Roughly two years ago I was trying to get pregnant with Maddox. I was frustrated because my cycles were irregular and I didn’t get pregnant right away. I decided to go back to The Nest for acupuncture. I remember talking to Sae, my acupuncturist, about some of the things that were going on with me: sinus congestion, sore throats, PMS, irregular periods. Sae told me that she was happy that I wasn’t pregnant yet. She felt that we needed to work on building me up before I got pregnant. When I saw her for my next appointment two weeks later, I had a positive pregnancy test. Of course I was ecstatic. Sae was happy for me but I could tell she had wished we had more time to work on me first. My pregnancy with Maddox was a little more challenging than my pregnancy with Brooks. I attributed this to chasing Brooks around but looking back I think that Maddox and I both would have benefited had I spent time healing myself. I had tons of sinus issues during my pregnancy. I had a painful double ear infection. Only 6 weeks after Maddox was born he was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. He developed eczema when he was three months old. He had 3 ear infections from the time he was 6 months old to 1 year. Although it is quite possible that all of this would have happened regardless of what I did, my intuition tells me differently.
According to Donna Gates from The Body Ecology Diet, “a baby’s inner ecosystem is passed down from the mother”. (Click here to read more about this) Therefore, if my gut biome was out of whack then I was passing this compromised system down to Maddox. I have spent the last six months trying to heal Maddox’s gut, but I can’t help but wonder if he would have had these problems if I done some things differently before and during my pregnancy.
The decision to get pregnant is an exciting but stressful time in a woman’s life. Every month that ends with her period instead of a positive pregnancy test is extremely disappointing. If you are like me, you want to be pregnant the minute you and your partner decide that you are ready. I remember a little over two years ago, I went into our wine cellar and we were out of Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite summer wine). I jokingly (but kind of seriously) went upstairs to tell Chris that it must be time to get pregnant. Honestly I didn’t think about preparing my body for the mighty task at hand. Instead I thought about drinking all the wine and eating all the sushi I could before it was no longer allowed. Looking back this seems silly. Of course we should prepare for the major undertaking of growing another human being. Clearly the wine I was drinking wasn’t helping anything.
So what would I do? I think if I were to decide to get pregnant again I would give myself a 6 month prep period to make sure that I was as healthy as possible. During this time, I would get acupunture. I would eat really clean- meaning organic veggies, organic fruits, grass-fed meats, organic chicken. I would cut out all gluten (damaging to the gut) as well as dairy, which is mucus forming. I would try to eliminate added sugar. I would drink in moderation. I would take probiotics and eat fermented foods daily. Fermented foods that are currently in my daily diet are, Vitality Super Greens, Farmhouse Culture Kimchi (I like the spicy ginger), Gut Shot (Also from Farmhouse Culture) , Bubbies Sauerkraut & Pickles, Kevita Probiotic Drinks, and occasionally kefir (I’ve had small amounts of goat milk kefir). I would also drink bone broth daily. Bone broth is loaded with vitamins, minerals, collagen, gelatin, and amino acids. According to The Bone Broth Miracle, pregnancy can “strain the naturally occurring levels of glycine”, which is an amino acid in bone broth that has important functions in the body such as converting energy to glucose, “regulating blood sugar levels, energy levels, DNA, RNA, and the production of bile”. Glutamine, another amino acid in bone broth, is helpful for healing the body and the intestines. It can also be helpful for weight issues. Collagen, which is abundant in bone broth, “strengthens hollow organs in the body, like the uterus, intestines, and artery walls.” Ariane, the author of ‘The Bone Broth Miracle’, goes on to say that “Type V (of the 28 or more types of collagen) makes up the placenta, hair, and the surface of cells.” I’m sipping on some homemade chicken bone broth as I write this.
My pregnancy diet would basically be the same as my pre-pregnancy prep diet. Remember, this way of eating isn’t about restricting calories. Actually, I’m a huge fan of high calorie, nutrient dense foods like nuts, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, and avocados. I’m a believer in eating whole, nutrient dense foods and listening to our bodies. Eat when you are are hungry. Don’t worry about how much you are eating. Instead worry about what you are eating.
Although I haven’t been successful in getting Maddox to eat everything I want him to, it is important to note, that his eczema is totally gone and he hasn’t had an ear infection in the four months since I started trying to heal his gut. The power of the food we eat is not to be questioned.
Obviously exercise shouldn’t be overlooked. Once again, I think it’s important to listen to our bodies. When you are trying to get pregnant or if you are pregnant, don’t feel like you need to push yourself. Be active but do what feels good.
Stress is another huge factor in our lives during this time. As challenging as it is, this is the most important time in our lives to carve out time for meditation. Start with 5 minutes a day. Take the time to take care of yourself.
I think it’s also important to mention that I have no financial gain to promoting any of these products. I do a lot of reading and these are things that I wished I had known two to four years ago. I think there is a serious lack of education on this subject. I have a lot of friends that have had fertility issues. I’m not trying to tell anyone that I can solve their problems. Although I haven’t experienced these things, my heart honestly breaks for you. I understand what a physically and emotionally stressful time this is and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Obviously I’m not a doctor or even a nutritonalist. I’m just a girl that wants to share what I’ve learned so far in the hopes that it can positively influence someone out there. Given the chance, this is what I would do with what I know now. I know it wouldn’t be perfect but our bodies are amazing at healing themselves. Sometimes they just need a little T.L.C.