervix
  • Acupuncture (a light treatment, just to get chi flowing) helped Dr. Kara the night before
  • Walking/birthing balls can help to make sure baby is in a good position 

Postpartum Recovery 

Recovery also looks different for everyone, but Dr. Kara credits her healthy habits pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy for a relatively easy recovery. Note: You’re still recovering from a MAJOR physical experience, so be gentle with yourself and understand that everyone’s going to heal and recover differently.

“Sitting Month”

  • Dr. Kara stayed in for a 40 day period to protect herself and her baby
  • Focused on staying warm (to protect from the emptiness/openness following birth)
  • Consumed warm, nourishing foods (lots of soups, stews, bone broth)

Breastfeeding Tips

  • Grains, oats, healthy fat, coconut water are all good for milk supply
  • Need to hydrate a lot and eat a lot to support yourself & milk production
  • Lactation consultants are invaluable for support 
  • Store some colostrum before you actually have baby (talk to doctor; can help baby)

Postpartum Care

  • MotherBees offers local LA delivery + national shipping to help support new mothers
  • The Golden Month (Australia) is another great company Dr. Kara loves for TCM-based meal delivery and postpartum care

To sum it all up…

Here are the key areas Dr. Kara recommends focusing on to encourage a healthy pregnancy/labor/recovery:

  • Mental Health – focusing on calmness and trying to lower stress
  • Movement – keeping your body active (low-intensity workouts)
  • Eliminating Toxins – minimizing your exposure to toxic chemicals/being mindful of what’s going around/on/in your body
  • Sleep – aiming for 8–9 hours of quality sleep each night

As always, tune into the episode for allll the juicy goodness in this ep—including what surprised Dr. Kara about pregnancy, labor/delivery, and recovery! Be sure to share your thoughts with me on IG: @shoporganicolivia.

xoxo,

Olivia

Connect with Dr. Kara:

Follow @dr.kara.aculand on IG

Visit the Aculand website

Check out our Season 1 interview with Dr. Kara

Herbal DIYs:

Dr. Kara’s pregnancy tea

How to make a mineral-rich herbal infusion

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