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Surprise! I suddenly felt nauseous, and…oops, up came my dinner. That was the first hint that my baby boy, due on September 17, was growing in my belly. But, because I was only 7 months postpartum, I hadn’t yet prepared myself for the morning sickness (it’s more like all-day sickness!), the aches and pains, the fatigue, or the fact that there was already another sweet baby cuddled up inside me. 🙂 Fortunately, I’ve made it 37 weeks so far and both baby boy and I are healthy!
There is so much conflicting information about how to have a healthy pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I experienced much worse morning sickness, I was absolutely terrified of birth, and I was scared I’d hurt her during pregnancy or after. So. Much. Pressure. However, my current pregnancy has been easier in these aspects, and that may be because I’ve had just enough experience to know a little about being pregnant and a bit on how to be a mom. I’ve also done a LOT of reading and have worked through a bunch of the inconsistent information. Some things I’ve done differently this pregnancy have really seemed to help:
1.Visits to the chiropractor. After learning of the importance of pelvic alignment for birth, I made a point to go visit my chiropractor at Plains Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Grand Forks, ND. Dr. Natalie has been helping me throughout the pregnancy with birth preparation and with my tilted sacrum (an injury I think happened while I was delivering my daughter). I am so relieved that she has been able to greatly reduce the pain in my lower back and hips! I am confident that my pelvis is well-enough aligned to deliver my baby boy, who will probably have a big head, like his mama!
2.Drinking red raspberry leaf (and nettle) tea. Known to tone the uterus in preparation for labor and delivery, I’ve made it a point to drink 1 quart a day. I bought a big bag of loose red raspberry leaves and have been enjoying this tea hot, cold, with raw milk (seriously, it’s SO GOOD this way! It reminds me of iced chai tea.), with lemon, or with raw honey. Though some people recommend avoiding it during the first trimester, I’ve been drinking it the entire pregnancy with no problems. A great article by one of my favorite bloggers is here.
3.Doing exercises and stretches recommended by The Bradley Method. Unfortunately, there is not a Bradley Method class in my area, so I’ve been using the book, Natural Birth The Bradley Way, instead. Excellent book, I must say! The exercises and stretches have also helped reduce pain in my lower back, which I am (again) so grateful for! I am confident that my body is strong enough for a safe delivery. Here is a link to the exercises from The Bradley Method workbook and a blog post on additional beneficial exercises for pregnancy and child delivery.
4.Eating dates (6 per day) to increase my chances of a quick labor and delivery. Here is a short little blog on dates for labor.
5.Sleeping on my side with a pillow between my legs. It really helps with back pain! This position is recommended by The Bradley Method for relaxing during labor. I now can’t sleep any other way–it’s just too comfortable!
6.Taking vitamin C, 1-2 tablespoons of collagen hydrolysate, and magnesium glycinate before bed has made sleeping significantly easier. I’ve discovered that if I skip these supplements entirely, or lake less of them (the magnesium in particular), I toss and turn all night. These things are excellent for non-pregnant individuals as well 🙂 My husband and I call this the “sleep concoction.”
7.Eating the most nutrient-dense diet possible. Not every day is perfect, and I often forget to eat, but I know that I’ve done everything I can to provide my baby and myself with the most nutrition. I try to base almost every meal off of the Weston A. Price Foundation’s recommendations for pregnancy, which is something I did not do (or know much about) during my first pregnancy. I notice that I have no digestive problems this time around (no constipation, gas pains, bloating, food intolerances, et cetera), and I think this has a LOT to do with the large amount of probiotic foods I eat daily. Milk kefir and kombucha are my favorites. I’ve also noticed that I experience no lightheadedness or general weakness this time (unless I forget to eat). A pinch of sea salt or a teaspoon of salt brine in water has made the difference. Read about kombucha during pregnancy here and benefits of sea salt brine (also called “sole” [so-lay]) here.
8.Resting while I can. Being a very high-stress person, relaxing as much as possible has been incredibly constructive. This doesn’t mean that I sit around all day…I don’t have time! This means taking 10 minutes to read before bed, putting down my to-do list every once in a while, sitting in the sun for a few minutes, or lying down if my daughter is napping. Enjoying Epsom salt baths are particularly productive in the relaxation-department. I take what I can get and every little bit helps! 🙂
Each baby, mama, and pregnancy is different. Sometimes, a person can do everything right and still end up with an outcome they didn’t want. Part of pregnancy is accepting the unknown, and possibly scary, future. Though I said that the second time has been less stressful, I must point out that I’m still nervous, still very excited, and still working on having the most positive and relaxed mindset for labor and delivery. You can only try your best and that’s good enough!
It’s possible that my next post may a delivery story–I suppose we’ll find out if the things I’ve tried this time have made a difference!
Readers, what have you done that has helped you deliver your baby? I’d love to know!
Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.
Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.
She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.