Lori Bregman is a doula, healer, life/pregnancy coach, and author. Her new book, The Mindful Mom-To-Be, is a modern doula’s guide to building a healthy foundation from pregnancy through birth – a complete body, mind and spirit support system that helps women through fertility, pregnancy, birth, and into new motherhood. She has over 20 years of experience helping her clients transform their lives, and her client list includes the likes of Molly Sims, Kristen Bell & Dax Shepherd, Kelly Rowland, Jessica Biel, Heidi Klum and many more. She also recently partnered with one of our favorite Southern California based organic superfood cafés, Beaming, where her famed Pregnancy and Fertility Smoothies are now available! (Insider tip: we tried them and they’re amazing!)
I had the opportunity to sit down with Lori to discuss fertility, pregnancy, motherhood and, of course, smoothies at Beaming’s Santa Monica location. Without further ado, please enjoy getting to know Lori as much as I did!
YW: So you just came from a birth?
LORI: Yes, a home birth with my favorite midwives in the world. Second time mom, she went into labor, they called me at 6a, and she had the baby at 6:45a. I walked in and she was in the tub and I was like, good thing I didn’t stop for a coffee!
YW: That’s amazing! Can you explain the role of a doula to our readers?
LORI: A doula is a trained professional who nurtures, supports, guides, and coaches a woman throughout pregnancy, childbirth and after birth.
YW: What’s your method and philosophy in supporting women throughout that process?
LORI: My background is in healing, spiritual coaching and as a doula. I’ve been a doula for 14 years. So I blend it all together to support the mind, body and spirit. And I spend a lot of time with my clients – the more time I spend with my clients, the more care I can give, the more support I can give, and the more I’ll be able to know them in the room. And since I do so much healing work, I can just tune into them intuitively, and the more they’ll be able to feel close to me, like I have their back and like they know me.
And I do a lot of prenatal yoga, healing transformational yoga, and yin and restorative yoga. I trained a thousand years ago with Maty Ezraty and Lisa Walford, and I took prenatal training with Desi Bartlett. So that’s how I work. And I do doula packages instead of just the birth – I’m not interested in going to just the birth.
YW: Because you want to build a relationship beforehand?
LORI: Yes, it’s really important to me.
YW: So at what point do you typically start working with someone?
LORI: I had two people hire me yesterday who are 8 weeks pregnant – I get booked up quickly, so they hired me pretty early. It depends though – some start working with me at 8 weeks, some start working with me for fertility so I’ll work with them from start to finish.
I also have a pregnancy coaching business, which helps you not only birth a healthy baby but also birth another part of yourself: a mother. I always use the analogy of the caterpillar – a couple weeks ago you were a caterpillar, and now you’re growing into a cocoon. Some of the old part of you is going to stay, like the caterpillar continues to live inside the butterfly, but parts of you are going to slough off and you’re going to grow wings. You’re actually becoming something else. The emerging butterfly is post-partum where you’re kind of testing out your wings, and when that’s over you fly.
YW: What would be your top self-care tip for fertility? In other words, what do you see as something most women need the most if they’re having trouble conceiving?
LORI: Support. Positive support. I think there are a lot of faith killers out there that always have a negative story. Surround yourself with positive support and positive people. A lot of times I reconnect people to faith, and then they get pregnant.
Another thing is carving out a period of time and trusting it. Just because you’re ready to have this baby doesn’t mean the baby’s spirit is ready to come in. Trusting that divine timing is really hard when you want something, so I always say carve out a period of trying time because if every month it doesn’t happen it can be discouraging. I build people windows, so if you’re trying naturally, you can try for 6 months or a year, and if that doesn’t work you close the window and then open a new one. Maybe it’s acupuncture, or something else. I play with windows and then it takes the pressure off of that month.
And you know what happens too, when sex becomes about making a baby – you know the chakras? – that creative, sexual energy is not moving when you make it all about making a baby instead of about connecting and having intimacy. When you can actually kiss and have foreplay and intimacy and look into each others eyes, you get that energy in the second chakra and heart moving and that baby is coming in to a different consciousness. Also, DE-STRESS. Stress is a big thing. I’m a big fan of yoga and breathing for de-stressing. All of my clients do yoga.
YW: Do you have top poses for fertility?
LORI: I’m a yin and restorative girl. Supta Baddha Konasana, legs up the wall, butterfly, double pigeon, any hip openers, hip rolls, pelvic thrusts – anything that’s going to move that energy.
YW: What about top foods for fertility?
LORI: From what I’ve heard from my acupuncturists, your uterus does better with warm foods. Lentil soups are great (lentils are great anyway). I love asparagus because it’s high in folic acid. I like wheat grass for fertility because it helps lower your FSH levels and it just helps alkaline you. My fertility smoothie from Beaming called Get Preggy is filled with antioxidants, bee pollen, royal jelly, maca, good fats and other things that are great for healthy cells and balancing your hormones.
Photo credit Erica Chidi
YW: How did you develop the Get Preggy smoothie?
LORI: I was prepping tons of clients for pregnancy and they kept saying what can I eat, and so I thought “why don’t I come up with a smoothie?”. I started making it for myself because I wanted to keep my hormones healthy for a long time, then I had my clients drink it, and then I put it online and it went viral. My client Molly Sims also posted it and it went nuts. Then I walked into Beaming one day to get a smoothie and we fell in love with each other and I said “let’s collaborate”!
YW: For the person who is pregnant, what are your top self care tips? What is the thing you see most that women really need to shift for themselves during that time?
LORI: I think it’s about honoring where you’re at. If you’re tired, honor that and know it’s temporary and that your body is doing a tremendous amount of work. It’s working so hard to create a baby – you’re building organs, extra blood and all of this crazy stuff is happening.
Also learning to parent yourself. In chapter 2 of my book, The Mindful Mom-To-Be, I talk about parenting and mothering yourself. Often mothers will do so much for their kids, but they don’t do anything for themselves. Shift your mindset to when I parent me, I am parenting my child. The better care I take care of myself, the better I honor myself when I’m tired, the better boundaries I have with people, the better I care for myself like I would a baby or child, the more I am taking care of the child because that child is in me. It’s like how you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others. You have to fill yourself up – you need your life force to create life.
I also tell all my clients to stay off the internet, because even if you’re not looking for a problem you’re going to find one there. And do not go on those mommy chats. If you have a question, call me or text me. You’re already so afraid, and those things are so fear producing. Just read the positive books that are inspiring, like my book!
Also, when you’re worrying about something… what if, what if, what if… you’re creating problems that aren’t there. Whenever you feel that, just think “I am in a blue shirt. I am in Beaming. I am X weeks pregnant, and right now everything is good.” Worrying about something that may never happen takes you out of this beautiful moment that’s happening right now.
YW: And that’s a great way that yoga and meditation can help.
LORI: Absolutely. Something I tell people when they’re in a yoga pose is to take a deep breath in of calm and peace, and breathe out the worry through your mouth. Or see yourself with your baby and visualize what you want to have happen, and breathe out any negativity through your mouth. It’s like you’re purging it from your body, and you can shift your mindset just by doing a few rounds like that. Slow deep breaths in, and visualize it coming out of your mouth. And you can use that breath in labor too!
YW: What about top yoga poses for pregnancy?
LORI: Again I’m a big yin and restorative girl. I love cat cow for back pain, hip rolling, low lunge to release the hip flexors, triangle to get a side stretch for the rib cage, simple chest openers since everything is being pulled forward, downward dog for calf stretching and alternating the heels for leg cramps.
YW: What about foods that are musts for pregnancy?
LORI: Avocado. I also like wild salmon, chia seeds are high in calcium, leafy green vegetables. If you’re a meat eater make sure it’s hormone-free. Eggs are really great. A good organic whole greek yogurt is high in protein. And my Knocked Up smoothie at Beaming! Also I love spirulina for pregnancy because it’s good protein and high in iron, and I love sun chlorella for breast feeding because it helps pull out the toxins from the breast milk and also increases breast milk.
YW: And how did you develop the Knocked Up smoothie?
LORI: I developed it with some of the foods and superfoods I like. It’s rich in omegas for brain development, calcium for strong bones and iron for healthy blood.
YW: Let’s talk about the The Mindful Mom-To-Be. I love the holistic approach and the way it takes you through every stage. Can you tell our readers a little bit about the book and what they can expect to find in it?
LORI: I blended my 14 years of being a doula and my Rooted for Life pregnancy coaching business into a mind, body, spirit support system that helps you birth not only a healthy baby, but a healthy mother as well. Each month there are themes to help you grow your wings such as being present, mothering yourself and going with the flow, and there’s journal work and exercises for you to do that support each theme. You’ll also find holistic remedies for all ailments from nausea to constipation to hemorrhoids… all of them. There are meditations and baby bonding exercises. Recipes for cleaning supplies, bubble baths, belly butters – even my Knocked Up pregnancy smoothie is in there. Also labor tips and tricks, check lists, customized birth plans, and more! It’s really your holistic companion.
Some people are reading it in a day, and some people read it month by month. There will be things that stick out to you, and you’ll see that even after you have your baby you’ll be like, “I might need to go back and do some of that being present thing again.” I try to really lock in those themes, and I think that’s what’s so cool about the book because it’s a time when you’re in the cocoon to do some inner work on yourself. It’s a time to really lock this way of being in, and to play around each month with one of those themes so when you have your baby they’re already part of you.