I decided to check out this book, Gentle Birth Method, by Dr. Gowri Motha. It’s very Hollywood. I found it on Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP website- was curious what she had said about steaming vaginas. As an aside, she’d mentioned the V-steam procedure at some spa in Santa Monica. Hopefully most of you ladies out there find the thought of putting steam up there horrifying, but in case you were so inclined, I would say it sounds pretty questionable. All you need is a gentle soap to clean externally. Avoid douching or anything else to “clean” the vagina. It does a good job of that on its own.
I stumbled across the book on GOOP, which is written by a Sri Lankan-born obstetrician who practices in the UK. Based on her experiences, she felt that there were too many difficult labors and Cesarean deliveries, and came up with her method involving dietary changes, exercises, and also ways to emotionally prepare for the labor and delivery. She draws upon Ayurvedic practices for these recommendations.
What struck me about her recommendations and what made me buy the book is that she recommends avoiding sugar, refined carbs, and wheat. Why? She believes they contribute to babies that are too large for women’s pelvises, therefore leading to protracted labors and higher rates of C-sections. Sounds pretty plausible to me.
Now, that’s more or less where the similarity to the Paleo diet ends. She’s more strict with certain foods- no bananas (mucus-producing), no grapes or mangoes (high sugar content), no citrus fruits (so far I haven’t read why). She also recommends avoiding red meat.
Some of the claims seem a little far-fetched. She says that if you follow her plan, you might be one of the ladies she profiles in the book, who comes into the hospital in labor with her first baby, looking too comfortable to be in active labor, but turns out to be 9 cm dilated. While I would love to be that woman, I will probably not be so lucky. But I figure that I could potentially pick up some tips that can help with the process.
I have respect for anyone who has been a practicing obstetrician. As I read the book, I may not end up agreeing with everything she recommends, but she has clearly been through extensive training and has had a lot of direct patient experience to shape her recommendations. And it makes sense that doing certain exercises can help keep the body in shape and prepare better for labor. And mentally preparing is important as well. I’ve definitely seen women who were not mentally and emotionally prepared for the severe pains of labor, the hard work of pushing the baby out, and in some cases of then having the responsibility of caring for the baby.
It’ll be interesting to see what I learn from reading more of the book. By the way, in case any of you are interested in purchasing it, I found cheap used copies on Amazon.