In the last two years or so, Caleb and I have done a lot of research on organic food and natural living, and we decided as a couple that it was something we really wanted to work toward. So once we decided that we were ready to have a baby, obviously those beliefs played a part in that process.
Once I was done pole vaulting in May of 2013, I knew that I would want to get pregnant within the next year or two, so I began taking steps to prepare my body and my environment to be optimal for growing a new human.
- I got off birth control. This one is thanks to two of my friends who were Catholic and in the process of learning about Natural Family Planning. They learned all of the benefits and then shared them with me, and I’m glad they did. Caleb and I switched to NFP in May 2013 and we didn’t get pregnant until March 2014. We did about 9 months of charting my cycle before we even started trying to get pregnant (which took us 2 months). Most people think that NFP isn’t as effective as the pill, but we had a great experience with it. It took a few months to get to know my cycle and what normal was for me, but it was fun to get to know my body even better.
- I changed my deodorant. Yes, my deodorant. Most deodorants are also anti-antiperspirants that contain high levels of aluminum that can easily be absorbed into your blood stream. I want to avoid any heavy metals in my system, especially when I am preparing to have a baby, so I switched to Tom’s of Maine deodorant that is aluminum free. I found it at Walmart and it is definitely more expensive, but to me it’s worth it. Plus it comes in an Apricot scent that is amazing.
- I switched toothpastes. I also switched to a Tom’s of Maine product for this one. This time it was because of the fluoride and other additives in traditional toothpaste that I don’t want in my system. Since it is more expensive, I am planning on making my own toothpaste once this tube runs out. Here is the recipe from Wellness Mama that I plan to use.
- I started using an organic laundry detergent. This one was hard for me to make the switch because it was so much more expensive than regular detergents, but I really wanted to avoid the chemicals and harmful fragrances in traditional detergents. Caleb and I bought a bottle of BabyGanics detergent from Target in January and we just ran out in the beginning of June. I think I am going to make my own detergent using this recipe from Wellness Mama.
I was on the fence about taking prenatal vitamins at all when I first got pregnant. Most vitamins are made from synthetic chemicals that I wouldn’t normally put in my body, so why would I give them to my baby? Also, I should be getting all of the nutrients I need from my healthy, [mostly] organic diet. But when I was visiting a friend, she gave me a bottle of Rainbow Light prenatal vitamins made from organic fruits and vegetables. I figured that it was probably a good idea to take them since our living situation is kind of crazy right now and I’m not doing all of our cooking.
Homemade fruit snacks
I am a big fan of anything “gummy” – gummy bears, sour gummy worms, fruit snacks – but unfortunately, I don’t eat most of those things anymore because of the processed ingredients, sugars, and dyes that lurk inside. (I’m not saying I’m perfect. I still love me a bag of Trolli Bright Crawlers once in a blue moon.) So I decided to try and make my own fruit snacks using grass-fed beef gelatin (read about the benefits here) and fruit juice. Thanks to Pinterest I had several options for recipes, but I chose this one from Modern Parents Messy Kids. I used half Cranberry-Grape juice and half Apple juice. The apple juice was a mistake, because it doesn’t have much flavor. They turned out pretty good, just kind of bland. The next time I try it I think I will try it with a thicker juice that is closer to a puree (maybe V8 Splash?). If I had a juicer, I would use the fresh fruit juice from that, but unfortunately we don’t own one of those yet. Maybe someday. :)
Magnesium Body Butter
I found this recipe in an article I read from Wellness Mama about the 5 Factors That Made Natural Labor Easier. The number one factor was magnesium. Here is why she supplemented magnesium during her pregnancy:
- No leg cramps (really bad cramps in the past)
- I slept great and never had the insomnia I’d had before
- No morning sickness- I had minor queasiness a few times but none of the vomiting or nausea I’d had in past pregnancies
I also think that magnesium was part of the reason that my labor was so much easier this time. Magnesium is needed for proper hormone function and muscle health and I really think that for me, optimizing these factors with Magnesium made a big difference.
I ordered most of the ingredients online, which was a little bit of an investment, but I now have plenty of each of those ingredients to make more of the body butter in years to come.
Doctors, ultrasounds, and medical interventions
Caleb and I made the decision to see a Certified Nurse Midwife instead of a doctor for all of our prenatal care. Since we are going to be having the baby in South Dakota, we decided to keep our care there instead of in Nebraska. We will be making a few trips for graduations and weddings anyway, so we will just have to make a few extra trips at the end of the summer to see our midwife.
I decided that I didn’t want any ultrasounds (especially unnecessary ones) done during my pregnancy to avoid any possible radiation or damage from the sound waves that come from ultrasounds. Unfortunately, I had some spotting around 6 weeks and my midwife wanted to do an ultrasound to check on the baby and make sure it was okay. I consented since I was scared about losing the baby, and we got to see the little heartbeat and find out that I wasn’t as far along as they thought I was. I’m not planning on having anymore ultrasounds, but things don’t always go according to plan so we’ll see. We also aren’t planning on finding out the gender, so we won’t need an ultrasound for that.
Overall, we want to limit as many medical interventions and unnecessary tests or procedures that could possibly have a negative impact on our baby. We believe that pregnancy is a natural, normal thing and my body was made to produce babies. Pregnancy is not some medical condition that needs to be treated, rather it is a normal bodily function that should only be intervened upon if there is a problem. We are trusting God to knit this baby together in my womb just the way He planned it. It’s hard not to worry about all the things that could go wrong with a pregnancy, but through prayer and faith in God’s plan, He has given us both peace about the decisions we have made in regards to our prenatal care.