First, thank you all so much for your well wishes! I have had so many questions related to pregnancy that I thought easiest would be to dedicate an entire post about it (mind you, I am still on my week 22), what I did, what I learnt, how I do it. I will update along the pregnancy and of course write more about certain topics if needed!
Note: This is what I do for myself, I know not everyone wants nor agrees with everything so you will need to do you and you do not own explanations to anyone than yourself. You are in charge. This is not a ”you must do like me” sort of mandate, this is merely a list of what I did and how I see things right now in life and what helped ME. If this is not you, you’re absolutely in your right to scroll ahead.
PREPARING FOR CONCEPTION
LEARNING THE BASICS: PREPARING THE BODY
The egg it is observed to develop around 3-4 months before being released, so everything that you will be consuming and the lifestyle you will have at least during those 3-4 months will matter a lot for the quality of the egg and the formation of what will become your future child, once the egg is fertilised. This is one of the main reasons why I do not recommend an unplanned pregnancy and why I recommend fertility tracking for at least 6 cycles before you even think of conceiving.
Tracking your cycles will allow you to see the state of your health, not only your period. In females, I consider the cycle to be a vital sign of wellbeing and I strongly believe that it should be used by medical professionals to always assess the health of a woman (in fertile age) besides checking her vitals as per usual during a check-up. I never used a hormonal contraceptive, but I always tracked my cycle ever since my own mother showed me so at 15 when I first got my period. If you want to start tracking your fertility and learning everything about your cycle, hormonal balance and how to promote a fertile soil for your conception, I strongly recommend you to check out my guide ”Your Female Health”, where I explain everything you need to know to start tracking and finding exactly your fertile window.
You will find this in the guide also, but as a general rule I focus a lot on reduction of processed flours, null seed oils or processed foods (so not store bought foods), cooking everything from scratch, higher intake of animal fats, red meat, liver, bone broth, our whey, sea food, seasonal fruits, well cooked vegetables if they are served, fermented foods, eggs, fish roe, avoiding fish from the Baltic and English Channel (highly polluted waters), drinking filtered water without fluoride (we use a Berkey Filter), adding minerals to water every now and then or simply enjoying some adrenal cocktails or electrolyte drinks when feeling low energy. Avoiding all sorts of store-bought sweets, normie ice-creams, etc. My rule has been, if I purchase something it needs to have maximum 5 or less ingredients on the ingredient list and of all I can pronounce or identify as natural and not lab-made.
I did not take a prenatal as my body rejected it (though I tried for when I couldn’t eat), but my planned main prenatal was Prenatal Essentials MF by Seeking Health for all the reasons they mention, free of many unwanted substances. I also had some of Baby & Me 2 gummies because acid reflux made it impossible to swallow pills for some time, so no liver pills nor oysters worked for me. But also had a go at mykind Organics Prenatal Once Daily Multi. Once I was able to eat though with normality, I stopped taking anything and focused back again on food. I feel confident about it and sometimes I do take folate by Solgar, if anything. If you’re able to eat and you’re in good health I recommend to just focus on nutrition, unless you go into pregnancy with known deficiencies or imbalances (reason why I always recommend blood tests before conception).
BLOOD TESTS BEFORE CONCEPTION
I had a big blood test (I have blood tests every year actually, but not necessarily this deep) as the base I used this one (only in Sweden), but I made sure to add other few things interesting to me such as progesterone, inflammation markers, more thyroid markers (such as antibodies), …
Absolutely ZERO polyester in my wardrobe, nothing, everything has been 95-100% cotton, linen, wool, some clothes on silk or cashmere. I actually have an allergy to plastic and if in contact I get an itchy rash, which works for me well as I don’t enjoy wearing polyesters or anything that comes from other textiles than the above mentioned. You can of course get super obsessed about this and also eliminate dyes from clothing – but yes, it might not be easy!
We do own a Somavedic Vedic for our house. I did notice a great deal difference in all our sleep, including our little one, we all sleep so much better and feel way more harmonious. I also got a pocket size one for the car, that I also use next to my bedside in the night for extra protection. Elimination of influences: 3G, 4G, 5G, EMF, geopathic zones (stress), free radicals. It also harmonises and stabilises our water in the filter. Some might not choose to believe but we did notice a very big difference ever since owning a Somavedic. They are also handmade in Europe, in the Czech Republic aside being actually proven and study to indeed mitigate radiations. You can test this also easily at home with a radiation detector.
We only use cast iron (works for us), steel or ceramics, so no ”no-stick”, ”Teflon”, or whatever abominations that are coated with chemicals.
DISHWASHER AND WASHING MACHINE
I only use natural cleaners such as Mulieres, made in Estonia with essential oils and gentle ingredients. We absolutely cannot even use anything else because we react to the chemicals…so no option. I also used Castile soap and worked great. I do not use any chlorine around my house but choose to make my own cleaning sprays, you can find more info on this post of mine where you can learn all about making your own.
PERSONAL HYGIENE AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS
I am a simple girl, I take no more than 5 minutes ”to get ready” so my husband can surely not complain. I cover all the products I use in two separate Instagram posts. Important to note: I make my own creams and lip balms and sometimes even lipsticks, I use solid natural shampoo and conditioners for my hair, a natural deodorant (extremely important to be free of aluminium, parabens, phthalates and plastics), a hydroxyapatite-based toothpaste and avoiding FLUORIDE as the plague (more information here), natural mascara made from cacao, and always Natracare cotton menstrual pads (never tampons as nothing should be inside you stopping the flow and toxins getting out during your period), and a completely natural sunscreen option if I use any, I chose Zinc Sun Stick by Suntribe (read my article here on why this is the best option for you and your children). Find all about the products I use in my post part 1 here and post part 2 here.
FERTILITY TRACKING TOOLS
As I said, we do not use any hormonal preventive methods, so my go-to app was Natural Cycles, tracking the markers there and their thermometer and also got to use their ovulation strips and chose Clearblue pregnancy test for early detection (because I was just impatient to know already before my period if I was or not pregnant).
Exactly the month I wished to conceive we got a stomach bug exactly around my ovulation and we postponed and instead avoided pregnancy that month. This is because I didn’t want to go in with a bad gut, we did conceive the following month as we thought it would be enough time for my gut to re-establish itself but I doubt it was enough (so we conceived at first go, same as with my first little one, which is a blessing). My theory is that as a result from going into pregnancy with a yet unbalanced gut was that I was more prone to acid reflux the first weeks of pregnancy (I never got proper nausea and never vomited, not with my first one, not now). Nonetheless, this made eating quite hard, I developed a disgust for most foods, I couldn’t swallow any prenatal either and I was basically surviving on some pieces of fruit and sourdough with prosciutto every day.
WHAT HELPED ME WITH ACID REFLUX
I was supplementing with magnesium and taking it with milk, avoiding big meals, acid foods and literally listening to my body and what it really did not want to ingest, I did not force myself. I also got up my protein intake and that made a huge difference (1,25g protein / kg bodyweight in early pregnancy).
Around week 8 I started to feel quite overwhelmed with the smallest of things and had really a hard time even keeping up with easiest of chores though having an extremely energetic 3-years old did not make it any easy, nonetheless, I pulled through by taking small naps while she was playing independently and had my absolute gem of a husband sometimes prepare me some food or cleaning the kitchen at the end of the day when my body just couldn’t anymore. This sensation went away once my hormones stabilised, this feeling shouldn’t be permanent but temporary, if permanent or you feel it’s not getting better you should take some tests to see your iron or thyroid levels.
NATURAL FABRICS CLOTHING FOR PREGNANT
It is already hard for women to find clean natural materials, it’s even worse for pregnant women with a belly! My biggest worry were my tights as I use mostly dresses. I used to wear pure cotton tights made in France, in Vogses, by Bleuforêt. Now it was much harder as I am extremely sensitive for pressure on my belly when pregnant, I couldn’t have them any longer as my womb grew and they were pressing me besides being high-waist. So I needed to just search Zalando, add the 100% cotton filter and just stock up on 100% cotton leggings and use those under dresses. Not the cosiest in Swedish winter but I luckily found some awesome 100% merino wool mom leggings at the Swedish shop Lindex that I can use even under the cotton leggings for extra warmth!
MY VIEW ON MEDICATIONS AND ILLNESS DURING PREGNANCY
If you follow my Instagram, you’ve noticed I’ve already had a post about the whooping cough and vaccination, what I think about it, etc. While I am not pro-vaccination for things like these nor seasonal flu, I do want to urge pregnant women to avoid colds and flu as much as possible for the simple reason that: if your temperature raises too much and is maintained like that for too long, it can actually affect your unborn child negatively in quite horrible manners, especially if you are against taking Paracetamol/Tylenol/Alvedon. Paracetamol (Tylenol in USA, Alvedon in Sweden) was considered somewhat safe for pregnancy in less than 7 doses… increasing chances of ADHD in girls more than boys and other associations with autism. I prefer to avoid it completely.
So what is your choice? Exactly what they used to do in the olden days. If you live with your family then stay with them, if your family in the household you share consists of partner and children then avoid contact beyond them. If you have your parents living with you, you’re lucky but same, avoid others that are not the people you live with. I know this is only possible for those affording to be at home from work while pregnant.
I do not want to use anything while pregnant and I got enough of sickness when I actually caught Covid-19 (will call it that because the little test called it that on the kit) aka, a damn disgusting flu (I reacted more to it as a stomach bug than a flu, reason why it was extra disgusting for me) when I was in week 15. I do want to avoid that no matter what it is, flu, virus, bacterial infection… so isolation is my best choice and what I choose to do with my family for the time being as I do not want any medications nor vaccines, especially not while pregnant.
If you can afford to avoid, then do it. Your little ones will thank you and your stress level will suddenly lower when you realise that it is nor worth to be pressured socially and it is totally OK to not want social interactions while you focus on nourishing yourself and your body and child(ren). There will be times for playdates, for fun days, summers spent outside…when the little one is safe in your arms.
OTHER CHOICES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The situation in Sweden with a big lack of midwives is only getting worse. I recommend you to choose your birth as quick as possible after falling pregnant. I myself chose:
- Local midwifery to give birth as home births were stopped in our region just recently (the jest is that they were only available for about 1 year before they again decided to take them away). I am familiar to the midwifery, there is no doctor intervening unless in emergency care, which is very handy and nice to have as a backup though, it is a cosy, friendly place, serving super bad food but that’s why I plan to take food with me for when I need to labour.
- I am choosing a water birth, without medications
- Delayed cord clamping (I will ask for 1 hour, but ideally until the cord stops pulsating)
- I chose to not write a birth plan, but instead a visual birth plan (I think this is so helpful also for midwives especially in busy environments when they do not want to read a novel with 1000 wishes and remember them all). I am trying to be realistic and considerate to them. I will post more on this and eventually create one for you all to use if so you wish
- I will request either vitamin K drops or a version without additives for when the baby joins us
- I will request to not have monitors on me all the time if they notice all is OK
- I will request to not ask me to ”push”
- I will request to not offer me pitocin IV as I want to allow my body to use its own beautifully produced oxytocin and unless they notice a change and high chances of haemorrhage then ask and administer it
- I will bring a night lamp with me, foods, my own clothing and pregnancy pillow (mine is filled with spelt husk and not little plastic balls) and baby clothes needed as well as natural diapers
- I do not want to swaddle my baby, I want her to be as free as she was in the womb, so I have instead a cotton sleeping sack and a baby nest
- I do not want them to bathe the baby as that will help her with immunity and our bond