with Naturopath Kasey Willson
Mentioned throughout the episode:
Free Guide To Overcome Your Pregnancy Nausea: https://www.glowingmumma.com/nomorenausea
Empowered Pregnancy Pop-Up Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/676338019702152
Path To Glowing Mumma Waitlist: https://www.glowingmumma.com/ptgm-waitlist
Are you planning a pregnancy or currently expecting?
Although this is such a special, exciting and joyous time, the first few days, weeks and months of pregnancy, especially first time around, can be overwhelming, nerve wracking and exhausting for you mentally, emotionally and physically.
If you're suspecting you are pregnant as your period is late, you've just discovered you're expecting, or you're in your first weeks or months of pregnancy, this episode is dedicated to you.
Once that discovery is made, whether planned or not, you do have some adjustments to make to your pre-pregnancy life (and there' are many more to come). You may be feeling a bit shocked with the changes to your newfound expecting Mumma life. On top of heightened pregnancy hormones, this can be enough to bring on the tears, frustration or even grieving of your non-pregnant lifestyle.
Here, I want to share some steps you could take in the early days and weeks of your confirmed pregnancy to make for a smoother transition when the possible (but likely) pregnancy symptoms are also thrown in the mix.
It's likely your precious energy is about to plummet during the midst of your first trimester, along with the dreaded nausea kicking in around week 6 gestation. Instead of focusing your limited energy source on coming up with the perfect baby name, how you will decorate the nursery or even what stroller will best match your baby collection, think about what is most important, right now.
Is nourishing your baby and supporting his/ her growth and development and providing an environment to protect them throughout this vulnerable period, high on your list?
Use these first few days and weeks before your symptoms creep in, to plan out nourishing meals and batch cook for filling up your freezer. When nausea is at it's peak, it's likely that cooking up dinner is not something you'll feel like doing. I made batches of savoury muffins, sweet potato shepards pie, slow cooked meat and veggies, stews, soups, butter chicken, mild curries, as well as fruit popsicles, frozen smoothie moulds, peeled bananas, basil pesto batches and pate so I had nourishing options to reach for in the weeks' ahead.
I also used these precious symptoms-free weeks to stock up on pantry items, like root vegetables, organic oats, rice, legumes, coconut cream, spices, tomato paste, small tinned fish, so I didn't have to worry about dragging myself to the shops in the peak of my symptoms.
I also made sure I had enough cultures to make up my fav gut health goodies to support my levels of beneficial gut bugs for their many functions - helping out digestion & absorption of nutrients, detoxification, immune support, brain health, energy and so much more.
I had a list of seven simple dishes that I or hubby could whip up and what ingredients we'd need to prepare them, ready for nights he'd need to take over the kitchen and cook on behalf of me. That way if I was feeling like throwing up in the corner, hubby was sorted with what he needed to do to get dinner on the table.
Having healthy carbs on had was key to getting me through the nauseous weeks. Favs were sweet potato chips, other roast vegetables, banana & berry (with hidden greens) smoothies and I was able to get in more meats and eggs (for important protein, iron and choline) when I had them mixed into a cooked rice dish like a fried rice, stirfry and a mild curry or butter chicken.
If you want my full guide to overcoming pregnancy nausea, head over to the show notes.
Use this time to also research food delivery companies to save your prescious time, energy and minimising feeling sick when in public. We truely are spoilt for choice with what you can have delivered to your door- organic produce included. I have patients who who live rural and access organics through delivery companies, add tack it onto their local courier delivery, so this even applies to you if you live in the country.
This is also a crucial time to get your supplementation game on, to ensure you're meeting critical nutrient demands to support your baby's development right from conception. Top of the list during your first weeks of pregnancy is iodine and folate.
Iodine deficiency increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal mortality, therefore getting adequate amounts is crucial for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Our soils are widely deficient in iodine, so a supplement of at least 220mcg of the mineral iodine is recommended in your prenatal multivitamin. Iodine also supports your baby’s intellectual development and adequate iodine is required for thyroid hormone production, for you and baby throughout pregnancy- during the first half of your pregnancy, your baby relies on your thyroid hormone production.
Supplying adequate folate promotes the healthy growth of your baby throughout childhood, by supporting normal DNA production and replication along with the formation of your red blood cells. Folate supplementation during your preconception stage and early pregnancy can reduce the risk of birth defects affecting your baby’s brain and/or spinal cord, such as the neural tube defect Spina Bifida.
Folate should be supplied from your daily prenatal throughout your preconception journey and at least up until 12 weeks’ gestation. If you have the MTHFR gene variant (up to 60% of the population do), which impacts the ability to utilise the synthetic form of folate (Folic acid), your folate should be in the activated form, called L-5- Methyltetrahydrofolate (also referred to as Levomefolic acid, or shortened to L-5-MTHF).
L-5- MTHF is the main biologically active form of folate naturally found in breastmilk and umbilical cord serum and is able to cross the blood brain barrier, where it can perform important brain health functions. Providing your folate in this form, along with consuming foods sources of bioavailable folate, will ensure you are absorbing effectively in the case of you having the MTHFR gene variant.
Folate rich foods include leafy greens such as spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, watercress, lettuce varieties). Eggs, lentils, beans, beef and chicken liver are also good dietary sources of folate. You can get my pate recipe over here.
Your GP, Obstetrician or Midwife may have given you an over the counter recommendation for a prenatal multivitamin, but know there is absolutely a difference in the quality and absorption of brands. This is where professional guidance from an Integrative GP, Nutritionist and Naturopath is a must. This guidance is available within my signature course for expecting Mum's, Path To Glowing Mumma.
Having this qualified guidance will also be helpful to gain natural medicine support for a pregnancy symptom first aid kit for when/if ailments arise.
If you've also considered using essential oils throughout pregnancy, curious to know how they can support you and what ones are safe, learn how to use them to overcome pregnancy nausea, here.
If you haven't conceived yet, ensure you're prepared and nourishing your body ready for conception, in my preconception guide, Glowing Mumma. To learn about other nutritional support for your pregnancy, join the wait list for my signature pregnancy and fourth trimester course Path To Glowing Mumma, here.
Social outings can be difficult to navigate in the first trimester if you're keeping your news a secret. To avoid awkward situations with passing on your fav glass of red or gin & soda, take control of catch ups and arrange where possible to meet with loved ones for brunch or lunch. This way you cans was your usual alcoholic beverage with a smoothie, juice, herbal cuppa or weak coffee. This will also free up your nights for sneaking into bed early. You'll thank me later! 7.30pm was a regular lights out for bed time, during my first tri.
If you're feeling alone with your new found (and ever-changing) symptoms, reach out to friends and family you trust who have been through pregnancy. They'll be understanding and provide you with a new outlook on your life going forward. It may be tricky for you if you're the first or very last couple of a friends circle to become parents, so ensuring you're reaching out for support, including professional support if called to, is important. This is what my Path To Glowing Mumma online course is all about- being there for and empowering expecting Mumma's through their pregnancy and fourth trimester.
Journalling of your daily changes, moods, energy levels and feelings can also be a therapeutic outlet and provide your health practitioner with important information on applicable updates.
As I mentioned back in episode 12, I'm a list girl.
During your pregnancy, making lists of what you need to do when, throughout your pregnancy gives you a good overview and clarity of what to focus your precious energy on. Jobs like pram shopping, nursery decorating and baby name shortlisting can be done in your second and third trimester.
Don't underestimate the power of simplifying your life has on reducing overwhelm. Your house will soon begin to fill with baby related items, so it's good to remove one old item as you introduce a new one. Every object in your home takes up space in your brain to remember where it is, so buying less ‘things’ and decluttering your home actually helps with reducing overwhelm. Use this as an opportunity to give to charities and those in need.
Us humans actually have a limit to our decision making capabilities before we start to mentally tire and consequently feel overwhelmed when faced with a challenge.1
Decluterring your spaces can help you reduce your mental overwhelm as you head into the peak of your pregnancy symptoms even just brushing your teeth takes effort. Creating systems, list making, decluttering and asking for help will all be helpful for you to savour energy for growing your little ones.
Hack your day to boost your brain power by taking on the tasks which require tip-top mental function and decision making, at the start of your day. Preferably straight after fuelling up on your daily MCT oil dose!
You can also take your brain on a mental holiday by minimising the effort and energy consumed by making smaller, everyday decisions. Reducing the content of your wardrobe to comfortable pregnancy appropriate clothes will help. Go out now and get yourself a belly extender so you can stay in your fav pants for longer, but I'd highly recommend a pair of pregnancy specific yoga pants- you'll live in these in weeks to come.
Keeping your stress levels down also helps to reduce your overwhelm. Evidence shows that the hormonal cortisol cascade experienced by a stressed mother during pregnancy can negatively influence a developing foetus.2
As your baby will quickly pick up on your distressed feelings, bringing relaxation exercises into your day is a powerful tool to reduce stress and promote a calm being for you and baby. Therapeutic activities for you to try to prevent or reduce heightened stress levels, include:
Insert here about benefits/ importance of stress release during pregnancy.
Other ways to reduce any stress that gets the better of you, include:
Long term, treating yourself to a regular acupuncture and/or massage therapy can help to prevent stress levels and feelings of overwhelm from taking over.
Set Yourself Up For A Nourished Pregnancy
Get in early and prepare your pregnancy space and environment now to make for an easier transition through the peak of your pregnancy symptoms. Prioritise your energy and focus on nourishing your bubba and consider ways you can take control of social outing, be more prepared, allow rest, reduce overwhelm and de-stress as you navigate through your pregnancy.
If pregnancy sickness is getting the better of you, head over to the show notes to download your guide to overcoming pregnancy nausea and consider adding yourself to the Path To Glowing Mumma waitlist for next level support through your pregnancy and fourth trimester journey.
1) Kathleen D. Vohs et al., “Running Head:Self Regulation and Choice” (unpublished conference paper, Chicago Booth Marketing Workshop, Chicago, Illinois, 2005)
2) The Timing of Prenatal Exposure to Maternal Cortisol and Psychosocial Stress is Associated with Human Infant Cognitive Development, Elysia Poggi Davis, Curt A. Sandman, Child Dev. Author manuscript; available in PMC March 26. Published in final edited form as: Child Dev 2010 Jan;81(1):131-148. doi. 10.1111/j.1467-. 8624.2009.01385.x