Nourish Mama by Sherry Rothwell
Nourish Mama, a nutritional program by Sherry Rothwell

Why Healing the Gut fosters a Healthy Baby

Did you know that your baby is “cultured“ at Birth?

As our babies are being birthed, they are literally being “cultured“ by our vaginal flora.

“The medical science shows that the flora in the vagina comes from the gut. What lives in the woman`s bowel will live in her vagina… in women with recurrent thrush, no matter how many powerful anti fungal topical preparations are used, the thrush always comes back. Until she gets rid of it in the bowel, she is not going to be free from vaginal thrush. But why does this woman have an overgrowth of fungi in her bowel? Because she does not have a healthy gut flora to protect her from this fungus and many other microbial invaders. This woman has a condition called gut dysbiosis. She will not only have an overgrowth of Candida albicans in her gut but lots of other pathogenic microbes, causing many other health problems.“
Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride MD, MMedSci(neurology), MMedSci(nutrition)

Babies aquire their particular microflora balance at birth through the skin, eyes and mucous membranes of their mouth and nose, as they descend through the birth canal.

What happens when moms have gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria in the gut)?

Mother passes on her own gut flora (for better or for worse) to her baby. The state of mom’s flora has the potential to either promote healthy digestion, immunity and mental capacities or it can compromise her baby’s health right from birth causing a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering for both. Click here to read the article ‘How to prevent colic, diaper rash (and more) in baby’

Besides having a history of antiobiotic use (antibiotics kill our good bacteria leaving no competiton to keep the bad or pathogenic types in check) there are many other digestive, immune and mental indications that we need to restore our bacterial balance (or inner ecosystem).

Here are some key symptoms:

□ allergies and food sensitivities
□ vaginal yeast infections
□ difficulty losing weight
□ fatigue
□ depression
□ bi polar
□ OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
□ dyslexia or dyspraxia
□ autism/aspergers
□ poor concentration
□ sugar/carb cravings
□ constipation
□ dairrhea
□ poor digestion and digestive disorders
□ acid reflux
□ sleeping poorly and night sweats
□ joint inflammation and stiffness
□ bad breath
□ gum disease and dental problems
□ frequent colds and flus
□ frequent infections
□ chronic yeast problems
□ acne
□ eczema
□ fungal infections
□ menstrual difficulties

If you suffer from 1 or many of the above symptoms you might be wondering how you can find the resources and the support you need to learn how to heal, restore or improve your current microflora balance, right?

Follow this step-by-step guide to improving your microbial balance in pregnancy:

  1. Eliminate white sugar and flour from your diet. If that sounds incredibly difficult or impossible, click here to read the article: How to get off Bread and Sugar-and by the way it is not your fault!
  2. Avoid natural sources of concentrated sugar ie: dried fruit, tropical fruits like bananas and mangoes etc. Instead include sour fruits like kiwi, berries of all kinds and green apples.
  3. Acidify your colon (good bacteria thrive in a lactic acidic rich environment)- eat plenty of cultured foods– start with the kid friendly ones if you are nervous about getting started.
  4. Eliminate all bleached, refined and deodorized fats like: margarine & vegetable oil food products like corn, soy and canola oil from your diet. Replace them with traditional fats like butter and coconut oil for baking and sauteing while using olive oil (raw only) for salad dressing.
  5. Alkalize your blood- modern people are often overfed, yet undernourished. Mineralize deficient blood by eating plenty of cooked green vegetables, crispy seeds, gelatinous bone broth and seaweeds.
  6. Take a probiotic pill with a wide variety of beneficial bacteria (10-14 or more strains) throughout your entire pregnancy and during breastfeeding.
  7. Upgrade the quality of the animal products that you consume to being antibiotic free, from compassionately raised and free range or grass fed animals.
  8. Drink, bathe and shower in water that has been filtered of chlorine (which is also unfortunately an antibiotic).

These practices must be adopted by couples planning to conceive, and by pregnant and breastfeeding women -and moms seeking to prevent common childhood disorders such as asthma, eczema, colic and tummy aches while promoting optimal immune health in their developing baby and children.

For people who don’t have severe digestive problems or a long history of antibiotic use, the aforementioned recommendations will be adequate to restore the gut flora in most cases.

However, in more severe situations such as autism, IBS and other chronic or persistent cases of digestive distress and mental illness, the family must in addition adhere to a grain free diet for 6 months to 2 ½ years to restore the gut back to its optimal state of health.

For more information about how to get started on that path check out our private consulting services or ‘Getting Started with GAPS’ e-course.

Want to learn more?
1) Watch Dr. Natasha Campbell Mc Bride chat about gut health.

What should you do now, if you didn’t know about this before having your kids? These same steps apply for anyone who suffers from microbial imbalance. It is never too late to improve your own and your family’s health!

Want to learn more and how to make cultured foods at home that please even the kids (and kids at heart)? If you said yes, then check out our Cultured Kids e-course page where we show you a video of how we transform a standard North American lunch into a wholesome probiotic feast!!!


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Trust birth: reclaiming our daughter’s birth freedom

The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world. “Charles Malik

If I had one wish for humanity, I would want our generation of women to leave a new legacy in childbirth.

And I would want all of us; mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles, cousins and neighbors to be part of the conversation -because the way that women give birth today affects the future for all of us.

What I mean by that is -the way that we give birth to our children sets the tone for how they will relate to life -fostering a blueprint for the kind of world they will go on to create- not only for the coming generations, but in terms of how they will go on to care for our own generation as we embark upon our elder years.

Are we becoming hardwired for pain?

We are literally being wired at birth for pain and it’s making life harder than it need to be, for all of us.

According to research coming out of the field of pre and perinatal psychology, as adults we continue to relive many of the same patterns of pain, suffering and abandonment that we experienced at birth and during childhood (later projecting these hardships into each and every new life experience until the unconscious beliefs patterns are finally resolved or healed).

Have you ever wondered what impact it has on the soul’s essence, when our very first experience of what it means to be human – our first impression of what life on earth holds for us-  is met with pain and suffering?

Today many if not most of our children are born in some type of fear, pain or trauma (think drugs, forceps, c-section, hands pulling on their neck and head, vacuum extractor, fetal scalp electrode, resuscitation, being handled poorly, being taken away from mother, weighing on cold scale, loud jarring noises, circumcision etc.).

According to Bruce Lipton, cellular biologist and author of the Biology of Belief, this unresolved pain and trauma closes down our babies ability to live fully open and in growth mode. Instead  we become wired for constriction and living in protection mode- a state that keeps us from being able to fully grow into our brilliance and from expressing our gifts in the world without the difficulty of unconscious negative and self limiting childhood patterning getting in the way.

How we are born is shaping the way that we live and die: institutionalized…

Today most of us were born in institutions (hospitals), raised in them (think schools), live in them (old age) and die in them (full circle), but what about taking our lives and communities back into our own hands, starting with birth?

What if instead we embraced birth as a community and supported women to rise up and reclaim their immense feminine power to vision, nurture and to protect the coming generations, so that they could feel empowered to explore pregnancy, birth and motherhood without  feeling fearful, alienated and self-consciousness about their capability to birth naturally, breastfeed and nurture their babies?

As a community we need to come together to take a stand for gentle birth practices so that our babies do not suffer- because if we don’t, who will? Mothers can’t do this alone. They need the support of their families and communities if they are to take a different path.

But, can we really trust and reclaim birth at this point- or is it just a pipe dream that birth even has the potential to be so much more than just something we ‘have to do’ to have a baby?

If we want to find out, we are going to have to not only rediscover birth, but also reclaim responsibility and our trust in life as a community of people.

Reclaiming birth from the ‘experts’

It’s time to take birth back from the territory of experts and back into the heart and hands of our families and communities.

But are we qualified? Isn’t birth dangerous without medical intervention?

The truth is, I believe that we can trust birth if we don’t interfere with it.

According to some leading thinkers in birth physiology, most of the pain and suffering in modern childbirth is created by fear, irreverent use of technology and it’s accompanying cascade of interventions -but trauma is not itself intrinsic to childbirth.

The more I witnessed the difference between unattended births, homebirths with Midwives and hospital births (as a Doula) and continued to study birth physiology – the interplay of hormones, body structures (tissues, ligaments and bones), instincts, consciousness (internal environment) and the birth space (external environment) for their effect on labour and birth- the more I have come to understand that to be true.

While exploring childbirth history I also came to discover that the beliefs we carry about birth are based on misunderstandings with many crucial pieces of the puzzle missing.

Sure it is true that many women died in childbirth due to infection before the advent of antibiotics, but what you might not know is that doctors used to place their fingers into the birthing woman’s vagina after coming directly from the morgue where they had been performing autopsies on victims of puerperal fever (without washing their hands in between). 

Clearly, birth isn’t uniquely prone to infection, but it is what we do to birth (and where we give birth) that makes us susceptible to certain scenarios and health concerns.

When we look at birth from a systems perspective it becomes apparent that it is the structures of the system itself that perpetuates the need for surgery and technology. As just one example, doctors who attend most of the births that take place in North America are obstetricians- doctors who specialize in surgery – and so it is natural that they should have a conscious or unconscious drive to use their skills in surgical birth -it is what they went to school to learn and were trained for. 

Increasing Cesarean rates reflect just how distant we have become from trusting the inherent wisdom of our own bodies. In 1965 the cesarean rate was 4.5 % and now it ranges up to 60% (and beyond) in some hospitals.

With 60% c-section rates becoming ‘normal’ we have to wonder- have women become incapable of giving birth?

Research from the physiological birth sciences, much of which is outlined beautifully in Dr. Sarah Buckley’s article ‘the hormonal blueprint of labour‘, shows that we women are in fact very well equipped to give birth.

So what on earth is going on then?

According to obstetrician Michel Odent who coined the words ‘undisturbed birth’- interference in childbirth with unnecessary protocol and inhibitory birth environments keeps the consciousness of the labouring woman from being able to descend into an instinctive and primal awareness of how to open to the birth experience.

He insists that safe birth practices must be centered around facilitating birth physiology (not the other way around with labour boxed into birth practices and parameters that are convenient or comfortable for the care provider).

From the physiological birth paradigm, what we don’t do and how we approach and prepare the birthing environment is what prevents birth complications- not one simplified squeaky clean hospital or home birth protocol applied to all labours.

Thanks to the research of Dr. Sarah Buckley and Dr. Michel Odent we now have a new lens with which to view childbirth- the physiological paradigm where labours and birth are not interfered with as a matter of course.

Unfortunately women seeking care under the physiological paradigm are often hard-pressed to get it where even midwifery care is regulated and medicalized.

Birth freedom: How to make the shift

It seems that we are losing our basic womanly right to birth where we want, with whom we want and without intervention- but are we taking notice and who is responsible?

What we need now is to create a whole new paradigm of childbirth if we want to preserve our daughter’s birth freedom.

The more we make a study of birth physiology, the more apparent it will become that undisturbed birth is safe when women are healthy.

As pregnant and experienced birthing mothers and grandmothers we need to become responsible for reclaiming birth wisdom for our daughters and grand daughters– so that they are not misled by the paradigm of fear in birth.

How are they to know any different if we don’t show them? How will they remember birth wisdom if we don’t reclaim it for ourselves?

What kind of future will we create for our grandchildren if we continue to allow mother’s and babies to be drugged up, under nurtured and harmed by dangerous birth practices?

If our daughters and grand babies have to face the same conditions or worse in 20 years, then not only did we their mother’s and grandmothers suffer in vain -but the truth is we are the ones responsible.

In the words of wise women, Jeannine Parvati Baker, “When we take our journey in life, inevitability we’re gonna trip on a rock, here or there. We must as a people, stop, pick up that rock, and remove it from the path, so that those who come behind us won’t trip also. If we neglect to stop and pick up that rock in the road, anyone who follows after us and hurts themselves…. it becomes our responsibility to care for them… picking the road clean of obstacles, our sisters, our daughters, our granddaughters who come behind us will have a clear road to birth”.

Today we have made birth the territory of ‘experts’ and ‘authority’. The information that is being passed down to us from the experts, namely that birth is dangerous and that it requires medical intervention is actually the truth -when we interfere with it.

We need to start asking: How much safer could birth be, if we simply created the right conditions for birth and then left it alone?

We need to return to a study of the basic needs of the labouring woman if we want childbirth practices to be centered on the well being of mother’s and babies- that is self evident.

We must also think critically about modern birthing practices. Who or what are they intended to serve (hospital systems and structures, big pharma, big egos, the clocks, convenience etc.)? Do modern birthing practices create the very conditions they profess to solve?

Mother as expert…

So who can we turn to when we want to know the truth about unhindered childbirth, and about how to create the kind of conditions that are needed in the birth environment to prevent interference with the natural and normal physiology of a healthy labouring woman?

If we want to know how to create an undisturbed birth, the only logical way to do that is to learn from the people who have done it themselves and who are still doing it – not from ‘experts’ who have never themselves experienced or facilitated an undisturbed birth.

A quick google search of the words ‘undisturbed birth‘, ‘waterbirth‘, ‘lotus birth’, ‘unassisted birth‘, ‘ecstatic birth‘, ‘Sacred Birthing’ or ‘orgasmic birth‘ will surely lead you toward the wisdom of the kind of people who really trust birth.

In contrast, there is a huge volume of fear based information about birth coming at us from every angle (caregivers, TV shows, media, internet).

If we want to create a different kind of birth experience than what is commonly experienced today, we have to switch stations altogether (away from experts) and turn up the volume on the real experts -the experienced mothers who are sharing with us how they actually have facilitated safe, gentle, ecstatic and even orgasmic births!

It will only be possible for each one of us, if we turn our awareness toward voices that speak trust and then open our mind and hearts to that potential.

The truth is that nothing that we do from a place of resistance, fear or dread turns out well, so why would birth be any different? We have to start giving birth from a place of inspiration if we want to create a new birth ‘herstory’ for our daughters.

It is equally important to surround ourselves locally with people who live and breathe trust in birth- having access to a community of people who really walk their talk- women friends, Doulas and Midwives who believe in your inherent capacity as a woman to give birth and trust you to know what kind of care will best serve you.

When we make different choices in this world -ones that are apart from the mainstream, it is so essential to spend time in the presence of people who support us so that we are not swayed by the fear-based consciousness that permeates childbirth.

Personally, I want a world where my daughter is considered capable and intelligent enough to make her own decisions about her body and her baby – a world where she is free to choose who she wants council and birth support from– if she wants it at all.

Given the fact that less than 1% of women in the US give birth at home and that it still remains next to impossible to get a Midwife here in Manitoba (never mind one who is free to practice without vaginal exams and a doppler in labour), I for one refuse to stand idly and watch the last of my daughter’s birth freedoms slip away.

What about you? Are you ready to start picking up ‘the rocks in the road’ for our daughters and grandbabies?

If you want to be part of continuing the conversation about expanding birth choices for our daughters and creating solutions where challenges stand in the way, join me at the Trust Birth Conference so that we can all reclaim birthing wisdom together!

This conversation isn’t just for mothers to be, Midwives and Doulas, it is a conversation for all women. Losing our birth freedom is just one of the many freedoms that we stand to lose if we don’t take a stand for it now.

Join me at the Birth Freedom Seminar at the Trust Birth Conference. Check out this description from the website on the Birth Freedom Seminar by Carla Hartley founder of the Ancient Art Midwifery Institute!

“The Birth Freedom Seminar is about restoring Constitutional Liberty.  It’s not just about birth.  If they can strip away this most basic of freedoms, what else is next?  If you are ready to stand up against the ever increasing theft of Constitutional Liberty, then join us for an exciting and empowering day of motivational and informative speakers.  Our speakers for the day include ….long-time midwives who have served mothers even when it wasn’t politically correct, an attorney who fights on the front lines for women to have VBACS, a midwife educator who refuses to sacrifice parental freedom for expediency, and me (Carla Hartley), someone who is just bold enough to think that it is not too late to fight for freedom.”  Click here to learn more.


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How to prevent colic before birth

Have you ever wondered why so many babies and children these days seem to suffer from a variety of types of digestive distress such as colic, rashes, diarrhea or constipation?

In order to shed some light on this phenomenon, we have to understand the importance of good digestion and “intestinal integrity” in the mother, father and baby.

Few people understand that it is crucial that mother`s and father`s attend to their inner ecosystem (the microbial balance in their bodies) as important preparation for conception and childbirth.

Most of us are aware that probiotics like those found in yogurt are “good for us“, but unfortunately many of us are not aware of their specific impact in terms of building a strong basis of heath, good digestion and optimal immunity for ourselves and our babies and children. Since we haven’t understood what the consequences are, or what is at stake, we often overlook the health of our gut when we are preparing our bodies to conceive or to give birth to a child.

Did you know that babies are born sterile and establish their inner ecosystem, only once they enter the world?

So then how does a baby acquire his /her unique microflora you might wonder? Many people are shocked to discover that babies are “cultured” by their mama’s vaginal microflora as they make their descent into this world!

So what this means is, if mama’s microflora is imbalanced (mother’s vaginal microflora is established by her gut microflora), then baby will begin life with compromised digestive and immune capacity. What is even less understood is that the state of the father’s inner ecosystem also contributes to baby’s health, since during the act of making love, the father is passing on his unique flora ratios and shaping the nature of the mother’s microflora as well!

If one or both parents have a history of digestive problems, allergies, PMS, mental health issues such as depression or anxiety or learning disorders such as dyslexia or ADD/ADHD, then baby starts life out with compromised microflora- making him or her more susceptible than others to digestive, immune and mental/emotional discomforts as they continue to grow and develop.

As a result, baby is at risk for developing colic and other digestive distresses that could have been prevented by the parents taking care to restore their inner ecosystem during the pre-conception and pregnancy period.

So what can parents and parents-to-be do? How do we restore our gut flora?

First we have to eliminate those things that kill our good microflora or feed pathogenic bacteria:
1) We must eliminate all refined and even natural sources of concentrated sugar and flour from our diets as these types of refined forms of sugar feed the pathogenic flora that create toxicity and inflammation in our gut.
2) We must upgrade the quality of the animal products that we consume to being antibiotic free, from compassionately raised and free range or grass fed animals.
3) We can drink, bathe and shower in water that has been filtered of chlorine (which is an antibiotic).

Next we have to make the following additions to our diet:
1) Cultured foods (add 24 hour brewed homemade yogurt, kefir milk, cultured vegetables, kefir water etc.)
2) Alkalize our blood with mineral rich foods such as cooked greens, seaweeds and bone broth.
3) Take at least 6 months of supplementation with a broad spectrum probiotic supplement containing 14 or more different strains of beneficial bacteria.

The aforementioned practises must be adopted by couples planning to conceive, and by pregnant and breastfeeding women for anyone seeking to prevent common childhood disorders such as asthma, eczema, colic and tummy aches while promoting optimal immune health in the developing baby and child.

For people who don’t have severe digestive problems or a long history of antibiotic use, the aforementioned recommendations will be adequate to restore the gut flora in most cases.

However, in more severe situations such as autism, IBS and other chronic or persistent cases of digestive distress and mental illness, the family must in addition adhere to a grain free diet for 6 months to 2 ½ years to restore the gut back to its optimal state of health.

For more information about how to get started on that path check out these resources..


As a certified GAPS practitioner, I can help. Book a session here to speak with me about your unique situation.

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Exploring the Significance of Pregnancy and Birth

As you carry your beautiful Buddha belly have you stopped to acknowledge that you hold the future of humanity in your sacred womb and gentle heart? The late Midwife, Jeannine Parvati Baker brought us the insight that we can indeed “heal the earth by healing birth”.  As mothers we carry a sacred potential to be healers of the world through the power of giving birth.

While we may be intitially focused on creating a great birth experience to protect the health and well-being of our baby, in time it becomes appharent to the seeking mother, that the way we give birth has vast and far reaching impacts on humanity at large.

Where we look for answers and feedback about our choices in birth, reflects our deepest values conscious and unconscious. By looking closer at our choices and their subsequent impact on our baby and society at large, we have a unique opportunity for insight, inner growth and expansion of our power as pregnant women.

Many women are beginning to harness the transformational power of birth and motherhood as a time to consciously “evolve”. They are harnessing the momentum of change, to question and recreate many aspects of their lives with much greater reflection and attention than they ever have before. Many new mothers today are looking more closely at how they can align their choices and actions with their deeply felt values. They are living in the question of their incongruencies and “sitting with” how they can come into greater alignment within their inner selves. This new and upcoming generation of mothers, are longing to feel the peace that comes with no longer making choices that conflict with their true inner values and they are finding the courage they need to take the actions needed to come into alignment with their souls longing.

How much value or significance do you place on the responsibility you carry as being the vessel for bringing a new soul onto the planet? 

Few stop to ponder the irony that many people will go into debt for wedding expenses (most of which is to entertain and impress others, but only lasts one day!), and then bemoan the price of paying for the gentle midwifery or holistic Doula care that leads to upholding the sanctity of one of the most precious days of their lives, the birth of their own child.

How much are you willing to investing into creating a beautiful and sacred journey of pregnancy and birth, whether it be research, time, money, self care or all of the above? Do you agree that your baby’s birth has at least as great significance as celebrating the love and commitment between two lovers, if not more? After all, partners come and go, but motherhood is forever!

Have you wondered how you can infuse greater consciousness into this sacred rite of passage as you are prepare to partner with the creator to bring a new soul to the planet? Do you wonder what mission does your child have in the conscious evolution of the planet? How will you ensure that your child’s first experience of the world, namely his or her birth is one where he/she feels welcomed, embraced and unharmed by medical technology?

We are coming to an age where we can no longer assume ownership of our children. We must  also question how our choices affecting the incarnating soul, in turn affects the planet at large. What kind of birth do you want for this child? How will your child’s first embarkation with life mark his/her soul? What patterns are being wired in your child’s brain even now while in the womb?

As conscious parents, we must begin to ask ourselves how our actions, feelings, experiences and intentions are affecting our womb baby…”parenting begins before conception”(Carista Luminare-Rosen)

Our Birth is Significant for Life

It was once thought that the newborn does not feel pain, and that their amnesia about their own births meant that we need not concern ourselves with how they feel. Science has long proved that premise false (while we mothers have always known that our babies feel, for we can feel right into their feelings)!

“The truth is, much of what we have traditionally believed about babies is false. We have misunderstood them and underestimated their abilities. They are not simple beings, but complex and ageless-small creatures with unexpectantly large thoughts.” David Chamberlain, Ph.D.

In fact, the field of pre and perinatal psychology is telling us that the moment of a child’s birth has great significance for the rest of their lives, setting up unconscious patterns that play out again and again to call our attention to their need for healing and resolution.

While pregnant women hold the continuation of humankind literally in their wombs, they also hold the key to the future of world peace. Whether children are harmed or unharmed at birth, is carried forward into their adult lives. While all of our dysfunctions as the result of our past traumas can be be healed at any moment in time, is it not better to be born gently and peacefully so we can each bring our gifts to the world with ease rather than the insecurity and pain of trauma that masks our potential in fear?

How we give birth and how we mother matters.

Mothers Matter

If you are reading this and you know a pregnant woman, honor and celebrate her for what she represents and can embody fully with the help of her community. Uphold her, for by her love and selflessness as she gives of her body, heart and soul, she is ensuring a beautiful world not only for her child, but for all of us. Nurture the pregnant women and new mothers among you! Joyfully give of your time, energy and attention if you feel called and inspired!
When we give to mothers, we give to children. What children are given, they reflect back to us and re create in the world. Take time to love a mother and her child today!

For ideas of how to nurture yourself as a pregnant woman, how to nurture the new mother or mother-to-be, check out my e-book “Nurturing the New Family” and get it on sale here for Boxing Week!

The following books are highly recommended to learn more about gentle birth choices and how to “feel into” the needs of your unborn child:
Sacred Birthing-Sunni Karll
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J Buckley
Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper
Calm Birth-Robert Newman
Parenting Begins Before Conception -Carista Luminare-Rosen
Birth Without Violence– Frederic Leboyer
The Secret Life of the Unborn Child-Thomas Verny
The Mind of Your Newborn Baby-David Chamberlain  to read Birth Without Violence online!

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