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5 Ways to Thrive in the First Trimester

5 Ways to Thrive in the First Trimester

So, you’re pregnant?!  Congratulations!!  This will be one of the most, if not THE most transformational experiences of your life.

Being a little pregnant is a BIG deal because your life, as you know it, is turned upside down overnight…in the most amazing way possible.  You will not experience such a powerful shift in your life until you are holding your precious baby in your arms several months from now.  This baby has chosen you to be its mother, a most awesome responsibility, and it requires a level of work, dedication, and perseverance that you have not experienced yet. 

A level of intensity that only a mother can manage.

And you, my dear, are already a mother so let’s dive into 5 ways you can support yourself through this transition!

  1. You are already a mother.  Contrary to popular belief, the role of mother does not begin after the birth of your baby.  In fact, it doesn’t even begin after conception.  It begins when your soul calls for your baby, yearns for the unconditional love and connection that only a baby can provide.  The call may be conscious or unconscious, however, your baby heard the call and has made its appearance as a tiny embryo in your womb.  This mental shift of wearing the title of mother is important because it will support you in all of the important decisions you have to make for the rest of the pregnancy.  Learning how to tap into your maternal intuition and staying true to its guidance is paramount as you begin to face new choices each and every day. These choices range from what you decide to eat for dinner all the way to who will deliver your baby and provide prenatal care that is in alignment with your personal philosophy.
  2. Finding the Right Provider: Speaking of baby delivering, did you know that you can actually interview different birth providers?  Some women, after finding they are pregnant, continue to see their ob/gyn who has provided annual exams and other gynecological care over the years.  Providing gynecological care is actually quite different than pregnancy care, therefore, taking the time to research other birth providers, including midwives, along with the facility where you would like to give birth is worth it.  Find out the C-section rate for these providers as well as the hospitals or birthing centers where they work.  Check out their reviews from other women who have used their services.  Talk to local girlfriends about whether they loved their birth provider for references.  This is important to determine who is the best fit to support your pregnancy journey from a medical perspective along with actually helping your baby transition into the world on its birth day.
  3. Building Your Birth Team: Once you’ve found a provider, it’s time to assemble your birth team!  Although your birth provider is foundational to the birth team and needs to be selected first, get suggestions for birth doulas, prenatal massage therapists, prenatal yoga instructors/fitness trainers, hypnobirthing specialists, maternity chiropractors, acupuncturists, and lactation consultants.  Although you will not need to work with all of these providers right now, you can start creating a list of contacts to follow up with, especially going into your second trimester (and I’ll have a guide for you when you get there, sign-up for my newsletter to get on the list!). 
  4. How is Your Current Lifestyle Supporting Your Pregnancy?  Start a diet diary to track exactly what you are putting in your mouth throughout the day and after a week, evaluate where you can make improvements.  In your diary, take note of how often you are moving your body as well.  If you work at a computer all day, see if you can get a standing desk to allow you to encourage leg strength and open hips which definitely come in handy during birth.  Work with a fitness professional trained in maternity strength training to stay physically strong throughout your pregnancy.  Consulting with a nutritionist can help you make the best choices regarding your diet which literally is what is creating your unborn baby.  Minimizing or eliminating processed foods, especially sugar, gluten, and dairy, helps decrease systemic inflammation within your body along with learning what foods you may have an intolerance (track any symptoms you feel on your diet diary to help identify allergic/intolerant foods).  Baby’s brain needs a lot of good fats for its development so don’t shy away from avocados, flaxseed oil, cold-water fish like salmon (about once a week due to mercury/PCBs), and coconut oil.  Quality protein food like pastured eggs, grass-fed meat, and bone broth also help with your immune system strength along with energy.  Eating a plate full of color ensures that you are getting a diversity of phytonutrients from vegetables.  Lastly, enjoy fruit in moderation and to aid in digestion, eat 30 minutes before a meal or two hours after eating.
  5. Pregnancy Product Clean Out! Let’s take a look at your personal skin care products, specifically what ingredients are used to make them.  As our skin is the largest organ in our body, everything we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream and even crosses the umbilical cord to the baby.  Therefore, being a conscious consumer of products to clean your home and body, makes a big difference in decreasing the chemical load within your body (and therefore, decreasing baby’s exposure to possibly toxic ingredients).  A helpful resource in sorting through the thousands of products on the market and helping to distinguish what is actually safe (despite their best marketing angle) is the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) along with their useful app called SkinDeep that allows you to scan all of the products at the store (or even under your sink) to distinguish what is worthy of your application or deserves to be trashed. 

These five tips are meant to help you get started on your journey. For more tips, advice and to connect with moms just like you? Follow me on Instagram! And don’t forget to sign-up for my newsletter to stay connected through this incredible, beautiful journey.

5 Ways to Thrive in the Second Trimester

5 Ways to Thrive in the Second Trimester

Can you believe that you have passed the first trimester?!  Women tend to feel physically and mentally better after the first twelve weeks of pregnancy because the risk of miscarriage drops dramatically and any possible morning sickness symptoms typically resolve. 

Around twelve to fourteen weeks, you may notice a tiny bump developing.  Not large enough for anyone else to notice, however, your skinny jeans may no longer want to zip up and fitted waistbands, in general, are no longer tolerable.  Baby is making its presence known and will remind you on the regular that it does not like to feel compressed.

So, let’s dive in to how to feel and look your best between weeks 13-27 of your pregnancy!

  1. Time to go shopping!  Yes, that’s right.  Shopping for some pregnancy wardrobe essentials begins now and there are a few basic pieces worth investing in that will get you through the rest of your pregnancy and into the beginning of your postpartum period as well.  Wireless nursing bras are life-changing, even though breastfeeding is still several months away, because underwires will feel quite uncomfortable for sensitive breasts and as you may have noticed, the girls have typically grown a cup size in the past few weeks so a larger bra is a must.  Belly bands will also provide mid-section coverage and allow you to keep the top button on your pants open during this awkward body transformation where maternity pants are too big and yet your pre-pregnancy pants are not working either.  High-quality maternity leggings will feel great on your growing bump and go the distance over the next several months as that bump get bigger and bigger and bigger…
  2. Start connecting with other expectant moms.  Find a local Facebook group or possibly even a live meet-up where you can safely share any concerns or challenges that present themselves.  It is also great to create these new relationships now as these women are going through a very similar and unique experience as you and it helps to not feel alone… or weird.  These connections will also help you continue to grow your birth team so that you can feel fully supported as an expectant mom with lots of questions.
  3. Revisit your lifestyle shifts from your first trimester You have already cut out of the booze and cut back on the sushi (or even possibly eliminated it), however, your baby’s nutritional needs are growing as they are literally growing inside the womb.  You may notice you need to increase your caloric intake as well as the frequency of eating.  Always have healthy snacks, like trail mix or hummus and veggies, to munch on so that you keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel.  Quality protein and healthy fats, like avocados, will keep your energy high and your mood pleasant.  This is also setting you up for success when it becomes time to take the glucose test around week 28.  Keeping on track with your physical activity and getting regular chiropractic adjustments will help you physically feel your best.  
  4. Time to lock down on the birth provider.  You have spent the past few weeks interviewing and researching who you want to deliver your baby as well as the location.  After consulting with your partner and possibly another trusted confidant, decide who feels like the best fit.  It really is a big deal regarding who has the honor to be present at your baby’s birth so the decision is worthy of conscious thought.  Settling on who your doula will be is also important now as many birth doulas start to book up quickly and may not be available for your due date if you begin looking too late in the pregnancy.  
  5. Because your baby’s daddy has his own feelings and thoughts regarding the upcoming birth, taking the time to learn what is important to him matters.  The second trimester of the pregnancy is a wonderful time to deepen your connection with your partner as your ability to work together as a team will certainly be put to the test over the next several months.  Learning how to improve communication and make your partner feel loved and valued will help minimize the inevitable stress on your intimate relationship.  One highly recommended book on learning how to respectfully disagree with your partner and have healthy arguments that allow for growth and healing for both is “And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives” by Drs. John and Julie Gottman.  Please don’t wait until after giving birth to start reading this book.

In summary, enjoy this magical period of being in the middle of your pregnancy.  The pregnancy itself can go by quite quickly so take a moment to really cherish this precious time in your life and continue connecting with baby on the regular.  Before you know it, your belly will be huge and quite naturally, your energy levels will decrease as your body conserves its energy for the upcoming birth.  Listen well to your body’s current needs for health and wellness and follow the innate wisdom that exists within you (along with the messages that your baby is already sharing with you).