MY PREGNANCY SO FAR

Where am I going to give birth?

I actually knew already way before I got pregnant that I wanted to have a home birth. I definitely got inspired by some amazing Youtubers that I’ve watched, who shared their own home births and it just completely made sense to me to have my baby in the comfort of my own home as well. 

Why a home birth?

As I already mentioned above, it was just something that as soon as I saw was possible, just felt right to me. Birth is something natural and I don’t see the point of going to a hospital where I’ll be treated as a sick person, if my baby’s and my health are perfectly fine. I also love the fact that my midwife and I are able to establish a relationship throughout the 9 months of me being pregnant. She will really get to know me and I will get to know her, which makes me so much more comfortable going into birth because I will know what to expect from her. Besides that, I also love the idea of not having to worry about going to the hospital or a birthing center in the middle of my labor. I can just stay at home, continue with my relaxation and surge breathing and instead my midwife will be the one that will be coming to me. And same goes for after the birth, I’ll be able to just hop right back into my bed without having to drive home from anywhere. Oh and we save a lot of money as well. Not that this would affect my decision, but it’s just something that comes along with having a home birth. There is really no downside to a home birth unless you and your baby need medical treatment for whatever reason of course. Oh and in case that would happen throughout whatever stage in my pregnancy, I’m not 100% sure, but I believe every midwife in the US is supposed to have a “backup doctor” for their patients. I know that my midwife does and if I wanted to, I could even meet this doctor throughout my pregnancy to get to know him. So, in case something isn’t normal during labor, my midwife will come to the hospital with me, where I’ll be treated by this doctor. Those “emergencies” tho happen very rarely, because certified home birth midwifes only accept women that have a low risk pregnancy, which they will find out by going through your medical history and secondly because majority of women are able to have a normal birth without unecessary interventions.

My Birth Plan

I’m planning to give birth at home with the presence of my certified home birth midwife, her backup midwife, my partner Ali and my two cats. My midwife and I have already talked about my birth preferences and we are truly on the same page since she totally supports me with doing Hypnobirthing and with other important things like letting the baby’s cord pulsate for at least 1 hour, letting the baby emerge by itself without unnecessary interventions, letting baby’s vernix stay on its skin and putting the baby right on my chest when its born so that we can immediately bond together.

What is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is a philosophy that childbirth is a normal, natural and healthy human experience for the vast majority of women. Birthing should not be accompanied by fear or severe pain and if you’re healthy, your baby is healthy and you had a healthy pregnancy, chances are in your favor that you will be able to experience the labor of your choice.

*“The bodies of healthy pregnant women instinctively know how to birth, just as their bodies instinctively know how to conceive and how to nurture the development of the babies they are carrying.” 

I personally learned about Hypnobirthing on the internet and then decided to take a an actual class with my partner Ali together. In total we went to five 3 hours classes which thought us how to use relaxation, special breathing techniques, visualization and meditative practice to achieve a peaceful and calm birthing experience. But we also learned about the actual birthing process and what exactly happens in a woman’s body throughout labor and birth. This helped us both really understand the science behind birth. 

I honestly, don’t want to go much deeper into Hypnobirthing because obviously I haven’t given birth yet and can’t tell you my full “birthing experience” with Hypnobirthing yet. But so far it has already helped us a lot, we both just feel really prepared for baby’s birth day and now all we have to do is keep practicing those techniques. Anyway, I’d suggest if you’re currently pregnant and want to know more about Hypnobirthing, inform yourself on the internet about it, there are some amazing Hypnobirthing birth videos on youtube that can give you and idea of what a “peaceful and gentle” birth can look like. There are also a lot of different books that you can read about Hypnobirthing. I personally read the “Hypnobirthing The Mongan Method” book. It was given to us in our Hypnobirthing class which is also another way to learn more about Hypnobirthing. I will definitely share more about my experience with Hypnobirthing after I gave birth, maybe even share a second blog post about it. πŸ™‚ 

What supplements do I take throughout pregnancy? 

Vegan Prenatal Vitamin (myKind, Garden of Life)

When to take: It is recommended to start taking Prenatal vitamins as soon you know that you’re pregnant or even starting before conception.

Benefits: Prenatal vitamins contain many vitamins and minerals. Their folic acid, iron, iodine, and calcium are especially important.

Folic acid helps prevent neural tube birth defects, which affect the brain and spinal cord. Iodine is critical for a woman’s healthy thyroid function during pregnancy.

Iodine: A deficiency in iodine can cause stunted physical growth, severe mental disability, and deafness. Not enough iodine can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth.

Iron helps blood, in both the mother and baby to carry oxygen.

Calcium is also important for a pregnant woman. It can help prevent her from losing her own bone density as the baby uses calcium for its own bone growth.

How to take: I take this specific Prenatal once a day, but there are also other brands that you need to take 3 times a day. 

Tip: I always make sure I take my Prenatal after having eaten something to prevent nausea.

Vegan Iron Capsules (Gentle Iron, Solgar)

* “When you’re pregnant, you need about twice the amount of iron as you did before you were expecting because your body uses iron to make extra blood for your baby.”

When to take: I only started to take an Iron supplement after my midwife told me that my iron levels were a little bit lower than she would like them to be. If you know that you’re already low in Iron, then definitely talk to your care provider about supplementing, since it can really help you with things like getting more energy throughout your pregnancy.

Benefits: Can help with tiredness or anemia.

Side effects: I personally haven’t experienced any side effects of taking an iron supplement but I know that some Iron supplements can cause constipation. That’s why I chose a non-constipating Iron supplement, which is also gluten, wheat and dairy free.

How to take: I take 1 capsule (25mg) a day with a glass of water.

Tip: I take mine at least 2 hours after I take my Prenatal vitamin. I’m not sure what the benefits of waiting for at least 2 hours are but my midwife suggested me to do that, so I’ve been just following her advise. 

Organic Vitamin C Spray (myKind, Garden of Life)

When to take: I take this Vitamin C spray after taking the Iron supplement. 

Benefits: Vitamin C helps to absorb the Iron better.

How to take: I take 3 spritzers of this Vitamin C through mouth, after taking the Iron supplement.

B12 Vitamin Liquid Drops (Salt Lake Supplements)

*“Humans historically got B12 from eating vegetables, fruits and drinking fresh water from springs and streams, or by farming and then eating without washing their hands. Since we no longer do these things, β€œnatural” plant based sources of Vitamin B-12 have dropped out of modern life. In the modern day, our produce is heavily sanitized and chemically cleaned to meet retail standards, and subsequently the B12 (bacteria) removed. Even meat is fortified with B12 these days, as it is unnaturally raised and animals become deficient. That said, cows and pigs tend to eat their own poop (accidentally mostly,) so they tend to always retain some B12.”

When to take: I started taking a B12 vitamin when I went vegan and have continued taking it throughout my pregnancy.

Benefits: Prevents neural tube and other neurological defects in infants, essential for our nervous system health. A vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage and mood disturbances.

Side effects: Can cause acne or rosacea if you take excessively high levels of B12.

How to take: I take 600mcg of a liquid form of B12 vitamin once a week by mouth. 

Do I have tips for morning sickness?

I had morning sickness in my second, third and fourth months of pregnancy and while I had it, I honestly wasn’t looking into any “remedies”. But I did read afterwards that if you have morning sickness, you should eat something in the first 5 minutes of waking up otherwise your nausea will get worse and even though I did not do that, it totally makes sense and I will definitely try it out if I end up having nausea again in my third trimester. Another tip that I did not follow but would definitely do in my next pregnancy, is having some sort of weekly meals prepared for myself. The worst part for me was the cooking part, I was so disgusted by the smell of different kinds of foods in my fridge that I did not wanted to cook or touch food at all. But I actually never had a problem with eating when food was already prepared by someone else. So, if you have a nice husband lol, mom or other family members, ask them if they can help you throughout those first 3 months by preparing you food. Whenever I went to my aunt’s house to eat, she gave me all the leftovers and that’s what I would I eat for the following couple of days. So, it really helps. πŸ™‚ 

Are we going to find out the gender?

No, if you follow me on Instagram you probably already know that. Hehe πŸ™‚ Anyway, this is something I always knew I wanted to do. Mostly because, I like surprises and this is like the biggest surprise Ali and I could both experience in our lifetimes. And also because my parents never found out with me either. And I always loved that. Ali wasn’t such a fan of the waiting thing at first, but I know that this experience of finding out what the baby’s gender is when it comes out will forever be one of the greatest moments of his life and in my life as well of course. Oh and another “reason” (not really) but something that just comes along with not finding out baby’s gender is that people will not gift you pink or blue clothes haha. Not trying to be picky (a little bit yes lol) but I just can’t stand those cheesy “girl” and “boy” clothes. So, not knowing the gender worked out perfectly for me because people will have to buy gender neutral clothes. 

Is it safe to be vegan during pregnancy?

Yes, it is! This is what the American Dietetic Association says about a vegan diet during pregnancy. πŸ™‚ 

“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

And the best thing about being vegan during pregnancy is that those “pregnancy food rules” don’t really affect you since most of the foods that are dangerous during pregnancy are animal products, such as red meat, fish, seafood, unpasteurized cows milk and unpasteurized cheese. The only thing I had to remove from my plate was green papaya and raw sprouts which are foods I don’t eat often anyways. I listed below some tips for a healthy, vegan pregnancy. πŸ™‚ 

  • Eat plenty of foods rich in iron, such as lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu, cashews, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, kale, dried apricots, raisins, quinoa, sweet potatoes, raisins, dates, figs, prunes, artichokes, peas and pumpkin. Or other good sources include fortified breakfast cereal, whole-grain or enriched bread, enriched pasta and molasses.
  • Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as calcium-fortified plant milk, fortified orange juice, fortified breakfast cereal, dark leafy greens such as collard, mustard greens, kale and bok choy, tempeh, tahini, dried figs, tofu, oats, edamame, almond butter
  • Eat plenty of protein-rich foods, such as chia, flax, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, seitan, tempeh, chickpeas, peanut butter, beans, nuts, avocado, broccoli, peas, kale, spinach, oats, millet, amaranth, quinoa, lentils, edamame, soy milk and tofu
  • While the average adult needs about 50-60g of protein on average, during pregnancy you should aim to consume anywhere from 60g-100g depending on your weight
  • Ensure a reliable daily intake of vitamin B12 from fortified foods such as fortified soy milk, fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, and fortified meat substitutes or consider taking a B12 supplement
  • Whilst trying for a baby and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, take a daily folic acid supplement (that’s included in the prenatal vitamin)
  • Eat regularly, watch your nutrients intake, exercise regularly, consult with your doctor, and you’ll have a healthy vegan pregnancy. πŸ™‚

Please note that none of the suggestions given above are replacements for professional medical advice. Consult a professional nutritional expert to devise your diet plan during pregnancy.

Do I have pregnancy cravings?

So far, I’ve only experienced pregnancy food cravings while I had morning sickness. I mostly remember wanting to eat a lot of pasta and bread because those were bland foods. And I also remember adding more salt than usually on my food. So, I guess I was just craving bland kinda foods because everything else would make me nauseous. Another dish I really liked was homemade Ramen. But Ali made it so many times for me that now I can’t stand it anymore, lol. Oh and I also craved a lot of my childhood dishes and because most of these dishes contain some sort of animal product, I had to improvise and use a vegan meat substitute for it, which was actually pretty fun to experiment with. 

What were my parents reaction of me getting pregnant “so young”?

This was actually something I was concerned about at first not because their opinion would affect my decisions or my life but mostly because I didn’t want my mom to be worried about me or anything. And I knew that she would be because I never had a conversation with her or my dad about having kids anytime soon. I told them about it when I was 12 weeks pregnant and by this point Ali and I knew about my pregnancy already for a month or so. And we already had pretty much everything planned out. Like the kind of birth we were going to have, my care provider (midwife), parenting style etc. but my mom of course didn’t know any of this. So, when we told them that I was pregnant (per FaceTime), I could tell that she had some worries but she didn’t tell me them until a few days later. We then had a little conversation and I just politely told her that I’m sure that her concerns are well meant but they literally don’t help or support me in any way. And if she wants to actually be there for me then she just simply has to keep her worries for herself because this is not about her, but about me and Ali. And we both don’t have a problem with being pregnant and expecting a baby soon and in fact we’re pretty excited about it. I think she got that very clearly haha because ever since then she’s been excited about my pregnancy as well and now she actually can’t wait to become a grandma lol. 

I think sometimes, you just have to set boundaries and that was one of these times where I needed to set a boundary. I don’t want and need any negative comments or worries during my pregnancy and when you tell people that politely, most of the times they will understand and stop doing it. And if they don’t “accept” or understand then that’s on them and I personally would just tell them that in that case I’m not going to surround myself with them anymore. Simply because during my pregnancy I only want people around me that love, support and trust me and in fact not just during my pregnancy this counts for everyday life. πŸ™‚

I hope this blog post answered some of your questions about my pregnancy so far. And as I already mentioned above, I will definitely share either a blog post or maybe a video about my birth story in the coming few months (most likely November when baby is here). πŸ™‚ 

 

*References:

Hypnobirthing: Hypnobirthing Book “The Marie Mongan Method”

Iron: https://www.webmd.com/baby/are-you-getting-enough-iron#1

B12 vitamin: https://www.theplantway.com/vegan-b12-truth/

Vegan Diet: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

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