Do you just barely survive your difficult pregnancies? With permission, I am so happy to bring to you this guest post which represents many years of carefully gleaned information. Diana writes over at her blog, formerly The Whining Puker.
Comprehensive Plan For Difficult Pregnancies
It’s that time of year, folks! The time when I go through my supplement and diet plan and revise for the coming year. And… here it is! Version 2016, at your service.
Last year I pared down the information to eliminate all of the things I wasn’t really serious about doing. This year my goal was to incorporate all of the awesome things I have learned from other bloggers and authors over the past year into my official protocol.
I do not do everything on this plan perfectly (or at all). I’d say a really-really good day is achieving 25% of the below. It’s just too much to keep up with on a daily basis with perfect consistency. I simply do my best.
My two main conclusions from last year remain unchanged:
(1) Diet and supplements can have a hugely positive effect on morning sickness and other pregnancy issues, and…
(2) It is extremely important for women to pay careful attention to their health during their childbearing years. (It’s always important, of course, but during the childbearing years the negative consequences of neglecting one’s health can be particularly dire for the mother and the baby.)
Thus, I do take my diet and supplement regimen extremely seriously, and I put lots of energy, effort, and time into both developing my regimen and putting it into place. It’s a work in progress, but the end goal is worth it.
* for your ease, sourcing information provided below
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Very Low Carb* (VLC) at 3 months postpartum. I have found that I haven’t been able to make this diet work long-term. However, I had wonderful success using the VLC diet to prevent hyperemesis (a complication of pregnancy that is characterized by severe nausea and vomiting such that weight loss and dehydration occur). I have since incorporated more carbs back into my diet, but I firmly believe that the VLC diet can have a huge healing potential for post-HG pre-conception mums.
Clean: no additives, or as few as possible!
Alkaline: Focus on vegetables, lemon water, other alkalinizing foods.
Vegetables: 3 cups colored, 3 cups greens, 3 cups sulphur vegetables (onions and cruciferous vegetables), daily. Please refer to “The Wahls Protocol” by Dr. Terry Wahls.
Avoid industrial seed oils (cottonseed, canola, corn, soy, etc.) and fake fats (hydrogenated oils, margarine)
Lacto-fermented foods preferably with each meal. I try to eat from at least four of these options every day.
Kefir* (one-quarter to one-half cup daily)
Yogurt* (small amounts daily)
High in good fats: Saturated animal fats (free-range, organic, grass-fed preferred)
Coconut oil* (2-4 Tbsp. per day)
Butter* (2+ Tbsp. per day, preferably grass-fed)
Lemon water (for alkalinity and liver cleansing) – Half of my body weight (in pounds) in ounces each day. (This is a really hard goal to reach, but I try.) Another good option is water with apple cider vinegar. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely revolting, but I’m going to be trying Good Girl Moonshine by Trim Healthy Mama, which includes ACV. It also includes ginger, great for NVP!
Detoxing Supplementation for Pregnancies
Epsom Salts baths
Broccoli sprouts (optimally 1 package per week)
Rice bran (optimally 1 Tbsp. per day)*
Bone broth* (optimally 2 cups per day)
Gelatin* or Collagen (as often in possible, dissolved in hot liquids like coffee or soup)
Eggs (3-4 per day, preferably organic and free-range)
Some form of healthy meat at each meal
Unrefined sea salt* (pink or grey)
Kelp* for iodine – Since we used non-iodized salt, I attempt to add this to main dish meals for iodine supplementation. (Seaweed has additional awesome benefits, for details see The Wahls Protocol.)
Blackstrap Molasses* for iron deficiency (1 Tbsp. per day)
Cod Liver Oil * (Preferred dose = 10 mL per day, to provide 1000 mg DHA daily)
Alpha Lipoic Acid (600 mg/daily)
Vitamin B complex*
Probiotics specifically for morning sickness
Dessicated Liver Pills – For iron and micronutrients. I also take raw liver, cut into small pieces and taken like a pill. You will need to find a trustworthy source of organic, grass-fed liver if you want to take this route.
Oral supplement – Natural Calm or Doctor’s Best Chelated Magnesium (or other options)
Epsom Salts baths* – minimum once per week
Magnesium oil* or Magnesium Lotion*
Zinc (Zinc a couple of times a week, not every day)
Turmeric* (1 capsule every day, plus use in cooking). I also try to do a yearly anti-microbial protocol, thus: “1 teaspoon colloidal silver plus one turmeric capsule, 3 x per day, on an empty stomach, for about 10 days”
Milk Thistle (80% silymarin) – Milk thistle didn’t help the last time I tried it, but I might try it – it’s standard pre-conception procedure for post-HG mamas. One to three per day, can continue post-conception.
Cocolaurin* (3 scoops per day)
See my list of pregnancy supplements for other pregnancy-specific supplements (most are third-trimester birth and postpartum prep supplements).
Exercise – Especially weight-bearing exercises, since muscle mass helps with insulin/glucose metabolism.
Sunlight – Minimum 15 minutes per day.
Sleep – Minimum of eight hours per night. Preferably nine.
Self Care – Keeping my house clean so that I’m not a stress-case about it. Doing things I enjoy occasionally. Cooking healthy food, drinking water, and taking my supplements. Staying off of the computer. Going for walks. Keeping up with my devotions and Bible study. All of the things that keep me sane, balanced, and emotionally healthy.
Make sure that I have the following:
- An excellent midwife
- A recommendation to a good OB
- An acupuncturist
- A source for vitamin B/magnesium shots
- A good naturopath
Bible verse memorization – I find that having Scripture verses to recite during stressful or panicky times is truly a lifeline, and it’s one that I want to develop more fruitfully.
Regular prayer and Bible study
Personal and Practical
Make the most of the time. I find that the thought of future pregnancies helps me to treasure my time, and encourages me to use my time wisely – to take every advantage of time with my children, to train my children as much as possible in character and practical skills, etc.
Work on organizational projects as much as possible.
Read as widely and deeply as possible on the topic of health. (See my ever-growing booklist here.)
Strict VLC (very low carb)
Constant snacking – every hour once nausea begins
Lemon water, ACV water, or Good Girl Moonshine – lots of it. Do not drink plain water. Recommendations for other drinks: Pink Stork peach ginger tea, organic rooibos tea, Trader Joe’s mint melange tea.
Continue Epsom salts baths (daily)
Add digestive enzymes
Consider Protandim (this might also be a good pre-conception supplement)
Add super-powerful probiotic (like Bio-K Plus) and continue till worst of nausea subsides
Increase milk thistle to three per day
Really good prenatal multivitamin if not already taking (SuperMom, doTerra, etc.)
Buy paper supplies (plates, bowls, utensils)
Easy kid snacks – goldfish, healthy bars, raisins, juice boxes, cheese sticks, dry cereals
Put lots of toys away to reduce pick-up load
* Sourcing Information:
Very Low Carb Diet
Feel free to email me for the diet sheets I use in my pregnancies. To find very low carb recipes, Google “low carb” or “ketogenic” or “Trim Healthy Mama S meals” when you search. I should also note that at the time of this writing (January 2016), I am not following a strict VLC diet. Hopefully I’ll update on that soon – stay tuned for details.
Kefir is easy to make. Just buy grains or get some from a kefir-making friend, and follow easy directions for culturing plain milk. I unfortunately have not had good luck with it, so I buy plain, full-fat Lifeway kefir (or whatever is on sale) from Sprouts.
Kombucha can be purchased, but it’s so easy to make! My directions here. The longer you culture, the lower the sugar content.
Full-fat plain yogurt is also easy to find, but it’s pricey. I make a gallon a time at home.
The sauerkraut you buy in the supermarket is not real sauerkraut. It is heat-treated for sterility and not useful from a probiotic standpoint. Look for the words “raw” on the label. Raw sauerkraut is available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and most health food grocery stores. I buy raw Bubbies sauerkraut from Azure Standard.
The pickles you buy in the supermarket are not real pickles. They are heat-treated and not useful from a probiotic standpoint, and if you’re buying typical brand-name pickles, they are also loaded with toxic dyes, additives, and aluminum compounds. (For non-toxic regular pickles [non-probiotic], buy at Sprouts, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s.) For probiotic pickles, look for the words “raw” on the label. Raw pickles are available in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and most health food grocery stores. I buy raw Bubbies dill pickles from Azure Standard.
Okra- Vitamins and folate contained in okra help prevent spina bifida. You can buy frozen sliced okra from the grocery store at reasonable rates. Check out Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook for ideas on cooking okra (especially if you don’t like okra and want okra-hiding recipes!).
I buy flax seeds whole from Sprouts and grind in my blender, then freeze. Flax can go rancid very quickly, so it’s best to grind your own and keep it chilled whenever possible.
Gelatin or Collagen
I buy gelatin from Azure Standard. A (probably better) popular product can be purchased from Amazon. You can also buy gelatin or collagen from the Trim Healthy Mama Store (or the same THM products from Azure Standard).
Unrefined Sea Salt (Pink or Grey)
Pink sea salt is available very inexpensively in the bulk bins at Sprouts. Other types (purchased in smaller individual packages) at Sprouts or Whole Foods will be much more expensive.
From Azure Standard or Amazon.
Online, I buy supplements from Amazon.com and Azure Standard (available only in areas to which Azure Standard delivers) and Vitacost. I buy herbs locally from Desert Sage Herbs. I buy supplements locally at Sprouts Market, Trader Joe’s, and the medicinary at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona.
The most inexpensive way to purchase that we found was to buy a three-month supply through Amazon. This is not currently available, but we hope it comes back soon! It’s much more expensive through the product website.
Probiotics (Pill Form)
See Rachel’s recommendations.
I also eat raw liver. I purchase grass-fed organic liver, cut it into small pieces, and freeze them. I then thaw one per day, cut it with kitchen sheers, and take it with water (like a pill).
Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate) are available in any pharmacy store (Walgreen’s, CVS, etc.) or in the cosmetic/pharmaceutical area of any Walmart or Target. It can get quite pricey – most two pound bags run around $6 each, and you use two cups per bath. The best price I have found is the 50 lb. bag for around $45 from Azure standard.
Make your own
I buy Pink Stork Solutions. Check out this great company for other resources for difficult pregnancies and HG prevention.
Diana writes over at her blog, formerly The Whining Puker, which was originally devoted exclusively to the topic of extreme morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum). Our prayer is that this will make the difference between surviving and thriving for many moms. Diana’s blog is a treasure-trove of helpful information on Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and other issues in difficult pregnancies.
Now it’s your turn! What supplements and/or dietary changes are you using to prepare for possible pregnancies and to improve or prevent pregnancy health conditions?
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.“
DISCLAIMER: THIS INFORMATION IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE STATEMENTS MADE HERE HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION AND THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, PRESCRIBE, TREAT, OR CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE OR INJURY. DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT…YOU SHOULD ALWAYS ENGAGE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM AND CONSULT WITH YOUR MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL TO DETERMINE POTENTIAL DRUG INTERACTIONS AND SAFETY OF USE.
Thanks for reading!