Welcome! I'm Alli and I'm a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner living in Framingham, MA. I believe in the power real food has to optimize your health. I do not believe in a one size fits all eating style and will work with you to achieve your goals.
We are officially in the 9th month of pregnancy! It’s crazy to think that this little girl could come almost any day now. I think 39 weeks is considered “full term” though so I’m holding out for that, but I hope she doesn’t make us wait too long!
Everything has been going well for the most part. I am experiencing some sleep disruptions, lower back pain, round ligament pain, etc. that I’ll detail down below, but I really can’t complain since it’s all still pretty minor.
Baby is in a good position right now and is head down facing towards my back (anterior). Hoping she stays this way!
The nursery is coming together and I absolutely love it- it’s my favorite room in the house and just so calm and pretty in there. I definitely have hit “nesting” mode and every night I feel like I need to be organizing/ doing something. The amount of amazon packages we’ve gotten recently is also pretty insane.
Here’s what’s going on with baby during Week 36
At 36 weeks baby is about 18.7 inches long and weighs about 5.8 pounds
Baby’s liver and kidneys are now in working order and circulation and immune systems are good to go
She’s gaining about an ounce per day and getting nice and chubby
Lungs are doing their final preparations to be strong and healthy for life outside the womb
Here’s what’s been happening with me the past few weeks:
Workouts: Still going well! Unfortunately, working out sometimes makes the lower back/ sciatic pain a little bit worse, but I’m still able to get in some movement at least a few times a week and walking most days of the week. Given how hot it has been this past week though (upper 90s) if I don’t get out in the early morning, I’m waiting to walk until later at night and usually not for as long.
Symptoms: Sciatic pain like I said above, although going to the chiropractor and getting a prenatal massage has helped with this, round ligament pain, some acne on my face, and overall feeling a bit more hormonal. Had a few episodes where I just started crying, mostly from feeling a bit overwhelmed. I also have experienced acid reflux for the first time in my life! A lot of my clients have experienced this, and before pregnancy I really couldn’t relate. I now can say that it is NOT fun, but thankfully as long as I don’t eat too late in the day before bed (or spicy food late at night- tacos don’t seem to sit super well with me) and take my Betaine Hydrochloride, I can get through it. For those of you dealing with acid reflux- I feel your pain!
Movement: Yup- still a good amount of movement! She’s running out of space in there, but I’m still getting kicks on my right side and feel her butt slide around the top of my stomach, especially at night! Also, when she gets the hiccups it’s pretty much my favorite thing ever.
Food Aversions: Nothing!
Food Cravings: All I wanted for my birthday was carrot cake and was extremely happy to have satisfied that craving. Also, since it’s so hot out I am all about eating ALL THE FRUIT (particularly cherries, peaches, strawberries, blueberries and watermelon) and keeping meals on the lighter side. I’ve also been loving sauerkraut, eggs, salmon (still), salads, yogurt/ cottage cheese and rice made with bone broth.
Sleep: Okay- waking up now about once a night to pee, and then wake up early and can’t get back to sleep. I need to start trying to nap during the day because I’m feeling really exhausted by the evening time.
Maternity clothes: Yup, pretty much all I can fit into at this point although I do have a couple of loose summer dresses that are still working out.
Miss anything?: I miss sleeping on my stomach, being able to have a glass of wine, and sushi. But other than that, I still think being pregnant is the best : )
Baby Items Purchased: Just got a new hamper for her room, and getting in some more organic white cotton newborn onesies for the hospital. We are packing our hospital bags and man- there is a lot of stuff that needs to be brought to the hospital! I feel like I’m going to show up there and look ridiculous with how much stuff we have!
Looking forward to: A nice, relaxing Maine vacation with the family. We are going to Maine for a few days over the 4th of Juy and I can’t wait to just relax and soak up some nice time with the family.
I often post photos on Instagram and tag them as “real food”, but I realize that this term can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some people might say that all food is real food, but what I mean by this is that real food is food that is primarily unprocessed and does not include chemicals or additives. It’s very challenging to get these things 100% out of your diet, unless you make everything from scratch, but for the most part I make a concerted effort to remove these foods and choose others that are better alternatives.
A “real food” diet to me also means that I don’t restrict foods that I want/ crave. Sometimes I eat too much sugar or dessert type foods, and I know my body needs a break so I cut those foods out for a few days. But for the most part, if I want something, I have it. That being said, I always try to choose the best version of that food (if I can). So if I’m craving brownies, I’ll make them gluten free and from scratch with maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar (these are all still sweet and high in sugar content, however, they provide more vitamins and minerals than standard white sugar). Same goes for craving macaroni and cheese or pizza, I’ll never just order Dominos, I’ll get the real, good stuff (sometimes gluten free, sometimes not) and usually always have it with veggies or a salad. This doesn’t feel “forced” to me- I genuinely like having veggies with my meals. I feel fuller for a longer period of time and more satisfied.
For each person, their definition of what foods make them feel good might be different, but at this stage in my life (and at a stage where I feel I am generally eating a bit higher carb while pregnant), this is what works for me:
All the veggies (organic is preferable!)- if you are not interested in veggies like I wasn’t during the first trimester, throw spinach into a smoothie!
All the fruit (same as above)- with no restrictions on how many carbs are in a fruit. However, I generally try not to go above 2-3 fruits per day due to the sugar content
Meat/ Eggs/ Seafood- focus on organic, pasture raised, grass-fed or wild. However, if I’m out I will still eat meat even if I’m not positive of its source
High quality fats- this one is super important to me. I know how amazing fats are in our diets and I am conscientious about the types of fats I’m eating like good quality, saturated fat (which is so important for brain health!), butter, ghee, olive oil, avocado oil, nuts and seeds and avoiding foods with bad oils like canola or soy. I can’t help what oils are used in restaurants, but since I eat at home probably 90% of the time, I choose to relax with this.
Organic Dairy- I have found that during pregnancy I really want dairy/ cheese so I’m having organic cottage cheese, grass-fed yogurt, organic cheddar cheese and organic sour cream- all full fat! When I’m not pregnant I choose raw dairy because it is easier to digest. Some people continue with raw dairy during their pregnancy which I don’t have a super strong opinion about, to each his own!
Some grains- I eat organic white rice, gluten free oats and traditional sourdough bread (which is easier to digest for those with a gluten sensitivity)
Other stuff- when cravings strike, I have gluten free pasta, dark chocolate, ice cream (usually from coconut milk but sometimes regular- like my favorite grass fed ice cream called Jeni’s!), pizza, etc. I know my body really well at this point, and I know that I can have these things occasionally without any bad effects. I also hope to teach my children one day that food doesn’t have to be so “black and white” and while we want to focus mostly on foods that make us feel good, there is nothing wrong with eating some sugar occasionally.
My diet during pregnancy is not a one size fits all, each person has to find what works for them! If I was having blood sugar issues, I would limit my carbs. If I was having trouble gaining weight, I would probably really focus on upping the calories/ fats in my diet (but as is, I’m gaining weight exactly where I’m supposed to be without focusing on this at all!). Each person is unique but by focusing on real food, I don’t think it’s as important to be so strict about what your macronutrient ratio looks like. It’s going to feel differently for each person!
Well we are now a few weeks into the third trimester and have passed the 30 week mark! I can hardly believe June is just around the corner and that’s the month before our due date. Things have felt so much more real lately since I’ve now had both of my baby showers (one in MA and one in NJ) and we are going to be starting on the nursery soon. I cannot wait to set up the room- I feel like it’s going to be my favorite part of the house!
We also had our first childbirth class. We took the class outside of the hospital and absolutely loved it- there was a ton of good information and if you know me, you know that I’m the type of person who likes to know all of the research/ info before going in to something. So this class really helped with making me feel a lot more calm/ prepared.
Here’s what’s been going on with baby during week 30!
Baby is about 15.7 inches long and weighs almost 3 pounds
A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and takes up more room in the uterus.
Her eyesight continues to develop, though it’s not very keen; even after she’s born, she’ll keep his eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she’ll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from his face.
Here’s what’s been happening with me the past few weeks:
Workouts: Going well! As usual, some weeks are better than others but I am always getting some sort of movement into my day. Whether that’s going for a walk or doing an online video. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting tired more quickly when I do a workout video, but other times I feel great and I feel like I’ve actually built up some endurance during this pregnancy! I do get side stitches while walking sometimes and need to remind myself to slow down, and other days I have felt super tired and forgone a workout in favor of some yoga or stretching. I’m being very kind to myself and understanding that this is a phase and I need to respect what my body needs- not just the fact that my brain is telling me it’s time to work out.
Symptoms: The back acne from before has actually cleared up! Thank goodness! However, I’m starting to get some stretch marks and my belly button is pretty close to popping out. It depends on the day though and sometimes when she moves she pops it out but then she’ll move in a different position and it will go back in.
Movement: All. The. Time. Still my absolute favorite part of the day, especially when she is super active. I love trying to determine what body part is where, but really we have no clue!
Food Aversions: Nada, pretty much enjoying everything now!
Food Cravings: Salmon, sweet potatoes with lots of butter and salt (which is funny because in the first trimester I was hating them), yogurt bowls with fruit, and dark chocolate! For my baby shower we got everyone Alter Eco chocolate as favors so I’ve been really enjoying the leftovers : )
Sleep: Meh- not horrible but not great. I’m still not waking up during the night to pee which is a HUGE win, but I will wake up some times with racing thoughts and a couple of nights I got leg cramps which was not fun. So I started putting magnesium oil right on my calves before bed. Since I’ve started doing that, I haven’t had any cramps so hopefully it stays that way!
Maternity clothes: Obviously! Favorites include my maternity dresses for my baby showers.
Miss anything?: Sushi? Although Erik and I had some GREAT sushi a couple of weeks ago and my cooked rolls were delicious, I have to say that I wouldn’t mind some good, raw sushi. And maybe a glass of wine ; )
Baby Items Purchased: So many things! Now that we have had both of our showers, we are almost all set with our baby items! I am so excited about all the things we’ve gotten and seriously cannot wait to organize the nursery. Some favorites include: our crib, stroller, snuggle me lounger, ergo baby carrier, glider chair (so comfy!), and our cute animal prints for the walls. Plus all the clothes- OMG so many cute clothes!
Looking forward to: Our maternity photos! We found a great local photographer who is going to do our maternity and newborn photos. Her stuff is absolutely gorgeous and I cannot wait to have them done. Also, we have our next appointment with our doula soon and of course I’m excited to get started on the nursery!
Recently, I was chatting with one of my good friends and fellow Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. We were talking about how despite being Nutritional Therapists, we have both personally found more balance, ease and happiness thinking LESS (not more) about our food choices.
As a Nutritional Therapist, I have spent a LOT of time thinking about food. In fact, even most of my high school and college years were spent thinking about food in a restrictive kind of way (how little am I able to eat) but then as I started my Nutritional Therapy certification I started thinking about how wonderful and nourishing food can be (but there was always a caveat that this only applied to eating “perfectly healthy” food). I am so glad I have this knowledge about food and no longer fall into the low fat, low calorie craze, but sometimes when we then become obsessed with eating only “perfect” foods (i.e. local or super high quality proteins, perfect fats/ oils, and low amounts of starchy carbs) you can fall into a different type of disordered eating.
Goat milk yogurt bowl with blackberries, banana, dates and granola
It’s the same thing with all the different diets I’ve tried. I’ve obviously done the super low calorie diet, I’ve done gluten free, I’ve done paleo, I’ve done primal (paleo but adding in dairy), I’ve done sugar free and I’ve done keto. All of these plans have taught me different things about food, but they are all still DIETS. They still all cause you to think about food all the time because our lives aren’t set up in a way where once you decide to be on a certain plan then that is the only food magically around you. We aren’t like our ancestors who only had access to the foods they grew/ were in season. We have constant access to all sorts of foods and sometimes the stress of having to turn down something you want because you are following “x” plan is more stress than its worth.
I also think it’s true that if you are anxious about eating a certain food you may have a negative reaction to it and/or not digest it well. I used to be so anxious about having any sort of sugar or “bread” type product- sandwich, bagel, muffin, etc. But the last time I was at home in New Jersey, I just really wanted a bagel. And not a gluten free bagel or keto bagel- a real, gluten filled, New Jersey bagel. I got them for the family, had an everything bagel with cream cheese, and all was well! And I was so concerned that because I was eating all these “processed carbs” I wouldn’t be full or satisfied and come two hours later I would be ravenous, etc. But you know what? That bagel fueled me up for a drive home and about 5 hours later I ate a salad. All was good. Now, do I think bagels are the most nutrient dense food choice? No. But do I think that if you really want one should have it? YES.
Sandwich and salad while out in Charleston
Ignoring our food cravings can lead us to OVER-eat other foods because we are trying to make up for what we really want. Have you ever really just wanted say, a piece of chocolate after dinner? And then you try to eat everything else instead? You’ll grab another serving of dinner, eat some fruit, eat some nuts, and then finally after all that realize you still just want the damn chocolate? And you realize if you just ate the chocolate to begin with you would have been satisfied? I think this happens a lot and it takes a while for us to understand our food cues and cravings and determine what is a habit (i.e. every night after dinner I eat chocolate) versus what is something we just truly want and crave in the moment (i.e. maybe your body is low in magnesium and would love some dark chocolate to fill up those stores!)
Jeni’s- the BEST ice cream
I guess my point is that your body will tell you what you want if you are really listening to it. Do I think it’s beneficial to learn about nutrition and food, and try a sugar detox/ whole30 or RESTART program? Absolutely. I think it’s important for a lot of people to learn that their food choices might be affecting their health in ways they don’t even know. And it’s good to re-set and get back to your baseline and figure out what foods make you feel truly good. But once you know this, my point is that you don’t need to be as dogmatic/ black and white about your food choices. There is room for things that might not be the most “nutrient dense” or “perfect” foods but at the end of the day (unless you have an allergy) it’s just food and it will pass. It’s usually more our thoughts and feelings around these foods as well as what you are doing consistently that has an impact on our overall wellness.
Decaf cappuccino- always with whole milk
So if you want the cake, eat the damn cake. If you know that making it gluten free/ refined sugar free will make you feel better- then make it that way! But if you know you will only be truly satisfied by having one piece of the “real” stuff versus needing to eat five pieces of the “healthy” stuff- just eat the real thing. Then you will be able to just move on after the meal versus obsessing about it for the next three hours.
I can hardly believe that the next time I’ll be doing a recap I’ll be in the third trimester! Sometimes it feels like time is going slowly but then I’ll be looking at my Bump App on my phone and another week has suddenly flown by!
Over the past few weeks there has been a lot going on. We had a few snowstorms which were not so fun, it seems like Spring just does not want to show, and we went on our “Babymoon”in Charleston which was a fantastic time. Since Erik has been traveling for work so much, it was wonderful to have just uninterrupted time for us to relax and explore a new city. The weather ended up being not so great, but we made the most out of it and had a wonderful trip. I would definitely go back there again!
We also had our first appointment with our doula and it went amazing. She is going to be an absolutely fantastic resource and spent a few hours with us just going through all of our options for the hospital/ birth. There are truly so many things that can happen during birth and it makes me feel a lot better knowing which things I feel comfortable with versus the things I would really like to avoid (as long as its safe of course).
Here’s what’s been going on with baby during week 25!
She is measuring about 13.5 inches long and weighs about 1.5 pounds
She now knows which way is up and which is down
She is growing more fat and more hair
She can now use her hands to grasp
She is peddling her feet to practice walking
Here’s what’s been happening with me the past few weeks:
Workouts: Still going pretty well! Some weeks are definitely better than others, but as the weather is starting to warm up I’m trying to at minimum go for a walk each day, and every other day get a workout video in (sometimes happens, sometimes doesn’t!) I still feel totally normal while working out which is also good.
Symptoms: Back acne- I forgot to talk about this one in previous posts but ever since getting pregnant I’ve started to get acne on my back. Thankfully it’s not on my face, but it’s still quite annoying. I’m also getting side stiches/ aches when I walk sometimes. I think it depends how the baby is positioned and sometimes I have to slow down or put my hands above my head until it goes away.
Movement: Yes! Best part about these past few weeks has been that Erik can now feel the kicks easily as well. I think my favorite time of day is relaxing in bed before I go to sleep and just watching my stomach jump up and down from her movements.
Food Aversions: Nothing! Still not super into salads, but my previous aversions to veggies are now gone. I’m back to liking them all!
Food Cravings: Dairy, Mexican food, and salmon! I’ve been super into salmon lately and love getting it at restaurants where they serve it all crispy from the broiler.
Sleep: Pretty good. Still working on sleeping on my side as most nights I wake up and find I’m on my back. But I still am not waking up at night to pee so that’s a win!
Maternity clothes: Oh yes. I made it to about week 22 still wearing regular jeans and then realized it just wasn’t worth it. So now I’m sporting maternity jeans at work and then immediately changing into my Lululemon Align pants at home…..I’ll probably have to size up in those in a few weeks too.
Miss anything?: Nope! I had a little moment about a week ago after I got weighed at the doctor’s office where I semi freaked out about just how fast the weight gain seems to be happening, but overall I am so good with it! I love my bump because it’s a reminder that baby girl is healthy and growing!
Baby Items Purchased: We picked up an Uppababy stroller on Craigslist and I am obsessed with it, especially the bassinet which is the cutest thing ever. I also got a rug for her nursery and have started to pick up some natural bath products for her. We have also gotten a lot of clothes from family/ friends!
Looking forward to: The nursery being painted! Erik is painting the nursery and I’m super excited to start to start decorating her room!
When people start getting into the field of natural health and wellness and researching their food, I think it’s only natural that after a while you start to also research the other items in your household. Our skin is our largest organ, and therefore what you put on your body and even what you breathe is very important for our overall health and wellness. For a few years, I mainly focused on the food I was eating, but after a while, this started to spill over into what I was putting on my body and what I was utilizing to clean my house.
While I am not 100% perfect in all areas, I try to primarily buy products that are natural/ eco-friendly and I also make sure that these products actually work well. I have tried out a lot of products before I found ones that are both a) non-toxic and b) high performance. This is also especially important to me as I believe the products you are using have an impact on endocrine (hormonal) health and I want to make sure I am not using anything toxic while pregnant with the baby.
If you want to check out the toxicity of the products in your own home, a great resource to use is the Environmental Working Group ewg.org and/or the app “thinkdirty”. It may be overwhelming at first if most of your products don’t score very well, but just move slowly and as you run out of products replace them with safer alternatives. Also, as a side note, I do not sell any of the products below and I don’t get paid to promote them. I just think they’re great and want to share : )
Before I researched all of the toxins/ crap in my makeup I only cared about one thing- good quality coverage. I had dark circles under my eyes and acne as a teenager so it was really important to me that I had a good coverage concealer/ foundation. In college, I primarily used Tarte and Makeup Forever and always loved the coverage they provided. However, I didn’t love the chemicals that were used in the products. Beautycounter has been a fantastic way to get the great quality coverage I desire while also delivering on a toxin free product. My favorite things from them are: Tint Skin Foundation, Volumizing Mascara, the nude eye shadow palate, their black eyeliner and their nude lip gloss. They are more expensive than your average drug store products (for good reason in my opinion) but they are comparable to the higher end makeup products that you would find at Sephora.
I have tried SO many natural deodorants over the years trying to get myself to stop using Secret Clinical Strength. I always used it because when I was growing up I felt like I sweat too much and it was the only thing that completely stopped both the smell/ sweat. As I started to research things like the fact that aluminum is in deodorant (https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/why-you-should-use-aluminum-free-deodorant) I knew I wanted a natural alternative. Also, it’s not natural to NOT sweat! Your body sweats as a way to detoxify, and using an “anti-perspirant” can clog your pores as your body is unable to rid itself of toxins. You want to search for a deodorant, rather than an antiperspirant.
For a long time, I tried a bunch of different types and they always made my armpits get a rash (I’m sensitive to baking soda) or they didn’t work. Then I tried Primally Pure deodorant. I get it, this stuff isn’t cheap- but it is SO effective and it does last a long time. It’s my favorite brand by far.
Most of our products are Seventh Generation, the Honest Company (I utilize the bundle option and get a new set of items every few months when I run out) and Dr. Bronner’s. I get pretty much everything from them like floor cleaner, glass cleaner, bathroom/ tile cleaner, and multi-purpose cleaner. Once you figure out the products that work well in your home, it becomes a lot easier. Also, this is where ewg.org and the thinkdirty app come in handy. You can also make most products yourself with just white vinegar and essential oils if you are on a budget!
Household Scents (aka “candles”)
I used to really like candles, but I started to notice that I would get a headache when certain ones were burning and I could never walk into a candle store without feeling sick. After a while, I realized that most candles are made with pretty bad ingredients (they aren’t just 100% soy or beeswax) and all of these artificial scents are really not good for us to inhale. So now I primarily use an essential oil diffuser and use lemon for the kitchen and lavender for my bedroom.
So there you go! I use quite a few other natural products so if you are interested in something in particular, let me know and I will try to point you in the right direction!
And just like that, we are at the halfway mark! 20 weeks feels so significant to me because the “teen” weeks of pregnancy were filled with lots of ups and downs and just so much change from week to week. Back at 12 weeks pregnant we had an ultrasound where our baby finally looked like- a baby! Not just a little bean. And that was such a joyful moment. But then I still had some anxiety and nerves around this last ultrasound, the “big one”, as this was the one where all other abnormalities were ruled out and we made sure everything was developing properly. Not to mention that we found out the sex of the baby and had a gender reveal party at week 18. There’s just been a lot going on! But it’s truly the best and I feel so happy and grateful every time I feel those little kicks in my belly. So let’s go back a bit and talk about how the past few weeks have been!
Week 16 was a good one! I was waiting for this week and for baby to be the size of my favorite fruit- an avocado!
I was pretty busy this past week so didn’t get too much accomplished on the activity front besides a few online videos and some walks, but oh well- it comes in ebbs and flows!
I felt like maaaaaybe I felt the baby this week? Two times it sort of felt like a “nerve jumping” a few times in my uterus. But it certainly wasn’t an obvious moment like “oh! That’s the baby!” and I haven’t really felt anything consistent. So excited to feel movement every day!
Week 17 flew by! Work was incredibly busy and weeknights were mostly just spent trying to get a little exercise and having dinner then going to bed. I’m happy I can actually make it to 10pm now without feeling totally wiped out, but I’m still pretty tired in the evenings.
The weekend is where things got pretty crazy. We had a major issue with our shower and ended up having to re-tile the entire thing! Luckily we have friends/ family who helped out and who knew what they were doing. On the one hand it was a very expensive weekend, on the flip side we now have a beautiful new shower and it wasn’t nearly as expensive as it would have been if we had it done professionally.
Week 18 was super busy but so great! We had a doctor’s appointment on Thursday morning- everything seems absolutely perfect and I never get tired of hearing that heartbeat! We had some warmer temps on Tuesday and Wednesday which was such a welcome relief- hello 70 degree weather you cannot come too soon! Unfortunately it was back to snow/ rain the next day, but at least it was nice to have a brief thaw out! And then my parents came on Friday night to spend the weekend with us for our gender reveal party on Saturday! We also installed a new reverse osmosis water filter and it’s fantastic. I have been wanting a water filter for a while and this one did not disappoint. The water tastes SO clean and now i can finally stop buying crazy expensive water from Whole Foods : )
Our gender reveal party was so much fun. I am so grateful to have so many friends/ family members willing to help out and it was a huge success. We had waaaaay too much food, but everyone had a great time. At about 8:30, we did the big reveal and finally announced that we are having a…..GIRL! Erik and I actually found out before the party as I wanted us to have a private moment for us to find out. I am so glad we found out in advance because I was actually almost positive it was a boy! My acupuncturist had been telling me that he thought it was a boy pretty much since I found out I was pregnant, and so I kept picturing this little blonde baby boy! So I’m glad that I found out so I can switch the image in my head ; )
Sunday everyone was pretty tired- Erik had to catch an early flight for a work trip and so I just hung out with my parents in the morning and had a leisurely breakfast plus my mom helped me with some items on my baby registry. When you’re trying to get mostly nontoxic items, I have found that building a registry is a massive effort as each item requires like, hours of research : / at least for the big stuff. But thankfully I have some fellow NTP friends who have had babies recently and who I can ask tons of questions to about baby gear.
The weekend finished up with my prenatal yoga class and getting some salmon at whole foods since I think my body was just craving some healthy food. Two days of pizza/ cake and my body is like “nope- please give me nutrients!”
Week 19 was a great one, although most of the week was spent just waiting for our ultrasound on Thursday! As usual, I was nervous/ anxious going in to the appointment but it could not have gone better. Baby girl was measuring exactly at 19 weeks and 4 days (exactly where I’m at with my pregnancy) and everything looked perfect. The female body will never cease to amaze me that my body is just developing this perfect little human while I’m just going about my normal life. It’s incredible!
On Saturday Erik and I went to Buy Buy Baby for the first time to check out some items on our registry. It was so much fun and we were able to narrow down a few essential items like what stroller we want.
And now for a change of pace, here are some additional updates:
Here’s what’s been going on with baby during week 19!
She is measuring about 6 inches long and weighs about 8.5 ounces
She has developed a protective coating over her skin called the vernix caseosa
She is working on her senses and nerve cells for her taste, hearing, sight, and smell are developing in her brain
Her kicks and movements are getting stronger
Here’s what’s been happening with me this past week:
Weight gained: I don’t typically weigh myself and primarily just see the scale at appointments. I don’t really think this is a necessary item to comment on either as every single pregnant woman is different!
Workouts: This week was pretty good! Online strength video, online pilates video, walks with Kenzie, and two yoga classes
Symptoms: Not much! Getting a few nosebleeds but not sure if that’s from the dryness/ cold or from pregnancy and my belly is definitely starting to pop more.
Movement: Yes! I started feeling the baby a bit around week 16 sporadically, but now it’s daily where I can feel these little tiny movements. It sort of feels like bubbles or little kicks and I usually feel her most after a meal and when I’m relaxing at night.
Food Aversions: There is nothing that sounds absolutely horrible, but some things that I’m just not in the mood for like sweet potatoes, raw veggies, olive oil, kale and cauliflower mashed potatoes. Also, if I eat something too many days in a row I want nothing to do with it.
Food Cravings: All the dairy- still going strong on wanting yogurt, cottage cheese, regular cheese, sour cream, etc., regular baked potatoes (not sweet potato), and carbs.
Sleep: Okay- I’m trying to sleep on my side but I’m waking up a lot as I find myself on my back and I try to flip over.
Maternity clothes: yes! I’m still mostly living in lululemon align leggings when I’m at home because they have a high waist, but I also got my first pair of maternity jeans and a few sweaters. I’m still primarily wearing regular jeans, but they are becoming increasingly uncomfortable.
Miss anything?: Not really! I was oddly craving a beer this weekend (not wine) and could go for some sushi, but it’s not an intense craving. Also, I do miss being able to do intense exercise, but honestly, that hasn’t happened for like 2 years ; )
Baby Items Purchased: not too much yet but we did go to Buy Buy Baby and are working on our registry.
Looking forward to: Erik being able to finally feel the baby!
And now we are all caught up! Super excited to see what these next few weeks bring but all in all, I’ve felt great and haven’t had anything crazy on the symptom front! Hope it stays this way!
It’s important to get started eating a healthy, nutrient dense diet before pregnancy but I also think it’s challenging to get in all of the proper vitamins/ minerals on diet alone. Once you become pregnant, the baby will quickly start to use up your nutrient stores so it’s very important to have built a solid base (I recommend getting started on a supplement protocol at least 3-6 months before trying to conceive- and this includes both future moms and dads!) and also make sure you are eating as nutrient dense as possible.
Below is the list of supplements that I took prior to getting pregnant and continue taking during my pregnancy. We each have individual and unique needs, but this has worked very well for me.
A good Prenatal
I personally chose Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal as my prenatal vitamin. It is more expensive than some other prenatals, but I think the benefits are well worth it. It contains methyfolate which is very important if you have the MTHFR mutation (which I do!) which means that you can’t process synthetic forms of folic acid. About 50% of people have the MTHFR mutation (if you have it- you most likely don’t know that you do!) so I recommend that most people just take the methylated version of folate even if they’re unsure whether or not they have MTHFR- might as well cover your bases!
It also contains the methylated version of B12 which again, is important for those of us with MTHFR.
Besides that, it contains all the other basic vitamins that are important in pregnancy like Vitamin A, Biotin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Coenzyme Q10, etc. It does not contain Iron so I do take a liver supplement (see below).
Some other great prenatals are: Thorne Basic Prenatal, Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal and Innate Response Prenatal.
Although my prenatal contains vitamin D3, I prefer to take a larger dose so I also take additional supplemental D3 (see my post here). Vitamin D can help reduce many pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes. It is also important for baby’s bone and hormone development and can also support mom’s own immune system during pregnancy.
I believe that taking magnesium and my probiotic (see below) during pregnancy has been the reason I have not had the dreaded constipation that plagues most pregnant women. I have been able to keep completely “regular” which I am very happy about! Magnesium is incredibly important to help mom’s tissue growth and recovery during pregnancy and can also help the baby obtain more nutrients from the placenta.
Probiotic support is so important, and particularly during pregnancy. During birth, babies receive beneficial gut bacteria from their mom as they pass through the birth canal and then from nursing afterwards. This beneficial bacteria is important for baby’s own immune system and lifelong health. Probiotics also help mom avoid illness and constipation while pregnant. This is the one I take, but I usually switch it up every couple of bottles to a new brand.
I have continued taking Betaine HCL with my high protein meals during pregnancy which keeps my digestion running smoothly. I am interested if this could also help down the road when a lot of pregnant women start to experience heartburn (see my post here)! Knock on wood, I have never experienced heartburn and I hope to avoid it during pregnancy as well!
Vital Proteins Beef Liver
Liver is a great source of nutrients for all of us, including pregnant women. But unfortunately I have tried liver in a bunch of different recipes and I just cannot eat it (I have literally used up an entire stick of butter and pound of bacon in the process of trying to make liver palatable and ended up having to feed the whole thing to my dog). But all is not lost! I supplement with liver to still get all of its great nutrients without having to deal with the taste : )
Prenatal Omega 3
Essential Fatty Acids are extremely important to consume for our overall health. Most people think of omega 3’s and cardiovascular health, but they also help provide a healthy immune system, better brain and cognitive function, joint mobility, eye health, lactation, and skin/ hair benefits. Unless you are extremely focused on eating a ton of healthy fats, it can be difficult to get in enough DHA and EPA, especially during pregnancy when a woman’s demand increases substantially. Here is some of the research for fish oil benefits during pregnancy/ lactation: (https://nordicnaturals.com/en/consumers/why-omega-3s/542)
Promotes the healthy development of the fetal brain, eyes, nervous system*
• Promotes positive mood and well-being for mothers*
• Supports healthy birth weight and gestational length*
• Promotes attention and focus in infants and children*
• Supports healthy immune system development*
• Is natural and safe for long-term use
Before I get into this next update, I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me about my last post. Also, I am doing fine, baby is doing fine, and overall I am feeling much less anxious/ stressed. But I wanted to be honest in my last post and bring to light something that isn’t talked about that much- that this process is not necessarily easy for everyone and therefore some of those fears/ anxious thoughts don’t just end the day you see a positive pregnancy test. And I also want others who are struggling on their own journey to know they are not alone- and I’m always here to talk!
Now, let’s jump back in to the weekly updates!
The best part of the week was announcing the pregnancy to family. On Christmas Eve we went to Erik’s cousin’s house with his mom’s whole side of the family for our annual Christmas Eve party. We did our Yankee Swap, then Erik’s brother made a beautiful toast to their Dad who had passed away last July. He remarked on what an amazing man Dave was, and how holidays and other months, like July (when Dave was born and when he passed away) would be particularly hard. But at the end he said “But we now have something very exciting to look forward to in July and I have the pleasure to announce that I will be an Uncle”. It was so, so sweet and such a wonderful moment. There is a lot of sadness this holiday season, but this baby is already bringing so much happiness and joy!
As far as symptoms for 9 weeks go, I felt pretty good! As usual, this made me nervous, but other than craving macaroni and cheese (and being grossed out at the idea of salad- who am I?) I felt pretty normal!
Baby is growing like crazy this past week (and is the size of a cherry). Amazing to believe five weeks ago baby was only the size of a little poppy seed!
Week 10 flew by! Started out with Christmas which was a really wonderful day, then on Wednesday we had an appointment where we got some usual first trimester screenings/ testing completed. Feeling really good this week! If I wasn’t positive I was pregnant I would almost forget!
For New Year’s weekend we headed off to Portland, ME with a few friends and had an amazing weekend there. Our airbnb was super cute and even though it was incredibly cold (the high was 5 degrees!) we had so much fun just hanging out in the house, playing games (monopoly for the most part), going to a brewery (lots of water for me!), taking the dogs to the park to get their energy out, and eating some great meals. It was perfect for me being pregnant since we didn’t do anything taxing and I could pretty much go to bed whenever I felt like it.
On the agenda for this week is another doctor’s visit at a new office, getting back to work, the start of my January RESTART program, a few clients and a MASSAGE on Sunday (omg can’t wait).
Week 11 had a lot of great moments! I met with a second doctor at a hospital closer by who was recommended to me by my chiropractor. I wasn’t in love with her- she seemed very smart and competent but kind of a “tell it like it is” kind of person and I prefer a little more comforting/ gentle approach. But that being said, the most important thing is to have a doctor that knows what he/ she is doing and I will have a doula for that other type of support system. I’m also going to interview/ chat with some midwives. I don’t think I want a homebirth, but I would just love to know how their care differs from the standard, traditional care of a hospital.
We also got all of our testing results back and everything came back negative! We opted to do a test that tests for all of the Trisomy issues as well as some chromosomal abnormalities. I also did a carrier screening test to see if I was a carrier for any type of disease, and I am not! I know there is more testing down the line but it’s great to get these big ones over with.
Wow I can’t believe I am in the last week of the first trimester! I mean, I still feel like I have a super long way to go, but at the same time this day felt so far away when I first found out I was pregnant. And like I recapped in the last post, I obviously had a lot of fears getting to this point but everything is going perfectly!
This week we had our 12 week ultrasound so I felt like every single day was just a countdown to that day. As usual, I was a bit anxious since my symptoms mostly disappeared starting in week 11. My boobs weren’t as sore, I finally had my energy back (and have managed to get in a few good workouts finally!) and I can eat vegetables again- hallelujah.
The day of our ultrasound I was a nervous wreck, and driving there neither Erik nor I spoke much. But as soon as the tech put the wand on my stomach I could see our baby! The baby’s heartbeat was thumping away and was moving its legs and arms around. It was absolutely amazing to see. They also did some checks to verify no physical abnormalities and everything came back looking perfect! We got the most adorable pictures and I just can’t stop looking at them.
I know I feel like I say this every time, but now that I have verification the baby is doing great, I feel like I can relax and not worry about symptoms coming and going. We are going to start planning our gender reveal party and also I want to start planning out some trips that I’m going to be taking in the next few months including a “baby-moon” for me and Erik.
Week 13 actually flew by because I was SO busy. In fact, I was way too busy and had a few nights where I actually cried because I felt like I had too much on my plate. I had an event where I spoke about “Nutrition for Glowing and Radiant Skin” (that went awesome!), I had my RESTART class and I had to go to Pittsburgh for a work trip which involved a 3:30am wakeup call (yikes). But once we got to the weekend it was great. On Saturday, Erik and I took our announcement photo pictures and also had an amazing dinner at a friend’s restaurant. Sunday I spent a lot of time reading through some of my baby books (I have a few I’m reading right now that I’ll write a post about) and that made me feel better because I feel like I’m behind on my research! I know SO much about trying to conceive and getting pregnant but it’s equally important (actually more so!) to understand birth, and everything about the baby once he/ she arrives!
I can’t believe I’m in my second trimester now….I’m 1/3 of the way done with this pregnancy already! Knock on wood it’s been easy so far and so I hope it continues to go that way!
This week pretty much flew by and overall it was a very good week.
I sort of went backwards in the cravings department though- I still mostly ate healthy food but really craved cheese, bread-y foods, pasta, etc. Very different for someone who ate mostly keto a few months ago! But I’m just rolling with it and assuming that the baby really wants some calcium and extra carbs so I just try to make my choices the best ones possible : )
Overall, I’ve physically felt pretty good this week- I was able to do an online Pilates class, an online strength class, go walking a few times, and go to 2 yoga classes (including a prenatal yoga class!) So overall, it was definitely a good week of movement and exercise. I’ve also been really focusing on trying to sleep as much as possible which I am happy to report that sleep is still going strong. I’m still not waking up to pee in the middle of the night, but usually I do wake up on the earlier side.
I also got a ton of research done this week. I spent a lot of time figuring out what i want to add to my baby registry (because I want to find products that are non-toxic and all natural, but also aren’t unnecessarily crazy expensive) and researching some things that will come up after the baby is born and what we will want to do.
This past week was really great! On Monday we finally met our doctor who will *hopefully!* be delivering our baby (unless she is unexpectedly not available) and I also think I made a decision on a doula. I just felt super comfortable with her and I think she’s going to be an amazing resource.
I also finished up my last RESTART class which went great! The women in this class did awesome and I’ll probably do one more class before the baby comes because I’ve gotten a lot of interest in another class!
On the activity front, I was also very happy with this week. Did a few online workouts including one called “bump at the barre” (I forgot how hard barre can be when you are out of practice!), Pilates, strength, walking at the gym and going to Zumba class.
I’m also finally seeing a “bump”! Day to day it’s kind of hard to notice but comparing week 12 to week 15 I see definite progress!
Week 12 to Week 15
Thank you for reading this second update! As you can probably tell, things definitely got easier for me this second half of the first trimester but given that it’s my first pregnancy, I think it’s understandable that there is still some anxiety of the unknown.
So, over the past 15 weeks or so I have been hiding a big surprise! I am pregnant! I am currently 15 ½ weeks and honestly feeling pretty darn good! In fact, feeling (surprisingly) good during this pregnancy has been a big form of anxiety for me. Almost everything I read/ heard from others was that they felt horrible, had to take naps throughout the day, experienced nausea, morning sickness, you name it. And while I had a few brief periods of feeling a little nauseous, some cravings/ aversions and a bit more tired than normal (mostly I just didn’t feel like doing much in the evenings- but honestly, this isn’t that unusual for me haha) I felt great!
I want to do a bit of a recap over the past 15 weeks and then start posting more regularly about baby stuff from here on out. You see, I have been extremely interested in hormones, fertility, pregnancy, and all things baby for a while now and I’m very excited to start to share some of this information! Also, I’ll be posting some blog posts that I wrote before I found out I was pregnant, and a bit of our story about the journey to pregnancy (which was not an easy one and was a really tough time for me).
But let’s go back a bit in time and I’ll share a bit of a summary from each week! I’ll do this in two parts, because there is just too much info to share in one post! Part 1 will be weeks 5-8.
The fifth week of pregnancy went by pretty quickly because we went home to New Jersey for Thanksgiving. I told my parents that we were pregnant about a week earlier so they were really excited (especially my Mom!)
Overall I’m feeling pretty good still! Not majorly tired, no real sickness (except I do feel nauseous from time to time and I threw out all of the Thanksgiving leftovers when we came home- for some reason the thought of cranberry sauce, stuffing and sweet potatoes made me ill!) but I still don’t really “feel” pregnant. I got the results back from my first HCG test and everything looked great. In 3 days I went from 274 to 892, so a nice big jump, but I still find myself stressing constantly.
I think it’s just when you want something for so long, it almost feels surreal when you get it. It was kind of like the first couple of weeks Erik and I were engaged- I was just so ecstatic and it hardly felt real. But at least then I could look down at my ring and know it was all true! So much of this early pregnancy is just wrapped up in fear and I am trying so hard to pull myself out of it. I keep trying to tell myself there is no reason to be so scared/ anxious. I have no indication nothing is wrong (although I kind of wish I felt MORE of something to really root me down in this pregnancy) and I have no family history of this type of thing. Also, I have to believe that from a vitamin/ mineral point of view, I should be golden. I started taking pre-natals over a year ago, so baby should have tons of good folate and b vitamins to use!!
Week 6 was a week of highs and lows. Yesterday a sort of calm came over me and as I was exhausted and laying on the couch I wasn’t worrying so much. I feel like everything is going to go perfectly (today I get test results for my progesterone levels from Friday) and I feel like the ultrasound next week is going to show our baby with its strong little heartbeat. I can’t wait!
I definitely felt more tired this past week. Not tired like I needed to take a nap every afternoon, but just lethargic and I didn’t really want to do much. I’ve found that the mornings are pretty good for me (I’m semi nauseous and the only thing that sounds good is smoothies) but both mornings I was able to get out for a nice walk with Kenzie, go grocery shopping on Saturday and go to Zumba on Sunday. But once about 12 or 1 pm hits, I am DONE (which will be a very interesting experience now that I’m back to work….) and all I want to do is lay on the couch and watch TV. Yesterday I tried to get my nails done at around 1pm and I was dying. I actually considered leaving!
Week 7 was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. The week started out kind of rough- I had such strong dreams and feelings that everything was okay, but when I got my progesterone level results and they went down a bit from two weeks earlier, I started to panic. Our ultrasound was supposed to be on Thursday, but I could NOT wait that long and moved it up to Tuesday.
The panic I felt on Monday was nothing compared to the joy and relief I felt on Tuesday at our ultrasound! I’ve been a bit on the fence about the safety of ultrasounds and all these invasive scans, but the emotional power of seeing our baby and its strong heartbeat was overwhelming. It was a truly beautiful moment that I’ll never forget.
Unfortunately, that didn’t mean all of my anxiety disappeared. I still have some fears about making it through this first trimester, but it’s starting to dissipate. Talking to my baby helps- telling the baby why I’m scared but that I know everything is going to be perfect and okay. And also telling people we’re pregnant helps! All these people are now thinking such good, positive thoughts with us and so happy and excited for us. It also makes it feel a lot more “real”.
On Saturday we told Erik’s mom and brother. This Christmas is an especially tough time this year because this past July we lost Erik’s Dad. We went over to her house and were decorating her tree, and she actually started to get a bit emotional about the process. Then we handed her the ornament below and in her words it “changed everything”. Everyone was crying and hugging and just so, so happy. It was the best.
On Sunday we had two of our best friends (who are dating- how awesome is that!) come over for dinner. I left the ornament on the tree to see if they would notice it (which my friend actually said she looked right at it but didn’t read it!) but then put the little sign back on Kenzie and had her walk into the living room. Haha there were more tears and lots of hugging and happiness. It was a great moment and night.
How am I feeling? Honestly, not that bad. My boobs are pretty much always sore (although the intensity varies by day), I’m definitely hungrier but have very specific foods that I’m in the mood to eat, I have days of feeling incredibly tired, but other days where I’ve felt pretty normal! So it’s been pretty up and down. In a way, it makes it tough because I kind of want to just feel terrible all the time since that is just SUCH a clear sign that everything is still happening/ going okay. But that just might not be me, and I should be thankful I don’t feel awful and can still do most of the things I normally do. We’ll see what this week brings though!
For the most part, I felt pretty good during week 8! I read that the placenta starts to take over in this phase of pregnancy, so some women experience relief from symptoms. I still have a bit of nausea in the morning and my appetite is still rampant, but I wasn’t nearly as tired as week 7. Also, my hair seems to be thickening. Usually when I shower/ brush my hair a LOT falls out but now I’m only getting a few strands. And I feel like my hair has really been growing.
In terms of mood, this week has been up and down. I’ve felt a bit more emotional and moody and have taken it out on Erik a few times. I got another progesterone test and while I was happy my levels stayed steady from last time and didn’t decrease, I still wish it was a bit higher.
These weeks are just so hard because I feel so unsure of everything. Everything is new and I’m constantly just worried and want to make sure everything is all right. But I combine this with the fact that I’ve been reading lots of books/ articles about how we are often checking “too much” on the babies during pregnancy with ultrasounds, dopplers, etc. and that might not be good for them either. It’s just a balance between wanting to make sure and confirm everything is going well, and just trusting my body.
This week is big since we have our first doctor appointment with a new doctor in Cambridge. I’m hoping everything goes well and I like the practice and I’m also looking forward to hearing/ seeing our baby!
So that was weeks 5-8! I will be putting up at some point our journey to getting pregnant and also finding out we were pregnant/ telling Erik. Thank you for reading and ask any questions below!