Preparing Your Body For Pregnancy | Erica Chidi-Cohen of The Mama Circle

Raised in South Africa with an eclectic, well-traveled upbringing, this magical soul can talk fashion, design, other cultures and most importantly birthing, pregnancy or anything to do with this natural female process. Setting quite the bar in her industry with a non-granola, chic approach encompassed with exceptional passion and skill. Meet the Venice based leading doula of our generation, and her approach to preparing the body for pregnancy, Erica Chidi of The Mama Circle.

E | Growing up between the United States and South Africa, I always approach life with a blended world-view. This blended approach is woven into my philosophy at The Mama Circle. My sole intention is make a women’s pregnancy feel supported, grounded and comparable to the rest of her life. At The Mama Circle we educate and empower our clients and help them create community around their birth experience and transition into motherhood.

8 Tips To Prepare Your Body For Pregnancy. 

EAT GOOD FATS | Whole fat foods are excellent for fertility. Ideally, try incorporating whole fat, organic dairy products, preferably raw. Excellent vegan-friendly options include avocados and coconut oil. Fat is essential in the manufacture of hormones. Body fat cells, called adipocytes produce estrogen. Estrogen is the primary female reproductive hormone, and healthy estrogen levels are integral to a healthy menstrual cycle, which is intrinsically connected to fertility. Women with inadequate amounts of body fat may have menstrual cycle irregularities, ovulation and infertility issues. Try and add a little healthy fat into every meal.

SLOW DOWN ON THE SUGAR | Sugars are quickly broken down by the body, spiking your insulin levels, giving you a temporary rush. This spike is followed by a sudden slump, leaving the body exhausted. This “spike and slump” cycle can stress the adrenal glands, leading to a perpetual release of the “fight or flight” hormones, cortisol and adrenalin in an attempt to rebalance sugar levels. Over stimulation of the adrenal glands can weaken its capacity to work efficiently. Secondly, the hormones of the adrenals are not made in abundance, so constant stress to the adrenals may lead to hormonal imbalance. Which can impact fertility. Try using sugar substitutes like raw honey, coconut sugar, or using raw sugar moderately.

GET MOVING | Regular moderate exercise is essential to any pregnancy preparation regime. 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, mixing strength training and light cardio is an ideal goal.

CLEAR THE PATH | Emotional equanimity and conception go hand in hand. Stress and unresolved emotional or relationship issues can create speed bumps in the conception process. Consider reaching out to a support professional if there is emotional unrest in your life. If possible incorporate your partner in order to create a stable foundation and fluid communication environment. Managing your own stress is also important, and mindfulness techniques such as insight meditation can be extremely helpful.

CALL IN YOUR BABE | In his book Sprit Babies, Walter Mokien talks about how you can actively participate in the psychic process of creating a child. He suggests creating a daily practice which can be done on your own, or with your partner, where you can openly connect with spirit of the child you’re meant to have. You can do this by creating a short mantra that you and your partner say nightly before bed, while resting both of your hands on your belly promoting warmth and connection between yourselves and your intention.

ACUPUNCTURE | This eastern medicine practice can help prime the reproductive organs, particularly the uterus. It can help increase blood flow to the endometrium (the uterine lining), helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining. It can also address problems that affect fertility such as irregular thyroid function. Consider starting treatment three to four months prior to trying to conceive. 

MAYAN ABDOMINAL MASSAGE | The Mayans believe a woman's energetic center is her uterus. According to Belizean traditional healer Elijio Panti "If a woman's uterus is out of balance, so is she.” Mayan abdominal massage has a myriad of benefits, but is lesser known for its ability to enhance fertility and place the uterus it the most optimal position for reproductive health and conception. The uterus is fastened to the pelvis by muscles and ligaments. When these muscles and ligaments weaken and become loose, their ability to support the uterus correctly is diminished. When the uterus is misaligned, the normal flow of blood and lymph to the uterus, ovaries can be constricted and nerve connection can be impacted, which would resulting in fertility issues.  Mayan abdominal massage is external, noninvasive and strengthens the ligaments and muscles that support the uterus and ovaries. It can be used therapeutically to promote reproductive heath or as a corrective method to address a tipped or prolapsed uterus.

MAP YOUR CYCLE | Most women are unaware of the length of their menstrual cycle, which can make it difficult to determine best days to try to conceive. Understanding the process of ovulation and knowing the when it’s actually taking place, can drastically improve your chances of getting pregnant. Not sure where to start? Try downloading a period tracker app. Most apps require at least three cycles of data before generating accurate readings.

FIND THE RIGHT CARE PROVIDER | Resonating with you care provider is an essential component. If you feel like you’re just “going through the motions” with your current provider, consider switching to an OB/GYN or midwife that you feel at ease with and provides advice and referrals that are in alignment with your values and desires.