Saturday, October 8, 2011
Pregnancy Health tips
In part 2 of Jesse's birth story I mentioned that I had a very healthy pregnancy this time around. I've had a few people ask me to share what I learned about eating and taking care of myself during pregnancy. Since I think these tips are really helpful, I'm happy to share. Every pregnancy is different, but for me these four things were instrumental in promoting good health.
1. I had always had what I called "sugar crashes" in my pregnancies. It felt as though my sugar level was super low (this usually happened rather suddenly) and I would start shakng and feel sick. I never was diabetic during pregnancy, but couldn't figure out why I had these issues. Usually I would run to the cupboard for a quick sugar rush. Juice, candy, etc. In fact, I always kept a pack of skittles in my purse for such moments!
I learned that these episodes were not actually the result of my body needing sugar, but rather protein. When it happened with this pregnancy, I just ate a big spoonful of peanut butter, a handful of nuts or an egg. It actually curbed the symptoms much quicker than the sugar and it lasted longer. (A few times I even brought our peanut butter jar along with me to long events so that I'd have something for a quick fix.)
Basically, I found out that protein is really, really important. For instance, when you go for your glucose test, if you eat a couple of eggs and a piece of wheat or whole grain toast, you'll do well on the test (most likely). If you eat cereal or fruit, you're more likely to fail the test. Eggs in the morning are one of the best things you can do. Try to get some protein at every meal and really stock up on the green veggies too.
2. I switched vitamins. I had been taking just normal prenatal vitamins - like the one a days that you can buy in the grocery store. My midwife had me switch to an organic vitamin by New Chapter Organics . These are better absorbed by the body because they are made from all natural ingredients. The ones I took required me to take 3 vitamins a day - which seems like a lot, but was actually really good. I have never felt so healthy - pregnant or not! I've actually started Josh taking their men's vitamins as well. These vitamins are quite expensive, but so very worth the cost!
3. The third thing that made a big difference - especially in labor and postpartum was drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea. It's not "raspberry tea" and actually tastes a bit like grass. I liked to put just one spoonful of sugar in to help the taste. You want to make sure you let the bag steep for about 10-15 minutes before you drink it though. Just one cup of this each day will help your contractions be really effective during labor. It also is very useful in protecting against urinary tract infections. After labor it also helps to reduce the amount of bleeding. I saw a HUGE difference in the amount of bleeding after labor. I really think that was mainly because of the tea. You can find this tea and the vitamins at an organic or whole foods store. (One aside about the tea: some women drink it a LOT and find that their labors go very quickly - like so quickly that they don't feel ready for it. I'd suggest just one to two cups a day.)
4. I started taking a probiotic each day. This is one thing I'm continuing postpartum. I love it! The probiotic will just even out your digestive system (which can really get kind of wonky during pregnancy). It's like eating something like 10 cups of yogurt daily, so it's really good for your regularity, digestion, etc. Some doctors think it can cause labor to delay and will have patients stop taking it in the last couple weeks of pregnancy (although this theory is not proven). I had tested group B strep positive, so I continued to take mine since it would help to eliminate any chance of infection for me or baby. And given that Jesse was right on time, I can't say that it stalled my labor!
And here's a freebie for those who read this whole thing and aren't pregnant:
If you are beginning to feel sick, when you shower take just a couple of seconds at the end of your shower and switch to cold water. It can actually help keep you from getting sick! It causes your blood cells to rush to the surface (just under your skin) where they can fight off infection. Oh, and it's also been proven to promote healthy hair. A win-win!