Nutritional Protection for your Perineum

In my many years working with women in the birthing world, one of the main concerns that always comes up is protecting the perineum from tearing. As a new doula and childbirth educator, I would respond to these concerns with the usual “cookie cutter recipe” response of heat packs, oils, and perineum massage. This recipe had mixed results when actually put into practice.

Since those early years of doula and childbirth education work, I have become much more knowledgeable about nutrition and the role it plays in successful birth outcomes. Through this knowledge, I now provide new “recipes” to the age-old question of how to prevent the perineum from tearing. The best part is that these recipes you can actually eat and drink! But before we see the recipes, let’s see why they actually work.

One of the reasons that the perineum can tear during the process of birth is because of the skin/tissue integrity of the perineum itself. To maintain good skin and tissue integrity, we need a variety of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, Zinc, Silica, and Essential fatty acids (EFAs). Sufficient levels of these vitamins and minerals will maintain skin elasticity and tone and can protect your perineum from tearing. The best way to get these vitamins and minerals is through the foods that we eat because our bodies can more readily assimilate those vitamins and minerals when they are in a natural form, as opposed to a supplement. Also, some pregnant women find that taking supplements can increase morning sickness, and general pregnancy malaise.

Here are two great recipes to eat during pregnancy to help protect your perineum:

Perineum Porridge

2 cups Raw Pecans (Vit. A, E, B Complex, and zinc)
2 cups Raw Walnuts (Vit. A, E, B Complex, zinc, and EFAs)
1 cup Raw Almonds (Vit. E, B Complex, and zinc)
½ cup Raw Flax Seeds (Vit. A, E, B Complex, zinc, and EFAs)
** Always buy whole flax seeds, and then grind with food preparation**
½ cup Raw Oat Groats or Whole Oats (Vit. E, B Complex, zinc, and silica)
1 cup in combination of raisins, dates, apricots, currants, peaches (or just pick your
favorites!) (Vit. A, B Complex, and C)
1 cup in combination of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds (or
just pick your favorites!) (Vit.B Complex, E, zinc, and EFAs)
½ cup Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut (Vit. B Complex, C, zinc, and EFAs)

Preparation: Place nuts, seeds, oats, and coconut in food processor and pulse-chop until a cereal-like consistency (a little chunky and a little fine). Mix in dried fruit (add fresh fruit just before eating). Dried mixture can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Recipe yields 5-7 servings. Especially good when eaten with almond milk!

Perineum Smoothie

Combination of Chard, Kale, and Spinach to fill blender half-way
(Vit. A, B Complex, C, E)
1 Banana (Vit. A, B Complex, C, E, and zinc)
Choose 1 of the following:
Apricot (Vit. A and C)
Peach (Vit. A and C)
Orange (Vit. B Complex andC)
½ cup Berries (Vit. C)

Preparation: Place greens in blender with enough water to cover and blend until liquid. Add fruit and blend until smooth. For a creamier consistency, use frozen bananas. Recipe makes 1 serving. *Note: Always make smoothie just before drinking for maximum nutritional benefit! *

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