Category Archives: Pregnancy

Initial Pregnancy: Elevated Basal Body Temperature

Still questioning whether or not you could be pregnant? If you have been charting your basal body temperatures throughout the month, checking it now should be a cinch. You can compare it to the other temperatures you have gotten and see if it remains elevated after ovulation. Because we are talking about tenths of a degree, this isn’t a good way to check for pregnancy if you haven’t been charting all along.

Your basal body temperature stays slightly elevated after conception due to hormones maintaining your pregnancy. When we wrote the original blog post, back in January, we did warn of the drawbacks of this method of charting, such as an illness that could elevate your temperature for other reasons. While BBT charting is not foolproof, it is one more sign along the way that you could be expecting.

So, if you have been charting your BBT, and it’s staying slightly elevated, you could be pregnant.

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Initial Pregnancy: Congestion

If you feel stuffy, congested, or like you may be coming down with a cold, there is actually a chance that you could be pregnant. Weird, huh? This time, though, we won’t blame progesterone. The likely culprit this time is the hormone, estrogen. Estrogen increases blood flow to the tissues, including your nose, and it also causes thickening of mucus membranes. These two put together cause your nasal passages to feel smaller, but with an increasing amount of drainage. What fun!

Pregnancy congestion affects over a third of pregnant women at some point during their pregnancy, and it’s often one of the very first signs of expecting. To make matters worse, allergies can flare up with pregnancy, and so now your nose is on an even greater overdrive. Keep the tissues handy, and be gentle when wiping. Having a raw nose isn’t comfortable at all!!

Of course, next month, we will discuss natural remedies for your stuffy nose, but if you are experiencing it now, reach out to us and we’ll fill you in on any and everything you can try.

So, if you are congested and seem to have no other reason to be, and there’s a possibility that you could be expecting, you might want to take a test.

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Initial Pregnancy: Mood Changes

Have you found yourself stuck in a seemingly eternal cycle of PMS mood swings? You could be pregnant. The wonderful, necessary hormone, progesterone, and subsequent drop in estrogen, is responsible for the moods associated with PMS, and the hormones give similar characteristics during the beginning of pregnancy, with progesterone quickly on the rise.

You may find that you are more emotional, more prone to anger, sadness, mental confusion, or depression, or you may be just fine. That’s the fun of hormones; they cause a roller coaster of emotions within the mind, but only sometimes. The fatigue, lack of sleep, and nausea of early pregnancy don’t help with mood boosting either.

However, some women, especially women who were actively trying to conceive, are the happiest they’ve been in a long while, after finding out about a positive pregnancy. The point of saying mood changes is that the mood changes, and according to a recent poll of loving husbands, this can happen dramatically, for no reason, at any given time. Okay, not really, but you may be reacting stronger to stimuli than you would normally.

So if you are sobbing over Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials, irrationally furious over losing that parking spot, and forget where you left your cell phone while you’re talking on it, you might be pregnant.

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Initial Pregnancy: Food Aversions

Oh man, we remember this one clearly. A great early sign of pregnancy is strong food (or smell) aversions. You know, the one where just the thought of a particular food is enough to make you queasy. It’s always interesting to us how, once again, listening to your body is one of the best choices you can make.

While there is no proven cause of food aversions, although I’m sure those raging hormones have a lot to do with it, we like to think of them as your body’s way of protecting itself and your unborn baby. Food aversions are most commonly towards meats, fish, eggs, and dairy, foods that, if not prepared well, are common causes of food poisoning. Other food aversions are to foods that may not be beneficial to your body. I have yet to hear of a pregnant woman having a strong food aversion to a raw carrot or her favorite fruit. However, I commonly hear of women who turn green at the smell of coffee or vomit at the thought of touching raw chicken.

Amanda has known she is pregnant whenever she has an aversion to seafood. It truly is one of her favorites, yet at the beginning of each pregnancy, something about seafood made her nauseated, so much so that she couldn’t stand to be around it. I guess it was a match made in heaven that her hubby was allergic to shellfish.

While the focus of this blog has been food aversions, smell aversions are just as strong. Again, smell aversions are commonly to toxic fumes, such as cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and strong perfumes. Not only do pregnant women think these things smell gross, they have a much more visceral reaction, literally a turning of the stomach and potential to vomit.

So, if you have been totally turned off by some strong smells or foods recently, ones that typically don’t bother you so much, you might be pregnant!

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Initial Pregnancy: Food Cravings

Food cravings are a fun part of pregnancy, as long as the food you are craving is beneficial to you and your unborn. This can happen at any point during your pregnancy, or may not happen at all, but can often be one of the initial signs that you are expecting.

Midwives, as a general rule, believe that listening to your body will give you the best possible pregnancy, but when it comes to food cravings, our bodies can be tricky. Food cravings are a vitamin or mineral deficiency and our bodies are trying to fill the need with foods, but in our culture, we don’t listen closely enough to our bodies to know that when we are craving ice, we are actually needing iron and B vitamins. The following is a simple chart that can help you to interpret your cravings and what you actually are needing.

Craving…Needing…Substitutes…
ChocolateMagnesiumNuts, seeds, raw fruits
Bread, PastaNitrogenMeats, fish, nuts, beans
SweetsChromiumBroccoli, grapes, cheese
CarbonFresh fruits
PhosphorusMeats, eggs, dairy, nuts
TryptophanRaisins, sweet potatoes
Fatty FoodsCalciumDairy, greens, sesame
Coffee or TeaSaltSea salt, apple cider vinegar
IceIronMeats, seaweed, black cherries

Isn’t it interesting how our bodies interpret our need for certain dietary requirements? We find that it is a common trend within the first few weeks or months of pregnancy for women to desire simple carbohydrates. We fell prey to this ourselves at the beginning of each pregnancy. But what we really needed was nitrogen-rich foods and more B vitamins. And this makes perfect sense, because nitrogen makes up 3% of the little human that you are growing. The needs for nitrogen in your body increase quite a bit during pregnancy.

Even though your body is telling you that nothing else will help, that you must have a bowl of mashed potatoes topped with pasta noodles and a side of toast sprinkled with cereal grains, it’s not what you need. If you need help interpreting your cravings, give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to hear from you.

So, if you are craving foods and it seems that only that food will fill the void, you might be pregnant, or at the very least, have a nutritional deficiency that you could look into.

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Initial Pregnancy: Constipation

Constipation is often a sign of early pregnancy, even before a missed period. The hormone, progesterone, helps to relax the smooth muscles in your body, which can wreak havoc on the digestive system. The intestines move things along much slower, creating bloating, hard stools, and constipation. Ugh! Over-the-counter prenatal vitamins that contain a lot of iron can also cause discomfort and more constipation. It seems that everything is out to get you these days, huh?

We feel like we have been down on progesterone lately and we’ll be highlighting its’ benefits during a post in March. Honest, during a pregnancy, you want progesterone to keep increasing, no matter the side effects. It really does a body good, even if it causes some of the nastier discomforts of pregnancy.

But, back to the poop situation, yeah, we know, it’s a crappy situation and we’d love to share all of our wisdom for making toilet time a little smoother, but you’ll have to wait for that too. Unless, of course, you are struggling with it right now, in which case, you can reach out to us privately and we’d be glad to share some tried and true methods for moving things along.

So, if you are constipated, or pooping less than three times per week, you just might be pregnant!

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Initial Pregnancy: Back Pain

And those early pregnancy hormones strike again. Back pain as a sign of pregnancy is completely normal. Progesterone, which is produced is large amounts in early pregnancy, is responsible for softening the discs and ligaments in your back, which are important for supporting your upper body. As awful as it can feel, it is normally a sign of healthy bodily changes as your pregnancy grows. Lower back pain can also be accompanied by muscle spasms in early pregnancy.

The most important thing to note would be any other symptoms you are experiencing along with the lower back pain. If you have other pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness or a missed period, you will definitely want to take a test. If lower back pain is excruciating or accompanied with a fever, you will want to see a physician to rule out other possible causes.

As much as it may feel good to slouch on the couch, posture is extremely important in a healthy pregnancy. You will not do your lower back any favors by drooping your shoulders or curling your back for long periods of time. We will focus on the importance of posture and other alternative reliefs for lower back pain in one of our March blog posts so stay tuned.

But for now, if you are experiencing lower back pain along with some other early pregnancy symptoms, you just might be pregnant!

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Initial Pregnancy: Vivid Dreams

All those nights of restless sleep during pregnancy, and especially early pregnancy, also have a way of creating the most vivid dreams. Scientific studies postulate that it’s not actually that you have more dreams, but the shorter REM sleep cycles and frequent waking give you more opportunity to have intense dreams and remember them. And if you believe that dreams are the subconscious trying to sort out problems and emotions, well, the emotional roller coaster of pregnancy adds plenty more fuel to the fires of your dreams.

The dreams you have during your pregnancy will of course be as unique as you are, but a common theme exists between women. Dreams during pregnancy can be so vivid that you remember smells, tastes, and textures of things in the dream, engaging all your senses fully. They can be nightmarish, beautiful, or just completely off-the-wall, but they are frequently powerful and cause emotional reactions. Pregnancy dreams often include storylines of birth and babies, which is hardly surprising, since that often consumes our thoughts, but women have reported having these dreams before ever finding out they were expecting. Funny how our bodies often know more than we do.

Ally, in particular, has very vivid dreams and often knows that she is pregnant because of them. One such dream was particularly funny and she’d like to share it with you. Just before finding out she was pregnant, the family had gotten a new puppy, and as with all new puppies, they were going through the trials of housebreaking. So there were plenty of accidents, and even though the kids promised to “do everything” for the puppy, Ally ended up being the one to clean up most of the messes. As a side note, she also hates spiders. So her pregnancy dream consisted of the new puppy leaving piles of dog poop around the house and as she went to clean each one, it turned into a giant spider that would chase her through the house. It’s funny now, but at the time, it was seriously terrifying. Dreams are weird, right?

So, if you are having particularly vivid dreams, especially ones involving childbirth or new babies, you might be pregnant!

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Initial Pregnancy: Poor Sleep

To help with the fatigue of early pregnancy, our bodies like to make sure that we are getting very little quality sleep at night. Sometimes one of the initial signs of pregnancy is fatigue during the daytime, but insomnia or frequent waking at nighttime. These two actually work against each other and create a vicious cycle within the body. Not sleeping at well will certainly cause you to be drowsy during the daytime, and when are feeling sleepy, you may either nap or take it easy so much during the day that you conserve too much energy, and then that energy is given back to you when you’d most like to close your eyes.

Poor sleep is most often caused by the changing hormones of pregnancy, progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone can cause respiratory changes that cause more frequent waking. Your changing body and growing uterus cause more pressure on your bladder, prompting you to get up at least a hundred times a night to potty. (I don’t really think I’m overexaggerating here either.) As pregnancy progresses, it becomes more and more difficult to find a comfortable resting position. The list can go on, heartburn, nausea, and anxiety top the list as predominant reasons for sleep disturbances in pregnant women.

Stay tuned in March, or reach out privately, to learn about some great ways to help your body get better quality and quantities of sleep during pregnancy.

So, if you find that you are exhausted but are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, you could possibly be pregnant!!

Stay tuned in March, or reach out privately, to learn about some great ways to help your body get better quality and quantities of sleep during pregnancy.

So, if you find that you are exhausted but are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, you could possibly be pregnant!!

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Initial Pregnancy: Fatigue

Do you feel like you are tired all the time and can not shake it not matter how much sleep you are getting? Is there a chance you could be pregnant? It is common during pregnancy, especially early pregnancy, to feel some serious fatigue. Growing a baby is hard work for your body and can leave you feeling utterly exhausted.

This newfound sleepiness is mostly due to your changing hormones, specifically an increase in progesterone. Your body begins to make more blood to carry nutrients and oxygen to your baby, and because of this, your blood pressure and blood sugar tend to be lower. The whole combination makes a mama want to hibernate for the next nine months.

The midwives with Lotus Blossom Birth encourage you to listen to your body. If you are feeling sleepy, your body is telling you that you need to slow down, take it easy on yourself, and have a little rest. It’s okay to create a pregnancy routine of daily naps. It’s okay to hire a housekeeper and slack off a little. It’s okay if there are days where dinner is ordered in because you can’t muster up the energy to cook. Let your body lead you. As long as you are feeding yourself well and frequently, rest when your body says rest.

On the upside, your energy will probably return for a short while during the second trimester. This tends to be the time that most women feel the best during their pregnancy. Baby is not big enough to make you uncomfortable yet, morning sickness has probably eased, and your hormones have balanced out. Then the third trimester comes along and your get-up-and-go literally gets up and goes.

Rest assured, in the month of March, we will offer some natural solutions and strategies for combating fatigue.

If you find you are dragging yourself out of bed, and daydreaming all day about climbing back in, you might be pregnant!!

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