My due date is quickly approaching (December 15th!) so, before I go on maternity leave for a few months, I thought I’d give a quick recap of my experience so far and share some (mostly food + wellness-y) things that have helped me over the past 8+ months.
I used the app Natural Cycles and these ovulation strips to track ovulation – both were very easy to use! The app comes with a thermometer and gets smarter as you input data over time. I started using the app about a year before getting pregnant and then started using the strips about 3 months before but you could totally use the strips sooner (for more accuracy) if you’re trying to get pregnant right off the bat.
In terms of food, the first trimester was… challenging ;)) (sorry for not posting any new Loveleaf Co. recipes during that time). I pretty much had an aversion to most foods except for cravings for cold watermelon, bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, buttered toast, and these gluten-free blueberry waffles. I tried to focus on more nutrient-dense options for the foods I was actually craving (sourdough bread, grass-fed cheese and butter, etc.) instead of wishing I wanted to eat vegetables (literally the last thing I could imagine eating).
At about 15 weeks, the nausea just disappeared one day. Aside from a few lingering food aversions (…still! fajitas, Trader Joe’s Thai chili almonds (?), and feta cheese), I pretty much went back to eating the way I ate pre-pregnancy.
In the third trimester, I can’t say I have any really strong “cravings” except for the occasional *need* for red meat (iron!) and a general desire for more protein-rich foods.
There’s some research suggesting that dates may make labor easier, so I’ve been having a few a day as a little dessert or snack, most days in the form of energy bites – here are a few date-filled recipes from the site: apple pie energy bites, pumpkin spice energy bites, and gingerbread energy bites.
In the first trimester, I pretty much walked and that’s it! I did the occasional short yoga class or quick Melissa Wood Health or The Pilates Class workout, but only when I was feeling up to it which was probably 1-2x per week.
In the second and now third trimesters, I’ve been doing 30-minute low-impact Peloton cycling workouts a few times a week and gentle yoga, Melissa Wood Health, and/or The Pilates Class workouts also a few times a week, usually alternating between cardio and bodyweight strength. In the afternoon I’ve been trying to keep up with a daily walk, for some low-impact movement, mental clarity, and fresh air (I swear a daily walk saves my sanity, pregnant or not).
I also subscribed to a month of Every Mother, an app for preventing (and repairing) diastasis recti. I didn’t love the workouts (I’m a big believer that you should *mostly* enjoy your workouts ;)) so I didn’t continue with the membership, but I did learn a lot about general core support and other pregnancy exercise modifications from their videos, so I would definitely recommend checking it out.
I started taking the prenatal MegaFood Baby and Me 2 Prenatal as a multivitamin about six months before getting pregnant and have continued to take it daily. I also bought Seeking Health Prenatal Essentials and now, throughout the third trimester, have been alternating between the two brands. A few times a week, I take fish oil for baby brain health (this is the quality brand I like) though I don’t take it every day because fish oil is naturally high in Vitamin K, which I’m already getting in the multivitamin prenatals.
During the first trimester, I tried B6 vitamins to curb morning sickness nausea, but unfortunately, they didn’t really work for me – I’ve heard they help many women though, so definitely a supplement to consider trying.
I’ve also been enjoying this pregnancy tea – red raspberry leaf tea might help shorten labor and reduce complications, though more research is needed (source). In any case, the tea contains vitamins and minerals, including iron.
There are SO many educational resources out there. As someone who gets overwhelmed easily, I decided to do some research, find a class that I got a good feeling about, and go for it. I enrolled in almost every class offered by Birthsmarter, which was founded in Brooklyn, and cannot recommend Ashley and her team enough. If you’re looking to start with the basics, I did the On-Demand Childbirth Education class and found it very helpful. From there, I enrolled in most of their other classes (Newborn Care, Lactation (Not So) Basics, Push Prep, Comfort and Coping), which were held at night on Zoom. Once you enroll in a class, you also get access to tons of resources and weekly live office hours.
And here are a few books that I’ve read and enjoyed:
The New Rules of Pregnancy – no-nonsense, no fluff, aka my style ;))
Real Food Pregnancy – a must-read!
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Childbirth and Pregnancy – fun to read week-by-week, on the crunchier side
The Birth Partner – geared for birth partners, packed with information – a little overwhelming, but I’m happy I read it
The Discontented Little Baby Book – obsessed with this one – all about making newborn care more enjoyable instead of stressful
Just a few other things!
Pai Skincare Stretch Mark System – I’m not convinced (and neither is the research) that stretch mark oil can really prevent stretch marks… but! I’ve loved using this non-toxic stretch mark system, especially the oil.
Legs Up the Wall – I try to do this for about 5 minutes every night to relieve any swelling in my legs and feet.
Babylist – I found this registry super intuitive and easy to use.
What to Expect App – Basic but fun to follow the growth of the baby week-by-week
Reddit – This platform was pretty foreign to me before pregnancy, but I’ve found it really helpful to get more honest reviews on books, childbirth classes, products, etc. than you might find on Amazon or a blog. Just be careful not to go too far down the Reddit rabbit hole (guilty) if you don’t want information overload ;)).
And that’s it! I really *tried* to not get too overwhelmed by all the products, courses, lotions and potions, etc. geared towards pregnancy and to keep the process as simple as possible. As a pregnancy newbie, these are just a few things that worked for me, but I would love to hear what I missed – share any life-changing products or tips in the comments below!
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