One important thing to get right is taking a prenatal vitamin in conjunction with a real food diet. You should be able to get a free prescription from your healthcare provider. However, many women experience nausea and do not absorb the nutrients from these brands of vitamins. They also can contain some artificial additives. Even if they are free or less expensive, the overall value may be less if your baby cannot get the nutrients they need or if they are getting harmful ingredients along with the vitamins and minerals. If possible, choose a food based prenatal like MegaFood’s Baby & Me or Vitamin Code’s Raw Prenatal. When looking at the ingredient list, make sure that for Vitamin B9 it says folate, and for Vitamin B12 it is the methylcobalamin form. These are the best absorbed forms of the vitamins, and some people cannot even absorb the alternative forms.
You will also want to prepare for the different tests throughout pregnancy. Depending on your care provider, you will have to take a Group B Strep test and Gestational Diabetes test during pregnancy. For Group B Strep, this happens around 37 weeks, and it can be helpful to take a high quality probiotic or eat yogurt with probiotics to pass this test and pass the best immunity possible onto your child, which happens when they are born. As for avoiding Gestational Diabetes, eating a healthy diet is key. In pregnancy, you want to minimize sugar, artificial sugar, soda, and processed food as much as you can. However, if you do have something sweet on occasion, which is totally understandable, one trick that can help lessen the effect on your blood sugar, is pairing your sweet treat with some protein or fat like nuts, coconut flakes, or yogurt. Make sure to also portion out your food and eat, especially treats, sitting down so you can enjoy, chew, and think about your food. These concepts and gaining a healthy amount of weight will increase the likelihood of avoiding health complications through your pregnancy.
Especially if you want a natural birth, you may want to look into the research on eating 6 dates a day in the last month of pregnancy or drinking red raspberry leaf tea. The study on dates showed that moms who consumed dates in the last month of their pregnancy had shorter and faster labors. You can read it here. However, I would recommend consuming the dates in combination with some nuts, shredded coconut, or nut butter to lower the glycemic index of the snack and control your blood sugar so you do not have cravings for another snack soon after. Dates are one of my favorite sweeteners for treats, and you can check out my favorite ways to eat 6 dates a day here. Finally, red raspberry leaf tea has been shown to tone and strengthen the uterus. Of course, these are not guaranteed to work for everyone, but these tips may be worth a try as long as your healthcare provider has given you the okay.
For me, I really wanted a natural birth, and I was also completely terrified of labor. So, I tried a little bit of everything to make sure that I could be successful and have it over with as soon as possible. I can’t say what worked and what didn’t between Spinning Babies, going to the chiropractor, eating 6 dates a day, or the red raspberry leaf tea, but something worked. My water broke with no previous labor signs at 7 pm, and my son was born at 10:24 pm on his due date. So, give them a shot, and see if they work for you!