Pregnancy Favorites…Thus Far
As I write this I am 19 weeks pregnant and now believe myself to be an expert on all things pregnancy. Therefore, I thought it only right that I share my hard gained wisdom with all of you presently, and planning to be, gestating ladies out there. I’m joking, I basically know nothing, but there are a few things that I have discovered during the last 19 weeks that have vastly improved my pregnancy experience. I thought that even if only a few of my discoveries were helpful to another pregnant gal I should for sure share them. Just like so many wonderful women have shared with me their tips, tricks and advice for getting through this experience with grace and good humor.
Apps & Sites
There are several apps and websites that have been incredibly helpful and useful to me the last 19 weeks. Aren’t we so lucky to have a wealth of information and help right at our fingertips? I can’t even imagine how our mother’s did it with nothing more than an impatient Doctor and a group of girlfriends to talk them through it.
This site, which also has a smartphone app, has been a Godsend. Every week of my pregnancy the app will alert me with new and current information on my developing baby. I love being able to see exactly what stage the little fella is at and I find all the information about that stage fascinating. To me, the germination of new life is as interesting as an episode of Cosmos: A Space Odyssey. The app also offers all kinds of insights and advice on everything from healthy eating to baby names to getting a better nights sleep. It also has a baby center community of expecting moms who share all the nitty gritty of their own experiences which has, on occasion helped me feel like I have a group of cyber girlfriends to talk me through all the ups and downs. No one gets pregnancy better than another pregnant chick. I would warn you though, that some topics of discussion can be kinda scary or upsetting so if you’re easily influenced by other people’s experiences, like I am, and have a tendency to be unable to get something upsetting or scary out of your head, then perhaps avoid the chat rooms.
I was reticent to create a registry because I was uncomfortable with the idea of telling my friends and family exactly what gifts to buy for the new baby. Josh and I are in the most fortunate position of being able to afford to purchase the things we feel we need and I’ve always preferred to receive gifts from the heart rather then the registry. That being said I found this site by chance and when I explored it further I realized how convenient and well thought out it is. Instead of using it to create a registry for friends and family I’m using it to keep myself organized and on top of all the things big and small we will need for our new baby. I’m also using it as a sort of wish list as well for all those fun, adorable or just plain extravagant things we for sure don’t need but I just kinda want! I love that you can save anything from any site to your registry and it gives you the option of supporting local shops and vendors. It’s also given me a lot of great ideas for gifts of support and time versus just stuff. That, I have no problem asking for!
This site has been like having my own personal nutritionist. It has tons of fantastic healthy recipes and the greatest meal planning feature ever. First you calculate how many calories you should be eating based on your height, weight and fitness goals. Then you choose a weekly meal plan based on the calorie count you’ve determined. I found the meals to be absolutely delicious and relatively easy to prepare. The only trouble I had with the meal plans was the amount of time it was taking me to shop for, prep and cook three meals a day every day. Once I got the basics of their pre made meal plans down I started using their menu planner feature so I could build my own. This way I could make my shopping, prepping and cooking efforts as simple or as complicated as I wanted. Having the structure and extra help EatingWell provided made it much easier for me to keep my health and nutrition on track. The first month of my pregnancy I was eating bowls of fettuccine alfredo and huge slices of chocolate cake, all the while telling myself I was eating for two. Even though the second person in this equation was at the time the size of a sesame seed and I’m guessing did not have all that big of an appetite. Had I continued on this path I would have put on far more weight than I wanted to and been compromising the babies and my health. Having a little help keeping my nutrition on track has made all the difference in the world and this way after eating well all week I feel like I’ve earned the wiggle room to indulge on the weekends and have that chocolate cake if I’m craving it!
It’s hard enough for me to get motivated to work out when I’m not pregnant but now that I am it’s ten times harder. I’m not up for weight training, lengthy cardio workouts, or any of those new and fashionable exercise classes. What I am up for is yoga! I’ve mentioned my love of Yoga with Adriene before on the blog and am so grateful for her fantastic Youtube classes that have been the foundation of my at home practice. Recently I discovered two more ways to satisfy my yoga appetite. Though both YogaGlo and Grokker require you to pay a monthly fee to use, I feel they are well worth it and the price per month is basically the cost of just one in studio yoga class. Both allow you to tailor your exercise needs by duration, difficulty level, style and teachers. YogaGlo is strictly yoga with some great meditation instruction thrown in. Grokker has other types of fitness classes and even cooking videos. Both have been incredibly useful in helping me maintain my at home yoga practice by keeping me motivated and inspired. Whatever I’m feeling or however much time I have, between Adriene, YogaGlo and Grokker I’m sure to find the perfect class for me.
Comfortable clothing has become a total necessity the last month or so. I wish I could tell you I care if that comfortable clothing is also chic and fashionable but I really don’t. I JUST WANT TO BE COMFORTABLE DAMMIT! Luckily the things I find most wonderful to wear just happen to look pretty cute too.
These are not cheap but I think they are well worth their ticket price. I wear mine literally everyday. Don’t worry, I take them off long enough to wash them! They are so soft and have no itchy tags, digging seams, or middle squeezing waist bands. They feel like second skin and to me, they’re more comfortable even, than being naked. They are a genius combination of super breathable and touchable soft fabric with added lycra for stretch and shape retention. That lycra also comes in handy when you’re feeling a bit more jiggly and squishy than normal and like the feeling of everything being comfortably held in place by sweet soft angel hands. I’m serious, they feel that wonderful! I throw these on everyday with my jockey tank ( I’ll get to that next) and either a comfy sweater or a chic button down depending on whether I’m hanging at home or going to be seen in public. They’re beyond comfortable, versatile enough to dress up or down and though I have deemed them as my pregnant lady pants their actual purpose is that of a yoga pant. So they have the added benefit of allowing me the freedom to roll out my mat any time of day and get my practice in because I’m already dressed for it!
We have a Jockey outlet up in Utah where I live which is where I discovered these amazingly soft, resilient and flattering tanks. I now have them in black, white, pink, blue and cream. I wear them constantly and especially love them under sweaters or button downs. They’re pretty figure fitting so for the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy I didn’t wear them out in public without something over them. Those first trimester months were tough since only Josh, my mother and I knew about the pregnancy and anything too fitted made me look like I’d overindulged in twinkies and Big Macs and not at all like I was pregnant. It’s a rough phase on the ol’ self esteem, that first trimester. Anyway, back to the point of the Jockey tank, they’re the perfect shell, or when you do feel like rocking your baby bump, the perfect warm weather top that’s flattering and comfortable. These camies also wash incredibly well. I throw them in on a warm wash and dry them on high. They never shrink, they hold their shape and they don’t fray. They are truly a great buy and for me an indispensable piece of my pregnancy wardrobe.
I have a few Rails button downs that I basically just rotate throughout the week. Again they’re pricy but one or two button downs that wash well, look great and are comfortable can ultimately save you money in the long run. I’ve been penny wise and pound foolish in the past, purchasing cheaper button downs that ended up falling apart or shrinking in the wash. Button downs that only lasted me 6 months to a year. Once I bought my first Rails shirt I never looked back. I love all of their plaids and would have one in every color if I could. Goals people! I do hang dry my Rails shirts to avoid any shrinkage cause I love the fit and would hate to mess with it. So although they may require a smidge more effort in the care department they’re 100% worth it!
I’m pretty big into natural remedies and even more so since I’ve been pregnant. During the first trimester my doctor advised against taking any over the counter drugs for indigestion, headaches or allergies so I started researching what natural alternatives I could use that would actually work. My biggest pregnancy complaint has been indigestion and waking up with the occasional stuffy nose and sinus headache. Both are very typical pregnancy symptoms and I was able to find great healthy solutions that really work.
One of the first and worst pregnancy symptoms I’ve had was indigestion. I’ve joked about how much I belch in the past but those first eight weeks were totally out of control. I was desperate for a solution and to not feel like my stomach was going to explode after every meal. I found a lot of home remedies online that included apple cider vinegar so I figured I’d give it a shot. Well I’m glad I did cause it works like a charm. I started out putting 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice into 8 ounces of warm water every morning before I would eat. I know it sounds a bit counter intuitive to drink baking soda but it would force all the air out of my gut (I won’t lie those baking soda burps were pretty impressive) and calm my stomach. I won’t get into the science of how or why this formula works because I don’t really know but there is plenty of info online to read up on it if you’re interested. Once I got through the worst of the early indigestion I omitted the baking soda and lemon juice and just used the apple cider vinegar. Now I carry around a large water bottle that has about 1/4 cup of vinegar in it and sip on it all day long. It calms my stomach right down and helps me digest things with far more ease. I’ve become so addicted to my vinegar water that I even made Vinegar Shrubs to add a little pizazz to my now sour staple. I discovered that the shrubs are an excellent substitute for a cocktail when mixed with sparkling water and poured over ice. That’s a pregnancy win win in my book!
Now this next remedy may be a bit controversial. Like most ladies, I have heard, read and been told that caffeine is a big no no during pregnancy. For me that was really no big deal since I had given up coffee about 4 years ago after I discovered it had a lot to do with the stomach pain I had been suffering from. Pregnant or not I’ve always had a bit of a touchy digestive system but eliminating coffee seemed to really help. So when I told my OB/GYN that I was suffering from sinus issues and headaches I was incredibly surprised by her advice. She told me to have a cup or two of coffee a day. Apparently caffeine reduces inflammation and… well read this article for a much better explanation than I can give. When I expressed concern, my doctor assured me that a cup or two a day was fine but not to over do it. She told me as long as I wasn’t downing a whole pot my baby would be just fine. My doctor also told me that coffee would help with the water retention I was suffering from, seeing as caffeine is a natural diuretic. If I’m being honest I was almost more excited about that than the headache help. So I started drinking one or two cups of low acid organic coffee in the mornings and just like she said, my headaches were cured and my ankles far less swollen. A friend introduced me to Puroast, a low acid organic coffee that tastes great, is far easier on my stomach and mindfully grown and harvested without all the harsh chemicals used at most coffee farms. I totally get that this remedy may not be for everyone, and may make some expectant mother’s too nervous to try. I strongly believe that you must use your intuition and instincts when it comes to your and your baby’s health; and, though our doctors are offering their best advice and opinions it’s still up to us to make the final decisions about our bodies. In my case my gut told me to give it a shot and see how I felt and I felt better than before. I took that as a sign that baby boy Kelley and I could tolerate the caffeine just fine.
Hopefully some if not all of my suggestions will be of some use to my sisters in gestation. I plan to do another post on my third trimester tips and tricks once I get to that point so stay tuned!