Fall in Baltimore (On the Cheap)

Fall in Baltimore

Fall in Baltimore is here! Summer has officially bid its farewell for the year. Around the Baltimore
area, Fall has wowed us with the events and festivities and outdoor activities it has to offer.
Below are several Baltimore-based events that will guarantee a good time for all ages!

  1.  Fells Point Fun Festival: Oct 3-5. Free Admission.
    Live music, local artistry and many vendors come to Fells Point to celebrate Fall. Four stages with live entertainment and there is even a Kid’s Zone. All events are centered around Thames Street. Fellspointfest.com
  2. Pigtown Festival. Oct. 11. Free Admission.
    Local Bands. Yummy Food. RACING PIGS. This year will even have aerial acts, strolling entertainment and even carnival games for the little ones.
    Pigtownmainstreet.org
  3. Baltimore Running Festival: Oct. 16-18. Price varies based on registration.
    Calling all runners and spectators of all ages and ability levels. This event is for you. Distances range from the full marathon for all the brave souls out there and also a kids fun run! If running isn’t your cup of tea, find a spot along the route and cheer on friends and neighbors! The marathon starts at 8 a.m. on Oct. 18. Thebaltimoremarathon.com
  4. Harbor Harvest Children’s Festival. Oct. 19. Free/ Inexpensive activities.
    The whole family will enjoy pumpkin patches, a petting zoo, hay maze, more live music and delicious treats. Join us for our 7 th annual festival in the city. Waterfrontpartnership.org
  5. ZooBOOOO at the Maryland Zoo. Oct. 24-26. General Zoo Admission.
    Kids are guaranteed a good scream at this Halloween celebration. Costumes are not required but encouraged for the daily contests. Trick-r-Treating.Crafts. Carnival Games. Food. Watch magic tricks or sing and dance along with many musical performers. Marylandzoo.org
  6. Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival. Oct. 25. Most activities free.
    Creative Alliance has once again wowed us with their annual event that showcases over 1000 colorful lanterns made by the neighbors and friends of East Baltimore. Festivities start at 3:30 at Patterson Park. Food trucks, lantern workshops, hayrides, crafts, vendors, live bands, and a costume contest for kid’s will all be present. But at 7 is when the real treat begins. Floats, stilt walkers, dancers, and neighbors walk the parade into the Annex Park on Eastern Avenue. Creativealliance.org
  7. Festival of Trees. Nov. 28-30. $13 for adults. $7 for kids/seniors.
    Kennedy Krieger’s annual fundraiser is the perfect place to get that holiday spirit brewing. Support a great organization as you walk around a “fairyland forest,” gingerbread towns and toy train gardens. festivaloftrees.kennedykrieger.org

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.” –Chad Sugg

Virginia Apgar: An Advocate for Newborn Health

Virginia Apgar

The APGAR test, a standard newborn test developed in 1953 by Virginia Apgar, assesses an infant’s health immediately after birth. At 1 and 5 minutes post birth, the infant is examined and given a score based on the following criteria: heart rate, respiration, color, muscle tone, and reflex irritability. The term APGAR score is a mnemonic learning aid based on its inventor’s last name which stands for Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity and Respiration. By the 1960’s, because of its readability and effectiveness, this score was used widely across the United States. Now, it is globally used and adopted by most doctors and midwives.

This pioneering anesthesiologist worked effortlessly throughout her career to save countless newborns. Born in New Jersey in 1909, she became passionate about medicine in High School. She completed an undergraduate degree at Mount Holyoke College in zoology with minors in physiology and chemistry. She also played on multiple sports teams, reported for the college newspaper, acted in local plays, and played violin in the orchestra. Her teachers were astounded at her capacity to succeed.

She went on to attend Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (CUCPS) as one of nine women in a class of ninety. She received her medical degree in 1933 and began a surgical residency. The chairman of surgery at CUCPS highly encouraged Apgar to switch to anesthesiology. Anesthesiology, at the time, was given by nurses but surgeries became more and more complicated. This procedure then became a doctor’s specialty. Because the field was relatively new and unresearched, Apgar had the enthusiasm and grit to take it and run with it. And that is just what she did. In 1937, she received her anesthesiologist’s certificate and returned to CUCPS to become the director of the newly formed division of anesthesia and, in 1949, she became the first female full professor in CUCPS’ history.

This high position allowed her to research and study more in depth at Sloane Hospital for Women with laboring and new mothers. She soon realized that there was no developed way and standardized measure to asses the overall health of newborn babies. Mortality for children under a year old in the U.S. had been going down in this time, however, the rate of mortality for newborns remained the same. This was mostly due to the fact that doctors weren’t identifying the babies that were born at risk. Hence no necessary interventions could be put into play. This prompted the brilliant Virginia Apgar to develop the APGAR score in the 1950’s.

She went on, in 1959, to pursue a Masters of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins University and soon after took a position at the March of Dimes Foundation directing its research into the prevention and treatment of birth defects. She was one of the first people to focus on the effects that premature birth has on an infant’s overall health. Today, the March of Dimes still works to prevent premature birth and is one of their top priorities because of the legacy Apgar left them with. Apgar published over 60 papers and continued to tirelessly work and research until her death in 1974.

David Rose wrote, on the 100th anniversary of her birth in 2009, “Virginia Apgar was an irrepressible and charismatic champion for babies whose wit and lively personality captivated everyone she encountered in her constant quest for improvements to maternal and infant health… it has been said that every baby is first seen through the eyes of Virginia Apgar.”

 

Source: www.amightygirl.com

Baltimore Clinical Herbalist Specializes in Women’s Health

Baltimore clinical herbalist

Today on the blog, we have an interview with Melanie St. Ours, an author and Baltimore clinical herbalist who specializes in women’s health and mental health.

How did your clinical herbalist passion ignite?

Even though I’d had a lifelong interest in natural healing, I didn’t have the courage to turn to herbs until I ran head-first into the limitations of our current healthcare system. It was 2008, and by day I was working as a massage therapist at a busy physical therapy clinic in downtown DC where I was the go-to person for clients with chronic illnesses, trauma histories, and other complex cases. Even with weekly treatments, I could see that they needed more options and that pharmaceuticals often didn’t work for their needs. Meanwhile, I was getting sicker and sicker with Ulcerative Colitis — and was shut out of the system because my “pre-existing condition” made it possible for health insurance companies to deny me access to a policy in those days before The Affordable Car Act had passed.

Seeing the ways that the system can fail people — both those with access and those without — made me passionate about becoming an herbalist so that I could teach people how to care for themselves with the medicines the Earth herself provides. I think of herbal medicine as a powerful complement to the medical system. The combination of both approaches is incredibly powerful, and we all deserve access to the best of both worlds.

How has this professional journey helped you in pregnancy?

More than anything, my herbal knowledge allowed me to enter into pregnancy in great health. I’m convinced that being well-nourished and well-supported was a big part of what made it possible for me to conceive right away at age 35 and to have a pregnancy that’s been pretty comfortable and uneventful. I’m at 34 weeks today and still feeling good!

What has been the most helpful natural remedies for you while facing typical pregnancy ailments? Inflammation? Constipation? Decreased energy levels? Leg cramping? (Feel free to add any others)

It was a shock when I started experiencing constipation since I’m a vegan and am fantastically regular outside of pregnancy, but my favorite flax seed stool softener has been a huge help! (And I plan to drink this during labor and early postpartum to help make that first BM after birth as easy as possible.) If you want to try it, here’s the recipe:

Flaxseed Stool Softener
(from The Simple Guide to Natural Health by Melanie St. Ours)

Ingredients:

1 heaping TBSP whole flax seeds
8oz room temperature (or cold) water

Directions:

1. Combine flax seeds and water in a cup or jar. Stir until all of the seeds are wet.

2. Let the cup or jar sit undisturbed at room temperature or in the fridge for 6-12 hours.

3. After steeping it complete, strain the seeds from the water. (You’ll notice that the flax water is thickened and gel-like, especially toward the bottom of the glass/jar. This is what you want!) Drink the water/gel. You can use the soaked flax seeds in a smoothie or on food, or simply discard/compost them.

4. To prevent constipation, drink 1 serving per day. To reverse constipation, drink at least 2 servings per day — one in the morning and one in the evening. You can increase to up to 4 doses per day if needed, and/or use this remedy in combination with Magnesium to enhance results.

I hope this will help you get some relief in the near future! If you try it for 2-3 days and don’t notice much change, I’d add some liquid Magnesium (or Natural Calm dissolved in water) to the equation until you’re feeling better.

I understand you have written a book that compiles your professional journey as a clinical herbalist. What inspired you to write the book? What is your hope for the book after publishing?

Well, the book isn’t really about my journey as much as it’s a guide to help others who are starting out on their own. 🙂 It’s called The Simple Guide to Natural Health and is designed to make it easy for beginners to get the most out of all kinds of natural remedies including essential oils, natural body care recipes, healing foods (these are some of my favorite recipes in the whole book!), and homemade herbal tea blends, tinctures, and treats. We’ve already sold over 10,000 copies and I’ve spotted the book “in the wild” at Whole Foods, so really my biggest hope at this point is just that it reaches people and helps them to start experiencing how amazing herbs are in their own lives. This medicine really does belong to all of us, and I hope that my work somehow makes it a little bit easier for people to get started.

 

Positive Postpartum Affirmations

postpartum affirmations

Focusing on the labor and birth of your baby during pregnancy leaves many women unrehearsed for the “Fourth Trimester” and beyond. The postpartum period is a time that many women struggle with bonding, feeding, sleeping and giving themselves basic needs for an overall healthy transition into motherhood.

Continuing to speak affirmations over yourself after birth is beneficial in building positive mental health for both you and your baby. Below are several powerful affirmations that will encourage you as embark on your new journey.

I am a strong and capable parent.

I am able to balance all of my responsibilities with ease and grace.

My body will continue to heal.

I am making the best choice for my baby.

Challenging does not mean impossible.

I am so much stronger than I think.

I will take this one moment at a time.

I will try my best to enjoy the process.

I am doing the best I can with what I have.

My baby is being nourished by me.

I will listen to advice given but listen to my intuition above all else.

I am rockin’ this mom bod and I look beautiful.

I allow my tribe to surround me with love and support.

I honor and respect the instinct inside me.

My baby is a different human than someone else’s baby.

I know what my baby needs.

I trust the divine development of my baby.

My baby and I share a sacred bond.

Patience is the first lesson I am working on as a mother.

I will take the time for self-care today.

I will lean into my partner when I need help.

I will choose to be kind to myself.

I am beautifully and wonderfully made.

No one else can mother my baby better than me.

I can freely choose how to parent my baby.

 

Need Birth Affirmations? Click here.

The Golden Hour: Those First 60 Minutes After Birth Are in Fact Pure Gold

golden hour birth

The first 60 minutes after your baby is born are remarkably beneficial for bonding and attachment between mama and her new babe. What is the golden hour exactly? How can you maximize attachment and bonding in this hour? How long should skin-to-skin be established before those medical tasks and procedures are performed? These questions all point to this golden hour and its magical luster.

Congratulations! Your baby has been born. You have finally gotten a chance to gaze in their eyes for the first time after feeling all the pregnancy symptoms and baby’s movements. You are on the other side of labor and it feels so incredibly relieving.

That uninterrupted contact between mother and baby during the “golden hour” after birth is critical to the child’s growth and development. In the past, often times, the baby was whisked away from mother to perform all the essential procedures such as weight, bath, vaccinations (if consented by parents), diapering and swaddling. Mom would be waiting to receive her new bundle back once tasks were performed. Health care providers now understand and know that the more skin-to-skin mom can have with baby immediately after the birth, the better chance of bonding the mother will have and also the better overall experience the family will have as they embark on their new parenting journey.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends the following guidelines:

  • Healthy newborns should be placed directly “skin-to-skin” with mom until the first round of breastfeeding is established.
  • The medical caregiver and the nurses can conduct the first round of physical assessments on mother’s chest.
  • Conventional procedures such as weighing, baths, measuring, injections or blood tests should wait until after the first round of breastfeeding.
  • Baby and mother should remain together throughout the recovery period.

So what exactly are the benefits?

  • Giving birth generates changes in the mother’s brain chemistry and increases her desire to nurture. Taking advantage of this window is beneficial to both the mom and the baby.
  • Skin-to-skin contact and the baby’s suckling at the breast releases hormones that help the mother connect to her child and also encourages the uterus to contract and stop bleeding.
  • Nursing in the first hour, research has shown, improves infant survival rates and makes it more likely for the mother to continue breastfeeding

Expectant mothers can talk to their care provider about the standard procedures for this postpartum period. Your birth plan can also include these 60 minutes immediately following birth. Every mother and baby should have a chance to experience their “golden hour.”

 

Summer Pregnancy: Tips to Beat That Heat

Comfort in pregnancy can be hard to come by. Comfort in the summer while pregnant is even more of a challenge. This summer, don’t let that summer heat get you beat. Below you find several tips and tricks to stay cool (& hydrated) during some of the hottest months of the year.

  • Getting fresh air can be vital to your mental and emotional health when pregnant. But does the thought of that make you want to wilt? Try this. Do the outdoor tasks (such as walking or exercise) in the morning or early evening when the sun in lower and the temperatures aren’t as scorching. 
  • Your clothing can contribute to the heat your body feels. Try wearing light-colored clothes that are light and breathable. This alone can make a huge difference. 
  • Remember to stay hydrated. Sports drinks with electrolytes can help replace lost salt and retain fluid. Be mindful of sugar content though!
  • A spray bottle of water can help refresh your face and neck.
  • Quick showers throughout the day can drop your body temperature and help you to stay cool.
  • Take frequent naps, if you’re able. This is the time in life where sleep really is benefiting you and another little human you are nourishing. 
  • Ask for help if you’re too tired to cook or run errands!
  • Put feet up. This helps to alleviate swelling and also forces you to relax a bit. 

Being pregnant in the summer (or delivering your baby) means that you and baby are able to get outside a bit, which could be helpful in the postpartum healing process. Stay cool, mamas! 

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