Over the past nine months, there have been a few staple items that just helped pregnancy go a bit smoother. I fully believe that healthy pregnancy is a normal season of life- not an illness that needs medicating. However, it is a time of rapid changes for both Mama & Baby, so some special adjustments and supplements can be helpful in promoting continued health, as well as daily comfort. Here are some of my favorites:
Perfect for soaking your achy feet in a basin of water (plus some essential oils, if desired) or a full tub bath. They contain magnesium, which can be helpful in calming early/Braxton-Hicks contractions, as well as comforting swollen feet. Epsom Salts are widely available at pharmacies, grocery stores, and dollar stores, and an especially inexpensive remedy. (I’ve seen cartons of them for about 88 cents!)
They’re full of both protein and fiber, which can help with the early weeks of morning sickness or a tendency to low blood sugar during the last trimester and postpartum nursing stages.
Staying hydrated during pregnancy (and labor) and breastfeeding can be challenging! I’ve found that I drink more water, when I can pick up a cup one-handed and take sips throughout the day (rather than having to use both hands to twist/pop up a lid on a water bottle). This is especially helpful if I’m in the car driving to my many midwifery appointments out of town, juggling children in church, or nursing a baby.
As a mama (and Sunday School teacher) of small children, I am regularly exposed to the latest circulating cold/flu bugs. My midwife recommended the following (which seem to have really helped me, in addition to my regular vitamins & cod liver oil):
- Emergen-C packets (mixed into my drinking water)
- Echinacea Tincture (drops added to my drinking water)
As that belly grows, it’s nice to have a balm or massage oil to soothe that itchy feeling, as well as massages for general muscle aches. I love my homemade balm “bars,” applying 1-3 times per day, as well as massages with some Apricot Kernel Oil (sometimes with essential oils added).
Nursing Bras & Extenders
I love the Bravado Nursing Bras’ ability to accommodate the entirety of my pregnancy and nursing seasons (and their longevity- I’ve had the same few in constant use since 2008!). They are made to allow for the rapid change in sizes, as well as a wide band for a good fit over the growing belly, and with a basic bra extender, have fit my own varying sizes. When lactation-preparation begins near the end of pregnancy, as well as during breastfeeding, the fit does not compress milk ducts (helping to avoid clogged ducts/mastitis). (I’ve often said that the bra extender is the best $5 I’ve spent during pregnancy; you don’t have to splurge on a whole new bra, just for an extra couple inches that will disappear in a few weeks/months.)
During the second & third trimesters of pregnancy, I drink a few cups per day of a nourishing herbal tea. (You can find a pregnancy tea recipe in Herbal Nurturing, or choose a prepared option, such as Traditional Medicinals.) During the final few weeks, I add in some more Red Raspberry Leaf , too, in preparation for labor (and my midwife offers me a cup of this when we’re chatting at my appointments, too).
I just have a basic body pillow from the department store, but there seems to be a selection of “pregnancy pillows” available these days. A body pillow helps provide support during sleep as Mama’s body changes over the months of pregnancy, as well as helping assist with proper positioning (such as recommended by Spinning Babies). My chiropractor recommends the use of a supportive pillow (along with regular adjustments).
Yes, sometimes life just goes a little smoother when Mama has a bit of chocolate. My favorite is the gluten-free, soy-free, vegan dark chocolate from Alter-Eco (which I occasionally find in clearance bins in natural food stores). A tiny bit, chopped up and sprinkled into a trail mix of almonds, seeds, & dried fruit makes a delicious snack, during pregnancy and postpartum (which you can eat one-handed, without spilling!).
I’ll be sharing more of my favorite labor/birthing items soon!