Baby Making & Beyond with Meg the Midwife - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

Podcast Episode #261: Baby Making & Beyond with Meg the Midwife

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TopicsBaby Making & Beyond with Meg the Midwife - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

1. Introducing our guest, Meg the Midwife [1:55]
2. Post traumatic birth processes [7:31]
3. Pregnancy, carbs, and diabetes [29:08]
4. Pregnancy, Hashimoto’s, and detoxing [46:37]
5. Coping with miscarriage [51:34]





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Baby Making & Beyond with Meg the Midwife - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Baby Making & Beyond with Meg the Midwife - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 261.

Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and along with today’s guest, Meg the Midwife Reburn, I created the online program Baby Making and Beyond.

My usual podcast partner, Diane, is a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and The 21-Day Sugar Detox. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and fur kids. And I live on a farm in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside Kansas City.

Together, Diane and I are the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class, and we’ve been bringing you this award winning podcast for 5 years and counting. We’re here to share our take on modern paleo living, answer your questions, and, like this week, chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at We’ve got a great episode coming at you today, if you are fertility obsessed, reproductively curious, baby-feverish, or anything in between, this is the episode for you because I’ve been able to wrangle a very special guest for today’s show. But first, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Diane Sanfilippo: Pete’s Paleo has opened a new location on the East Coast. Since they’re still operating out of San Diego, as well; this means local produce and meat coming from both coasts. And drastically reduced shipping prices. Check out their new and improved website, to take advantage of low shipping rates; and be sure to use coupon code 1FREEBACON. That’s the number 1; free bacon, and receive a free half pound of bacon with the purchase of a meal plan. Go to

1. Introducing our guest, Meg the Midwife [1:55]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, our special guest today is my partner in the upcoming comprehensive, evolutionarily minded yet modern life accommodating, scientific fertility baby birth program we are calling Baby Making and Beyond. Meg Reburn; aka, Meg the Midwife. Welcome, friend.

Meg Reburn: Hi there!

Liz Wolfe: Hi! Love talking to you.

Meg Reburn: I love talking to you, too. I’m glad you were able to wrangle me. I’m hard to wrangle.

Liz Wolfe: You are hard to wrangle, because babies don’t come on anybody else’s schedule but their own, and you have a ton of other stuff going on besides just that at this point in your life. So I’m really glad we nailed you down for an hour.

Meg Reburn: Awesome; yeah, me too.

Liz Wolfe: So, Meg is a registered midwife in Canada, and what makes her profession so special, besides catching babies, is that in Canada midwives work in both the home and hospital settings. So Meg’s experience not only expands the traditional to the medical, it also affords her the ability to see the entire spectrum of birth options, which affords an amazing sense of context across the spectrum of approaches to pregnancy and birth. And that’s something that’s really limited in the United States, because midwives; certified nurse midwives work in more medical settings, and certified professional midwives are generally not able to practice in the hospital, they can only practice at home births. So there is this big divide between the two things.

So this is a huge part of our Baby Making and Beyond project. Go to to get set up with updates for when it’s all shiny and ready and finished. But we’re really aiming to cover that full spectrum of birth and parenting options.

So, Meg. So people can get to know you again, since it’s been a while since you’ve been on the podcast. I think since our fertility tips, back when I was taking a little pre-postpartum leave from the podcast.

Meg Reburn: That’s right.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. It would be great if people could tell people about yourself a little bit, and your background once again.

Meg Reburn: Sure! So, as you said, I’m a registered midwife. I’m currently living and working in British Columbia, Canada. I hold a bachelor’s degree in health science with a specialty in midwifery in women’s health. I’ve been attending births since 1999, as a doula.

Liz Wolfe: Mmm!

Meg Reburn: I know! And then I became a full midwife in 2009, which makes me feel and sound really old.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Meg Reburn: But I’m not that old.

Liz Wolfe: You’re not.

Meg Reburn: I’m not that old. Not yet. I’ve caught hundreds of babies, though, both at home and in the hospital, like you said, and I’ve worked in all sorts of different settings. I’ve had a private practice in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, where many women would give birth in a small level 1 hospital or at home. But recently I’ve been working in a large urban hospital where most women are much higher risk, so I really do, like you said, I’ve seen the full gamut of experience and locations. Which is really cool. I’ve been able to benefit from both perspectives, and have complete familiarity with everybody’s experience. So you might see me with my elbow’s deep in a water birth, or you might see me scrubbed in an OR with a woman having a planned C-section. So I get to do all sorts of things.

I think that’s really important for women to give birth, first where it’s most safe for them, but also where they feel most comfortable. I’m really passionate about nutrition and functional medicine, which is what brought me to know you, Liz.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Meg Reburn: And it’s what’s also got me really excited about Baby Making and Beyond. All the research we’ve been doing for BMB has gotten me really jazzed on the nutrition side of my practice; so much so that now I’m working on my registered holistic nutritionist designation, and I hope to transition away from a few sleepless nights and a few less on-call hours, to doing a little bit more private fertility and nutrition programs geared towards pregnancy, postpartum, and fertility. So, you can look for that in kind of 2017 is my goal.

But when I’m not catching babies, studying, or working; which is why I’m so hard to wrangle, you can find me running around with the mountains with my handsome fella. I’m a big trail runner and rock climber, and love spending time in the mountains, just being outside in general; as long as it doesn’t involve camping.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Meg Reburn: I don’t do tents. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: What do you do then?

Meg Reburn: I do, well I’ll sleep in a camper with a bed, but I’ve spent so many nights in tents that I just; sleep is so precious to me.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Meg Reburn: As many of you might know, if you have small children, and I just have everyone else’s small children. Sleep is just; I just need it to be perfect when I get it. So, I don’t do tents. I will sleep in our camper, which is great. But.

Liz Wolfe: What about a hammock?

Meg Reburn: Yeah, I could.

Liz Wolfe: Would you do a hammock under the stars?

Meg Reburn: I could nap in a hammock, yeah. But I really like to be cozy; I really like to have my PJs on. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Like go brush your teeth in an actual bathroom.

Meg Reburn: Yeah! The whole thing. Or even, it doesn’t even have to be a bathroom, it could just be like; I could brush my teeth under the stars and then snuggle into bed.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} I feel like you’ve paid your dues with all the nature stuff you’ve done. One, you’ve paid your dues probably being in plenty of tents, but number two I feel like you’ve also paid your dues by spending the day trail running and rock climbing; it’s like, I feel like some people go out and sleep in tents to actually pay the piper there; they’re like, “I need to be outside, I need to do something.”

Meg Reburn: Totally.

Liz Wolfe: We’ll go set up a tent and sleep in it.

Meg Reburn: That would be a different experience.

Liz Wolfe: You’ve got nothing to prove.

Meg Reburn: I got nothing to prove. So anyways, that’s my caveat.

Liz Wolfe: Love it.

Meg Reburn:

2. Post traumatic birth processes [7:31]

Liz Wolfe: Well, so we have you here today to talk some very specific questions about birth and pregnancy and all those types of things. And I think this is going to be a really good lead in, since we’re picking up steam on the work for Baby Making and Beyond. I mean, obviously it’s been a long time since we first started teasing it, but you know, it’s more like an elephant pregnancy than a human pregnancy.

Meg Reburn: {laughs} It kind of is like an elephant pregnancy.

Liz Wolfe: It just takes a long time.

Meg Reburn: But you know, it’s the reality of two women who; one is recovering after her own birth, and is a new mother, and a birth practitioner who is also not sleeping and trying to find a balanced life. So you know, I think it just speaks to the authenticity of the authors of the program.

Liz Wolfe: That’s right. That’s right.

Meg Reburn: So hopefully people aren’t sick of hearing us talk about it. But it will come. These things, we can promise. It will come.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. Alright, so let’s start out with a question from Beth. I think we both have some insight on most of these questions, this one in particular, for sure. “Hi there; I have a question, but it comes as a result of a comment in regards to podcast number 246. I just wanted to say thank you, Liz, for sharing a small part of your birth experience. I too had an unplanned and unwanted C-section when my little one was born last year, and it’s still something that I’m grieving as his birthday approaches. I often find myself feeling guilty for wanting to have had my ideal birth experience; at a birth center, no medication, little to no intervention; and feeling like I should be happy that my son is here and healthy.

While I’m undoubtedly grateful that my son is alive, happy, and healthy, it is tough. I'm also very worried about my body’s ability to go into spontaneous labor if I should become pregnant again. My water broke 4 weeks early, and tried a pitocin induced labor. While I think this subject could be a book, podcast theme on it’s on, I’m wondering if you’re covering anything in regards to post-birth trauma in Baby Making and Beyond.” Meg, I will let you start here.

Meg Reburn: Oh, thanks. Well the first thing I would say to Beth is; man, my heart goes out to this woman. And yes, we do plan to cover birth trauma in Baby Making and Beyond. Birth trauma is a really form of post traumatic stress disorder, and I think it’s something we don’t talk enough about. I think, especially when women have good birth outcomes; and when I say birth outcomes, I mean a healthy baby; sometimes the birth experience is just kind of swept under the carpet and not discussed, and not given the credit that is due to it.

Birth is a time of real vulnerability, and it’s also when your brain can imprint experiences in a deep, cellular level. So it’s really important for women not to underestimate the needs to recover, not only physically but also emotionally from an unexpected and unanticipated birth experience.

So, what I usually tell to women who have had this experience in my practice is, first of all; provide a space to grieve and really not to judge yourself. Practicing just a little bit of gentle loving kindness for yourself and your feelings can go a huge way. And I know that sounds simple, but it’s really a hard thing to do. Mother guilt starts from the moment we become pregnant; some might argue a little bit beyond that. So giving yourself some time and space to be kind to yourself will go a long way.

I’d also make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with positive people who love and support you. You can journal and write letters. Whether you send those letters or not. To either your care providers, or to yourself, or even to your baby can be really helpful. And then a lot of other women have found it really helpful to have some things like massage, which could provide some positive touch; craniosacral therapy, which can help release emotions that might be stored deep in your tissues.

There’s another therapy that I just became familiar with called watsu therapy, which is also called water dance therapy, where you’re in a pool of water that’s heated up to kind of body temperature, and you’re kind of manipulated and moved around this water. It can be really helpful for people who have suffered from any sort of post traumatic stress response.

And then I’d also say that many women find having subsequent births; so having another baby to be powerfully healing. Every single birth is different. I can’t stress that enough. And every birth experience is different. And just because you didn’t go into labor this time, even with the pitocin, doesn’t mean you won’t the next time. And I’ll just speak to a little piece of that, medically. It sounds like your water broke a month before your due date, so in order for your body to go into a kind of an active labor, in order for the pitocin to work; which, what pitocin is it’s a synthetic form of oxytoxin, which is what binds to these oxytoxin receptors on our uterus and makes our uterus contract. If there are no receptors on your uterus, which is what happens when you approach your due date, then the pitocin is not going to be able to work. So, that could have been why the pitocin didn’t work; and going to full term next time, even closer to full term next time, might be able to get you into labor naturally.

Did you want to say anything else to that, Liz?

Liz Wolfe: Oh yes. I have many things to say. It’s weird because depending at what moment you catch me with a question like this, it will either be just deeply difficult for me to speak and other times it’s ok. I feel like I’ve been recording podcasts all day, I feel like I’m in work mode, and I feel like I can be marginally articulate about this. But I think podcast 246 that she’s talking about. I think I struggled a little bit with talking about it, and I’m sure she’ll understand just sometimes it hits you so hard and other times it’s ok, and it’s so odd because you think you’re alright and then all of a sudden you’re not alright.

Meg Reburn: Yeah, it can really ebb and flow.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. And I just want; ok, Beth, Beth I just want you to know how much my heart understands you on this. It’s so hard. I feel like the narrative is changing; maybe not the mainstream narrative. Maybe I’m kind of cherry picking because this is what I see; see talking about. It’s so strange; talking about this just changes my physiology. It’s so strange, we started talking about it and my heart started fluttering a little bit. Which is something I’ve actually been struggling with since the baby was born. I got it under control, and taking care of things, and seeing a doctor and all that stuff. But it’s that stress, that adrenaline, that is just almost an automatic, autonomic reaction. It’s so strange.

So I feel like the narrative is changing from “healthy baby is all that matters” to “the mom’s birth experience matters.” But again, I feel like maybe that’s the sample size that I’m seeing where as other people maybe aren’t experiencing that, and that makes me very sad. I’m always stunned to see the people I love and care about make comments on Facebook articles and in conversation that just show a total lack of understanding or compassion, and sometimes it even shows disgust when a woman has expressed sadness or regret or confusion over their birth experiences.

It’s just so important to realize that not everyone thinks the same way about birth; and how we think, so do we feel. The way we think about these things; it’s real. The way we experience them; it’s real. There is no right or wrong. Some people are ok with whatever, however it went, I’m good with it. They can accept it and move on. Other people, like me, cannot. Different people just experience things the same way, and this is ok. This is how we experience life. We all have our reasons. So some people, as the case with me, attach just incredible meaning to the entire birth journey, as much as we attach meaning to the results. And for me, from the beginning when I was even thinking about getting pregnant, it was like; I wanted to go through the birth experience. I wanted to have that because I felt like I would be birthing myself as a mother, and not getting that has messed with me so much for more than a year now. And it’s; this isn’t going to be encouraging, but it’s not getting any better.

So, I think maybe for me, it was all driven in part by the last decade of learning that the type of medicine practiced in obstetrics is not always evidence based, in most places.

Meg Reburn: That’s very true.

Liz Wolfe: Yes! Women being coerced into interventions, things that they don’t want. And sometimes when you’re in that place where you think, “Oh, doctor knows best, this is evidence based, this is exactly what I should be doing,” and you kind of give up willingly your power and your autonomy and your agency, it can be very easy to accept the result. But when you understand that maybe the landscape is confusing, or not entirely evidence-based, you start to realize that a lot of this is in your hands. And it can be very difficult to feel that you’ve lost control of something you’ve felt you should control.

So in a way I think there are benefits to being unaware of how many other options we have and how lacking some obstetric practices, at least in the United States, are. There are benefits to not knowing that; because, you know, sometimes I wish I was more of a twig in a stream. Just like, “Ok! This is what happened, it’s all good!” But that’s not me, and it’s not how I’ve been. I don’t know.

So a long time ago, I realized it wasn’t as easy as showing up and getting a baby out, however the doctor told me was appropriate. And I attached so much spiritual meaning to it and personal meaning to it that it just really messed with me having things so profoundly changed so suddenly. And understanding those layers kind of brought me to that point where I couldn’t just be a twig in the stream; I couldn’t give over the experience, and for me that ended up being both enlightening and empowering, but also limiting and kind of calcifying in some ways. And again, I’m not saying either conceptualization is right or wrong, I’m just saying they are different. And this is my thought process.

And because of that, couldn’t just shrug and say, “Oh well, nothing went as planned, that’s ok. Baby is healthy.” I wish I could, because the last year plus would have been much easier for me. I want everyone to understand; I want to shout that we can’t have this drive for awareness about postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety and PTSD associated with birth, and yet talk out of the other side of our mouths and speak without compassion or understand for moms who are devastated by their birth experiences, even though baby was healthy.

Meg Reburn: I think; you know, I’m just going to interject.

Liz Wolfe: Go ahead.

Meg Reburn: I think that so much of the way that we view the mother/baby relationship is separate; mother and baby. But really, for throughout pregnancy, and even I would argue into the first year postpartum, mom and baby are an inseparable unit.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Meg Reburn: And you can’t look at just the health of the baby as being the outcome; it has to be the health of the full unit. And if you miss that whole mother piece; I mean, I think that’s what we’re missing in “Modern Western Medicine.”

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Meg Reburn: And it’s one thing that, you know, if you look in birth cultures all around the world, there’s that connection between mother and baby that we’re missing, and we need to get back to so desperately.

Liz Wolfe: Oh so true. That gave me goose bumps to hear it. Such a good point. Because you have this almost silent suffering. And of course; the mom’s that are incapacitated by their depression or anxiety. That’s not me; I’m not incapacitated. But we start to think that we should feel normal. If we’re not totally incapacitated, then we should feel normal; what’s wrong with us? And that’s just not the case. There’s such a spectrum here. There are so many shades of this struggle. And you can be a great mom; you can be totally normal, function as a mother, and still feel incomplete as a mother. Starting with your birth experience. And that’s just so hard.

And for those of us that are struggling, there’s still that guilt we feel for feeling traumatized by an experience that didn’t actually yield any permanent, physical scars or any actual permeate adverse outcome. And I feel like; a lot of times modern medicine isn’t inclined recognize the remaining emotional and spiritual scars unless they actually slap the diagnosis on it; which is neither here nor there, I’m not offering any solutions to that. But other than compassion for people who are existing somewhere in the middle, because it’s really, really hard. There’s that feeling of wrong for not getting over a feeling of sadness or guilt or trauma or sorrow in decent time. I’ve said; I’m over a year in, and this has gotten no easier to deal with even now that I’m piling on more work and more obligations, because I feel like I should be over it, but I’m not. But I can only handle it when I’m ready to handle it. And I feel like giving yourself the gift of patience is so key. You’re not on a timeline, here. I’ve heard from many mama’s who have reached out to me through the podcast who have reassured me that there is no timeline, and that really helps. It just takes as long as it takes.

We talked a bit about; I love that you brought up stored stress in the tissues. And it just happens; I just recorded an episode with Diane earlier today, episode 259, where we talked about stress that you store in your tissues. So folks might want to go back and listen to that as well. And I really, really do believe that this kind of thing involves; the healing, the moving on from this, involves a really integrative approach to healing, like you said Meg.

Meg Reburn: Exactly.

Liz Wolfe: That includes …

Meg Reburn: Touch therapy.

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Meg Reburn: You have to release it somehow. You can’t just do that by talking about it; that’s one way for sure. But I think you also have to release it in different ways.

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Meg Reburn: It might not be; it’s not a cookie cutter approach. What might work for one woman might not work for another. But just what you were saying when you think about it and your heart races; you’re having a real, physiological response to a feeling.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Meg Reburn: So we have to create some sort of physiological therapy.

Liz Wolfe: Like a conduit.

Meg Reburn: Like a conduit, exactly.

Liz Wolfe: Something that opens up that door. I don’t care if there’s no published literature on deep tissue work; if that becomes the conduit for being able to release some of whatever you’ve got built up there; I don’t care what literature there is on it. Although I’m sure there is some.

Meg Reburn: Oh, there is some. Yeah, there definitely is some. And there’s years and years and years of different cultures having used touch therapy for generations and eons.

Liz Wolfe: And this is actually; we have a whole section in Baby Making and Beyond on alternative therapies and extra care.

Meg Reburn: That’s right; yeah. That will all be in there.

Liz Wolfe: So it will all be in there. So the deep tissue work, the emotional work, the time, the forgiveness. Counseling; and this is one that is the hardest thing for me; crying. Not a few tears, but a lot of tears.

Meg Reburn: Like a good ugly cry.

Liz Wolfe: Sobbing, ugly cry.

Meg Reburn: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: And that’s something that I can’t remember ever doing; and I still haven’t done it. I have such a deep set aversion to crying because I think; and this is something, I’ve also talked about this on the podcast prior, I’ve done a lot of work with my child on embracing tears and embracing her strong feelings and not trying to quiet them for the sake of stopping the noise, and confusing stopping the noise with stopping the feeling. And this is something that’s so translatable to adult life. Unintentionally, I think we communicate to our children; and a lot of us were communicated to as children, that our feelings were to be stopped. That they were not appropriate. So I just think there’s a deep therapeutic value to crying that’s sometimes the hardest therapy to access. And we talked about a conduit; sometimes a counselor or a therapist can be a conduit for that release. I think sometimes people don’t realize that counseling and therapy is so important; not just because they’re going to fix you, but because they become this tool for opening up your own detoxification processes.

Meg Reburn: Yeah, they’re certainly not going to heal you, but they’re going to help you heal yourself.

Liz Wolfe: Right!

Meg Reburn: And once you can tap into that ability to heal yourself, then you're golden. I mean, you’re on an upward progression that can only get better.

Liz Wolfe: So I feel like I was a little all over the place with that. There are also; I had this wonderful person come and comment on the blog about something that I haven’t been able to look into yet, but I certainly will. Because I’ve actually found; so I did a lot of work with Eliza Parker from Conscious Baby, who did some really, really cool work with myself and my baby when she was little, some work around crying, some work around some of the aspects of a birth experience that a baby might need to relive and reprocess. Babies are such deep, instinctual beings from the very beginning. One of the things that they miss, sometimes, in a C-section is that last push with the legs. That push on their way out.

Meg Reburn: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: And that was something I saw my baby doing a lot. You put pressure against the legs; I can’t explain it. It’s very woo, and it’s fine.

Meg Reburn: There’s a Facebook video going around right now; I don’t know if you’ve seen it, of this infant led C-section birth.

Liz Wolfe: I’ve not yet watched that, because it would be hard for me to watch, but I have seen it floating around.

Meg Reburn: It’s crazy.

Liz Wolfe: So that’s something; so for the baby to kind of give them the tools to re-experience something that’s very built into the DNA. But also in myself with helping the baby through that, I also felt like I needed to reenact the birth experience that I still feel like I was supposed to have and I’m still so stunned and speechless and paralyzed at the fact that I didn’t get to have it. I feel like that’s something I needed to go through. And something here; somebody left a comment on my blog, it was really, really helpful. Sarah Josey, I think. She stopped by and she left a comment; it’s something, it sounds really weird. Postpartum mother roasters; I don’t know what that means. {laughs}

Meg Reburn: I don’t know what that means either.

Liz Wolfe: I don’t know, it sounds kind of funny. Those who are trained as sacred postpartum mother roasters offer services to help heal birth trauma experienced by moms.;; I mean, it’s something that I’m going to look into.; she said my website so you don’t think I’m a crazy person.; J-O-S-E-Y.

Meg Reburn: I’m going to look into that; that’s interesting.

Liz Wolfe: Very interesting to me. And I’ve just felt deep down that I needed to re-experience my birth in some way; the birth of my baby in some way. And you know what, it sounds crazy, but I’m not going to beat myself up for a second for feeling like what I need is something other than what the conventional medical community would want to prescribe to me, literally and figuratively. You just figure out what you need and you seek that out. Because I; I had no idea there was a postpartum mother roaster available.

Meg Reburn: I just learned about that right now.

Liz Wolfe: There you go.

Meg Reburn: And I’ve been doing this for, feels like years.

Liz Wolfe: So figure out what feels like it would be healing to you, and seek it out when you’re ready. And again, I just want to say; I’m struggling with my C-section. That doesn’t mean that somebody else needs to be struggling with theirs. It doesn’t mean that you should feel bad about your C-section if you don’t. So I don’t want to put that suggestion in people’s minds that they should be struggling if they’re not. If you’re ok with your birth, and you are incredibly emotionally resilient, and you’re good to go, there is no reason to feel badly about it. That’s not what I’m saying at all.

Meg Reburn: Yeah, I think that’s an important piece.

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Meg Reburn: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Alright.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants, including me, I’m an NTP, emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. Nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants learn a wide range of tools and techniques to assess and correct nutritional imbalances. To learn lots more about the nutritional therapy program, go to There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia, so chances are you’ll be able to find a venue that works for you.

3. Pregnancy, carbs, and diabetes [29:08]

Liz Wolfe: This next one is from Shreya. It’s about pregnancy carb intake and diabetes. “Hi ladies. Thanks for your great work; here’s my question. I’m 12 weeks pregnant and struggling with my carb intake. Due to my history of diabetes before pregnancy, I was eating a low-carb diet; about 60-70 grams per day, mostly from vegetables, fruits, and some grains like steel cut oats or quinoa, and my diabetes was nicely controlled. Now, after getting pregnant, my blood sugars are spiking and I’m on medication. So, I need to increase my carb intake; however my body just can’t seem to tolerate any carbs without spiking my sugars; even carbs from fruits. Any idea what’s going on? How can I deal with it for the next 6 months? I know it’s too specific a question, but you’re wisdom;” This one actually came in for Diane and Liz, but {laughs} we’re stealing it for us today. “Thanks so much. PS I’ve seen an OB endocrinologist and they’re not really helping, asking me to eat 175 grams of carbs a day. My diet is vegetarian paleo with no soy and rare dairy, vegetables, fruits, eggs with yolks, nuts, and nut butters. Two to three times a week grains, and supplement prenatal, probiotic, vitamin D3, magnesium supplement. Weight 105, height 5’5”. Diabetes A1c test 6.5% on repeated occasions since 2014.”

I know Meg has a ton to say about this, but I’m going to just throw in my basic thoughts and then we can get into the nitty gritty with Meg.

Meg Reburn: Sure.

Liz Wolfe: So, nothing; again, refer to the disclaimer and remember that nothing we say should go against the medical advice that you’ve already been given. Anything that you do needs to be figured out with your healthcare provider, and what we say is just something that you can take to them and discuss with them.

What I wanted to say, first of all, was just to say exercise caution with vitamin D supplementation. And this is for everybody. Ideally, and this is one of the recommendations we make in Baby Making and Beyond; or we will make, once the program opens. Is to get your levels of vitamin D checked and also to get parathyroid levels checked; parathyroid hormone levels checked. There are a lot of things that work with vitamin D, and what do we need vitamin D for, which is calcium regulation and it’s deeper than just the level of your vitamin D supplementation. However, if you do test it, and you come out high; either higher than normal, there’s no reason to supplement. If you come out lower than normal, we need to figure out why before you supplement. So if this is something you’re doing just because you think it’s a good idea, and not because your doctor told you to do it, it’s probably a little bit more important to get a broader picture of your vitamin D status and your parathyroid hormone level status, and that’s something that I plucked directly from the work of Chris Masterjohn, PhD. He’s absolutely brilliant. He’s done some podcasts on vitamin D and parathyroid, and what parathyroid optimal suppression looks like, and why we want to aim for that. So that might be something you want to look at. Also refer to podcast 260, the Balanced Bites podcast episode 260, where we talk about vitamin D.

Another thing that you need to think about; I don’t want this person to tune out when I say this, because it’s so; hmm. I cast no judgment on a vegetarian diet at all. But when we’re talking about vitamin D, and we’ve actually talked with Chris Masterjohn about vitamin D from the very beginning of this podcast, and one of the early, early questions I asked him was; Chris, can supplementing with vitamin D actually cause disruptions in metabolism especially when we’re low in vitamin A. And guess what? Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid vitamin A, because of this kind of multifaceted, multipart myth about vitamin A causing birth defects, which we also talk about in Baby Making and Beyond.

Meg Reburn: Extensively.

Liz Wolfe: Extensively. But, vitamin A is a really important, I don’t know if counterbalance is the right word, but vitamins A and D work together.

Meg Reburn: It’s another synergistic vitamin.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. Synergy.

Meg Reburn: So they don’t work as individual vitamins, they have to work together.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. Absolutely. So vitamin A actually happens to be low in vegetarian diets; preformed vitamin A. so beta carotene, which is rich in veggies, is poorly converted to vitamin A, and vitamin A is the fully formed vitamin A. it’s not a precursor; it’s actually vitamin A that your body uses. So as a vegetarian, even eating egg yolks, which do have some good vitamin A in them, you’re still probably not getting enough, especially if you’re supplementing with vitamin D, because you’ve got to have those in the appropriate ranges. Make them available to your body.

So this is just one of the reasons, it has nothing to do with me just having this inherent prejudice against vegetarian diets; it’s not that at all. It’s just, where do we get these nutrients, why are they important? And vitamin A is also really important to fetal development.

Another thing I wanted to talk about; let’s see, I kind of skip around here on my notes, so I’ll probably come back to that in a second. But I do want to also make a note that a diet heavy in nuts and nut butters, and grains as well, is also high in polyunsaturated fats, and not necessarily the kind that you want for pregnancy. I talk about this in my book as well. Meg is big on DHEA and where you get it from. So seafood. And you’re going to talk about that, Meg, in a minute I think. But the polyunsaturated fats from nuts and nut butters can actually interfere with the metabolic cascade that we need to synthesize prostaglandins, which are important in labor. And they can also, especially in a vegetarian diet, we can have conversion issues to the end usable form that we want for healthy babies; DHA. We also need the essential fatty acid arachidonic acid; which is also part of the prostaglandin cascade of pregnancy and labor. That’s found in egg yolks as well, but it’s also found in liver, which is also rich in vitamin A. Wow!

Meg Reburn: Ta-da!

Liz Wolfe: Yay. So I love that this person is eating egg yolks, but we’re also missing out on probably the optimal amount of vitamin A, probably the optimal amount of arachidonic acid, and probably some iron as well. Which it’s just so; I feel like so many women go anemic; do you see that in your practice with anemia and pregnancy?

Meg Reburn: That could be a whole other podcast.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Meg Reburn: Anemia; it’s funny. They are changing the guidelines around how we’re defining anemia in pregnancy now, and we’re more looking at ferritin rather than hemoglobin now, because hemoglobin is meant to go down. But our ferritin should stay good. So we’re kind of redefining how we test for anemia. But anemia is a huge, huge problem in pregnancy.

Liz Wolfe: And, the iron from animal products is more easily absorbed.

Meg Reburn: Yeah. Which is the heme iron, than the iron you’re going to get from things like pumpkin seeds and tofu.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. Precisely. Now, vitamin C can help with non heme iron absorption, but it’s actually, we’re going to have a huge section on this, and I really should be talking about it now, I’m getting way too detailed now. But there is no physiological way that vitamin C can help with heme iron absorption. So this advice to give women vitamin C with iron rich foods is not exactly; that doesn’t mean that vitamin C directly helps you absorb more heme iron. Heme iron from meat is actually absorbed incredibly well; it also aids in the absorption of non-heme iron. Vitamin C doesn’t have any direct impact on heme iron.

Meg Reburn: That’s right.

Liz Wolfe: What vitamin C does is inhibit other factors that can interfere with other factors that can interfere with the absorption of iron. Usually in studies, it’s referred to as a mixed diet. But the thing is, people that don’t eat a lot of grains, people that don’t eat a lot of dairy with their mixed meals are not taking in a lot of the iron inhibition factors, like calcium for example, which can inhibit the absorption of iron. So it’s a little bit more complicated than just vitamin C plus iron, but that’s a whole other topic for another day.

Back on task.

Meg Reburn: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: As far as the vegetarian diet and the balance of fatty acids in this particular run down of food intake, we also need saturated fats, especially in pregnancy, from coconut oil and butter oil; a dairy product, butter oil if at all possible. If you don’t tolerate dairy well, you should be able to tolerate butter oil. Even as just a bolus with coconut oil in the morning, like a warm beverage, take some coconut oil and butter oil and put it on your tongue and swig it down. The other issue with the vegetarian diet that I have that, who knows, could very well be setting the stage for glucose regulation issues; who knows. I haven’t done the research there. But a vegetarian diet being low in vitamin K2, vitamin A, vitamin D, all of these fat soluble vitamins, which are critical for development, and this can also interfere with calcium metabolism, which is also really important.

So anyway, it’s great that the vegetarian diet eliminates the real offenders; the really bad industrial foods. But we can do better, and a more rounded diet, just with the addition of some of these things, like liver, iron rich foods, things like that, with more protein and fat will probably help mitigate the release of sugars in the digestive process ,and thus mitigate the spike. So I said I didn’t have much to say, but I said a lot.

Meg Reburn: Yeah, you said a few things.

Liz Wolfe: Take it away! {laughs}

Meg Reburn: {laughs} Not that; I’m not surprised.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Meg Reburn: And you know, again, I would have to echo what you just said. It’s got to be tough eating a vegetarian paleo diet and being pregnant. I also have nothing against vegetarian; my partner is a vegetarian, surprisingly enough, and he does really well on it. But again, he’s a dude who is not reproducing, and a good diet for fertility and pregnancy usually includes some meat sources for all of the reason in which you just talked about.

So while we don’t mean to push our philosophy on you, and respect the reasons why you might be a vegetarian, whether it be for religious reasons or just health reasons, or maybe you’ve just always eaten that way, it’s good to just kind of take a really good look and reconsider.

But we want to talk about her carb intake, too. Carb intake is kind of a huge topic, and it’s a big one we’re going to talk about in Baby Making and Beyond, and it’s another topic that I work with a lot of women one to one just to get their levels just right for them. I think it’s really good that she’s doing her A1c levels. Her A1c level that she gives us; I’m just looking at it here, it’s 6.5%. So I mean, it’s not really that bad. It’s kind of just borderline high, which is a good thing. It means her glucose levels aren’t sky high, likely due to her lower carbohydrate diet, would be my guess. And for A1c, A1c if you don’t know what hemoglobin A1c is, it’s a measurement of the glucose molecules that are bound to your hemoglobin. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, and those red blood cells are constantly dying, have about a 90-day lifecycle. So when we measure the hemoglobin A1c, what the test gives us is kind of an average of how much blood glucose is in our hemoglobin over about a 3-month period. So she was at 6.5, and kind of anything above 6.5 indicates a possibility of diabetes, so she’s right at that threshold. So I think she’s got room to work with it, as long as she’s working with her doctor, like you said.

A big part of; maybe I’ll just go into dietary and then I’ll skip over to other recommendations. But I think a low glycemic index diet, which is something that dieticians will talk about a lot, is going to be really helpful for her. Not going long periods of time between meals; so try to keep your blood sugar really stable. So eating every 2 to 3 hours. She’s going to need lots of fats, like you said, but also lot’s of calories. She’s a slim woman, and she can afford to really eat to satiation, and then maybe a little bit more.

I can’t; I get a lot of questions from people who are really into the super low carb or kind of therapeutic ketogenic diet with gestational diabetes, and it’s not something that I can really get behind just yet. I really caution women from going full ketogenic in pregnancy. While it can help control your blood sugars therapeutically pre-fertility; so for women who if they have things like PCOS; we don’t really have the information as to how it affects baby’s development during pregnancy. Some studies indicate that it could affect brain development; we don’t really know. So I never like women to go below 90 or 100 grams of carbohydrates per day, and I feel like even women with gestational diabetes who are being seen by gestational diabetes clinics, they usually recommend a much higher number of like 175, which I think is what she was given if I remember reading that earlier. So try not to get below that 100, 90 range in terms of particular numbers. People always like to know their exact number of carbohydrates.

Like you said, I’d like to see her increase her protein, which will help kind of blunt that insulin response of the rest of her foods, which can be tricky for a vegetarian paleo diet. Trying to include at least 3 eggs a day with yolks will help give her a little bit of extra protein, and it will also help give her baby choline, which is really important for pregnancy.

I also wonder if she would be into adding just simply fish. Like if she’s not into eating liver and other sources of meats, just adding some fish into her diet. Like you said earlier too, it could be really beneficial. She’s really not into eating any meat sources, just getting some extra protein; don’t chastise me for saying this, but tempeh would be a good option. {laughs} So tempeh is sprouted, fermented soybeans. And other prepared, properly soaked grains like buckwheat, lentils, or mugbeans might be a good alternative, just to help blunt that blood sugar response and give her a little bit of extra protein.

Liz Wolfe: Anything that smells awful {laughs}.

Meg Reburn: Yeah, I know. {laughs} Wouldn’t be my first choice, but you know, everybody’s different. So while those aren’t paleo choices, they might be good choices just to get your protein up.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Meg Reburn: I’m also not saying they’re the most nutrient dense choices, but they are choices. Other things; combining your carbs with fats, again, will blunt that insulin response of foods. So if you’re eating your quinoa, make sure you have it with lots of fats; so you can slather it with ghee or grass-fed butter, or even just mix in some avocado. Low glycemic index fruits like berries; you can eat those with some coconut yogurt or some full-fat grass-fed dairy yogurt. You said you did a little bit of dairy; that would be a good thing to include. Again, we talked about nuts and omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. If you could sub out some of the nuts with things like hemp and chia seeds, their omega-6:3 ratio is more like 4:1, which is a lot better than a lot of nuts, so subbing out some of the nuts for hemp and chia would be a good idea. Those seeds are also really high in protein, so that can help.

Also making sure you’re getting enough zinc in your diet. Zinc can help stabilize blood sugars tremendously, and is really good for women suffering from gestational diabetes. What else? If she’s doing oats, she can soak oats overnight to reduce it’s phytate content, and let’s see. Sunflower seeds can be good; they have some vitamin E as well as almonds, and vitamin E can help stabilize blood sugar. I think that’s pretty much it in terms of diet.

Liz Wolfe: Cool.

Meg Reburn: And then the other things that can help mitigate high blood sugar is stress management. When we’re stressed, our blood sugars go through the roof; it’s part of the fight and flight response. So when we get into kind of a fight or flight, and we’re stressed out, our cortisol levels go up, and our cortisol levels go up and they release sugar into our blood, which helps us get sugar into our muscles so that we can run away from the lions that are chasing us, essentially. So, really working on stress management can help lower your blood sugar overall. Same thing with sleep; when we are underslept, our cortisol is higher, so trying to get a good amount of sleep can be really helpful.

Liz Wolfe: Alrighty.

Meg Reburn: I think that’s all I got on that.

Liz Wolfe: I think we covered it.

Meg Reburn: Yep.

4. Pregnancy, Hashimoto’s, and detoxing [46:37]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, this one is from Kelly. Pregnancy and Hashimoto’s. “I’m pregnant with my 6th baby and found out recently that I have Hashimoto’s. I know that I have a Candida yeast issue. I’ve eliminated sugar, gluten, most grains, dairy, and peanuts, and I’m trying to do the AIP, autoimmune paleo protocol. My question is; can I do a detox and Candida cleanse while pregnant? The Whole Journey Cleanse. I also usually breastfeed for a year; can I detox and cleanse while breastfeeding too? I really don’t want to wait one and a half years to detox and cleanse; I want to heal. What advice would you offer?”

She’s 18 weeks pregnant, diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and is on Synthroid.

Meg Reburn: Wow. I wonder; you know, the first thing when I read this is I wonder if her Hashimoto’s was triggered by 6 pregnancy. She’s going to have 6 kids!

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Meg Reburn: Pregnancy is really taxing on every organ system in the body, especially the thyroid. And postpartum hypothyroidism is incredibly common, so I’m just a little bit curious as to if that’s what triggered it for her. It doesn’t offer her any solutions, but that’s just my curiosity.

Liz Wolfe: Well, it helps. It just helps to; a lot of times, like I tend to feel judgment with statements like that, with like; “Oh, I did something wrong.” No, it’s not that at all. It’s just putting together some pieces so we know where to kind of start the triage.

Meg Reburn: Yeah. And you know, it’s always nice to know the source of things, and then you can rebuild.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, exactly.

Meg Reburn: So, hypothyroidism predisposes you to having issues with yeast. So, hypothyroidism can cause low body temperature. So some people know that when they’re monitoring themselves for hypothyroidism, they might take their basal body temperature every morning, and those of us with lower body temperatures tend to be a little bit lacking in thyroid hormones. So, when our blood temperatures are low, our blood sugars will go up, and that can spike the yeast growth.

I don’t really recommend any sort of detox or cleanse during pregnancy. It’s just not a safe thing to do. Any sort of detox or cleanse can release toxins into your body, and when you’re growing a new little baby, it’s not an awesome thing to do. So generally not recommended.

However; Candida can be a little bit different, because Candida is not really a toxin. It’s just an overgrowth of yeast which is in our bodies everywhere, and all yeast overgrowth is; yeast is an opportunistic little bug that when our immune system is down, it will just kind of take over. So, it’s just kind of an imbalance, not necessarily a toxin. So it’s meant to be there in small quantities, just not in large quantities.

So I would say doing a Candida diet, without any herbal supplementation, simply dietary changes alone like what she’s doing could be helpful. I think you were talking earlier about just doing that Candida diet for a small amount of time; did you want to speak to that a little bit?

Liz Wolfe: Well, just throwing this in there. Some theories say that starving Candida actually sends it deeper into the tissues and kind of increases it’s foothold, I guess. It’s a very resilient condition, I guess. So if you’ve already tried a low sugar diet, and it’s not helping, you might need to try another approach that overall supports thyroid function, which is basically what you’re saying, because an overall robust metabolism can deal with almost any insult, and there’s like you said.

Meg Reburn: And I think when women have been doing these Candida cleanses and these Candida diets for a really, really long time, too, they can end up being really low-carb.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Meg Reburn: And we know as we’ve talked about many times before, and I’ve heard you guys on the podcast talk about when you end up going low carb for a long time, the number one organ system that suffers is your thyroid. So you can become hypothyroid, and then that feeds the yeast. So you get into this kind of vicious cycle. So really make sure that you’re getting enough carbohydrates to support yourself but also your pregnancy. And pregnancy is a time when we need to not be limiting our carbohydrates unless we have a specific condition. But you need to have lots of carbs in your diet.

And you know, the other thing she can do safely would be to increase your probiotics and probiotic rich foods. So probiotic rich foods could be things like fermented sauerkraut and full fat grass-fed yogurts, coconut yogurts. And then the probiotics that I really like to help with Candida are Prescript Assist, which I think I’ve heard you guys recommend before.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Meg Reburn: Which I really like, and another one called Hyperbiotics, which is a little bit cheaper. You can buy it online, and I’ve had a lot of clients have good success with them.

Liz Wolfe: Alright.

Meg Reburn: That’s all I’ve got.

5. Coping with miscarriage [51:34]

Liz Wolfe: That’s good for me. Alright, this is from Tammy. Miscarriage and how to cope after, both physically and emotionally. “I just had a miscarriage at 6 weeks; I didn’t realize how hard it would be. The doctor said it was most likely a chromosomal abnormality. What does that even mean? Is there anything you can do to prevent it? I’m just trying to wrap my brain around this. Should I get any testing done? Hormone testing. The doctor said no, that it was just bad luck and it happens in one in five pregnancies. I had a baby a year ago, and this would have been my second. I’m still breastfeeding my first and he breastfeeds frequently. During the time I got pregnancy, he was getting his molars and I was up probably every 30 minutes at night and drinking a ton of caffeine in the day so I could make it through the work day. I didn’t know I was pregnant at that point.

In the past year, I’ve had a baby, bought our first home, got in a bad car accident, and had some very tough family situations going on. When I got pregnant my first thought was, ‘my body is not ready for this!’ so I almost feel guilty. I’m also homozygous for MTHFR A1298c. Sleep is spotty because of teething, etc. with a one year old. I eat more of a Weston A. Price diet, and I’m working on not being a perfectionist with that. I walk as much as possible, and do maybe 2 strength-ish workouts a week. I’ve been trying to be easy on myself because of the no sleep and stressful past year I’ve had. I supplement with liver pills, Seeking Health co-enzyme Q10, Seeking Health prenatal, Seeking Health active B12 with L-methylfolate; vitamin c, and probiotics. My functional medicine doctor suggested those Seeking Health supplements.

I’m really having a hard time mourning the loss of this baby and pregnancy. I don’t know what to call it; I’m finding myself just crying nonstop. I feel like a piece of me is missing, and I can’t stop thinking, ‘why, why, why, why, why?’ I’m also afraid that this will happen again.”

I just want to send a ton of love; so much love to Tammy. It’s so hard; it’s so hard. I feel like the tendency in a lot of these situations, when you're breastfeeding, you’re not that far out from postpartum, is to blame it on hormones. How sad you feel, and all of that. She didn’t mention that that would be the case with her, that anybody has said that to her or anything like that, but I do just want to say; it’s ok to contextualize things against the backdrop of the hormones. Because breastfeeding, and especially when breastfeeding frequency changes can really bring on some swings that can affect you emotionally; but there is nothing wrong or off about mourning the loss of a baby or a pregnancy. It is totally natural to have a hard time with it, and that fear and that feeling is not wrong. Sometimes it just makes it so much worse if you’re feeling wrong about it. So I just want to send Tammy a lot of love. And like we said earlier; cry. Cry as much as you need to, as often as you need to. It’s very healing thing; I think it’s one of our inborn healing mechanisms. I think that’s why just this country is so sick in so many ways, because we’ve completely cut off that natural healing mechanism. But that’s a whole other topic.

So chromosomal abnormality maybe; your body knows these things generally and will let the pregnancy go. I look at this as an act if inherent body wisdom, but that doesn’t make it any less hard. I’ll probably sound woo in saying this, but I have always believed that the life that we’re blessed to carry isn’t just stamped out because it’s not born; because it’s miscarried. I really do believe that the same life will be born, but at the right time. And maybe that’s woo; I don’t know. But pregnancy is not just clinical; it’s not just medical. It’s a meeting of mind and body and spirit and whatever world these lives are generated through and it’s a joining of mind and body and spirit and I really, really believe that life, just like energy, can’t be stamped out. It just might join us at another time.

So, now everything else. There’s no judgment; there’s no “shoulda” and no intention to burden this listener with more guilt or sadness with what I’m about to say. I just want to look at the physiology here and suggest a few things for folks to think about so they can make decisions that are right for them. As far as the MTHFR mutation, you might check and see if your practitioner is listed as one of Ben Lynch’s I guess approved or registered practitioners. They have to go through a couple of Ben Lynch’s classes, and Ben Lynch is arguably probably the most, the foremost resource for MTHFR out there, and Seeking Health is actually his supplement line, so you might want to check that out; maybe you’ve done that already.

I generally, as someone who is not that well versed in mutations; this might still interest you. I look at mutations in terms of mutations plus symptoms, because not all mutations are necessarily expressed. It’s a potential that we’re looking at in some cases. However, a mutation plus stress is a red flag, and miscarriage can be an indication related to MTHFR. It’s definitely on the list of symptoms.

You’ll hear practitioners say that A1298c is not a problem unless you’re compound heterozygous; wow, having some issues there.

Meg Reburn: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: With one copy of 1298 and one of C-whatever it is, whatever the other one is.

Meg Reburn: I think it’s 488, I want to say 488 or something like that.

Liz Wolfe: Sounds good to me.

Meg Reburn: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: I don’t know if this is true or not, and I don’t think anyone with either known MTHFR mutation does need to really focus on; or I do think anyone with either known MTHFR mutation needs to really focus on alleviating stress and providing the body with ample folate and methyl donors on a consistent basis, since recycling of those donors can be impaired, and that’s really important in pregnancy.

I’m going to refer also, not just to, but to Chris Masterjohn’s podcast on methylation for a lot more detailed information; because again, I'm not a big expert. I’ll put a link to Ben Lynch’s post on A1298c in the show notes for more detail on that, but here you’ve got extreme stress, both mental and physical, and hormonal with the sleep issues and the nursing, plus the known mutation. I don’t want to anger anybody here; but, breastfeeding during pregnancy is asking more of your body; a lot more.

Meg Reburn: A lot more.

Liz Wolfe: A LOT more. You are building a person and you; you’re building a person inside and you’re building a person outside. And while many people do it, and it is a very attachment parenting kind of staple, it is certainly not ideal for everyone. I am an attachment parent in most ways; there are some tweaks that I’ve made based on, in particular, some of my feelings around our inherent stress release mechanisms. I think in some communities, this tandem nursing, this nursing while pregnant thing is regarded as this thing women should do; and oh, anyone who cautions against it is just anti-attachment and anti-breastfeeding and all that stuff. No. I personally am beyond pro breastfeeding; I’m still nursing, I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. I respect choice in breastfeeding. I respect pregnancy and tandem breastfeeding; but I do think we need to exercise caution and look at mom’s nutrient supply and mom’s stress as a limiting factor in making that decision. I’m not saying this is what caused the miscarriage, but I’m saying it could be part of why you’re body said it’s not time. It’s always something I’m going to advise moms to take some really, really deep thought about.

Frequency also matters. Breastfeeding here and there while pregnant is one thing, but constant breastfeeding is another, especially when that constant breastfeeding is compounded by stress and the hormonal effects of sleep deprivation, and that’s likely why from a biological standpoint that frequent nursing acts as birth control and intermittent nursing does not.

Meg Reburn: That’s right. Can I add in a piece here?

Liz Wolfe: Yeah!

Meg Reburn: Because it just makes sense at this spot about her lack of sleep.

Liz Wolfe: Please.

Meg Reburn: And with her MTHFR mutation, that mutation also puts her at risk for having really low melatonin levels. So that compound with breastfeeding really sets her up for poor sleep cycles, and then that compounds with the stress that she’s been having, and puts her at huge risk for just a deep kind of clinical depression. So getting some really good support through counseling is going to be important for this lady. Same thing with getting some light therapy; so avoiding blue light would be a really good thing, too, to help try to increase her natural melatonin levels. Although I don’t ever; I caution women, don’t ever take melatonin when pregnant or breastfeeding, because it is a hormone and it should be avoided during those times.

Liz Wolfe: That’s pretty much all I had to say, so, I know you have more stuff too. Please, go right ahead.

Meg Reburn: I just wanted to echo what you said, too about it not being her fault. We talked about it earlier in the podcast, but grieving the loss of this pregnancy and seeking support from your friends and family; telling them how you’re feeling and if you’re not comfortable telling them how you’re feeling, writing letters and journaling; I’m a really big fan of those two things, because they work. They work really well.

You’re doctor is right; I’ll just speak to the medical piece, too. You’re doctor is right, it’s between 25 to up to 60% of miscarriages, especially if they’re before 8 weeks, are caused by some form of chromosomal abnormality. It’s kind of nature’s way, like you said, Liz, of knowing which embryos will survive and which won’t. The risk of chromosomal abnormality goes up as we age, especially over the age of 40. So it basically works where the spindles that hold our DNA together; they just become weak and they break off, and then the genes become mismatched, or do something called translocating. And we don’t really know why they do this. Nature is imperfect, but when they do translocate, that’s when you get a chromosomal abnormality and the body can identify that and will often miscarry that baby.

Other causes of what can cause miscarriage; it could be thyroid levels, too. So again, like we talked about earlier; thyroid levels going down are really common postpartum, so it’s really good to get your thyroid levels checked, I think especially with the stress that she’s been having on top of breastfeeding, it would be a good idea to get her hormones checked, as well as watching her caffeine intake.

Caffeine, there are some studies that suggest that an increased consumption of caffeine can slightly increase your risk of miscarriage. Not to say that this is the case here, or to place blame or guilt on this woman, but caffeine can slightly increase your risk, so just watch out for that. It can also mess with your sleep, which is going to be critical for stress reduction.

What else did I want to say about that? And just making sure she continues to take her breastfeeding friendly, fertility friendly, nutrients, so things like B12, vitamin A from retinol; so having liver a couple of times a week would be really helpful. K2 choline and folate, and lots of dark, green leafy vegetables as well as grass-fed butter, ghee, and pasture raised eggs are all going to be part of supporting her recovery. That’s pretty much all I have to say.

Liz Wolfe: Ok.

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Liz Wolfe: Alright, we’re already rounding out an hour, so I think what we’ll do is bank another episode. We’re going to have Meg back to answer more questions about pregnancy and baby. So look out for that; we may just do a part 1 and a part 2; we’ll see. But that will be it for this week. You can find me, Liz, at and find Meg at We really appreciate your listening. Please join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast

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