I am now 33 weeks pregnant with my 8th baby and feeling good, I'm now at the stage where I'm thinking about and preparing for the birth, I'll be 'full term' in just 4 short weeks! I've been pregnant many times and like to think I've learned a few things along the way.
I had my last baby 2 years ago and managed to have a painless labour without the use of any drugs apart from gas and air for the last ten minutes, in fact I slept through most of the labour. I'm hoping to have similar results this time, hopefully I won't even want the gas and air at all but we'll see, if I want it I'll have it!
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (for painless labour)
I would say my number one tip for any pregnant woman is to get yourself some red raspberry leaf tea. No it's not the nicest tasting of drinks but I truly believe it helped massively with my last labour. Many mothers have reported that RRLT has made their labours shorter and painless. RRLT tones the uterus and the pelvic floor muscles, this helps your body work extremely efficiently during labour and it also helps to minimise blood loss.
I am currently drinking 4 heaped tablespoons of RRLT leaves brewed in a teapot with 4 cups of boiling water per day. I bought a huge bag of the tea from Amazon and I'm pretty sure it will last me the rest of my pregnancy and postpartum too. You can start drinking this tea at any stage of your pregnancy but just start with 1 cup per day and work your way up. You will start to feel Braxton Hicks contractions. I love it when I feel Braxton Hicks contractions because I know the more I have the more toned and efficient my uterus is becoming. If like me you've had miscarriages then I wouldn't start drinking the tea until after week 12.
There are so many advantages to drinking red raspberry leaf tea, not just pregnancy related, but I don't have the time to list them all here so if your interested just Google it. Of course none of the benefits of RRLT have been scientifically proven, big pharma wouldn't like that but personally I trust the experience of other mothers more than I do doctors who get bonuses for prescribing drugs.
Coconut Oil and It's Many Uses
Instead of buying really expensive stretch mark creams and oils I buy a big jar of raw organic extra virgin coconut oil, it costs just over £10 for a litre of the stuff which lasts for ages. I think this is so much better than rubbing dodgy chemicals into your skin. Your skin's your biggest organ so you only ever want to treat it with nourishing, edible ingredients, even more so when you're growing a tiny human that absorbs whatever you absorb.
I like to slather myself in coconut oil after every bath, I also use it on my face and a small amount on the ends of my hair. Another good way to use coconut oil when you're pregnant is to melt a tablespoon of it in a cup of red raspberry leaf tea, that way it kind of moisturises you from the inside out. Second only to breast milk, it's the most easily absorbed fat we can get. Why would we want to absorb this kind of fat? Well, it gives us more energy, improves brain function, promotes weight loss in those over weight especially abdominal fat. Also coconut oil contains lauric acid which is also naturally occurring in breast milk, women who consume coconut oil have been shown to have an increased amount of lauric acid in their breastmilk which is of great benefit to the nursing baby's immune system.
Coconut oil can also be used as a nipple cream to prevent sore cracked nipples when nursing, it's also great as a lip balm. It can be used for perineal massage to reduce the likeliness of tears during labour. Like the RRLT, coconut oil has so many uses and benefits I couldn't list them all here.
During pregnancy we often get back ache or cramps and a great way to relieve this is by using magnesium in one form or another. I like to drink powdered magnesium in a warm glass of water, it really helps with any aches I have, it also helps with insomnia, headaches and constipation. Some people can't bear the taste, I actually like it, so for those that don't you can take it in tablet form.
One of my greatest pregnancy indulgences is relaxing in an Epsom salt bath, I like to add a delicious smelling oil too, rose is my favourite at the moment which is weird because I'm not usually that keen on smelling like a Turkish Delight! Of course Epsom salts help relieve aching muscles because of the high magnesium content.
If I have a particular area of muscle ache then I like to use a magnesium spray and really massage it in, I've also used it on my temples to relieve headaches which works so quickly but be careful not to get any in your eyes like I once did, it stings like hell!
It's important to stay hydrated for so many reasons, for me it's extra important during pregnancy because it helps prevent dry skin, constipation and swelling. When I'm pregnant my face usually balloons but I've managed not to get that so much with this pregnancy and I'm sure it's due to the fact that I'm making sure I drink so much more water. I usually drink about three litres of water a day. It seems funny that drinking more fluids can actually reduce swelling but sometimes swelling is caused by being dehydrated and the body trying to retain as much fluid as it can, if you're not dehydrated then your body doesn't go into this panic.
I find it more and more difficult to use a laptop comfortably the bigger my bump gets but I have found a great solution. I use a breastfeeding pillow, it makes my lap a little bit bigger and taller so the bump no longer gets in the way. If you use a laptop during pregnancy always turn off the bluetooth and wifi when not in use.
Nursing cushions are also great at relieving hip pain in late pregnancy by putting between your knees when you sleep at night.
Well I hope you found this post somewhat useful, there are a few other tricks I have up my sleeve when it comes to pregnancy and birth but I shall have to include those in another blog post as I fear this one may never end otherwise!
If you have any questions you would like to ask this well seasoned mother then I would love you to ask me in the comment section below.