2. Veins, veins go away
I’ve heard that with each subsequent pregnancy you increase your chances of things like varicose veins. I still didn’t think I would get noticeable, purple markings on my body. I’ve developed a nasty little cluster on my left thigh which look like spider veins met a rogue blue paintball splat. In the morning it’s quite light in colour, and by the end of the day it looks angry and pretty PO’ed. I find it annoying and distracting, but by no means is it important in the scheme of things. Will it go away? No idea. Our blood volume doubles in pregnancy, and the added pressure of being pregnant can make out bodies do some weird things. On the annoyance scale, I’d give it a 1.5/5 stars.
3. Early onset abdominal separation
I was diagnosed with diastasis recti at 21 weeks. My midwife said I already had a three finger separation, which was a shock because after giving birth to my second baby I had a four finger separation. This legit freaked me out because I, very rationally, did the math and calculated the I’d for sure develop a three fist separation by the time I was 40 weeks. Funny thing is, I'm on tracking with my growth. I'm not overly big, and my belly is measuring 25 cm at 25 weeks, which is exactly what it’s supposed to be. I believe it to be a combination of factors, such as: a third pregnancy and having to carry my one year old since she still isn’t walking.
I went to the physio and was given some exercises to help support my TA, low back and glutes. Strengthening these intrinsic muscles will help to feign off horrific back pain later in the pregnancy. I will be sure to share some of these exercises on my insta stories.
For now I’m doing the exercises twice a day, doing my pelvic floor work at red lights and being mindful not to over stretch when practicing yoga. The relaxin hormone is great for helping our bodies give birth, but it is important not to overstretch your ligaments just because the added laxity is there.
I love my GP. She is so lovely and knows me and my family well. I marched into her office with my 3 year old, wishing to make the appointment speedy (because they were already an hour behind schedule).
“Hey Dr G, I think I have a poo obstruction.”
This probably wasn’t the right tactic, but I told her I was bloated and she did an abdominal exam. She asked me a few standard questions and then asked me if I could be pregnant. I laughed out loud and smiled,
“No. That’s impossible.”
She finally convinced me to take a pregnancy test, but as I sauntered off to the bathroom I couldn't help myself, “This really is a waste of time you know. I've only missed 2 periods in my life and they were both when I moved house. So that’s all this is.”
I peed on the stick and then the nurse asked me to wait in the waiting room for the result. At this point we were now an hour and half past our original appointment and my patience was waning with my bored toddler. She called me back into the room and at this point I was peeved and just wanting to go home. The tiredness was coming on strong, as was dinner, bath and bedtime for the kiddos. She walked up to me with her hands closed around something and moved in a delicate manner, as if she were cradling an injured baby bird. My interest peaked. She made her way over to my chair and opened her hands to reveal the pregnancy stick with two distinct pink lines.
I find it difficult to put into words what the next few moments exactly felt like, but my entire body went numb and I felt like I was being swallowed whole. I burst into tears, crying while my toddler looked on, perplexed. I couldn’t speak. All I could do was muster a broken stutter of something like, “I just….. I dunno. How is this possible? Are you sure?”
I imagine that the first minute of knowing is similar to what someone experiences before they die- a slideshow of thoughts, memories and feelings experienced in a single millisecond.
Mine went a little something like this:
We were done.
I don’t want any more babies.
Life is finally getting easier. Finally.
I am so tired.
Three would be nice, but I’m spread too thin as it is.
I sold our baby stuff.
Emerson is too young.
How could YOU be so ungrateful?
You don’t deserve this.
The baby won’t survive in your broken body anyway.
Don’t get attached.
My doctor had trouble reading my reaction, and I assured her that we were 100% keeping the baby. I explained to her that my shock was simply attributed to the fact that we had such a struggle to conceive years before, for both of our kids. Even though she was my GP she didn’t know the extent of our infertility issues. When I explained the backstory, a huge smile crept over her face and then she said, “Well I guess this was just meant to be then.”
We decided not to jump on my traditional pregnancy protocol of severely lowering my immune system. It seemed my body had finally reset and knew what it was "supposed" to do. I decided to trust my body for the first time then and there.
My GP left the room and I just hugged Ry and I cried and cried and told her how much I loved her. In that moment I felt so much guilt because I knew yet another baby meant that I had to give her even less of myself.
I zombie walked to the car and called my parents first. I was on the phone with them when I arrived at the appointment and assured them that I would call them on my way home. It’s all a bit blurry, but I think the conversation went something like,
“Soooooo.... it’s not a poop obstruction. I’m actually pregnant!”
Squeals. Excitement. More tears. I expressed my joy and my subsequent fear. The fear of losing the baby and the fear of what we were going to do, falling pregnant at such a precarious time and still without a lick of local family help or support. I drove home the rest of the way on autopilot and decided that I wanted Ry to hand deliver her daddy the stick and film his reaction. After all, I’ve never peed on a stick before.
It was never that easy for us.
This was a first.
It is not uncommon to have a huge aversion to veggies during your first trimester. You're not alone!
I wanted to share how you can get more veggies into your diet during the first trimester when you might not be feeling quite yourself.
1. Adding raw spinach to a smoothie is a great way to boost your greens intake.
2. You can also add green powders as they are hard to detect in a smoothie.
I like Body Science's Clean Greens or the Healthy Chef's Everyday Greens.
3. Another great way to add insanely healthy cruciferous veggies to smoothies is to steam some cauliflower and then pop it in the freezer. When the time comes to assemble your smoothie, add the pre-cooked frozen cauliflower. Not only will it make your smoothie creamier, but it helps to add a nutrient dense punch!
Simply change HOW you eat them
1. If you normally eat steamed broccoli, but cannot stomach it, try to eat broccoli another way. Raw for instance. You might find that simply changing the way you're used to eating something is all it takes.
For me, I couldn't stomach steamed broccoli, but the raw broccoli was really nice, crispy and a bit spicy which appealed to me. Here is an outstanding healthy broccoli salad recipe that you must try of you are a broccoli fan.
I also tossed some broccolini in olive oil and baked it for 10-12 mins at 180C. It gets a lovely, crispy char and was a lot more palpable, for me at least.
3. Bake them in
There are so many excellent recipes out there that are loaded with veggies and hidden protein.
Here are a few of my favs.
1. For something semi-sweet and not naughty: Chocolate black bean brownies
If you have a very sweet tooth, I wouldn't recommend these!
2. This is always a home run and makes a nice morning snack or a simple, palatable breakfast if you aren't feeling too hot: Lemon zucchini bread
3. Possibly my favourite muffin of all time and loaded with fibre. They are also dairy and flour free: Carrot muffins
4. So this doesn't have hidden veggies, but it is 90% apple and oh so delicious. I highly recommend this apple tea cake to accompany your morning coffee or tea. It also would make a great breakfast with a dollop of coconut or Greek yogurt.
Emerson Rose came into this world hard and fast on July 30th at 2:30am
Monday, July 29th
I headed to see my OB for my standard weigh in, blood pressure and quick ultrasound. She wanted to do an internal to see how things were progressing, if at all. The week before, bub was high, nowhere near my cervix. Thankfully I had dropped a bit, so things were moving along, albeit slowly. I didn't want any intervention, and as she was all up in there, she said, "now I will just do a little stretch." I was annoyed because she did it without asking, but I couldn't really feel anything and decided not to let this grind my gears in the big scheme of things since I was not able to go over term anyway due to other factors.
I dropped my hubby off at work and then went to physio at 11am to get more work done for my SIJ pain. I ended up losing my mucus plug at 2:30pm. It came flying out like a bat out of hell. I remembered that my daughter was born the following day after losing my mucus plug, so I knew things were about to get real. I made sure I had everything ready to go in my hospital bag and then I tried to go about my day like nothing was out of the ordinary.
I didn't have regular contractions until 8:30pm about 2.5 minutes apart. We were watching The Block and I was pacing the house like those tigers you see behind the glass at the zoo. Oh yes, I remember this feeling...
If you've never had a baby before, you might not know this part, but they'll usually tell you in your antenatal class to call the hospital before coming in. They tell you to do this so that the midwife can ask you some questions and listen to you over the phone. She could tell when I was having a contraction and listened closely to how I spoke, and more importantly, my breath. She said that I should come in because of how close my contractions were, so we loaded up the car and rushed off in the pitch black night.
It was a really quiet night and there was a weird weather change, even a little bit of rain. The midwife said this either made for a particularly quiet night, or a busy evening with as many as 8 babies born to three midwives the weekend before. There were only two midwives on shift (normal) and there was only one other gal in labour.
I felt like I was in good hands.
I hopped on the table and had my internal exam. Given my level of discomfort, I was hoping to be a minimum of 3+ centimeters, at least. I remembered being told by a midwife at my first birth that getting from 1 to 3 centimeters was the hardest part. I was secretly praying to have passed that initial milestone given the strength and frequency of my contractions, so you can imagine my dismay when she said I was 1cm.
Yes, you read that right.
One. measly. centimeter.
(And in case you didn't know, you don't get to push until you reach 10 centimeters!)
"You're the same dilation as you were this morning at your appointment with the OB. One centimeter, maybeee 2," she smiled jovially.
I did not smile jovially. I sat stone faced and quietly panicked on the inside, joker face in play. I knew that second labours were quicker and I've heard they can be more painful, but this - THIS was a hiccup I was not anticipating. I expected to be 3-5 centimetres and hoping to push within the hour, maybe two. She interrupted my daydreaming.
"So, since you don't want medical intervention, you can leave to go home and labor there. Or, if you'd like to stay here, you're more than welcome because it's such a quiet night, and you can go for a walk to get things going. Either way I'm going to go call your OB now and let her know what's happening."
* What I didn't know until a few days later was the midwife did in fact call my OB, and told her what was happening. My OB said, "Do not let her leave the hospital! That woman has made up her mind to have a baby!" Damn. She knows me well.
I decided to walk the hallway with my hubs, taking breaks and holding onto the railing when I had a contraction. This is where my ballsy husband captured the moment he hummed the Rocky anthem to me on Instagram. The comment section is pretty hilarious if you need a good laugh. It was really difficult to mentally push past the fact that I was so little dilated. Doubt kept creeping in, much like anxiety does, and tried to make me lose focus and waiver in my birth plan.
I decided that I didn't want to be on my feet. Another labour done and dusted where I've had every intention of moving around heaps, but it just didn't resonate with my body. They wanted to hook me up to the monitors, and once I was in bed, that was it for me until she came.
Each subsequent check, I progressed another centimeter. I didn't want to move from the bed, which was a surprise because I spent a lot of time in the shower for my first labour, and I assumed I would do the same. I tossed from side to. Left, right. Left, right. Left, right.
I started to not feel too great, surprised at how strong the contracts were so early on. I tried to keep my head in the game, and ride each contraction, one at a time. If I focused on the only contraction I was experiencing, it made me feel better and less overwhelmed. You know that the contraction will peak, and relief is justtttttt on the other side. It's so easy to panic and think, but how much longer will this go on?? I'm just so tired. I cannot do this.
PAIN WITH PURPOSE I told myself, which was my birthing mantra. If you're thinking, wait, I need to write that quote down because it's AMAZING... please do. It was brought to my attention by my BFF and professional baby birthing guru, Rachel. She has had three water births, all drug free, and she is pretty much my birthing idol (and an incredible mum to boot). Since completing this post, she has had yet another baby. She's a freaking superhero.
It was around this time that the anesthesiologist came in to see me because the nurse messed up my cannula for my drip.
"So, how are you?" she asked while prepping my cannula.
I so wanted to roll my eyes, but I plastered on a smile and said, "Good, thanks."
"And what are we thinking in terms of pain relief tonight?"
My breath caught in my chest for a moment. I knew that this woman could take away all my pain. I knew it could slow my labour, and I also knew that getting an epidural freaked me out because my spine is precious. I really didn't want my baby to be exposed to any of those drugs. I was so, so tempted, so naturally I blurted out,
"I'll be fine thank you. I don't want one. Bye."
"Ok, that's great. I'd rather not give you one. I was only asking because I'm leaving for the night. So if you change your mind, I'll be over 30 minutes away."
I was quietly relieved because the farther away she was, the better in my eyes. If it isn't on the table as an option, then I knew it was all up to me, my cervix and a bit of grunt.
I continued labouring, left side, right side, on repeat. They wanted to leave the monitor on me because after each contraction, there would be a weird pause on the monitor readings. So I stayed on the bed and just tried to find distractions and munched on ice chips like my life depended on it. Hubs put on Spotify and then I suddenly felt the strangest sensation, and a *pop* inside my body, followed by a huge gush of liquid pouring from between my legs. I had hubs get the midwife, who said I might have peed (um, no) and she would check it out. Her face was surprised when she pulled the sheet back, which I found strange, because what's the big deal... my waters finally broke. What she eventually explained was that there was a lot of blood as well. I didn't stress about it, and I went out of my way not to assess how much was actually lost. We changed my bed pad underneath me, and business as usual continued.
By the time I was 5 centimeters I was really uncomfortable. My midwife came in and said, "you sound different. You're transitioning."
"What do you mean I sound different?" I was perplexed.
She said, "Your sounds are getting more intense. It's so nice to hear the moans from your room. We don't hear them that much these days." (Oh God, don't flatter me now babes, I'm in struggle town).
"I can tell they are getting harder and faster by listening to you outside."
For the record, moaning sounds funny, but that's exactly how I have to get through labour. I need to breathe deeply in my nose and let a gentle sigh, moan, hum leave my body. This is like a primordial necessity for me. It's fascinating, and not too loud or obtrusive.
Soon after, my husband was trying to convince me to hold off on applying the TENS machine. I agreed that was a good idea and held off as long as I could. When I felt like I was wavering, he kept reassuring me,
"You're doing great, you got this, this is so much better than last time."
I only had fond memories of last time, and seeing as I was up shit creek smack bang in the middle of this second labour, all I could focus on was the hurdle ahead of me.
Tuesday, July 30th
I dilated from 5cm to 10 cm in 40 minutes. Yep.
That is why I lost a lot of blood, because my cervix effaced so quickly. I felt so much pressure in my bum and the midwife asked if I wanted to push. I didn't want to, but the pressure was mounting.
Now this is going to be a hell of a visual, but those that know, KNOW. Have you ever seen a cow give birth at the fair? I used to watch them give birth every year at the state fair, and it was one of my favourite things. I distinctly remember the mother's distressed demeanor, her wide eyes, and the chains firmly wrapped around the baby calve's ankles. The mummy cow's body would heave and heave, and you could see it all happening before your eyes and under her tail. I felt like that bloody cow. Suddenly, it was all happening and my body had legitimately taken over, like, babe- I got this.
I felt my body push without my willing it. It was such a bizarre sensation, and I called out to my husband frantically. "Tell her, I'm pushing, but I'm not pushing!!"
Last we chatted, I wasn't far along enough in my dilation to start pushing. This was unsettling.
The midwife rushed into the room and said that my obstetrician was on her way (really?!) and would be here any minute. I knew we didn't have that long. I was on my left side, ( I birthed both my babies on my left side) and suddenly my OB breezed into the room and into an open gown that was being held by the midwife. In less than one minute she had slipped on her gloves and did an internal. "Erica. It's time!! PUSH!"
I took a deep yogic breath to the pit of my belly and gave an almighty push. The first push literally took my breath away as I immediately felt the ring of fire, hot and tight. My body immediately reeled back, I felt the head move back up inside me slightly. The ring of fire is when the labia and the perineum reach their maximum stretch around the baby's head. Instinctively, I didn't want to push a second time because I knew what was coming. I figured, the harder I push, the quicker this burn will go away. I'm SO close now, I know this birth should be done in less than 1 hour. I can do this!
After my second push, Dan and my doctor said they could see hair. HAIR! Already, I thought..?? No frigging way. I knew the ring of fire would subside once the head was out, so I gave another almighty push, to which she met me with a "STOP!" The cord was wrapped around bub's neck, so she quickly tried to free it which was difficult to do since only the head was out and the cord was so tight. This explained why the baby wasn't coping well after each contraction because breathing was a bit more difficult. Once she slipped the cord off, we worked together, "small push, small push, small push, BIG push!"
After my fifth push, she was caught by OB and I felt the most immense relief.
We became a family of four at 2:29am on July 30th.
I was still losing a lot of blood, even after Em came into the world, so I was put on a drip to contract my uterus and stop the blood loss. The medicine, combined with my body's natural uterine contractions were incredibly painful. The afterbirth pains worsen with each delivery, a fact that I did not know.
My placenta wasn't coming, even after the needle in my thigh, so my OB quickly gave me a catheter and manually drained my bladder. This helps the placenta to be delivered, which I found super fascinating. I actually got to see the placenta this birth, which was remarkable, and then it was swiftly taken away and properly stored for my placenta encapsulation lady.
I got the shakes hard core after this birth. The adrenaline kicked in something fierce and I was shaking uncontrollably. Not a nice feeling, but at least I didn't vomit after the birth like I did my first time around. We were escorted to our room on another floor and my husband and I were able to share a queen bed while little Em slept soundly beside us. I didn't go to sleep until after 5am and was woken at 6am to the sound of the breakfast trays being delivered.
Then, that was that... life goes on, much to our dismay.
We were forever a family of four from that day on.
Before your imagination starts to run wild and you envision me tucking into my placenta on a dinner plate with a steak knife and glass of red while recovering in my birthing suite, think again.
What is the Placenta & What Does it Do?
The word placenta come from the Greek, meaning "plate" or "discoid." This is because the placenta resembles the shape of a dinner plate attached to the side of the uterus, with the umbilical cord connecting the baby's belly. Without a placenta, no fetus could ever survive.
The placenta has many unique and important roles. It can assist in the sharing of information from the mother to the baby and then back to the mother. Crazy, right?
1. Acts as a filter: with the help of the umbilical cord that is, allowing the goodness from mum to reach the fetus, all while keeping the toxins at bay.
2. Functions as a sensor: the placenta helps decipher what the fetus needs also helps to regulate the absorption of amino acids, fat, oxygen and vitamins.
3. Operates as a hormone factory: it produces high levels of oestrogen, progesterone and cortisol for mum and fetus.
The first time I’d ever heard of eating one’s placenta was many years ago when I was trying to fall pregnant myself. I stumbled across Jennifer Stano who had quite a social media following and was expecting her first child. From memory, I loved her pregnancy style, and followed her in the hopes of getting some helpful dress-the-bump tips.
A video popped up on my Instagram one morning, and the still was of Jennifer and her husband. She had delivered her baby, and she’d had a little boy. The video caught my attention because she was in a hospital but had a kitchen blender in front of her. Perplexed and curious, I proceeded to watch her make a placenta smoothie and with a chunk of her raw placenta, fresh berries and some other ingredients. The video was about the smoothie and getting her husband to drink it, which he did. When I saw this video I was absolutely appalled! Why on earth would you make your husband do that? Shock value? How ridiculous. And what was the point of a placenta smoothie in the first place? I couldn’t help but think it was a grab for attention at the time, and I shook my head, chalking it up to wanting likes and dropped jaws.
Fast forward a few years to when I finally had a bun in the oven and my world shifts. It’s funny how pregnancy makes you pull out all the stops and really look after yourself for the sake of your baby. I was at the end of my third trimester living in Melbourne and a girlfriend of mine had mentioned that she had her placenta encapsulated. I was thrilled to have someone close to me that I could actually talk to about the experience. After all, when it comes to matters such as these, we need to peel back all the layers of assumptions, fear, and disgust that stem from ignorance.
She told me about her great experience with Anna Papadakis from Opening To Life and I called her immediately. Anna is a birth attendant, birth educator, body centered therapist and trainer. She started placenta encapsulation in 2012, and now it's a core part of her practice.
I confessed to Anna that I didn’t know much about the process, how it worked, or anything for that matter. I hadn't even read the website yet, but I was close to giving birth and keen as mustard to learn more. I also alluded to the fact that I’d heard consuming the placenta was good for a mother’s recovery, and that was something I desperately wanted to know more about.
Anna and I spoke on the phone at length about the process, the placenta itself and how sacred it is. I don’t mean that in a spiritual way (although it is pretty magical), but I personally feel that it's such a misunderstood organ. So if you're at all like me, and curious about this process, I find it easiest to break it down into two categories, the WHY and the HOW of consuming your placenta.
"We need to peel back all the layers of assumptions, fear, and disgust that stem from ignorance."
- Erica Kickert
As a soon to be new mum, I was quite worried about postnatal depression, commonly referred to as PND. The idea of PND being a dark horse that doesn't discriminate really spooked me. I'd spoken to a midwife who mentioned that I might be at risk for a few reasons, in particular due to our lack of support and absence of family from either side due to our move up to Queensland when our baby would be a mere 7 weeks old. My husband's family live in Melbourne and my family live in California, and I knew I'd particularly struggle when my parents had to say goodbye to their only child and their first grandchild.
In the same way that you commit to eating well and getting rest for the sake of your unborn baby, I committed to making my recovery the smoothest it could be, and that started by working from the inside out.
Anna went over a few key benefits, which were:
- Increasing our iron levels, which will help to combat fatigue, give you more energy, and therefore less depression. It's often difficult to absorb iron from supplements. You ingest crazy high does and the excess is expelled via black poop (if you've ever been on these supplements, you'd know exactly what I'm talking about)! However, when it's your own iron, it's much easier to absorb.
- Some research shows that increasing Vitamin B6 combats post natal depression and helps to regulate mental process and mood.
- The placenta contains high levels of Oxytocin, which is commonly referred to as the "love drug." Increasing the levels of this hormone increases your sense of wellbeing and happiness.
- The placenta also contains Lactogen which has been shown to help increase breast milk supply.
Click here to read about more benefits and how/why they work.
In Anna’s case, she only handles one placenta at a time in her work space. I really loved that she had this policy, for obvious reasons! Once the baby and the placenta have been born, it's set aside in a plastic tub by the hospital staff and awaits pick up. I didn't even know Anna had been to collect the placenta, and then I received a sweet text message that she would be dropping by with my capsules all ready to go and was excited to meet me.
It's your decision how you would like it to be prepared.
Anna offers two methods:
I wanted the placenta to retain as much goodness as possible, and opted not to cook it. This form of encapsulation involves less processing and will yield more capsules for you too. Once the placenta is cleaned, accessed, measured and cooked/dehydrated, it's then ground up and placed into clear organic capsules. Anna then bottles it up and it's delivered to you within 48-72 hours with specific instructions about how many to take a day.
My experience was outstanding. I ask most pregnant women if they are going to eat their placenta, and I get a lot of sideways glances, but I also meet a few women who say "YES" or who ask me for more information. My milk came in on day 2/3, I bounced back so quickly, got my period a few weeks later and didn't have any baby blues. I genuinely believe the encapsulation was responsible for my speedy recovery.
One of my favourite yoga students from Melbourne, Anna D, had asked me about the process and decided to have her placenta encapsulated after her second birth. This is what she had to say:
"I thought about having my placenta encapsulated during my first pregnancy but I let myself be talked out of it. After the birth of my first daughter the baby blues hit me hard. I was so scared that I was developing postnatal depression. (I was lucky that my baby blues only lasted a couple of weeks).
Second pregnancy I went with my gut and organised to have my placenta encapsulated, and I’m so glad that I did! No baby blues at all after the birth of my second daughter, plus my recovery was so much faster which was great as I had an active toddler to keep up with this time. I also found I had a lot more energy in the morning despite having to wake several times for night feeds.
My husband was also really sick at the time and I don’t know if they helped, but I didn’t catch whatever bug he had. I’d happily encouraged placenta encapsulation to any Mumma’s to be."
- Anna D, Melbourne
I highly recommend that you read some testimonials to get a feel for what people are saying about the process.
It's a great place to begin if this is something you're weighting up.
Have you ever had your placenta encapsulated?
Would you consider having it done? Tell me in the comments below.
What's in my bathroom cabinet while I'm growing a tiny human?
- Have a read below -
1. Biologi Bf Hydraton body serum: for my face and body. It's so versatile and nourishing.
2. Cedar and Stone's oil cleanser: for evening face wash, and I steam off the impurities with a bamboo or muslin face cloth.
3. Simple as That Sunscreen: it's 30 SPF and I use this daily. Most days I only wear this and mascara.
4. La Mav Organics BB Cream: in the medium shade.
1. Biologi Bf Hydraton body serum: for my face and body
2. Black Chicken's Axilla Barrier Booster natural deodorant: which is for sensitive skin. I can shave my armpits and use this right after, it's amazing!
3. Dr Bronner's bar soap: my favourite bars are the lavender, hemp rose and peppermint.
4. The Source Bulk Food's ylang ylang shampoo: I don't use conditioner because I don't have any need for it. If you would like to use an all natural, DIY conditioner that is free from nasties, try this.
5. Black Chicken Remedies dry shampoo: it's natural, organic, works well and smells amazing.
6. Dr Bronner's Organic Magic Balm as well as Black Chicken's Balm of Ages: for when I needed that little something extra on rough and very dry skin.
What I don't do:
What I do make an effort to do:
Well, that's it!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Congrats! You're preggers. You're growing another being, and all your energy is going towards harvesting another person's vital organs, eyelashes and fingernails. How bizzare, right?!
Pregnancy is not a one size fits all experience. Some women wear pregnancy like a glove, glow the whole 40 weeks and have a three hour labour. Others might have horrible morning sickness, suffer daily back pain and have a 20+ hour labour. We cannot pigeon hole what experiences may or may not come your way.
Having said that, there are some things I feel we can touch on because a fair few us have had to deal with pregnancy cravings.
My OB is renowned in Melbourne and an absolute legend. I can't recommend him highly enough, and just quietly, I'm totally devo that we don't live in Melbourne anymore because we always said we wanted him to deliver all of our kids! You can listen to this 2 minute snippet with Dr Jo and Rebecca Judd on the MamaMia Podcast where he shares one of his incredibly sweet birthing rituals. (It brought me to tears listening to it because we did it for my daughter's birth and I had a beautiful flashback).
Around my 33+ week I remember having a chat with Dr Jo and he explained that we only need about 200 extra calories a day toward the end of the pregnancy. 200! That's about 1/2 a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, NOT a pint size container of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
But I get it. We're pregnant, uncomfortable and can have an insatiable appetite, especially if you are on steroids like I was (the worse side effect EVER)! We feel like it's our time to celebrate and indulge (it is), but we also want make educated decisions that will be good for us and for our bub.
Here are a few tips and tricks that I've implemented during my pregnancies:
1. Listen to your body
I've always been an intuitive eater, and I think it's good to be honest and forthcoming with what your body is trying to tell you. If you're pregnant and want to lick dirty potatoes, you're body is probably needing some essential vitamins and minerals! I'm not a huge red meat consumer, but I craved it fiercely with my first pregnancy. Turns out I was in the single digits for my iron levels = I was severely iron deficient (like really, really bad).
2. Make healthy swaps
Here are a few healthy swaps worth trying :: If you're craving this, try ________________ .
Snickers bar vs. RAW SNICKERS
Store bought, or boxed brownie mix vs. AVOCADO BROWNIES
Chocolate mouse vs. OVERNIGHT CHOCOLATE CHIA SEED PUDDING
Grab and go store bought granola bar vs. SWEET AND SALTY TRAIL MIX BARS
Greasy burger out vs. homemade SALMON BURGERS WITH SLAW
A mountain of cafe pancakes vs. HOMEMADE PANCAKES FOR 1
3. Be flexible
If you deny yourself time and time again without giving yourself a solid WHY.... you'll most likely binge and end up feeling really guilty. If I really want something, and can't stop thinking about it for a few days, I'll ask my husband to get it for me and throughly enjoy it. Leanne Ward, the Fitness Dietitian, shared a wonderful blog post about how to prevent binge eating and combat sugar cravings... have a read!
4. Make it from scratch
"Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you make it from scratch." This is Michale Pollan's #45th rule from his book, Food Rules. I love this rule so much! Eat whatever junk you want as long as you make it.... it's so completely and utterly brilliant. Why? Because if you have to make an apple pie from scratch, you'll either,
A. Rethink making it all together (most likely).
B. Spend an hour plus making and baking it and really appreciate it bite by bite.
C. You'll most likely have consumed a healthier version compared to a store bought apple pie.
HOT TIP: Speaking of sweets! If you're looking to really indulge, I highly recommend these two desserts. This vegan chocolate pie is healthy, and these peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake bars, not so much healthy- but bloody delish.
I eat five times a day without fail. This means I always have morning tea and afternoon snack, at least! I'm an intuitive eater and eat when my body us hungry- plain and simple.
Here are a few of my favourite snacks which have a nice blend of sweet and savory:
- Organic apple with crunchy peanut butter
- Veggie sticks with hummus
- Shared mini cheese board (pregnancy safe), with dried fruit (ex: apricots, prunes, pineapple), fresh fruit (ex: apple, mandarin, crispy pear), walnuts, and pickles. This makes a great dessert or netflix platter in our house.
- Cookie Dough Energy Bites (family FAV)
- Lemon Coconut chia energy balls
- Pumpkin bread
- This healthy banana bread
Hope that helped guys.
Wishing you all the best on your pregnancy journey!
I decided to make a little list of things that I do, or have tried, (or think are worth trying), in the event that there are other Mamas out there feeling the same way.
Don't be too hard on yourself
Mum guilt is a thing. Don't berate yourself too much. Each pregnancy is unique in the same way that each and every child is unique. Whether this is your first pregnancy, or your fifth, we can't expect to feel the same way, have our bodies morph into the same shape, crave the same foods, etc. Sometimes these things take time, other times you might feel an inexplicable bond the moment you see the little blue lines on the pregnancy stick.
For me personally, getting pregnant with my daughter was a HUGE milestone; watching our 7 week video of our ultrasound and getting confirmation that the baby was alive makes me cry to this day. THIS pregnancy was less stressful in some ways and more stressful in others. I felt the same overwhelming excitement at the 7 and 12 week scans, but as I talked about in this post, I was in a rough headspace the first few months.
I was also relieved when I had my morphology scan and found out about about my very low placenta. Because my placenta was so low, the baby was punching and kicking my placenta instead of my belly wall. When the baby got bigger and stronger I'd be able to feel it move, and boy oh boy this kid is ACTIVE!
I used to teach meditation when I lived in Melbourne, and I found that I preferred to teach it rather than practice it! Meditation is something that I struggle with, and that's not easy to confess as a yoga instructor!
I think the best type of meditation practice is on your own, in silence. But if you need, or prefer, guidance I've tried Headspace and YogaGlo. According to Women's Health Magazine, these were the six best mediation apps of 2018.
Do prenatal yoga
This is a great way to slow down, connect to your breath and be present. Good prenatal teachers will not just take you through asanas, they will, (and should), bring it back to your pregnancy, your experience, your bub.
Talk to your baby
Might seem weird, but have you ever talked out-loud to yourself?
I do all the time because I've spent a lot of time on my own over the years! In the same way that we mumble and chat away to ourselves in our apartment or wandering through the grocery aisle, you can chat to your bub too. Maybe ask them how they are in the morning, what they feel like eating before lunch or say goodnight to them after your evening wind down.
Find out the Gender
If you're feeling a bit disconnected from the baby, consider finding out the gender with the Harmony test (week 10-12) or at the 20 week morphology scan. This might help you to visualise your life together after the birth, make picking a name more personal and could possibly expedite the bonding process.
Start Nesting Early
Start to prepare for bub's arrival by doing all the fun things:
Ask your friends for positive stories
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Listening to positive experiences and practicing visualisation is a great way to set yourself up for success. I've been asking my friends with two kids what I need to know and how I can prepare for success. We both laugh and they say the first three months are all about survival, which I get 100%. Everyone tells me it's the hardest thing ever, but that the time goes more quickly and the tender moments are even sweeter. I got a glimpse as to what this might be like when I watched my daughter hold a seven week old baby the other day. My daughter thought she was holding her new sibling, and was besotted. She demanded more cuddles and stroked the baby's face and didn't want to share the cuddle time. I had to explain that this wasn't our baby, but seeing her hold the wee one nearly brought me to joyful tears. I will no doubt reflect on that memory when I am in struggle-town during labour.
Wishing you all the best and a healthy, happy pregnancy.
If you (or someone you know) is struggling with anxiety and depression while pregnant, or after the birth, don't hesitate to reach out to people like PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) and speak to a professional.
There is something about being pregnant that seems to lift a lot of people's proverbial filter, am I right?
The uninvited belly touching, the crazy personal questions, it's enough to make your head spin, exorcist style. I'm lucky mine have been quite tame this time around. Here are my top asked questions thus far, with my answers attached as well:
1. Are you going to find out the gender?
2. Would you prefer a boy or a girl?
I'd love to give my husband the boy he has always dreamed of.
I wanted my firstborn to be a boy, but I was so happy once I give birth to and met my baby girl!
3. How far along are you?
4. Are you going public or private for the birth?
5. Where are you having the baby?
Westmead Private, Westmead in their brand new maternity suite which opens in March 2019.
It's like a 5 star hotel, I'm so pumped!
6. Have you chosen a name?
We don't have a boy name yet, and we have nearly decided on a girl's first name.
7. Do you have any cravings?
Spicy food, asian food, fish tacos, Indian food and bao buns.
None of which I really eat funnily enough- except for the occasional homemade asian fusion dishes.
8. Are you going to get an epidural?
No thanks! I always aim for as natural a birth as possible.
9. How do you think your daughter will adjust to having a new sibling?
She is so excited to be a big sister! She kisses my tummy all the time and her fav book at the moment is "There's a House Inside My Mummy."
10. How do you feel about giving birth again?
I'm excited I guess. I know I'll hate the waiting game in the final few weeks, but I had a really good birth experience with my daughter.... even though it didn't remotely go to plan (read my birth story here) and we had some big hiccups.
I can't wait to grow our little family and introduce our little bubba to her sister, and the world.
11. What are your favourite green beauty brands to use during pregnancy?
Black Chicken Remedies: 1. All natural deodorant 2. The skin complexion polish and
3. The nocturnalist night serum
For an even complexion: La Mav Organic BB cream (medium shade)
For added face hydration: Biologi, Bf Hydration body serum
For sunscreen: Simple as That, SPF 30
For my belly and my daughter's skin too: Byron Baby macadamia oil
(I'll do another blog post about these and more later on)
Are you pregnant too? Tell me in the comments below the craziest thing you've been asked!
For some, pregnancy is a breeze. My first pregnancy was a cat walk (for the most part), in that I never got sick and felt really good 95% of the time. My biggest complaints were a strong intolerance for the smell of garbage and I didn't crave veggies during the first trimester. Oh, and how could I forget, I was 30+ weeks pregnant during Queensland summer, which was tough.
This time around has been a doozy, and I've had some really, really rough days (yup, not just morning sickness, all-hours-of-the-day-sickness).
Here are a few things that have helped:
1. Ginger tea
I'm not a fan of ginger, but when I found out that it was a quick and easy remedy for morning sickness, I was all about it! Ginger is a part of the zingiberaceae family, alongside the well known turmeric and cardamom, and it's most commonly used for reducing nausea, pain and inflammation. I try to add it to my cooking, especially if I'm making an asian dish, such as this.
Need tea inspo? You might like this or this brand.
2. Candied Ginger
I purchase this from The Source Bulk Foods to have on hand in a jiffy. It's great to eat as is, or to place in a cup of tea, or mug of boiling water for a quick fix.
My daughter likes to snack on these as well, so win-win!
3. Plain biscuits
I normally avoid plain biscuits because they have zero nutritional value and serve no purpose except a massive hit of carbs to your daily intake. Every night I'd place a mini pack of Premiums (4 crackers) on the night stand, and if I needed to take the edge off, I'd grab 1 or 2 on my way back to bed and catch some more Z's after my morning trip to the loo. I also needed to take my steroids as early as possible each morning (no later than 7am), so if I felt like I could stomach it, I'd take my tablets with the crackers and head back to sleep. This was a bland and tolerable snack that really works wonders for me.
4. Frequent, small meals
5 times a day, 8 times a day, whatever you need to keep that sickness at bay.
For me, in the early days, it looked a little something like this:
6:30am: Small brekkie with morning meds (simple toast, peanut butter with banana and hemp/chia seeds)
7:30-8am: Second breakfast (eggs and a fruit salad or a smoothie)
Morning tea: 10am (homemade energy ball, or 2)
Lunch:12pm (Salad with veggies, nuts and a protein)
Afternoon snack: 2/3pm (apple with peanut butter or a hard boiled egg x 1)
Dinner: 5-5:30pm (nothing too heavy)
7pm Evening treat: Cob's organic popcorn, a cold orange, or a mediterranean platter with preggo-safe cheese, nuts, pickles and dried fruit
5. Ask for help
"There is no award for being a martyr," I say. Stop trying to do it all for the praise of... whom? Ask your parents, friends or neighbors if and when you need assistance. Call the babysitter to come over and stay in the house while you nap. Make yourself a priority because you can't pour from an empty cup. I'm not a first time mum, so I need to keep well in order to look after my daughter and keep my own body a healthy and happy place for my growing bub.
6. Connect with your community
Pretty straight forward this one. If you're pregnant with your second child, make sure you hit up everything on offer in your town, such as: music classes; playgroups; church groups and gymbaroo. Keeping busy is a great way to help pass those long pregnancy months, and you will probably meet some other mums that are expecting as well.
If you're a first time mum; keep busy! Go to prenatal yoga classes, volunteer, join a book club or keep pinning all your favourite baby things on Pinterest. The first trimester can feel like forever and a day, especially if you aren't feeling well! Focus your energies on productive activities and keep a positive mindset!
Know a friend who is pregnant and might enjoy this advice? Pease share this post with them!
This little corner of the internet is for non-yoga topics like motherhood, low-tox living and green beauty products I love.