Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pregnancy books and tips

A dear friend of mine recently found out she was pregnant and e-mailed me with some questions about books to read, natural remedies, stretch marks, and maternity clothes. I thought I'd share my response in case it would be helpful to anyone...


I unfortunately didn't find out about this until after the 1st trimester (because I'm sure it would have helped with my horrible morning sickness), but Papaya enzymes are an awesome natural way to settle an upset stomach or to help with heartburn and acid reflux.

My holistic doctor told me that colic in babies is caused by yeast overgrowth and digestive issues in the Mama, so I took tons of probiotics and cut out most all sugar and white flour the last trimester, especially that last month. I don't know if it worked or if I just have a very easy baby, but Abbi had the least tummy trouble of the three :) And Karlie had the most, which makes complete sense because I had the antibiotic during labor with her and that would definitely cause digestive issues. So I'm a believer. I recently read this article that confirmed her advice and gave tips for preventing colic in babies.

I've also read that GER (bad reflux in babies) is caused by a deficiency in B12 so I made sure I ate lots of beef, cheese, and eggs so I would get plenty of that vitamin.

I've read that olive oil can help colicky babies -- I had a friend who let her baby suck on her finger dipped in olive oil after each feeding and it helped.


I recently read that you get morning sickness because increased hormone production uses up cholesterol and the body is unable to produce sufficient bile. One researcher suggested that you eat as many good quality cholesterol rich foods as you can (and it is even better to prepare before conception if possible with at least 3 months of a traditional diet rich in high quality animal fats!) Sip whole raw milk throughout the day to ward off sickness and acupuncture can help a lot as well! Another blogger said that eating legumes helps because the bile binds to soluble fiber and cannot pass pass the intestinal barrier and make you sick. She suggests eating 1/4 cup of beans any time you feel nauseous. I'm thinking that I will be eating a whole lot of hummus next pregnancy! And it is a good thing that I love my raw milk and cheese!

Another cause for morning sickness is magnesium deficiency.  The best idea is to stock up on magnesium before you get pregnant because it is harder to absorb once you area already pregnant.  The best way to absorb magnesium is topically, through a body spray or by soaking in epsom salts.  Please read THIS article and THIS one to get a better idea of magnesium and real food solutions for morning sickness.

I did all my normal natural solutions when pregnant, but I saved oregano oil as a last resort because it is so strong and I could never find any info that definitively said it was ok during pregnancy. I think I only used it for a day if if I got really sick and stopped when I felt better. It is probably fine, but I always err on the side of caution. Plus, oregano oil kills the good bacteria as well and I didn't want to do that unless absolutely necessary. Garlic and Apple Cider Vinegar are perfectly fine and ever so good for you, so they were my stand-by pregnancy remedies :) I don't know as much about Grapefruit Seed Extract, so I saved it for when I was really sick as well. It is probably fine, but I just didn't know for sure.
I've never gotten stretch marks (but don't think I've gotten off easy; varicose veins are much worse because they are very painful!); I think whether or not you get stretch marks depends a lot on how you carry your baby and I have a long torso so my babies don't stick out that far. But I have been pretty careful to put lotion on my belly throughout my pregnancies regardless. I used Palmer's Cocoa Butter stretch mark cream with my first two pregnancies and made my own belly butter with my last pregnancy. I don't have a real recipe... I just melted coconut oil, shea butter, and almond oil on low on the stove and mixed them up and poured it in a jar. If I had to guess, I'd say that I used them respectively in a 3:2:1 ratio. And you really don't have to have the almond oil; the main thing is that you need shea butter to make it more like lotion than just oil. I added some cocoa butter to one batch and it was great, even more thick, but it was a horrible pain to scrape off into the pan and to melt because it was so hard.

Target has absolutely the best nursing tanks ever! And their nursing bras are pretty reasonably priced as well. My favorite place to buy maternity clothes was Old Navy -- they always had stuff in the clearance section. And I got some stuff at Kohl's and Target. Maternity is very expensive, so the best thing is to buy it off season.

If you are hoping for a natural birth,  my other two posts on the topic should be helpful:
My Experience: Medicated v. Natural Childbirth
My Thought On Making It Through Labor Naturally

My top 5 fav pregnancy/baby books are:
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg -- I don't agree with everything she says, but she does have good ideas for soothing baby and getting baby on a good sleep/wake/eat schedule, etc. I'm more of a "feed on demand" kind of Mama, but a loose schedule is very helpful in knowing whether a baby is fussing because she is hungry or simply tired. Some good nursing tips are found HERE.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth -- very "crunchy," but a must-read during your last month of pregnancy if you decide to give birth without meds :) I re-read it with every baby during that last month to inspire me to know that I can do it!

Other good reads:
Happiest Baby On the Block by Karp -- I don't agree with the whole "missing 4th trimester concept" but it does have other great info on having a happy baby
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbluth -- fabulous book on how babies/children sleep and how much/when they need it. Good resource to have on hand
How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Mendelsohn -- small, fat book -- good resource to have on hand to diagnose and treat ailments naturally rather than going to the doctor at the first sign of a fever

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