Amanda: Hey, this is Amanda, women’s health dietitian.
Emily: And I’m Emily, nutritional therapy practitioner.
Amanda: And this is the Are You Menstrual? podcast where we help you navigate the confusing world of women’s hormones and teach you how to have healthy periods.
Emily: Each week we will be diving into a different topic on women’s health and sharing our perspective using nutrition, female physiology, and metabolic health.
Amanda: Our goal is to help you wade through conflicting health information and empower you on your healing journey.
Emily: We hope you enjoy it.
Amanda: Okay, I have a very special solo episode for all of you about my pregnancy journey so far. So if you don't know, I'm currently pregnant. I'm 26 weeks on the time I'm recording this; when it comes out I'll be 28 weeks. And basically, I wanted to make an easy way for me to answer all the questions I've been getting. So I'm going to cover preconception—lots of questions around preconception stuff—first trimester and second trimester, because obviously, I'm only in my second trimester. By the time this comes out, I'll be entering my third. And then I'm going to do a separate episode that goes more into, like, third trimester, preparing for birth, and the postpartum period. And then breastfeeding for sure.
Yeah, I did a question box on Instagram, you guys had a million great questions. I made a whole list of those, and I tried to divide everything up into, like, preconception, first and second trimester, and then things like lab testing. You guys had a lot of great questions around supplements, main health concerns, all that kind of stuff. So let's dig right in, because I have so many notes here. Hopefully, I don't make this like too insanely long, because it's my first one by myself, and I'm just hoping you guys enjoy this format. I want to do more solo podcasts in the future, but I'm just like, do people want to listen to me talk by myself for, like, 30-45 minutes or longer? Because let's be realistic—most of our episodes are longer. But it's just because we want to share and educate you guys so much. So let me know, please let me know on Instagram, tag me @hormonehealingrd, if you like this episode, if you like the solo format, if you want more of these in the future.
And let's go right into preconception. So, or even just, like, we're gonna start with conception timeline. So one of the questions I got because I did do a post announcing our pregnancy, I talked about, like, how we waited a long time to try to conceive. And then we did try to conceive in 2020, and for like three months, and it didn't end up happening. It was a really stressful time for us. I feel like everyone had a lot of stress around that time. Just, like, with my husband's job and our living situation and everything. It was just, like, a stressful time. And I kind of got to the point where I was so sick of waiting to have a baby that I was like, who cares if it's stressful? Like, let's just try and do it. I don't regret it. I think it was a good learning experience. But I don't know, everyone always has said to me, like, it's, there's no perfect time to have a baby. And I'm like, but there's, like, a better time, you know, like, there's, like, better times and super stressful ones.
So basically, it was June, July and August of 2020. And we were like, let's try to conceive. So we use the Fertility Awareness Method to avoid pregnancy. We've done that for, like, over five or six years at that point. So we were like, alright, we're gonna use FAM to conceive. So instead of avoiding around my ovulation, we were going to actually try to get pregnant around that time. And for three months in a row we did not conceive. I was, like, super duper stressed. And I'm like, I need to take a break, like, this is…it's not fun. Like, I wanted it to be a fun, enjoyable experience. Everything we had going on, I was like, this is not working. So we decided to wait and try again in the future once we, like, figured a few things out.
So over that time span, over that next year—because it ended up being a year later that we did conceive—my husband applied to a different job. So over that next year, we figured out a lot of different things. My husband specifically applied to a different job, did, like, many months of interviewing, got the job. He's still, he's active duty Air Force, well he’s still Air Force but it was a different type of job. And it's, like, a controlled tour, and it's in North Carolina.
So he gets that job we find out in like, I think it was like April…April, May timeframe. And then I moved in June. We bought a house, I moved in June, we sold our tiny house. We used to live in a tiny house in Texas at our last duty station. And basically he couldn't come, so I moved by myself and then he came two months later. But during that time period of, like, all this change happening, it's, like, a lot of excitement honestly. It didn't, it was, like, stressful, but it was, like, a good stress. Like, we were ready to leave Texas.
And so my parents told us that they were retiring and moving to Myrtle Beach. And so I, like, looked at my husband and I was like, we got to try again have a baby, like, once we get settled in North Carolina. Because it's only two and a half hours away from where we lived. And honestly one of my big hesitations, not even, like, hesitations, but, like, stressors was having a baby and not having any family around it. It's sad, it, like, it was depressing. And then I just was like, not having any help is, the idea of that is a lot. And I mean, my parents are still, like, a far drive, but it's, like, they can come visit, we can go there easily. It's a lot less stressful than, like, going from Texas to Connecticut. That was like our previous kind of arrangement.
So we get this news, he, we decide that when he comes home, we're not gonna, we weren't necessarily going to try, we weren't going to avoid, because I just again, I still wasn't mentally ready to actively try. And I was like, if it happens, it happens. Amazing. If it doesn't, then we'll actively start trying, we were thinking the fall, like, our timeline was like, if we don't conceive when you get here, then we'll actually try, like October or November.
And so he got home August 9th, we conceived August 10th. So I do think there is something to say for not putting that stress on yourself. And I think for us in particular, maybe, maybe just…no, I think it was stressful for him too. I think for us in particular, and our personality types, like, we just did better not having the pressure and just being like, let's just see what happens. So that was our conception timeline. A year ago we tried, couldn't conceive, waited a year later, the first time we didn't avoid we conceived, which I'm beyond grateful for. And I just think everything, like, the timing just worked out.
So what were my health concerns going into this? A lot of people asked questions around this. Again, I've done posts in the past on Instagram—if you're kind of, like, where are these questions coming from—where I have shared my journey from coming off the birth control pill and then having a copper IUD for seven years. And basically I was in this state of, like, hypothyroidism, really high estrogen for a while, low progesterone, and not copper toxicity but just an imbalance. Like, I had really high copper, really low vitamin A, and I couldn't use that copper appropriately which was leading to some excess estrogen. And that was then also impacting my thyroid.
I would say, like, four years ago, I've been, like, clear, in the clear with all that stuff. Minus my thyroid, that's really the last thing to start to improve. I will say like, in the last like five years, we just had a lot of stress. Like, my husband decided to join the military and it, like, totally flipped my world upside down. And yeah, it was, like, mentally and emotionally stressful, all that kind of stuff. Plus, like, having my own business and everything, like, you're just learning so much. And it was, like, I was learning so much in my personal life and going through so many changes there. And then also within my business, and I was just, like, this is, like, too much at once, like, for me.
And so kind of coming into this, my biggest concerns preconception were my thyroid health. I was, like, really trying to get away from trying to be perfect, though. Because I will say, like, in the past that's, like, that's what I was waiting for. One, for our life to settle down, for us to get a duty station and be there for a while. And then two, because I just felt like well, I don't, I want my thyroid to be in a good place, because pregnancy is so challenging on your thyroid. And I'd wanted to make sure that I didn’t have estrogen dominance, because I wanted to avoid things like morning sickness and all that kind of stuff when you're pregnant. And like, you know, those swings you can have postpartum. I wanted to feel good for myself, for my baby, and then for my postpartum time period. That was kind of like my thought process.
But in the past, I was really in a perfectionist mindset, so I think that held me back. Going into this, well I did Dutch tests to look at my hormones and my estrogen and progesterone looked great. They're perfectly in line with each other, very healthy levels of both. So I was super excited about that. That was kind of, like, check that thing off my list. I also wanted to make sure my vitamin A was good, because in the past it had been low and my copper was not high. That hasn't been high for a long time. But like these were kind of, like, my things going in, like, I want my vitamin A to be good, because that supports my thyroid. And then that's really important for using copper and then iron during pregnancy.
Iodine…I had, in the past I had really high calcium on my hair test and a ton of, like, thyroid issues and everything. So I have used iodine in the past. I had not done iodine testing though until, like, probably like a little bit before we tried to conceive. And once I did an iodine protocol and my, my level started to improve, I did notice an improvement in my thyroid. So it still wasn't perfect, but again, like, my hormones looked good, my vitamin A and copper looked good, my minerals looked great, my hair test was awesome.
It was, like, I was a Slow 1, and everyone thinks Slow 1 is bad—it's not bad. I was a Slow 1 and the majority of my minerals were at the optimal line. So that's really what all I could ask for. I didn't have any like major signs of stress, no super high levels, no depleted levels. It was very balanced. Now I was like, oh, it's kind of surprising, because your hair test looks at your stress response. And, and I just always feel like I always have a lot of stress. It's something I'm, like, constantly working on is like, how do I take this off my plate? How do I get outside more? How do I, like, make time for myself, that sort of thing, reduce stress overall. And so I was happy about that.
So I felt like, and my iodine preconception, I did do a urine and other tests before we, before my husband got home, and it was still a little deficient. So I was like, I'm going to just start taking iodine again, I know how to do the protocol, and I'm going to take whatever is considered safe for pregnancy. So that is 12 to 15 milligrams is what's considered safe. That's what all the research is done on. That's what Dr. David Brownstein recommends. He has a few different books on thyroid health and iodine that are great resources if you want to learn more.
Those were the big things I was focusing on. And so I, all that stuff looked good. Oh, I did a GI map, a stool test to look at gut health. I wanted to see if I had streptococcus, because Group B strep, something I'll mention a little bit later. That's another big, you know, factor when you are pregnant. You don't want to have to take antibiotics, well you don't have to you are usually recommended to take antibiotics during labor if you test positive, and I was like, I really don't want to do that. So streptococcus was negative on my GI map, which was great. Didn't have any other, didn't have, like, parasites or anything crazy like that. People on YouTube can see my dog bristle right now…she’s just getting some pets over here.
So I started the iodine. I just wanted to see like, can I optimize my thyroid at all? Obviously, we got pregnant, like, in August and I was doing all that stuff in like June and July. I would say I've been doing preconception for, like, ever. Basically since I got my copper IUD out, I've been, like, working on all these things. So I didn't have like, oh, I'm going to do this stuff for a year and then try to conceive. It was like, I, we weren't even ready to have kids yet. And I was just trying to get my health in a good place.
So what supplements was I taking preconception? Another really common question I got. I was doing beef liver, of course, and I would eat it, I would do the raw shots of it, or I would take the pills. And what I did just depended on what I was eating that weekend. So, but I always had beef liver every day. And I was taking cod liver oil, because I, again, like, my, I have a history of low vitamin A and I have a history of thyroid issues. And my vitamin A was okay, but I was like, if I conceive, it's not going to be enough. You know, we use up a lot more vitamin A when we're pregnant. So I was taking just a teaspoon of cod liver oil. Magnesium, vitamin E, shilajit, which I have a post on on Instagram. It's basically like a multi mineral, bunch of trace minerals, is great for energy, great for overall nutrient stores. So I was already taking that, and then iodine and selenium. So I was doing, like, there's a whole iodine protocol. It's basically, like, you need magnesium, vitamin C, selenium, and I was already doing all those. So those were the supplements.
I was also drinking adrenal cocktails, which I don't, I mean, it's food but it's kind of like I pay attention to it like it's a supplement. So I was already doing, like, two of those a day. And then I would say, like, as I got into, once I did conceive I continued all those supplements. Everyone asked, like, can you take shilajit when pregnant? If you're taking it before, I think that's totally safe, obviously talk with your doctor. Also everything I'm sharing is for me, so please don't, like, take this as medical advice. Like, this is me just sharing, like, here are the labs I did, here's what was going on with me, here's what I was taking, here’s what I was eating. Doesn't mean it's going to be appropriate for you, especially things like iodine, like, you need to do testing and understand, like, if it's appropriate if you actually need it.
And then I did start taking progesterone, because I was just, I mean I had healthy levels, but it's, there, now we have research that shows us that I can prevent miscarriage and I had some so I was like, I'm just gonna take it. And then once I did conceive, I continued all those things continued the progesterone.
The only thing that I change was, like, right in the beginning I, if I didn't get enough folate-rich foods in that day—and I'm going to talk about nutrition and stuff and like, what, how I was eating and all that stuff in a little bit. I just want to get through, like, the labs and the supplements so it's in, like, one cohesive segment. I did add in methylfolate, like 400 micrograms. The RDA is 600 for pregnancy. If you don't have MTHFR mutation, I do not, it is 800 if you do. So I eat plenty of folate-rich foods normally, but during that, I would say like weeks like 6-10-ish, 6-11 if I couldn't eat those foods, if I was just, like, I just don't really want these, then I would just take the one capsule of the methylfolate.
But I was still doing beef liver, I was still doing lots of citrus. I have never eaten so much centers in my life as I have during this pregnancy. So I'm, like, literally sipping on this, like, lime drink here that's amazing. And I ate a tangerine before I hit record. So yeah, and I definitely, like, normally get plenty of folate-rich foods in, but if I was worried about it, that's the only one I really added in.
And then as I got into that first trimester, as far as like, what did they do for labs? What did you add on for labs? They tested, like, their initial testing was, like, hemoglobin. Mine looks good. It was like about 14, optimal is, like, 13-13.5 for women. Mine was actually, like, pretty strong. And then, which is like, it's good, it's a sign of, you know, I've got good iron stores. Seventy percent of your iron is in your hemoglobin. And then they did my thyroid. Now you have to ask. They will not just do your thyroid, but because I had a thyroid history, I'm working with the midwife and she was like, okay, we're gonna check it every trimester, which I appreciated. So we did my thyroid, and then it was just like STI testing. That was really it. I was kind of like, okay, I'm really happy that I did my own hair testing and all that kind of stuff before we conceived. And then I redid all that stuff, like, halfway through, which I'll talk about.
So supplements did not change. I did get the thyroid labs back, though, I think I was, like, 10 weeks at that point, and they were, they did decrease a little bit from my preconception panel. So I was like, I'm gonna up my iodine a little bit. And I went up, I think I was doing 12 milligrams, I went up to like 15. And I kept it there, just because my T3 and T4 went down. And that T3 and T4 are an indication of iodine. So because those went down, I was like, I'm gonna up it a little bit. And then I still kept with the progesterone the whole time.
And then, like, once I was at the end of my first trimester, I decided to add in a probiotic. So it's typically recommended, I would say, like, most people say second trimester. You can start at first trimester, it's up to you. But if you're wanting to avoid something, like, group B Strep, like, that's the test that typically happens. It's usually in your third trimester, like, beginning of the third trimester, or end of your second is when they typically will do that group B strep. And they're looking for that specific strain of bacteria. Because if you, if you test positive, they're going to recommend typically—not always depending on who you're working with—that you take antibiotics during labor. It's like an IV, but you can usually, like, stop it, start it, you can move around with it still, like, it's not, like, like, is it great? No, is it, but it's not like you can't, I think you can still have the birth you want even if you have to take it, but I was like, I'd really prefer not to.
I started taking Women's Pro-Flora from Integrative Therapeutics, I would say, like, end of my first trimester, because during that first trimester, I was really trying to only take what was essential. And that's mainly because I was just, like, I don't like swallowing pills right now. Normally, I can swallow, like, I don't know, like, 10 at a time, it's, like, no big deal. But probably around like that 6-11 week timeframe I was like not into it. So I really had to break up when I was taking my supplements. I took, like, a few pills with every, like, meal that I ate, and I was eating very frequently. So that did help me get everything in, but I didn't love it. So I was like, I'm only going to take what's absolutely essential during this time, and the probiotic just didn't really feel like it. But I knew second trimester I'm going to for sure take this every single day.
So that was really first trimester health and labs. For nutrition first trimester, my food did not change much. So I went into pregnancy with a healthy metabolism, good body temperatures, good pulses. If you don't know what that means, listen to our first episode ever of the podcast where we talk about this. And I was nourished, I was not underweight, I was not undereating, you know, like, so my first trimester, my nutrition didn't really change. I would just say the biggest change was eating small meals really regularly throughout the day. So I couldn't eat those big meals anymore like I was used to. Which the biggest thing that I had to pay attention to was still getting enough protein, because it was kind of like I noticed my meals were, like I was making more snacky foods, which are not as dense, which can lead to more blood sugar swings.
I see a lot of women do this in their first trimester and they're dealing with more nausea. And I knew that if I could keep my blood sugar stable and eat every two hours, then I will not be nauseous. It was truly a, like, it was, it's, like, a balance of, like, stomach acid and blood sugar. And so I ate protein first whenever I ate a meal, and instead of, like, putting together, like, small snacking meals, I would just take my regular meals and cut them in half and usually, like, add a little bit to it. So it's like I would eat as much as I could, save the rest, have that as a snack, and sometimes I'd have to add more food to that. But that allowed me to keep my blood sugar stable throughout the day, keep my energy stable, keep a good routine. Instead of just being like, oh my gosh, there's like nothing that I can eat, it was kind of like, I'm gonna eat the regular food, I'm just going to eat it in a different way. And that really helped me.
I did have some nausea weeks, like, six, seven too, like, about like it ended around, like, week 11. So it was not fun. And this is an important point I want to make, because I know I see people post on Instagram that, like, if you have morning sickness, you have a hormone imbalance, you have a mineral deficiency—but I did not. I went in with very balanced estrogen and progesterone, my minerals looked great, I didn't have any big deficiencies. So you can have nausea without that. And I just feel like sometimes it makes women feel like they're doing something wrong if they're experiencing that. And it's like, you can't always avoid it, you can minimize it. And I got into such a good routine, that it really did make it so that it was manageable. And then it was gone pretty early. Like I dealt with it for about like four to five weeks, which felt like a long time when it was happening. But in the grand scheme of things compared to most people, it's really not.
Hey, Amanda here, just giving you a quick break, hopefully a break for your brain in the middle of this podcast episode to remind you that if you haven't gone through our free training, Optimizing Hormone Health Through Mineral Balance, we really do recommend starting there. And the main reason for that is because you're going to hear us say things like mineral foundation, having a solid foundation, are you putting the foundations in place, especially as we get deeper and deeper into different hormonal topics and specific imbalances in the body. The mineral foundation is always going to be so essential. So if you haven't watched the free training, you can find it in our show notes or you can go to hormonehealingrd.com and it's going to be right on that front page there. But we really recommend starting there so that you can understand how is your current mineral status, how do you assess this, and how to get started with all that just so you can get as much as you possibly can out of the rest of the podcast episodes. But that's it. I hope you enjoy the rest of this episode.
And so those were the biggest things. Oh, and staying hydrated. I feel like that's the other big thing is it's really easy to get dehydrated when you're nauseous. And you end up just eating lots of carb-y foods, which is fine, but that can lead to more blood sugar imbalances and that can lead to more nausea. So eat the protein first then have your carb. Eat real food as much as you can, like, try to do the more dense meals, those are going to keep your blood sugar more stable. And then, I mean, I drank probably, like, at least three adrenal cocktails a day. Now I drink, like, 24 ounces of adrenal cocktails a day, sometimes, like, more. And it's, it just helps you stay hydrated so you're not constantly peeing.
If you're feeling more stressed, which a lot of women are during this time, because they're like, what, if I'm not eating enough, I'm not getting enough sleep, like I, like it, I can't take my supplements, because I'm gonna throw up, you know, like, all those kind of thoughts come into your head. And so I think if you can just try to calm yourself, eat as best you can, just do the best you can with what you have. I will say blood sugar and dehydration, I think are the big things that throw people off the most. It's reflux, like, you're nauseous because it's, it's like a stomach acid issue. And when you, when your hormones increase your esophageal sphincter relaxes. When you get that relaxation, you're going to have more stomach acid come up and some people are like, but I don't have the burning, but you have the gnawing feeling, the nausea. So that's still reflux.
And so it's, that's another component of all this is, like, if you work on tackling that, then that can also help with the nausea. And then just eating every couple hours so that you're not getting that empty stomach feeling. But I'll talk about nausea in a little bit in, like, the second trimester, because that's, like, reflux, because that's really when I experienced it. That was first trimester, food didn't change a lot. It was more just, like, way more adrenal cocktails, tried to still eat the same foods just in smaller amounts and more frequently.
Second trimester that's really when, like, all the cool stuff happens, right? You're like, okay, I'm starting to, like, look like I'm pregnant, which is really fun. I, like, redid all my labs, like, halfway through. I think I was like 18, like around like 18ish weeks. I tried to do before my husband… my husband deployed when I was 18 weeks. And so I was trying to get all the testing done before he left so we could, like, be in the loop, but it was great, like, redoing all that stuff. So I redid my hair test compared to my preconception one and went from a slow one to a fast one. And which makes sense because your body is using up way more energy. You're growing a life in there and it's, it's, like, I mean…pregnancy is a stressor. Like it's a positive one, hopefully, but it's still a stressor.
But the interesting thing was like my mineral levels didn't change a ton. It's just the type changed. My calcium went down a little bit, that's what really put me into that fast one category is my calcium took a dip. So I was already eating a lot of calcium-rich foods. And I was like, I don't know how I could possibly get more dairy in or, like, bone broth. Like, I mean, I drink bone broth every single day, I have milk, yogurt, cheese…like, I eat a lot of dairy. And so I added a little bit of pearl powder in based on the lower calcium that I saw, but like my copper still looked good. And most of my levels were still optimal. So it was just, like, that little change in calcium kind of sped up the nervous system. And then I did increase my adrenal cocktails. I was already doing like three-ish most days, some days I would like get lazy and only do two. But at that point, like, once I got to, like, 20 weeks, it was like craving way more adrenal cocktails. And I, like, my belly was really growing, and so I was having more urgency with going to the bathroom. And I didn't want to, I was like this is only going to get worse and worse. So I need to be really good, like, I'm trying to stay hydrated. But if I drink too much plain water, you're going to be running to the bathroom constantly peeing out all your minerals. So I really upped my adrenal cocktails to like 24-32 ounces a day.
And I, also in your fast metabolic type, I was like, I know I'm using more of these better also. So that hair test was really helpful for me to do halfway through. I would not add, I would not have added in the pearl powder if I didn't see that. And then I redid my iodine test, because I did that preconception. It did increase which was, like, a nice, pleasant…I was just hoping to maintain, because you use a ton of iodine when you're pregnant. I mean, your thyroid is working at like 150% capacity. So my goal was to maintain, I actually went up 11% which is great. But my thyroid again, it's, it still just, like, went down a little bit. So I was like, alright I'm going to increase it one more time. So I increased my iodine to 20 milligrams. That's what I've been doing ever since, and I feel good with that. Again, like I can see I have a deficiency. So for me, it doesn't worry me to take more iodine, so…
And we also did our anatomy scan, we did that at 18 weeks because my husband was leaving. So a little bit early, but we did see that we're having a baby girl. She's very healthy. My placenta looks great, my cervix looked great, nice and long. And trying to think of the other big things. Those were like the biggest things and she, like, heart, all her, all organs all looked amazing. Heart rate was great. There was nothing that like stood out to my midwife that was an issue. And I think seeing that, like, you're just kind of like, is everything going okay? At least I was because it's my first time ever being pregnant. And I was just kind of like, I mean, I know things are happening, but I don't know exactly what, and it just, you just get nervous. I think also working in this field you know too much. Sometimes when you know too much it's just like, this is not helping me, it's almost like making me stress a little bit more. So after seeing that, I also was like, okay, we're good. I just want to make sure I can continue to produce enough thyroid hormone so that she has enough and that she doesn't get thyroid issues. My blood sugar can stay really consistent. I can keep sleeping good. All those things.
And so I upped my iodine a little bit. My vitamin A went down just a teeny bit, it went down like four points, which, I don't know, I was like happy with, because I was only taking, like, a teaspoon of cod liver oil. But seeing that, I was like, okay, I'm going to be entering the third trimester soon. And that's really when your vitamin A is going to take a huge dip. So I went up to two teaspoons of cod liver oil, still continuing all my other supplements. But those were, like, the two changes that I made based off that testing. And then I did redo my progesterone. I don't know what made me want to do this. I just, like, added it on for some reason. And it was, like, the lower end of optimal. So I was like, I'm going to add my progesterone back in. And my midwife, she's, she wasn't concerned because my cervix looked good. So she's like, your cervix looks fine. So I'm not worried. But if it'll make you feel better, then add it in. And it did actually help with, like, sleep and stuff.
I got a puppy…how many weeks was I? I think I was like 20 weeks or something or like 21 weeks or like around there. And Diego, he's very cute. He's a mini poodle for those on YouTube. I'll pick him up so you can see him. Isn't he the cutest baby? He's a very sweet boy. He was only eight weeks when I got him. So it was, like, a real puppy, right. It wasn't, like, I got Priscilla when she was 13 weeks. That's nothing, apparently is what I've learned. So I knew that was going to be another stressor. So I was really happy that I checked my progesterone and that I was like, okay, I'm going to add this back in, I feel good about this. And those were like the big changes that I made. Oh, and I had to check my blood sugar. So that was like, I did it around week 24. Just to check in and see.
So I'm working with a midwife, and specifically a home birth midwife. I'm, we're, we are gonna do a home birth, which I'll talk more about at the end. And what I've learned, and I've never had this experience with a practitioner before—it's been amazing—is that you can do whatever you want. So I don't have to do any testing if I don't want to, or at least with my midwife. Not everyone is like that. But she's very, like, low intervention. And, like, she, she knows my, obviously, she thoroughly went through my health history. She’s seen all my labs and everything. We talk all the time. And she was like, if you, you don't have to do the glucose tolerance test if you don't want to, but I would love for you to at least test your blood sugars.
And so I was like, okay, I'm just gonna check in and see. It was, like, 24 weeks, I was just curious, honestly. So I tracked for a few days, they were all great, my fasting was all like 80 to 90. And then my, anything after a meal, even like an hour after was like 115 and that would go back down. So blood sugar looked great. I'm going to, I have to, like, formally do it third trimester is when she wants to see it. But that was just kind of something I did for myself. Labs looked good second trimester, but I had to increase iodine because my thyroid went down a little bit. Same thing with vitamin A.
And then food wise, I would say, that's really when my food got back to normal. Like, I just was able to eat big meals again, which was amazing. I was still doing lots of snacks. But it was just, it was like, so much more satisfying for my appetite and, like, energy and focus, to be able to eat those larger meals. So I was very, very happy about that. And just eating more, I would say was, like, the biggest change. Like, and a lot of people have asked like, how do you know when you need to eat more when you're pregnant? And it's the same as when you're not, at least this is what I've been doing in my experience.
So one, I go off my energy and sleep. If I'm waking up a bunch during the night, then—or at all really, because I usually don't—then my first thought is like, what's going on with my blood sugar? How stressed out is my body? And then, like, my mood throughout the day, brain function? All those things. How am I recovering from a workout? How motivated am I to work out? Do I want to work out? So checking in with all those different things. I have also been tracking my heart rate. I haven't done my temperature. I will start that again about a month before my due date, because you can see a drop and that can give you some indication of, like, when labor is going to start but I haven't been doing that. But my pulse and everything.
So basically, I was going off those biomarkers and those, that communication from my body to understand. And I would see, like, if I was waking up at night, I'm like, okay, I probably need to really make an effort to eat more food. And I think because my food didn't change, like, amount wise a ton first trimester, I was just doing everything I could to get as much food in, because you're eating those small meals and it's harder. The second trimester got so much easier. And then I would say, like, around 20 weeks, I was like, I need significantly more food. Like, I have to consciously prep more food, make larger snacks. And once I did that, I was like waking up a little bit.
I would say, like, that, the whole sleep thing got really hard around that time too, because I couldn't sleep on my back anymore. And I'm a back sleeper so that was, like… I have so many friends that are, like, stomach sleepers, and they're like, I hate when you can't sleep on your stomach anymore. And I'm like, I mean, it didn't really affect me for so long, because I never sleep on my stomach. And then it hit me, and I'm like, this is what everyone's talking about. So that was like, having to sleep on my side was hard enough, but then, like, if I didn't eat enough one day, I'd wake up, then my sleep wouldn't be as good and I'm like okay, I have got to eat more food. And that really, really helps.
And then I did, you know, make sure I was super good about my adrenal cocktails, and that was, like, amazing for my sleep. If I found myself waking up with the urgency to pee, then I was like, I probably drank too much plain water that day. And so I was just like, no more. And I add the trace mineral drops, the Concentrace drops to my water. Trace Minerals is the brand. I get the glass bottle ones, and I would say I probably add…I was doing, like, a quarter teaspoon. I just started adding more so I was, like, I can't, I don't want to be constantly in the bathroom and I didn't want anything to wake me up at night. That also really helped.
And then the only thing that was, like, rough I would say sleep, not being able to sleep on my back, but I got a pregnancy pillow. I got the, originally the U-shaped ones did not work for me. It hurt my neck, it just like was not a good fit. The C-shaped one was amazing, and that's what I use now and that like, fixed everything. I, like, wish I, someone had recommended the C-shaped ones to me. So if you, I would say start with that one, it's just way more comfortable.
And then I did get a little bit of heartburn as my belly started to grow. I would say, like, around, like, that 20-week mark and maybe even sooner. It wasn't until like later in the day every day, but it was like 3:00 like clockwork. And one thing I was like, I'm maybe I'm not eating enough, maybe my stomach's getting too empty, and that's why I'm feeling this acid buildup. So I did make sure that I was better about having a bigger snack in the afternoon. That helped a little bit but I will say that I added, I started adding magnesium bicarbonate to my adrenal cocktails. I was initially taking it, like, I think mostly before bed, adding to my adrenal cocktails. And oh my gosh, that…just gone. Just completely gone. And it makes sense if you think about it, because it's magnesium bicarbonate. So it's neutral. It's more alkaline pH. And so that can help reduce that stomach acid. Not in like a bad way though.
I know so many people have reached out to me saying like they're taking Pepcid and stuff like that. That can affect your calcium. And while I didn't have to worry about high calcium, I didn't want to do anything like that. And so I just increased the magnesium bicarbonate, put it in my adrenal cocktails, which I drink between meals anyway. That's the only thing with the bicarbonate. You don't want to have it with food. Because if it's lowering your stomach acid, it can change your digestion and that's not great. So put it in my adrenal cocktails, which completely got rid of everything. And now I'm 26 weeks, my belly is much bigger. If you're on YouTube, you can see much bigger, no heartburn. So that really helped.
Aloe vera juice, I got a lot of questions about oh my gosh, you're drinking aloe vera juice when you're pregnant. They say not to drink it, I drink the inner leaf aloe vera juice so it's not the whole leaf. The whole leaf can lead to loose stools for some people. So the concern, as far as I know, with aloe vera juice when you're pregnant is that you can get dehydrated, because of course, if you're having a bunch of loose stools, then you're going to be losing more water. I do not get loose stools from it. Although I do have a lot of women that like to use it during the first trimester if they're experiencing constipation and it can help. I didn't really have any constipation thank, thank God, but I was drinking aloe vera juice. So maybe that's why.
And then coconut water with sea salt in between meals. That's another really common one. I know a lot of people get coconut aversions. I, like, the drink I have here is coconut water and lots of lime and magnesium bicarbonate and sea salt. So it's like an adrenal cocktail but just like the lime version. I make it ahead of time, so it's cold. So it has bicarbonate in it so I would not have this with a meal, but I have it between them. And I, the lime, I mean, I'm still, I don’t have a coconut water version, but I feel like the citrus would cover that up if that's someone's issue. So that's what I recommend for heartburn.
You can do baking soda, 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda with water first thing in the morning is amazing for heartburn. However, you have to wait 30 minutes to eat, which for most women when you're pregnant is not going to happen. So I would just add the magnesium bicarbonate. I really like Mitigate Stress. I'll try to remember to put it in the notes. But they have one. You can make your own. If you're inside my Master Your Minerals course you can watch a video on how to make your own magnesium bicarbonate. But that was really the only big thing during that second trimester like the sleeping on my back when I can't do that anymore. And then I was getting some heartburn.
And then the other, I have a lot of questions around, like, exercise and, like, all that kind of stuff. How did you exercise your first trimester? Like, how did I have energy? This goes back to the schedule that I talked about. So I learned how to time my food so that I could feel my best, because I still had to show up and work and see clients and do all my stuff for my membership and my podcast and like a million other things that I do. So that really forced me to just figure it out. And so since I had the schedule with food I just also tied in the workout. So I would get up, shove a couple gummies in my mouth before I even took the dog out, which was important. When I would just get up and take the dogs out and then eat it just, like, didn't sit well. So have a few gummies. I have a recipe on my website. And put those in my mouth, and then once I came back in after I fed the dogs, I would start making my breakfast, eat my breakfast, and then I knew I had two hours. I had two hours max to get a workout in before I need to eat again. So some people don't like to work out right after they eat. I, I mean, I just don't, for me it wasn't a huge deal. It's not like I was eating a massive meal anyway.
And I was doing strength training. So it just, like, didn't, I was like, I'm just gonna do it. It worked for me. So I would eat breakfast, start warming up, do my strength training workout. I do Mama Stay Fit, if you follow her on Instagram, that's also her website, mamastayfit.com, I'll try to put that in the show notes too. And it's basically like week by week of your pregnancy, its strength and conditioning. There is some cardio, it's, like, all optional. I have been doing the cardio for the most part throughout it because I feel good when I do it. So it's worked for me, but it's not intense cardio, guys, like, don't, don't think that it's, it's, like, aggressive and, like, you're supposed to be able to talk while you're doing it. So it was nothing like crazy, but I just found that it kept me feeling really good. If I had days where I had lower energy or I didn't, like sleep wasn’t good or something, I just wouldn't do it. Not a big deal.
But the strength training I always did. She incorporates, everything is like pelvic floor based and just like overall functional movements and preparing your body for pregnancy. That's why I went with her programming. Gina, her name's Gina. She's amazing, and she's also my doula. So she's, she actually lives near me, which is just, like, random but amazing. And I'm very grateful that she does. But I was looking up, like, prenatal fitness and stuff and it came up, it's like 30 minutes. I don't always go to the gym. I mostly do it from home now. But I still like go in. Eventually, especially in the beginning, I was going in more if I had questions on certain movements, but it's all in an app and there's videos. And then she has, like, a whole thing on, like, how to know when you need to do a substitution and all that stuff. And all that stuff is in there. People have asked like, how do you know when to modify things? I just paid attention to, like, am I feeling a lot of stretching, like, for me laying on my back and stuff now it's like, I don't do that a ton. I can still bench press but my feet are up. So like, that mitigates a lot of stress.
Basically, if you're looking for prenatal programming. She also has postpartum, that's what I plan to do. I think it's the best that you can get, and it's also going to include that pelvic floor breathing—she's huge on that. And you're doing that the whole time you're working out. I feel confident and ready for birth, because I've been doing this now. I started it at five weeks. So I was like, let's just get right into it. She also has a pelvic floor PT at her facility that I met with, and that was extremely helpful for me. So I've been doing the pelvic floor PT exercises as well. I have a very tight thoracic, and I didn't know this, but that's very closely tied to your pelvic floor. So she was like, that's going to be a huge focus for you. Because if that is, it's, it's gonna get tighter and tighter throughout pregnancy, like, you just lose that mobility.
So try to minimize that as much as I can I've been doing, like, thoracic stretches and mobility exercises and stuff like that. It's also just helped me feel really good. Like I haven't really had any issues body wise, like, this whole pregnancy minus my lower back. I just can't, I can't be on my feet all the time like I'm used to. I have to be smarter about that. And I did have to switch to, like, I don't sit, and it, I mean, I'm standing right now, but I have, like, a sit to stand desk and I don't sit in a chair anymore I just sit on an exercise ball. And that like completely made any back pain go away. So that helps. And then spinning babies, I am doing that every single day. I would say, like, I started it probably like 18 weeks. I think they recommend starting at around 20. But I just wanted to like get familiar with the movements, I still felt good. And then that way, like when I really needed it, it wouldn't be stressful for me to do it because I would already know it by heart. So I started that like 18 weeks, now I have to do it, now I'm in a place where if I don't do my spinning babies my lower back will hurt. That has been great. It's basically like a series of stretches. A lot of that, too, I work into my warm ups for my workouts, but not all of it, and some, and a lot of it I just like to do at the end of the day. So I usually work out in the morning or early afternoon. And then I still do the spinning babies before bed because I do feel like I need it. It's, it's nothing like too crazy, and it's not expensive. So it's one of those things where it's also going to teach you about the positioning of your baby, making sure you, like, you can understand how your pelvis works, all that sort of stuff. So I highly recommend that.
And then the last thing I've done, like, physically for myself is seeing a Webster based chiropractor. Which I mean, it's like so hard, because I feel like these are all so important, but I don't know, I mean that's been like huge for me. It basically, they, and I started seeing him I, I think I was, like, 12 weeks, like, 12 or 13 weeks. I just started going. I go twice a month. I'm definitely going to increase that third trimester, I'm probably going to go like three times, but it's just amazing. He knows exactly, like, how, what week by pregnancy I'm in, what's going on with my body. He also works at the same place as the gym and the pelvic floor PT. So it's very, it's, it's like, I've definitely have built, like, a good team around me.
But that is one where like, if you could only do one…it's like, you could do the online app for the workouts. You don't have to go to the gym in person, you could. I definitely recommend seeing a pelvic floor PT if you can, and make sure you listen to my podcast episode that I did with my friend, Dr. Ryan Bailey. I mean, there's a lot you can learn online about that too. But the Webster based chiropractor, I just feel like the further you get along and the more shifts you're seeing, like, in your body and, like, the more the relaxin is building up, it's really helpful to get that adjustment on a regular basis. And like, they'll tell you, like, how often you should be coming. He was like, you don't need to come twice a month. But I was like, after I saw the pelvic floor PT, my upper back was so tight, he was like this will help with a thoracic rotation. So for me, it made sense. Now it's a necessity, I don't know how I would survive without it. And it just like helps me reset. It also helps him kind of assess what's going on with me and say like, hey, like this is getting really tight, and let's, like, focus on more of these types of stretches. Or are you paying attention to this posture throughout the day. And just like those little tweaks has been really nice.
So those are kind of like the biggest things, like, exercise, pelvic floor wise. I do, I strength train four days a week, and I do the spinning babies every day. And that has worked really well for me. I feel better the more I'm moving. So I know that's not the case for everyone. I've just noticed, like, I don't have aches and pains. But it's like if I don't work out for a few days, I'm like, oh, like, everything's starting to hurt. So I definitely, like, stay very on top of that as long as I have gotten enough sleep and all that kind of stuff.
Okay, wrapping this up. I hope this has been helpful. I feel like I'm just kind of rambling through everything this whole time. So we'll see what kind of feedback you guys give me. But basically, nutrition has not changed a ton. Supplements have not changed a ton. I've just kind of made minor tweaks. But I did go into this pregnancy being very nourished. I had, my labs were pretty good overall, I just had some of those thyroid concerns I mentioned. I've done a check in like preconception, halfway through, I'm gonna redo the rest of the labs postpartum. But third trimester we will be doing thyroid again, because that's, like, what my midwife wants to do.
And then as far as like, birth plan, all that kind of stuff—I'll do another episode on third trimester—but I did decide to do a home birth. It took a little bit of convincing for my husband, but then he was onboard and now he's very excited about it. He loves my midwife. He met her once before he left. But it's been great. I mean, I've had a great experience. I just, it's amazing having a practitioner that you really feel like is working with you and is supportive. I just haven't really had that a lot, unfortunately. So it's been a very pleasant experience for me.
And I've just been focusing on my pelvic floor, man, that's like, moral of the story is work on this before you get pregnant. I wish I did that more. But I do feel confident in all the things I've been working on throughout. I think now it's just, like, minimizing my stress is, like, the biggest thing. So that's my main goal. And people ask me, like, what's been the hardest? I just, one, it's going by really fast. I feel like it's just like, I can't believe I'm, like, 26 weeks. And she's going to be here so soon. And yeah, so like that. I'm just like, slow down, I want to, like, enjoy it more. And then my husband being gone just is terrible. It's like going through a lot of firsts by yourself, which is a little bit sad, but he'll be back for the birth. So I'm just trying to be grateful for that and not, like, stress out the fact that he's not here.
And then this, like, it's just, you know, having a puppy is not easy. Everyone's like, you're crazy for getting a dog when you're about to have a baby, because I already have two dogs, but he's brought me a lot of joy. And he's a very, very sweet boy. So I don't regret it. And it's, it's interesting, because I've been reading a lot of books, which I'll probably, I'll probably wrap up with the courses I've done and the books. But I've been reading this book, like, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and it's, I know some people don't like that kind of stuff, because it is like schedule-based, but it's like, it's flexible schedule-based. So you're still paying attention to what your baby needs. The main focus is learning how to understand that communication. And like, I'm reading this book and I have this, like, tiny little eight week old puppy and it's funny that how much of it applies to him. So I feel like I did get a little bit of practice in and still am, although he's a much better sleeper now. But just like understanding, like, what does he need? Like, what is, what’s his body language mean? What does it mean when he makes certain noises? I don't think that I would have picked that up as much if I hadn't been reading that book.
So Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is that one. Supernatural Childbirth, another great book. I got the audio version for that one and for Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth because I like listening to the really good birth stories over and over. That's another thing I'll be doing more and more of. And then I went through the Pain Free Birth course, and if you don't… it's @painfreebirth on Instagram, she's got a great course. It's just been great learning about all the different, like, physiological aspects of childbirth, especially, I mean, with the science background, like, I'm like nerding out over it. But it's also, it's just nice to know, okay, like, this is what's going to be happening, because for someone that hasn't done it before, it just kind of feels you're, you're going to this big unknown. But I'm like, oh, there's actually, like, lots of signs and your body's communicating with you along the way, which is, you know, what I try to teach women to pay attention to all the time. So that was really helpful. And I just got the Happy Home Birth course so that I can just dig a little bit, because Pain Free Birth is not specific to home birth—anyone can do it. So I got the Happy Home Birth course, and I will be going through that.
I think that's, that's really it for now. There's more books and stuff I plan to read. But I also like, I just made my registry and trying to, like, work on the nursery and all that kind of stuff. So probably like, I'm like, third trimester is when I'll really dig in more up to, like, the newborn phase, breastfeeding, all that kind of stuff. Although my midwife is, she's so good. I, one thing I really like about her is she knows me well now, and she's a great reminder of like, you know how to do this, you know, like, your body knows how to do this. And she finds that the less, like, yes, it's important to educate yourself. But she's like, you can't obsess over it. If you obsess over it, you're gonna be stressed, it's not going to go well, it can just leave a lot more room for like error. So she's, especially because of my personality type, like, well, I want to learn everything about it, you know, so, but she's really good at like, bringing me back down and saying, like, your body knows how to do this. You'll figure it out. Don't worry about stuff, that doesn't matter.
And so that's been really helpful on this journey as well to have someone like that in my corner. And as far as my birth team, it's like, my midwife, my doula, my husband, and then my midwife will have a birth assistant there, too. Some people ask me about that. But I look at like a chiropractor. I mean, he's been like, such a great support this whole time, the pelvic floor, PT, all that kind of stuff. But for like, who's going to be there, it's just going to be a small, small group of people. And then, of course, all my dogs.
But that's it. So hopefully, this episode is helpful. I definitely will share more about once I go through third trimester all that lab testing. I can go more into blood sugar if you guys want and how I did it. It doesn't, most, I would say I've had a lot of clients that their doctor said they could just test their blood sugar and they didn't have to do the glucose tolerance test. But it just kind of depends on who your provider is and what they prefer. But yeah, so I will talk about that stuff in the future. I hope that this was helpful and answered some of those questions that a lot of you guys had. And no, I'm not taking a prenatal I probably should have, but I mean, I listed off my supplements. So hopefully you guys gathered that, but no prenatal because I was meeting all my needs in different ways. Yeah, I think that's it. So I will make sure I take into account everything that you guys share with me, all your feedback when I prep for the next episode of just, kind of like, third trimester and beyond. But I hope that you enjoyed this.
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