AS I’M NEARING THE END OF MY SECOND PREGNANCY (ONLY 7 WEEKS AWAY FROM D-DAY!), I WANTED TO SHARE MY OWN THOUGHTS AND APPROACH TO MANY QUESTIONS I’VE BEEN GETTING regarding all phases of pregnancy including weight gain, fertility, birth control and more. Thank you for all your great questions! Read on…
Note: My answers below reflect my personal experience and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before moving forward.
Pregnancy is an opportunity for another assignment of self-love, which is so important so that we have the capacity and room to love and care for another tiny human being very soon.
Have you dealt with anxiety about seeing the scale go up?
Yes and it’s something I think people don’t talk about enough. When you get pregnant, it’s supposed to be this incredibly beautiful moment where you are glowing, radiant and oozing femininity. That all sounds incredible but when it doesn’t pan out that way, you feel guilty and unnatural for some reason. If you’ve ever experienced issues with overeating/eating disorders/weight gain, this time is also likely to bring up a lot of ugly stuff.
During my first pregnancy, I was not prepared for that. It had been years since I had overcame my eating disorder (bingeing/purging) and I thought I had mastered how to live a vibrant, healthy life. Then, I got pregnant. In my first trimester I was incredibly sick. There was one week where I could not keep down anything down, not even dry toast. When that period subsided, I craved carbs and weird things like Triscuits and peanut butterand salt and vinegar chips–I tried to go for the “organic” and “natural” versions of this but it still was way off my typical game. This awoke an old demon that I thought was long gone. How could I feel my vibrant self when I was eating these “unhealthy” things and uncontrollably throwing up my green juice? I started to panic. Does loosening the reins mean I will lose control forever?
The answer? I had to let go. A wise friend told me, “Pregnancy is the first step in showing mothers that we are not in control.” That was a rude awakening. But could not be more true. I had become so used to being in control, even a healthy concept of control, whether it was abiding my food combining “rules,” having a consistent workout regimen, knowing what made me feel amazing, being in charge of when I rested and when I went hard, that all turned upside down exactly 8 weeks after conceiving, and honestly, it hasn’t changed since becoming a mother.
So my answer is, as difficult as this may sound, go with the flow and let go. Listen to your body. Know that, “This too, shall pass.” If you are early in pregnancy, you are likely to start feeling better soon and will start craving the fresh healthy things you once ate. If you are experiencing this throughout your pregnancy like I did, it’s ok. Just take it one day at a time and know that your body intrinsically knows what it needs to heal you and your baby. If you are doing all the “right” things and still seeing the scale go up, I might even recommend you don’t look at it and keep up with nourishing yourself the best way you know how. The worst thing you can do is punish yourself. Our body is dealing with a surge of hormones, which can lead to water weight and bizarre cravings, that are there to help cushion and grow a human being, it’s all meant to be there. And while this isn’t a time to binge on junk foods, if you have it, forgive yourself and move on and try to make most of what you eat hydrating, whole foods and keep moving. For me sweating was key and circulation going through prenatal or lymphatic massage, salt baths, acupuncture, yoga and dry-brushing. I personally loved to keep up a pretty vigorous workout during both pregnancies until I physically couldn’t, which also helped me feel “sane” and like my old self but then I got injured and had to slow down. Listen to your body and do what’s right for you.
What do you think about unpasteurized juice while pregnant?
For me, a must! This may go against mainstream advice but I think it’s ludicrous to think a pasteurized carton of Tropicana is doing you or the baby any good versus a life force containing fresh juice of greens that is essentially giving an IV of oxygen to you and your baby’s blood. That said, homemade is always better than store bought since you can control the quality of produce and are drinking it as fresh as possible, keeping the enzymes and vitality intact. I still do grab a pressed juice from time to time if I don’t have time to make my own but I make sure to see if it was made that day. If you see a juice separating in the fridge or it’s more than a day old, skip it.
Would love to know your experience with birth control and fertility. I read/hear so much conflicting information.
Personally, I don’t believe any drug has done more damage to my system and my well-being than birth control. I began birth control in high school and continued well into my early twenties and it wreaked havoc on my body. I gained a layer of weight/fat that I never seemed to take off, I was moody but also mildly depressed, I could not digest food properly and I was extremely acidic–I could tell this by the quality of my skin (severe hormonal breakouts) and constant bloating around my midsection. I was lucky to find a colonic therapist Gil Jacobs who when I met him told me to promptly get off it. I listened and it was like waking up for the first time. I was able to lose the weight fairly easily, I was more alert and I felt “normal.” Because my digestive system was also compromised and my immune system low (I would get colds several times a year), I had a long ways of healing to go. I healed this with colonics, infrared saunas, probiotics and a cleansing diet of juices, raw vegetables and properly combined cooked foods. Beyond fertility and getting pregnant, my first recommendation for anything trying to detox or clean up their diet/life is get off birth control. There are other non-medical ways to prevent pregnancy and it’s 100% worth it for your well-being.
I have been trying to get pregnant and tested positive for SIBO. Do you have any recommendations for a SIBO friendly diet?
Although I haven’t experienced this personally, I like to think of any illness in a holistic way so what I would recommend applies to any body off balance or dealing with harmful bacteria. An anti-fungal/candida protocol (aka Bonberi Lean or Natalia Rose’s Detox for Women) that for the time being cuts out any grains, fruits, sugars, complex starches to rid your body of yeast. A daily probiotic, garlic capsules, vitamin C and heavy dose of naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, coconut yogurt, etc. for at least 4 weeks. I would also look into the use of food grade hydrogen peroxide if not pregnant. Gil Jacobs can tell you more about that. Then you can slowly re-introduce fruits/grains into your system and see how you fare.
What were your favorite blogs/books during pregnancy?
I didn’t read too many books, but these were recommended to me and I did enjoy them and found them to be helpful:
What do you think is a good rule of thumb to get off low estrogen birth control? My chiropractor says at least 6 months before trying to get pregnant…
Refer to my answer above but the answer is, as soon as possible. I also recommend doing infrared sauna 3x a week and weekly extra hot epsom salt baths for a month prior to trying if you’ve been on any medication since the toxicity can accumulate into your cells if you have taken it for years like I did. If you haven’t done this and are pregnant, that’s ok! But it’s always good to try to detox your body from any cellular waste accumulated over the years from any medication, prescribed or not.
Do you experience pregnancy symptoms (nausea/constipation) and what remedies do you use to alleviate?
This pregnancy was less about violent nausea (that I experienced the first time), as it is consistent nausea, exhaustion and occasional vomiting. Sounds fun right! I have not experienced constipation, which I do attribute to my diet before and during pregnancy. For nausea, I took the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica 30C, which mildly helped. For heartburn, I took activated charcoal capsules. To keep regular, I drink green juice nearly every day, eat extra ripe bananas in the morning, try to incorporate steamed beets with my salads and stick to food-combining rules. If you are dealing with constipation, I also recommend starting your day with warm water and lemon followed by a green juice every day.
I am in my second trimester and it’s been really hard to deal with weight gain, how do you maintain a healthy weight and how do you deal with cravings and hunger?
See above but also regarding hunger, I never don’t listen to my body. When I’m hungry, I eat. Some days it’s harder for me to kep raw during the day, so I’ll have sprouted grain toast with honey and butter and my body sings. Do that. Not necessarily the toast and butter but do what makes your body sing. What I’m craving one day may be wildly opposite from the next and I just go with it. Sometimes I want Chinese food. So I order from the place that doesn’t use MSG and I make sure I have a ton of romaine leaves before and with. Some days I’m ok with just juicing and having fruit most of the day and a super clean dinner. I’ve never been one to “meal prep” but even especially during this time when you have no idea what will soothe your body, I make sure I give it what it wants without judgement. This is the most important time to listen to hunger. I also think it’s the most clear kind of hunger there is. Pregnancy hunger is urgent, the baby is saying, “Feed me, NOW.” It’s hard to argue with that strong intuition. If you feel yourself overeating just to eat, pause, take a breath and know the next meal or snack is only minutes away and stop. I try to think of the baby growing inside me and want to do right by that little person, if it means being kind to yourself is because you want to be kind to the baby, so be it. That love and care will only grow and extend to yourself. If you are still having issues, I recommend doing Gabrielle Bernstein’s Body Love meditation from her book May Cause Miracles. In fact, the whole chapter on Body Love is incredible, pregnant or not and a great practice to have every day. I also love referring back to anything Louise Hay has written, particularly Love Your Body. These are the books that got me through healing my own eating issues and were essential in referring back to after getting pregnant the first time. It’s always important to remember that we are constantly challenged and in turn should constantly practice self-love and forgiveness. Pregnancy is an opportunity for another assignment of self-love, which is so important so that we have the capacity and room to love and care for another tiny human being very soon.
I’d love to know your thoughts on hormonal birth control/the pill and any suggestions for getting a gut healthy again after birth control messed it up?
See above but daily probiotics, I like Renew Life and Dr. Ohira, activated charcoal when you’re having issues digesting, as well as infrared saunas every week (if you’re not pregnant), and epsom salt baths.
I have been having aversions to veggies (usually I eat a plant-based diet) my whole first trimester. Any tips?
That is completely normal and I had this for a period of time during my first pregnancy. Know that it will pass. In the meantime, when I couldn’t stomach juices, I almost always wanted this smoothie, which is essentially a blended salad. Also blended soups are a great way to get in your greens without being hard to digest.
I’ve read that I should avoid sprouts, especially alfalfa. What about microgreens and other sprouts?
Alfalfa sprouts and other sprouts are advised not to be eaten by pregnant women because of the possible bacteria in the seed. So while I don’t seek them out, I have had microgreens from the farmer’s market since they are grown in the light and are shoots not sprouts. But of course, consult your doctor to confirm what’s right for you.
Any tips of eating while breastfeeding? Do you think eating tons of greens and raw veg can give babies indigestion?
I plan on doing a more in-depth post about breastfeeding and diet later on, but personally I was drawn to a high grain and high alkaline diet while breastfeeding for the amount and quality of milk. I ate buckets of steamed broccoli and brown rice with tamari sauce (cravings were real during nursing!) and I would not look back. My answer is no, I do not think inherently certain vegetables give a baby gas through the milk, but if your body is acidic and you are holding gas, that might affect the milk so focus on fresh fruits, green juices and vegetables to help your body heal after childbirth and don’t worry too much about old wives tales. Taking a daily probiotic will also help heal your gut and your little one’s. For milk production, I drank several cups of this tea daily.
What is your plan for post pregnancy? Will you continue your normal eating routine? Or will you diet?
My number one plan/goal post pregnancy is HEALING. In Korean tradition, the first 30 days after a woman gives birth is extremely important, it’s about healing, not “getting back into shape,” but the funny thing is, when you heal your body, its natural desire is to shed excess weight. Right after I gave birth, literally the only meal/snack I had for a week straight, maybe more, was Korean seaweed soup, cut cucumbers, white rice, avocado and seaweed. It’s what I craved to heal. I’m not sure if that will be the same this round, but my goal is to listen to my body and rest. If and when I feel moved to step up the diet, I might, but I found breastfeeding was extremely physically draining and I actually ate more post pregnancy than during. For me, it will be about staying as alkaline as possible for the quality of milk for my baby and the rest will naturally come.