Woot-woot, we are done with February guys! I love March! The snow is gone from our grass, and I hope it stays up in the mountains. February always brings thoughts of being pregnant for a looooong time. A little over 16 years ago I was pregnant in February for 10 days more than I wanted to be, the longest 10 days of my life. Who would have thought that the 9 lb. 4 oz. baby boy I gave birth to barely sixteen years ago, my first home birth baby, would be such a dramatic, verbally articulate guy whose social calendar I can barely keep up with? He makes me laugh every day with his darling, quirky sense of humor. He makes the most funny connections that I never would think of on my own. His friends threw a surprise party for him last weekend and they and I were so sneaky about it, it truly was a surprise for him. One of the friends even made the cake pictured above. Yes, this was a girl.
So, in honor of my reflections about his birth a little over 16 years ago, I have created ten tips to a happy, holistic, healthy pregnancy. I wish I had known these back then. Even though I had already given birth to two babies, this was my first “holistic” pregnancy. I bought lots of red raspberry leaves, Polly Block’s midwifery book, a book about herbs in pregnancy, tons more herbs, and lots of gadgets like a thing to do Sitz baths. I could have dispensed with all of those things and just followed these 10 tips, and they would have made a HUGE difference, especially in those last 10 days.
1. Don’t eat a vegan diet! Did you know that there is a diet of sacred and traditional foods for pregnant and nursing mothers? What are these “sacred and traditional” foods? Go to the link and find out! Your baby needs lots of nutrients for a healthy brain and nervous system. I actually was vegan with this pregnancy over 16 years ago and my baby turned out healthy, happy, and robust at 9 lbs, but I can’t help but wonder that maybe the pregnancy and birth would have been a lot easier if I had had a LOT more good fat in my diet. Maybe my body would have stretched much easier to let out all 9 lbs of him painlessly with that fat in my skin. My baby is now a smart 16 year old, but maybe he would be even smarter if I had followed this pregnancy diet that calls for good fat. You can see pictures of babies born to moms with this diet right here.
The following book will help you to navigate this “new” world of old food where cod liver reigns supreme and natural fat, bacon, and eggs are not treated as an enemy.
2. Have a body pillow to support your body as you sleep. Sleep is one of the best tonics for pregnancy. So do whatever it takes to make that sleep happen. Having your body supported by pillows all over will make it easier to relax, especially since pregnant moms are told not to sleep on their backs in the later months.
3. Practice some form of relaxation every day. This can be hard when you have little kids running around. Find some kind of activity they can engage in for at least 15 minutes, put on some Enya tunes, and go relax with meditation and aromatherapy.
4. Read lots of books, especially stories, about birth. Not just any books, but books, with positive birth stories, that promote a confidence and faith in a woman’s body to give birth naturally. The books above and below are my favorites on birth. The one above is written by five LDS women, and it’s an amazing book! Because I have given birth seven times and followed my own advice, I have read a lot of childbirth books. These two are the best!
5. Watch videos about birth. Here’s one of my favorites, because my midwife with baby #6 is the midwife in this video. Hi Heather! The mom in this video makes some sounds that show she is in pain, but the sounds/pain don’t last that long, and then the baby comes out!
6. Drink raw milk every day. It will make for a much better labor, according to this blogger, a favorite of mine.
Photo credit: notonthehighstreet.com
7. Do something a little glam/pretty every day. This can be hard to do, I know, as motherhood tends to make us forget about such things, but glamour really does wonders for the psyche when your body is growing seemingly out of control and you can’t see your toes any more. Wear some jewelry and makeup, get your hair done regularly (trade babysitting with a girlfriend if you have to) and get some NEW (to you) pretty maternity clothes, even if you have to get them at the thrift store or borrow some from a girlfriend. Get out of the T-shirts and sweats!
8. Do something with nature every day. Go for a walk, sniff some essential oils, or just a lemon, stand on your porch and breathe some fresh air, walk on your grass barefoot, and especially eat real food!
9. Write some letters to your baby to help you connect. Share your fears, your dreams and plans.
10. Read about breastfeeding! So many moms focus on pregnancy and birth, they forget that the breast is a “second placenta” and deserves to be learned about so your baby can thrive at the breast with the perfect food only you can give your baby. I write all about this in my book (see the tab above that says “my book”). Here’s a great resource (pictured above) to learn all about breastfeeding by some La Leche League rock stars. The authors are both La Leche League Leaders and lactation consultants, board certified. It’s the latest edition, revised with a girlfriend tone to it. If you really want to be nerdy about breastfeeding, which I do, I recommend you read an older edition (7th or younger), too, as those were written by the seven founders of LLLI, with more of a “grandmotherly” perspective, and I find a lot of value in that, so much so that I stood in line for 90 minutes with the edition pictured below at the Washington D.C. Hilton with a baby in a sling after 9 PM so I could have all the founders autograph my copy. It was so worth it!
I hope these ten tips make your pregnancy more joyful and easier!