A new book by a local Fort Collins health practitioner is offering women an alternative to traditional Western medicine when it comes to pregnancy and birth.
“Functional Maternity,” written by Sarah Thompson, a certified functional medicine practitioner and doula teaches moms-to-be and health care providers are the benefits of following functional medicine practices for pregnancy care.
Functional medicine is a patient-centered approach to chronic disease management, reports the Cleveland Clinic. Like traditional physicians, functional medicine providers gather a patient’s medical history to identify the root of what is causing a certain illness or illness. They look at a possible “triggers” such as poor nutrition, stress, toxins, allergens, genetics and microbiome, the bacteria living within our bodies.
Rather than prescribing medications, functional medicine providers use nutrition as the first line of therapy. Functional medicine providers believe that “the right nutrition, combined with lifestyle and behavioral interventions, will help patients take charge of their health.”
“We take Western physiology and apply it to how the body works and how we diagnose and we use clinical nutrition to treat,” Thompson said.
In addition to creating a nutrition plan, functional medicine can include acupuncture, naturopathy, massage, tai chi, body movement therapies and yoga.
As with traditional Western medicine, functional medicine can be specialized for different areas such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Functional maternity is just one of the specialized areas of functional medicine with the focus being on pregnancy care using nutrition as the core method of treatment.
Thompson has taken her more than 20 years of experience working with medical physicians in pain management, obstetrics and gynecology and combined it with her advanced studies in acupuncture and functional medicine to write “Functional Maternity.”
“I kept waiting for someone else to write a book so I would have a resource, and nobody ever did,” Thompson said. “Eventually one of the OB/Gyns that I work for said, ‘seriously Sarah, you need to write a book.’ When everything was shut down due to COVID, I thought, ‘alright, maybe I’ll write that book’.”
While Thompson had written educational articles and blogs before, “Functional Maternity” was her first attempt at writing a full-fledge book.
“I think my biggest challenge was the fact that I am very analytical. When I started writing the book, my publisher told me that I wasn’t writing a text book and I needed to make it a little fluffier,” she explained. “To me that was the most challenging part; the information was there but making it tangible to the average reader was the hardest part.”
The book covers a wide range of topics and issues women could face during pregnancy such as metabolic changes throughout pregnancy, hormones, anemia, depression and anxiety, gestational hypertension, birth methods and risks of Cesarean section births.
“The book starts off going into basically with how the body works in pregnancy. So we go through everything from how the hormones are made and how they function and how nutrition plays into those two things. Then we go into specific conditions and how nutrition can affect how childbirth goes for women.”
In 2012, Thompson founded Sacred Vessel Acupuncture in Fort Collins as a way to offer functional medicine and doula services to the community.
“I was working at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital because I was trying to become a vet. I ended up falling in love with acupuncture working for a veterinarian over there and that took me down that path,” Thompson explained. “I fell into the doula world when I got pregnant with my own daughter. That was a huge turning point and I shifted my practice into maternity and prenatal care.”
Thompson has dedicated her practice to helping patients find answers and overcome complicated conditions as well as with patients looking to improve their health.
“Being a doula is only a tiny bit of what I do these days,” she said. “For me, the pregnancy support is what I love the most. Being able to be there for women throughout the course of their entire pregnancy, versus just at their birth, and giving them the guidance and support they need throughout the whole process.”
When not working in her clinic or writing, Thompson enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters on the family’s “mini farm,” raising chickens and mini Hereford cattle.
Thompson’s book is available online at Amazon in hardcover for $39.95, paperback for $24.87 and as a free e-book on Kindle as well as in hardcover for $39.95 at Barnes & Noble.
For more information on Thompson, upcoming events and her book, “Functional Maternity,” go to www.functionalmaternity.com.
To learn more about Sacred Vessel Acupuncture, or to make an appointment, go to www.sacredvesselacupuncture.com.