Well, the last couple weeks have been a little crazy, and rather difficult. We were sick a bit last week, and I’ve just been…feeling overwhelmed. I’ve finally solved the why behind that one, though, which makes things a bit easier. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Now I’m almost 16 weeks pregnant. It is going fast! Although I have a tiny belly, and in fitted shirts you can tell something’s there, I still mostly just look fat. Sigh. I’ve never been one to “show” very early, and now unless you know I’m pregnant you wouldn’t guess. With my third! I feel pregnant, though.
In the last week or so, I’ve started to feel a lot of cramping/stretching and even the odd contraction. It started when I was sick, which worried me at first (I thought, oh no, it’s because I’m not eating or drinking enough and I’m hurting my baby!!), but it has continued even though I’m fine now and eating/drinking plenty. I guess the growing and the Braxton Hicks just start early in later pregnancies! In fact, my midwife said she had contractions starting around 12 weeks with her fifth, and she was so worried she’d miscarry or go into pre-term labor…but nope! Carried to her due date and had a healthy baby.
I’m feeling the baby move sometimes, but it’s still pretty random. It’s usually around the times I feel the cramping/stretching, and it still feels sort of strange. I don’t usually feel my babies until 20 weeks or later, when they’re bigger and move more deliberately, so the early movements are a bit weird to me. Sometimes I have to wonder if it’s baby. But when I feel movement then stretching, I assume that it is!
So what has made these last couple of weeks so hard? It wasn’t entirely — or even mostly — because we were sick. And I wasn’t that sick, except for one day. It was because I let my routine go out the window.
I got a new laptop, and I put it in my bedroom. That meant instead of getting up, getting dressed, and going down for breakfast (after which the kids would have play time and I’d spend a little time finishing my breakfast and checking my stuff), I sent Bekah down to get them something to eat and I did laptop time first. They’d eat and play, but I wouldn’t. By the time we got up and got dressed, I didn’t feel like making breakfast, so I’d feed them whatever else was easy and not really eat myself. I also stopped buying juice (because it’s not as good as fresh-squeezed), but that ultimately meant it was an extra step to make a smoothie in the morning, so generally I just…didn’t.
No breakfast meant I was irritable and starving, but nothing sounded good. It was honestly return of morning sickness (which has never happened before!). Everything sounded gross and I had to force myself to eat while feeling nauseous. My go-to snack was apples or celery with peanut butter (which is not bad) but I just…could not eat. I was ultimately nauseous and starving all the time, and the idea of cooking was gross, I had no energy, anything I did cook I didn’t want to eat…. You know, typical pregnancy junk! But well past the morning sickness I’d had earlier.
I could not deal with anything this way. I was impatient with kids, overwhelmed with the idea of having to cook and do the usual chores. Anything beyond the basics was absolutely beyond me. I was stressed to the max.
This week two things changed. One, the weather got nice outside! It’s now in the 50s most days and sunny! That makes me feel like spring. Two, I decided to move my laptop downstairs and force myself to get up and cook and eat a good breakfast. I broke down and bought natural orange juice so I wouldn’t have an excuse not to make smoothies. Monday was hard. Even though I got up, I was still half-sick from not eating enough for days. I was so nauseous I didn’t want to eat the food I cooked. Still, I sat and sipped water until I felt better, then slowly ate my breakfast. And — amazing! I felt better! Tuesday was easier, I had more energy and I did not feel sick, and I ate my breakfast easily (and everything else in sight). I had no more nausea, I did not hate food, I could do my chores and not feel overwhelmed anymore.
This experience really stressed to me how important pregnancy nutrition is. I could not function and I could not eat well when I was not starting my day with a solid, protein-filled meal (for me, eggs + smoothie is perfect and what I really need first thing). I was starving myself and I was unable to care for my family because of this one simple thing.
Pregnancy nutrition does far more than just make the day possible, though. I’ve heard stories this week about women who actually have misshapen pelvises (because their mothers ate and fed them poorly growing up), but are able to deliver their babies naturally if they eat a very healthy diet! Not being induced was key, because their bodies did/do not produce enough of the hormone relaxin to open their pelvises properly to deliver the baby until the baby is ready to come (a huge reason why women who are induced end up with c-sections, by the way).
Nutrition can prevent so many complications. It can prevent pre-term birth. Labor starts because the baby will be better outside the body than in it. Normally that’s because the baby is fully developed and ready for life on the outside, plus running out of room to grow (it’s not because of a deteriorating placenta in the vast, vast majority of cases!!). But if a woman is malnourished and depleted and her baby is no longer able to get the nourishment it needs inside her body, then her body will send her into labor even if it early, because it knows the baby can no longer thrive on the inside. (Hence why women who have babies close together are more likely to have the later babies prematurely…they are depleted and their bodies will eventually go into labor in order to get the baby proper nourishment on the outside.)
Nutrition can prevent neural tube defects — we’ve all heard that! “Take lots of folate/folic acid to help prevent spina bifida!” But it can also help prevent allergies, help form strong bones, and prime the baby for a healthy immune system. If we are healthy and have good gut flora at the time of birth, we can pass that along to the baby! Consuming healthy fats and plenty of probiotic foods helps this.
There is just no end to the wonders of excellent nutrition, big and small. It is so crucial I can’t even explain it well enough. And I know people say “The baby gets the best of what you eat,” but if that is fake sugar, factory-farmed meat, processed cereal, and very few fruits/vegetables, you hardly getting anything good. Your baby will not either. The mainstream is so quick to ensure us that no matter what we do or how we eat, our babies will be just fine. That is not true. The vast majority of babies will be born “fine” no matter what, but they will not be as healthy as they could be.
There is even evidence that women have faster, easier labors if their nutrition is excellent. Some traditional societies routinely had babies born after only an hour or two of relatively easy labor — until they started to eat a Western diet, at which time women began to labor for days and “require” c-sections! Babies born to excellently nourished mothers are more likely to be born “in the caul” (with the bag of waters intact) which is said to be good luck. (Of course, this is partially more likely because many of these women birth at home or in birthing centers and their water is not artificially broken. Doctors like to break it just as soon as they can, which actually increases the risk of infection. It is safer for the water to break as late as possible and on its own. Daniel’s didn’t break until I started pushing.)
The sheer magnitude of what is possible with excellent nutrition in a natural pregnancy is astounding to me. See what control we have over our health?! And that of our future baby’s?!
(Yes, I’m aware that excellent nutrition does not guarantee anything. You could still have complications, you could still have a long, difficult labor, you could still have a c-section, and you could still have a baby born with problems. But it is so, so much less likely.)
Nourish your bodies today, and your baby’s! (Or future baby’s.) It is so worth it!!
Like what you’ve read? Subscribe so you never miss a post! You can also follow us on Facebook or Pinterest. Thanks for reading!