Download Mandy’s Guide – 10 Best Tips for a Healthy, Vibrant Pregnancy! The Holistic Way!
Click here – healthy pregnancy guide!
There is so much info out there – how to have a healthy pregnancy – it’s a bit overwhelming really! The one thing I do is I listen to my body. If I feel good, I stick with my self-love practices, I attend 1 hour Zumba classes twice a week, and I do prenatal yoga at home. I cook, I clean, I garden, I play games and do art with the kids, and I also have alone time, to write, be creative, and recoup.
I plan on having a homebirth, just like my last birth with Kyri (who is already 4 and a half years old), but my iron is a bit low so I’ve been taking Mega Foods Blood Builder supplement, which normally I’d avoid and just stick with chlorella, moringa leaf powder, organic meat, and whole foods to get my iron, but since my lovely midwife recently told me that I don’t qualify for a home birth I thought I better up my iron game.
My midwife said having low iron during pregnancy is normal. I’m sure having low everything is normal. My body is using all my stored nutrients to create life! That’s why it’s still so important that I have my daily smoothie, salad, and nourishing dinner (and my pregnancy must have supplements – which can be found in my Pregnancy Guide above). I really haven’t been eating for two. That’s something I don’t believe in. I know if I did I would feel so run down. My digestive system would be working all day, every day, and all my energy would go towards digestion. Plus, a healthy pregnancy we should only be gaining around 25-30 lbs! That’s really not very much by week 40! The less you gain, the less you have to worry about later. I’m not saying EAT LESS, I’m saying you could eat just a bit more than normal (extra salad and maybe an extra smoothie a day – I’ve been having one for breakfast and 1 as a snack around 7 pm) but eat healthy and mindfully!
When your pregnant your senses are totally enhanced! Have you noticed? Smells are insane! Especially during the 1st trimester. I am 30 weeks pregnant and it’s still intense. Tod and I went to a big box stores today looking for compostable cups and OMG, the synthetic smells from all the cleaners and sprays went straight to my brain and I felt like I had to sneeze, plus I got an instant major headache! I felt like I was being poisoned, slowly and painfully. I had to go home and take a bath to decompress. Taking care of myself comes first if I want to be my best for everyone else.
During the first trimester, I was so turned off my raw veggies. My salads consisted of Kimchi, spinach, cucumber, tomato, and my homemade honey garlic vinaigrette (from my first cookbook). Over time I started to add pepper, broccoli, and cauliflower back into my diet. I read in a couple GREAT pregnancy books that it’s totally normal to run for the hills when raw produce is put in front of you. But your body knows best. So listen up! However, when you crave ice cream, chocolate bars, and candy – you are really craving certain vitamins and minerals. Look for healthier options – I’d go for the coconut milk ice cream that is sweetened with honey, dark chocolate bars that are sweetened with coconut sugar, and dried fruit instead of candy. Those healthy versions have the minerals calcium, iron, selenium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium!
How do I deal with hormones, nausea, and cravings? Hormones are totally all over the place during pregnancy. For the first trimester, I felt like a totally different person. Low energy levels, crying at almost anything (which carried on to the second trimester), feeling a bit nauseous, and cravings foods I don’t normally eat. I had to really force myself to sit. This all happened in late July and August. I had plans made each and every weekend for the summer, camping trips, trips up island to visit family, beach days, and friend play dates, which all basically came to a sudden halt. Thank goodness my family was totally okay with staying put at home and playing in the backyard for most of the summer. The heat made me feel nauseous so I stayed in the shade or in the house. I made my own ground ginger pills. I bought empty capsules and filled them with ground ginger and took 1 every time I felt a bit nauseous and it worked! (I also take these ginger pills before flying and it works!) My diet was quite basic back in the first trimester – plain quinoa pasta, plane potatoes, smoothies, fruit, and veggies and a couple activated nuts here and there. I got my appitite back in the second trimester. Cravings….I craved ham sandwiches, sushi, and chocolate all the time. No, I never did eat a ham sandwich (I don’t eat pig), but I did have sushi a couple times and I think I had a square of dark chocolate once a day! I didn’t give into my cravings during my last pregnancy and it left me crying and feeling so deprived! So during pregnancy, I said I was going to always find the best option possible! With my hormones, I just decided to fully accept them and not hide or run from them. If I felt overwhelmed, which I have, then I sit in stillness, journal, or meditate to calm down. A couple times I felt overwhelmed because I drank Chai tea (black tea) or ate too much dark chocolate (4 squares is too much for me) and noticed how it was making my body feel; almost like an anxiety/panic attack. I’d have to relax in the bath and just bare through it. I really don’t enjoy that feeling at all. What we consume really does affect our mood and our hormones.
1 cool tip that I now live by – To keep your hormones in balance, avoid screens/electronics 1-2 hours before bed. Our sleep hormone melatonin will be released on time if we avoid blue light before bed. Then we will be able to fall into that deep sleep, where our bodies heal, repair, and create energy, so we feel alive and refreshed each morning. AND our daytime hormones will follow suit! IF we stay on our electronics until bedtime, blue light with prevent our melatonin from being released and we won’t fall into that deep sleep that our bodies need and our hormones will be off all day as well. Now, how many of us have been living our lives with our hormones off balance, due to this? It’s such an easy fix. And not to mention you can wear blue blocking glasses if you do need to do a bit of work on your device before bed.
I was so excited to be in not 1 but 2 pregnancy photoshoots for West Coast Mamas last month (at 23 and 25 weeks pregnant).
Me, wearing beautiful ‘West Coast Mamas’ apparel
What is my routine like now that I am in my 3rd trimester? Well, I have chosen to prioritize my life into 5 simples things. Sleep, nourishment, love and happiness, fresh oxygen and nature, and movement. So I make sure all of those come first. What falls into those categories?
- Nourishment – Lemon water upon rising, a smoothie, salad, fruit, tea, activated nuts, and a gorgeous home cooked meal for dinner.
- Love and happiness (which includes my self-love routine) – Meditation, cuddles with my kids, being creative, affirmations, baths, and sauna
- 8-9 hours of sleep each night with no electronics 1-2 hours before bed. During that time I bathe, journal, and connect with my hubby.
- Get my butt outdoors each day for a certain amount of time, breathing in fresh air and grounding in nature.
- Movement – Stretching, prenatal yoga (free youtube videos), and Zumba
What did I decide to take out of my diet for this pregnancy? All super processed, refined, yucky, hard to digest food (fast food and junk food) that makes me feel bloated and uncomfortable. Yes, as I already said, I did enjoy a nice slice of eggnog cheesecake for my birthday, but that was because it was my birthday! For the rest of the time, I love to cook food from scratch and make yummy treats, desserts, snacks, and smoothies. All of the recipes that I have been loving are in my new cookbook ‘Love Your Healthy Life’ which will be coming out in Mid January – in local stores AND as an Ebook on Amazon so keep your eyes peeled! When I do get out I like to enjoy a cup of white tea with a high-quality dark chocolate bar.
What am I enjoying for fitness? At the beginning of my pregnancy, I enjoyed full body workouts, yoga, and Zumba until I started to show at around 3.5 months, and then I started taking it down a notch. Prenatal yoga (online), kept doing Zumba until 27 weeks pregnant, and lots of stretching.
What are my visions, hopes, and dreams for the birth? A home water birth is where it’s at! I was so lucky to have one with Kyri that I cannot wait to try again. I’m hoping to walk around and stretch as much as possible. Enjoy hot showers while I have music playing and my diffuser on. My husband is always great at giving massages so I’m so glad to have him there too. Being skin to skin with our new baby for as long as possible, delaying the cord clamping, and doing the breast crawl, all before the midwife weighs and checks the baby is my favourite part, but then she hands the baby right back to me. (Not exactly the hospital experience I had with Seth.)
What are we doing that isn’t “normal”? Well if you’ve had a midwife before, you may already know that many of the procedures that happen during pregnancy, birth, and after are ALLOWED to be declined! Like the gestational diabetes test, I turned that down. I did, however, have to get the rhogan shot because my blood type is negative (it’s the one thing my midwife highly recommened and I trust her), but after birth – the foot prick, the antiobiotic eye cream, the Hep B vaccine, circumcision, and for those who test positive for the Group B Strep (streptococcus) during pregnancy can choose not to go on antibiotics during labour “because most women and their babies will suffer no ill effects from the presence of Group B Strep Bacteria, you may choose to do nothing at all.” – Group B Step Infection in Pregnancy – What have we learned? Vol. 9.
If a mother doesn’t have Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea they do not and should not (in my opinion) get the prophylactic eye medication, which in most provinces/states is required by law. It is an antibiotic which will decrease the good bacteria in the newborn’s immune system. If you refuse, make sure you sign a waiver and write it in your birth plan.
Prophylactic Vitamin K is a shot that is given to the baby to prevent excessive bleeding in the baby. Vitamin K helps the baby’s blood clot. Newborns are at a higher risk of bleeding if they are born premature, if the birth was traumatic, if they are low weight, or if the birth mother is taking mediation of anti-convulsion, anti-coagulants, or for tuberculosis. Doctors and midwives say that Vitamin K supplementation during pregnancy isn’t enough.
I rejected the Vitamin K shot for 2 reasons. Why would I want my baby to be injected with something foreign and most likely synthetic, AND I didn’t want my baby experiencing pain like that after birth. So we chose the oral vitamin K, which was given to Kyri in two doses, one during the first week and another during the 4th week. And keep in mind that breastmilk also supplies vitamin K. We will be choosing the oral route with our next baby as well.
We also declined the Hep B vaccine with Kyri and will with our newborn as well. Tod and I both are not infected with Hepatitis B. Did you know, “Recombinant adsorbed hepatitis B vaccine is prepared from transformed Chinese hamster ovary cells, and is a liquid product that contains hepatitis B surface antigen that is rendered insoluble by adding aluminum salt”? – Kelly Brogan MD
And remember that “Aluminum activates microglia in the brain and is strongly linked to Alzheimers, Parkinson’s disease and autoimmune disorders.” Kelly also states, “Another study found that children who received the Engerix B Hepatitis B vaccine were 74% more likely to develop “central nervous system inflammatory demyelination” than children who did not receive the vaccine, and 177% more likely to develop multiple sclerosis.”
So we politely say “No thanks” to that one. But that’s just us! Feel free to do your own research and choose what is best for your family! I totally respect that everyone has the right to make their own choices. But I believe that my baby, fresh out of the womb, is perfect just the way it is, especially when that baby has a very healthy mommy and daddy.
We did do the newborn screening prick with Kyri but are unsure if we want to do it with our next baby. The midwife or nurse at the hospital will prick your baby’s foot (causing the baby pain) to get a blood sample. This blood sample will be tested for all types of disorders (metabolic and endocrine), hemoglobinopathies, and cystic fibrosis. They like to do the test as soon as possible to know if the baby has anything wrong with it or not. I read in The Kind Mama that Alicia Silverstone denied permission for this test to be done so it was nice to know that we have that option if we choose.
I’m only saying all of this because with my firstborn, who is now 11, I didn’t know I had the choice of saying Yes or No to all of these – expect circumcision. I blindly allowed my doctor do anything and I didn’t sign any papers before leaving the hospital (and if I did sign any I was very doped up on whatever they were giving me because I don’t consciously remember signing anything).
I also get my placenta dried into capsules! The health benefits are insane! Google “Encapsulated placenta”! Did you know that all mother animals eat the placenta after they give birth, for 2 reasons? 1 because of its nutrients and 2 because if they don’t it may attract predators. They are also more likely to give birth around a full moon. So if you give birth around a full moon, I believe you are closer to natures cycles! Anyway…Here is some awesome info on the nutrients found in your placenta!
Hormones, vitamins, and minerals found in placental tissue:
- Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and Cortisol
- Estrogens (estrone, estradiol, and estriol)
- Thyroid-Releasing hormone (TRH), thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulines and ultimately Thyroxine (T4)
- Prolactin and Human Placental Lactagon (hPL)
- Leuteinizing hormone (LH)
- Human Chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
- Vitamin B6
I believe, with all my heart, that these pills helped me avoid postpartum depression. And yes the thought of taking your own placenta is kinda nasty but if you can avoid depression and actually feel AMAZING and enjoy the first year of your child’s life (while enjoying your own life), you’d take them too! While I would take them I could feel the hormones, especially oxytocin, and my mind would be running full board, coming up with the coolest creative ideas! I felt high on life!
Our family picture. Chloe at 11 years old, Seth at 6 years old and Kyri at 3 months old.
Kyri wearing West Coast Mamas apparel, at 4 years old
Seth wearing West Coast Mamas apparel, at 11 years old
I believe that each beautiful mother should put in the hard work and get healthy before they conceive. To me, that means looking inward and seeing what they need – whether it’s managing stress, getting more sleep, or just creating a self-love routine that makes them feel juicy from head to toe, it all matters and should definitely happen before baby-making starts. Also balancing hormones, eating a diet low in pasteurized dairy & refined wheat, and avoid all refined sugar and fill their day with food from nature – fruits and veggies. Don’t go a day without them! Making sure their cycle is on time, cramp free, and is a normal flow will also help conceive. Making sure they are active and positive! Their body will change so much, so they need to make sure they love their body, in any shape or form it may take. ♥
Making sure they find a multivitamin that is plant-based and is food derived and is not synthetic – Mega Foods is a great brand. I think all mothers should do their OWN research on everything that happens during pregnancy, labor, and after their baby is born and should never feel judged or guilty for making the choices they believe in (thank goodness I have a very supportive midwife, family, and friends). I think that all pregnant women should be proud of themselves! They are creating life!
Say No to the Orange Drink Glucose Test
Hepatitis B Vaccine – Is it Safe for Your Newborn
Alternatives to Routine Newborn Procedures
Placental Encapsulation and Postpartum Health
5 Benefits Of Delayed Cord Clamping
Healing Sexual Trauma, Mindful Pregnancy And Orgasmic Childbirth With Debra Pascali-Bonaro
How To Have An Ecstatic Childbirth With Dr Sarah Buckley
Eating Your Placenta And Natural Birthing With Genevieve Howland
The Crawl : Baby’s First Crawl – Initiation of Breastfeeding
Orgasmic Birth Documentary
The Kind Mama by Alicia Silverstone
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Children’s Diet by Dr. Joel Robbins
Photos by Ricci Miller @ Little Prints Photography
Family Photo by Lee Simmons @ Island Life Photographics