Can raw milk reduce childbirth pain? While conventional practitioners would poo-poo the idea, the fact is that it is possible with more and more women drinking it regularly and opting for a natural birth in the face of over-medicalization of the birth process.
It is already known that pregnancy diet can play a crucial role in how much childbirth pain a pregnant woman experiences during delivery and whether or not she is successful in withstanding the tremendous physical effort and stamina required to have a natural birth.
So why not raw milk specifically?
The picture above was taken while I was transitioning at 9cm dilation. I was literally minutes from pushing my baby out. Most women in a similar situation are begging for drugs at that point or are already on an epidural IV and completely numb from the waist down.
As for me, I was totally comfortable other than feeling the amazing intensity of the pain free contractions. Here’s my story.
I was fortunate to experience three natural births. The difference between them in the level of discomfort experienced was profound, however, and I can attest that my diet during each of the pregnancies played a key role in the amount of pain I experienced during labor.
During my first pregnancy, I ate completely organic and hormone/steroid free. I ate what would be termed a stellar diet in almost every way. I had a complication free, natural and fairly fast delivery although it was a pretty painful experience.
During most of my second pregnancy, I improved my whole organic diet by several notches by adopting a fully Traditional Diet. I took high vitamin cod liver oil and consumed plenty of grassfed meats. I prepared my grain based foods properly by sprouting, soaking and/or sour leavening. My second birth experience was way faster than the first (as is fairly typical for most women), but it wasn’t really that much less painful.
During my third pregnancy, however, I had a Traditional Food available to me in unlimited quantity that I did not have as an option in the previous two pregnancies.
That food was raw, grassfed milk.
I drank raw grassfed milk with abandon with my third pregnancy. It kept my morning sickness at bay during the first trimester due to my propensity for low B6. B6 deficiency can cause morning sickness and raw milk is loaded with this nutrient in highly bioavailable form. B6 supplements did not produce the same excellent results.
Sipping raw milk all day long kept my tummy very happy during those early weeks. Incidentally, pasteurization destroys B6.
What ended up being the most surprising, however, was how completely pain free my third delivery was. The birth of my third child was slower than the second birth, so speed was not a factor.
The picture above is me at 9 cm dilation, completely comfortable and without any discomfort. I told my husband to snap a picture as I couldn’t believe it at the time! I even chatted with my Mom on the phone while I was in transition (she was in the car on her way to the birth center).
Calcium Status Greatly Affects Childbirth Pain
What was the difference? Science will tell you that a women’s calcium status greatly affects the pain she experiences with the uterine contractions during labor.
However, it is much more than just calcium intake as I was consuming plenty of calcium during my first 2 pregnancies and both labors were quite painful as is the norm today. I should note that the calcium was from natural sources too as it was typical for me to drink 1-2 cups of nettle tea during all my pregnancies and nettle is high in calcium and a known uterine tonic. A pain free delivery is not just a matter of popping calcium pills, eating foods that are factory fortified with calcium, or even consuming natural foods high in calcium like nettle.
Why was the delivery of my third child so comfortable and even (gasp!) an enjoyable experience by comparison then?
The bioavailability of the calcium in the diet is an all important consideration that some in the scientific community have not fully grasped yet but a growing number of researchers are emphasizing and certainly something the effects of which I experienced firsthand.
You see, raw grassfed milk is loaded with calcium but it also has something special that pasteurized dairy, calcium supplements, and calcium fortified foods do not.
That something is the enzyme to absorb the calcium!
What good is consuming calcium if your body simply does not know what to do with it or can’t do anything with it?
In other words, to experience a comfortable and even pain free labor and delivery requires not just getting enough calcium but getting it in a form that the body can absorb!
To make a long story short, if you think you are getting enough calcium in your diet and you are pregnant, think again. Not all calcium is created equal!
Examine your pregnancy diet and make sure it is loaded with plenty of raw grassfed dairy so that you are getting the bioavailable form of this important nutrient in copious amounts!
Worried about consuming raw dairy while pregnant? Don’t be. Raw grassfed milk is one of the safest foods you can consume and CDC data proves this as shown by the research of Dr. Ted Beals MD.
Interested in following a completely Traditional Diet during your pregnancy and potentially experiencing significantly reduced childbirth pain as a bonus? Here’s an article which outlines the ideal pregnancy diet as recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation. This is the diet I followed during my second and especially my third pregnancy with the addition of raw grassfed milk.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.