My Top Pregnancy Products & Tips
My husband and I are expecting our second baby this August 2018, which will make us a family of four!
To add to the excitement of this, we are not finding out the gender until the actual day of birth! I know, i know…how in the world have I gone the entire pregnancy without wanting to know whether we are having a boy or girl? Well, it was very important to my husband that we took part in one of “life’s last surprises” as he calls it. He wanted the build up of anticipation that day to be a celebration of not only a new child in our lives, but to truly experience real and raw joy and surprise as the baby is born to find out whether our little boy is gaining a brother or a sister sibling.
Having gone through two pregnancies now and being a holistic nutritionist with a passion for health, wellness and nutrition…there are some products and tips that I feel helped my experience during this time. I have compiled a list of what helped me and what I loved using to provide the healthiest pregnancy experience during the first 9 months, and now into my 8th month with our second baby.
These are not in order of importance, but simply a list to share of all things that are important and beneficial to an expecting mommy. Most of these items ARE NOT affiliate links, just what I loved using during my pregnancy. I have marked any affiliate links to let you know!!
Belly Armor RadiaShield Blanket
This blanket is 99% effective at shielding EMF radiation and is lab tested in a third-party FCC certified laboratory. It shields by neutralizing electromagnetic waves, cancelling out the radiation and reducing your exposure.
Simply drape the blanket over your belly while using a laptop, or cell phone. I used this every time I worked on my laptop or if I was going to be on my phone for extended amounts of time. I took it with me to travel on airplanes and even laid it over my tummy while at home just resting since we have our WIFI on during the day.
* A little tip if you want to decrease WIFI in your home = Simply unplug it at night while you are sleeping. No one needs it at that time and you can easily turn in back on each morning. Belly Armor also provides apparel and baby accessories too, like nursing covers and baby hats! The blanket is around $69, but well worth the investment to provide a protective layer for your growing one in the womb.
Quality Prenatal Vitamins
Finding a quality prenatal vitamin to take during pregnancy can be tricky, just like finding a quality daily multi-vitamin to take when you are not expecting. There are so many watered-down ingredients, added ingredients and poor quality prenatal vitamins out there. Just because its sold on a shelf, or even written for prescription does not mean it is a quality, easily-absorbed and well formulated vitamin. There are numerous loopholes that companies can go through to get their product sold and I see many of these deficiencies and loopholes when I look at labels and ingredients of a majority of prenatal vitamins out there.
My top recommendations ( this does not mean there are not other brands out there that meet great standards.) are listed below.
These vitamins provide additional support that most others do not, as well as providing the correct forms of some of the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy.
A few of these are: Advanced prenatal science-based combinations of easily-absorbed vitamins and minerals, that incorporate one of the MOST important items that many other prenatal vitamins don’t include, 1 mg of FOLATE, instead of the synthetic and fortified form of “folic acid” that is put into most products. Folate is in true form and is best since many people (40% of our population has a genetic mutation, called “MTHFR” that prevents them from converting folic acid into the body so they miss out on this important vitamin that is crucial during pregnancy to maintain a healthy pregnancy and growing baby.) Folate is the better ingredient to have in a prenatal as its better absorbed by the body, so look for this in your label no matter what brand you choose to take.
Other important ingredients are:
Choline, which is essential for fetal brain development, EPA-DHA, which is one of the highest quality forms of omega-3 fatty acid fish oils that promotes fetal development, heart health, mood, eye and brain health. Lastly, make sure it contains bone density support through Calcium/Magnesium which aids in muscle relaxation and helps with pregnancy associated leg cramps.
Professional Pregnancy Photos
As a soon to be momma of 2, I couldn’t be more excited to capture these memories of growing our 2nd little one. Not every day has been easy…. and there have been weeks of struggle for sure, but I will always be so thankful for having photos like these to remind me what pregnancy looks like ….. A JOURNEY of UPS and DOWNS and an experience that GROWS your ability to push past hard things. .
After experiencing a really early miscarriage close to a year ago, I truly walked in fear that it would happen again and made the experience of this pregnancy a bit uneasy for me.
I’ve had weeks of honest fear, and days of worrying if I would carry a healthy baby to full term. .
As a fitness instructor I have strived to keep my life active and stay in routine while also modifying and listening to my body. I wanted to remain the most active that I could so that I didn’t loose my rhythm but also so I could show other mommas that a fit and healthy pregnancy could be achieved regardless of what happens in our past or what experiences we walk through. .
This doesn’t mean I personally haven’t struggled some days, but overall I feel blessed to look at these pictures taken by my talented friend and remind myself that in pregnancy there needs to be a balance act of grace, mercy and rest to match with drive, persistence and the will to push through the good and hard times in pregnancy , in seasons and in life in general.
Praising God for the journey so far ✨
If you live in the Oklahoma City Metro area, you can book a session with my pregnancy photographer, Alicia Cargill!
Pregnancy Belly Oil
During pregnancy, our belly stretches with every month that passes and it’s important to keep the skin hydrated with a clean non-toxic oil to help with prevention of stretch marks, and tightening of the skin. These organic oils are a great way to proactively prevent stretch marks, but as we all know stretch marks can also be highly attributed to our genetics and the way our individual skin can adapt to change through stretching and expanding.
I love both of these belly oil brands due to how clean their ingredient list is, how nurturing the oils are and how they do not add any artificial or harsh ingredients to the formulation. Jojoba, coconut, olive, rose, lemon, and Vitamin E are some of the best oils to support the hydration of our skin, and fingers crossed, knock on wood…these two brands have helped me beat stretch marks of any kind while helping to relieve tightness and dryness as each month has passed in pregnancy.
Helps with sleep positions and improves blood circulation to legs, supports hips from rotating, supports lower back, relieves pain by positioning your spine in the right alignment. I used a generic pregnancy pillow in my first pregnancy and let me tell you, there is a big difference with using the MoonWomb this time around. It has helped with sciatic pain and has helped with hip aches and lower back aches more so than with using a generic pillow sold online. I love this brand for their 100% safe organic, vegan and eco-friendly material, and on top of that they also donate 10% of their pillows to new mothers in need.
MoonWomb is around $130-150
This organic mildly sweet and spearmint tea has been so soothing to drink during pregnancy as it supports and prepares the womb for childbirth. The combined safe herbs, like raspberry leaf in this tea help tone the uterus and aids in a healthy pregnancy. I usually make a cup several times a week after dinner and stir in a little organic raw honey to sweeten it up even more. You can purchase this online or even at most local health food grocery stores.
Tea is less than $5 a box at most local grocery stores.
Ginger Supplements for Nausea
These lifesavers (literally) were one of the things I used during the morning with my current pregnancy when nausea would set in. They are vegan, gluten free, non-gmo and do not contain any artificial ingredients. They are made with fresh ginger and truly helped when my stomach was uneasy, especially in that hard first trimester. You can purchase them online, or find them at most local health food grocery stores like Natural Grocers.
Gin-Gins are around $2.19 (member cost) on thrivemarket.com
*You can also freshly grate your own ginger slices and let them steep in hot water for over 10 minutes before drinking. Add organic raw honey and stir before drinking.
Not only do these chews help stop heartburn, but they are the more natural and safe approach to alternatives like “Tums and Rolaids” that can simply “band-aid” the effects of heartburn instead of helping to naturally stop the symptoms due to the root cause of indigestion and pregnancy-related heartburn. Antacids can also contribute to kidney stones as the added calcium in them is not properly absorbed. This is because the stomach acids that are necessary to absorb the calcium are neutralized by the calcium carbonate antacids. The unabsorbed calcium is then swept away with the stomach contents and can contribute to kidney stones.
These chews also contain important probitotics and enzymes that help support the digestion of fats, proteins, carbs, fiber and lactose. They work in a wide PH range, unlike other name brands that contain porcine pancreatin, which works only in a narrow PH range.
I will chew 1-2 of these after each meal, and a few before bedtime if needed when heartburn begins to present itself.
You can purchase online for around $40 for a bottle of 120 chews.
Vegan Protein Berry + Greens Smoothies
There are are honestly a handfull of plant based organic protein formulas that I could recommend, but these are just 3 that I feel comfortable with taking during pregnancy. I actually rotate between these and another formula, Shakeology when I’m not pregnant but choose to wait on this one due to the adaptogens it contains. While the adaptogens are super nutritious, they do contain cleansing herbs that in some countries consider them to be safer to steer clear of just during pregnancy.
PlantFusion, Amazing Grass and Equilibrium’s Daily Nutritional support shake are 3 that provide great nutrition each day that are essential for mama and baby. I love to add in a ton of organic greens (like spinach and kale), and a handful of frozen organic dark berries (like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries). These shakes provide hydration, minerals and nutrients that I need each day when maybe I didn’t get in enough proper whole foods with my meals on a busy day.
Essential oils have become a huge part of my daily life even outside of pregnancy. I personally use Young Living essential oils, but I know a lot of people enjoy “Do Terra” oils as well. Either company is great, I will simply list the oils I personally use which are Young Living oils.
- “Panaway” oil is used for aches and pains, whether it be my lower back, hips, or muscle soreness. It’s comparable to “Icy Hot” but without the junky ingredients that it contains.
- “Lavendar and Cedarwood” are used in combination with a carrier oil like Coconut or almond oil on my feet at night to promote calmness and relaxation.
- “Stress away ” is perfect when I feel stressed or anxious
- ” Breathe again” roller is perfect when I get a little congested
- “Clary Sage” is a great one to prep the perineum a few weeks prior to labor.
Lastly, I love using the diffuser to diffuse a ton of different oils for many reasons and benefits. Thieves, lemon, peppermint, lavendar ….there are numerous oils to diffuse in the home and I highly recommend them during labor as well to promote a calming environment whether in the hospital, birthing center or home.
Pregnancy Massage & Prenatal Chiropractor Care
These are highly important and highly recommended in my personal opinion. They provide benefits to the body in numerous ways that help prepare the body to birth your baby, as well as help with postpartum care and recovery. Search for a reputable massage therapist that specializes in prenatal massage and seek out a credible chiropractor who specializes in pre and post natal care to keep your body strong and aligned as you grow your baby and your body changes, expands and prepares for childbirth.
BENEFICIAL FOODS DURING PREGNANCY
During pregnancy, nutrition is crucial as you are growing your baby throughout the 9 months of development. There are certain foods I recommend to keep high priority in your diet during this time:
- -lots of dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, etc.),
- -dark berries like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, dark cherries, etc.
- -Wild caught salmon
- -nuts and seeds
- -complex carbs like sweet potato, quinoa, and gluten free organic oatmeal
- -Red and golden beets
- -Probiotic-filled foods like raw saurkraut, pickled foods and even an organic kombucha drink from time to time. (No, the naturally-occuring alcohol in kombucha will not hurt the baby as its naturally fermented from the tea. I drink one maybe once a week or every other week.)
It’s also important to note how crucial staying hydrated is during pregnancy. We need to provide plenty of amniotic fluid for baby to grow in, and to hydrate our body as best we can to prevent uterus contractions and to maintain healthy flushing of toxins and waste. My personal rule of thumb is to drink at least 3 liters of water a day throughout pregnancy.
ACTIVE LIFESTYLE DURING PREGNANCY
You Can Keep Moving
There is often a misconception that working out or continuing your fitness routine could be harmful to a woman while pregnant. There are numerous studies showing the benefits of a woman staying active and fit during her pregnancy, including easier labor and delivery as well as less complications for baby and less chances of preterm labor. Staying active helps reduce excess weight and keeps both mom and baby cardiovascular wise as each month progresses. Of course listen to your body and begin to modify where you know you need to. This could include reducing the amount of weight you lift, or slowing your jumping down to a more low impact type of workout….but throw the fear of working out during pregnancy out the window. It will help provide a better postpartum experience, recovery and comeback as well. I also highly recommend adding in a prenatal yoga class to your fitness routine during pregnancy.
*BONUS PREGNANCY INFO
*BONUS information= Many have asked what decisions I made as far as medications, vaccinations or health choices I did during pregnancy. My personal experience this time has been to pursue the most natural approach that I can possibly make. I have learned so much from my first pregnancy and feel so much more aware and knowledgeable this time around that many of my choices will be even more researched than my first experience. I chose not to receive any vaccinations while pregnant during this pregnancy for numerous safety concerns, lack of safety testing, and risks that outweighed the benefits for me. I was not comfortable with it as they have never been tested for safety in pregnant women and I believe it is driven more from big pharmaceutical companies and big profits to be made. You can view the PubMed research and studies I’ve read, here.
I declined the gestational glucose test drink due to it’s ingredients loaded with artificial dyes, preservatives, BVO and other added toxic ingredients that even other countries have banned. Instead, I opted for the “Jelly bean” or “gummy bear” test with a brand called “Surf Sweets organic” that does not contain any artificial dyes. I ate one small bag of their jelly beans, and one small bag of their gummy bears, which equaled the amount of glucose grams needed for the gestational diabetes test. You can also look at an organic grape juice as another option.
I also chose to encapsulate the placenta with my first birth, and will choose to do this again as it truly helped me with postpartum recovery, mood and energy. I did receive an epidural at the last moment with my first pregnancy, but I will try to go without it this time around. However, I am not against saying yes to it again depending on how I do during labor. This type of pain management choice is completely up to each woman on an individual preference, and regardless of what you decide, it is a really personal decision so I am simply sharing my personal experience and plan. Over all, I try to find the more natural approach to helping me cope through different changes or ailments while being pregnant.
These 9 months of pregnancy are a sweet time, but I know can also be a challenging time for many woman as well. There are so many changes, so many adjustments and so many things to walk through in this journey….be patient, give yourself grace and make your health a top priority as your baby needs you to be strong and healthy for them.
Cheers to you fellow momma, for all the hard work you will be doing to grow a small human within your belly for these long, yet fast 9 months of your life. I pray blessings and joy over you and your baby.