Path to a Healthy Pregnancy

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, where you can ask our resident experts about a variety of baby-related topics, our friend, doula, and founder of Loom,  was able to answer your family’s questions about a healthy pregnancy. Here are the questions you asked and answers below.

Any clue what might cause one’s water to break but labor not begin? I’d like to avoid this next go around.

First off let me state that I’m not a medical provider, so my approach advice will stem from a therapeutic and experiential standpoint. It’s hard to pinpoint why the water may break without immediate onset of regular contractions, it could happen for a number of reasons. However when your water breaks, the first thing to do is to note the time, check the color ( should be clear), the amount ( trickle or gush) and odor ( there should be none) — if those elements are noted and in the clear and you checked in with you care provider and they’ve give you the clear to stay at home until contractions/surges begin, then BEST advice I could give you would be to get moving, rest, eat and repeat. And by that I mean, if it’s a decent time of day, go for a walk, or use a birthing ball to open up your pelvis and help bring your babes head down to create pressure on the cervix and help promote contractions/surges. Then follow that by a protein-rich meal and then a good ol’ nap ( which will help the birthing hormones flow) and allow your body do the work. Keep in that rhythm until regular contractions/surges begin or you need to head to the hospital or call your midwife.

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

What are the best things to do for your body the last few weeks to prepare for labor and a healthy newborn? Possibly the most ideal things to eat/drink, exercises, oils maybe?

The best thing I would suggest is to rest, eat well, flow and make room.

Rest: If you’re on mat leave, try and find time for a nap everyday and put yourself to bed earlier at night. If you’re having trouble sleeping talk to your care provider about t
he benefits of magnesium for improved sleep.

Eat Well: Stay on top of your fluids, drink to thirst or more if your being encourage by your care provider. Also make sure your getting enough protein, fats and greens which a dash of carbs — root veggies are good source and keeping salt to a minimum. Red Raspberry and Nettles tea infusion is also helpful at this time.

Flow: Keep up with the regular exercise you’ve been doing. If you’ve found yourself not exercising, try a gentle 1-2 mile walk per day with a podcast or audiobook as your companion.

Make Room: If there are any coversations or words that have been left unsaid, with your partner, family members or care provider, clear the air and express your needs as that will only help you feel more relaxed and ready to move into motherhood.

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

What is a good time to eat in the morning to avoid nausea in the early weeks? And what are some of the best, easy to pre-make and freeze post-birth recovery meals?

Try and eat fist thing in the morning and keep the little frequent meals going. And don’t worry, if the only thing you can keep down is a good ol’ carb, go for it. Things will even out as you flow into you second trimester, your regular appetite should return.

One of my favorite trick for nausea is sparkling water with one to two drops of peppermint oil. It’s a digestive and can help ally those really tough bouts of nausea.

For my favorite postpartum meals pop over here.

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

Do you have any tricks to get enough to eat when you’re in first trimester and have a 14 month old running out that you’re still nursing? I am in an endless circle of needing to eat but exhausted to get up…and then my son just wants to nurse all day. I’m fading. Fast.

Small protein and fat packed meals are probably going to the best way to go! Smoothies, nuts, seeds, eggs, poached chicken, actually one of my favorites is taking two tablespoons chia seeds and mixing it with a 2 cups of coconut water. Shake in a bottle let it sit for about 5 minutes and then drink. Super yummy and great energy boost.Quicker than smoothie as I know time is a real issue for second time mamas.

My other suggestion would be to set an alarm on your phone for eating, it sounds silly but if you see it, you might be more inclined to get yourself a bite.

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

I still battle waves of nausea and and aversion to the healthy foods I used to eat at 26 weeks of pregnancy. How can I get myself back into a healthy way of eating? I am finding it incredibly challenging…

Try simple smoothies based on a flavor profile that you can stomach.

For example vanilla, chocolate or berry flavored protein powder with at least 18 grams + of protein, would be a good base, then you could layer in some greens( spinach or kale) banana, nut butter, coconut oil, chia and nut or cow milk. The idea would be to try and get your high dose of vegetables and protein a liquid form.

Then there are eggs, when all else fails, have some at every meal. Poached, boiled or fried Eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids, are highly concentrated with vitamins and minerals and are among the best sources of protein you can get. 

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

What can I do to prevent tearing with this pregnancy? I experienced a third degree tear with my first!

It all depends on the position and size of your babe and pace of your labor. That said, you can discuss guided delivery with you care provider and ask if possible to let your babe “labor down” in order to help stretch the tissues to reduce the length of pushing and the possibility of tearing. And you could also ask for them to place pressure on your perineum as your babe is crowing, in order to facilitate a more gentle entry and to use mineral oil as your babe’s head is emerging.

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

What’s your best advice to a first time mom wanting a natural/unmediated birth?

Get educated, take classes and learn the about the birthing process. Also make sure you parter feels incorporated and knows how they can best support you through the process. The Bradley Method and Hypobirthing tend to be fantastic options for couple who are wanting to move through their birth experience as a duo. If you’re open to more support, consider hiring a doula, the support we provide in terms of movement, breath work and massage can be a great help to any mama wanting to move forward with an unmedicated birth.

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

How much exercise is okay in pregnancy?

Exercising regularly will help improve your pregnancy and birth experience. A little bit everyday is a great idea, especially if it’s a gentle but long walk, However, listen to your body and check in with you care provider if something that used to feel good doesn’t anymore — eg. spinning, bar classes etc. Swimming or Aquatics is one of my favorite exercises to recommend.

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

What are some good healthy snacks to stave off afternoon hunger?

  • Berries with Yogurt
  • Chia with Coconut Water 
  • A BIG handful of Goji Berries
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Avocado toast
  • Nut Butter On Toast
  • Dried Fruit with Nut Butter
  • Tuna + cherry tomatoes with a little mayo and celery salt – stir and go!
  • Hummus and carrots
  • Dates stuffed with almond butter

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

Do you have any tips for how to have a healthy pregnancy (getting enough rest, good nutrition, lowering stress, etc.) while chasing around a toddler?

Be gentle on yourself and set realistic goals for each day. You may not have as much energy has you used to and it’s ok if everything doesn’t get done. Just do the best you can and make sure that your eating well balanced, grazing and snacking during the day and asking for what you need from your parter or your wider support system. A couple of the questions above can pack the nutritional piece for you. But I agree with Carla drink to thirst and the chia elixir I described below might a boon for your energy levels during the day.

See the full thread and related questions and answers here.

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As a Maternity Support Specialist, and the founder of Loom, Erica integrates her skills as a birth and postpartum doula, lactation counselor and chef to create unique support experiences for growing families.