By Hilary Kimes Bernstein, Guest Post
I’ll never forget what it was like to find out I was pregnant with my first child. I could hardly wait to take my pregnancy test, but planned to hold off until my first morning urine so I could get an accurate result. Because my teensy baby was already changing my body, my first trip to the bathroom was at 3 in the morning. I didn’t know if that technically counted as morning – but I went ahead and took the test.
Three minutes later, I discovered the amazing news. I was going to be a mother! A real baby was growing inside of me. I rushed back to bed, woke my sleeping husband, and told him the news. We prayed together, stayed awake with the startling realization that our lives were drastically changing, and I thanked God for this new life. It was overwhelming to suddenly realize that until my last breath, I would love this baby.
Starting in that life-changing middle-of-the-night discovery five years ago, I began to take a lot better care of myself. After all, someone else’s health was at stake. Since then, our family has changed the way we live – for the better – and we’ve turned a lot more natural. Here are some of the changes I made during my pregnancy:
What I ate during pregnancy
During my pregnancy, I took prenatal vitamins and tried to eat more nutritiously. Did you know that babies develop a taste for what their mothers eat by tasting the flavors through the amniotic fluid? Because I wanted my children to become healthy eaters, I tried to eat a lot of vegetables and a variety of foods during both pregnancies to expose my children to as many different flavors as possible.
When I suffered from all-day nausea during my first trimester of pregnancy, I discovered that ginger helped tremendously – especially homemade gingersnaps. Later I heard about a few other all-natural remedies that I wish I would have tried:
- Sipping a cup of peppermint tea or a caffeine-free carbonated beverage.
- Sniffing a lemon peel.
- Chewing almonds.
- Trying tart flavors like sour pickles or lemonade.
Products I used
When I was trying to conceive, I stopped coloring my hair and started my gradual switch to safer cosmetics and personal care products. By the time my son was born, I also began to use homemade, non-toxic cleaning products.
How I prepared for childbirth
Throughout my pregnancy, I had a heightened sense of awareness that my body was doing what God had created it to do. I longed to continue by having as natural a childbirth as possible. I prayed for the best and prepared by reading. (I highly recommend “The Birth Book” by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears. “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” by Susan McCutcheson and “Husband-Coached Childbirth” by Dr. Robert Bradley were also extremely helpful.)
What I found is that no matter if a medicated or unmedicated birth is chosen – or a last-minute Cesarean is necessary – it’s important for parents to prepare for a natural birth. Even if a mother hopes to use every available drug, births don’t always go according to plan.
There is no guarantee an epidural will be effective. Pregnant women who count on epidurals may get to the hospital in the middle of labor and have no choice but to have unmedicated births. A little preparation would save a lot of panic, uncertainty, and pain from botched epidural attempts.
For parents who are leaning toward – or have firmly decided upon – an unmedicated birth, it’s essential to be prepared before going into labor. Don’t hope that you’ll be able to just wing natural childbirth because women have been doing it since the beginning of time. If you want a natural, unmedicated childbirth, prepare yourself. Have a game plan. Practice relaxation techniques. Find a midwife or doula – or an obstetrician who supports unmedicated birthing options.
If you’re pregnant or have had children, what are some healthy lifestyle changes you’ve made?
Hilary Bernstein is a Christ follower, wife, mama, and writer who blogs about making healthy decisions that honor God and happen to help the environment at Accidentally Green. She’s recently released her first eBook, First Bites: How To Instill Healthy Eating Habits During Your Baby’s First Year. Hilary also contributes to A Biblical Marriage.
Disclosure: Purchasing “The Birth Book,” “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” or “Husband-Coached Childbirth” through this post will result in a modest commission for Accidentally Green.
This post is part of my Natural Pregnancy & Beyond Series. Catch up on all the posts in this series:
- Young, In Love, and Pregnant: Our Journey To Parenthood
- Our Maternity Photo Shoot
- 7 Reasons We Are Starting a Family Young
- My Dream of Becoming a Stay at Home Mom: How We Made it a Reality
- Crowning Him in Worship: Reflections on Redeeming Childbirth
- 10 Steps Towards a Natural Pregnancy & Birth
- How Pregnancy Can Lead to Healthy Choices