76: How to Optimize Your Pregnancy and Birth Experience with Mama Natural Genevieve Howland

How to Optimize Your Pregnancy and Birth Experience with Mama Natural Genevieve Howland

Today I’m talking with Genevieve Howland, the fierce and funny lady behind the super successful “Mama Natural” YouTube channel and blog. I couldn’t be more excited! Genevieve is not only a great friend to me but to so many women she has never even met. Her funny but informational videos have inspired and empowered millions of women to embrace natural pregnancy and parenting.

And now her advice will reach more women than ever with the first ever week-to-week pregnancy book from a natural perspective. Genevieve’s new book The Mama Natural Week to Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth is the first weekly guide out there (in my opinion) to really combine today’s medical insight with the ancient wisdom of natural childbirth practices.

And with C-section rates in the U.S. being about twice as high as they should be (a whopping 30% in 2015), this book couldn’t be more timely!

The Mama Natural Way: Optimize Birth and Empower Women

So, what if you’re a C-section or epidural mom? Does that disqualify you from a natural, healthy birth? Should you forget about taking a listen to the podcast/checking out the book?

The answer is, definitely not!

I’ve had a C-section (and Mama Natural herself was a C-section baby!). As much as I can’t stop talking about what I love about natural labor (and midwives, doulas, and other birth subjects I’m passionate about) I have had hospital births, a C-section birth, and home births, and you know what? … I’m so grateful for options.

“Natural” as we’re using it here just recognizes that pregnancy and birth are a normal and wondrous biological process that’s been around since time began.

In fact, I love how Genevieve talks about optimizing birth with all the tools and knowledge available to us. She truly wants every woman to feel educated and empowered to plan the birth she wants … and have the support she needs if things turn out differently.

Here are just some of the questions Genevieve and I try to tackle in this Healthy Moms episode!

In This Episode, You’ll Learn

  • Why in a world of epidurals you might even consider an unmedicated birth
  • Mama Natural’s take on which standard pregnancy procedures are medically necessary … and which are less so
  • Why ultrasounds don’t really improve birth outcomes
  • “Belly mapping” and ways to get baby into good position
  • 7 exercises to get pelvis aligned and balanced for labor
  • Pros and cons in the great home vs. hospital birth debate (yes, we go there!)
  • How chiropractic can help with birth and which kind of practitioner to look for
  • Simple birth plan tips (and how to increase your chances it gets read and followed)
  • The purpose of vernix and why it’s great to leave it on baby!
  • Why red raspberry leaf tea may or may not be all it’s cracked up to be
  • Why Dad’s health matters too!

Resources We Mention

Have a tip or story about what helped you most preparing for birth? Let me and Mama Natural know in the comments! We all have wisdom to share!

Special Thanks to Today’s Sponsors:

This episode is brought to you by Paleovalley. This company makes one of my favorite on-the-go snacks to give to my kids. Paleovalley beef sticks are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef naturally fermented the old school way. In fact each beef stick contains a billion CFUs of probiotics plus high levels of omega-3s. Go to paleovalley.com/wellnessmama and use the discount code WELLNESSMAMA10 to get 10% off. Or, get up to 40% off when you purchase in bulk, which is how I order.

Paleovalley cows are never given antibiotics, hormones, or grains and their products are gut-friendly, paleo-friendly, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free (wow!). So, again, check it out paleovalley.com/wellnessmama, with the code WELLNESSMAMA10 to get the discount.

This episode is also brought to you by StudioPress Sites. This platform makes setting up and running a blog super easy, and I wish I had it when I started! Basically it’s an all-in-one solution all for one monthly price, without all the headaches that come with trying to learn it all yourself. It includes hosting, themes, plugins, and much more. Even if you have already started blogging, this tool may save you time and money and be an upgrade from what you currently have. So check it out at wellnessmama.com/studiopress.

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.

Reader Interactions

It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Be Healthy…

Become a Wellness Mama VIP member for free and get access to my handbooks & quick start guides to help you detox your home, become a master of home remedies, make beauty products from scratch, and conquer mealtime madness!

Yes! Let me in!

Wellness Mama widget banner

Reader Comments

  1. Katie – I am a huge fan of your and your guests! I enjoy your podcasts and scope of topics. I have a huge issue, however, with the most recent podcast with Genevieve, specifically as it related to the discussion about ultrasound. I, myself, had a beautiful, wonderful natural pregnancy and delivery — and also he recommended number of ultrasounds. I agree that many ultrasounds are for bonding purposes and for medical necessity (i.e. Placental prévia, etc) however, I was disturbed by the lack of mention of fetal abnormalities. I have been a reproductive genetic counselor for 10 years and have, sadly, seen so many women have affected pregnancies. Many of which resulted in a miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth of a baby with a severe condition. There is tremendous value in an ultrasound – not just for bonding but to ensure normal fetal growth and development. You always talk about options – and whether a woman would end a pregnancy due to a severe abnormality is an option that needs to be provided to her. Likewise, prenatal diagnosis by ultrasound, amniocentesis, etc is such a valuable tool for women who want information, especially for those who are using that information for birth plans – ESPECIALLY in the case of a baby with a birth defect. Early intervention, especially neonatal surgery, is something that can save the life of a baby who is detected by ultrasound. I thought it important to mention that since you or Genevieve did not discuss it at all!
    Many thanks for what you do. Women should be given ALL options for empowerment.

    • My cousin had a baby born with a congenital heart defect. It was detected on ultrasound. The baby had two heart surgeries months after birth, and died during surgery. The mother had no intentions of aborting her baby. The many ultrasounds could do nothing to change the outcome.

      So many healthy babies are being put at risk by doing “routine” ultrasounds. These babies are more likely to have brain defects, genital defects and heart defects because of overuse of ultrasound. Pictures for bonding are not worth the risk.

      If a women knows in her heart that she will abort a defected baby, then let her do ultrasounds. But it shouldn’t be routine for everyone.

  2. Thanks so much for having me on, Katie! You’re an awesome interviewer 🙂 Much love to you!

  3. I love you both so much. I’m 26 weeks into my first pregnancy with plans for an all-natural birth, and I don’t know where I would be without you two! So often I start conversations with my husband with “Genevieve says” or “Katie says” because you both feel like close friends at this point. Thanks so much for this podcast and all y’all do!!

Join the Conversation...

Please read the comment policy before replying to this post.