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nausea

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Real Food for Pregnancy: A Book Review

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When I was pregnant in 2012, I was overwhelmed by the conflicting “Do not eat!” lists for pregnancy. One would advise against chamomile tea, another wouldn’t say anything about tea but would list lunch meat, seafood, and common allergens to avoid exposing baby to, etc. I just wanted to eat well for my baby and hopefully not throw it up. At my first OB-Gyn appointment I asked my doctor about the lists, and what I should be eating. His only answer was to avoid fish with mercury.

That was it.

Luckily, I had some knowledge of general nutrition, but everything made me sick. Later in the pregnancy, I had viscous heart burn. It was years until I could even look at orange juice. It would have been nice to have advice beyond the typical old wives tales.

Earth Mama - Organic Third Trimester Tea

I had hoped over the years to find a good resource on nutrition. I was asked to review Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols RDN, CDE.

It did not disappoint.

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Heavily researched and evidence based, this book is the most definitive guide on what to eat during pregnancy and postpartum that I have come across. The book is broken down into macronutrients, pregnancy expectations and complaints, lab testing, and postpartum.

Having an outline of the nutrients to focus on and encouragement to reach for whole foods, is what helps to decrease the pregnancy complaints of nausea, heart burn, and serious complications of hypertension and gestational diabetes. By starting with exercise and proper nutrition, we can feel better and build a healthier pregnancy. I feel like this is lacking in our health care system.

The information on lab testing was so informative, and is a must read for those planning to get pregnant. Nichols breaks down hormone testing, thyroid, A1c, glucose, and nutrient testing. Each one has its benefits and resulting effects on pregnancy and postpartum health for mom and baby. For example, an elevated A1c in early pregnancy results in 98.4% of cases being diagnosed with gestational diabetes (Nichols p. 171). Doing this test in early pregnancy can allow mothers to make necessary dietary changes from the get go, instead of waiting for the glucose tolerance test at 26 weeks. Nichols gives the pros and cons of the glucola testing and alternatives that may be beneficial to some patients. The rate of false positives or ways to, “beat” the test may not give a real picture of a patients health picture.

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What I find nice about all of this information, is that it is not often offered by care providers. Knowing your full options is the beginning of true informed consent.

Grab a copy of Real Food for Pregnancy here, and gift an extra copy to your care provider.

What nutrition advice did you receive during your pregnancy? Share in the comments below.

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Aromatherapy in Pregnancy

Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils to enhance psychological and physical well- being. Oils can be extracted from flowers, herbs, stems, roots and barks.

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Aromatherapy can be used by two means: inhaling the scent to stimulate brain function or applying to the skin to be absorbed by the bloodstream. Aromatherapy is noninvasive, and can compliment other therapies very well, including western medicine, homeopathy, herbal remedies, and more. Consult your care provider and an aromatherapist near you to see how it may be added to your current routines.

 

Safe guidelines when using oils include following instructions for each oil, and avoiding oils that contain artificial ingredients. Products may be marked for aromatherapy, but may contain perfume or fragrance instead. These products won’t have the same medicinal properties as pure distilled oils from plant sources. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the term aromatherapy or product labels, so check your sources carefully (Althea p23). Always use a carrier oil such as sweet almond, olive, avocado, or coconut. Essential oils are potent, so a few drops can go a long way.

 

How to use essential oils:

·         Diffusing: suspends the molecules of the oil into the air via a mist, and is an easy and popular way of using aromatherapy. It can put the scent of the oil into the room, without using the chemicals of air fresheners. Follow the manufacturer instructions for your particular diffuser, as well as for each oil or blend. (Althea p. 46-48)

·         Direct inhalation: is simply inhaling the oil. The oil can be placed with a carrier in the palm of the hand and cupped over the nose for a few breathes. Hands can also be placed around the bottle as you inhale. A few drops can also be placed on a cotton ball or tissue and sniffed through the day when needed. (This trick is particularly helpful during pregnancy or labor when nausea strikes.) (Althea 46-48)

·         Topical: application of essential oils to the skin allows them to enter the blood stream, while also offering inhalation benefits. Oils can be rubbed into the skin with a carrier oil during massage, acupressure, added to baths, and compresses. (Althea p. 53-58)

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Essential oils to avoid in pregnancy (These particular oils may stimulate menstruation and hormonal activity) (Best You p.14):

  • Angelica

  • Cinnamon

  • Clary sage

  • Ginger

  • Jasmine

  • Juniper

  • Marjoram




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It is generally recommended to use the gentler oils during pregnancy. These include:

·         Tangerine

·         Rose otto

·         Cardamom

·         Manuka

·         Mandarin

·         Neroli

·         Rosewood

·         Grapefruit

·         Spearmint

·         Sandalwood

·         Patchouli

·         Black pepper

·         Geranium

·         Lavender

·         Tea tree

·         Lemon

·         Bergamot

·         Ginger

·         Frankincense

·         Roman and German chamomile

 

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Aromatherapy can aid several pregnancy related issues including:

  • Nausea

  • Insomnia

  • Immunity

  • Headaches

  • Heartburn

  • Swelling/edema (always get your providers approval)

  • Pain

  • Stretch marks

  • Digestion/constipation

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Varicose veins

  • Labor

  • Massage





 

Some favorite resources for learning more:

 

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. Valerie Ann Worwood. 2016

 

Essential Oils Natural Remedies: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing. Althea Press. 2015.

 

Massage and Aromatherapy: Simple Techniques to Use at Home to Relieve Stress, Promote Health, and Feel Great. Best You Readers Digest. 2011.

 

 Have you used aromatherapy during pregnancy? Questions? Comments?

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5 Ways to Cope with Morning Sickness: because no one enjoys nausea

When I became pregnant with my first daughter, I knew right away. Food tasted weird, and my usual go-to meals would give me heart burn or make me sick. Orange juice was the worst. It was years before I could drink it again without a mental connection to vomiting.

 

I had brutal morning sickness for almost six months of that pregnancy. I lost fifteen pounds and needed to go on medication for a while to be able to keep anything down. It made me nervous for my baby and about my nutrition.

 

I learned a lot from that pregnancy, and was much more educated and prepared for my second. When you know better, you do better. And in this case, you throw up less. Here are my five tips for feeling better when you are dealing with morning sickness:

 

1)      Eat!

It may seem counter-intuitive, but eating high protein mini meals will help keep the nausea at bay. When your stomach is empty is when the nausea is at its worst and will reek havoc when you do have your next meal.

Eat little nibbles constantly. A scrambled egg and piece of toast. A few apple slices and nut butter. Crackers and hummus. Trail mix.

Eat small meals around the clock.

Eat small meals around the clock.

Anything combining protein with some carbs will keep you going, and your blood sugar stabilized. This includes nighttime. Keep snacks on your night stand, and eat when you wake up to use the bathroom or adjust pillows.

Sharing my own personal truth here: eat what sounds good. Odds are if you actually crave that item, it’ll stay down. Even if it's Sour Patch Kids and McDonald's French fries. Do the best you can, but at the end of the day you need your food to stay down.

 

2)      Sea bands

Available at any drug store, these are bracelets with a small bead that applies acupressure to a specific point on the wrist. Used mainly for motion sickness, it did help take the edge off my nausea. However, if you are waiting to announce your pregnancy these are a dead give away.

3)      Essential oils

Oils are neatly packed power houses of help. The two to focus on are lemon and peppermint. Just smelling both kinds of oils will stop the nausea. When I was out running errands I'd put a few drops of peppermint oil on to a tissue, and kept it at the ready in my coat pocket. Lemon essential oil can be placed on the back of the neck and collar bone, using a carrier oil like coconut or almond. For a better explanation of how essential oils can help, check out Young Living Essential Oils (https://www.youngliving.com). ,

(I'm not an affiliate, but I like their oils and find the website to be a nice resource.)

4)      Magnesium

There's a lot I can say about magnesium and all of its benefits, but I'll try to limit myself for the sake of this post. It's very easy to become deficient in magnesium, especially when you're having a hard time eating already. By increasing your magnesium, you'll sleep better, decrease muscle aches, improve digestion and decrease your overall nausea. You can take magnesium orally with supplements like Mag Calm, but what's way cool is you can also increase consumption transdermally!  So if your worried that a supplement may not go down well, you can receive benefits by soaking in an epsom salt bath or making a magnesium lotion like this one: http://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2016/12/magnesium-lotion/

 

5)      Ginger!

Candied ginger. Ginger ale. Ginger tea. Ginger snap cookies. Preggy Pops. However you want it, ginger is pretty well known for its ability to stabilize a rocky stomach. Keeping ginger snaps or ginger ale handy can also help when blood sugar is low, and nausea is at its worst.

 

If nothing is helping, don't hesitate to talk to your provider. In some cases medication is necessary. If you ever have questions regarding your health, supplements, etc. please contact your provider.

 

What helped you the most with morning sickness?

 

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