PregnancyjpgThere are few events in life that rival the significance of bringing a new person into the world.  It’s a highlight of many women’s lives! It is so important that you’ll do anything to nurture and to protect your baby.  And of course, we want to do everything we can to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and a wonderful beginning to our children’s lives.  

 There’s no doubt that pregnancy brings many physical and mental changes.  There are typically loads of questions and planning involved upon finding out one is pregnant.  The obvious planning questions – How will this affect my marriage and the rest of my family? Do I want to find out the gender?  How will I manage financially? And then there are the fun aspects – creating a baby registry, selecting a nursery theme, finding cute baby gear (from adorable local shops like Moonlit Lullaby and Island Child.)  Then, there are the “not-so-nice” aspects – Will I really vomit every morning? (And I can say, from experience, that “morning sickness” is not just in the morning!) Do I really get hemorrhoids? How much will my feet swell?  Can I drink coffee? Can I eat sushi?

The information below is about some of these “not-so-nice” aspects of pregnancy, with some tips to manage.  Note: For me, and many others, pregnancy is a time when conventional remedies for common occurrences may not be the answer.  And most doctors even advise avoiding medications in the first trimester. Complications and side effects to the unborn child make looking to natural products a priority for many expectant moms.  With all of the side effects of medicine and prescriptions, I have found the following natural remedies to be more effective and safer to have in my pregnancy “toolkit!” You might, too!**

Settled Stomach:  It’s not just in the morning.  It’s any time of day, especially during the first trimester.  Some things that may help: eat smaller and frequent meals, drink small amounts frequently throughout the day, get out of bed slowly, smell pure high-quality peppermint essential oil, drink ginger tea, and prioritize rest.  

Healthy Digestion:  It’s not so much about the “heart,” but more about the stomach acid staying down!  Most doctors advise that it’s fine to use an antacid preparation, but not baking soda or sodium bicarbonate preparations.  Some other natural solutions that have helped are to elevate your pillows and to rub a drop of pure high-quality lemon essential oil on your sternum.  

Backache:  As the womb grows, and the joints in the pelvis relax, most women experience backaches.  Comfortable shoes and good posture can help. Developing a routine of back exercises every day from the beginning of the pregnancy has been super helpful.  Although this is my second pregnancy, I am on my feet a lot and must keep up with my busy two-year-old. The 10-Minute Solution Prenatal Pilates DVD has been my go-to for preventing back pain.  In Bluffton, fitness studios like Flow Space Fitness or Pure Barre can also tailor exercises for pregnant women.  

Restful Sleep:  Many women feel that they could fall asleep at any time during the first trimester since they are so fatigued.  Yet, later on in the pregnancy, most women find it difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Exercising a few hours before bed or taking a warm bath might help to facilitate more restful sleep.  Another effective option from my experience is to diffuse pure high-quality lavender essential oil or put a drop under my pillow at night.

Hemorrhoids:  Probably the most unpleasant and uncomfortable to talk about!  Hemorrhoids can be caused due to the blockage of circulation from a growing baby or constipation.  One way to prevent this is to eat smaller and frequent meals of high-fiber foods – such as fruit, vegetables, bran products and to drink lots of water.  Be sure to ask your doctor before using any over-the-counter ointments or remedies.

Emotional Health:  With such a major life event, it’s reasonable to have some worries and concerns:  Will I be a good parent? What if there is a complication during pregnancy or during labor?  What I should I plan for after maternity leave? Faith/spiritual wellness, exercise for stress management, and a calming nighttime routine to ensure proper rest can help.  For the latter, I’d recommend a nighttime bath and diffusing either lavender or frankincense essential oils. Self-care is so important for pregnancy and motherhood! These can complement your faith development and spiritual wellness as well by using them during prayer or devotionals.  Lastly, we live in an area where the weather is nice – sometimes a short walk outside can help to manage anxiety.

Circulation:  Pressure from the growing baby and changing hormones can cause swelling, especially in your legs.  Resting with your legs elevated, especially at the end of a long day, can help reduce swelling. Rubbing a drop of pure high-quality cypress essential oil or Young Living’s Panaway essential oil blend can also help with promoting circulation and reducing swelling.

Avoiding toxins:  Have you examined what’s in your cleaning products?  After researching more about the dangers and risks of the toxins in many of the mainstream household cleaning products, I made the decision to switch to nontoxic products, such as Young Living’s Thieves All-Purpose Household Cleaner.

The bottom line…self-care is always important, particularly during pregnancy.  Hopefully, you’ll find these ideas and products helpful as you manage a healthy pregnancy.  I welcome any feedback or questions!

Jenny Phelan lives in Bluffton and is married with a  two-year-old daughter and another daughter due early this summer.  Find her on Instagram @back.to.essentials.

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The information shared in this presentation is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose, mitigate or cure any health concern. Please seek appropriate and professional medical attention when necessary.  Opinions expressed in this article are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of Young Living.