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This month another in a long line of research studies linking omega-3 consumption of expectant mothers to baby’s brain health was published. The study found that pregnant mice fed a diet similar to the American diet, which is typically low in Omega-3 fatty acids, birthed babies with smaller brains and abnormal emotional development compared to pregnant mice with adequate omega-3 intake.

The two types of omega-3 that are important for baby’s brain development are DHA and EPA. The minimum recommended intake of DHA+EPA for pregnant women is 1400 mg per week. To get there, aim to add two 6-ounce servings of omega-3 rich seafood per week (remember don’t eat RAW fish during pregnancy). Because some seafood is contaminated with mercury, which is harmful to developing fetuses, it is important to limit intake to 12 ounces per week. You might also consider adding a DHA/EPA supplement daily, and replacing corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil (and processed foods made from them, i.e. mayonnaise) with olive oil, nut oils, or canola oil instead (because the former compete with DHA/EPA). It’s useful to note that while flaxseeds and walnuts are very healthful and provide omega-3s, they do not contain DHA & EPA. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, consider a DHA supplement made from algae during pregnancy.

Here is a great list of high DHA & EPA seafood with low mercury contamination.  Wild Salmon is a favorite, but personally, I think sardines are hidden gem when it comes to pregnancy nutrition. Six ounces of sardines contain a whopping 2200 mg of omega-3s (compared to 620 mg for a similar portion of salmon); have extremely low risk of mercury contamination since they are so small; and are very affordable! Try canned or fresh sardines in any spicy tomato sauce (think veracruzna, puttanesca, or diablo) or make a grown-up tuna fish sandwich replacement by mashing in a large bowl two 3.75 ounce cans of sardines (drained), 1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, 2 teaspoons drained chopped capers, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, and salt & pepper to taste. Or try this lovely recipe for Linguine with Sardines & Lemon from Bon Appetit (I recommend using whole wheat linguine for best nutrition).  You’ll be doing something great for your health and making sure your baby has the best possible beginning.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Lindsay Pasdera

Doula Care Benefits Everyone!


Doula: The woman who serves. This Greek definition best suits all doulas in all areas of birth. It is true….some doulas do more, but all serve to the desires of the mother as their basic function.


The doula benefits the mother by providing emotional support, comfort measures, reassurance, assisting the mother to voice her desires and a physical constant presence. The doulas presence and support help the mother have the best birth possible.


The doula benefits the partner of the laboring woman by many of the same measures. Support to: be as involved as they desire, have rest brakes, make phone calls, check in on other children. The doula works with the partner as a member of the birth team.


The doula benefits the baby by providing constant support for skin to skin contact and early breastfeeding. The help of this one more set of hands allows the family to focus on the new baby and assists with the transition of roles from mother and partner into the role of parents.


The doula benefits the nurse and birth attendant by providing assistance in helping the mother be as comfortable as possible during the birth process. After the birth the doula provides continued support as the baby begins to breastfeed. She often helps with pictures, nourishment, phone calls, family and visitors.


The doula benefits the hospital and the birth center by helping to provide the family with a positive experience.


The doula benefits the normal birth process by providing faith and hope in an environment that is often focused on machines and measurements that are quite foreign to the woman and her family. This support helps lower the surgical birth rate and thus, by avoiding the complications associated with surgical birth, lowers the risk of maternal morbidity (mothers having long term problems after birth) and maternal mortality (mothers dying).


Every mother deserves a doula!

These cookies make a wonderful gift to a new mama. Help increase milk supply while eating a delicious cookie!

Nutritional yeast contains complete protein with all 9 amino acids and loads of B-vitamins. Flax seeds provide Omega 3 essential fatty acids, Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, and fiber (soluble and insoluble).

For an even healthier cookie,  consider substituting half of the sugar for stevia drops (10 drops should replace half of the sugar in this recipe.) Half of the flour can be replaced with whole wheat pastry flour. For a vegan cookie, the butter can be replaced with coconut oil and egg replacer can be substituted for the eggs.

Happy Breastfeeding!


Ingredients :

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

4 tablespoons water
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar 2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup or more chocolate chips
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (be generous)


Preheat oven at 375 degrees F. Mix together 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal and water, set aside for 3‐5 minutes. Cream (beat well) butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mix well. Stir flaxseed mixture and add with vanilla to the margarine mix. Beat until blended. Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and chips. Add to margarine mixture. Stir in oats then chips. Scoop or drop onto baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment or silpat. The dough is a little crumbly, so it helps to use a scoop. Bake 8‐12 minutes, depending on size of cookies. Serves: 6 dozen cookies

Reprinted with permission of Noel Pickett Trujillo‐

Better Beginnings celebrated Breastfeeding Week at the Native Breastfeeding Council’s Wellness Walk. A 6k fun run along the Santa Rosa Creek Greenway started this annual event at the Sonoma County Indian Health Center.

Better Beginning’s no-cost breastfeeding in-home support and counseling programs are more important than ever!

A quote from the discussion on KQED’s Forum: “Human’s do not instinctively breastfeed, babies don’t know how to do it and mothers don’t know how to do it. They need support to get it right, and it goes wrong without help most of the time…Why would we walk away from this critical process?

-Bruce German, director of Foods for Health Institute at UC Davis and chair of Evolve Biosystems

This discussion on Forum today highlighted how popular breastfeeding has become and the challenges that families can go through if a successful breastfeeding relationship is not established. Breastmilk sold online is in high demand, expensive, and sometimes tainted with cow’s milk. It’s always much easier and less expensive if you are able to breastfeed your own baby, and many recent studies definitively show that breast is best. Breastfeeding benefits your child for a lifetime.




Better Beginnings invites you to…

A family-friendly fund raising dinner!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Doors open: 5:30 • Appetizers: 6:00 • Dinner: 6:30
Wine auction ends before dinner; other auctions after dinner

Advance Tickets: Adults $14; children 5–10 $8; under 5 free At the Door: Adults $16; children 5–10 $10; under 5 free

Also: Silent auction and baked goods sale. Donations for dessert.

Sebastopol Masonic Center; 373 North Main Street

For information or tickets:
Rosanne Gephart • [email protected] • (707) 902-3031

Dinner 2015 flyer

For years, I did not even tell new acquaintances that I am a midwife. I would say “I am a nurse-practitioner” or “I am an advance practice nurse”. “Midwife” is a loaded word….people have visions of earth mothers with crystals and baskets of herbs walking barefoot to the mudbaths to help women have babies, with the deep tones of the didgeridoo in the back ground. The average person has no idea what it takes to become a certified nurse midwife. They ask silly questions like “do you have to go to school for that ?”, “ What happens if the baby is Siamese twins?” OR “do you wear gloves?”. Sometimes it is better to just let the party conversation stay out of the messy birth arena.

I have been told I don’t look much like a midwife…..that I have too much schooling to be a real midwife…that I am way too medical….that I am not medical enough….

Everyone has a reason why they end up doing what they do. I was a 21 yo registered nurse who married a biology graduate student and moved to Utah. My choices were limited….I liked Intravenous Therapy…lots of chemistry, mixing up magic potions to put into peoples veins, but…they didn’t do much of that in Logan, Utah. What they did a lot of was birth! Everyone had 5-6 kids and their kids had 5-6 kids….So, my first job was on Post Partum…the after delivery floor.

A few weeks into the job a pregnant woman can in about to have a baby in the elevator….the elevator doors opened and all hell broke loose. Yelling (not just the mother) the father, the ER tech, the mother-in-law. The poor woman was half in, half out of the wheel chair….she could not sit down because the baby’s head was coming out. The nurse was trying to get her cross country ski pants down….but, since the head was out, she could not close mom’s legs together. Lucky for me, being a new graduate, I had my trusty, not yet rusty, bandage scissors and I had those pants cut off her before the baby tried to wiggle it’s way down the pant leg. The screams turned to “Oh, look how cute” and we whisked her off to the delivery room for the very orderly, sterile, doctor attended, birth of the placenta.

The next day, I was offered a job in labor and delivery! On this very busy OB floor, women had babies so often, that one of my nightmares was that women would come in to the hospital having babies and I would just find the moms in labor rooms and not know who they were ?, who was their doctor?, how far pregnant were they?

I learned a lot in Utah. Women know how to birth. Most of them need very little help. They need to believe in themselves and to have providers who are patient and ready to help when needed, if needed. The next steps were logical: childbirth educator, lactation consultant, nurse practitioner…….and, at last, nurse-midwife. 13years, one surgical birth, one forceps birth….and the SAME husband later….I arrived!

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