Pregnancy Tips 101
As a European woman, I have noticed that pregnancy in the US tends to be viewed as something overwhelming or like a chore. I believe pregnancy should be experienced and appreciated for its beauty with no fear or stress. Everyone has a different body and this makes everyone's experience very different. I have done some research and feel there are few simple tips which might be helpful. Most importantly remember to take it easy, live and enjoy the moment and listen to your instincts.
Suggested books to read:
I have gotten a few books during my pregnancy which I believe to be informative and also fun or interesting.
Healthy Child Healthy World is a fun reading and is not only about how to raise your child in a healthy environment but it's full of tips for your home, children clean games, food, DIY products and more. A book to always keep in hand. I even make little marks on pages where there was information I will like to go back to.
My Vaccine Friendly Plan is a great book that was recommended from the food babe (who is this?). It is all about the history of vaccines, which is quite a hot topic these days. My husband is a clinical doctor so this was a must-have for us to learn more about the medical system and how many vaccines are really necessary for your baby and at which stage of its life.
Bringing Up Bebe is a fun novel about a neurotic American mother raising her child in France and noting the differences on how the US and France bring up their children. It is a light but interesting book, especially if you want to go a little more the European route with raising your child.
The Mindful Mom - There is an interesting story on how this book came recommended to me. I didn't even know yet that I was pregnant and the book was left on a stoop in Park Slope. I felt drawn to it and picked it up and took it home with me. A few weeks later TADAH! I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. My body was already making a little life inside of me when this book came along. I love the easy way it's written and how it's divided by month. I read each chapter of this book when I am in that month of my pregnancy. It has many useful recipes and DIY products to make which I love. I made the pregnancy tea which is delicious and used some of the stretches during my yoga practices!
Now remember, don't stack your table or bookshelf with tons of books! That might be daunting at some point and deter you from progress! Go slowly, set realistic expectations of yourself, and read only if you feel like it. Sometimes it is also fun to read aloud with you partner.
Additional Lifestyle Recommendations:
Bands and Support
Not everyone will need this but some mothers experience lower back pain, heaviness or pressure on the pelvis or will just want some additional belly support. There are various brands of bands for this but I found that Azmed Belly Band has been the most supportive, simple, and light option that I have found on the market. If you don't want to spent lots of money on prenatal clothes, splurge for at least one solid pair of black pants or dark jeans pants! They might be your savior. I got one pair of black pants from Ripe and I love them!
The Baby Room
As a mother to be, you will want to create the nursery, fold tiny baby clothes and more! Here are a few tips to help you stay away from toxic and harmful chemicals in furniture for your child. When choosing the furniture go for real wood, preferably not painted or made with lacquer. I am using Giggle by Troll Harper Crib Conversion which I bought gently used from a friend. Sometimes using second-hand furniture, clothes and other little things can be a great option and save you money. A great way to save on clothes, especially since children grow so fast is by asking friends for their leftover baby clothes, which even if they are not organic will be washed many times making the extra chemicals on them already washed out and safer for your baby to wear. Obviously, I am not saying don't buy anything new (because that is the fun part!) but also don't be just a consumer that falls into the societal trap and think you need a million things. Think back on how you or your parents grew up and try to stick with the essentials, and then splurge on few special things. Remember that a child will grow fast. As for the bedding, if not for the mattress at least get some organic sheets since the baby will spend lots of time sleeping on this and it's important that it will be in a healthy place and not be surrounded by harmful toxins.
Baby Shower Tips
When thinking of your baby shower once again try to keep it simple and classy with healthy food for you and your guests, perhaps a green baby diaper cake from an organic company with chemical-free and environmentally friendly diapers. If using disposable utensils, try eco-friendly or bamboo options. For decorations, try some DIY projects (get friends involved!). For invitations, try to find a company that uses recycled paper options like Paper Source. Lastly, if you want to do games or party favors think of something fun and useful, like having people paint with eco-friendly paint on organic white cotton baby onesies. As for party gifts perhaps some nice tea or healthy dessert balls.
Stay Clean and Green
Remember your body is growing a baby, which means you also want to stay as clean as possible from any harmful chemicals. Clean out your cabinets and use the simplest organic beauty products for your skin such as lotions, shampoo, and even makeup. Try to wear cotton underwear and bras as much as possible, for health and for comfort and breath-ability! Drink tons of water to clean out toxins that have built up in your system and sleep in cotton PJs, while sleeping on organic sheets if possible. Open the windows in the house to clean the air, or use an air purifier. You can also use a humidifier if the house is too dry or you live in a dry climate and put few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in the water which helps clean the air and helps you breathe better. Avoid cooking with harmful pans, and try to not place hot or warm items in plastic containers until the food cools since the containers can leak the plastic into your food. This also is true for drinking water from plastic bottles that have been sitting out in the heat.
Avoid Stretch Marks
Some bodies suffer from these more than others but if you think about it, your body is changing shape and growing fast. Avoiding stretch marks doesn't take much time or effort. You want to make sure your skin is never too dry. Put cream on after your shower, drink lots of water to keep the elasticity of the skin and use oils to rub on your belly, breasts, sides, bum and even on your vagina lips. Here are some great oils I have been using: coconut oil, Saint Wort's which is good for the body but can be an irritant for the genitals, almond oil which is super gentle and great for the tips as well as the perineal massage and lastly wheat germ oil which is great and used throughout Europe, especially in Italy.
Yoga for Sleeping
Sleeping during your 3rd trimester can start to become harder and you may toss and turn. Before going to bed try some of these great poses: Badakonasana: While supported by pillows, lie on your back and bend your knees, Put the soles of your feet together and bring the hands to the belly and take a deep breath. Also, try going into child's pose with a bolster or a couple of pillows for chest support and have your partner press your lower back gently down towards your feet. Lastly, if you can take few minutes and walk your legs up the wall, this can calm your all parasympathetic system and get your ready for some deep sleeping.