pregnancy | women's health | yoga

5 Must-Haves for a Comfortable Pregnancy

By on February 12, 2019

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It is so easy to get caught in the consumerism trap of pregnancy. My Instagram is constantly bombarding me with products that I “need” to make this season of life “better”. In our family, we are working to earn, budget, save and invest our money for the long-term, rather than buy many items on a whim. This blog is going to be the top 5 items that have not brought buyers remorse, and have really added a value to my quality of life since being pregnant.

  1. A good maternity/nursing bra. This is a place where I have spent and wasted money time and time again. I will buy a bra on sale and find that it pokes and pulls, or won’t hold me in all the right places. I am on child #3 and have spent about 5 years of my life breastfeeding, so I have definitely had time for trial and error! My breasts are the first things to start changing during my pregnancy and become quite sore, so adequate support is definitely welcomed. The most comfortable bra I have found that actually gives appropriate shape and support is from Kindred Bravely. This bra has been a godsend, and is doing well holding up with wash and wear. I also really like the story behind the founders of this company, so that is a plus!
  2. Maternity Jeans. I have purchased several pairs of maternity jeans throughout my pregnancies. Having at least one pair that feels classic, versatile, and comfortable can make you feel somewhat human. Even when you have another human residing in your abdomen making nearly all clothes uncomfortable! My favorite pair are from H&M, and luckily I found them for under $20 on clearance! I am also partial to a full maternity panel in my jeans as soon as the bump pops. I CAN NOT keep the lower belly panel up to save my life– so I would much rather have comfort than hiking up my pants all day!
  3. Body Pillow. Oh my goodness! Buying a maternity pillow has drastically improved my quality of sleep. It has been difficult to find a comfortable position with my growing belly, and the U-Shaped pillow has helped keep my hips, legs, shoulders, and neck comfortable for a good nights sleep. I like this pillow because it has a detachable extension that I can use to minimize the barrier between my husband and me in bed.
  4. Essential Oils— I truly don’t know how I survived life pre-essential oils. I use oils for everything. Soothing stretching skin, pregnancy discomfort, mood swings, insomnia… just to name a few. The book Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern was the best resource throughout all of my pregnancies.
  5. Prenatal Yoga. I started on my yoga journey during my first pregnancy 14 years ago. I came across a book and started practicing a few postures in my living room with a DVD. Yoga really helps with calmness of mind, breath awareness, and body mechanics. I always leave my classes feeling better than when I started, so I recommend all mama’s try to get to a regular class!

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collagen | diet | health research | pregnancy

Second Trimester Woes and Remedies

By on December 7, 2018

I am big on finding natural, healthy remedies for common discomforts. Pregnancy is a time for discomfort of all types and I am sharing what I use to curb a few common second trimester irritations. I strive to live a chemical-free life. I know as well as anyone that sometimes medication is necessary and I am not here to replace medical advice (obligatory disclaimer). Also, adequate water intake, nutrition, and exercise are necessary to support ALL pregnancies. Many symptoms and discomforts can be alleviated by ensuring these requirements are met.

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1. Pregnancy Insomnia (yes, that is a thing!)

Since the first trimester ended and I rebounded from morning sickness, I have spent many nights tossing and turning or not resting when I actually do fall asleep because of crazy pregnancy dreams. Wowza, hormones can be something else! Thankfully, I have found some natural remedies to help promote a restful night sleep.

Tart Cherry Juice

This is surprisingly effective. I have been drinking 2 oz twice per day at about 3pm and again at 8pm. Tart cherry juice contains the highest amount of melatonin of any food. Another bonus with this juice is that it is high in antioxidants and has a low glycemic index, which is not typical for juices. This remedy can take a week or two to become effective, although I have noticed an effect within a few days.

Magnesium Supplements

Most of us are deficient in the mineral magnesium. Diet and lifestyle choices are often the cause of our deficiency. Processed foods, stress, pharmaceutical drugs, and soil depletion are all causes for magnesium deficiency. We can ensure that we are foods are magnesium rich by eating plenty of leafy greens, nuts; such as almonds, brazil nuts, and cashews. Many seafood choices are high in magnesium, as well as dark chocolate (70% cacao, in moderation). Also, taking a high quality magnesium supplement is also necessary. I use this one, and take before bed.

Essential Oils

I only use pure therapeutic grade essential oils from Young Living, and would never recommend anything else. The oils that are my favorites and promote a good night sleep are lavender, vetiver, and the blends Valor, Stress Away, and Peace & Calming. I apply these directly to my body, typically on the back of my neck or on my wrists. Sometimes I use a diffuser and diffuse in my bedroom. Oils are also nice to mix with epsom salts and use in a relaxing before-bed bath. P.S. Epsom salts also provide magnesium! If you haven’t tried oils yet, or want to check out Young Living, contact me and I will share my referral code with you.

 

2. Constipation

Ugh, pregnancy constipation is a common discomfort. The hormone progesterone slows down digestion therefore causing elimination issues. There are several remedies I have found effective with this complaint.

Hydration is one of the key components of digestive motility.`During pregnancy 3-4 quarts of water is necessary per day! Water fixes so much, and it is incredibly important to keep the digestive system functioning appropriately. Also, in the dietary realm fiber is important for digestion as well. Since we typically avoid grains and legumes in our diet, our fiber comes from green leafy veggies, cruciferous vegetables, cabbages, and sweet potatoes. A green smoothie each morning is excellent digestive support.

Supplements

Magnesium is another winner for helping alleviate constipation. Along with magnesium, adding a good quality probiotic, and a full spectrum digestive enzyme are must haves for digestive support. A probiotic will help alleviate constipation, however probiotics are essential for so many facets of our well-being. Probiotics are key in immune system function for mama, and will help baby develop a strong and healthy immune system. Taking a probiotic during pregnancy helps the colostrum fill with good flora that will aid in baby’s immune function, microbiome production, and production of vitamin K.

Enzymes are crucial because they aid in the digestion and assimilation of the nutrients in our food. When taken with meals, our food can be properly digested, absorbed, and converted to energy. They also have another role– proper enzyme balance helps regulate our hormones, cellular growth and repair, etc.

Tea

There are several teas blended and marketed to pregnant women. Pink Stork Constipation Tea is the one I have tried, since the business is based locally to me. It is tasty and did the job quite well. I also like that it is organic, non-GMO, vegan, decaf, and gluten-free.

Essential Oils

The oils that have been my favorite during this time are orange & marjoram. I massage them into my lower back and abdomen 2-3 times per day. I love a few drops of lemon essential oil in my water for relief as well. Plus, it adds a wonderful flavor to my water and makes drinking 3 or more quarts palatable!

3. Fatigue

Ah, how often does 2pm roll around and you are struggling to keep your eyes open? I know after chasing my toddler all morning and attempting to get some work done, this is a common occurence!

Exercise

My most effective remedy for fatigue is taking a brisk walk. When I am struggling to keep my eyes open and I know a nap or a cup of coffee is not the best choice, I will pack up the toddler in his stroller and take a brisk walk around our neighborhood. Within 15 minutes I usually feel better and have enough energy to get me through the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.

Supplements/Essential Oils

The oils I use to give me a pick-me-up are grapefruit, orange, peppermint, and frankincense. These oils are all uplifting and energizing. I will pick an oil or two, put a few drop in the palm of my hands, rub my hands together and inhale until I feel a shift in my energy level. My favorite supplement is a mineral supplement called Revitalize, which is a natural mineral supplement that supports energy levels and cellular function. I mix it with 20 oz of water and almost immediately my energy levels and cognitive function improve. Plus, it tastes like a yummy kool-aid and is free of sugar and caffeine. Again message me if you want to try it out and I’m happy to share a discount code.

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4. Itchy, Stretching Skin (and maybe the dreaded stretch marks)

Ah, one of the joys of motherhood! There are many OTC remedies for stretch marks. With my first pregnancy I used every belly butter, oil and cream that I could find at Target and still ended up with the dreaded stretch marks. Luckily, THEY DO FADE!

Supplements/Essential Oils

With my last pregnancy, I ended up getting by with minimal additional stretch marks, although I did have the itchy, stretching skin multiple times throughout my pregnancy. I would use a carrier oil and the essential oil blend Gentle Baby. This really soothed my stretching skin and I believe prevented additional stretching. Now, during this pregnancy I am taking the collagen HA supplement that I mentioned a few posts ago, this is my favorite and by following the link you will receive $10 off your first order! The cool thing with this is that I began taking it prior to this pregnancy and I noticed a firming of my abdomen within 2 weeks of taking. So this is a part of my daily regimen to support my organ and cellular health with the added benefit of skin support!

I know I have just touched on just a few complaints that surface during the second trimester. What are some common complaints or solutions that you have found along your pregnancy journey?

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