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I asked recently on Facebook if anyone wanted pregnancy updates from me.  It seems they do.

I don’t have as much time to share this time as I did last time (I did weekly updates then), so I will probably do monthly updates.  I do want to at least give you a quick update now, since I haven’t said anything already for a month, and didn’t say much then!

Hello, Second Trimester

I’m officially into my second trimester — I hit 14 weeks last weekend.  It was a milestone because it’s always awesome to be in a new trimester.  It was less of a milestone because I’d already been feeling normal for 5 weeks.  Yes — I’ve been nausea-free since 9 weeks.  This has been the easiest pregnancy so far.  Let me explain….

After Jacob was born (Aug 2011), I paid close attention to my postpartum recovery.  I noticed I was craving chocolate and my magnesium levels were low (chocolate craving is a sign).  I used Epsom salt baths to help, although I didn’t know about the more effective magnesium chloride then.  I tried to eat a nutrient-dense diet and balance rest and exercise.  Once he hit around 9 months old, I decided I needed to start preparing my body again, since we were sort of hoping to conceive when he was around 18 months old.  It was my plan to begin taking a liquid herbal multivitamin, doing magnesium chloride baths, exercising, and making sure I was eating extremely well.

Before I could start, though, I found out I was pregnant.

As soon as the positive test came back, I started these things.  I began taking my homemade liquid herbal multivitamin (no specific dose — basically whatever I felt I ‘craved’ at that time.  I’d guess 1 – 2 tbsp. per day).  I bought magnesium chloride flakes and used them in either a foot bath or a tub bath every few days.  I began to eat the healthiest food I could think of, especially lots of fresh food, that thankfully was in season and easy to come by this time!

I credit these choices for the easy pregnancy I have had.  I had very minor nausea and only a few food aversions (rice, lean protein) which are gone now.  I felt noticeably different on the few days I forgot to take the multivitamin or if I went too many days without a magnesium bath.  Weeks 7 and 8 were the hardest — I was very tired and the food aversions were strong (but minimal, thankfully).  By week 9 I felt normal again.

What Causes Morning Sickness?

After the research I’ve done and the experience I had, I think I have a good idea what causes morning sickness.

(In contrast, when I did not know these things and did not do them, my third pregnancy was the hardest on me.  Looking back I’m pretty sure I was seriously deficient in certain key nutrients.  Not as much as previously since I was eating better, but certainly a lot more than I am this time.  I had morning sickness/food aversions all the way through.)

We are often told in our first trimester, “It does not matter if you’re nauseous and only eat junk food or don’t eat much at all.  Baby is tiny and really doesn’t need much anyway.”  I beg to differ.

At this stage, the baby turns from a tiny ball of cells into a miniature, mostly-formed person.  All of the baby’s vital systems form, and this requires a massive amount of nutrients.  Fat and calories — no.  Nutrients — yes!  Nutrition is absolutely critical right now, and nausea is the result of severe deficiency.

The best way to head off morning sickness is to do these things either while trying to conceive or as soon as you know you’re pregnant:

  • Twice a week up to daily magnesium baths (1/2 c. in foot bath; 2 c. in tub bath.  Ideally magnesium chloride)
  • At least 1 tbsp. daily of a liquid herbal multivitamin (Trilight Health makes one if you don’t want to or don’t have the time to make your own)
  • Make fresh fruit and vegetable juice — I juiced spinach, parsley, carrot, pineapple, kiwi, lime, ginger, and blueberries.  Juice, rather than smoothies, to get the concentrated nutrients without the fiber
  • Drink a pregnancy tea blend made from red raspberry leaf, nettle, and oatstraw daily, lightly sweetened with raw honey
  • Get light exercise outdoors (for sun and fresh air)
  • Take at least 1.5 tsp. of fermented cod liver oil daily
  • Eat what you crave, especially fresh foods, and try to make as much of it nutrient-dense as possible.  I craved fresh fruits, whole wheat sourdough with grass-fed butter, etc.

These things will pour nutrients rapidly into your body so that your developing baby has what it needs.  Baby has a better chance of being very healthy, and you have a better chance of avoiding nausea.  There have been some women I have talked to who had hyperemesis in some pregnancies, but after doing things similar to these (especially supplementing magnesium), had no morning sickness subsequently!  It is that powerful.

I continue to pay attention to how I feel and make sure to continue taking my supplements now and taking magnesium baths, although not quite as frequently.  The result has been an immense amount of energy.  I actually want to take long walks, chase my children around, spend all day on my feet cooking, and so on.  It’s been awhile since I’ve felt so good.  If I could afford to juice more often, eat more salads, and if I were “good” enough to avoid sugar (ha), I’d feel even better.  I will probably try to do exactly that in my third trimester, along with having lots of probiotic foods, to give my baby the best start to life possible.  More details on that when I get there…which will come only too quickly!

Testing, Testing

There are many who advocate for minimal testing in pregnancy — initial blood panel, one ultrasound, etc.  If you have a history that is even somewhat complicated (any miscarriages, infertility, spotting episodes, pre-term delivery even if past 35 weeks), then these might be a good idea.

I have the least complicated maternity history ever.  I am pregnant for the fourth time and I have three children — I’ve had no miscarriages.  I’ve never struggled with infertility (this was sort of a surprise this time…).  I’ve never had pre-term labor or delivery.  I’ve never had any complications whatsoever.

Given my history, I feel no need for any testing whatsoever.

I won’t be refusing external palpations to check baby’s position, urine testing, blood pressure, the use of a fetoscope, and other non-invasive testing because I see no reason to do so.  They will not cause any harm to the baby and could potentially indicate a need for further testing.  I don’t think all women need them and with my history, I could easily refuse them.  But I cooperate, because there is no risk. :)

I will not, however, have any blood tests, internal exams, or ultrasounds.  At all.  (Unless there is a specific medical indication.)  I don’t feel that I need them for any reason.  We can tell the position of the baby from external exams.  I’m not anemic (wasn’t at all in my third pregnancy either).  We don’t plan to find out the sex of the baby.  The very tiny chance that there is something wrong with the baby is not going to change our plans to keep the baby or birth at home.  I won’t need someone to tell me if my uterus “feels” pregnant or how dilated I am in my final weeks (I can check myself if I so desire).

If you do not want these things, you do not have to consent to them.  I would only personal consent if there was a specific medical indication in my current pregnancy that the benefits of a test would outweigh the risks.  Otherwise, no.  I will not do routine tests.

Final Thoughts

That is where we are right now!  Moving right through pregnancy, baby’s growing nicely (mostly based on how I constantly feel ‘bigger’ lol).  We heard baby’s heartbeat at our 12-week appointment and it was a strong 170.  We suspect a girl.  In fact, the older two kids are totally convinced the baby must be a girl.  ”We already have a boy baby, now we are going to have a girl baby,” says my oldest.

I’ll have another midwives’ appointment in two weeks, and otherwise things are…sailing right along!  Lots of energy, feeling good, keeping up with life in general. :)

How is your pregnancy going?

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This is the writings of:

Kate is wife to Ben and mommy to Bekah (5), Daniel (4), Jacob (2), and Nathan (born March 2013). She is passionate about God, health, and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and a book entitled A Practical Guide to Children's Health. When she's not blogging, she's in the kitchen, sewing, or homeschooling her children. You can also find her as a contributor at Keeper of the Home.

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10 Comments

  1. I’m about 12 weeks and I have been craving fruits and vegetables. I find they make my morning sickness actually worse because they aren’t very filling, and have a lot of acid.

    Reply

  2. Regarding the hearing your baby’s heartbeat at 12 weeks…that was with a fetoscope? I’m about five weeks pregnant with our third and recently found out that one minute of Doppler usage is equal to 35 (!) minutes of ultrasound. I always refused ultrasounds (for no medical reason) because I knew that they weren’t known to be safe, but I thought Doppler usage was okay, especially since my midwives never told me otherwise. Needless to say, after reading that, I don’t want to use a Doppler this time around, but thought you couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat with a fetoscope until at least 15 weeks or so…?

    Reply

    • No, it was a Doppler. I wanted to hear it for peace of mind, and told the midwife to do it only if she could get the heartbeat quickly. She doesn’t like to do it either. Luckily the second it touched my belly we heard the heartbeat so exposure was extremely minimal, less than 30 sec.

      Reply

      • OK…good to know. I was considering doing that the first time as well, just for my peace of mind as well. So how early can you hear with a fetoscope then? And I’ve heard those are difficult to use while in labour…is that true? What has been your experience with that?

        Reply

        • I wouldn’t say Dopplers are awesome, obviously, but sometimes it’s a risk/benefit…you know? If you’re freaking out or feeling anxious about the baby and hearing baby’s heartbeat briefly calms you down, then do it. I may refuse at my next appointment (16 weeks) because I know I’m growing and I can almost feel the baby…and very soon I *will* feel the baby moving! Fetoscopes are usually effective around 20 weeks, give or take, at least according to my midwives. They don’t typically use them in labor because you have to lie on your back and be very still for a couple of minutes, which is difficult. They use the Doppler because they can catch you in between a contraction and check the heartbeat in seconds. HOWEVER, if baby is moving and you are feeling well there is not necessarily a need to check on baby in labor. I will be exploring this possibility this time around, I think. Especially if you labor/deliver quickly (which I have a feeling I will, especially given that I had a 3-hour labor last time and I’m even healthier/more “experienced” this time!), then there’s not much to be gained from checking. IF baby was not moving, mother spiked a fever, or there was ANY indication of a problem, even mother’s intuition, then I would say check the baby. But we don’t “need” as much monitoring as we think. It becomes a risk/benefit again…including peace of mind for you/your midwife.

          Reply

          • Yes, I know what you mean about the risk/benefit and refusing them at other times. And that’s interesting about possibly not checking the baby’s heartbeat during labor if all other signs are good…definitely something to talk about with my midwife this time around. We’ve moved to a different state since my last birth so I have a new midwife and I’m very excited about all of her knowledge (she’s who I learned about the Doppler/ultrasound thing from), especially in the natural/non-intervention realm. My other midwife was a CNM and the medical/nurse training was definitely apparent in regard to intervention, etc.

            On another subject you mentioned in this post, where do you get magnesium chloride flakes and how are they more effective than Epsom salts?

            Thank you so much for all this info and for replying so quickly…I really appreciate it!

    • I have never heard that about Doppler! My midwife used it during my early prenatal appointments and then during labor. She always asked my permission to do so. I just had no idea there was any reason I would refuse! I would be really interested to read more if you have a good source. Thanks!

      Reply

      • Shannon -

        I don’t know if that question was directed at me or MAM, but where I found out about the Doppler usage being so much stronger than ultrasound was from a manual of sorts that my new midwife put together for her clients. I plan on asking her more about it since I was very surprised! Maybe MAM has some other resources as well since I too would love to research it some more.

        Reply

  3. Great info about the magnesium! Looking up it right now! ;)

    Reply

  4. Wow! I am seriously excited you may have found the solution for morning sickness and pregnancy exhaustion. That first trimester was tough last time. I want to start this regimen right away so I can be ready whenever #2 comes along. This especially hit home because I have been intensely craving chocolate for the past couple of weeks (I’m still nursing my 13 month old). I’ve been trying to resist because I don’t want the extra sugar/caffeine. I will try the Magnesium baths now. Did you follow a specific nutrient dense eating plan like Brewer Diet or the Weston A Price Pregnancy/Nursing diet? How do you make your multivitamin?

    Reply

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