Relieving pregnancy ailments naturally

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I’m a planner by nature so before we started trying to have a baby, I read a book called Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception. It really made me want to focus on doing things as naturally as possible, especially during pregnancy while my baby is developing. But also in the days while we were trying to conceive because I could become pregnant before I make these changes in my lifestyle.

When you go to your first prenatal appointment, your doctor or midwife will probably give you a list of medicines that are approved for pregnancy. That is a helpful list. I would encourage you to think about why you are having symptoms before you take anything because there might be a more natural thing you can do to relieve your symptoms. By all means, if the natural approach doesn’t work, try something on the approved list. It is better for your baby for you to be okay, than to suffer just to be natural.

Headaches
Sometimes headaches are caused by hormones. But sometimes it is something you can control like dehydration, low blood sugar, or fatigue. Drink a glass of water. Have a snack like fruit, nuts, or yogurt. Take a nap.

Back pain
As your belly grows, your back may be sore due to the extra weight. I greatly benefited from visiting a chiropractor. This kept my spine in alignment during my pregnancy. In the beginning of your pregnancy, you can also stretch by laying on your back and pulling your knees to your chest. After the first trimester, this is not recommended. The stretches I mention in the hip pain section also helped my lower back to feel better.

Hip pain
Your hips and joints get looser during pregnancy. I am a side sleeper. I found that sleeping with a pillow between my legs helped my hips to stay in alignment and alleviated a lot of the pain. Another thing you can do is to stretch in the morning. Sit in a butterfly position a few times for 15 seconds each. You can also sit with your legs in front of you and reach for your toes. Sitting with your legs shoulder width apart or wider and reaching for your toes can be helpful too.

Nausea
Some women are sick all day. I found that if I ate small meals every hour and half to two hours, I wasn’t feeling sick. It doesn’t have be a big meal, more like a snack. I would have a scrambled egg when I woke up. An hour or so later, I would have some fruit. Later I would eat some gluten free pretzels or yogurt. Protein was very helpful for me.

Allergies or sinus issues
The list from my doctor said that I could have sudafed or benadryl. If I was getting a sinus headache, I would try a sinus rinse first. Often times, I would use the Neti Pot and my congestion and headache would leave. Sometimes I waited too long and then I would need to take a sudafed.

Not being able to sleep at night
I tried to stop drinking water an hour or two before bed so I would not have to use the restroom as much at night. I also realized that if I was more active during the day, like taking the dog on a 20 minute walk, I would sleep better as well. Also make sure that you are comfortable temperature wise. You may need to adjust the thermostat or your pajamas while you are pregnant.

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What to register for

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Hopefully someone you know will throw you a baby shower.  If not,  I don’t see the harm in throwing your own.

I have several posts about what you need for baby at specific ages.  You can ask for it all or focus on what you will need in the beginning.
I know that baby stuff is cute and you would love to go on a major shopping spree for new stuff.  If you are blessed financially,  then by all means,  go for it.  But for most of us,  buying used or borrowing from a friend is helpful.

I would find a friend who has a child of the same gender.  Ask if you can borrow their clothes.  Babies grow quickly and rarely wear out their clothes.  That way you can focus your registry on items you really need.

Note : Target and Babies R Us have a great policy in that if you have a registry from their store,  you can return any baby item you receive and get gift card credit.  This works even on items you did not register for.  So when I received massive amounts of cute clothes that I didn’t need,  I brought them back and then bought my car seat.

What do I think you really need for baby?

Nursery
A place to sleep.  Can be a crib or Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper
A comfortable place to breastfeed or bottle feed. I got a  Swivel Glider from a friend.
A place for baby’s clothes.  We bought a dresser at a yard sale.
A place for baby’s laundry.
A place to change baby’s diapers.  Can be a changing table or a changing pad on the dresser or on the floor.
A bookshelf is nice too.
Note : It is nice for things to match,  but that can get expensive.  Just get what you can afford.  You can always paint it to match like I did.

Feeding
You can read about my favorite breastfeeding items
Cloth bibs with snaps or velcro
Bottles
Pacifier. Clarissa would take them randomly at six months and then again at ten months.
Breast pump. Your insurance company should at least help to cover the cost. You can read about the benefits of pumping.
Bowls
Spoons
Sippy cups
Munchkin Two Snack Catchers, Blue and Orange
Mesh Food Feeder
Top 100 Baby Purees
Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair Once Clarissa was about three months, she was frustrated because she wasn’t at the table with us. Once we started putting her in here at mealtime, she was much happier because she could see everything.

Bath time
A place for baby’s bath. We just used the sink until she outgrew it and then moved her to the big tub.
Towels and wash cloths. You can always use yours.
Toys when they about six months
Baby shampoo or body wash. I say or because if you read the ingredients, they are typically the same!
Baby lotion

Travel
Car seat. I went to a baby Expo before Clarissa was born. They said that every car seat on the market has to pass certain standards, so get what you can afford. I will say that we started with Graco Snugride Classic Connect Infant Car Seat, but after a few months, she felt confined and we ended up with Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Car Seat, which she still loves. Also, if you have more than one car, I recommend buying a base for each car. Makes life easier.During winter our Car Seat Cover was extremely helpful in keeping baby warm during car trips.
Stroller
Shopping Cart Cover
Diaper bag
Diapers and wipes. If you are interested, you can read about how and why I use cloth diapers.

Helpful Toys
Portable Swing
Baby Einstein Adventure Gym
Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo
Evenflo Exersaucer Bounce & Learn, Beach Baby
Chewy Teethers
Boppy
Walk ‘n Ride Toy

Links to age specific registry needs:
0-3 months
4-6 months
7-9 months
10-12 months

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Pregnancy books I like

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You can read as much or as little as you like about motherhood. These are the books that I read that I enjoyed.

I liked Expecting: Praying for Your Child’s Development-Body and Soul because it gave me a different prayer focus for each week of my pregnancy.

My insurance company has a program called Future Moms. They sent me Your Pregnancy Week by Week. I read a chapter each week. It was fun to learn about how Clarissa was developing as it was happening. It also helped me to understand what changes my body was experiencing.

Another book that was highly recommended to me was Supernatural Childbirth. I borrowed it from my library (Did you know that most libraries have a program where if they don’t have it in their system, they can borrow from another library in the country? I read a book from Illinois). The books has testimony after testimony of women who had pain free labors and really talks about faith and the power of God. It really built my faith. At the time, my husband had been applying for jobs in South Korea and I was nervous about going there and giving birth. But the book really helped me to believe that God would take care of us and provide family for us wherever we go. I bought the book Prayers And Promises for Supernatural Childbirth and prayed the prayers a lot at the end of my pregnancy. I did not have a pain free labor. It was actually quite difficult, but I do believe that I had a supernatural labor. I firmly believe that if I had been at a different hospital or had a different nurse, I would have had a c-section. Clarissa should have had some issues because I was pushing for three hours and for the last hour my mom and sister kept saying they would see her head and then it would go back in (the cord was wrapped around her neck). But she was completely healthy!

I wanted to read a few parenting books too so that I would be ready to be a mom. Raising Kids for True Greatness: Redefine Success for You and Your Child helped me to understand that my goal should not be to raise a happy, successful child. My job is really to help Clarissa realize the calling that God has on her life and then to help her to live it out. This author also wrote Grace-Based Parenting. The style was a little harder to read, but it was still good. The biggest thing I learned from this book: there are going to be things Clarissa does that I don’t like. That doesn’t always mean that she is sinning. It just means that there are parts of her personality that I don’t prefer (applies to husbands too). Ouch. Really convicted me.

Tim and I tried reading Loving Our Kids On Purpose: Making A Heart-To-Heart Connection together. It read a little clinical for us. But, the basic premise is that your goal should be a relationship with your child and not just getting them to do what you want them to do.

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Choosing a doctor

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When we got pregnant, my husband had been applying for jobs in South Korea. I found out I was being laid off about a week before I knew I was pregnant. We (and some well meaning friends) thought that we would be leaving soon, so I didn’t really put much thought into which doctor I would see.

I had been going to someone I liked for my annual, so I just made an appointment with her. I really like her. The problem is that she is a nurse practitioner, so she doesn’t deliver babies. There are six doctors in the practice who do and so I would just meet with them and whoever was on call the day I went into labor would deliver my baby.

As the weeks went on, Tim still didn’t get a job overseas. By the time I was 26 weeks and needed to take my glucose test, I had met five of the six doctors and only liked two of them. Then I had a really bad experience during my glucose test. I felt like the doctor wasn’t listening and was actually ignoring me. When I talked to the office manager, same thing. I looked at my mom and said, “If we still live here for the next baby, I am going to get another doctor.” She looked at me and said, “You can change now.”

I had not thought of that. So, at 26 weeks, I did what I should have done in the first place. I started researching my options. I emailed my friends who had recently had babies and asked about their doctors. After filling out paperwork to change doctors and trying to find a doctor who would take me this late in my pregnancy, I met my new doctor at 29 weeks.

I don’t say all of that to complain or to scare you. I just want to encourage you, that it’s okay to take your time to find a doctor. Think about what is important to you. Then talk to your friends or look on websites to see which doctor would be a good fit for you. Then, meet them. If you don’t like your doctor, just go to a new one.

Things I would look for in a doctor:

1. Location. Do you want to deliver at home, in a hospital, or  a birth center? Find a doctor or midwife who delivers there.

2. Personality. Do you get along well with this person?

3. Office Staff. The first place I went to, the ladies in the office were really rude. They didn’t answer any of my questions and if I called, made me feel like I was an inconvenience (and I am not at all high maintenance).

4. Schedule. At the end of your pregnancy, you will be seeing the doctor once a week. Do they have office hours that accommodate your schedule? If you are working, taking off every week might not work for you. How does the on-call rotation work? At my new doctor, because of the schedule, every other weekend there was a possibility that my baby would be delivered by a doctor I had never met. Are you okay with that?

The other thing you might want to look into is the place you will be delivering. I liked the new doctors that I chose. The person that ended up delivering my baby was someone I had only met once, who wasn’t in the practice. And for the three days that I was in the hospital, I probably saw her a total of two hours. The nurses were the ones who mostly delivered the baby and took care of me afterwards. Honestly, I did not have a good experience at the hospital. I think for my next baby, I’m going to ask my friends about the nurses and the hospital experience.

Pregnancy Tips

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Congratulations on becoming a mom! Whether you expected to become pregnant now or not, congratulations! God has chosen you to be the mom for this baby. No one else will be able to love or care for this child the way that you can.

Being a mom is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it is also probably the best thing ever. There is nothing like watching your baby sleep or cuddling for hours.

There are a ton of websites, articles, and books about being pregnant. I wrote a post about my favorite pregnancy books. You can read as much or as little as you want.

I have a few of my own pregnancy tips for you.

1. Don’t worry about what all of your other pregnant friends are doing.

I was pregnant at the same time as several other people from church. They were all on kid two, three, or four. It was my first baby, so I didn’t know what to expect. As long as I kept eating, I didn’t get sick. They were all sick and not eating. Naturally, I gained ten pounds in the first trimester and freaked out because they had all lost weight. I thought for sure that I would gain 100 pounds with my baby. But I didn’t. I just ate when I was hungry and ate what I was craving. I did really well.

2. Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry. Sleep when you are tired.

3. Get good prenatal care. Thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act, most insurance companies cover prenatal care. You and your baby will be healthier if you do.

4. Take a prenatal vitamin. That being said…

5. Eat what you are craving. Your body knows what it needs. In the beginning, I wanted a lot of chocolate. I realized that if I had a banana everyday, I didn’t crave the chocolate. My body needed the magnesium or potassium or something.

6. Get some exercise. It doesn’t have to be much. I just walked my dog each day. 15 minute walk. That was it. But it helped me to have a little more energy in the afternoon. I also slept better and didn’t get as stiff.

7. Set up a support system. You are going to need help when baby arrives, in more ways than you know. Join a mom’s group at your church or through the recreation center in your area. Talk to friends who are already moms.

8. Drink plenty of water. Some recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces. I know you already need to use the bathroom a lot, but trust me on this. You will have more energy and it will prevent dehydration as well as constipation.