If you’re choosing to go the holistic route, the journey through pregnancy & motherhood can feel isolating. It can feel like everyone else is going the traditional medicine route and you’re all alone! I’m here to tell you don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are so many people who choose to live a more natural lifestyle and you can find them right here on the internet! I’m going to guide you through everything you need to know for healthy pregnancy including healthy pregnancy snacks, vitamins and supplements and where to find community. These tips aren’t only for when you’re pregnant, however: use them into breastfeeding & motherhood to continue seeing benefits!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice.
1. Address Your Pregnancy Diet
Write down everything you eat throughout the day so you can be more aware of what you’re eating. I quickly realized that I wasn’t getting enough protein and I actually wasn’t eating enough. When you’re a pregnant mama who already has a toddler running around, it can become hard to find time to eat. This is why I always keep healthy pregnancy snacks around. It’s recommended that pregnant women get one ounce of protein for each pound of body weight. For me, that was around 130g of protein. Most grown men in America aren’t even eating that much protein because they’re not aware of the importance. High protein diets can actually change your body composition. This makes pregnancy easier and more enjoyable due to not carrying around extra weight.
Keep a Journal or Checklist
Actually schedule things, document the things you eat and check them off of a to-do list became extremely helpful for me personally. I highly recommend grabbing my pregnancy journal that I hand-designed for a healthy pregnancy. This is going to give you the opportunity to check boxes every single day to make sure you’re getting the correct dietary needs, water intake, supplements, movement, mindfulness, etc. I wish I had this when I was pregnant, so I created my own!
Keep Healthy Pregnancy Snacks Around
- Greek yogurt and fruit
- Eggs and toast
- Avocado toast – here’s a tip to level up your avocado toast!
- Bone broth hot chocolate
- Whole food meat sticks from Paleo Valley
- Perfect Bars
- Apple and almond butter
2. Make a Birth Plan
Holistic pregnancy aims to have the healthiest, most natural embryo-to-birth-through-childhood experience while avoiding the use of unnecessary technology and medicines. The overall goal here is to make sure mama and baby have the best possible health and wellbeing from day one of pregnancy to the day baby is finally here! Traditional medicines have side effects and a lot of times are completely unnecessary. Western medicine intervenes in births much more frequently than is actually necessary.
Consider a Home or Unmedicated Birth
Many women have been led to believe they won’t be able to give birth without an epidural. Whether you’ve seen it on a tv show or your Aunt Sally has told you her horror story about how she “would have died”…I get it. Medicine is absolutely necessary sometimes. But let’s talk about the majority of the time when it’s not necessary. I’ve had three natural births myself & I wouldn’t do it any other way. Want more proof? You can read my natural birth story of my son Grayson here. Imagine being able to eat those healthy pregnancy snacks whenever you want during labor and then having your baby right in your living room! It’s a dream, really!
Take the time to research birthing centers in your area. Take time to research what procedures you’ll allow during birth, during well visits and thereafter. Make sure you are well versed in breastfeeding, homeopathy and holistic pain relief options.
But Aren’t Pregnancies Uncomfortable and Births Painful?
This is a myth and we are stopping it dead in its tracks right here! You can have a (mostly) comfortable pregancy without medication. Everyone’s perception of being pregnant is “being uncomfortable” and everyone’s perception of being a mom is “being stressed”. But it doesn’t have to be. Find your peace. I read a quote somewhere that said “A home without peace is the ultimate prison.” and I felt that in my core.
Natural Pain Relief
There are ways to reduce pain without turning to traditional medicines – one thing that helped me tremendously in my home birth was the Jovi patch. I also recommend acupuncture, massage, and a light exercise plan recommended to you by your doctor and midwife.
There is evidence that choosing holistic pain management options lead to quicker recovery for mom, less chance of exposure to dangerous side effects for both mom and baby, and increased readiness for breastfeeding. And not only the way you physically feel about having no side effects, but the way you are mentally equipped to take care of baby due to a quicker recovery.
3. Choose Your Midwife Wisely
Choosing your midwife is one of the most important things you can do! I have an entire blog post dedicated to questions to ask your midwife or OB here. The goal is to ensure that you are going to get the care that you desire for you and your baby. With many mothers wanting a more natural healthy pregnancy and birth experience, some OBs or Midwives will lead you to believe that the care you’re expecting is standard. Either that or they’ll make you feel like you’re crazy! haha Believe me, I’ve had it happen before. Be sure to ask specific questions and not just assume that they will do everything you want them to do. One of my big things I wanted to know what whether or not I was going to be allowed to eat healthy pregnancy snacks during the labor. It’s so important to keep your strength up for the marathon that is birth!
4. Prep Yourself for Positive Postpartum Mental Health
When I had Grayson (my second unmedicated birth), I was so overwhelmed by the switch from one to two kids, so I started to experience postpartum anxiety. I would feel like my stomach was in knots and I was dizzy and so overwhelmed all the time. It was really then that I decided to take my mental health by the horns, the holistic way. So many who are experiencing postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression are told that there is no other way to cope with it than using prescribed drugs. While, yes, that is great for some people, I want you to know that you can potentially handle it in a holistic way as well without those medications.
My Personal Anxiety Regimen for Healthy Pregnancy, Holistic Motherhood and Postpartum
Here is the regimen that I followed after doing deep research into healthy pregnancy and healthy postpartum habits:
- Young Living Essential Oils: I saved all the oils I use for anxiety regularly here
- GABA supplement. My midwife recommended this to me. It’s essentially the natural, herbal version of what you’d get prescribed to you. This is totally safe to take while nursing (note: this is not medical advice)
- Take 5 minutes of time to yourself to have silence. Believe me, I know this is easier said than done. I’m not sure if I get 5 minutes to myself in an entire day unless I intentionally make an effort and carve out the time. My recommendation is to wait until everyone is sleeping or occupied and then close your eyes and take your time to breathe.
- Diaphragmatic breathing. Did you know that when you inhale with your diaphragm, it actually activates a portion of your body that reduces stress in the brain?
- Practice gratitude.
5. Vitamins and Supplements
I’m a huge advocate for vitamins and supplements all the time, but they’re especially important when you’re pregnant! Like you should do with anything you put in your body, please thoroughly research products before taking them and consult with your doctor. Everything that I’ve taken has been thoroughly researched and recommended by multiple midwives. Read my deep-dive into prenatal vitamins and supplements here.
Vitamins Can’t Replace a Healthy Diet
It’s super important to focus on healthy pregnancy snacks and beyond, but you can’t guarantee that you’ll get everything you need every single day. This is why I take supplements. Remember, this is to supplement a healthy diet, not to replace it. These are the supplements I take regularly for a holistic, whole foods approach. I have a few brands that I’m loyal to for their small batch, purity standards and organic practices. It’s just an extra perk that they’re all small businesses. If something is out of stock, you can usually find a good replacement on one of these other brands’ websites.
Perfect Supplements (KAIT10 for 10% off)
Smidge Supplements (KAIT10 for 10$ off)
My Supplement Regimen
I personally took this regimen while pregnant and breastfeeding based on recommendations from my midwives, but I am not a doctor. Please consult your doctor before taking these.
Beef Liver Capsules: Did you know that beef liver contains all the folate you need?
Why Folate for Healthy Pregnancy?
Folate is the more naturally occurring version of folic acid and should be prioritized when choosing a pre and post-natal vitamin. While hard to find by itself typically, you need to find a good vitamin that contains Folate already. This is hands down the easiest way to get what you need. Folate even plays a key role in fertility before you’re even trying to conceive, pregnancy and the health of the baby. It has been well-studied for its ability to help prevent neural tube defects, so if you’re even thinking about having a baby, this is something you need to make sure you’re getting. Folate is easily absorbed by a much higher percentage of women and is more bioavailable (meaning your body can use it at a more efficient rate).
Morning & Evening Magnesium: We want to take multiple forms of magnesium throughout the day to have optimum levels. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 functions in the body to keep things running smoothly & these two blends do just that. The Morning and Evening Magnesium supplements from Smidge are regularly sold out, so here is another link to a multi-mag. Why do you want to be taking multiple forms of Magnesium? Your body thrives on magnesium and you are better able to take advantage of the benefits when different forms work together in the body.
NAC: (this is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown in peer reviewed studies to prevent cancer and improve many other functions in the body). This is a perfect supplement for a healthy pregnancy and postpartum mom. My husband and I take this daily.
MCT Oil (from Perfect Supps above): MCT oil supports healthy body fat/weight loss and even supports cognitive health (think alzheimers and parkinsons prevention). It can help manage diabetes, promotes cardiovascular health and so much more.
Healthy fats can also come from healthy pregnancy snacks. Once you get into a routine of eating healthy fats, proteins and fruits & veggies, you’re going to be much better off postpartum.
Collagen’s Benefits for Healthy Pregnancy & Beyond
Liquid Collagen or Collagen Powder (from Perfect Supps above): I typically get my collagen powder in my morning coffee. You can also make bone broth hot chocolate, perfect for my mid-afternoon sweet craving. Make sure that if you’re using the powdered form that you choose a trustworthy brand and pair it with Vitamin C. Collagen cannot absorb fully unless paired with Vit C. I prefer the liquid collagen because it is paired with superfoods and Vitamin C all in one spoonful.
6. Find a Holistic Community
When I first got pregnant and made the decision to go the holistic route, I had no idea where to look. I had no idea that there was a huge community of other mothers out there like me. They wanted the best for their children and their family. They refused to believe that Western Medicine was the only way. I have found community on Facebook in multiple facebook groups. Go search and type in something like “crunchy” or “holistic pregnancy” and you’ll find plenty of mamas.
The “freedom keepers” community of mamas are also a great holistic group to be a part of. Finding a local community is more important than ever in the times we’re living in. You want to know that if you have a question or a concern, that you have someone to ask. Where would you go if you needed help? Who would you ask for local recommendations for milk, farmers, herbal remedies, etc? What would you do if you needed community?
Build your holistic motherhood and healthy pregnancy community deep and wide. Make friends. Make connections. We need to make community & care for each other as much as we can! When they say “it takes a village,” that means all hands on deck! The effort starts with you. Send that text, make that friend, make that connection with your local farmer. You’ve got this!