10 pregnancy tips you will be glad you knew. A detailed guide to holistically preparing your body and your life for your pregnancy, birth and baby. My list of hind-sights, plus the things that really worked for us.
Yes, pregnancy was a beautiful experience but it was also a crazy time in our lives! We moved twice (once interstate), bought a new home and began renovating it. So our last trimester was a whirl of painting, DIY and ridiculously frequent trips to Mitre 10.
We birthed at home and managed to organize the birth space and birth pool with a little time to spare, only because I went 13 days overdue!
I thought we were well prepared, drawing on my naturopathic knowledge to support us physically and we were lucky enough to have continuity of care with a very capable midwife.
There were, however, several things that in hindsight I wish I’d known or been more aware of (plus a few things that worked really well for us), and I’d like to list them all here to provide a guide to holistically preparing for the journey ahead – body, mind & soul!
So, here it is
Make yourself a nourishing cuppa, and get ready to explore 🙂
1. Morning sickness
So let’s start with what usually hits us first, after assimilating our pregnancy news!
As a trained naturopath I could tell you what is currently known about supporting the pregnant body and off-setting morning sickness … list all the remedies.
But I’m not going to do that! Why?
Because you can find good information if you research discerningly and, having done all of the best nutritional, dietary and herbal support, the ONLY thing that REALLY worked for me was working through some of my fears.
Okay, let me explain …
For me, and so many women, it wasn’t just morning sickness but it could hit me anytime of the day. One time my partner and I were talking and he said something that triggered some fear. I didn’t notice consciously at the time, it wasn’t a big deal, but next thing I knew I was running to the toilet.
Later on reflection, I realized that what he’d said had triggered a big childhood fear, which I didn’t want to feel so I suppressed it in the moment, however, my body didn’t want it to be suppressed!
The pregnant body is SO much more sensitive to suppressed emotion.
So I began to realize that when I didn’t want to even acknowledge, let alone feel what could seem like the tiniest triggered fear, my body told me about it.
I truly believe that this is part of a perfect design, in order to protect our babies from suppressed emotions which are damaging to them. Our bodies are hyper-attuned during pregnancy and are saying ‘Hey deal with this!’
When something is unresolved emotionally, you can bet it’ll show up either during pregnancy or parenthood, as if to clear the way for being lovingly present for our child.
Suppressed emotion is harmful to ourselves and can be for those around us too, but babies are particularly sensitive.
What can we do?
When we own and feel what’s triggered, allow the expression of it, even to a very small degree, it’s no longer harmful. It’s when we continue to suppress and choose to stay unconscious of how we feel, that we’re automatically projecting those emotions all around us, and to our babies.
So I found that as soon as I became consciously aware of each fear triggered, and owned it by saying to myself ‘okay, I’m really afraid of this or that happening, I wonder what that’s about?’…., I shifted to a place of openness to my feelings rather than wanting to suppress them.
Focussing on connected abdominal breathing whilst you are feeling into this really helps too.
This was enough to immediately shift the morning sickness most of the time.
Even just talking about it with someone you trust can be enough.
Interesting hey!?! …. Something to experiment with 🙂
For more practical tips on emotional processing go here.
2. Folic Acid
Surprisingly, this is something I REALLY WISH I’d known!
So we’re all told to take folic acid supplements, and naturopaths recommend it for the first trimester in particular to prevent neural tube defects.
All well and good.
But then we continue taking it right throughout the pregnancy when it is actually no longer needed, and often in a synthetic form.
Why we need to reconsider this practice
Folic acid has always been considered harmless and even encouraged right the way through, however now mid-line defects in babies, such as lip and tongue ties are becoming way more prevalent.
Midwives and pediatricians are noticing this and some have begun to connect it to those women on folic acid supplementation right throughout pregnancy. The excess causes a hyper-production of certain membranes in the body.
I learned this the hard way by working out, after difficulties breastfeeding, that my son had a lip and slight tongue tie. This was barely noticeable until my research told me to look out for it, and sure enough, that was what was creating his latching difficulties.
The snip procedure (phrenectomy) was not something I EVER want to see anyone go through again, let alone our baby ( 🙁 !!). The specialist who performed the procedure told us that he was running a clinical study on this correlation.
So my suggestion is if you are going to supplement with folic acid, stop after 16 weeks!
It’s enough to eat a healthy diet with leafy greens throughout the rest of your pregnancy.
An additional factor to be aware of is that if you have an MTHFR gene mutation (which up to 50% of the population is said to have!) you won’t process folic acid well. This can cause problems so it’s best to avoid taking folic acid completely and go for your leafy greens instead.
3. Spinning Babies®
I highly recommend this to EVERY pregnant mum! The ease of your babies birth is all in his or her position in the pelvis! Spinning Babies covers how to flip a breach, and encourage or maintain the correct position for an easier birth.
Gail Tully has created an awesome body of work and the results can be quite profound.
See the website here to find out more.
I did the basic recommended movements, openers and postural suggestions, and I’m sure it made a HUGE difference to our natural home birth.
Plus I had no back pain or body discomfort through my entire pregnancy!
Our son did come out sucking his thumb though, which slowed things down a tad; the one thing Spinning Babies couldn’t help with!
You can purchase Gail’s DVD Daily Essentials: Activities for Pregnancy Comfort and Easier Birth here
“Spinning Babies® offers new ways to empower pregnant parents with daily and weekly activities for immediate comfort and easier childbirth.” Gail Tully
4. Perineum Oil
A pure essential oil blend, massaged in each evening in the last trimester, can go a long way to prevent tearing.
This is something that worked well for me, not a whisper of tearing! Some say they’ve avoided episiotomy this way.
I’m sure that breathing and mindset goes a long way to preventing this also – cultivating a feeling of allowing yourself to expand and open, rather than pushing and straining.
I recommend this Motherlove Birth & Baby Oil. Motherlove products are well priced and pure, so you can trust them, from what I have seen.
5. Evening Primrose Oil Capsules
Another remedy which our midwife swore by was to insert 2 capsules of Evening Primrose Oil into the vagina, right up to the cervix. Do this every night during the last trimester, as well as taking it internally.
This is to ripen & soften the cervix (effacement) in preparation for an easier labor.
I recommend this one because it contains no fillers, preservatives and is non-GM.
Hard to tell for sure but it seemed to help!
6. Breast preparation
I also used this Certified Organic Nipple Cream in the last trimester, to prepare my nipples for the onslaught! ( 😉 ) I didn’t have a single bout of mastitis and my nipple soreness was minimal compared to what some women suffer. Only very slight grazing due to Zyah’s lip tie.
This is a nice one as you don’t have to wash it off before breastfeeding, as it’s so pure.
Pure coconut oil is also good, but I think a good herbal balm goes a long way to prepare your nipples during the last couple of months of pregnancy.
Another tip is to avoid the commonly recommended Lanolin products as they contain yukky pesticides.
I wish I’d prepared for this part!!
I naively thought it would just come easily, that I’d just pop it in and away he’d go! Zyah’s lip tie didn’t help as he had trouble getting his top lip up over my areolar, therefore couldn’t get a good latch.
Lots of mums say that it didn’t come easy, and it’s very often a huge learning curve for both new mums and babies.
So my recommendation for first-time mums is to watch a few good videos and do some research beforehand so it isn’t so overwhelming during those first weeks.
Or even better, take a course! I wish I’d found this amazing course in my 3 rd trimester! It guides you through absolutely everything you need to know, and is very clearly demonstrated.
Some other good resources are the Australian Breastfeeding Association and lactation consultants such as kellymom who really seem to keep abreast (sorry 😉 ) with all the latest research and information. This website is good too.
The ABA has a free Helpline which I did use once and was assisted by a wonderful, caring volunteer.
One more tip I’d like to share is that the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow is, I believe the best breastfeeding support pillow on the market (having tried a few).
It allows you to completely relax both shoulders and be hands-free (as needed), and bub is comfortable and supported too.
I recommend getting a spare cover too for when you wash, which you’ll need to do lots, especially if you have a spewer!
Here’s a little bonus especially for breastfeeding mums… Queen Bee have a truly gorgeous maternity range, including some great nursing tops & dresses. I have been happy with every purchase, and found my nursing tops (and 1 dress) SO useful and comfortable for breastfeeding while out and about.
8. Birth kit
Getting your birth kit together is so much fun and a lovely thing to do with your birthing partner no matter what your birth plan.
I highly recommend putting together a playlist of music that moves you emotionally and helps you to feel open and more expansive. Plus a few tracks thrown in for inspiration and stamina!
Consider a high-quality Aromatherapy Massage Oil blended specifically for birthing, a 100% aromatherapy oil (lavender and peppermint are good) for the Essential Oil Diffuser. Put a couple of drops in a bowl for wet towels.
A flower essence blend can also be a great support, to help you to release fear, to stay fully present to your body, and to cultivate a feeling of opening and allowing.
You can contact me to arrange a personalized flower essence blend via email.
9. Ecstatic birth & emotional openness
This is a big topic, and one I could write a book on, perhaps one day, with a lot more time on my hands (and once I’m through some more of my own emotional blocks).
I truly believe that birthing would be a pleasurable, and even ecstatic experience were we either fully healed and/or fully open (at the time of birthing) throughout the birth canal and surrounding energetic area.
Debra Pascali-Bonaro has done some great work around this. You can see her website here.
I know birth holds the keys to an amazing opportunity to move from Pain to Power and discover strengths, wisdom and Yes, pleasure in your body and in the experience of bringing new life into the world. Debra Pascali-Bonaro
The key, for me, was being emotionally open rather than holding onto fear which contracts the body. Vocalising helps massively too. Loose lips = loose vagina 😀
Don’t forget for a moment, that you were perfectly designed to birth your baby, no matter their size, or the size of your pelvis, without intervention, pain or trauma.
Want to prepare for a Natural Birth?
Check out this wonderful online Natural Birth Course.
This is the course that will equip you with all the information, resources and inspiration you need to prepare yourself for the best experience possible.
Genevieve & Maura have helped hundreds of women achieve life-changing natural births.
One last tip I highly recommend is to sign up for this free Natural Pregnancy Week by Week guide, based on your due date. This is the only one I’ve come across which gives you pregnancy updates from a natural perspective and supports you to prepare for your best natural birth.
Now, along with sensible wellness practices and plenty of self-love, you’re perhaps a little more ready for the biggest experience of your life!
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