Have you considered the effects of your gut health on your fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum?
In this episode of the Love Your Gut Podcast, I talk to Alison Boden, RD, about the impact of gut health on fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum.
Alison Boden is a registered dietitian specializing in women’s health. She is the founder of Motherwell Nutrition (formerly Nourishing Radiance)- where she helps moms replenish their bodies, balance hormones and feel good again after kids. Also a mom to two young boys, she knows that feeding yourself well can be difficult after becoming a mother and offers techniques and strategies that work in the real world.
Topics Covered in This Episode:
- [5:57] How gut health can affect the conception process.
- [06:34] Gut health and fertility.
- [09:25] What to do if you struggle with fertility and gut health.
- [13:07] Gut health throughout pregnancy.
- [17:26] H. Pylori and nausea.
- [23:06] Postpartum and gut health.
- [35:08] The top three things a postpartum mom should do.
- [38:57] Alison’s favorite way to love her gut.
- For fertility: Avoid trigger foods, restrictive diets.
- For pregnancy nausea: Eating salty foods, extra electrolytes.
- For postpartum: Adequate sleep, stress management, eating regular balanced meals.
- “[Postpartum] is at least two to three years after birth.”
- “Sometimes gut issues resolve during pregnancy.”
- “If you are pregnant, you want to look 6 months pregnant.”
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Dr. Heather Finley, Alison Boden
Alison Boden 00:01
Your gut health is really important to your nutrient status. And it’s really important to your Hormonal Health. And so for both of those reasons, I see so many more issues like with fertility, for example, when there’s some underlying, you know, gut gut stuff going on. So if, if somebody is not able to fully digest and break down and absorb their food, they’re going to be deficient in in some specific vitamins and minerals, many of which are involved in proper reproduction.
Dr. Heather Finley 00:35
Hey, welcome to the love your gut podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Heather Finley, I know what you’re thinking, how am I supposed to love my gut when all it does is hold me back. I thought the same thing before I found my own relief from my own gut health issues. I dedicated my life to getting to the bottom of my own gut issues, so I can help women just like you transform theirs. Now I’m here to guide you through your own gut health journey. We do this through identifying your root causes and making sustainable and transformational changes. As a result, you can unleash your true potential. My goal is to empower you with the information and tools you need to love your gut so it loves you back right here on this podcast. Hello, and welcome back to the next episode of the love your gut Podcast. I’m super excited about today’s episode. This original audio was actually recorded back in April before the podcast launched. But it was such a good conversation. I wanted to share it with you. This is between me and my friend Allison. She is a registered dietician specializing in women’s health. She is the founder of Motherwell, nutrition, formally nourishing radiants, where she helps moms replenish their bodies, balance hormones, and feel good again after kids. Also a mom of two young boys, she knows that feeding yourself well can be difficult after becoming a mother and offers techniques and strategies that work in the real world. This is a super important conversation, because I know many of you listening are soon to be moms are already our moms. And as you know, I’m a mom of two. So actually, when we recorded this episode, I was about three months postpartum. And definitely in that early postpartum, lack of sleep stage. So it felt super relevant, but pregnancy and postpartum. And gut health is actually one of the topics that you guys request all the time. So I know that you’re going to find so much value in this, it is hard navigating your own health when you are a mom, and I love Allison’s approach, she is so practical and realistic. Because let’s be real, you don’t have a lot of time. But you also need strategies and tools to nourish yourself well, while you’re busy taking care of little ones. So without further ado, let’s jump into today’s episode.
Dr. Heather Finley 03:00
We are so excited to talk to you today about gut health, pregnancy postpartum, all the fun stuff. I know I have tons of moms in my audience. And I think this is going to be a super fun conversation. So thank you, Alison, for joining. Why don’t you just tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you so passionate about helping moms and we can start there? Yeah, perfect.
Alison Boden 03:27
Hi, I’m Alison Bowden. I’m a dietitian, based in San Diego, and I work along the spectrum of reproductive health, primarily focusing on on postpartum. And you know, like, so many so many of us and have you have a really similar story, how they’re like, I got into this field because of my own hormone drama, basically, like when I had a lot of gut problems on one a thyroid problems, you know, the case of the vanishing period for like, a year in my 20s. And I was able to resolve all of that and, and so I focused a lot on fertility in my earlier work as a dietitian, I then got pregnant with my first gave birth to him. That’s when I met you. Yes, I
Dr. Heather Finley 04:16
know. I remember meeting him when he was a couple of months old.
Alison Boden 04:21
He was like, Look how bold I was going to we met at NIH, which is the doctorate program that we were both in and I brought my two month old baby to that he was already a pretty easy baby because it’s pretty easy to travel with. But anyway, so I had him and just noticed all of these new issues come up like it really intense brain fog troubled thinking I was back at work having a lot of trouble having conversations with people and remembering words. I was still having really bad night sweats a few months in And so I started to really like dig in to see what was going on felt very hormonal, and how I can help myself and was was pretty easily and quickly able to figure it out for myself. And then I started working on that with patients and really figured out that there was a lot of trends and just kind of like a postpartum path that a lot of people followed. And so really made that my specialty and so now that’s mostly what I talk about postpartum health, and and beyond, you know, beyond like the fourth trimester, I definitely see a lot of moms like 123 years even more postpartum, that are still dealing with a lot of depletion, a lot of energy issues, a lot of hormone stuff even years later. And so that’s become kind of this little, little specialty I have.
Dr. Heather Finley 05:57
I love it. And I think, you know, yeah, people think oh, the fourth trimester, you know, just the those first 40 days or whatever, like, however they classify it, and I’ve heard people say, and I totally agree, like, once you’re postpartum, you’re always postpartum. And I definitely feel that like you just not only like physically, but emotionally and in so many different ways, you just change once you become a mom. And so I think it’s so important, whether someone is 40 days postpartum or four years postpartum to make sure that you’re addressing everything. So why don’t we just start off by talking a bit about how gut health can actually affect fertility and how it can affect the conception process. And then we’ll kind of go through like the whole journey of pregnancy and postpartum and kind of how the gut can shift and change in that process as well.
Alison Boden 06:52
Yeah, you know, I think it’s, it’s important to start off by saying, your gut health is really important to your nutrient status, and it’s really important to your Hormonal Health. And so for both of those reasons, I see so many more issues, like with fertility, for example, when there’s some underlying, you know, gut gut stuff going on. So if, if somebody is not able to fully digest and break down and absorb their food, they’re going to be deficient in in some specific vitamins and minerals, many of which are involved in proper reproduction. And so it’s really important to find out what’s going on maybe some strategic testing, you know, trial and error with with different types of supplements to work on gut health, you know, prior to, to trying to conceive would be ideal, but you know, most people already are kind of like in the throes of trying to conceive and running into roadblocks before before, they might find somebody like URI to work with, on their gut health or on their overall fertility. And so it becomes just like, really, really important, really, no matter what, what the symptoms are, you know, I think of fertility, in general, is, it’s an optional system, right? Your body doesn’t need it in order to operate. Because, you know, we were alive for a long time before reproduction started kicking in, you know, puberty and all that, and then we’ll be alive, hopefully, for a long time after menopause, right. And so it’s a system that is easily kind of paused or shut down, if something isn’t, isn’t operating quite right. And I find that issues with gut health. And as it relates to potential inflammation, body’s kind of busy dealing with inflammation, and it doesn’t have the resources to allocate to fertility, or we have nutrient deficiencies because I’ve got issues and like transit too fast, or we have issues with like estrogen detoxification, because of certain health issues as well. And so there’s not one size fits all in terms of what to do, but it’s definitely one of the big areas that I I take a look at in terms of trying to help, like, help somebody’s fertility, like come out, if that makes sense. Yeah, so
Dr. Heather Finley 09:22
if someone is wanting to conceive and wanting to get pregnant, what is kind of a universal or if there is a recommendation that you give to people to focus on their gut health that would help improve fertility for anyone because obviously there’s a lot of nuance here like you said, like with estrogen detoxification and hormones and everything, you really need to identify what the actual problem is, but what’s a good recommendation just overall For anyone struggling with fertility and gut health?
Alison Boden 09:52
Yeah, so there’s not really a one size fits all you know when when it comes to gut health, particularly with fertility, you know, one we want to mix sure that we’re getting, you know, a nice amount of nutrients throughout the day, if you’re skipping meals and like having your coffee on an empty stomach for breakfast, and then a light lunch that might be really fiber heavy, and then a really big dinner like that, it’s going to definitely make gut health a lot worse. Stress management is really helpful. I know you post a lot of like vagus nerve and stress management and how that really affects gut health, like all all the way down. And so making sure that we have some good routines that focus on on that, and then really just eating consistently throughout the day avoiding foods if you know you have a trigger food, but when it comes to fertility, I really try to avoid big restrictive diets. So not going down a path of like avoiding this, that and the other. Because fertility is such a nutrient intensive time of life. If we start going like keto and gluten free and dairy free and sugar free, and like soy free and all of these things, then we can end up getting even more nutrient depleted than when we started. So you know, sometimes if you already know who it is kind of bugging you, you can do a trial of of not having that food and seeing what what happens. But we don’t want to if we if somebody ends up piling on more food elimination efforts utilization, we really got to see what’s going on. And like check under the hood and see see what’s happening before going too crazy with that.
Dr. Heather Finley 11:36
Fix the underlying like digestive issue versus just continually cutting out foods.
Alison Boden 11:42
Yeah, cutting out food, layering on supplement after supplement. I mean, there’s a time and place for supplements for sure. But when when people come to me and they’re on this huge laundry list and don’t know why they’re even on XYZ anymore, then we kind of have trouble. Yeah, and something that’s pretty easy to start with also is even just making sure that we’re eating slowly, and chewing food all the way making sure that we’re like in a nice environment when we’re eating so that we can help stimulate hydrochloric acid in the stomach to really kickstart digestion as well.
Dr. Heather Finley 12:19
The like hidden treasure of digestion and chewing and meal hygiene piece of it that like we all have to pay attention to myself included. It’s so yeah, nutrition isn’t just math,
Alison Boden 12:31
you know, it’s like if we’re getting like enough of this, check enough of that check. It doesn’t matter how we get it in like that’s, it’s so much more of an art than or an art and a science together. But there’s there are these nuances that don’t feel a lot of the times like they’re super important, but like as you know, are are so involved in the end the whole holistic picture of what’s going on somebody’s nutrition and overall health. Literally, yeah, I
Dr. Heather Finley 13:01
100% agree. So we’ve talked about fertility. So like, how does then you know, someone does conceive they get pregnant? How does gut health like yes, yeah, you celebrate? How does that help shift and change throughout pregnancy, like throughout the trimesters? And how should someone be monitoring their gut health and fueling their gut while they’re pregnant?
Alison Boden 13:27
Yeah, so a lot of times, starting as early as the first trimester, we might have a little slowing. Time, we can blame or power progesterone for that. And anybody that maybe underwent IVF or other, you know, more assisted types of conception, and had to actually go on supplemental progesterone probably really, really felt that because progesterone can definitely be constipating weed a part of the theory of why that happens is because we have slower that transit during pregnancy so that our body can actually absorb more nutrients. And so that’s one of the biggest theories of why that happens. But it’s still it’s not very comfortable right now, when you’re concentrating. And so you know, making sure that we’re really hydrated because our water needs go up during pregnancy trying to have most of that water between meals rather than with meals is important though so that we don’t dilute our gastric juices too much. And then you know, again, making sure that we’re spacing out meals and we’re not you know, three three square meals, some snacks in between during pregnancy you know, definitely can be warranted as as hunger dictates, and again, making sure that we’re not like going a really long time without eating and then having like a big big dinner, because that then is just like a lot for for your poor pregnant stomach to deal with. All at once. was so that, you know, constipation in the complications of constipation like hemorrhoids and all that fun stuff. Definitely very, very common in pregnancy, eating enough fiber, drinking more water. Definitely the foundations there, sometimes especially later pregnancy and might use a little bit of magnesium citrate to help help things move along a little bit. But knowing that there is a range of normal of some, some slightly slower bowel movements and slightly less, less frequently, less frequent and is kind of standard and then we can help it along with with these things. And towards the end of pregnancy. third trimester especially heartburn shows that we’re a lot of people which can be really painful. So with that, we tried to have smaller meals more frequently. So that there’s not so much in the stomach too, that you’re, you know, limited stomach acid has to deal with, plus, you know, all of the new baby and all your organs shifting that are pushing everywhere. And I like to support stomach acid and support digestion, a papaya enzymes can be really helpful. As well as I like digestive bitters, after especially like after meals that can work pretty well for pregnancy, um, just have to make sure whatever you’re buying is, doesn’t have too many ingredients, and it’s pregnancy safe. But those are the two things I like to use. Sometimes like Tom’s and stuff can be helpful in the moment. But because they reduce the overall production of stomach acid, they can be kind of exacerbating the issue more long term. So I like to reserve those for like, a really bad flare and work on the underlying reasons why somebody has heartburn rather than relying on the acid blockers. Yeah, yeah,
Dr. Heather Finley 17:05
I totally agree sometimes Desperate times call for desperate measures. But, you know, if you can try to manage it without having to use those things, you’ll set yourself up postpartum for a lot more success too. We can talk about this or we can totally skip it. But what do you know or what do you think of kind of the correlation between h pylori and nausea or like, how much do you see that?
Alison Boden 17:34
I have not actually heard that correlation? Please do tell. You read about
Dr. Heather Finley 17:40
that. Yeah, there’s some research showing the correlation between h pylori in high amounts and pregnancy nausea, and obviously, we know that there’s a lot of reasons that someone might have morning sickness. Unfortunately, that was the case for me and is the case for so many people and maybe there’s some genetic pieces to it to blood sugar, obviously, is a big piece as well. But yeah, there’s some interesting research about H. Pylori and nausea and morning sickness. So
Alison Boden 18:12
I haven’t seen that I’m gonna get real nerdy after this and look into that a little bit more. Yeah, that’s super interesting. From my perspective, what can be really helpful for nausea you know, in addition to digging I’m going to do after this on H. Pylori, and just more testing with my clients. But you know, blood sugar fluctuations, you know, for sure can cause a lot of nausea, so having something like right at the bedside, some like salty crackers or something like that, and then having breakfast as soon as possible even if you’re feeling a little nauseous trying to have a little something right away. I also find that electrolyte imbalances can be really important at helping with that nausea, so having some more salty foods. I used to like swig pickle juice in the morning leg like bubbling that’s why people crave pickles. I think that that is why people crave crave pickles during pregnancy is because needs first first sodium and electrolytes actually go up and like what can you think of that’s like saltier in the moment and tangy or than a pickle, right? So having a little bit more salt, maybe even having something like super salted, be a weirdo like me and have pickled cheese’s or maybe putting a little bit of salt and some water in the morning and I find that really helpful with some patients. I have them do a little bit of salted water before they go to bed. And that has been helpful with morning nausea, so it kind of depends on how it presents. Sniffing lemon can also be kind of helpful in the moment like cutting a lemon and like licking it. Maybe you’re just giving it giving it away. super weird. I know but you know pregnancy is weird. Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Heather Finley 19:56
I was living on that adrenal cocktail when I was Right, which is like super high in sodium, but yeah, see all that, but it definitely helped for sure that
Alison Boden 20:05
yeah, I find it really, really helpful. Yeah, that the as as you know, the your blood volume goes up during pregnancy and like usually kind of like the first half of pregnancy is mostly like extra fluids and so you have extra blood volume you have actual like uterine fluid extra interstitial fluid. And so we need more electrolytes to support all that fluid in fluid and if there is an imbalance it can it can give you symptoms and like headaches being one of them, dizziness, nausea, and so I find I find it related. Everybody has kind of their own, like trigger for nausea. So So to be a little sleuthy and figure it out, but blood sugar and electrolytes I find really helpful. And now I’m going to I’m going to look into this h pylori thing and see if that can be helpful as well.
Dr. Heather Finley 20:49
Yeah, it’s very interesting. There’s not much research, but there’s some. So yeah,
Alison Boden 20:54
have you run? Have you run h pylori tests on your pregnant patients who have who have nausea in the morning, and we found it to be Charlie?
Dr. Heather Finley 21:01
Yeah, on the GI map. We have H Pylori. We don’t see a ton of people while they’re pregnant. We see people before and after. So I would love to know that. Oh, yes, it was there before. Yeah, super, super interesting. Yeah,
Alison Boden 21:18
that is really interesting. And it’s also you know, funny. Like, I know, a lot of a lot of your posts are like, do like six months pregnant after you eat. And so now, like, if you are six months pregnant, and I’m dealing with all these guts and stuff, like here’s here’s
Dr. Heather Finley 21:30
what to do. Yeah, absolutely. It’s you if you actually are pregnant, you know, you you want to look six months pregnant. Yeah, exactly. I’m struggling with gut issues, then that’s obviously. Yeah.
Alison Boden 21:45
And also, it’s also like important to say that sometimes gut issues resolved during pregnancy temporarily, as well. I’ve seen that a lot particularly like the more diarrhea dominant types, even even things like IBD inflammatory bowel disease can can often go into remission during pregnancy, because of the changes that that happened to the immune system. Estrogen goes up really high along with progesterone during pregnancy, and estrogen is also anti inflammatory. So sometimes these big hormone changes can can actually kind of suppress that stuff for a while. And sometimes it can continue to be suppressed for a while postpartum. So sometimes there’s some good news. When it comes to to pregnancy and gut stuff. I’ve seen a lot of people say, Oh, I used to not be able to eat XYZ, and then I became pregnant. And now I can, you know, there’s still some underlying stuff happening that that we want to address at some point, but that that can often be good news. So it’s not so at all that it comes to gut health and tendency.
Dr. Heather Finley 22:50
No, I’ve definitely seen that too. We’ve had clients that are like, I felt awesome. While I was pregnant, I wasn’t constipated. I wasn’t bloated. Well, that’s kind of hard to tell sometimes. But, you know, like I wasn’t having all the issues, and then you know that they slowly started creeping back postpartum. So let’s talk about postpartum, and how that can affect your gut health and just all the different things going on in the body and everything and just some things that people can kind of keep top of mind if they are postpartum, or they plan to become pregnant, you know, when the time comes, how they can improve their gut health or protects their gut health and that really fragile time. Hey there,
Dr. Heather Finley 23:26
I know you are absolutely loving this episode. But I have to jump in really quick and remind you that I have a quick, free quiz that will help you finally figure out why you’re bloated. In order to live a life free of discomfort, you need to figure out what the root causes that’s making you experience these uncomfortable symptoms. The easiest and fastest way to do this is by visiting Dr. Heather finley.co backslash quiz. Take the quiz as soon as you can. So you can transform your gut issues and lead a happier, more vibrant life. Now,
Dr. Heather Finley 23:59
let’s get back to the episode.
Alison Boden 24:01
Important to know that I defined postpartum as as at least two to three years after birth. So we talked about this in the beginning, but for folks that are popping on a little bit later. Postpartum really is a longer period of time because it takes about two to three years for you to fully recover nutrients you donate a lot of nutrients stores to baby during pregnancy, lose them during birth, and then you continue to lose those you know postpartum especially if breastfeeding. So it does take a while to like recapture all all of that and and replenish and then hormones are in flux, definitely through the duration of breastfeeding at least a year, if not more, and I find that as the cold hard truth. The older that we are, when we give birth and like kind of the closer we are to perimenopause but usually starts around 40 for like kind of knocking on that door. When when to birth, maybe late 30s, early 40s hormones need extra help to come to come back up. And that’s you know, really like if we’re dealing with chronic or new onset, that stuff, that’s going to be a barrier standing in the way of both nutrient replenishment as well as Hormonal Health. So it’s definitely not something to sweep under the rug and kind of forget about it until your youngest is in kindergarten kind of thing, which is, you know, so easy to do, you know, to forget about about ourselves with all these new responsibilities and new new person or new people to take care of right. But what what I, I often find that there’s new onset gut health stuff with with postpartum a number of of, of common causes that it can be any any number of these things it could, thyroid health, can cause a lot of gut stuff, postpartum. hypo or hyperthyroidism are both really common. It’s estimated about 10%, of postpartum women have some either transient or more permanent thyroid dysfunction. So hypothyroidism can cause constipation. Hair loss is another symptom of hypothyroidism feeling cold depression, kind of things that are like kind of slowing down your system, or all potential signs of hypothyroidism. So that can cause some GI you know, stuff going on, you know, slower bowel movements, which often lend itself to bloat, constipation, that kind of thing. And hyperthyroidism can be the opposite. So that could be a defining factor of what’s going on with gut health, postpartum stress and lack of sleep, though, are really, really big ones that can definitely affect the guy and like, you know, raise your hand if you felt stressed, like asleep, you know, postpartum, right. And so that coupled with difficulty getting in meals regularly, you know, handfuls of goldfish for lunch, and just coffee for breakfast kind of thing, really can do a number on that guy. And so there can definitely be like hormonal reasons that can definitely be kind of like new onset type like infections that that are brewing in the guy or microbiome, microbiome imbalance, antibiotic use during pregnancy or during delivery, like in the case of group beta strep positive can certainly affect gut health, as well or kind of C section. And he did antibiotics after that. So that’s a big chunk of the population that’s either C section or GBS positive, right, that needed antibiotics during labor, and that can definitely alter the gut for long time, especially if if you had like kind of intense regimen there. So lots of different reasons why we might see new that stuff show up in in postpartum, I find that it kind of lingers a bit. And really kind of the same stuff that I would do. In, in preconception. If we want to ideally do some testing, like I know you, you do di map, sometimes I do that one, sometimes I do a different test called gi effects, looking at the microbiome, looking at signs of inflammation, looking at things like H Pylori testing for SIBO. So that we can really get get to the bottom because we don’t want to do really, in any of these states. Like, in general, we don’t want to do a massive restrictive diet and look for like, oh, that must be a food that’s bothering me, let me do a restrictive diet restriction to see elimination diet and see what it is that is sometimes can go kind of hand in hand a little bit with this other work, but that’s just kind of, you know, symptom management, you know, the real cause is what’s going on inside the gut and how we can really heal and repair that. And you know, particularly for postpartum when it’s just like, so hard just to feed yourself layering in, you know, 10 different foods you can’t eat, it’s just like, Well, what do I eat nothing, okay. And then we further this process of depletion and nutrient deficiencies and feeling awful, which then make it harder for your hormones to come back up. And so it can become this this bad, bad cycle. So really trying to get at the root, you know, of, of what’s going on with the gut symptoms are really what what’s needed.
Dr. Heather Finley 29:36
Yeah, and I love how you said like, not necessarily adding on another thing to do because I think especially postpartum, you’re like if someone else tells me I need to do something else, like, I’m gonna lose my mind because you just don’t have the time and so, really focusing on like, how to simplify it, but also like simplifying it in a way to that makes you feel better so that you can maybe Do some of the things that you need to do totally care of yourself.
Alison Boden 30:04
Yeah. And that’s kind of like the theme of, of what I see a lot, no matter what kind of symptoms somebody is presenting with gut gut symptoms postpartum, or just like really bad exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety, like all of these different things in postpartum that I treat. Because it seems like or people may become to a dietitian expecting that I’m going to put you on this really complicated meal plan, right. And that’s like the last thing that I’m going to do. For you, it’s more about, like, eating regularly, I have kind of a formula that I use that you can plug in and out your favorite foods, or what foods you know, don’t don’t bug you. And I have the you know, idea that all of these symptoms, plus all of the extra overwhelming stuff of motherhood, you know, is part of what’s going on and making it feel like really overwhelming, right. And so if we can take away the physical symptoms that are like such a burden, you know, you have so much more bandwidth and lightness and energy for, for dealing with, you know, taking care of your kids and you learning how to balance being a stay at home mom or being at work outside the home mom and dad once all that, because that takes a lot of energy. So I like to remove the burden, that is all the physical depleting stuff, so that we have more more bandwidth and energy for, for all the other stuff. So good stuff.
Dr. Heather Finley 31:29
Yeah, and I think too, it’s like, you know, people hear all the time, like, You need to sleep in order to have good gut health, you need to manage your stress in order. And so it almost can feel like this super defeating thing of Well, I’m not sleeping, and I’m super stressed. So like, forget about it. The reality is, like, there’s so many things that you can do, even if it’s starting with like, Okay, I’m gonna try to eat regular balanced meals. And it’s not going to be perfect. But you know, here are some simple easy things that I can write help.
Alison Boden 32:02
If I can just get breakfast lunch and dinner and have it be like My Plate Method is about equal parts, like a third, a third, a third on your plate cooked vegetables, protein and high fiber starch like this, following that formula for lunch and dinner and having like a breakfast that has, you know, some complex carbohydrate, and also lots of protein and fat, and then that’s a really good start for, for setting up the energy for the day. And then you know, if you’re, if you have a newborn, you’re not sleeping through the night, if it was a six month old, you’re probably not sleeping through the night either, right? But going to bed early, is a really good hack for that, you know, staying up until 10 or 11, when you’re interrupted twice a night calling not gonna make you feel super good, but like to go to bed just like nine 830 Even though I know that feels like dorky, early, when you’re having interrupted nights, that’s just what what we need to do to get to get enough sleep to really fully function and feel good and start to then have the hormonal, you know, support that’s that our body is trying to do, we’re gonna help it out
Dr. Heather Finley 33:14
with the vicious cycle, right, so you’re not sleeping well, then you’re less productive, because your brain is not functioning super well, you’re having symptoms that gut symptoms, potentially, you know, so then you stay up late, so you can get all the things done that you need to do. And then you’re not sleeping, and so the cycle just repeats. So really the hack for this whole thing is go to bed early. And you might have a bit more energy more productive, have the time to maybe prep the meal that sounds good and is super nourishing to your body. And I kind of go from there.
Alison Boden 33:47
Yeah, we have to break break that cycle for sure. Because that cycle can go on long time. And we’re not just talking about newborns here. And I had like, I think she was 16 or 17 months postpartum, you know, client that was like a really similar story where it was having to like work late at night every day, then was like staying up until midnight. And then the whole cycle was was starting over again. And so it’s like, and then we add in things like insomnia to that picture. And then it can be it can be really difficult. But yeah, getting to that earlier is a simple, but it’s hard to do, right? Especially if you’re having what uh, what do we call it now? It’s like a new word like that revenge, procrastination revenge. But now that I’m talking about where it’s like, finally, I have time to myself. Yeah, exactly. And you know, I feel that sometimes too. But if you can even just like, for a week, like Promise yourself that you’re gonna go to bed like 30 to 60 minutes earlier and just like lifting how you feel. It doesn’t have to be like, I’m doomed to an 8:30pm Bedtime for the rest of my life now, it’s just like, let’s just chill for a little while and see how you feel. And then if you feel great, cool I’ll keep doing it for longer. Yeah. And play it by ear like that.
Dr. Heather Finley 35:05
Totally. So I think I mean, I think sleep would for sure hit the list. But if you were gonna give like the top three things that a postpartum mom should do to improve their gut health, what would they be?
Alison Boden 35:17
Yeah. Okay, so sleep, for sure. regular meals, because I just see a lot of breakfast, skipping really light lunches, and then huge dinners. And then like continuing to eat a ton into the night. So we want regular meals, like, you know, a somewhat early bedtime, so that there can be a nice, you know, time for digestion before you go to sleep. And that can that can help with sleep. And what’s the third one? Why can we think here, you know, probably, the next one would be eating that, that meal hygiene stuff. So eating slowly, sitting down, when you’re eating so hard as a mom, right? stuff you can eat while like one hand and walking around. But really trying as much as you can to sit down and eat slowly, which I know is a really big challenge as a mom, but that can really help. You know, you’re just starting digestion in the mouth, like really making use of all the enzymes in your saliva, making sure that we’re not putting too much of a burden on our other digestive organs because we didn’t get get enough. And that slowing down can also help with like stress management because you’re taking a break to actually eat instead of like eating while do some doing something else. So it can it can hit a lot of check a lot of boxes, with with slowing down and actually sitting down for a meal. So I
Dr. Heather Finley 36:54
think that would be the topic of it. Well, that was super helpful and hopefully really informative for everyone listening. I think sometimes we tend to overcomplicate gut health and really everything we tend to overcomplicate but like I think especially postpartum, bringing it back to the basics can definitely help. And obviously, if you are still having gut symptoms, there’s other things that you can do. But even if there are other things that you need to do, you still need to be focusing on the basics as well. So you’re never gonna go wrong, spending some time focusing on those.
Dr. Heather Finley 37:29
So as we wrap up, can you just share with everyone where they can find you? How they can work with you and then your favorite way that you love your gut?
Alison Boden 37:39
Ah, I love that. Okay, so I can be found on the internet. So my website is Motherwell. nutrition.com. My Instagram handle is a b dot Motherwell, B Motherwell and I have like a couple of fun. Little freebies, if you want to share that with your audience, I have a new moms supplement guide with my favorite supplements for new moms. And I have also a postpartum hormone quiz. So I can send you the links after this Heather. So you can you can post them as you as you’d like. And working with me, I work with patients one on one. And usually I do like a three month program if we’re dealing with a lot of stuff, but I also have an online course called Mother recover, for those that are looking for a little more accessible, you know, budget wise, and more of a DIY way to go through and really replenish and work on all of that hormone balance while while at the same time improving the gut health. So that’s called Mother recover. So it’s mother hyphen, recover.com. And you can always message me on Instagram with questions or if you’d like a live link there. And then my favorite way that I love my guy, I think I tried to do all the three things that I just mentioned with him with a postcard. You know, sitting down for the meals is probably my my biggest challenge. But yeah, I definitely like eating slower, you know, supporting supporting my gut health with I’ve been doing more like vagus nerve support lately, like, I’ve been like humming and singing and gargling lately. So that’s actually my newest thing. So that’ll be my answer. I
Dr. Heather Finley 39:29
love it. Well, thank you so much for joining. This was such a great conversation and have a great rest of your day. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. How about we’ll talk to you soon
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