I have wanted to write this blog for a while but kept putting it off....but I wanted to share with you all the "stuff" that I learned going through this process. I'm obviously not an expert and you might not agree with my thoughts 100%, but that's COMPLETELY fine. I know that everyone is different and what worked for me might not work for you. However, the one thing I HAVE to stress:
I may be a little different than most people because I knew years ago that I wanted an all natural, water birth with a midwife. This was basically because of the influence of my older sister (she had 3 home, water births) but honestly, the thought of laying on my back with my legs up in the air with a handful of people standing around, watching me go through one of the most amazing and life changing experiences...did not sound like my cup of tea. So that played a part as well! I love the midwifery approach and it's definitely something that I wanted to be a part of. Midwives view pregnancy and birth as normal life events that are best protected through education and support. They use medical procedures only when there is a specific concern for the health of the mother or baby.
I did A LOT of research on my own to figure out what I wanted and didn't want, I asked tons of questions and read a few books. I found out that quite a few of the tests and procedures that hospitals do while you're pregnant, during labor and even after labor are unnecessary and have NO medical benefit...AND guess what? You don't HAVE to do everything they tell you. Yep...the rebel in me came out and I declined quite a few things!! Personally, I didn't feel comfortable just going through the slew of tests without first knowing WHY they were doing them and the more I dug into the facts, the more empowered I felt. I also shared everything I learned with Dan and we made these decisions together! Please also keep in mind that I'm referring to low-risk, healthy pregnancies...there is definitely a time and place for doctors in birth and if you're high-risk some of what I'm saying might not apply to you.
This is one blog that has been seriously amazing for me. It provided a lot of really great information! http://wellnessmama.com/6214/pregnancy-prenatal-care/
Check it out!
Here is an overview of the stuff we did or did not do during this pregnancy:
My midwife looked at the ingredients in Shakeology and she was completely fine with me continuing to drink it and use it as my prenatal vitamin. I just supplemented with some DHA. I also did buy some raw prenatals off of Amazon and used those sporadically on days where I didn't drink Shakeology. A few weeks ago I started to get heartburn from it and it was messing with my stomach a little so I decided to just stop drinking it for now and take the prenatals.
I was already eating a pretty healthy diet before becoming pregnant so I didn't have to change much...other than eating just a little bit more! Technically you only need to eat 200-300 more calories except I was working out still 4-5 days a week so I ate just a bit more than that to make sure. Honestly, I can't tell you how many times I heard "Oh just eat it...baby wants it"...or "You're eating for 2 now! You should really eat that." It drove me bonkers because if anything, pregnancy is when you should really focus on eating the GOOD STUFF....loads of real, nutrient dense food that not only fuels you and gives you energy, but it feeds your body, your baby and helps them grow. I ate ALOT of these foods:
- Eggs - 3-4 almost every day!
- Dark leafy greens - either kale or spinach
- Plain greek yogurt sweetened with honey or maple syrup
- Salmon, pork, chicken, turkey, beef
- LOTS of veggies and fruit
- Some whole grains
- Coconut oil, grassfed butter, olive oil
- Himalayan sea salt
- Lots of added sugar
- White flour
- Anything low-fat
I really didn't have any weird cravings...which I really do attribute to paying attention to my body and what it was asking for...instead of what my brain would tell me sometimes (NO, you do NOT need Taco Johns at 10:30 at night) and I've gained roughly 28 lbs as of right now....which is exactly what I was shooting for.
Being active before pregnancy definitely makes it easier to KEEP being active, so if you're not currently doing anything 3-5 days a week to move your body....you should really think about changing that!! I was doing T25 and doing some lifting before getting pregnant so I just kept doing that as long as I could. When I couldn't do the jumping in T25 any more, I just followed the low impact modifier. I did wear a heart rate monitor all through the first trimester because I had heard keeping your heart rate a bit lower was a good idea...but that ended up not being entirely true :) so I stopped wearing it and just listened to my body. Towards the end, I started doing more yoga and alot of lower impact workouts and just doing them at my pace.
Unless your activity is dangerous to the baby or yourself, there is no need to quit working out when you're pregnant...but make sure you talk to your midwife or doctor about what you're doing!
The necessity and safety of routine ultrasounds in a low-risk pregnancy is something that a lot of people don't know much about. They've become so routine and normal, it's now expected that you'll get multiple ultrasounds over the span of a pregnancy. After reading quite a few different articles about the risks vs benefits, I had decided not to have any (except to allow the midwife to check the heartbeat at appointments). But at 22 weeks the midwives I was seeing at the time, told me they weren't sure that my due date was correct so if I wanted to have a chance at a water birth I had to consent to do a dating ultrasound....which we did. We ended up doing the shorter version which was roughly 15-20 minutes long. If I'm being completely honest, it was fun to see the profile of our little one but it still pissed me off that I was forced into doing something I didn't really want...and then they only changed my due date by 1 day :)
Here are a few articles that I read through:
I've chosen to forego all internal exams (cervical checks) mainly because I feel like it messes with your mind more than anything (especially towards the end of the pregnancy). They could tell you that you're 3-4 cm dilated and you could walk around like that for weeks....or they could tell you you're not dilated at all and then you could go into labor the next day!! Your body is in control and knows when the baby is ready. TRUST it.
This is one test where most people don't realize that they have options. The traditional method is to drink 50 grams of a nasty, orange glucose solution and then an hour later they draw your blood to check how your body processed the glucose. Because we eat pretty healthy, there's no reason I would ever consume that amount of sugar and carbohydrates in 5 minutes, so who knows how my body would react. The risk of a false positive is definitely there and if that happened, that would require a 3 hour long test....plus I've heard it just tastes horrible.
I chose instead to do an alternative test which I had to suggest. I don't even remember where I read about it, but my midwife agreed to it, so it's worth suggesting if you don't want to drink the orange crap. The alternative test that I did was a 2 hour test where they drew my blood and then within 20 minutes I had to eat an entire bagel, a banana and plain greek yogurt which I added a tiny bit of honey to. I then sat and read a book for 2 hours, went back to get my blood drawn and I was on my way!
There are a few other tests that they offer (CVS, CF, Downs Syndrome) and we declined all of them. Basically if it wasn't medically necessary we decided not to do it. Some of them are outlined in this article...but we basically declined them because if he/she did test positive for any of them it wouldn't change the outcome of our pregnancy....and there is always the chance for a false positive which would cause more stress than needed. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/prenatal-tests.aspx
Testing for Newborns
There are quite a few tests that hospitals will automatically do when your baby is born...sometimes without your consent. After doing research on all of them here is what we decided to decline and why:
Eye Drops/Ointment: Only needed if the mom is at risk of having sexual transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Vitamin K Shot: Helps prevent Hemorrhagic Disease but if you're having a natural birth (no c-section, no epidural, no forceps, no suction) and allow the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before cutting as well as eating foods that are rich in Vitamin K, you shouldn't have to give this to your newborn. If you have to, go for the oral option and not the shot.
Hepatitis B Vaccine: Not necessary if mother has tested negative. More info here: http://kellybroganmd.com/article/hepatitis-b-vaccine-for-your-newborn/
And I think that's it! If you made it to the end, good for you :) That was a bit longer than I planned on!! Happy to answer ANY questions if you have some!!