Posts Tagged pregnancy

Remembering my Pregnancy… Vitamin Edition

6 January 2011

So now that baby is here and everything, I thought it would be fun to kind of get an electronic version going of the journal that I kept during pregnancy. In this entry, I will entail what I perceived to be a rather lengthy and complex series of supplements that I ended up taking by the end of the pregnancy. They all sort of built upon each other, like a symphony, until they reached their glorious climax at the end when I realized i was a legitimate pill-popper. BTW, this is ironic to me because I generally try to get all my nutrients from food, and as a rule I don’t really “believe” in supplements at all. Well anyway, here goes:

Prenatal Vitamins: my midwife was rather indifferent about them, believing–as I do–that good nutrition is really all you need. Nonetheless, I headed over to the health food store and picked up a bottle of Rainbow Lights at the beginning of my pregnancy. I took them sporadically throughout the pregnancy, but really got disciplined about it in the third trimester. After all, I did eat pretty healthy but I ain’t perfect!

Ionic Fizz Magnesium Plus: So very early in the pregnancy I started having crazy heartburn. Very painful. While it can be addressed through diet, the source is actually hormonal, and for me diet wasn’t cutting it. Luckily, my midwife has a background in naturopathy, so she had great suggestions for all my pregnancy discomforts. This was the greatest! My heartburn went away and the fizzy drink even tasted yummy. So add this 1-2 times per day to my daily prenatal.

[SIDEBAR: Quercetin & Nettle Leaf Tea]: I started taking these when the winds got really bad here and my allergies went crazy. Helped a little. I stopped the Quercetin when things calmed down, but still drink the tea. It’s yummy.

I kept up these two things for most of the pregnancy until the very end, when I got the only minor hiccup: I tested positive for Group Beta Strep. GBS is a bacteria that ebbs and flows in a woman’s body all the time. If it is present at the time of birth, there is a small chance the baby could be infected and the resulting disease is rather serious. Pretty slim chances, though. In hospitals, when a woman tests positive for this, she is routinely given antibiotics during labor. We’ve had some bad experiences with antibiotics and really want to reserve them for an immanent, life-threatening illness. My midwife sent me some studies about the use of chorohexadine (??) rinse during labor as an alternative to antibiotics and the results were very good. So we did that instead of antibiotics. She also had an herbal regime outlined in the notebook she gave me, so I went ahead and got started with a few of those. Here they are:

Garlic: garlic is a natural sort of antibiotic, so it is very useful to use it to treat infections. Every night before bed.

Echinacea: Every morning for immune support. I’m using this still now during cold and flu season. Should have started it before getting sick, though.

Crystalline Vit C: 5,000 mg in my half-gallon water bottle each day. It’s non-acidic, which my tummy liked. It tastes like nail polish, which my mouth did not.

Grapefruit Seed Extract: about 10 drops in my water bottle daily. Also tastes awful. But I’m keeping it around in the case of thrush for myself or any close friends that deal with thrush. I’ve heard it really works.

Those things completely ruined my enjoyment of my daily water drinking. But it actually made me drink more H2O. I had to really chug it and then chase it with plain water or some juice or something. Then I would end up finishing my water earlier in the day and needed to refill with more or I’d be parched. Peeing a lot, but very hydrated, and I was glad to be doing something to combat the GBS. That’s not the whole regime, but I bought the vitamins I could afford and thankfully I had the baby a week later. So glad I didn’t have to keep downing that horrible water for a few more weeks!

Cod Liver Oil: CLO has lots of Vit D for immunity and bone support and is also loaded with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, including DHA. All really good stuff for babies and pregnant women. Some people don’t like this stuff because of its non-vegetarian-ness, but it is a natural source of so much good stuff that I love it. I’ve been giving it to Peer for years and my chiropractor convinced me that I should be taking it too. My midwife also liked the idea, stating that my baby’s brain will grow more now in the third trimester than any other time in his life. So everyone on my team liked the idea. =) You can buy it flavored (if you don’t mind the additives they use to flavor it), so it actually tastes pretty good. We buy the Emulsified orange-flavor and mix it with Peer’s OJ for him. He knows about it, so I’m not tricking him! Andy and I take it straight and like it.

I’m still taking the Vit C (although NOT in my daily water bottle. I don’t want to be drinking it all day long!), the echinacea, and the CLO. I finished out the fizzy magnesium and the prenatals and didn’t replace them. Oh, and no, my baby did NOT contract GBS disease, thank God. Probably wouldn’t have anyway statistically speaking, but I’m still glad I did something. I’m also glad to have been introduced to all these useful supplements. I will remember their usefulness even if I don’t become a full-time pill-popper!

3rd Trimester

1 October 2010

Is it odd that I kind of want to carry this baby at least until my due date? Peer was born at 37 weeks, and I figure that won’t happen again. After all, lightning doesn’t strike twice. But I find myself thinking, gosh, if I make it to somewhere around mid-November, then that would give us more time to prepare for baby, push us into the holidays practically with family leave and all that, and it will be cooler. I’m probably totally jinxing myself by saying all this. I’ll be at 42 weeks and still no baby, and trying everything. I just keep praying for the strength to carry this baby until my body can do it no longer. I’ve had a pretty great pregnancy, although it has definitely been more intense than my last one. My midwife says that is because of hormones. And I know that I’m a pretty hormonal person! But I also know that the same hormones that give me nausea and heartburn now will also give me a smooth birth and a bountiful milk supply. I am very thankful that my body works so well!

Breastfeeding through Pregnancy

21 July 2010

So Peer obviously did not wean before I got pregnant, so I have now ended up nursing through this pregnancy. It’s been quite the adventure. I immediately borrowed a book from my local La Leche League group, Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Nursing Through Pregnancy and Beyond to aid me on my journey. I remember not long after he was born my doctor telling me that if I got pregnant again I would have to stop breastfeeding. I thought this was absurd. How could the human race sustain itself if that was truly dangerous? Later on as I learned more, I discovered why some in the medical community hold this line: breastfeeding does release oxytocin which can cause uterine contractions. But since then, I have seen so many moms nurse through pregnancy that I maintained my original position that to insist a mom must quit breastfeeding when she gets pregnant is just lame. The book is both clinical and practical, so it spends a considerable amount of time going through the research on breastfeeding during pregnancy (and nursing two children at once), explaining each position, the research involved, and arguing why tandem nursing is usually safe. It also gives explanations of situations in which it would not be. The bottom line is essentially that if a woman isn’t starving (as in third-world country type of starving), breastfeeding during pregnancy is safe for mom, fetus, and nursling. And yes, the uterus does contract. It is always contracting– this is good, as it is practice for labor. It does not produce any more oxytocin than having sex, so if a woman is healthy enough to do that during pregnancy, then she can certainly breastfeed.

So, safety and medical issues aside, the body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy, and those changes definitely effect breastfeeding. In the first trimester, my breasts were extremely sore. Nursing hurt a little the first month, and A LOT in the second and third month. Once the initial tenderness got better, nursing was a little easier. But it still hurts. Every time. It hurts at first, and then after a few minutes the pain subsides. Also, his nursing habits have changed. He now digs his teeth into me more than he ever did. I think as my milk is drying up, he is adjusting his suck so that he gets more, maybe. So now he employs his teeth. We are working on fixing this. It’s obviously unacceptable! Also, breastfeeding him down to sleep at naptime has become sometimes ineffective. This is very sad. I’ve taken to walking him to sleep, but now it’s getting hot outside and I am getting too big to wear him in front in the carrier. The next time I need to do that, I will either take him for a drive or try him on my back. Sucks. Nursing him down to sleep at naptime used to be about my favorite time of day. So it’s sad when it doesn’t work anymore.

Oh, and he also kicks me in the belly a lot. But that also happens in the shopping cart, in bed, and at other random times of day. THAT sucks.

After a lot of soul-searching and pouring over that book, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with the parent weaning the child during pregnancy. I always wanted him to wean himself, but he’s almost three now, and if it gets too painful I feel I have the right and maybe even the duty to cut him off. I don’t want to have negative feelings toward him or toward breastfeeding in general. It must always be pleasurable! Peer is old enough to be weaned, so if it comes to that, I will do it with a clear conscience, knowing that I have accomplished all my breastfeeding goals with this child, and have done more for him in this area than I ever thought I could. And knowing that he is ready. And acknowledging that he may come back to the breast after the baby is born. That is okay by me. But for now, we are still going. With God’s guidance and grace, we may go all the way up to the birth and beyond. Or not.

Training for Childbirth

19 July 2010

So the last time I was pregnant, I was just coming off of being an actor “full time,” so I was pretty used to prioritizing taking care of myself, since that is an essential part of an actor’s job. Even though I was not as educated as I am now in the area of nutrition, I was very disciplined. I rarely ate desserts or sweets and overall ate very healthy. Even though I did consume a lot more preservatives, processed foods, pesticides, and artificial hormones, etc.

The best thing, though, that I probably did to prepare for childbirth was exercising like crazy. I always enjoyed exercising since long before I became pregnant, but once I got it in my head that I was going to have to accomplish the greatest physical task of my life, I really kicked the exercising into high gear. I continued my jogging regimen until I was 5 months pregnant and my back no longer allowed me. Then I switched to walking and ended up walking twice a day. I went to Curves twice a week at least, sometimes three. I did prenatal yoga for the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy (it would have been six if Peer hadn’t come early, causing me to lose the last two weeks of my package!). On top of all this, I religiously did all the exercises in the Bradley workbook with Andy’s help. I felt great. And I never loved my body more.

But this time around I am a full-time mom, which means I have become accustomed to putting my own needs on the back burner, in order to cater to the needs of others (namely, my child). One of my apprehensions toward getting pregnant was my fear that I would not be able to get into shape like I did last time. I do eat healthier, more natural foods now. And I gave up meat. But the discipline seems to be gone. After I’ve had a crazy day with Peer, I desperately want comfort food! I don’t think I really overdo it, but when dessert is offered, I take it! I tried jogging at the beginning of my pregnancy, but I was so sick and fatigued that I just couldn’t. (I was sick last time too– how did I do it?) I obviously can’t go to the gym anymore, especially not Curves because of their crazy hours.

So here’s what I am doing: I exchanged the possibility of jogging with the certainty of daily walks. And they are long– about an hour every day. And by every day, I mean about four days a week. ‘Cause Friday is Funday. I started doing prenatal yoga a few weeks ago. This is much earlier in the pregnancy than last time, so I’m hoping that covers some of the other exercise I’m not getting. I’ve been trying to do the Bradley exercises again, but it’s been sporadic. Again, a discipline issue. I’ve been writing down what I eat, and that helps. I count my proteins and try to get 60-80 grams per day, spreading the protein out over as many food groups as possible. Last time I did 80-100, but my midwife and others all agree that 60 is sufficient. But I don’t write this stuff down every day. Maybe a few days per week. Again, a discipline problem. That’s about it.

I’m trying not to freak out, and accept the fact that I will probably gain more this time than I did last time. I only gained 20 lbs last time, which is very low. I’ll probably lose a lot while I’m exclusively breastfeeding, although I don’t want to depend on that. And I’m also reminding myself that theoretically, this birth should be easier since it is my second. Even if I’m not in tip-top shape, the rest of my body is much more familiar with the task. And that perhaps, it is more important to train my mind and spirit than my body.

So does anyone else have tips for exercising during pregnancy? Especially any habits that can be implemented with a toddler running around? Or any other childbirth preparation in general that they’d like to pass on? It’s just so different for your second– I feel like I’m treading new water!