Healthy Pregnancy: Preparation

I was going through some old posts that I drafted a couple weeks before Speedy was born. They did not get posted since we spent that final week in Austin in the hospital and hotel with Sugar, not resting and waiting for a baby at home and posting on the blog.

I wrote this short series of posts out of the amazement that I had in having such a great pregnancy (and now amazing postpartum period, too). My pregnancy with Bud was fairly typical–nausea and vomiting through the first 15ish weeks, aches and pains, etc. With Sugar, I was sick multiple times a day until at least 16 weeks, had terrible aches and pains, gained a ton of weight that took over a year to lose, got a pregnancy rash, and had postpartum depression for five months after she was born. All this as I was doing everything “right” and training as a childbirth educator. You can imagine that the thought of another pregnancy filled me with terror. Thankfully, the Lord had other plans for me, and led me to some great resources that made this experience completely different from the last.

Aug. 2011 – Since I am a full-term pregnant woman, waiting for her baby, I spend a lot of time thinking about pregnancy and birth. Some of you understand completely. I know that each pregnancy is different, especially when this is some pregnancy alternatives, but this pregnancy has been so much better than the last, and I want to share some of the things I have learned the hard way with others. Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, and nothing I say here should be construed as medical advice. Your particular situation should be discussed with your care provider.

Preparing for Pregnancy

After all of the nausea of profuse vomiting I experienced with Sugar, the idea of another pregnancy filled me with dread and terror. I remember crying just thinking about the dark days of throwing up everything I had worked so hard to consume. My midwife suggested that I try a liver cleanse in preparation for pregnancy, and that caused some bells to ring in my mind. I remembered reading somewhere that hyperemesis can be a result of poor liver function, as well as the pregnancy rash PUPPS (which I had around 38 weeks with Sugar). I figured a liver cleanse couldn’t hurt anything, so I picked one up at HEB that was a two-week, gentle cleanse, and I followed it with several weeks of taking milk thistle extract (which contains silymarin, which has been shown to help improve liver function in those with liver issues.)

After I found out I was pregnant, I stopped taking the milk thistle since its effects in pregnancy are not known. I was pleased that this was my easiest pregnancy as far as nausea and vomiting are concerned, and I only actually threw up food a few times, but still experienced mild sickness upon waking until about 20 weeks, compared to all the way until Sugar was born. Will I do a liver cleanse again someday if/when the Lord leads us to add more children to our family? You bet! There were no side effects other than feeling better during the first trimester, and no pregnancy rash either!

This will be a short series, with a few other topics to come, so stay tuned!

3 Responses to “Healthy Pregnancy: Preparation”

  1. Megan Walker says:

    Very interesting information. Can’t wait to find out some more!

  2. Nicki says:

    I experienced intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy with my first baby and also had a very long bout with morning sickness, so i am trying an herbal liver cleanse and a milk thistle tincture as well. I am hoping it will help for the Next pregnancy. Did you observe ( or do you recommend) any dietary changes for liver stress? Do you think a low- fat, plant- based diet would help at all?

    • Rachel says:

      Well… I am no medical expert, Nicki. But personally, I started following a primal-foods diet a few months before I got pregnant this time. I was eating almost no grains or sugar, minimal dairy, and lots of meat (including fats), vegetables, fruits, and nuts and seeds. My next post has to do with my dietary changes (which I still adhere to), so, for me, a low-fat, plant-based diet was not what I followed, though I am not sure for your particular situation.