This blog is not medical advice and is my personal experience with pregnancy. Always consult your doctor with questions. Also, any product mentioned in this blog I have personally used and there are no affiliate links.
I remember it like yesterday when the pregnancy test said positive.
We were visiting my husband’s family in Europe for our yearly summer trip. After lots of family fun and some late nights (one of which we watched the sun rise over the Volga River with a big group of friends), great food, lots of walking, and some Champagne and good beer, I missed my time of the month. I am always on time so I got a test the very next week. It was different than the plastic and convenient pee sticks here in the States. Instead it was a tiny paper test strip kind of like if we were testing our pool. Yup! Almost instantly it indicated pregnant. It was the best surprise and blessing of our lives.
From the day I saw the positive test result, I made a decision to have the healthiest and happiest pregnancy and because of this my pregnancy was amazing, my delivery was great, and our baby boy was (and is) healthy and strong.
Here are the steps I took to have the best pregnancy ever. (Except I have to say I did have really bad morning sickness that completely debilitated me, but once it went away and now that my son is four that part seems so small compared to all the other great parts.)
Decide where you want to give birth and find a recommended doctor (who you choose will be delivering your baby) and keep all your appointments on schedule. Some women will even choose a Doula or Hynobirthing Center.
The first step I took was to ask my friend with five kids on where she recommended me to go for my pre-natal doctor appointments. She recommended the best doctor and it just so happens that they delivered babies at the best hospital a few towns over that had a very unique birthing wing (There you recover in a hotel style room with shower and baby stays with you from birth as a hands-on learning experience with nurses to help when needed. Dad can even sleep over and order from their delicious food menu for two nights. On night two they served a celebration dinner – steak, lobster ravioli, even a glass of champagne for each of us. It was such a treat after not drinking for 9 months which frankly I got used to and liked -- but after those sips of Champagne I didn't drink while I breastfed so it was an extra extra special treat to enjoy.)
Make all your appointments according to schedule and keep them! The journey is incredible seeing your baby grow inside of you.
Hypnobirthing (at home or in the hospital) is another choice for moms-to-be and also getting a Doula, a person who provides emotional and physical support to you during your pregnancy and childbirth.
Clean eating and vitamins.
I found the best Pre-Natal Gummy Vitamins – easier for me to take and during morning sickness did not make me gag. Olly was the brand I chose and really love.
I also took Amazing Grass Super Greens (Alkalize and Detox) – it was approved by my doctor so make sure you bring everything into your appointments and ask first. For example, I use to use this Slimming Team to help with my digestion and it had Senna leaves in it which can induce labor! So that was a no-no while pregnant.
As for my diet, it was easy to eat healthy because I kept thinking, "Whatever I eat, baby eats." When I was pregnant I ate mostly whole foods – fruits, veggies, lean meats like fish and chicken, nuts, oils and fats like avocado, brown rice/quinoa, rice paste, Greek yogurt, and whole wheat bread occasionally but now I would eat this best tasting gluten-free bread if I were pregnant again. I think I ate organic eggs and organic chicken sausage too.
I swapped white tuna for light tuna 1x a week because the mercury levels are not healthy while pregnant, I didn’t eat sushi which I don’t anyway, no dairy which I don’t do anyway, and I avoided anything processed: chips, fried foods, and especially deli meats because Listeria and other bacteria can grow on these plus they have preservatives, nitrates, fillers, and more that are very unhealthy for you and baby.
Luckily I did not have any really strange cravings like these weirdest pregnancy cravings.
I also found this entertaining to read: what celebrities crave during pregnancy.
I did have such a craving for a turkey sandwich though so I went to Whole Foods and bought some deli turkey there to ensure there were no bad ingredients. Plus, I made sure to toast my sandwich at 350°F for five minutes to ensure any bacteria would cook out if there was any (which likely there’s not coming from Whole Foods, but you never know).
My other cravings while pregnant were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut up bell pepper/cucumbers/tomatoes mixed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and I craved Pad Thai so badly. They say don’t eat Pad Thai while pregnant but it’s really don’t eat the bean sprouts they put on top – again we can blame Listeria – or the possibility of it I should say.
I did order Pad Thai a few times during the 9 months at a quality Thai restaurant and I asked for no bean sprouts. I said I was pregnant so only healthy ingredients. Thai restaurants are not known to use MSG but just in case I told them.
Water was a huge part of clean eating – and this is tip #3.
Drink 100 ounces of water a day.
Water is truly your best friend. If you don’t drink enough water many complications can occur including just feeling low energy and experiencing headaches.
On any normal day (while not pregnant) we should drink half our body weight in ounces. But while pregnant 100 ounces of water a day is a magic number.
My friend gave me this tip and it is truly one of the best pieces of advice I received. This may seem like a lot of water but once you commit it’s pretty easy to do:
- Get a giant 25 ounce water bottle (I think most come in 24 oz but this is close enough), and drink a full one 4x a day. Morning, mid morning, afternoon, and night.
- Drink the water at room temperature - it will not be warm if you keep it in your house out of the sunlight or extreme heat. Not only is room temperature water easier to drink a lot of, but it's healthier for your organs and digestive system.
- There are water apps on your phone if you need a reminder on when to drink. After a week it just became normal routine for me.
My doctor always said that my fluid level around my baby was great and it was because of the water I was drinking.
"Low levels of Amniotic Fluid (the fluid around your growing baby) can lead to Maternal Health Conditions, including dehydration, diabetes, preeclampsia, hypoxia, and more as well as Infant Health Conditions, like birth defects (say, poor development of kidneys or the urinary tract), or inhibited growth." (Source)
Plus, your entire body works better and even looks better with bright, glowing skin. MindBodyGreen.com published a fab article listing 10 Reasons to Drink More Water:
- Increases Energy and Relieves Fatique
- Promotes Weight Loss (of course not while pregnant)
- Flushes out Toxins (very important while pregnant)
- Improves Skin Complexion
- Maintains Regularity
- Boosts Immune System
- Natural Headache Remedy
- Prevents Cramps and Sprains
- Puts you in a Good Mood
- Saves you Money (water is free and if store-bought still cheaper than other drinks)
And I can attest to needing water to keep regular. While pregnant we produce a hormone that slows down the digestive system and drinking 100 ounces of water a day will help you go #2 if you catch my drift.
Come up with your Pregnancy Mantra.
I am a big believer in gratitude and grateful intentions, meaning being grateful for things as if they already happened in order to speed them up to really becoming reality. Hope that made sense.
So my mantra had two parts and I said it often every day – even inside my head and I truly 100% with my entire being believed it.
“I am so grateful for a healthy, beautiful, strong baby boy. I am so grateful my pregnancy and delivery was smooth and healthy. I got this!”
Our thoughts are very powerful so when we say a mantra over and over, our brains create new neural pathways to make what you think come true. It’s very fascinating.
Click to learn more about the Law of Attraction and Pregnancy Meditation in our Ask the Expert blog.
Eliminate all worries.
I live by this rule anyway in day to day life while not pregnant because worrisome thoughts can actually and often times attract what you are worried about to come true.
We attract what we think.
So instead of worrying if your baby will have Down Syndrome change your thought to “My baby is healthy and strong.” And believe it. There’s no need to worry about everything that COULD go wrong.
Worried about whether or not you can give birth naturally? Don’t be! Let it go and when the day comes to give birth, you will do it. I was so busy working that I did not even take a birthing class or Lamaze! The day came and my body did what it was supposed to because my thoughts for 9 months were 100% I can do this. (Of course taking a pre-natal class or Lamaze will definitely help you so I'm not saying don't do these.)
A woman's body is made for giving birth. Trust your body. And once you give birth, you will feel like you can accomplish anything in the world. It’s an incredible feeling of pride and confidence. It’s almost indescribable. I was in awe that I birthed a baby. Complete magic.
Now, I’m not saying throw all inhibitions out the window and not care. I’m saying don’t let thoughts of what could go wrong occupy your mind during your pregnancy.
For example, when we got pregnant we had to buy and move into our first house in a different town before the baby was born. So this could have been a huge worry for me, but I decide to take action from day one and started looking for houses, met with a mortgage company to find out exactly what we needed to do to qualify, and then one by one we started knocking things off the list. Low and behold we were in our new house three days before our little boy decided to join us in this world. So, by not worry and taking action (and believing it would happen), we did it!
Repel negative and toxic energy.
Okay so when I was pregnant my husband and I were living in a one room studio apartment in a high rise with all the cool amenities – gym, pool, etc. – great for a couple, but not with a baby. We also worked together all day so we were always with each other. Our desks were practically back to back due to space.
So being together all the time mixed with both being strong Leo fire signs I knew that we could have our moments so I prepared myself and vowed that I would repel all negative energy whether it be an argument or anything that was not happy and positive. Sometimes people can just be in a crumby mood (which is okay - we all have our moments), but even this I did not want to penetrate my positive pregnancy.
You see babies feel our energy and when a pregnant mom-to-be is stressed, baby is stressed. It’s so important to keep the flow of positive pregnancy zen throughout your pregnancy. And don't worry if hormones get the best of you and you are snippy one day. The beautiful thing is, we can cancel the negative feelings and replace them with positive thoughts to turn the situation around. Click to learn about the "cancel cancel" method of positive thinking in our other blog. I personally never had raging hormones while pregnant. It was all pretty even, but every pregnancy is different.
So here’s what I did to repel negative energy. Now, it may sound a bit kooky but it works and I even use this sometimes today not being pregnant.
- First rule is do not engage in negative behavior yourself.
- Second rule, don’t respond to someone’s negative behavior with your own negative behavior – it’s not worth it.
- So instead, imagine a bubble of positive light all around you. Your Pregnancy Aura of Light as I call it. The brightest, warmest, and happiest energy source ever. When something negative comes at you, imagine that it hits your light bubble and transforms that negative energy into 10x the positive energy before it can pass through you (or you can imagine it bouncing off back to the person or thing that is making you feel negative vibes – I did this a few times and it makes you chuckle).
It works! And you know, my husband and I didn’t bicker as much when I did not engage in arguments. This taught me to listen more and then he started to listen more too.
Best remedies that will save you from the anguish of morning sickness.
Morning Sickness is no joke. It was debilitating for me. I am grateful I worked at home because I was sick and couch-bound for many weeks. I did however find some remedies that worked well to help the nauseous feeling so I could get up and work and I even had to attend a tradeshow and rooftop party my magazine had paid for and planned - everything went off without a hitch.
- Preggie Pops- best natural remedy for morning sickness
- Ginger Tea – Organic with one Stevia...yum!
- Organic Peppermints– I got mine at Trader Joe’s so the ingredients were healthy
- Green Apples – yummy and worked like magic.
Embrace morning sickness as best as possible. When I was up before the sun totally rose because I was sick, I started writing my book that I always wanted to write. The words poured out and in three months it was done.
Walk and get movin’.
So if you were not used to exercise before you got pregnant, they say not to start anything new. I should have heeded this advice when I tried a pregnancy yoga DVD (I pulled a butt muscle I never knew I had!). Before this I never tried yoga before. I'm more of a spinning gal.
However, walking is always safe and great for the body. Even if it’s 10 minutes a day – get out, get fresh air, and move that body.
The better the shape you are in, the better your delivery and healthier your baby will be. Also, the quicker you will bounce back after baby is born.
In fact, I did not gain much weight when I was prgnanct - 27 lbs if I remember correctly and 7 lbs was the baby. I was eating healthy, thinking healthy, and not drinking any alchohol plus all that water I was drinking really toned up my body. But a concern over gaining weight while pregnant was NEVER on my mind. In fact, I allowed my body to gain as it saw fit while making healthy choices.
Pack a MINIMALISTIC labor bag smartly by week 36.
I overpacked my labor bag so next time around if it’s meant for me to have another child, I will pack this minimalist labor bag. Here’s my top 10 list:
- #1 Toiletries
Items like toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, eco soap, comb/brush, lip balm, and simple makeup in case you want to freshen up for visitors and photos...I was so exhausted I wore ZERO makeup after giving birth, but then again I also didn’t have many visitors – my family is in another state, but my mom was there which was all that mattered…and my hubby too of course.
- #2 Comfy Sleepwear
This was one of the best recommendations to get a cotton tee-shirt style nightgown. The bottom is open, leave plenty of room for the belly area. Cotton is breathable and will keep you cool. The hospital will give you a robe and gown too.
- #3 Woombie Baby Swaddle
The Woombie is my go-to swaddle and was created by a nurse and mom of five. The nurses will burrito wrap your new baby in hospital blankets and boy do they make it look easy, but at 2AM when your baby wiggles out of the blanket swaddle and cries, trying to get it tight and perfectliek the nurses is really difficult. My husband nor me could figure it out. We felt bad we kept buzzing the nurses to help that first night.
The next day we had our Woombie baby swaddle packed – we waited until the next day when we were not tired since it was our first time trying it. We just put baby in and zip. That’s it.
The Woombie is the best baby swaddle because it recreates the womb environment after birth so baby feels comfortable, safe and secure. Our son didn’t and couldn’t or wiggle from this and slept without crying. It’s a MUST have in our home so I tell all moms about it. I always have two on hand in case one is in the wash.
- #4 Nursing bras with nursing pads.
- #5 Outfit for baby to go home in plus an extra just in case. Don’t forget socks, scratch mitts, and a hat (but the hospital gives you a hat too)!
- #6 Entertainment for mama: books, phone charger, iPad + charger, magazines.
- #7 Nipple cream. I love Tiny Human Supply Nipple Crack (@tinyhumansupply on Instagram).
- #8 Healthy Snacks
We lucked out with our hospital because they had really great food. However, I remember I started having contractions around 3PM in the afternoon. My water never broke like you see on TV (although I think sometimes this happens). Mine was more of a slow release of water every so often I felt in my undies.
I ended up cooking dinner while having contractions (in the beginning). I made jerk chicken, rice and salad. I wanted to make sure I had energy for the delivery and I wanted my husband to have a good home cooked meal since he would be on his own for a bit while I was in the hospital. I also brought some KIND Bars but now I would opt for "Bobo Bars" as we call them but the official name is Bobo's - these are the best gluten-free bars and so yummy.
- #9 Car seat
Make sure you know how to use it! We learned how to put it in the car but spent 30 minutes in the hospital trying to figure out how to strap baby in. Straps needed to be set up.
- #10 Pack all this in a Keababies Diaper Backpack - my absolute favorite and best diaper backpack!!
Enjoy being pregnant + bond with baby.
Take it all in and enjoy this special stage of connecting and watching your baby grow inside you. It’s truly incredible.
I cried when I first heard the heartbeat and I cried again the time they told me the baby’s sex. She said, “I see a penis” – I surely thought I was going to have a girl growing up with a single mom, but it was happy tears no matter what the gender was.
Don't forget that bonding with baby starts during pregnancy! I used to sing to my baby while in the car, talk to my baby, papa (the word we use for dad in our home) talked to baby, and it’s super fun and sometimes alien-like to see baby move in mama’s belly.
The Ilado Pregnancy Ball Necklace is the most beautiful way to bond with baby every day and stay centered as a pregnant woman.
How it works is there is a beautiful ball chime at the end of the elegantly long necklace that gently rolls across your belly while pregnant. The subtle chime is heard by baby inside the womb like a soft whisper. Then when baby is born, you take the ball chime off the necklace and put it inside the Ilado lovey and baby is then soothed and calm because they hear that familiar, beautiful, and faint chime sound.
Take all the moments in from your pre-natal appointments, to your special bonding moments, cravings, watching your body transform, your baby shower, having mocktails with friends, and more because once baby is born a whole new, beautiful, busy, and challenging-at-times life begins. Our lives changed so much but in the best way. No more late nights and champagne. Now we have Friday night make your own pizzas and dance parties in the livingroom (our son is almost 4 now) while my husband and I think that watching a show after our son is in bed is the best way to relax.
Every day is an adventure and you can start your beautiful journey of parenthood by choosing a positive, healthy, and happy pregnancy. The power is within you. You are magnificent.
You got this, mom. Congrats on your pregnancy!
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