Labor Prep

I cannot believe how fast my due date is approaching! I know I talk a lot about pregnancy on here and I hope that you guys enjoy it as much as I do because I just know, once he’s here, I am going to miss being pregnant so much!

So with my due date fast approaching I wanted to get my body as prepared as I could for the big day. I started these routines at the beginning of my third trimester as most doctors recommend. I’m sure not all of the things I do actually help, but it is my first pregnancy so I figure, why not give everything a try and see from there what helps/doesn’t. Also, this post may go into too much info for some of you, I try to keep it real.

So I have kept up with yoga and my work out routine as much as I could, I am also doing deep squats numerous times a day in order to help him get closer to the finish line. I have heard of jogging, to help as well, but to be honest, this kind of scares me, I don’t want him thrashing around in there -anyone else with my on this? The squats are also to help maintain muscle in my legs for the big day as I plan on birthing in the squatting position -TMI? Sorry! and the yoga is also wonderful for my breathing techniques.

This one may be too much info for you, but, I also started perineum massaging. I figure, why not give it a try for my first birth, as they say that it doesn’t do much for consecutive births. I have to say, this is pretty uncomfortable, the first few weeks were great, I was able to reach my arms around my belly, but now, at 40 weeks, it is tight! I use organic coconut oil and take about 20 minutes, not applying the pressure for a constant 20 minutes but do 5 and off for a minute and 5 again. The first times I did it, there was a lot of tension, however, I have to say, it has gotten easier with time. I know a few women who have asked their partners to do it for them, that’s not for me, I want my husband to still look at some parts of me without thinking of it as a job -haha.

SHAVE/WAXING! This one is big for me, call me vein, but I don’t want to end up in labor and be self conscious of what is going on down there. So I make sure once a week that my legs, lady parts etc are decent enough, and I say enough, well, as you can imagine at 40 weeks pregnant, I’m not all too limber.

Sunless tanner, the same deal as waxing, I want to make sure that I feel good to have pictures taken, and am fully aware that I will most likely go into labor in the middle of the night without makeup on, therefore, I want to feel good and not have such white pasty skin. So I use organic sunless tanner and it makes me feel so much better!

I am of course, doing acupuncture, you can follow up on that here, here and here and I am also drinking Raspberry leaf tea, found here. I am not doing it merely to get him to come out, I am all for waiting until he’s ready, I am doing it for the benefits during labor. Acupuncture can reduce active labor by 2-3 hours and raspberry leaf tea helps the uterus contract ‘practicing’ the muscles needed for labor.

Aside from those, I am also preparing for life after birth by drinking breastfeeding tea. My midwife advised drinking it to help my milk come in, and has it ever! I will be ready for him when he’s here! I have also gotten a postpartum corset to help with my ab and back muscles and help me get back to the shape I was in before.

Other than that, I know my body will know what to do when the time comes, so I let it runs it’s course.

What have you done in preparation for labor? Anything I am missing out on?

Thanks for reading!! xo

 

 

 

 

 

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Fitness during pregnancy

Before I got pregnant, I was on a mission to drop weight for our wedding. I worked out every day and was able to loose a significant amount of weight for the big day. Over our weddings and honeymoon, I didn’t work out (my husband actually went to the gym at the hotel everyday, including our wedding days) and I allowed myself to eat what ever I wanted in moderation -I didn’t want to look back on our wedding time in a negative perspective because I was hangry hah.

My intentions were that after the honeymoon, I would go back to eating clean and working out nearly everyday (intensely). However, as you saw from this post, we found out we were pregnant right after our honeymoon. Between morning sickness and fatigue the first few months, I was in no shape to eat clean, or go to the gym. I ate mostly bread and apple juice the first 2 months because it was all I could keep down.

Once I started feeling better (around the 2nd month) I tried to go to the gym with a revised workout plan (I was doing intense HIIT before I got pregnant) but found most days I was extremely exhausted by the end of the day and didn’t feel like going, or I was getting light headed while working out. I knew that my body would need energy to get through the next 9 months and birth, so I decided to drop the gym and doing other activities to maintain my energy, strength and avoid the usual aches and pains. I know there are women out there in their 9th month lifting heavy weights and that’s great for them! I believe everyone has to listen to their body and do what is best for them. The gym just wasn’t for me during my pregnancy and I am fine with that. Again, every one is different, so just because this has worked out for me, please consult with your doctor before starting any new excersice during pregnancy.

I tried to find other solutions which would keep me active but were easy on the body, which is when I found prenatal yoga. I found it so calming and great for my hips and joints. It relaxed me and has helped me keep the strength in my legs -which I will need for the labour. I do yoga 2-3 times a week (30 minutes each time).

Other than that I make sure to walk for at least 30 minutes on days where I don’t do yoga, whether it is around town, shopping or a night stroll with my husband, I make a conscious effort to get a walk in 4-5 times a week. If I know that one day we will be doing a lot of walking, I will skip a day to make sure that I don’t over do myself (I am in my 9th month and some days I also just don’t have the energy.)

Overall, I notice that walking and yoga has eliminated any hip pain I felt coming on as well as any swelling in my ankles/ legs.

While we all know that exercise is important during pregnancy, I also know that a lot of women have complications and can’t do any exercise (don’t beat yourself up if you are one of them). What I really despise, are the women who try to put other women down for not working out. It is a journey your body is on and you have to really listen to your body and do what is best for both you and baby. Heck, even if you don’t have the energy, listen to your body and relax. In the end, it isn’t worth stressing your body and essentially your baby about.

Raspberry leaf tea

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I’ve recently started drinking raspberry leaf tea and let me tell you, it is delicious!

A woman from my prenatal group told me about it so I got to searching (and asking my doctor about it) and started drinking it almost immediately.

Here’s why a few reasons why (for those of you not pregnant):

  • It helps with fertility, if you’re interested in that kind of stuff.
  • It treats diarrhea, no one has time for that.
  • It regulates irregular menstrual cycle and decreases heavy periods.
  • It relieves sore throats.
  • It can reduce fever.
  • It is packed with iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium, vitamins B1, B3 and E. So, it also contains nearly everything us women need.
  • It can be used as a paste for rashes, sunburns and eczema.

If that wasn’t enough, here are a few more reasons why (for those of you who are pregnant):

  • It promotes breast milk, I’m sure we’re all interested in having a heavy supply.
  • It stops excess bleeding after birth, yes please!
  • It eases the symptoms of morning sickness, wish I would have taken it in the beginning.
  • It soothes and prevents bleeding gums which many pregnant women often experience.
  • Relaxes muscles of the uterus when it is contracting.
  • Assists with the birth of the baby and the placenta.
  • Can calm cramping of the uterus.

While it hasn’t been proven, it is thought that raspberry leaf tea also shortens the duration of labor. It has been assumed that is relaxes the uterus causing contractions during labor to become more coordinated and efficient (yes please!) It has also been assumed that women who drink it (or take it in pill form) have had pregnancies without the help of interventions (c-section, forceps, etc. )

Some doctors advise only taking it after the 32 week of pregnancy (as it may induce labor) while others suggest that you can take it all throughout pregnancy. Please consult your doctor or midwife before taking it.

I have been drinking a cup of it daily for a week now (I regret not getting it sooner) and have noticed my contractions increase (although that may just be the stage of my pregnancy, 38 weeks) and the bleeding of my gums has stopped.

I am looking forward to seeing if it helps with my delivery at all.

Have you ladies tried it? Any experience with it?

Thanks for reading! xo

Acupuncture -Part II

24 hours ago I had my second round of acupuncture to induce labor (you can find my first experience here).

Obviously, my first round didn’t induce me, quite yet, and I will have it done once a week until he comes.

So, for the second round:

I ended up having a horrible headache all day leading up to my appointment, I really dislike taking medication (especially when pregnant, even though some medication is okay) so I figured perhaps some needles could help.

She put a few extra needles into my legs, 9 in each leg in total, as I am nearing my due date, I can have a few extra pressure points to activate labor. Almost immediately after putting them in my ankles and legs I got a contraction, it was quite a strong one at that.

I was still quite swollen in my hands so we tried them in my hands, once again. They weren’t as painful in my hands as they were last time, I figured my body is just getting used to it. My hands didn’t swell up like last time, however, it wasn’t an instant cure either, they remained the same while the needles were in (unfortunately).

I also mentioned my headache and she put 3 in my head which almost instantly helped my headache.

I had a few more contractions sitting while I was there (30 minutes in total) but nothing regular or, at least, what I assume labor contractions feel like. When I got home I did my usual night routine and went to sleep. This time, I really did go to the washroom a MILLION times throughout the night. While my hands don’t look nearly what they did before I got pregnant, I do notice a decrease in the swelling, hopefully it continues to go down after 48 hours. I also had some more consistent contractions throughout the night, again, nothing regular or increasing in strength, but I do think it is doing something. What I do like is I feel that it is preparing my body, while not pushing the baby out. I believe that my body and baby will know when the time is right (and I am all for that) but a little help never hurt a flee!

I had my weekly check up today at the doctor and there is still some time to go he believes.. but that can all change in a matter of minutes, so we will see.

On a side note, there was a woman there who was 37 weeks, had the usual needles inserted (that we all have) and after about 10 minutes, said she was feeling extremely ill, had the needles taken out and laid down on the floor, so if you are curious about acupuncture during labor, please speak with a professional, this is just my experience.

Anyone have any tips/ideas what worked for you to reduce swelling at the end of pregnancy? I am getting desperate!

Casual Pregnancy Pictures

I really love capturing a moment. I love candid shots as well as shots which have been staged, what I don’t love, are the endless photos of me while pregnant that are, well, needless to say, unflattering. Am I alone on this one?

Some days I don’t even feel like putting on makeup and other days I feel like the most gorgeous glowing woman in the world (mostly thanks to my wonderful husband). But I wanted some casual pictures of us to capture our special time together, the time right before our first born is here.

I didn’t want to make a fuss about it, you know, plan a date, get all dolled up (even if I didn’t feel like it that day) and pose awkwardly in front of someone we don’t know. So instead we opted to do our own pictures (thank you self timer) to get a few pictures. I am really happy with how they turned out, mostly because, I am extremely comfortable in something that I wear almost all the time, I had a good night sleep the night before and woke up well rested, which allowed me to spontaneously decide to take some pictures, and because it is my husband and I, in our apartment, enjoying our time together (yes, we have beautiful white walls and HUGE windows which gives us the perfect lighting).

So here are a few of my favorites of our little family.

Thanks for reading!

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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!

What you don’t expect when you’re expecting

expectingAh, pregnancy, the most wonderful time of a woman’s life. I have truly had a wonderful pregnancy. I haven’t had any health issues, no aches or pains. It has honestly been one of the most wonderful times of my life.

But wait a second, it can’t be that easy can it? -of course not, keeping in mind peoples rude comments and awkwardness, it creates a whole other atmosphere for pregnant ladies. I am utterly shocked at people and their lack of sensitivity, or just plain common sense when it comes to pregnancy, women and general comments at what is supposed to be, such a wonderful time.

So let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

It all starts the moment you announce you’re pregnant.  Most people mind their own business and don’t even think to ask this but the most awful thing someone could ask (and guaranteed someone is going to ask) at such a beautiful moment -”was it a mistake?”

*Pure silence*

Does it matter? Does it make this moment any less special? but most importantly, is it anyone’s business whether you are having sex for fun or for a purpose? I was only asked this once (I am assuming not more because we were married) but I have heard that women get asked this all the time -appalling!

Then comes weight gain, no matter what stage your in in your pregnancy, people (strangers and friends, women and men) will ask about how much weight you have gained. When did it ever become okay to ask a woman about her weight, let alone at a time where hormones are running high and we are trying to embrace our ever changing bodies. I have been asked this question by nearly every friend and family member -yes, even women who have been pregnant and know the awful feeling of being asked! They don’t even try to ask it casually, it comes on the first seconds within conversation or after seeing a picture of me, I was always caught off guard and would assume that they would give in to my awkward silence and allow me not to answer, but now I have grown to expect it and say something nearly as rediculous as their question in response. Usually my response goes along the line of ”a baby, I have gained a baby” but then you get the pusher, who won’t give up, laughs casually and then ”no really, how much have you gained” to which my response is ”NOTHING.” The look of shock comes over them and at that point they have clearly gotten the point that I will not be answering their question.

I have often asked myself, why do people keep asking me -do I look huge or something?

My husband notably pointed out that they are all just trying to judge and he is absolutely right! Whether the amount on the scale is too much or too little to them, they will judge what you are going to say. Not that they considered what your weight was before pregnancy, whether your were below your BMI or above (obviously makes a difference on what is considered ‘healthy weight gain’) nor do they consider that the placenta, amniotic fluid, 50% more blood volume, baby, breast tissue, etc. are all included in this weight ‘gain’ but somehow, regardless of how healthy your weight gain is, they will either judge you because it isn’t enough or it is too much -according to their standards.

I once  gave into this trap and told a group of guests (whose first question when they got into my house was ”how much have you gained?”) and their response was ”oh a friend of mine is in her 7th month and has only gained 14 pounds.” -Bravo! Great! Good for your friend! I honestly wanted to start the slow clap with a dumbfounded expression on my face but my husband jumped in and saved the day, not that he should have to, but because he knows how I feel towards this question and could probably see the rage overcoming me. That was the first and last time I have told someone, other than my husband (who is always encouraging me not to let it get to me) or my doctor how much I have gained.

This one may not be something that everyone gets, but I even had someone try to give me (what they thought) a ‘cute’ nickname during my pregnancy. Brace yourself, this one is a dousy, they called me thick bumble bee, as if it were ‘cute’. Needless to say it did not last long but who. on. earth. I was just speechless.

One of the biggest things that gets me is people trying to tell my husband and I what we should or shouldn’t do to prepare for our child. I figure, if I want their opinion, we ask them, if we don’t ask, I do not want to hear that you think I bought too many baby clothes. Why is it that all of a sudden when you become a parent people feel the need to have to tell you what to do all the time -they are aware that there is the internet where you can research things, right?

I am also not a fan of the moms who judge, everyone is struggling with something and just trying to make the best of it, so why not let them do them. We don’t need to be telling other moms or moms to be that they should be doing this or that to help their baby. I am positive that they have read up about it and have decided for or against it based on their opinion, so let it be. I had a new mom bombard me for weeks with articles on why working out during pregnancy is the best thing for you -and while I am sure it did wonders for her, it was THE LAST thing I was thinking about while I laid on my bathroom floor with all day sickness in the first months.

In the end, people seem to have lost their filters. I feel that somewhere, perhaps through social media, they don’t pick up on conversational etiquette, what should or shouldn’t be said. What I have found extremely helpful is venting to my husband. He is the sweetest most caring man, and I don’t think I could be half as calm and not hot tempered if it weren’t for him. Plus he is constantly telling me how great I look (all husbands should) so it makes up for the idiotic comments and questions. The most important thing for us to remember is that this is a beautiful time in our lives, do not let any one ruin it for you, enjoy it and do what is best for you!

Am I alone in these thoughts? Do you have anything to add to my rant?

Looking forward to reading all about it in the comments!

 

Prenatal Vitamins

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This may not be a post that everyone is dying to read, but if you’re anything like me (pregnant for the first time and unsure of a lot) this may be just up your alley!

First off, I have been taking some prenatal vitamins for a while in anticipation that we would get pregnant. It wasn’t a real prenatal vitamin, but a folic acid supplement with a few extra vitamins in it (the actual one is listed below).

Additional to the prenatal vitamins, I have been taking gelatin capsules for about a year now and they have proven to do wonders. In short, gelatin helps your joints (good if you are at the gym often) plus they aid in hair growth, nail growth and are also known to help you loose weight (which I was doing the year leading up to our wedding, more on that in another post). I will get around to doing a full post on gelatin capsules but for now, trust me, they’re gold!

Once I found out I was pregnant, I looked into what both my body and baby needed. I switched to Femibion for my folic acid and general things that the baby and my body need. I also started taking iron supplements because I do not eat red meat and knew that it would be an uphill battle if I didn’t get a head start. I also incorporated biotin, zinc, and magnesium into my daily intake.

Here’s why:
First, I chose Femibion (1 and 2 for both stages) because it has  the recommended dose of folic acid, B-vitamins, vitamin A, C, D and E, some Biotin, some Nacin, some Pantothenic acid, some Beta-carotene, some Magnesium, some Iron, some Zinc, some Iodine, and some Copper. Additional to all that the little pink pill packs, there is an extra extra capsule with polyunsaturated fatty acid DHA and vitamin E. This particular prenatal vitamin is also recommended while breast feeding which I really like.

Here’s what some of those vitamins do:
Vitamin B1 – is necessary for the carbo-hydrate metabolism and energy supply. Vitamin B2 – for the entire energy metabolism. Vitamin B6 – for the protein metabolism. Vitamin B12 – for blood formation and a healthy nervous system. Vitamin E – protects the body cells against so-called free radicals.

So I know that Femibion has some iron, biotin, zinc and magnesium in it but there wasn’t enough to keep this train going, so I added more (be sure to consult your doctor before adding any additional supplements, this is just what works for me).

So iron, because, obviously my body had 50% more blood capacity, and without eating red meat I wouldn’t have been able to have enough iron.

Zinc I added because I was getting really bad headaches at the beginning of my second trimester and honestly, haven’t had a single headache since incorporating a small little zinc tablet. Zinc is also necessary for the production, repair, and functioning of DNA. So getting enough zinc is particularly important for the rapid cell growth that occurs during pregnancy. This essential mineral also helps support your immune system, maintain your sense of taste and smell, and heal wounds. So I would say it’s quite important.

Magnesium, well, I had started getting some uncomfortable pains in my lower abdomen around 15 weeks and my doctor suggested magnesium, since then, I have not had a single ache or pain -anywhere! Magnesium also helps build strong bones and teeth, not just for the baby, but ensures that the baby isn’t taking it all from you, regulates insulin and blood sugar levels, and helps certain enzymes function. It also helps control cholesterol and irregular heartbeats and is helpful in reducing muscle cramps.The main thing it does is rebuilt your bodies tissue.

So, I’m sure to most people this seems like A LOT of pills to take, but I have honestly not had any cramps, pains, aches or issues during my pregnancy. I am now 33 weeks and sleep throughout the night, and can do moderate exercise and am able to really enjoy all that pregnancy offers. I have heard horror stories (haven’t we all) about women throughout pregnancy and I can happily say, my pregnancy has been a breeze and although I think my body and genetics play a big role in that, a healthy lifestyle and making sure my body has all it needs definitely has helped!

What are you mama-to-be’s taking to make sure your bodies are running well? Am I missing out on anything!?

Here are the links to what I am taking exactly: