musings | pregnancy

The Final Countdown: The Last Month of Pregnancy

By on April 30, 2019

0613D5A8-614A-4312-86CC-C94BC12556FC Wowza! Only 20 days until the scheduled birth of our baby girl. I have neglected this blog as I focus on my business in these final days. I feel ready to go, this has been the easiest pregnancy I have had so far, and it feels I will probably go full-term. That will be a new experience for me since both of my boys were born early.

One thing that I have been drawn to is belly casting. My husband and I finally took the time to cast my 36-week pregnant belly over the weekend. It was a wonderful project for us to do together and a fun way to memorialize my final pregnancy. I do not have anything else to do in the house to prep for baby– I went through my major nesting phase during the 2nd trimester. The 3rd trimester has been ALL work and spending as much time as I can with my other two kids individually.

Giving myself permission to slow down is sometimes difficult– however, my business projects have been timed appropriately to sit with my feet propped up in front of a computer.

It is so funny how I’ve had a different method of documenting my pregnancy with each child. My oldest had the most comprehensive (of course). I kept a pregnancy journal, a meticulous baby book (until age 5), photo albums and a baby box. The middle child had everything natural birth related– birthing center, hypnobirthing classes, regular prenatal massages and chiropractic adjustments, vision boards, affirmations and a box for all of the memorabilia.

The belly cast has been a fun project to spark creativity. In this 2-D age, it was nice to have a 3-D medium. It is also nice to pull out paints and create. This isn’t something I do often but is helping the week pass and takes my mind off of my physical discomfort and lessening mobility.

Mira has had a space in my blog, social media and a now a belly cast. I’ve done much less prep and a lot more mental relaxation. It is so weird how age, time, and experience changes the process. The sentiment remains the same. I treasure these moments and look forward to meeting our girl.

 

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pregnancy | women's health

Third Trimester: Woes and Remedies

By on March 16, 2019

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I am now a week into the third trimester. I can feel my body starting to slow down. My mental clarity and creativity are downshifting. Daily I have more aches and pains, and general discomforts. I am trying to work *with* my body. The show must go on in our family and in work. I can not just pack it up and nap for 9 more weeks. Life is actually busier than ever too. Chasing a 2 year old is no joke, my teen is wrapping up his final weeks of 8th grade, and we have work plans on the schedule until birth-day.

Mental Fatigue

Pregnancy brain is REAL! The physiological hormone changes reduce the amount of gray matter in a woman’s brain. I’ve left car doors open while taking yoga classes, put groceries in the wrong spot, forgotten to trim one toenail, and the list goes on. Clumsiness is also possible as weight is distributed differently in the body, and again HORMONES.

  • Utilize your phone to keep your brain going- Take notes on a note taking app. When you feel creative or have a brilliant moment, record it as soon as it occurs. Set alarms as reminders to do things (ahem, pick kid up from school).
  • Prioritize and Focus- For me, I have several goals that I would like to achieve before May 20th. I have my day plotted out on multiple calendars so that I know exactly what steps to take daily and I can check it off as I go. It is a structure and a discipline, and it keeps me accountable for my to-do lists.
  • Rest- This is tough for me. What I have done is know that I am in my peak performance hours when I wake up until between 12-2. I am now giving myself permission to relax, nap, or just prop up my feet for a few when I feel the slump. Often, during the third trimester night time sleep is disturbed as well, so a rest may be necessary to take you into the evening.
  • Minerals- Minerals are an important supplement for every stage of life. Our soil is deficient, our food travels a long way to get to our plate, which reduces it’s natural vitamin/mineral content.

Aches and Pains

  • Chiropractic care-This pregnancy and my last I utilized chiropractic care to rid myself of many aches and pains. It is incredibly useful to keep yourself aligned as body weight and posture shifts and changes. I look for a chiropractor that uses torque release or activator methods of adjustment.
  • Massage- So, my husband is my current massage therapist and I have been so incredibly pleased with his work! During my last pregnancy I had prenatal massages pretty frequently. This time, it isn’t in our budget or schedule so he is doing the work. It really helps keep tightness at bay and promotes relaxation.
  • Collagen- Again, I sing praises of my collagen. I feel much better in general, and collagen is a wonderful support for skin, hair, nails, and joints.
  • Essential Oils- There are many, many oils for physical discomforts. I could write an entire blog on just recommendations for that. I will narrow the list down to my two personal go-to’s. I love the blend Deep Relief and the single oil Copaiba. I use roller balls on the bottles and apply directly to where I feel the discomfort. If you have not purchased oils before, understand how to get them here for 24% off.

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Leg Cramps

  • Again, the beloved minerals. A friend of mine reminded me of this yesterday. She recently had her baby girl and said her cramps disappeared when she added minerals to her regimen. I did it myself last night and viola! A night charley-horse free!
  • Magnesium + Calcium is also known to be helpful. Finding magnesium in the citramalate form seems to work the best for me.
  • Hydrate drinking 3-4 quarts of water per day during pregnancy means you are adequately hydrated. This is probably the first pregnancy that I have actually managed to do it. Hydration is important for every single bodily function!
  • Foot Soak. I like to do this with about a half cup of Himalayan pink salt with a few drops each of geranium, lavender and cypress essential oil.

Varicose Veins/Hemorrhoids

During pregnancy these are related maladies, and are often linked to constipation. Heredity also plays a role in this issue.

  • A diet high in fiber and an adequately hydrated body can help relieve some of the pressure that is intensified by a sluggish colon and extra uterine weight.
  • Essential oils- Diluted lavender or helichrysum is wonderful for hemorrhoids. And a blend that is known to help with varicose veins: 30 drops of cypress, 20 drops of lavender, 10 drops of lemon and 20 drops of lemongrass with 60ml of fractionated coconut oíl.
  • Compression stockings- these can be helpful, as long as they are not cutting off circulation. The compression from the stockings will help recirculate blood flow so that it is moving toward the heart, and moving out of the lower extremities. Some insurance companies will cover the cost too, and can be ordered through sites like aeroflowbreastpumps.com.
  • Change your position frequently- avoid sitting or standing in the same postion too long. Take breaks, shift your position and avoid sitting with crossed legs, or with legs tucked under you.
  • Elevation- elevating legs periodically throughout the day can also help with circulation.

Heart Burn

Argh, this is one of my biggest complaints. I have tried all of the remedies during my 3 pregnancies. The things I have found the most useful are:

  • A natural alkalinizing supplement- I can drink this and immediately feel relief.
  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals- I have to be very mindful of my eating patterns, and what I am consuming. I avoid acidic or spicy foods and make sure I have digested before lying down.
  • Essential oil- Peppermint oil is helpful as well. I will apply on my esophagus where I feel the burn, and sometimes will ingest a drop or two of peppermint vitality.
  • Digestive enzymes- these are also a nice supplement to add in to aid in the digestion and assimilation of your food.

Pubic Bone Discomfort

The hormone relaxin is something women naturally produce during pregnancy to aid in pelvic joint mobility, so that the baby can fit through the pelvis at birth. Sometimes the joints become misaligned and the pelvis too loose which can cause tremendous discomfort. This pregnancy is the only one where I have experienced this and my go-to remedies are.

  • A yoga therapy ball-. I can put this where I feel the discomfort a few minutes per day. This will relieve some of the pressure.
  • A SI belt this is designed to support the sacroiliac joints and will relieve instability in the hips.
  • A chiropractic adjustment- again a chiropractor can adjust the pubic bone or any of the surrounding areas that are misaligned and causing discomfort. Just look for someone who is well versed in prenatal adjustments.
  • Ice therapy- icing can be a great relief. My husband suggests it all the time, and often I ignore him. However, when I actually listen, I feel relief for quite some time. It is also nice to ice after a chiropractic adjustment or using the yoga therapy ball.
  • PT- Some women need to see a Physical Therapist, and finding one that is well versed in pelvic floor therapies is ideal.
  • Homeopathic Remedies- I have heard several midwives suggest the homeopathic remedy of Rhus Toxicodendron 30C from Boiron. This can be found in health food stores, or online. I have never actually tried this myself, it is just something I have heard from multiple people in the birthing community.

Pregnancy is a time of tremendous change, and the female body is amazingly adaptable. Many of the typical complaints rebound very shortly after delivery. In my opinion, it is lovely there are so many natural remedies out there to help us along the way. I always opt for natural choices over medications and synthetics, and I’m even more hypervigilent about this during pregnancy.

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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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