Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pampering The Expectant Mama

Welcome to our Practical Saturday post for large family living.  This is when and where we share some of the things that have helped us along the way to raising our large family.  Things we wish we would have known years ago, like around child # 5.  Today I want to share the importance of taking care of your pregnant-again body.  The older I get and the more babies I have, the more I have had to seek out extra ways to keep myself and the wee one growing within safe and healthy.

There is something inexpressibly sweet and sacred
about the preparations that an expectant mother makes for a new little one.
When all has been done that love can prompt, there is  a soft, solemn hush of expectancy
while one stands awaiting the coming of this tender little life.
  And with the waiting comes the need to properly nourish the wee one and myself. 
A mama to many will likely need to take steps to ensure a healthy and more enjoyable pregnancy.
  I tell myself it is good for my character,
and that all things worthwhile are never easy.  


1. EAT.  Although an expectant mama may crave certain foods, these are usually to be avoided.  Carbs and sweets will only add to my fat, not feed my baby.  When I crave sweets, I probably need protein.  80 grams a day is a whole lot to take in, yet that is what has been determined by nutritionists as an ideal amount.
Whey protein powder added to a smoothie has been very helpful to me.  Some have more sugars than others, and  they vary in protein count as well.  I look for a low sugar, high protein product, such as Standard Process whole foods.
Eating organic meat has been proven to reduce pain during birth.  I believe this to be true, it certainly has been true in my experience.  Not everyone can afford such luxuries, but if you need a little push to get your family on an organic meat diet, maybe this is it for you.  We are big hunters, so all our red meat is naturally organic.  LOVE THAT.  We purchase organic chickens by the case from a grower, which is significantly less expensive than from a  store or co-op. 
To keep from gaining a lot of weight, I have always kept a rule of no seconds, and no snacking, which has helped me stay in the 30 lb. radius for total weight gain during a pregnancy.  Now that I am older and have blood sugar issues, I have to eat more often.  To do this without delving into the yummy treats I may have around, I keep a box of protein bars in the back of the pantry.  I do not particularly like the taste of them, which is a good thing, so I only eat them when I really need to.

2. DRINK. A gallon of water a day.  I have done this and it has helped my energy as well as belittle the stretch marks.  I try to drink as much as possible in the earlier part of the day so that I can sleep at night, without so many trips to the potty.

3. WALK.  I am always blessed when I walk at least 1  mile a day during a pregnancy.  Walking tones the uterus, helping it be in shape for labor, it also strengthens the perineum, which will improve postpartum recovery.  Above all else, walking is good for the mind and soul.  When walking by myself, I can talk to God, pray for my family, and pray for the wee one.  My midwife says that in over a 20 year period, she charted all her mamas and the ones that walked at least a mile a day all had faster labors than the ones that did not walk.  That is encouragement enough for me.



4. SUPPLEMENT.  Calcium and protein levels are especially important.  The older I get, the more my body seems to need.  It has given out  of it’s stores many times before to nourish the wee one forming in my womb, and now I must replenish the stores to keep myself and baby functioning well.  Prenatal vitamins often times are not absorbed by the body efficiently, so some mamas need to take in vitamins and minerals from other sources.
Spirulina has been the single most effective supplement I have successfully used.  It is very high in protein and calcium, is a plant, so it is easily used by your body, and is fairly tasteless.  I buy it from the BULK HERB STORE.  It can then be encapsulated, or simply added to a morning smoothie.  1 banana, 1 scoop of whey protein powder, and 2 tsp. Spirulina with 12 oz. water makes an addictive breakfast, even for a  queasy tummy. A mama who gets leg cramps often is not getting enough calcium.  Your body will rob you of yours to make enough for baby.  She who does not heed may not have teeth in 10 years.
The expectant mama also needs extra fiber to help manage all the protein, keeping bowels moving well.  Spirulina will help this too.  I have found that drinking an 8 oz. glass of tomato juice is a wonderful  and simple help.
When I am suffering from extreme fatigue during a pregnancy, I know I need to up my vitamin B12.  Last pregnancy, I ended up taking shots every week, which helped me tremendously.  Spiralina is also known for improving energy, it just has so many wonderful qualities.

When I was young, I sailed through my pregnancies with no problem, no worries.
  As I have aged, This has changed.
  The likely hood of “tired uterus”,  fatigue, and blood pressure issues may increase
with the number of babies you have. 
Being careful could possibly change that. 
It is worth the effort.



The joy of a new bundle of blessing is never appreciated more than when you feel well.
Determining to make the most of what you have to work with will no doubt pay off
when your precious little one is snuggled in your arms,
and you have the energy and wellness to fully enjoy the short season of newborn bliss.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Julianne,
You have posted wise suggestions. On my current blog I have linked to this post.