Sex, Coffee & Chocolate While Pregnant, Babies On Airplanes, Eating Placentas & More: The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

For the last half-century, control over childbirth has been in favor of doctors. Many pregnancy guidebooks are conventional, fear-based, or written by male physicians deeply entrenched in the medical model of birth.

But change is underway. A groundswell of women are taking back their pregnancy and childbirth and embracing a natural way. Genevieve Howland, the woman behind the enormously popular Mama Natural blog and YouTube channel, has created an inspiring, fun, and informative guide that demystifies natural pregnancy and walks mom through the process one week at a time.

Her new book, The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, is the modern (and yet ancient) approach to pregnancy and childbirth. “Natural” recognizes that pregnancy and birth are normal, and that having a baby is a wondrous biological process and rite of passage – not a medical condition. This book draws upon the latest research showing how beneficial and life-changing natural birth is for both babies and moms.

Full of weekly advice and tips for a healthy pregnancy, Howland details vital nutrition to take, natural remedies for common and troublesome symptoms, as well as the appropriate (and inappropriate) use of interventions.

Peppered throughout are positive birth and pregnancy stories from women of all backgrounds (and all stages of their natural journey) along with advice and insights from a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) plus a Registered Nurse (RN), doula, and lactation consultant. Encouraging, well-researched, and fun, The Mama Natural's Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth will be an essential companion for women everywhere to embrace natural pregnancy and reap all the benefits for both baby and mama.

With over 60 million views on her YouTube channel, Genevieve Howland’s funny but informational videos have empowered millions of women to embrace natural pregnancy and parenting. But Genevieve wasn’t always “Mama Natural.” Once upon a time, she was a cigarette smoking junk food junkie. A sugar addict, she was 60 lbs. overweight and her health was in tatters.

Through a long road of detox, Genevieve discovered the healing power of real food and natural living. This transformation spread into every area of her life – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Genevieve gave birth to her two children in a birth center supported by a midwife and doula. Today, Genevieve is on a mission to help moms and moms-to-be live happier, healthier lives. Along with her husband Michael, she runs the web’s most popular natural pregnancy blog and YouTube channel. Their work has been featured on Dr. Oz, ABC News, The Daily Mail, and more.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Whether you can really eat chocolate and drink coffee when you're pregnant (you'll be surprised at the answer)…[15:30 & 17:45]

-Whether new moms really need to be eating for two (and if there some more precise way to figure out how many calories you should be eating)…[19:20]

-Why Genevieve drank raw milk while she was pregnant…[23:50]

-If you find out your pregnant one of the very first things that you should do to ensure that your home or body or not a toxic place for a baby…[25:30]

-The surprising truth about the accuracy of home pregnancy tests…[31:00]

-Whether it is really true that if you exercise while you're pregnant you will have a smarter baby…[33:45]

-The best stretches or moves to prepare a woman's body to give birth…[41:30]

-One of the best teas to drink for uterine health while pregnant (and some of Genevieve's top natural remedies for morning sickness)…[43:20 & 45:25]

-How a new mom should treat smart technology like phones, computers and ultrasounds to protect a growing baby…[49:40]

-The link between pregnancy, airplanes, flying and miscarriage…[54:45]

-The intriguing evidence about having sex while pregnant (and one thing you definitely shouldn't do during pregnancy sex)…[57:50]

-What Genevieve thinks about the concept of eating the placenta…[59:55]

-How to mitigate the damaging effects of a C-section (and natural C-section alternatives)…[63:00]

-What to expect in the child birthing industry five to ten years from now…[73:00]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

Due Date Calculator

63 Cups Of Coffee A Day & More: Five Simple Things You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life.

DirectLabs for home pregnancy test (blood HCG)

-Podcast: What Is A Good Pregnancy Exercise Routine?

Organic red raspberry leaf tea

My interview with Urban Moonshine about digestive bitters

NES Health interview with Dr. Wendy Myers

Belly Armor for EMF protection while protection

HARApad Laptop Anti-Radiation Pad, Cell Phone Shield and iPad Anti-Radiation Shield

The Darker Side Of Hypermobility

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Genevieve or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

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19 thoughts on “Sex, Coffee & Chocolate While Pregnant, Babies On Airplanes, Eating Placentas & More: The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

  1. uriyah says:

  2. Rebekah Bree says:

    Hi Ben,

    I am looking for the best advice for getting pregnant in my late thirties, well 39 to 40 to be honest. I lift weights and run long distance 6 days a week and try to eat whole foods and grass fed meat nearly all the time. I am concerned about keeping fit throughout pregnancy, the do’s and the don’t’s and a guide would really help. If you could point me in the direction of a podcast, book or someone you know that would be much appreciated! By the way I have nearly finished your new book Boundless, brilliant and thank you for stopping me over training when I signed up to an ultra marathon!

    Many thanks

    Rebekah Bree

    Northamptonshire UK

    1. This is a good question to call into the podcast:

  3. Wow nice article to read

  4. Hi Ben,
    I am Kaysar. I found your blog is very interesting and useful. This morning I read your article and found 1 broken link here.

    Here it is: “Also published on Medium 410.”

    Would you mind checking it out on your end?


  5. Dimitri says:

    Hey Ben.can you track down that study about hairstylist being at higher risk of miscarriages. My wife is a hairstylist and we’re trying to have a baby so I’d really like to share that with her and find out the validity of that study. Thanks alot

    1. There are a few you can find on pubmed. Here's one:

  6. Michael says:

    Hey Ben, I remember you mentioning a protocol (on a podcast recently) that you recommended for men and women that they should do in the months leading up to trying to conceive. Where can I find that?

  7. Samuel R. Jones says:

    I do not have information as to how much is used in the Kirkland baby wipes. … Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate: a chelating ingredient, which means that it cleanses the baby wipes. There is no safety data yet, so, as is true with the majority of chemicals, we do not know if it is safe for your baby’s skin.

  8. Patty says:

    I just wanted to comment regarding having a positive home pregnancy test (urine), while having a blood draw pregnancy test that is negative. This happened to me and in my case it was a very, very early miscarriage. So, the home pregnancy test showed positive because the HCG level was high enough at that time, but then even later in the day or days later when the blood draw was done, it could come back negative because by that point the HCG level would have dropped because the baby was miscarrying. If the blood draw is done as “HCG quantitative”, then you can get the exact level that the HCG is in the blood (not just the yes/no answer) and knowing that exact number is beneficial to further explain whether there was actually a pregnancy and/or miscarriage or not.

  9. Liana says:

    Thank you for a great podcast! I am a Mama Natural fan and avid follower for about 5 years now. I can only recommend Genevieve’s week-by-week guide. I am currently pregnant and even if it is my second pregnancy I am learning plenty of new things through this book. By the way I am Bulgarian so I found it interesting that Ben said he just got back from Bulgaria :) (it is not a common country to visit for Americans).

  10. mike says:

    My wife is a swing shift worker (days and overnights, changing every two weeks) and was wondering if Ben or Genevieve had any thoughts or resources that might guide us as we approach pregnancy as healthfully as possible….or is that addressed in the book?

  11. Rebecca Shoaf says:

    If you guys are going to purposefully have #3, I think you could rock the Bradley Method. It’s similar to Lamaze, but you commit to no epidural and focus on the successes of your body in each contraction rather than just the discomfort. Similarly the husband is your coach, and an active cushion between a laboring mom and hospital staff.

    Even though it sounds a little silly, both my husband/coach and I wrote out our ideal birth for our first child, and it helped us to explain to hospital staff our plan concisely. (And it went exactly that way.)

    Like many women, I assumed I would have an epidural, that labor was fast and intolerable like in the movies, until we started researching. Except for those 10% of women who will die without a C Section, I think any woman can have a drug free delivery if they plan for it mentally, train for it physically (like goddess squats and tailor sitting), and have the safe, supportive environment to believe in herself.

  12. Thanks so much Ben for a great chat :)

    1. Victoria says:

      Listening to now!

      Thank you Ben and Genevieve!

  13. Courtney says:

    i love your podcast, however there was a comment in this one that rubbed me the wrong way. You commented the type of mother that would opt for an epidural is the same mother who isn’t concerned about her baby, eats McDonalds, etc. That was really condescending and inaccurate.

    I would like to think that all mothers are concerned about the health of their babies and how she deals with pain management during her own personal birth should not be looked at as an example of how she treats her body or her babies body before or afterward.

    Every woman will make their own decision on the day they give birth as to pain management, the day does not always go as planned, things change, etc.

    I found that comment shocking, and unnecessary.

    1. Noted. Thanks for the feedback. I see what you mean! I'm constantly striving to get better and become more sensitive and this helps a ton Courtney. I appreciate your comments and you!

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