Is it me or is there a mini baby boom going on? Seriously, every other person I know is pregnant. Watch yourself, or you'll be next. I've had a lot of curiosity around my pregnancy - because I'm a tomboy? because I wasn't overly excited to have kids? or because I'm the biggest plant-pusher in town? Probably that last one. Anyways, I kept track of progress and things I did during pregnancy so I could share them with the next pregnant lady that needed a little guidance or was just curious how I did it.
Having a healthy and happy pregnancy is a huge part of my health story. Here's why-
Seven years ago I was at the lowest point in my fatigue and had zero energy for anything productive. I remember thinking, "How will be a ever live a normal life? Be a productive adult? How will I ever support another body when I get pregnant, if I can't support my own?"
After the 10 years of struggling to find answers with 15+ care providers and doctors, I ran in to a podcast that focused on a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet. I started incorporating new recipe after new recipe. And now here I am, seven years later, not only able to be productive and active, but able to support another body. I didn't just struggle through pregnancy; I had a seamless pregnancy that I never felt held back by.
About this Blog
I had an easy pregnancy with no sickness, a small baby belly, and a quick and problem-free delivery. I attribute most of that to what I did during my pregnancy to prepare and care for my body (elaborated on in this blog). But, I do believe there are some genetics and "luck" involved. Plus, I had like 15 people praying during labor! (thank you...you know who you are)
This was simply my experience for my first pregnancy and I wanted to share to benefit and empower other women. As my high school English teacher suggested I do when reading the words of Henry David Thoreau in "Walden", take what you like and leave the rest. So, take what you think makes sense and want to utilize and leave the rest. I'm no expert, just a passionate foodie that has been through a lot in health and wellness.
Midwife vs. Conventional Doctor
I went to a midwife and noticed a huge difference between that experience versus conventional care I was used to all my life. My midwife made it my own pregnancy. She took lots of time to listen to concerns and address questions I had, which helped to make the whole experience easier and reduce the stress involved. Not to mention, the great education provided in breastfeeding, birthing, and postnatal classes further helped to put me at ease. I also had a lot of great support from the nurses during my delivery and stay, both for my preferences and for lactation support. All in all, I can't say enough nice things about my midwife and the nursing staff. One thing that informed the decision to go to a midwife was watching the documentary "The Business of Being Born". A must see!
Being active and eating well serves you in everything, but is especially helpful if you were doing that before you got pregnant (and often serves people in getting pregnant). It's hard to start those habits when you become pregnant; it's actually frowned upon to start physical activity during pregnancy unless you were already doing it. So, eat well and be active for when the time comes!
Weight Gain is Overrated
When you are pregnant, you are going to gain at least 20 extra pounds, so now is not the time to say "I'm going to gain weight, I may as well go big and eat a tub of ice cream every day." If you gain just what you need for a healthy baby (20-30 lb) then you won't feel so crummy during pregnancy and better afterwards because you'll likely lose a lot of that at delivery. Then you won't have an extra 30 lb. to lose from the excess weight gain.
I gained 29 lb during my pregnancy and lost most of it at delivery. I was down to pre-pregnancy weight 10 days after delivery. See photo below!
Nutrition is #1
If there's any department to put the most focus, attention, and energy into, it's your plate! A wide variety of fruits and veggies is a must. And funny thing, this is also best for recovery, healing, and breastfeeding. Oh, and it's important for a healthy life outside of pregnancy! Nourishing your body is setting you up for a better pregnancy, healthy baby, and an easier recovery. It's a multi-faceted benefit that I can't emphasize enough.
I eat about 85% plants and the rest is eggs or a free-range meat. Before pregnancy, I didn't eat dairy or gluten. However, I reintroduced that in a small way in my diet during pregnancy because I believe the more foods baby ingests from my diet, the less likely he will develop allergies as a child.
I had to really plan my food during pregnancy to make sure I wasn't out at a meeting or running errands and getting so hungry I could eat the 'A' out of an 'E' (ass out of an elephant. thanks to my dad for that fun phrase he taught me when I was 10). I also took my big canteen everywhere I went. I mean, if nothing else, carry an apple and Clif bar in your purse!
Take a prenatal vitamin ASAP! I took a Garden of Life Raw Prenatal. You can see a link to it below under 'Products'.
Here are some examples of things I ate during pregnancy, which is the same when I'm not pregnant. (desktop images show title and description on each photo)
Rest is your bestie
Naps are your best friend. I slept in whenever possible. If you don't feel like working out, don't force it. Listen to your body - it's smarter than we give it credit for!
just working on my fitness
While you can't start new activities, if you were active before, you can still stay quite active during your pregnancy. For example, I was riding my bike sometimes 3-4 hours and hiking with weight as well as doing lots of pull ups and push ups. During the first trimester I stayed minimally active because I was so tired. By the time I felt energetic enough to exercise, it was nearly November. Since it was getting colder and I didn't feel like getting on the pull up bar, I maintained activity by: going to the gym (walking, biking, stair climber, nautilus weights, yoga) and still doing things I had done before, like taking my dogs to the park and lifting things I had always lifted. I was lifting 50 lb. objects at home, 80+ lb. on arms in the gym and 200 lb. on the leg press. I wasn't doing those exact exercises before pregnancy, but because I was active & strong before pregnancy, it was doable and served me well. Oh, and don't you dare underestimate walking. If that's all you can do, then by all means, walk, walk, walk!
If you're fueling yourself well and staying active, I think your body takes the physiological cues better.
I got an adjustment and massage every two weeks during pregnancy. It's not necessary, but I think it served me well. You can read more about the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy here.
Yoga felt great during pregnancy because my body was changing so much and my muscles often felt tight. Make sure to do prenatal modifications for the safest yoga. Twist It is where I received prenatal yoga from. I actually took the 101 course in my third trimester, but the teacher was prenatal certified, so she was able to show me modifications throughout.
Prenatal Vitamin - Mine was a Garden of Life Raw Prenatal that I took three times a day.
Shea butter - I used 100% raw organic shea butter on my belly during my entire pregnancy. I have no stretch marks, but was that the reason why? Nobody will ever know, but it probably didn't hurt!
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea - to strengthen uterine muscles for labor. Apparently this has many other pregnancy benefits, including in milk production! Thanks to my midwife for suggesting me to take this; I think this is why my contractions were far apart (7 min., even during further labor) but still very effective at dilating me quickly. I took the supplement form instead of drinking the tea.
Delivery & Recovery
I'll just give you the rundown here on my delivery-
- Labor was less than 12 hours from start to finish
- I did it with no drugs or epidural
- There was about 2 hours of active labor
- I did 10 minutes of pushing
- I delivered standing up
- My baby weighed 7 lb. 10 oz. and was 20.5 in.
- I don't have stretch marks (probably jinxing myself. I'll wake up tomorrow with them. Haha.)
- I was at pre-pregnancy weight 10 days after
*women that are expecting and really want more details can email me to discuss :)
It's a boy
Our baby scored really high on the Apgar test and medical staff noted how strong he was when he was picking up his head and chest in the hospital. Hooray for a healthy babe!
We found out my baby boy, August, gained nearly a pound just 6 days after birth! Breastfeeding is amazing. Eating a wide variety of wholesome food during breastfeeding is crucial for milk production and nourishment of baby. But I'll have to save the baby talk and breastfeeding for another post. Stay tuned on this adventure. It's sure to produce a lot of content about food and health!
Please reach out to me if you have questions during your pregnancy. I've only been through the rodeo once, but I'd love to help if I can!
Ta-ta for now!
- Plant-pushing Brooke