Monday, January 04, 2010

unsolicited advice

We are expecting our fourth child sometime in mid- to late July.  Our elder lad thinks it will be another sister, but my father-in-law thinks it's a boy.  We shall see.  We have been surprised by the gender of each of our three children in the delivery room and anticipate another surprise.  After feeling *certain* that my second lad was in fact a girl the entire time I was gestating him, I think my intuition has been disabled.  I have no idea which gender our newest babe is.

Pregnant mamas are prime targets for unsolicited advice (though admittedly I haven't attracted quite so much this fourth time around).   Three children born within three and a half years of each other (the fourth is due about a month after our elder lad's fifth birthday) mean that I have gleaned some insights into how to manage the roller coaster of tummy troubles that I ridden with each pregnancy.  If these insights can be of any benefit to anyone else, this post will have served its purpose.

** Remember: I'm a pianist -- not a doctor -- so this is all based on what I've read and what I've experienced personally in this particular season of my mothering journey. **

I struggle with "morning" (more like all-day) sickness throughout each pregnancy.  My bambini in utero didn't seem to notice us having passed the first trimester mark; I was sick pretty much most of the time for the first three, and I have a prescription nausea drug that I'm taking now (as I have for two of the previous three pregnancies) that takes the edge off and helps me maintain some functionality.

I've read about (and experienced) links between "morning" sickness and blood sugar as well as morning sickness serving to dissuade pregnant mamas from eating foods that are allergenic or otherwise potentially harmful.  But when one has been spending not quality but quantity time with the commode and just can't seem to make the room stop spinning, what is there to do?

Being proactive goes a long way.  The main thing for me is to always have something in my stomach.  If I get hungry, I often get sick.  Eating is often the last thing I feel like doing when I'm nauseated, but ironically, sometimes it's what helps turn the tide, a little bit at a time.

For me, protein is very important.  Favorites of mine have included yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs (hardboiled or scrambled), other kinds of cheese, milk, nuts, beef, etc.  It's very important for me to moderate my intake of carbohydrates (even like cereals and bread) and try to have protein along with any carbs I'm eating.  Along those lines, fruits like apples and grapes treat me better than sugary things. And the adage to eat what sounds good often holds true for me, with the premise that the body craves what it needs.  When the cravings are for greasy, fried, sugary, or otherwise not-so-healthy things, I try to temper them by having a little but not too much. 

French toast, whole wheat pancakes with cinnamon for blood sugar stability, and breakfast casserole work well for me as breakfast (or anytime).  Some favorite homemade snacks of mine include chocolate peanut butter granola and breakfast cookies

I've always been inclined toward motion sickness, and ginger helps quell the nausea (except when I'm pregnant, when oddly it isn't as effective; it might be different for other women, though).  I take it in capsule form.  I find it at the health food store, but pharmacies may have it over the counter.  I've also read that B vitamins, especially B6 (I think -- remember what I said about not being a doctor) can be very helpful with nausea.  There are also these things called "sea bands" that I tried when I was pregnant with our elder lad.  I hadn't quite figured out the whole carb/nausea link then, though, and they weren't as helpful for me as I hear they are for other women.

When nausea gives way to heartburn, I've found papaya enzyme tablets *very* helpful, even more so that Tums.  Similarly, pineapple -- especially fresh, but canned is OK too -- helps with digestion.  Sounds weird, I know, but a nutritionist told me that.  The acids in the fruits help break down the food.  And lying on my left side sometimes helps when my tummy is upset.  I read somewhere that the stomach drains on the left side, so lying that way can help it do its thing.  (Sometimes I even try this with my newborns if they seem to be reflux-y or experiencing tummy troubles of other stripes.)

Riding the pregnancy sickness wave can be exhausting, but keeping things in perspective is key to survival.  One mama friend once told me that she was sick throughout several healthy pregnancies, but not during the one she ended up sadly miscarrying.  Whatever physical illness and discomfort we go through gestating these children God entrusts to us is, hopefully, temporary, relieved soon after delivery.  I know several mamas who have struggled with the sickness and physical unpleasantries of pregnancy who would be quick to say that the children they have since birthed have been worth all the toil.

I'm one of those mamas.


  1. Congrats! I recieved this exact advice from you my first go around and it was very helpful! This time around I was prescribed medication and it was helpful, but not a wonder drug. Hang in there. :-) Wonderul news for a wonderful family.


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