After my third time through pregnancy, I tried to do a better job documenting what helped me get through the various pregnancy milestones. So I’ve accumulated a list of my favorite products, resources, and tips from my midwife that were most helpful to me. I also captured my diet and exercise approach during pregnancy. I’m sharing these to hopefully help other women find natural ways to enjoy a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Please also do your own research and talk with your doctor or midwife before using any of the products mentioned below. These are just things that I enjoyed or used during pregnancy with guidance from my midwife and doula. You will have to decide for yourself if these make sense for you!
Quick background on me: I’m 34 years old and led a very active life before I was pregnant with my first child, Ella, in 2013. I ran a Boston Marathon qualifying time during my first 10 weeks pregnant with Ella. I taught and took Bikram Yoga classes up until the day I gave birth for all 3 kids because it felt amazing for my body. I also walked almost every day thanks to my two active black labs. This doesn’t mean this is what I suggest anyone do – I just want to give you a quick background on me so you know where I’m coming from. I love to exercise, it helped keep me stay sane during pregnancy when my body was growing in spaces it’s never grown before!
Eating wise, I have a pretty clean diet. During each pregnancy I have been able to maintain an 80/20 rule, meaning 80% of my meals were whole food based and created by me from sources I trust, and for the other 20%, I follow my cravings and go out to enjoy some nice dinners or even some pizza & ice cream nights!
Vitamin B6: I took this in the morning right away to help with my morning sickness.
Sea-Band Mama Wristband Acupuncture: I used this on my wrists when I felt nauseous. I thought they helped, but it could have been placebo effect.
Activated Charcoal: I used this for gas and belly bloat, which I had a lot when I was nauseous. I also used this when I was sick with the flu to help get everything out! You can get this at your local health store, or online.
Geranium Oil: I used a couple drops in baths to help relieve my varicose veins and help me relax. You can get it at whole foods or any essential oil company.
Ancient Minerals Magnesium Flakes: I used this in baths so that I could absorb magnesium through my skin. I also made a foot spray that I used every night to help absorb magnesium. I think it was especially important for me to get proper magnesium during pregnancy because it helped my sleep. I had better sleep during the third pregnancy than my others, and I also never had leg cramps, unlike my previous pregnancies.
Compression Stockings & Belly Band: These helped relieve pressure on my varicose veins. My midwife also recommended eating lemon rinds and taking barley grass pills to help with my veins. I ate lemon rinds as often as I could but never did the barley grass pills.
Beet Kvass daily gut shots: This aids in digestion and you can find it in your local health store or farmer’s market. I used two brands of beet kvass throughout my pregnancy: Farmhouse Cultures and my local Nashville favorite Short Mountain Cultures. Along with my gut shots, I tried to drink bone broth on days I didn’t do a shot, or alternatively eat fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut or coconut kefir. Staying regular while pregnant is hard to do, and these definitely helped me do that.
LOTs of water! 60% of my body weight in ounces at least on a daily basis. This was really helpful towards the end when I was having Braxton Hicks, the more water I drank, the less intense they were.
Green juice (celery, kale, lemon, ginger, green apple): After yoga I would drink homemade juice for hydration and digestion and for a big energy boost! This is also my go-to for milk supply when I feel like my kids are going through a growth spurt!
Leach co Snoogle Body Pillow: This pillow was something I wished I had gotten for my first pregnancy. It made me want to sleep on my side (even before I was 20 weeks) which helped because I’m a belly sleeper! Also, I love this for postpartum breast feeding at night. During the day I use it like a boppy for baby and tummy time support!
Exercise / Stability Ball: I started to sit on a ball instead of a chair at our kitchen table and even used it to help massage my back and open my chest as I was getting bigger. To get the baby in the right pelvis position, I did exercises daily in the 3rd trimester using the ball. see this article.
Garlic capsules: I started taking these to prep for my Strep-B test right before my 3rd trimester.
Birth Plan: I used Mama Natural’s birth plan because it made sense to me and it was nice to have a 1 pager with pictures to go over with my birth team. Find it here.
Group B Strep Prep: I used garlic capsules, garlic insertion twice per week leading up to my test, along with probiotics through kombucha and coconut kefir. FYI I did not have strep with any of my kids (but I did all of this prep each time).
Raspberry Leaf Tea: Starting in third trimester, I would drink 16-24oz of iced tea every day after making a big batch on Sunday. I ordered tea in bulk from Amazon because I would go through 8-12 tea bags a week. Here is an article all things Raspberry Leaf tea & Pregnancy!
Evening Primrose Oil capsules: I started taking up to 2000mg orally at 35 weeks to help soften my cervix. Did it work? Who knows? But it didn’t hurt!
Stinging Nettle Leaf Tea: I brewed this along with the Raspberry Leaf tea starting at week 35 for extra nutrients. Find article on benefits here. Since I used loose leaf (you don’t have to) I grabbed these bags to keep it together.
Walking: I walked 30-60 minutes every day. I would sometimes even walk up and down the curb (one foot up on curb, one foot on pavement) to help get the baby in the right position and to bring on labor (not sure if this did anything, but Arlo, my second came 1 day after I did this).
My Favorite Books, Websites, & Birth team:
Spinning Babies (when Arlo was breech) I was on here daily! – https://spinningbabies.com/
Ina May Gaskin: Loved her book “Ina May’s Guide to Child birth”
Mama Natural: https://www.mamanatural.com/
Mama Wellness: https://wellnessmama.com/
Doula Katie Richardson : http://www.nashvilledoulakatie.com/
Midwife Sheryl Shafer: http://www.sherylshafer.org/index.html
Also loved the book “Daily Soul Sessions” for daily inspiration!
Hope you are having a great pregnancy! I’d love for you to share your favorite products and tips in the comments since there are so many amazing Moms and Mom-to-bes in this community! We can all learn from one another since every pregnancy and birthing experience is so different!