02 Mar Dr. Christine Haynes on Trusting Your Gut in Pregnancy
Dr. Christine Haynes knows that health is an inside out job. That’s why she began her pregnancy adventure prior to conception, focusing on gorgeous gut health. I had the pleasure of interviewing the inspirational soul, as she awaits the birth of her first baby. Sharing many functional health and well-being conversations over the years, I just had to get the scoop on her pregnancy groove.
As a graduate from the University of Iowa with a major in Neurobiology and a minor in Studio Art, Dr. Christine went on to get her Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic. Her passion is working with babies, kids and women. Dr. Christine is also certified level II Reiki, and she enjoys yoga and ceramics.
I’m over the moon to share a slice of her journey today, plus a few gut health remedies she lives by.
1. I love to hear about what people are eating. It just fascinates me! What is your pregnancy diet like on a typical day?
I’ve noticed that my diet has changed each trimester. The first trimester I craved greens and fruits. During the colder months I really wanted those warming foods like chili and stuffed squash. Now that I’m late in my third trimester I am obsessed with citrus fruits. I recently found out pineapple is high in an enzyme called bromelain that helps with edema, inflammation and stimulates muscle contractions. Those all sound like great things for labor.
In the mornings my goal is to drink a small glass of water. Usually I just chug what’s left over on my nightstand to get my day started. If my hubby and I make time to cook breakfast we tend to have potatoes with herbs, bacon, and sunny-side up eggs on a bed of greens. Otherwise I’ll grab a few pieces of fruit and have a Raw Meal shake to take to the office along with my morning supplements.
Lunch and dinner are always different depending on if we’re cooking at home, having leftovers or eating out. One of my favorite meals to cook is roasting a whole, apple and lemon stuffed chicken in the oven with a paprika season rub and surrounding it with veggies. The veggies I usually use are sliced beets, purple potatoes, carrots and onions smothered in olive oil and herbs. We buy the biggest bird we can that way we’ll have leftovers for chicken salad. I really make this stretch by using the carcass to make a bone broth for the third day. Making broths is a world of food I’m just getting into, but I’ve heard it’s great for the collagen in your skin. I have a big sweet tooth, so after dinner I tend to make a cup of cocoa on the stove. My recipe is almond milk, two spoonfuls of cacao powder, vanilla extract, a pinch of sea salt, half a teaspoon of honey and cinnamon. You taught me that cinnamon helps control our blood insulin from spiking so much!
2. Ever since I have known you, you have made health a priority. You understand the body and that having well balanced nutrients has been credited to stave off numerous pregnancy related issues such as preeclampsia, anemia, gestational diabetes and postnatal depression. What are you doing to boost your nutrients and mineral reserves, and keep them balanced amongst you and Baby?
In January of 2015 I decided to do my first cleanse and asked you to help coach me through it. You were the only person I told that I wanted to help prep my body to be this pure, fertile ground before getting pregnant. Because of your coaching, I started taking supplements regularly as well as doing a 30 day Candida cleanse. I really felt great and ended up getting pregnant soon after. Since then, I’ve kept up with daily supplements of Vitamin D, probiotics, Omega-3s, and prenatal vitamins. I eat organic and avoid GMOs as much as possible. It gets difficult while eating out and in the Winter months when our farmer’s market slows down. Postpartum I’m having my doula encapsulate my placenta. For thousands of years, it has been used as a powerful part of postpartum healing. After birth pregnancy hormones drop severely which is thought to play a key role in postpartum baby blues. The placenta also aids in replenishing iron, proteins and hormones as well as enhancing the milk supply. It may sound gross to some, but it can be dehydrated and put into capsules. It’s not like eating a chunk of meat. Each woman responds differently to it, so I’ll let you know how it goes.
3. I am curious, what is the single most nutrient dense, satiating part of your pregnancy lifestyle?
The most satiating part is eating as much citrus fruit as I want and not feeling guilty about it. I know it’s sugar, but to me it’s way better than eating a Snickers bar every night. Fruit can also be high in protein and has very similar components as breast milk.
4. You are always cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Can you share a recipe you are loving these days?
My sister and I are tweaking a cabbage roll recipe into a Cabbage Bake. My hubby gave it two thumbs up:
- 1 pound of meat (I ground 4 cups of venison and 1 cup of beef suet in my Cuisinart)
- 1 medium roughly, chopped green or purple cabbage
- 4 Tbsp butter or oil of choice
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 2 cups cooked rice (substitute cauliflower if inclined)
- 2-4 shredded carrots
- 1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 cup broth of choice
- Cook the rice and set aside.
- On the stove top, warm the butter and saute the onions until softened. Add the garlic and saute for a minute.
- Add your the meat of choice as well as the salt, pepper, dill and mustard and cook until most of the pink has cooked out.
- Stir in the carrots and cooked rice then remove from the heat.
- Put a layer of chopped up cabbage on the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass pan
- Add a layer of the meat, rice and carrot mixture.
- Add a layer of the tomato sauce and spoon to spread evenly
- Add another layer of chopped cabbage
- Pour the broth evenly over the top
- Cook for 40 at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. So we often get together and geek out about gut health. We both know that Mom’s gut bacteria directly impacts Baby’s health and development. What are you doing to encourage a healthy gut, not only during pregnancy, but after too?
I’m continuing my supplement regime and recently switched up my probiotics. I’m realizing it’s good to it switch up at least every 6 months. Besides that I’m planning on getting barefoot in the garden this Spring and I don’t over sanitize everything like I used to. I’ve also switched from using Clorox cleaners to a mixture of water and vinegar which is much gentler on our systems.
6. There are a lot of factors in everyday life that alter or deplete the good bacteria living in our gut. Unfortunately, we don’t always have control over these influences. Can you share some lifestyle components that may put one’s gut flora at risk during pregnancy, and any tips you may have to avoid this from happening?
Antibiotics are the number one culprit to a healthy gut flora. Avoid these at all costs whether pregnant or not. If you feel that you must take antibiotics make sure you are taking enough probiotics and eating prebiotics to help replenish the good bacteria. Like I mentioned before, being over sanitized can affect us. Try switching to natural cleaners like vinegar, lemon oil and water that kill germs but aren’t as harsh on our systems.
Besides these, be mindful of what you are putting on and around your body. Everything that goes on your skin gets absorbed and your baby will have to process these chemicals as well. I know it’s hard, but try using less synthetic makeup, hair products, lotions and perfumes. It sounds strange but I can smell my mascara now. It’s weird. I love the products from Mother Love as well as Living Libations. And some of these products you can even order off of your website now too!
7. You have introduced me to the new trend of “seeding” after a cesarean delivery. Will you elaborate on this?
Yes, there is this discussion happening of how the baby’s gut flora is developed and affected by the birth process. The current thought is that the baby establishes their initial flora by the bacteria that colonizes their mom’s vaginal canal. During a normal, vaginal birth the colonization happens naturally. If a baby is born via cesarean section, it misses out on this process and will more likely become colonized by bacteria on the skin. This bacteria is typically different in ration than those found in the intestinal tract. So some women are opting to place a piece of gauze in their vagina during labor for an hour and then swiping the baby’s mouth and/or body soon after. More research needs to be done on the safety of it, but it fascinates me.
My midwife and I were just discussing if a baby born “en caul” would also benefit from this procedure. This means the baby is born in an intact amniotic sac typically happening if a woman’s water isn’t artificially broken during labor. This occurs more often than I realized as my midwife sees en caul births at least once a month. We also discussed how there has been a thought passed on that the baby is in a completely sterile environment in the womb. However, research is showing this may not be the case. This is even more reason to for the mother to have a healthy gut flora established throughout pregnancy. It’s exciting to see what research will teach us in the next 10 years on gut flora.
8. I believe so much of overall health and wellness starts in the mind. Therefore, how do you manage the stress and fear of all the information and different points of view on pregnancy? How has your gut instinct played a role in calming any “should” type of thoughts?
Each woman will go on her own journey throughout pregnancy, and yes, you will probably have some fear of if you’re making the right choice at some point. The best thing you can do is research what’s right for you and your ideals. Besides earning my Doctorate of Chiropractic I have also taken 14 seminars on the care of pregnant women, families and children. These seminars have been invaluable influencing my thoughts on health and wellness. I try to focus on the positive things I want out of my pregnancy and tend to shut out the negative. My husband has been so supportive and in those moments of doubt he reminds me of our ideals helping me get through the scarier moments.
9. What practice or lifestyle routines have you found work best to give you the peace of mind that you are meeting your baby’s needs, as well as your own?
First and foremost the chiropractic lifestyle of eat well, move well and think well has forever changed my life for the positive. I have no idea how any woman makes it through pregnancy without chiropractic care. Besides that I am very blessed to be able to experience prenatal yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, Reiki and great food throughout this journey.
I have also surrounded myself with an amazing birth team which includes my midwife, her assistant, and my doula. If there are ever any questions, I know I can ask them and get a response that day. Besides that I’ve got an amazing group of friends, family and my super, supportive husband.
10. I give you all the credit for getting me hooked on essential oils! How are you using essential oils and the gentle wisdom of nature to balance your system through pregnancy? How will they help guide you through birth?
To be honest, at first I backed off on using essential oils during pregnancy. I read contradicting information on the safety for the baby. As time passed I realized how much I missed using the oils and the happiness they brought me. I decided to diffuse only certain oils instead of putting them directly on my skin. If you’re going to use EO make sure they are pure and of high quality with no fillers. The FDA does not back the use of EO, so research if you think they are right for you to use. I’m planning on diffusing some of the “Holy oils” during my homebirth. These include Frankincense and sandalwood. During pregnancy you acquire this super sniffer, so you’ll want to be able to take away the smell quickly if it’s bothersome. Therefore, diffuse instead of putting directly on the skin or in a birth pool.
11. There are endless books, courses, podcasts, and things of that nature available today. Are there any you would recommend?
Right now I’m reading Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter. Check it out!
12. If there was one last pregnancy tip to share with GG readers about trusting your gut and obtaining that mama glow, what would you add?
Each and every woman is a beautiful, glowing goddess, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You cannot be perfect every single moment, but strive to make little changes that add up for the bigger picture of a happy, health baby and mamma. If you have a goal you want to achieve surround yourself with positive people who can help you reach that goal. Like I mentioned before, my pre-pregnancy journey started thanks to your help. Your knowledge and support to get through the challenges of changing was invaluable. Thanks Anna! Much love to you and the good people reading this.
Learn more about Dr. Christine and her practice here.