Pregnancy: My Honest Experience + Survival Guide

A few valuable tips to help you gracefully go through pregnancy...

Pregnancy: My Honest Experience + Survival Guide

 

Pregnancy is kind of a ride!

I am sure those of you who’ve actually went through it could agree. At the same time, 9 months of your life can seem like forever when you’re going through this, but it’s still very temporary and goes super quickly (luckily or not, everyone is different).

To be perfectly honest, I can’t say I loved being pregnant. But I can’t say I hated it either. In fact, it was an interesting experience (if I forget about the first 3 months, during which I have been so, so, so sick!).

I talked more about morning sickness, my food aversions and weird cravings in more details in this post.

The things I disliked the most a part from morning sickness were the unbearable tiredness (also mostly during the first half of the pregnancy), the inability to keep exercising as I used to, some kind of pain in the hip flexors, and the fact of feeling more vulnerable generally speaking.

The things that I liked the most were being able to take a nap whenever you want without culpability, taking it easy, generally speaking, feeling the baby move and getting informed about what was happening in my body as he was growing inside me.

I was super lucky to have a very healthy pregnancy. Not only everything went smoothly and instinctively but my health (and baby’s health) during pregnancy were great! My blood sugar was good, I didn’t have to stay lying down at any time, I didn’t put too much weight on (something that was worrying me before getting pregnant as you might guess), I stayed active till the birth and actually got heaps of energy during the last two months.

I have to say, I had a great pregnancy. I was going to gigs just a couple of weeks before the birth and kept travelling till I was 7.5 months pregnant. And the birth was such an amazing experience! Read about it here.

I am pretty sure this didn’t happen by chance. I deeply believe that – because I had managed to correctly prepare my body to get pregnant – I experienced a healthy pregnancy – and a healthy baby – as a results. I am talking more about that and what you can do to prepare your body to create a baby in this post.

But for now, I’d just like to share with you a few things that – I am sure – are going to make your pregnancy even better and more graceful:

 

Coffee substitute

If you’re reading about pregnancy, you probably know that caffeine causes miscarriages.

As I suspected I could be low in progesterone (more about that here), I decided it was safe to stay away from any kind of caffeine – as recommended by my doctor and as I think every pregnant woman should do.

But you know, I love my morning coffee… So I bought different alternatives. The first one was organic Swiss Water Decaf – I drank quite a few cups of this one – and the second was caroffee – a coffee replacement made with carob. This one was given to me by my little sister who knows I loved coffee and it’s definitely a great and healthy option. Ask for it at your local health food store.

 

Essential oils

You have to stay away from most essential oils when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. So be aware of that.

Luckily you can still use some of them. I know I loved using lavender in the second half of my pregnancy for relaxation. You can find a completed guide on what to use and what to avoid here.

 

Natural oils for stretch marks

It seems that you can’t do much to avoid stretch marks. Whether you have a skin that has a tendency to have some or you don’t. So even-though using oils won’t totally prevent stretch marks, they will still help.

I found out I don’t have issues with stretch marks but I still used coconut oil, shea butter, calendula oil and other blends of delicious smelling dry oils on my belly and lower back every other day (or so). Even if your skin seems to resist stretch marks it definitely needs it a lot.

I particularly loved the TanOrganic blend with aloe vera, rosehip, argan and orange peel oils.

Don’t forget your lower back when you apply the oils because your skin will start to stretch from your back (not only on your belly).

 

Remedies for the “mask of pregnancy”

When you’re pregnant, you’ll be subject to hyper pigmentation. This results in brown patches developing with sun exposure, especially on the face. Nope, this is not pretty at all and we all want to avoid that!

This is especially painful when you live in a hot and sunny country like I do. Or are pregnant in summer.

You’re much more sensitive from the second trimester onwards, so if you have to plan a holiday, plan accordingly. If you can’t avoid the sun during your pregnancy, I suggest wearing hats, sun glasses and a very powerful sun block.

Even if I did all of that I still managed to get some brown patches on my face. I was so, so upset about that! I did heaps of researches to find a solution and here is what I found…

You can create a mask with fresh parsley and lemon juice. Just blend both and keep in the fridge. Apply on the affected area just before going to bed – as it’s UV sensitive. Do that for 2-3 weeks.

You can also apply apple cider vinegar (mix 1/2 ACV and 1/2 water) and spray on the patches. Leave for a few minutes and then rinse.

I found out that these 2 solutions will attenuate the patches during pregnancy. The first winter after the birth, you’ll see that your skin will do the rest of the job, making the patches almost invisible.

 

Pregnancy multi-vitamin

Of course, I think it’s pretty important to take a daily multi vitamin for pregnancy – even a few months before you get pregnant if you’re planning on having a baby.

Here are the things you have to look for when choosing a good brand…

You want to have some iron, folic acid, iodine and a good source of omega 3s in it. I used the Vitabiotics brand and I was very happy with it. It’s a complete supplement and I kept taking it for almost a year postpartum to help me boost my immune system and energy and support breastfeeding.

Also be careful to use a supplement designed and approved for pregnancy. Pregnant women have special needs to create a healthy baby. For example you DON’T want any vitamin A in your supplement at all, as it can arm your baby’s development.

Personally, I think it’s very important to support your body with a supplement while being pregnant and breastfeeding.

For example, you don’t want to be low in iron to give birth. In the past, women died giving birth being anaemic because they lost too much blood. Your body has to create 50% more blood than its usual quantity, so you bet you might be low in iron, even with a balanced and healthy diet.

The same works for omega 3s. They are essential to support you baby’s developing nervous system. Of course, feel free to get plenty from your diet, but I think a little help won’t arm.

 

Exercise

I kept exercising during pregnancy but much less than before. As I used to lift weights and do a few HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions per week, I guess I had to slow down.

In fact, during the first trimester, I could barely exercise due to morning sickness and then after that I realised I had to take it easy. Your energy levels change so much, you’ll have to adjust and go with the flow.

So I kept doing a bit of cardio, and body weight exercises as well as some kind of stretching. All in all it wasn’t much nor intense in any way but I was super healthy and could still exercise till almost the end of the pregnancy. I did a 8km trail – walking not running – when I was 8 months pregnant and I most probably reached my limits there. A couple of days after, I could barely walk because my hip flexors were super painful.

So, even though it’s important to stay active during pregnancy, you really have to take it easy or your body will remind you that you are growing a baby in its own way.

 

Pregnancy clothes

Each time I gave it a try, I gave up. Not only the pregnancy clothes I found were really not appealing to me, I couldn’t get my mind around the fact of spending that amount of money (pregnancy clothes aren’t cheap) for something I was going to wear a few months + didn’t like).

It actually turned out it wasn’t an issue. I spent my entire pregnancy wearing my own clothes. Of course I didn’t fit in my skinny jeans anymore but I wore elastic dresses and skirts, boyfriends jeans with very low waist, and normal size dresses that were short but were totally okay with a black legging.

Okay, I actually bought a few pairs of pregnancy leggings to wear with those dresses, but that was pretty much it.

It was a bit hard not to be able to buy new clothes for 9 months though – especially because we travelled to places with nice shops such as London and Berlin while I was pregnant. But I still bought a couple of normal size dresses that were handy for pregnancy. One of them I am wearing today and it turns out it’s even more beautiful without being pregnant.

As my bump was at its peak in winter, I also bought a couple of large wool cardigans to keep warm, which I am still wearing now too.

All in all, I don’t think you have to spend crazy amounts of money on pregnancy clothes that are not stylish.

 

Alcohol replacement

Of course, you can’t drink while being pregnant (and you’re crazy if you do).

Even if people used to say that one glass was ok. It’s been shown that it’s actually NOT ok. The alcohol you ingest goes straight to your placenta, impacting directly your baby, without any filter whatsoever. Of course, this can have a dramatic impact on your baby’s health and development and I totally recommend to stay away from it while pregnant. I think it’s way less dangerous when you’re breastfeeding but that’s another story.

I didn’t drink one drop of alcohol while being pregnant and even if I didn’t miss it one second, having something a bit more fun than just water when you’re celebrating (birthdays, new year’s eve, weddings, etc) can be really nice.

My trick was to make my own infused sparkling water with lime, mint, strawberries, cucumber, ginger, etc. Coconut water kefir with some lime is also a great alternative and tastes almost like Champagne.

You’ll see, even if you like your little glass of wine, I found that your tastes change so much while pregnant, you won’t even think about it anymore. On my side, I could clearly feel that Théo was already dictating my choices from the inside and he definitely didn’t want alcohol at all!

 

Now, I would love hearing from you! Can you relate to that? What are your tips for a graceful and easy pregnancy? Please share them in the comments below, so we can all benefit from them in this very special period of our lives 😉

 

Pauline

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