Reflections

Nausea During Pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting is very common in early pregnancy. It can affect you at any time of the day or night, and some women feel sick all day long.

Nausea may be unpleasant, and for some women it can significantly affect their day-to-day life. Usually it will clear up by weeks 16 to 20 of your pregnancy.

When you get pregnant, your hormones shift to support the pregnancy. For most women, it is this surge in hormones that causes nausea and vomiting. When your placenta takes over hormone production in the second trimester is when you will find relief.

If your morning sickness isn’t too bad, your midwife may initially recommend you try some lifestyle changes:

  • get plenty of rest
  • avoid foods or smells that make you feel sick
  • eat something like dry toast before you get out of bed
  • eat small, frequent meals of plain foods that are high in carbohydrate and low in fat (such as bread, rice, crackers and pasta)
  • eat cold foods rather than hot ones
  • drink plenty of fluids, such as coconut water or a liquid IV drink
  • eat foods or drinks containing ginger
  • try acupressure – there’s some evidence that putting pressure on your wrist, using a special band or bracelet on your forearm, may help relieve the symptoms
  • try getting more vitamin B6 through whole food sources. Some times a deficiency causes nausea.
  • if you have tried “all the things” don’t be afraid to ask your care provider for a prescription medicine. This may be your best option to curb nausea.

Few people would disagree that nausea is one of the worst parts of pregnancy, as it can keep you from enjoying this special time and severely limit your ability to participate in everyday life. Thankfully, for most women, it’s short-lived and eases by the second trimester.

Postpartum Meals

The transition from pregnancy to postpartum is enormous — especially because it involves a newborn baby, making milk, and almost nonexistent sleep. Add that to the fact that you’re recovering from just having birthed a baby and your world is full.

It is a good idea to plan nourishing meals for the first few weeks after baby is born. But what?? You may not have a large freezer and relying on a meal train may not be feasable – especially if you have allergies.

To support this shift, it’s important to focus on warming, easily digestible, mineral-rich foods to promote healing and provide sustained energy. Think properly-prepared grains, cooked veggies, nourishing fats, and ferments.

When I was pregnant I froze homemade pancakes, soup, lactation cookies, burritos, smoothies, and giant meatballs. They reheated quickly and for the most part could be eaten one handed if I was holding my new squish.

Whatever meals you choose make sure they are foods that support breastfeeding and promote healing. Eating healthy is even more important postpartum! You are recovering physically, while also providing nourishment for your baby by breastfeeding. This double strain on your body requires a lot of fuel!

Your job in the “fourth trimester” is to nourish your baby, eat a balanced diet and sleep as much as you can. Fortunately, adequate sleep and a healthy diet will help you lose some weight. But this is not the time to try some type of postpartum weight-loss diet or restrict calories, which could cause your milk supply to drop if you’re breastfeeding. And, whether you’re breastfeeding or not, calorie restriction combined with a lack of sleep is a recipe for cravings, overeating and binge eating.

Your body just completed an amazing feat and really needs time and attention to heal, and that often gets brushed over. Plus the sleep deprivation, the laundry, the dishes can all wait. Providing your body with good nutrition, gentle movement and your brain and heart with patience and attention can help you feel more at peace. Be really kind to yourself, Mama! And sleep when the baby sleeps.

Postpartum Planning

While you are pregnant and planning for a new baby, make sure that creating a postpartum plan is at the top of your priority list!

Many expectant parents spend most of their preparation time planning for childbirth and getting the nursery ready, but few parents really “get” the need to prepare for postpartum recovery.

You often have very little control over how your pregnancy, birth, and early weeks postpartum will go. You may have an easy birth and recovery, or you may have lots of challenges to overcome.

Most new parents do face some challenges, especially fatigue. When you plan ahead and have help set up, you have at least some control over how your recovery will go.

Having a postpartum plan is like having an insurance policy. If you have it, you may not need it, but if you don’t have it, you may really need it (but it will be too late to create one.) At that point, you will need to scramble for help. Please do not wing it!

The Power of Breathing

Can you create a shorter, easier birth by simply breathing? The science says by aligning the uterine muscles for maximum efficiency yields the possibility of a shorter, easier birth. But how can you achieve this?

During your birthing time, as your pressure waves increase in strength, taking slow breaths that fill your lungs through your waves maximizes the effectiveness of the vertical muscles of the uterus. Thus, it works more efficiently in drawing up the lower circular muscles, and thinning and opening the cervix.

By maximizing your lung capacity through abdominal breathing you are fueling your body with oxygen. Abdominal breathing has many names: slow breathing, belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, etc. Using the diaphragm to inhale and expand the belly and allowing the belly to shrink with the exhale, it is slow and controlled. This method of breathing fills the belly rather than causing the shoulders to move up and down. When breathing makes the shoulders move, it is shallow breathing that uses only the upper lobes of the lungs while abdominal breathing maximizes all five lobes of the lungs.

The research suggests that breathing for comfort works by interrupting the transmission of pain signals by providing something positive to focus on. It may also release endorphins, and help the birthing person reframe their thinking about birth to be positive, productive, and manageable.

Rebecca Dekker of Evidence Based Birth reports in her article Breathing for Pain Relief during Labor, “Electroencephalography (EEG) studies on this type of abdominal breathing have found that even just a few minutes of using this type of breathing alters your brainwaves in a positive way, increases your relaxation response, decreases your stress hormones, decreases your blood pressure, and increases your oxygen levels.”

So remember, breathe for you, breathe for baby, and breathe for your uterus. Transform your thinking into a powerful tool for a faster, easier birthing time.

Prepare Your Mindset for the Birth You Desire

Can you remember being a child and wanting something so intensely that it’s all you thought about, talked about, and no matter what anyone else told you, you simply stuck with it? This childlike tenacity and determination is the stuff of pure creation and magic. Really, it’s not magic at all, but rather a law of nature like gravity. What you focus on will expand and be attracted to you and will therefore become your reality. 

Sounds easy right? 

Well, it can be when you know how the mind works and adding in some intention, focused effort, and childlike tenacity and voila.

The mind does exactly what it thinks you want it to do and what it thinks is in your best interest.

Let’s say for example you’re 15 years old, watching a movie with a terribly portrayed birth and, while horrified, you say to yourself “I would die if I had to go through that”. Fast forward 15 or so years and either you will have a hard time getting pregnant or be terrified of birth when you do conceive.

Since events can have a great effect on us, it’s the meaning and interpretation of the event or scene that imprints in the mind. We know our mind controls our thoughts and feelings which affects our actions in life.

How you speak to yourself about birth, what you focus on, and any fears you have forms a belief system in us.

Throughout your life only let positive thoughts and phrases imprint in your mind.

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