It’s the final stretch!
Here’s your third trimester checklist:
· Self-Care. This last trimester is a stretch of your body and mind. At this point you may have gained 25-35 pounds, your organs are compressed, you are pumping so much more blood through your body, and your pelvis is softening in preparation. So, remember, it’s okay to take care of you right now. It’s okay to make sure you are getting enough rest, that you are moving your body, that you are doing the things that keep you mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.
· Prioritize Sleep. This is not the time to stay up until 3 in the morning binge watching a show on Netflix. Your body needs sleep to prioritize all the changes happening in your body. Make sure you are going to bed at a decent time or taking a nap when you can. This can be much harder when you already have a child outside the womb, so let the dishes sit in the sink and sleep when you can mama.
· Get a pedicure. Or two. Or three. Let’s be honest, it’s getting hard to reach your toes and when your feet are beginning to swell, it just feels better to have pretty toes. Also the foot rub and calf rub can also feel amazing for your aching feet and legs that are carrying not just you, but baby too! If you can only choose one time for this, do it a week or so before your due date! Postpartum painted toes while you are resting in bed nursing your baby often just makes you feel more put together! And if you feel good mentally, you’ll feel good!
· Hire a housecleaner. Even if it is only one day to do a deep clean in your home, having someone come in and help you clean your home will help you so much. Nesting is a real thing, and you will feel the urge to have a clean home, while maybe not having enough energy to complete some of those harder deep clean tasks. Don’t feel bad about hiring help.
· Continue gentle exercise. Yes, it is getting harder to move, but moving your body is great for you and baby! Continued exercise, even walking, can help you have an easier and faster birth. If you have been doing prenatal yoga, continue. This will help your body recover after delivery.
· Write a birth plan. In the moment of labor, you may forget some of your desires for birth or not be able to communicate them well. A birth plan is how you organize your thoughts and desires for labor and delivery. One of the best ways to use this plan is not necessarily during labor, but to determine if your care provider is on the same page with you. If you feel like when you are explaining your birth plan and your provider isn’t agreeing with your desires, that’s a red flag moment, and do not forget to be very clear about your choice on vaccines. Remember, you can say no.
· Request delayed cord clamping. One of the best things for a newborn is to receive all the blood that is intended. Delaying cord clamping by 1-2 minutes is great, longer is better! This also supports healthy blood iron levels and can significantly help ward against Jaundice. Side note: there is great evidence to support the ingredients in the Vitamin K shot can contribute to Jaundice.
· Create a packing list for your delivery bag. Everyone likes to have different things on hand for delivery. Make a comprehensive list so you do not forget anything – and don’t forget the oils, diffuser, clara derm for healing the vaginal area and healthy snacks for afterward – hospital food is toxic.
· Tour where you will be giving birth. Whether this is a hospital, a birthing center, or even your own home. Figuring out the layout for how everything will operate prior to delivery can ease your mind. Even if you are doing a home delivery, figuring out the flow and logistics will make the day of birth so much easier!
· Take a breastfeeding class. This is something most first-time mamas never consider. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, especially when you’ve never experienced it before! Many mamas experience hardships when breastfeeding for the first time, so a class can be extremely beneficial to prepare you for what is to come. Also sometimes this can lead to a breastfeeding advocate that you can call after the baby is born to help you out if you have some struggles!
I cannot recommend encapsulating your placenta enough. This is an amazing way to help with postpartum and beyond. You should be able to ask in local mom groups or search online for someone local to you.
· Communicate Postpartum needs with friends and family. A new baby is a lot of work. Beautiful work, but it is still work. You will always be recovering and enjoying snuggling and soaking up the newness of your baby. It’s okay to talk with your family and friends for things you may need help with or even reminders. Maybe you need your husband to remind you to rest. Maybe you need your mother-in-law to help you with a meal or two a week. Maybe you have a best friend that could come over and hold the baby for an hour while you showered and cared for yourself. Whatever it is you may need, communicate those needs with gratitude and love to your loved ones. Don’t be a pregnant version of a bridezilla!
· Buy comfortable clothes for postpartum. This is the time to have all things comfy. Comfy robe, comfy and loose pants, nursing bras, and everything soft and wonderful. There is no reason to make yourself uncomfortable while your body adjusts to motherhood.
· Wash and prepare baby’s clothes. You can do this at any time. I highly recommend using Thieves Laundry Detergent to wash your baby’s clothes in something completely clean and free of fragrance and toxic additives.
· Clean your vehicle and install a car seat. A clean vehicle to bring home a baby in just feels like an additional piece of luxury. Make sure your car seat is properly installed and you are ready to go!
· Stock up on paper consumables. We don’t use paper plates or plastic utensils often, but there are times in life that it is okay for your sanity. This is one of those times. Not having to worry about constant dishes in the sink for the first few weeks while you adjust will clear you of so much mental space. You can save the earth when your baby is a month old. 😊
There are so many more things you can add to your list. Customize it to your needs and your desires, but most importantly do not forget to BREATHE AND ENJOY the rest of your pregnancy. It can be so easy to want to rush it. To begin to feel anxious when your due date is approaching. To wishing that baby would just want OUT! Even though it is beautiful when the baby does arrive, what you are experiencing now is also beautiful. Growing life is magical, even when it feels hard. Soak in this time to prepare for the transition into growing your family.
Pregnancy Super Foods
I know, I know. It’s so easy to want to just cave to the pregnancy cravings. And no shame if you do! A hangry mama bear isn’t something the world needs! However, there are some super foods that will help keep you feeling energetic and vibrant throughout your pregnancy and into postpartum. Even if you just pick a few from this list and acquire the taste and habit of eating, you’ll be golden!
Kale. One cup of kale has 4 grams of protein, 150 mg of calcium, 491 mg of potassium, and more than the daily requirement for Vitamin A and K.
Spinach. High in niacin, zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Collard Greens. Excellent source of vitamin A, C, and K, calcium, iron, vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline, and magnesium.
Broccoli. Rich source of folate. This is more bioavailable than most found in vitamins that you take. Your body will better absorb the folate in natural food.
Avocado. High in potassium and monounsaturated fatty acids.
Bananas. Great instant energy and can help prevent pregnancy muscle cramps. Also great for between meal snacking for morning sickness.
Fermented Carrots. Rich in probiotics.
Yogurt. Rich in probiotics. Look for yogurts without added sugars or dyes. Greek yogurt is usually higher in protein.
Kombucha. Fermented beverage that is rich in probiotics.
Kefir. Another rich in probiotics option is like drinking yogurt.
Bone Broth. Rich in minerals that support the immune system. Contains collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline. Can help heal the gut lining and reduce intestinal inflammation.
Coconut Oil. Really healthy fat that boosts your immune system.
Pasture-Raised Eggs. Great source of protein. The egg yolk is considered brain food as it is similar to fish oils. They are an excellent source of long-chain fatty acids called EPA and DHA which can help in the role of development of the nervous system in the infant.
Lentils. Good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin, fiber, lean protein, folate, iron, and vitamin K.
Pumpkin Seeds. Powerhouse in magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, and zinc.
Chia Seeds. Packed full of fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.
Almonds. Rank highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin, and niacin compared to any other tree nut.
Dates. Boost of energy and high in fiber (helps with constipation). Also helps prep the cervix to become ready for labor by helping with softening and opening.
Pineapple. Contains the enzyme bromelain which is known to help the uterus contract. High in many vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin C.
Alternatives for the Glucose Test
Did you know that gross glucose drink is mainly sugar water with lots of artificial colorings and preservatives? Did you know that you can opt out of it and say you want to try an alternative?
· 8 ounces of organic grape juice + a banana
· Natural soda or drink with 50 grams of total sugar
· 16 ounces of orange juice
· 30 jelly beans
The point of this test is to ensure that you will not deal with gestational diabetes. This is something that will resolve after delivery if you are diagnosed with it. You can also choose to monitor your glucose levels personally your entire pregnancy. Simply get a glucose monitor and test your blood sugar levels every day, sometimes multiple times a day. This helps you monitor what is going on in your body better even without the knowledge that you can do it to skip that nasty glucose drink.
Poop and Vaginal Healing
The POOP talk. No one wants to, but we need to normalize it because there are way too many poop issues in society. This is also a part of pregnancy that many mamas overlook or do not expect, and you do not have to suffer and certainly do not have to take OTC’s if you seek a better way.
*ps: everyone can benefit from comfortone – not just women about to birth a beautiful babe..
These two are must haves for the last few weeks of pregnancy and into postpartum.
Mama, going to the bathroom – anytime – but especially after having a baby shouldn’t be terrifying.
Consider taking a few capsules before bed a few times a week starting later in pregnancy to make sure everything is, ahem, running smoothly. The last thing we need is to give birth and then be scared to go to the bathroom because things are backed up.
This supplement helps your digestive system by eliminating residues (waste) from the colon thus enhancing its natural ability to function. It is SUPER GENTLE. this is not an “oh no runs to bathroom” situation at alllll. so so gentle, one of the reasons i love it.
We call this our healing spray, because it truly does it all (myrrh, lavender, tea tree, frankincense, roman chamomile, helichrysum) starting around 32 weeks, you’ll wanna spray it every time you go to the bathroom.
postpartum – this replaces that blue stuff in the can!
pregnant mamas – do not skimp on claraderm. get two bottles and let your (vag) be blessed.
c-section mamas – this would be so beneficial for you too!
bonus: whatever you have left over is now the BEST spray for any skin stuff, or boo-boos!
A Sweet Story about Myrrh and Breech Babies
“Did you happen to bring the myrrh?” I asked Sarah as we headed to Tennessee with our two children, Caleb and Joseph.
“Got it right here!” answered Sarah. We also had with us our unborn baby who was about 36 weeks along, and who happened to be turned breech. (This means that the buttocks or a foot would be born first rather than the head.)
We had been planning all along to have the baby at home, as we had with our two previous children. However, the baby being breech gave us some concern, since certain complications can arise during childbirth with a breech, that probably would not happen with a vertex baby.
We had been trying for about a week to turn the baby by using the slant board technique. This is where the mother tilts an ironing board at about a 45 degree angle and lies down with her head toward the floor. Oftentimes the baby will automatically flip around after the mother has lain like this for ten or fifteen minutes. We did this three times a day and also tried playing baroque music with headphones at the area of the abdomen where we wanted the baby’s head to be. We prayed. We even talked to the baby trying to convince it to turn on its own. All the while we were applying myrrh to Sarah’s abdomen—two or three drops at a time.
After about a week the baby still had not turned. We had been in contact with Ina May Gaskin, a midwife who lives on The Farm, a community near Summertown, Tennessee. Ina May is author of the classic book entitled Spiritual Midwifery. She is, perhaps, the most experienced person in the country in successfully dealing with breech babies. Thus, on an early Monday morning, September 17, 2001, we were headed to The Farm, about six and a half hours from where we live, to have Ina May do an external version—which is manually turning the baby head down.
When we arrived, Ina May felt around Sarah’s tummy and confirmed that the baby was definitely still breech. Ina May wanted Sarah to be able to relax completely while she was doing the version and not be worried about kids running around. So we brought Caleb and Joseph to one of the guesthouses where they laid down for a nap. Sarah then went to Ina May’s house.
Before doing the version, Ina May wanted to do an internal exam just to be 100% sure and to assess exactly how the baby was lying in the breech position. “I’ll be back in a little while,” she told Sarah. “I need to leave for a few minutes to get a sterile glove from the clinic.”
Meanwhile, Sarah made herself comfortable at Ina May’s home. She took the myrrh she had brought and proceeded to douse herself with the oil. She used much more than usual, and rubbed it all over her tummy. She then lay down and went to sleep—a very deep sleep. When Ina May returned, she decided not to disturb Sarah and let her sleep until she woke up on her own—about an hour to an hour-and-a-half later.
When Sarah awoke Ina May proceeded with the internal exam. Feeling slowly and carefully, she looked up suddenly and said, “I think this feels like a head down here!”
The baby had apparently turned on its own sometime during Sarah’s deep sleep—only moments before Ina May would have done the external version! Ina May then felt around Sarah’s abdomen and could easily identify the baby’s little butt near Sarah’s ribs and the head down low—just like it was supposed to be.
It was both a miracle and a relief that the baby turned on its own. We had been trying for some time to get the baby to do this, but without success. Then, only moments before the midwife was going to step in, and shortly after Sarah had applied a generous amount of myrrh, the baby decided to turn.
Did the myrrh assist in the baby’s turning? We do know that myrrh was a popular oil used by pregnant and laboring women for many centuries during Biblical times. It was even one of the two oils brought to Mary and the Christ Child by the wise men. For this reason alone, I believe it to be a very important oil for women to have during pregnancy and birth.
The key is that we prayed and followed what we were led to do—and we felt guided to apply myrrh which seemed to be just the thing for this very sweet and very stubborn breech baby.
One month after this turn of events, on the morning of October 18, 2001, a tornado swept through our county. As the winds howled and the rains poured down, our Perfect, healthy nine-pound baby boy, Thomas, was born safely in our home. He was fully alert (Apgar 10), born into the loving presence of his parents, his brothers, and his grandparents. Today, March 2003, Thomas is a robust toddler who walks, is just starting to talk, and whose stubbornness and willfulness, manifested while still in the womb, still shows itself daily.
To this day, more than a year later, the scent of Myrrh always brings up the memory in my mind of Sarah’s pregnancy and birth of our son, Thomas. It probably will for as long as I live.
In the Hospital
or in any situation where you need to be aware and advocate for yourself and your newborn.
One of the first things you will want to have, as discussed above, is a clear birth plan or advocate that will not back down in the face of coercion. This will apply to things like. Epidurals, instruments like forceps or a vacuum, keeping the cord attached a bit longer, declining the baby shampoo, vaccines etc… Be prepared to advocate for yourself in confidence and a smile, and know that no matter what is said to you or how they try to fear you, you are in control.
Practical list of items to bring:
- frankincense for the top of the head to anoint and oxygenate the brain
- Diffuser to keep a calm environment, stress away or any favorite you have
- Thieves for the diffuser as well for a clean environment that keeps the good germs but not the bad ones
- Oils for general pain support like panaway, deep relief or even lavender
- Your key supplements you need maybe comfortone, ningxia and sulfurzyme
- Claraderm for potential tearing and vaginal support
- Clean water
- Comfy blanket/pillow
- Music you love
- Healthy snacks and grass fed protein sticks (I love wallace farms for their beef sticks)
- Your written birth plan and advocate
Mama, know that you are in control and you have a divine power to reclaim motherhood on all levels.
The idea of RECLAIMING something means talking about the sad truth that something has been LOST along the way.
Our motherhood has gotten mixed up and diluted with things like people-pleasing, surrendering our power to people who have demanded it from us, listening to voices who have no right to speak into our decisions, and simply going along with the cultural expectations.
A. In order to find our truest mothering instincts again, we have to enter into the story about where and when it was lost.
Let’s go way back for a minute and consider our personal stories. What is your story? It matters, particularly in your childhood years. When were you taught that your feelings and your voice didn’t matter? Who told you you were too much? Who told you you weren’t capable or smart enough or brave enough? When were your fears, heartaches, and tears dismissed?
We carry these messages around in our bodies and hearts, and this baggage impacts our mothering, whether we realize it or not.
If you carry the message around that your voice doesn’t matter, then it’s extra hard to believe you can use it to challenge your child’s doctor.
If you carry the message around that you are too much, you will shrink yourself into an acceptable shape and size when your relative tells you how to parent your own child.
If you carry the message that you aren’t smart enough, then you probably won’t feel confident to gather even the most basic research that could make a major difference in your child’s healing.
So what can we do about these blockages and others that are robbing us of our maternal rights to parent from our own wisdom?
B. Key motivator: If we don’t reclaim our voices as mothers, someone else will BE HAPPY to step in and speak for us. THEY will be taking the power we were given by God to care for our own children. We cannot afford to give this away!
Jot down three people or influences who have been happy to step in and speak for you in your parenting journey. (Suggestions: doctor, Mother in law, friend, culture, your spouse). How do you feel when someone takes this power from you? Have you seen negative effects in your children’s lives when someone else is making decisions for them that go against your gut?
Identify the blockages. What are you so afraid of? How might it cost you to use your own voice?
- Relationship costs
And what are the costs if you let others make your mothering decisions for you?
THE HEALTH, SAFETY, FUNCTIONING, GROWTH, AND CONNECTION WITH YOUR CHILD
Have you weighed these costs against each other? Which ones are you most willing to pay?
Let’s help you get to a place where the answer is none.