Pregnancy Diet

Pregnancy diet

As I have mentioned in this post, I was on a strict diet (calorie counting and no alcohol or carbs) nearly right up until I got pregnant. Therefore, I knew that if I started eating everything in sight I would gain a significant amount of weight during my pregnancy.

During the first 2 months I was so ill with all day sickness that all I could really stomach was some plain rice and apple juice, gross, I know, but the thought of other food turned me off. Once I started feeling better, about mid 2nd month, I started really tracking everything I was eating to make sure I was getting enough calories and adequate amounts of nutrients. I did intense tracking for about a month and figured I had gotten the hang of it so I eased off.

Overall, my doctor is always impressed with how healthy mine and the babies stats are and I truly believe it is due to my eating habits. I am not a saint, I have eaten at McDonalds when I was craving french fries, I even had a piece of cake for breakfast one day after my birthday, but in general, I am very aware of what I am putting in my body. I do eat more chocolate now than I ever have, I used to hate chocolate (but, studies have shown that babies born to mothers who ate chocolate every day were happier in general, I also believe the mother and father were both happier during the pregnancy ha) and I think that during these 9-10 months we are growing a baby and giving up so many delicious cheeses, fish, caffeine, etc. we are allowed to indulge from time to time.

So here are my tips to maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy (without depriving yourself of the good things once in a while).

First, I don’t eat anything which is prohibited. Even if it is a grey area where some think it’s okay and some don’t, I am the type of person who would live in constant guilt if something were to happen, therefore, I steer clear of these items completely. This includes; lunch meats, moldy cheese, caffeine (yes, I do not consume and teas or coffees with caffeine in them, and yes I am aware that chocolate contains some caffeine), alcohol (duh), sprouts, cilantro, parsley, raw fish, etc. With me not eating red meat and having a nut allergy, this can sometimes cause problems when eating out, so we generally eat in. I cannot tell you how many times I have ordered a salad only for it to come with sprouts or bacon in it. Its easiest to stay at home.

As I don’t eat a wide range of meat proteins, it is really important for me to get protein through beans, chicken, some types of fish (although I have been really turned off of fish since getting pregnant), and dairy products. Generally I have plain Greek Yogurt for breakfast with some fruit. Greek yogurt is amazing, especially if breastfeeding, it is packed with all the healthy fats and it a great source of protein. I also make sure I have a good size portion of chicken each day (whether for lunch or dinner) to make sure I have gotten enough protein. If my lunch has chicken/beans in it, then I make sure my dinner has cheese in it to top off any insufficiency I may have in protein for that day. Some of my favorite chicken recipes are here and here.

Of course, I add in whole grain items like a hand full of pasta, a slice of bread, or Special K for breakfast to ensure I am getting enough calories and always have a meal packed with vegetables, such as this one, for lunch and another with veggies to ensure that I am getting 5-8 servings of vegetables a day. Aside from that, there is olive and coconut oil we use to cook our meals, which provides any fats I missed throughout the day.

As for snacks, sometimes I will have vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumber), or some cheese with crackers. I really love having fruit in the fridge, it makes it easy to grab something fast when a big wave of hunger comes. I usually have nectarines, pears, bananas and oranges.

At the end of the day, I usually indulge in some dark chocolate (if I can find some without traces of nuts) or a treat I have made, such as this or this. This way I don’t feel deprived of anything, I get my sweet fix and our sweet babe gets enough vitamins and protein throughout the day.

On a side note, Special K has been a life safer. I know it doesn’t taste the best, but I have had so many friends complain of constipation throughout their pregnancies. I have to say there were 2 days where I wasn’t feeling too hot, started eating a handful of Special K each morning with my Greek yogurt and have been regular ever since. If you are having any issues, I swear by Special K, just the regular bland kind. It will be your lifesaver -I promise!

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Pregnancy Acupuncture-Part 1

Pregnancy Acupuncture

I have been waiting to try pregnancy acupuncture for a while now, well, since I was about 24 weeks and heard about the benefits. There are a lot of different kinds of acupuncture you can get while pregnant (to help with aching backs, headaches, any pain you may have, there’s acupuncture to help with) but I am not talking about that kind of acupuncture. I am talking about labor inducing acupuncture. Essentially what it does is prepares your cervix and helps you dilate, it brings on contractions and kind of gets the ball rolling. Please don’t be alarmed, you do not go into labor until your body and baby are ready for it -I am not trying to kick the little boy out! Another advantage it has is it has been proven that it can shorten active labor (the hard pushing part that we’re all looking forward to) by 2 hours! Uhm, YES PLEASE! Anything that makes the process easier on my body and little love is an absolute yes in my books!

Pregnancy Acupuncture
Do you see the excitement in my face! haha

In Germany (where we currently live) you are not allowed to start labor inducing acupuncture until you are full term (37 weeks). You can have it every week until the baby is born.

I started my first round yesterday evening and want to share my experience as I know on most mommy-to-be forums there are so many questions being asked and not many answers. I will post updates every week, 24 hours after having it done, as that is when you are most likely to notice any affects from it.

First, I have NEVER had acupuncture, not for headaches, muscle pain or anything, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I was EXTREMELY excited!! I want to meet this little boy more than anything -but want him to be healthy of course, so I trusted that acupuncture could perhaps speed up the process while he is still healthy and ready to join us.

So she asked all of us (about 10 women) what kind of issues we we’re having. Most complained of the usual back pain, headaches, a few also commented that the had high blood pressure or were well past their due date. Those who suffered from aches and pains weren’t quite 37 weeks yet so they were only given some needles to help with their issues, not to induce. Those of us who were ready to get induced (or ever beyond) had needles put in our toes, ankles and lower calves (these are the points to induce or cause your uterus to contract).

A few of the points in my toes felt a little pinched but others, I couldn’t even feel. Overall, after she put them in my feet and calves, I couldn’t feel them at all.

I also mentioned that I had a lot of swelling in my hands and she offered to put some in my hands and wrists to help reduce swelling, however, she did warn me that this would come at the expense of several trips to the washroom through the night (what else is new with pregnancy?!) I gladly took the chance, hoping that I would be able to wear my wedding ring in the near future.

I have to say, the ones in my hands and wrist were quite annoying, in my wrists especially. The needles seemed to cause a pulsing effect in my hands and it was very uncomfortable. After about 10 minutes, my hands had gotten a little puffier, I was a little skeptical.

Overall, the feeling after she put them in was a sense of calmness. It was relaxing and I seemed to feel at ease (forgetting the pulsing hands). I also felt the baby move quite a bit and my uterus get very tight, something was definitely happening.

They were left in for about 35 minutes. Once she took them out, I noticed my hands had DOUBLED in size! I could barely move them or use them. My wrist were also so tight and uncomfortable, I was a little apprehensive. She told me that they would stay like that for the next few hours and then it would go down.

So, about one hour after the process we were back home, and I could barely walk. The pressure in my lower abdomen was so hard that I could barely move my legs. I have felt pressure throughout the pregnancy but this was intense! I had never had it so strong. So I relaxed and let the process happen. My hands went down to their normal ‘swollen’ size after about 3 hours, and I didn’t notice any extra washroom trips until about 7 hours after the acupuncture. I went to the washroom about 8 times in 5 hours throughout the night -which is a few more than normal. I also felt the baby get really active and my contractions pick up for an hour or two, nothing too drastic though. But the pressure in my lower abdomen was REALLY different.

Exactly 24 hours later, my hands don’t look any smaller, just their normal puffiness from pregnancy and my contractions have not increased since last night, in fact they have nearly stopped. My pelvic area is still quite tender but not nearly as uncomfortable as last night. I have notice the baby is a lot more active today, but that could be coincidence. Overall, it hasn’t induced me right yet, but I do feel that something is happening. I don’t know if I will try the hand pressure points again as I felt it didn’t do too much, but the rest, was great!

I will let you know how next week goes and if I notice another symptoms in the next 24 hours (6-48 hours is when you notice the symptoms).

And of course, this may not be for everyone. I am a new mom and am trying out different things to see how my body reacts. Please talk to your doctor or midwife before you do anything and make sure it is best for you -this is just my experience and both my doctor and midwife told me to try it.

Have you tried acupuncture during pregnancy? What was your experience like!?

Thanks for reading!