My Fave Foods, Products + Practices for A Healthy, Happy Pregnancy

Healthy Lifestyle

20 September 2018

Now that I’m exactly four weeks out from my due date (holy ISH) this post has been quite a long time in the making (35 weeks to be exact :)).

Before I get into more details, I do want to first acknowledge pregnancy is a deeply personal topic and experience unique to every woman, so this post is in no way meant to imply what will work or won’t work for other individuals, or paint a picture of what others have experienced.

It’s simply my own personal journey and what I’ve found to be helpful throughout the process — with the intention that if you’re pregnant, thinking about getting pregnant, or have been pregnant, you may find some helpful suggestions, ideas, tips, support, solace or simply a way to relate and connect on some level.

 

My Personal Pregnancy Journey + Revelations

Pregnancy, at least for me, has been quite the experience. It’s been filled with moments of total happiness, bliss, euphoria, gratitude, creativity, love and positive energy — as well as times of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, discomfort, extreme fatigue, nausea, doubt, criticism and tears. Basically lots of highs, just as many lows and everything in between (and sometimes all in the span of an hour ;))!

I’ve learned so much about myself throughout this journey — and I feel more in touch with my emotions and instincts than ever, but at the same time somewhat disconnected from my body. I honestly think it is a MIND-BLOWING miracle that I’m growing a little girl in my belly, but I’m also ready to feel like my body is my own, and not just a vessel for creating life (as cool as that is).

At the same time I don’t feel quite ready to NOT be pregnant and bring a child into the world (because ummm #birth). I’m beyond excited to meet her, but I’m pretty terrified that I have no idea what I’m doing (although I’ve heard this is the case with most parents and you just simply figure it out as you go). I mean honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever even changed a diaper in my life, so there’s that.

What DOES give me comfort is knowing I have the most rock solid support system of a partner (the Meat-Lovin’ Hubby), family and friends, not to mention an awesome doula and medical team.

baby shower

A few of my favorite ladies at my baby shower the other weekend

 

I’ve also been able to cultivate so much inner-strength throughout this pregnancy by taking the time to slow down, really listen to what my body and mind need, and honoring it. I noticed how dependent I was pre-pregnancy on being “productive”, crossing things off my “to-do” list and constantly spending time pushing hard to get ahead in my career and life while comparing myself to others.

 

If anything pregnancy has allowed me to have more grace and compassion with myself, to realize productivity doesn’t always equate to health or happiness, and that it’s okay to take a nap in the middle of the day, not eat vegetables, skip the workout, forget to post on social media and especially say no to the things (people, opportunities, events) that don’t light you up inside.  

 

And while I’ve known for awhile just how impactful taking care of yourself (on a physical, mental and emotional level) is, it’s been a LIFE-SAVER for me during this pregnancy. It makes me feel SO good to know I’m doing things that empower me to feel better, which in turn only benefit my baby and everyone around me to boot!

Little or big, quick hack or indulgent treat, these products, foods, recipes, tips, books and practices have been like little beacons of light throughout this journey, and I hope you find they do the same for you!

 

FAVE PREGNANCY FOODS + RECIPES

paleo pancakes

+ Banza Chickpea Pasta

The only thing I could stomach first trimester was carbs, so I loved that these pasta noodles had tons of fiber and protein already built in. I’d use them to make this mac n cheese recipe. 

+ Vital Proteins Collagen

Again, anything meat or “protein” sounding was hard for me to stomach first trimester, so I loved having an easy way to add protein, collagen and gut-healing ingredients to my coffee, drinks or smoothies.

Jem Organics Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

This tasted exactly like Nutella to me, only it’s made with sprouted hazelnuts, antioxidant-rich cacao powder, coconut sugar and vanilla. I enjoyed topping chia, oatmeal, gluten-free toast, smoothies and yogurt bowls with it for a decadent but nutrient-dense option.

+ Simple Mills Pizza Dough —

Pizza has been another big craving throughout my pregnancy, so I loved this easy paleo pizza dough option. My fave way to top it? With pesto, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate and fresh arugula. 

+ Nuco Paleo Coconut Wraps —

My energy totally dipped both first and third trimester, so using these wraps as a base for a quick “sandwich” or snack has been a game changer (try it with bacon, scrambled egg, avocado, arugula and mayo).

+ Birch Bender’s Paleo Pancake Mix —

Another constant craving immediately elevated with this simple and protein-based pancake mix. Try topping them with fresh fruit, nut butter, vanilla bean ghee and real maple syrup.

Hu Kitchen Organic Cashew Butter + Vanilla Bean Dark Chocolate Bar —

Gimme ALL the chocolate. These bars are pricy, but so worth it IMO. No weird emulsifiers, sugar or cane sugar but all the yumminess. 

+ Honey Mama’s

Another chocolate bar I’d regularly go to that tastes just like fudge. The dutch chocolate and espresso are my fave flavors.

 

FAVE PREGNANCY BEVERAGES + DRINK RECIPES

bulletproof hot chocolate

+ Berkey Filtered Water

While I realize this seems a bit on the indulgent side, our country’s drinking water contains numerous toxic contaminants such as chlorine, fluoride, chloramine and other waste byproducts. Exposure to high concentrations of these byproducts during pregnancy can lead to low birth weights, pre-term births, birth defects, and other problems.

You can use this link to check the contaminants in your local water supply, but I found it worth it to invest in the Berkey, which uses charcoal filters to remove the toxins effectively and legit makes water taste better (true story — the MLH and I did a blind taste test and both chose the Berkey filtered water over tap :)).

Topo Chico —

Sparkling water helped soothe my stomach immensely first trimester. This brand was my fave and doesn’t contain any weird chemicals or artificial sweeteners.

+ Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar —

This may not sound tasty, but taking a tbsp daily with 8 oz of water before meals and after dinner helped with indigestion, heart burn, balancing my blood sugar and improving regularity.

+ nutpods Non-Dairy Creamer — 

If you follow me on the ‘gram you probably already know I’m obsessed with this non-dairy creamer, which also happens to be free of ANY sugar and tastes amazing in both sweet and savory recipes (as well as coffee). My fave way to have it during pregnancy was to use it with baked oatmeal (a serious first trimester craving) as well as in cold-brew coffee with a dash of cinnamon. Use the code “SOFRESH20” for 20% off your first purchase!

Traditional Medicinals Pregnancy Tea —

This blend contains herbs that help offset symptoms like nausea and help promote a healthy pregnancy — plus it tastes really nice. 

GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha — Gingerade (Sugar-free) —

This was another great option when I wanted something bubbly and with a taste. The ginger also helped with my nausea. 

+ Bulletproof Hot Chocolate

I’ve been drinking this as soon as the weather dropped below 70 degrees, and imagine doing so throughout the rest of this season (pregnant or not).

 

FAVE PREGNANCY SUPPLEMENTS 

the 5 supplements you should be taking

Magnesium Citrate —

True story, most of the population is already deficient in magnesium, due to the depletion in our soil and regular consumption of foods like sugar and caffeine. I take 300-400 mg of this nightly which helps regulate my sleep, soothe my joints and promote regularity. 

Digestive Enzymes —

These ones are specifically formulated to help you break down and digest the enzymes in gluten and dairy, so I regularly take them when eating out in case of contamination (or if I’m just dying to have some butter and cheese :)). 

Pure Encapsulations Prenatal Nutrients —

A no-brainer obvi, but I particularly love this brand. 

+ Vitamin B6 + 1/2 tablet Unisom —

If you’re experiencing nausea, I highly recommend trying this combo. Just note the Unisom can make you sleepy/drowsy, so I recommend starting with half.

Probiotics —

When your gut is healthy and flourishing, your babe’s gut is more likely to be too (their microbiome is heavily influenced by yours). Along with trying to sneak in naturally occurring probiotics from miso, tempeh, kombucha and apple cider vinegar I take a probiotic daily.

Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Supplement —

Fish hasn’t sounded particularly appetizing to me this pregnancy, and unless you’re consuming it 3x per week you’re mostly likely not getting enough omega-3’s, which are instrumental in preventing inflammation and optimal brain health (for both you and your babe). I take two of these daily. 

Collagen Bone Broth Protein Powder — Chocolate —

Bone Broth is a rich source of protein and amino acids that promote optimal gut health, not to mention keep your skin, hair and nails looking FIERCE. I love this chocolate protein powder, which was easy to sneak into smoothies (try it with spinach, frozen banana, cashew butter, dates and almond milk). 

 

FAVE PREGNANCY BOOKS

Nurture — A Mother’s Guide To Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood & Trusting Yourself & Your Body —

This has been my FAVORITE book I’ve read about pregnancy thus far. I recommend buying the paperback version (vs audible or kindle version) so you can fill in some of the worksheets/questions, etc.

I felt supported, heard and supplied with plenty of information and tools — minus any of the fear-based BS or shaming that I’ve found in far too many other pregnancy resources. 

Expecting Better — Why The Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong — And What You Really Need To Know —

Another awesome resource to have during pregnancy, this book was written by an economist from Harvard whose job is to look at stats and studies with a fine-tooth comb and point out which ones are actually legit (i.e. you don’t have as much reason to fear sushi or coffee as you thought).

I also appreciate how the author’s goal is to present you with as much sound information as possible and then encourages you to make your own decision from there (i.e. she never tells you what you should or shouldn’t do). 

The Postnatal Depletion Cure —

This is a good read to prepare you for what comes after birth, with lots of helpful suggestions to ensure you’re on the road to optimal recovery and health.

+ Baby-Wise —

The jury’s still out on this one, which we haven’t finished yet, BUT numerous friends recommended it to us and their babies were rockstar sleepers throughout the night, which I’m ALL for.

+ Bringing Up Bebe

While some aspects of this book were annoying, I did like the overall theme of incorporating your child into YOUR life, instead of revolving your lives around them.

The Four Agreements — A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom —

This is not a pregnancy book by any means, but I found the principles to be applicable to every day life and especially helpful during pregnancy. 

 

FAVE PREGNANCY BEAUTY + HEALTH PRODUCTS

thieves essential oil

+ Nutiva Coconut Oil

I found that my skin tended to be on the drier side with this pregnancy, so I would slather this stuff on my after getting out of the shower. I love that it’s inexpensive, incredibly hydrating and totally free of any chemicals or toxins that could be absorbed by the fetus through my skin (ick).

+ Honest Organic Belly Balm

I’ve been using this religiously on my stomach to prevent rashes or stretch marks, and so far, so good!

+ Dry Brush —

Dry brushing stimulates the lymph system, promoting circulation, detoxification and a more even skin-tone (helping to prevent dimpling or cellulite). Plus it’s just plain soothing and an easy way to incorporate self-care into your routine.

+ ISUN Honey + Goji-Berry Mask

This face mask is also so nourishing and moisturizing and made with all-natural ingredients (you could eat it and be fine, and you might want to because it smells sooooo good). I’d put this on the night before an event and my skin would straight up glow the next day.

+ DoTerra DigestZen Essential Oil

There are a ton of blends I’ve found helpful for pregnancy (peppermint for headaches, lavender for relaxation, orange to promote a happy mood) but this blend has been my ultimate go-to. I rub it every night on my belly to help soothe bloat and ease my digestion.

+ Skin Gym Rose Quartz Facial Roller

REAL TALK — I was pretty worried about not being able to continue some of my beauty practices this pregnancy (dermatologist’s recommend avoiding pretty much everything other than signature massage + facials) but I swear using this roller has made all the difference.

It helps boost natural collagen, reduces puffiness and wrinkles, eliminates toxins and tightens pores. I keep it in the fridge so it’s nice and cold and it feels so soothing on my skin. Definitely one of my fave little daily beauty rituals.

+ Dream Premium U-Shape Pregnancy Pillow

This has been a GAME-CHANGER for me sleep-wise and makes laying in bed SO much more comfortable (while alleviating back pain).

 

FAVE PREGNANCY SELF-CARE TIPS + ACTIVITIES

fitness photos

+ Acupuncture —

This practice has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and uses needles to stimulate blood and flow of energy throughout the body. I found it to be incredibly relaxing (I even snuck in a couple naps) and it helped incredibly with digestive issues, headaches and the restless sleep I’ve experienced throughout this pregnancy. If you’re a Seattle local I HIGHLY recommend Roz with Living Well Acupuncture.

+ Reformer Pilates —

I’ve been going to The Pursuit Studio before and during my entire pregnancy, and it’s been instrumental to my strength and posture (and can easily be adjusted during all phases of pregnancy). If you’re a Seattle Local check them out and use the code “SOFRESHSOGREEN” for 15% of your first 5,10 or 20 class purchase — AND first class is free.

+ Yoga —

I’ve been practicing yoga for 12 years now and it just felt right to continue all through pregnancy. I’ve definitely toned it down a notch and tend to go for child’s pose more often than not, but found it to be really instrumental in relieving stress, stretching sore muscles and getting my body primed for birth. Be One Yoga is my fave local joint — they offer cool lavender towels post class which is the best part, IMO :).

+ Chiropractic Care —

This is an excellent option for pregnant women experiencing any discomfort or back pain, especially in the third trimester. It can even help with the baby’s position if it’s breached. Dr. Pauline Haugen with Higher Health Spine & Sport is incredible!

+ Foam Rolling —

Another awesome option Dr. Pauline Haugen turned me onto, foam rolling is amazing for myofascial release, increasing blood flow circulation and loosening sore joints. We have this foam roller and I love to do it at night while binging on Netflix.

+ Opt Outside —

Incorporating daily walks (or weekly hikes) into my routine has been one of my fave (easy and free!) forms of self-care. Getting outside in the fresh air and sun just FEELS good, plus walking helps keep both blood pressure and sugar low, which is great for your baby.

+ Headspace Meditation For Pregnancy

I’ve been meditating every morning for years, but have been especially loving this Guided Pregnancy Pack by Headspace. It addresses a lot of feelings or racing thoughts you might be experiencing during this time and helps you get into your breath, relax and connect with your baby.

+ Birth Classes

While this may not be for everyone, I have personally found these classes insanely helpful, especially as this is all new to me. The goal is to equip you with tons of knowledge and help you build confidence around birth, nursing and post-partum. If you’re a Seattle local I highly recommend Wendy Dean with The Birth Zone.

+ Yogu Birthing Ball

We were told to get one of these at our birthing classes, as it’s a helpful way to improve your posture, protect your back and support the weight of your pregnancy. I have found sitting upright to be insanely uncomfortable third trimester, but swapping out a chair for this ball at my desk has really helped.

 

FAVE PREGNANCY CLOTHING

maternity clothing

 

+ Hatch Clothing

This is by far my fave designated “maternity clothing.” All of their clothing is on trend, well-made and completely comfortable. Use this code to receive 10% off your first purchase!

+ LED Boyfriend Maternity Jeans

A friend turned me onto this brand and I’m obsessed. It’s a really great price point and the fit is super comfy.

+ Lulu Lemon Align Yoga Pants

These have been my go-to during pregnancy and I basically wear them every day. They’re stretchy, insanely comfortable and NOT see-through. You can wear them working out or just out and about.

+ Spanx Bralettes

These bras are super comfortable and were some of the only ones I tried on that didn’t dig into my back/shoulders.

 

If I could offer up any advice or key takeaway regarding this post it would be to ultimately do what feels good for you (and check in with your medical practitioner with any questions). If you’re feeling good chances are your baby is too! There is SO much information out there, which can be helpful but at the same time nerve-wracking, not to mention judgey and shame-inducing.

I truly hope you found this post helpful on some level, and would SO appreciate if you shared with me (and this awesome tribe) in the comments any other products, tips, recipes, tools etc. you loved or used on your own pregnancy journey!

xx //

Lauren

 

Lauren Chambers

Lauren Chambers is the Nutrition + Hormone Health Coach and Feel Good Food Blogger of sofreshnsogreen.com. She's on a mission to help you balance your hormones, boost your energy and improve your mood through food, so you can look and feel your best.