Sunday, May 3, 2015

Prego Points for Pregnancy Health and Preparing for Birth

I like to start a lot of my posts off by saying that, "I am no expert!" because I am not! I am just a momma who has learned a lot from two pregnancies and one but almost two births and love to share with others what I have read about and used for myself that has helped! I have had a couple of friends asked me for advice on things to do to help your body get ready for birth or to encourage labor in the sense of getting your body headed in that direction, so I just thought I would make a post about some of the things I have done that seem to have been beneficial.

1. Take pictures! - Haha this was a no brainer, right?? We have tried to take pictures every week or every other week so we can watch the baby's growth! I did a photo album for my first son and did a whole spread of each of the weeks, it was pretty cool! I have loved comparing those bump pics to my second son's bump pics too!



2. Drink Chlorophyll - I mentioned this in a previous post about gestational diabetes, because of the digestive and circulatroy benefits it can give you. My friend who is a birthing coach recommended it to me. It has helped my regulate my blood sugars, but it also can help your body with swelling. I have really been shocked at how little swelling I have had this pregnancy, and I think this is one reasons why! I got this from Amazon, and it has lasted a long time because you only drink 1 tsp in 8 oz. of water twice a day. It has a minty flavor and is actually refreshing! I drink this at breakfast and dinner. My doula also recommended this to me, as it helps with your immunity, postpartum healing because it strengthens body tissue. Chlorophyll's molecular makeup is similar to that of a red blood cell except that the center of the atom is magnesium instead of iron. It has a lot of detoxifying effects in our body, binding metals that we don't need and removing those, and protects us against a lot of different carcinogens. Obviously you can obtain chlorophyll from your food, by eating more dark green vegetables in your diet.


3. Coconut Water - This is great for hydration. Another reason you may have swelling is because you aren't drinking enough water. Sounds backwards, right?? Same way that not consuming enough protein can be a cause for preeclampsia, which has a retention of too much protein in your blood. Coconut water is great to drink for daily hydration, but it is also good to sip on during labor for those same hydration purposes. I found this one at Target that also has pineapple in it, which has benefits of its own which I will cover in just a minute! Coconut water also has a lot of potassium in it, which is also good for you. I had some potassium deficiencies at the very beginning of my pregnancy and this fixed it really quickly!! Coconut water helps with immunity, tiredness and fatigue, and also kidney function and prevention of UTIs and possibly helps with blood pressure regulation as well. I also have read that this can help with morning sickness for some and constipation. Doesn't pregnancy just sound wonderful haha?? Coconut water can also help with metabolism and detoxifying your system, controlling diabetes and also balancing your body's pH levels.


4. Red Raspberry Tea - There are a lot of pregnancy teas you can drink to help your uterus prepare for birth but I have just been drinking plain red raspberry tea. I usually drink it once a day, and later in pregnancy 2-3 times a day. Another way to get in some good hydration! When taken during pregnancy, red raspberry leaf is said to aid the mother’s immune system, ease morning sickness and promote better circulation. Taking raspberry leaf is said to strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth, as well as assist with breastmilk supply. It supposedly also helps with reducing bleeding after giving birth, helps with relaxing the smooth muscles of the uterus when it is contracting and in birthing the placenta. When reading about this online, I read that women who drank this regularly had shorter second stages of labor and reduced birthing interventions. One of the side effects is that it can increase Braxton hicks contractions, which is why it is advised to not drink a lot of it early on in your pregnancy.




5. Supplements - I take a number of supplements... I do this on a regular basis even when I am not pregnant, so really when I am pregnant I just switch out my multivitamin to a prenatal. I try to eat healthy but I feel like I don't get the proper nutrients that my body needs from my meals, especially being a mom and eating what is available at times or scarfing something, anything down just to keep up with my toddler! I get all of my supplements from Amazon and do subscribe and save. From my research and talking with my cousin who is a nutritionist, it is pointless to take supplements that aren't good quality because your body can't absorb them, so I generally try to get brands that are better quality for that reason.

  • Cod Liver Oil - Helps with infant brain development, heart and joint development. See more about cod liver oil in this post. I have heard that some people switch to a different oil at the end of their pregnancy because cod liver oil can possibly cause your placenta to be sticky but I don't know a lot about the recommendations for that.
  • B Complex - Helps with fatigue and nausea during pregnancy
  • Vitamin C - Immunity
  • Prenatal Vitamin - Make sure that your prenatal has folic acid or folate. I prefer folate over folic acid because folic acid is synthetic. See more about my prenatal vitamin below. Here are a couple of links over the difference between folate and folic acid...
  • Calcium - I usually try to take a calcium supplement with also magnesium and Vitamin D to help with absorption. Helps protect bones and teeth, helps with muscle contractions and nerve health. I have read before that the baby will take what it needs from your body, so pregnancy can cause a calcium deficiency in our bodies, leaving us more susceptible to osteoporosis later in life.
  • Probiotic - Helps with immunity and digestive health, as well as preventing Group B strep.


6. Evening Primrose Oil - This helps soften your cervix, good to start taking around 38-39 weeks of your pregnancy. I've also read that it is good for regulating blood pressure and shortening labor time, but I have read other controversial things about this as well. You may want to read up on it more before starting it. 


7. Prenatal Vitamin - I have loved taking this prenatal from New Chapter. It has folate in it instead of folic acid, and hasn't upset my stomach like some I have taken in the past. Also recommended from my cousin's wife who is a nutritionist. Subscribe and save on Amazon baby!



8. Pineapple - With my first son, during my third trimester, I was CRAVING pineapple and eating it constantly. I had no idea that this was actually a good thing to be doing anyway haha! My students at school actually started making fun of my about it... "there goes Mrs. Campbell, eating that pineapple again..." So I read up on it a little bit because I heard from someone (can't remember who) that it was actually really good to consume during the third trimester. Here's why... Not only is it good to help with digestion (you have so many digestive issues prego!), it helps soften your cervix and ease labor. So it apparently was good that I was eating one a week by myself! Some other perks include immunity boast (it is high in vitamin C), helps maintain healthy heart and nerve function and bone health. I have also read lately that it helps with milk production and breastfeeding as well, reduces swelling and possible clogged ducts when your milk comes in and if you chose to wean later. So eat up mommas! And stick with the fresh pineapple, yes it's kind of a pain to cut up, but it tastes better and the benefits listed apply the the fresh pineapple route rather than the canned.


10. Spinning Babies WebSite - Baby positioning is really important to prepare for labor, and there are a lot of things you can do to help encourage your baby to get into the right position! I had looked at this website some with Jackson, and my doula also recommended it again for Jude. I do think that crawling around more, laying on my left side as much as I could and other positions have helped Jude get LOA, or his back being on my left and head down. It is really important to make sure that you don't recline as much as possible, that can encourage your baby to sit looking out instead of to your side or eventually looking in towards your spine. I read in the Bradley Method book that we have many more posterior babies (coming out face up) because we sit and recline much more than we used to. So anyway, just a good resource to loo at!

11. Prayer Cards, Meditation ... be patient!- I have started making verse images on my Bible App to focus on during labor, and meditate on beforehand. I wish I would have done this more with Jackson. I think it is so truly important to draw yourself closer to our Lord before you go into labor... He has created your body for this act, don't doubt what you body can do. Pray specifically for how you want your birth to go... don't just ask for a healthy baby and delivery... ask for specifics, for your doctor to be present, what time do you want to labor, for you to have opportunity to rest, to have a vaginal delivery, for the timing to work out, for your labor to be quick, to be able to withstand the pain and relax your body and embrace the contractions... the list could go on. There are tons of other people's blogs that have good verse recommendations for labor, just google it! Here is one I found that I used and liked. But be patient with your body, and wait. I told my husband that I feel like you have to get completely miserable and absolutely uncomfortable and then your baby will make its appearance hehe.

12. Read other Birthing Stories - I ended up having to have a c-section with my first son, mainly from complications from my epidural, and then he was face up and not coming out at the end... so for this pregnancy my husband and I are hoping for a VBAC. Let me tell you, this was probably the hardest decision we have made together. Mainly because a lot of people (including my old doctor) made us feel like we were risking the life of our baby and being selfish, even though a vaginal birth is a better option for mom and baby. This was a hard decision, but one of the things that has helped me a lot is reading other people's birth stories and just talking to other people about their VBACs. I have been amazed, shocked even, at how many people around me have had VBACs, and I firmly believe that we are in good hands with my doula and doctor and that our Lord will watch over us during our birth.

13. Rest - Be careful how you sit and lounge! It is best to lay on your left side as often as you can. This helps baby slide to our left side and is also good for digestion and to reduce swelling. Also try to sit up straight and not lounge as much. Rest is so important though when you are counting down the days to labor. I really should be telling myself this over and over because I am the queen of not resting and feeling compelled to do as much as possible during the day. But my doula has reminded me that one of the biggest reasons that people get epidurals is because they are worn out and tired during labor. So rest up, drink water and eat good food!

14. Activity - Exercise is important, walk and do some yoga! Stretch those muscles and keep yourself in good shape! You will be thankful you did so after you have your baby too and have less wait to lose! 

15. Stay Hydrated, Be selective with food - I keep saying that it is important to drink water, but it really is... not being hydrated can cause braxton hicks contractions more often and often can be the reason for contractions in the beginning but not real labor. Also during your third trimester, I would just recommend being careful with your carbs and sugar intake. And trust me, I am the queen of dessert and obsessed with muffins and scones... for real I crave them like crazy, it's horrible. But having gestational diabetes has MADE me be more disciplined, and I am not perfect, but my weight gain has been so much better this time around and I have felt better over all. So as hard as it is, have a little restraint hehe!

16. Chiropractor - I have gone to a chiropractor for both of my pregnancies. Not only has this helped with back and hip pain, it also helps to keep your pelvis aligned so that the baby can rotate and get into the correct position for birth. 

17. Doula - I saved this one for last because it has been one of the most important things we could have done. We hired a doula for this birth. Yes, it is money, but if I could go back and do anything differently for my first birth, I would have hired a doula. She has been a wealth of knowledge, and confidant, and she will be here with us while we labor at home and help us decide when to go to the hospital. She will be at the hospital with us, to help us make decisions and be an advocate for us. She has so so so much experience and has seen things go well and go wrong, she has had a VBAC herself... I just can't express how much that means to us, who are nervous about doing this ourselves, she is the best decision we have ever made. She has helped me with nutrition, birth knowledge and things we can do to get ready for labor. She will be there with us after the baby is born and help with breastfeeding. She will come to our house later to check up on us and provide post partum support. The list goes on and on. And if you research the benefits of having a doula online, you will see that statistically, people have shorter labors and less intervention, and more successful births when they have a doula present with them. Worth it. 

There is SO much you can do, and this could go on and on... and on... but these are the things that I have focused on and they have seemed to help me. You can take parts of it and do what you feel comfortable with. My advice would be to do what you can and be content with that. You can never do everything and never control everything, as much as you try to prepare, you still have to trust your body and go with what happens. Trust yourself, trust your hubbie, hire a doula and pray. Pray a lot, because really that should have been my number one hehe! You will do great, you can take positives from any birthing experience, even though it make take time to do so. I wasn't able to say that I was thankful for the way Jackson's birth went until just a couple of months ago because I knew I needed to find peace with his birth before I have Jude. Good luck with your pregnancy, good luck with your birth and may you have a wonderful beginning with your new little one!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Packing for the BIG trip to the hospital!!

Well, you hit 36-37 weeks and you start hearing that you need to pack a bag for the hospital, just in case, right?? Even though you would have time during the early part of your labor to get things together, it is better to be prepared!! 

37 Week Belly Belly!

So I thought I would do a quick post on what I have brought before and also what I am planning on bringing this time around. Some of these things I brought last time and were definitely worth it, and a few things are new that I have read about from other random blogs online. I would try to be conservative, you won't be there long, and you will leave with more than you came with!

What to pack for Mom:

Pack a little cosmetic bag with your favorite travel sized items... the bag you see here is a 31 bag. Two of my sister in laws sell 31 bags so I have a TON of it! haha!
  • lotion/body wash
  • shampoo/conditioner - yes you will at some point be able to shower and wash your hair! yay!
  • deoderant
  • floss/toothbrush/toothpaste
  • cue-tips
  • compact brush/hair ties/head band
  • kleenex
  • face wipes - these are nice for when you can't shower or if you have a c-section and can't really get out of bed quite yet to wash your face
  • dry shampoo - in case you don't want to wash your hair again or feel like you can't (I will never forget my mom helping me in the shower after my c-section with my hair! What would we do without our mommies!?)
  • hair dryer - I love my hair dryer, so I'm planning on bringing it hehe!
  • makeup - I don't think I put any on after my first birth but some people feel like wearing it!
  • driver's license and medical cards


What to bring for Mom to wear:
  • Nursing Nightgown - I got this one from Macy's. It has an elastic neck so you can pull it down for easy nursing. I am planning on finding another one before baby comes hopefully! This one looks like a good option on Amazon, very similar to the one I own. I usually don't wear nightgowns, I prefer shorts and a top, but regardless of what birth outcome you have, it will be easier for nurses to take care of things for you! ;0)
  • Robe - You will most likely have lots of visitors! I used this a couple of times to cover up really quickly if we had visitors (like my friend's hubbies! hehe!) that I wanted to be more conservative around!
  • Boy Short Undies - These were the BEST to have after birth with Jackson. I normally wear a size small, but I bought these from Target in a size large. You don't want anything restrictive on you after birth, trust me on that! I read online that this style of undies were great for after giving birth and whoever advised that weren't joking!
  • Nursing Bras - I brought a couple of sleep nursing bras and a normal nursing bra. Medela makes great sleep nursing bras, (I would size up, I normally wear a small but I ordered a medium and it fit well.) and this Bravado bra has been my go to for daily wear. Yes, they are a little pricey, but so worth it and so comfortable, and trust me, you want to be comfortable!!
  • Lanolin Cream - Yes, bring your lanolin cream with you, they won't have any at the hospital and you possibly may need some. 
  • Nursing Pads - I like the washable kind of nursing pads. I don't leak a ton, so these are great and easy to change out and wash. The disposable ones aren't nearly as forgiving for soreness, cracking ect. that can happen when you are first beginning with nursing!
  • Slippers for walking the halls or Flip Flops
  • Going home outfit - I usually bring a couple of things because I don't know what I will feel like wearing. Maternity pants are a good go to, you will still look a little prego when you leave! I am also bringing a high waisted maxi dress, those are pretty comfy too. :0)
  • Some people recommend bringing pads ect for after because they prefer specific brands, but I just used what the hospital provided and they were fine.

Yes Dad, that's my bra online for the world to see haha... 
This is something you need to ask about before you go to the hospital... I got this band from the hospital after my first c-section and it was AMAZING. They wrapped me up in this and it helped so much to support my core after surgery. If it is your first birth, I would just ask your doctor if the hospital provides them. If not, you may want to find some kind of belly binder for after birth. There were a couple of times I took this off for an hour or two to wash it and thought I was going to die. It is totally worth it to buy one and bring with you. This Post Delivery Belt is very similar to what I have and would be helpful for either kind of birth I think. These are also good to just help your body "bounce back" a little faster from what I have read. I have also read that other countries are big on wrapping your tummy after birth to help things go back where they belong, and I would agree that this baby helped things go back down a little faster!


What to pack for Dad:

  • Cosmetic stuff
  • Swimming trunks - two of my friends recommended this because their hubbies were in and out of the shower with them helping with back labor 
  • Flip Flops
  • Comfy Clothes for a few days
  • Tennis balls ect. that you may need to use for labor
  • driver's license and medical cards - you definitely want Dad to be able to go into the hospital with you!!!

What to pack for Baby:

For my first birth I brought my whole diaper bag, I know, overkill! haha... but this time I am just bringing my purse/Mommy bag and packing a few things for the baby in my bag. You really don't need as much as you think, just because the hospital provides diapers, wipes, blankets... most of what you need for your new little one. Just think about if there is anything personal you would like to have with you.

  • Going home outfit
  • Couple of newborn gowns - we didn't do this with Jackson but I am bringing a couple this time. for Jude.
  • Nail file - Jackson's nails were SO long, it was bizarre! Just would have been nice to have this so he didn't scratch his face!
  • Burp Cloth
  • Don't forget the infant carseat!

Some other random things for everyone...

  • Sound Machine - seems unnecessary right? But it's not. I would recommend either getting a white noise app or a cheap white noise machine to block out hospital noise from people in the hallway or next door neighbors. We heard a lot from the people next to us with their new little one, and you are already waking with your own baby or nurses coming to take random vitals so the white noise will be nice!
  • Nursing Pillow - I didn't bring this with Jackson but I am this time. I just used a pillow from the hospital but it was hard to balance him on it and he would slide around easily. This is my favorite pillow, not as big as the Boppy and I only had to pay for shipping with a promo code I found. Yep, it was FREE.
  • Snacks - Bring some granola bars, nuts, coconut water to keep you hydrated during labor, and pineapple juice supposedly is good to help with milk supply
  • Phone Chargers
  • Camera
  • Sibling Gifts - We are planning on having Jackson bring a little gift to the hospital for Jude and one for Jude to give him. Just thought it would be fun :0)

Big brother testing out the sound machine, making sure it works!
So these are just some ideas from a Momma! I hope it helps you plan what you need for your trip to the hospital! It is so weird to think that coming home you will not be prego anymore and you will have this new little human with you!! Happy birthing!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Prego Pancreas Probs

So you know those words you love to hear when you are prego... "you scanned high on your one hour glucose test, we want you to come back for the three hour test..." I heard it with my first pregnancy and now with my second. So like a good little patient I went back for the three hour test with my first pregnancy and they said I was fine... but I had a rough birth and postpartum recovery and have lost a lot of trust with medical care providers since then. Not that I think they are bad because believe me I am THANKFUL for the medical options we have here! So Thankful! But what I mean by that is that I question things now. I don't just do what they do tell me to do, because that is why I had so many issues with my first birth. I just want to be informed, I want to know my options, I want to know if what I am doing to my body is necessary or the best for my health. 

With my second pregnancy, I heard the same thing from the nurse over the phone but I asked if I had other options besides the drink. The drink makes me feel horrible, I feel bad the rest of the day, and my baby goes NUTS inside my belly for that hour or three hours I'm waiting, so it really made me question if this was the best route to take. She was annoyed with me and said she would talk to my doctor and call me back. My doctor said I could get a meter and check my blood for a couple of weeks, because I scanned just two points outside of the cut off. So guess what... HEB has cheap meters, lancets and strips. I spent like $30 and took my blood 4 times a day for a little over a week. Here's why I liked this approach... this is me on a normal daily basis and what I normally eat. I don't normally go drink a glucose packed drink and sit for an hour. I could see at each meal how what I ate effected my blood sugar, and at first things were great, but then we hit the weekend and ate out a couple of times and my blood sugars were soaring! So my doctor had me go to a nutrition class and my insurance provided the meter you see below. So I have just continued to monitor what I eat and it hasn't been that bad! 


The thing with the drink test, is that sometimes it can miss people. The nutritionist I talked with told me this! And personally I think I was missed on my first pregnancy. I normally have very low blood sugar and have to eat often, so my "high sugars" might have been in the normal range for other people if that makes sense.  I gained more weight during my first pregnancy and was much more swollen at the end. This pregnancy I have gained 10 lbs less and have not been swollen at all, and I am telling you that it is because my new doctor "caught" me this time! 

You can also scan high on part of the three hour but not all of it and still not be labeled as having gestational diabetes, per nutritionist referenced earlier. Also, I read some online posts about what is in the drink and it kind of freaks me out that it is U.S. practice to have every pregnant woman drink something that has chemicals in it that other countries have banned and use for flame retardants, chemicals that build up in our bodies and can get into our breastmilk. And we wonder why so many of us have cancer? Sorry if I sound cynical, but I am a realist, and I don't understand why we don't have options as patients that are healthier for us in the long run. I have friends who have used midwives and they have other more natural methods, eating certain kind of meals and checking blood sugar afterwards. Check out this link about the drink itself. The nutritionist also told me that there has been a lot of talk about going to a 2 hour test like they do in Europe, because it is more accurate, but it is very controversial because then more women will be labeled as having gestational diabetes, therefore more it will be more expensive for insurance companies in the long run. See, they really do have our best interest at heart, right?? Eeek!

So, I don't know about you but I have the most horrible cravings for anything baked or sweet during the last part of my pregnancy. Ice cream is my best friend... but not this time around. When I first found out that I had GD, I was a concerned and like great, what can I eat?! But thankfully, I can tolerate some carbs, I just have to count them. The nutritionist class helped show us options for meals and snacks, and basically how many carbs to have at each meal or snack to keep your blood sugars in check. It's really amazing how many carbs we consume without even realizing it! 

I like this diagram from the Texas Children's Hospital Education, it shows you your insulin requirements as your pregnancy goes on. So the farther along you are, the more careful you should be because your body has a harder time processing carbohydrates and sugar since it isn't producing enough insulin. 
The way that TCH advised me to handle my diet, was to allow a certain number of carbs per meal and snack...
  • Breakfast: 15-30 grams of carbs
  • Morning Snack: 15-30 grams 
  • Lunch: 45-60 grams
  • Afternoon Snack: 15-30 grams
  • Dinner: 45-60 grams
  • Bedtime Snack: 15-30 grams
As my pregnancy has progressed, I have tried to cut back a little more just because my blood sugar numbers have been creeping up a little bit. I feel like the name of this game is to just make sure you are spreading out your carbohydrates appropriately throughout the day. Obviously a Paleo diet would probably be most ideal for gestational diabetes, and I tried that kind of diet after having Jackson, but for whatever reason, it has been so much harder pregnant to stick to that! Chalk it up to hormonal cravings I guess! So I thought I would list out some of the meals and snacks I eat just in case anyone else is in the same boat!

Some breakfast ideas...

  • Eggs
  • Bacon, Sausage, Turkey Bacon
  • Yogurt
  • Piece of Toast (Buttered or with SunButter)
  • Breakfast Sandwich on English Muffin
  • Fruit 
  • Omlet

Some lunch ideas...
Grilled Sandwich with side of Fruit
(Watch out for bread, different brands have different carb counts in them!)
Salads are my best friend... Add some avocado, Chicken or even Turkey lunchmeat (heated), some boiled eggs and you are good to go!
Cheese and chicken or bacon quesadilla with a side of salad for lunch!
Some snack ideas...
  • yogurt (watch the carbs, these can be crazy!) with some granola
  • cheese
  • nuts
  • I would also heat up lunch meat and roll up some cheese with inside
  • Sunflower butter - great alternative to peanut butter
  • Guacamole and a few Tostito Chips
  • Tuna fish salad and Rice crackers
  • Fruit
  • Humus and Bell pepper
Some dinner ideas...

This Chicken Margarita Soup is such a yummy soup and so easy to make! I even did a side of mexican cornbread with it!
One of my favorite dinners - spaghetti on spaghetti squash! Don't be intimidated by the spaghetti squash, it is so easy to bake! Just cut in half, pour on some olive oil after scooping out the insides, flip the two halves upside down and bake on 400 for 45 minutes!
Another easy meal, have your hubby grill burgers! So easy to just eat the hamburger patty with some sides! 
I don't have a picture for these two, but this BBQ pulled pork was yummy on top of a baked potato! Just make sure your potato isn't HUGE! I also made these Chicken Caeser Wraps and just had it on salad. My hubby had the wrap part, and you could too, just watch your carbs! Also, tacos or nachos are easy to make as well and something you can monitor easily. You'll notice that a lot of these meals are easy, because at this point I am tired and running around after an almost two year old!! Look on Pinterest for more meal ideas, there are a ton out there!

Couple of other tips... become a plant! Hah, just kidding, but drinking liquid chlorophyll each day, twice a day, helps with circulatory and digestive health. I thought it might be weird but I kind of crave the minty flavor now! Got this bad boy off of my favorite Amazon of course. Came right to my door, the kind of service I like! Lasts for a long time because you only drink 1 tsp per glass of water.


Another tip, suggested by my friend who also has GD... I know, what are the odds that both of us had it when it only occurs in 3-9% of pregnancies?!? She told me to drink milk at night. This helps your body regulate your sugars while you are sleeping and help you with your fasting number when you get up in the morning. 

Well, there you have it, my thoughts on gestational diabetes... Good luck to anyone that has it, because it can be trying at times to manage, especially if your body doesn't tolerate carbs at all! And it gets harder as your pregnancy progresses because of the baby's needs for insulin! Hang in there! It will be worth it in the end when you have a healthier pregnancy and a healthy baby!