One of my colleagues told me she never felt better than when she was pregnant. Another one of my colleagues shared that her morning sickness stayed with her for the duration of her pregnancy, and throwing up became a part of her morning routine. I'd say I fall somewhere in between those two women, and while I don't feel like a glowing goddess of fertility, I do feel very fortunate to feel as well as I do, and know that any symptoms I do have are all to support the little life I am so incredibly blessed to be growing.
For those days and moments when I'm not feeling perfect, I turn to the following essentials to get me through (reminder: consult your doctor before ingesting anything new or putting anything new on your body)
**ETA: this post quickly became very long, so I will be back with part two next week!**
1. Peppermint Oil
One of the less glamorous side effects of pregnancy is the potential for heartburn, thanks to the hormone progesterone. This hormone relaxes our muscles to prepare our bodies for growing and delivering a tiny human and also relaxes the stomach valve that normally blocks acid from entering the esophagus. Yum. In an effort to stay away from over-the-counter heartburn medication, even if it is "safe" according to my doctor, I tried peppermint essential oil - and it worked! For real!
To use: dilute a bit a drop or two of your peppermint oil in your hand with some organic coconut oil (I use the same NOW Organic coconut oil that I use to remove eye make-up) and rub on your sternum. You can also use this solution on the bottoms of your feet, just above the arch.
Please note: using peppermint essential oils can reduce your milk supply, therefore, if you plan to breastfeed, it is recommended that you stop using the oil at around 34-36 weeks. I rely upon the Aromatherapy Trade Council for information on the safe use of essential oils and encourage you to do your research on the brand of oil you're purchasing and the manner in which you're choosing to use it.
2. My Foam Roller
My hip flexors and hamstrings are tight whether I'm pregnant or not. Years of long-distance running combined with insufficient stretching have left me a hot mess. I use my foam roller at least 4 times each week to roll out my hip flexors, IT band, hamstrings, upper back, booty, calf muscles...and it is a little miracle-worker. You can easily find foam rollers on Amazon, at your local sporting good's store, or even at Macy's, where I was able to order mine with a gift card from my wedding.
3. Herbal Tea
Herbal tea can be controversial for pregnant women, so please check with your doctor before diving in. My doctor gave me the green light, so I drink it with relative abandon. I am a coffee-lover, so herbal tea provides a placebo effect to help me wean myself off of my caffeine dependence. It was also incredibly soothing when I suffered through a bad winter cold and sinus infection. You can't take much when you are pregnant and sick, so take advantage of any comfort you can find!
This is so simple it almost seems as though it goes without saying, but unfortunately, many pregnant women do not get enough water. Water plays an important role in developing your baby and can help reduce swelling, among other health benefits that impact both pregnant women and those who aren't pregnant alike. A cute water bottle can go a long way in promoting hydration. Some of my favorites are here, here + here (I love this one in seafoam!).
I've mentioned before that I don't love salads. I also don't eat red meat, so I do need to be mindful of my iron sources to maintain healthy iron levels. Green smoothies to the rescue! I drink a greens + produce-only smoothie in the morning, and I also enjoy smoothies with dark leafy greens, produce, almond or coconut milk and an easily-digestible protein source for lunch or even dinner. Consider investing in a greens blend or plant-based protein powder to enhance your smoothies (and of course touch base with your doctor before you guzzle down).
Stay tuned for more essentials next week!