This post is written by contributing writer, Justyn from Creative Christian Mama.
During my two pregnancies, I was so surprised by the number of negative comments I received. The comments I heard the most towards the end of each pregnancy were, “You must be miserable!” and “Aren’t you sick/tired of being pregnant?!” Umm… no. I didn’t have what you would call “easy” pregnancies, but I was thrilled to be carrying my precious babies! God designed our bodies in such an amazing way! It is so beautiful, the way that we are made to be able to carry and nurture another little person! Rather than trying to convince me that I was miserable, I would have appreciated to hear some encouragement.
Whatever season of pregnancy you are in, there are many ways to minimize the discomforts and even more ways to cherish this special time. So, today, I’d like to give encouragement and a few natural health tips to all of you sweet ladies who are nurturing a little one inside of you.
The First Trimester
Those first few months can be so exciting and surreal! Especially with the first baby, I remember how hard it was to imagine that in just a few months I would have a baby in my arms and my life would change forever. Along with that excitement came fatigue. This is a time to give yourself some grace. Don’t push yourself too hard. Take naps, go to bed early or sleep in a little longer. Your body is building a brand new person, so don’t let yourself feel like you’re “not doing anything” when you take the time to rest. For a few weeks, I just couldn’t stay awake past 8PM and I often had to sneak in a nap. If it makes you feel better, you have my permission to go take a nap right now!
Morning sickness. Some women don’t get it, but most women have at least a little nausea in the first trimester. Some women spend the entire pregnancy in and out of the hospital getting fluids through an IV because they can’t keep liquids down. With both of my babies, I had morning sickness 24/7 from less than two weeks after conception until after the five month mark. With my second baby, I found some natural remedies and tricks that helped, but it is really hard to “cherish” when you can’t keep water down!
So, what do you do to cherish your pregnancy when you’re exhausted and nauseated? This is the best time to learn everything you want to know about pregnancy, birth, newborn care and parenting! Take advantage of all of that rest you need and curl up with a pregnancy book or this fabulous book and DVD series. Even if you’ve had babies before, you haven’t had THIS baby before, so cherish this new little life by learning something new. Just think about all of the possibilities. Do you want to use herbs for a healthier pregnancy? Do you want a doctor or midwife? Do you want a hospital, birth center or home birth? What newborn procedures do you want or not want? Take this time to get off of your feet and learn, learn, learn!
The Second Trimester
Women tend to have more energy and less nausea during the second trimester, though continue to give yourself some grace if you’re still feeling yucky. As you’re able to get down (and keep down) more foods, you can really work hard at getting some nutrient dense foods into you. Baby-growing takes a lot of protein, fat and other nutrients, so get in the kitchen and make some foods to nourish yourself and your growing baby! While you’re in there, double recipes and freeze them (see the second point for ideas!) so that you’ll have plenty of easy-to-heat, delicious and healthy meals when the baby arrives. Consider adding some nutritious herbal pregnancy tea to prepare your body for birth and boost your mineral intake.
Along with focusing on food, take all of that information you gathered during the first trimester and make some plans. Though all plans are subject to change in the case of an emergency, it’s good to know what you’re aiming for. Sit down with your hubby and talk about what you both want for your birth experience. If you want a natural birth, take some time every day to practice relaxation and stretching. If you want the baby close at night, but not in your bed, start hunting for a good co-sleeper bassinet on sale.
Plan and prepare, but don’t forget to dream, too. Talk about what your baby might be like. He might be tall, like your husband. She could have your singing voice. I remember my husband gazing at our newborn girl and wondering aloud what her voice would be like. Talk about what you imagine those first few months with a new baby will be like. Dream.
The Third Trimester
You’re going to be holding your precious little one, soon! It seems like everybody takes your big belly to be a sign that they need to share all of their own pregnancy and birth memories. More than one new-mom-to-be has been traumatized by hearing the horror stories of other women’s births. It’s hard to cherish these last few weeks when you’re scared out of your wits, so think about having a “no bad stories” rule. Whenever somebody starts telling you a story with an ominous voice and big eyes, smile and say, “I’m trying to stay as positive as I can, so only encouraging stories, please.” It’s good to be informed about decisions you might need to make in an emergency, but dwelling on all of the worst-case scenarios isn’t helpful.
I know that when you get towards the end of the third trimester, it gets uncomfortable. Your back aches, feet swell and legs cramp. My first baby was born at 41 weeks and 4 days and my second was 41 weeks and 3 days, so I know that those last few weeks feel like they can take forever. Believe me, that little one will come when he’s ready. Don’t try to rush things. Take advantage of the time to “nest”, but be sure to get plenty of rest. You never know when you’ll go into labor and you will want to have as much energy as possible for it. Soak in an herbal salt bath to help with the aches and pains and just enjoy watching your little one move. If you are suffering from swollen feet, prop your feet up throughout the day and drink dandelion root tea. Read some more of those parenting books or write letters to your baby. Cherish this time by putting the finishing touches on the babies room. Wash the baby clothes and marvel at how tiny they are. Looking back, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it all flew by!