It all starts with those two pink lines, is it a line? Ok, let’s take 10 more, or was that just me?
Those two little lines and suddenly everything changes.
After over a year of trying, we were finally expecting our baby!! (More on my fertility journey soon!)
Pregnancy was such an incredible journey and I am still in absolute awe of what the female body can do. Pregnancy and birth are a celebration of what our bodies can accomplish and a time to be grateful. During the hard, uncomfortable moments I always tried to remind myself that how blessed I was to be able to experience carrying my child, so many women hope to but aren’t able to.
I’ve come up with my top tips for a healthy & happy pregnancy! These are things that helped me personally, always consult your midwife or OB first.
*This post does contain affiliate links! It helps me make a little something from the products I recommend at no additional charge to you, it’s a win win!!
As many of you know, my husband is a Chiropractor! One of his specialties? Helping expectant mamas have healthy pregnancies! Spencer is certified in Webster’s Technique. All Chiropractors are going to go through some training in Webster’s in school but it’s important to find someone who has gone through the much more in-depth post-graduate certification.
Getting adjusted regularly kept me feeling great and moving well, (no waddle here!) as well as making sure baby was in the best position for birth.
I truly believe being under chiropractic care allowed me to work a physically demanding job until 38 weeks pregnant, moving great through labor, and a smooth recovery.
I wish I could go back in time and take that extra nap! Seriously, once the baby comes it will be sooo much more difficult. Seriously, don’t feel bad about relaxing on the couch with Netflix or that extra long shower. Spend Saturday morning cuddling with your husband ( and pets!). I’m not saying you won’t be able to do those things once your baby arrives but it’ll take planning. Keeping your body ( and mind!) as rested as possible will really help during labor and those early days with a newborn. I had a pregnancy pillow very similar to this one and it definitely helped me stay comfortable.
A week after I found out Luna was on her way I ran my first half-marathon. I remember thinking that I’d keep running and strength training at that same level throughout pregnancy. I quickly found that I had to make modifications to my workouts. Everyone is different, listen to your body. Make the modifications you need and keep your body moving. A 30-minute brisk walk several times a week will make a huge impact on how you feel, on labor, and even your baby’s position. During those 100 degree Alabama days I did laps around Target, seriously just keep moving.*
This is the pregnancy band I used for walks and also for work, it was a life saver!
Even if you’re not pregnant I highly suggest working with a Functional Medicine Doctor for your optimal supplement regimen AND to make sure you are getting the best quality products. ( Please don’t order supplements from Amazon!) There are a few things that most pregnant women can benefit from taking:
A GOOD Prenatal (we like the one from Klaire Labs)
Probiotic specially formulated for women/vaginal health
Prenatal nutrition probably deserves a post all on its own. Maybe Dr. Spencer will help me out with that one.
Schedule an Appointment with a Therapist
Any time I’ve gone through a big life change I’ve found therapy to be really beneficial. What bigger change do we go through than becoming a parent?! I really believe that talking through some of my parenting fears and having guidance on how to handle them has helped me tremendously postpartum.
It’s also a great idea to try a session with your partner to make sure you’re both on the same page as far as expectations for each other when your baby arrives. Knowing ahead of time who is responsible for what can save you a lot of fights. Don’t forget to be vulnerable with your partner. Share your fears, anxieties, and what you’re looking forward to.
Take a Birth Class
Most of us spend a year or more planning our wedding but spend almost no time planning our birth (or postpartum)! Yes, unexpected things happen and births don’t always go “as planned” but you can absolutely be educated on your rights as a birthing person. Our birth plan had specifications for every possible scenario. I think it’s important to add that I discussed it with my providers ahead of time and we were all on the same page. We took the Bradley Method classes and I found this to be a great tool for preparing for a natural labor. Over the 12 weeks, you get an in-depth understanding of all aspects of the birth process. Each lesson had tools for mom and also for the partner supporting her. You are also given the opportunity to put together your birth plan with the help of an experienced instructor. It’s also a great way to connect with other soon-to-be parents.
This book was recommended by our Bradley instructor and I found it super helpful!
There’s no doubt that eating a balanced diet can help you feel your best, this is especially true while pregnant. During the first trimester, I was pretty nauseous so I wasn’t getting much meat and veggies. At that point, I was just doing what I had to do to get some food in my system, even if it was a grilled cheese or french fries. Once I got into my second trimester, I started eating in a more familiar, healthy way and I really do think it helped me to feel much better. My midwife encouraged me to get in plenty of whole foods and I was aiming for at least 80 grams of protein a day. Protein is so important for growing a healthy baby! I ate lots of lean meats, boiled eggs, and full-fat Greek yogurt to get that protein in every day. I suggest looking to whole food sources for protein rather than processed foods. Healthy fats are also so very important for baby’s brain, I ate at least a half of an avocado a day and added organic olive oil to salads.
My Bradley Instructor suggested the book Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck and I highly recommend it for expecting Mamas. It also has lots of tips for introducing different foods to baby.
Ok, I know the last thing you want to do with a baby pressing on your bladder is drink more water but, do it! Treat yourself to a nice, big water bottle or tumbler. I had a 35-ounce bottle I would refill 3 or 4 times a day and always had it with me. Staying hydrated can help with swelling and cramps. In my third trimester, I would notice more cramping if I hadn’t had enough water. Thankfully, I never really experienced any swelling.
My Favorite Pregnancy Books and Resources:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.
Natural Child Birth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland
Birth Without Fear by January Harshe