Being pregnant and birthing your child—how do you really prepare for it? I don’t think you can really be totally prepared. However, this being my second go at it I feel as though I am a little more prepared this time. I wanted to create a post that correlates with our latest TGL episode. This week Kristen and I dedicated the entire episode to pregnancy. Answering all your questions pregnancy-related and sharing our favorite must-have items. So let’s jump right into your questions.
How we are picking a name that is a great question? Well at this point in time we haven’t picked a name and don’t like any. For me, the second time around is not as easy as the first. We are using the app Baby Name. It’s basically Tinder for baby names. You and your partner both download the app on your phones. Then you swipe left on names you don’t like, swipe right on names that could be a winner. If you and your partner match on a name you will get an alert. It’s an easy way to keep track of potential names and makes the process not so stressful. As of right now my husband and I have NO matches.
Do I really need a prenatal vitamin?
I am not your doctor and you should always take your advice from them. But personally, I am a big fan of prenatal vitamins. Because I struggled with infertility I really worked on prepping my body for pregnancy. So for me, I was taking my prenatal vitamins while we were trying to conceive. It’s really important to know the key ingredients we should have in our prenatal vitamins and remember that all ingredients are not created equal.
On episode #53 of This Girl Life I shared that it would be nice to get all the vitamins we need from having a healthy diet but that isn’t really realistic. When we are pregnant we really need to ramp up on our vitamins intake, and two ingredients, in particular, are KEY.
Folic acid is huge and helps prevent neural tube defects. These defects are serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. I suggest doing some research but I always opted for 5MTHF, an active form of folate that shows greater bioavailability compared to folic acid. I have something called MTHFR ( a genetic mutation) which means my body can’t accept folic acid as it is—it has to go through a conversion process into a form called Methyltetrahydrofolate, or MTHF, in order for you to use it. So I use a supplement with its folate already converted to the proper MTHF form. Ask your doctor about this if you have any questions and do your research.
Iron is crucial in supporting the baby’s growth and development. Iron also helps prevent anemia, a condition in which blood has a low number of healthy red blood cells.
- Whitney uses the Smarty Pants Prenatal with an extra dose of MTHF
- Kristen uses the Nature Made Prenatal.
How many ultrasounds will I have?
It can vary per person but 4 ultrasounds are typically what you will see. Your first ultrasound will happen at 8 weeks (the pregnancy confirmation ultrasound), 12 weeks (post first trimester), between 18-22 weeks (the anatomy scan), and 35-37 weeks (the one pre-labor). On the TGL episode, Kristen and I shared we both had extra ultrasounds in our first pregnancies. I suffered from hip dysplasia and Kristen had a subchorionic hematoma. So depending on your previous history and any pregnancy issues some extra ultrasounds might be needed.
When can I find out the gender of my baby?
There are many early prediction methods to determine gender including ultrasound testing, genetic testing, and blood testing. In my first pregnancy I waited until the 18-week anatomy scan but this time I decided to find out as early as possible with a DNA gender blood test. You can read more about my DNA testing experience here.
Exercise during pregnancy
First, discuss exercise with your obstetrician and get the OK to exercise. I try to do something every day. I find if I don’t work out daily I am not in a good mindset. So this pregnancy I have really enjoyed Tone It Up Pregnancy workouts and yoga. Really I just do whatever is comfortable for your body and adjust your workout as your belly grows.
Lets talk about weight gain during pregnancy
This is a sensitive topic for me personally because gaining weight even for a good reason is not easy for me. And I have been really honest about that– but this second pregnancy I have really had to evaluate how I wanted to go about the process of gaining weight. Do I want it to stress me out and in fact then put some stress on the baby? Or do I want to just accept what is happening to my body and embrace it? I am working on the embrace and embracing that I am eating a lot more carbs this pregnancy, but that’s okay. So I guess my suggestion is at your initial doctor visit to chat with your doctor about the weight gain process and what the quote on quote right number would be. But then just do your best to embrace growing a child and once your baby is here and healthy start all the good stuff– detoxing, lots of exercises, intermittent fasting.
What are your pregnancy cravings? And when is it okay to give into them?
Not gonna lie my cravings have been weird this pregnancy. Hard-boiled eggs, egg salad, salads, and carbs. The CARBS aren’t actually a craving but they are a last-ditch effort to try to stop nausea. In both pregnancies, I have experienced extreme morning and night sickness. And let me tell you nausea and puking is literally my least favorite thing in the world. I would take being in pain over being sick and puking all the time. So I have been on an anti-nausea medication my whole pregnancy ( judge away), but for me, it is needed so I take it. My ultimate goal in pregnancy is to be balanced, eat as many vegetables as possible but not deprive myself of something sweet when I want it. Check out more of our cravings on This Girl Life podcast episode #53
What is the first piece of advice you give any expectant mum?
Kristen and I broke down our little pieces of advice on the podcast but I will get your summary of the good stuff.
- Whitney: Listen to your own intuition. You know what is best for your baby. A lot of people may try to shame you, guilt you, or tell you ‘something better.’ But at the end of the day, you are this baby’s mom, and you know what is best.
- Kristen: Listen to the people you trust the most. Throughout your pregnancy, you get a LOT of advice from everyone. Listen to the people you trust, your best friend, your mom, your doctor, and leave the other advice to the wind. Kristen’s blog post about pregnancy advice is linked here.
What is your birth plan?
In episode #53 of TGL we chatted that our birth plans are simple, birth our babies in the best and healthiest way possible.
- I had a c-section my first pregnancy and will have a c-section this pregnancy. You can read my Things To Know Before Having A C-Section here
- Kristen had a vaginal birth with her first and plans to have one with her second. You can read about her birth story here.
Sex & Pregnancy
Our hormone levels during the first trimester can cause mood swings, nausea, and bloating. All of these can really mess with your libido, you are not alone in this. I also suggest being super honest with your partner and let them know how you are feeling. Basically letting them know right now it is hit or miss so if I am into it you better be into it. And for anyone worried about bleeding during sex just GO slow— use lube if needed and if bleeding occurs call your doctor.
When it comes to skincare and pregnancy things can get interesting. In my last pregnancy, I wrote a blog post on how to avoid stretch marks here! But this pregnancy I felt like it might be different and I might need a little more help in the skincare department. So I have been using a few key products to keep my belly, sides, and legs lubed up.
- Japanese Camellia Body Oil Blend ( pregnant and postpartum skin moisturized and supple, helping to prevent and treat stretch marks) for stretch marks and HATCH body oil is soothing with calendula and sweet almond oil to help nourish skin and prevent stretch marks.
- Juice Beauty’s Hydrating Mist has in it rosehip, ylang ylang, grapeseed oil and antioxidant-rich organic juices for a fresh, radiant complexion
- Niu body facial serum -Super clean natural means 100% plant-derived, with nothing artificial and have banned over 1,300 ingredients from our products.
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum– fighting that hyperpigmentation this product is a brightening serum with natural ingredients like vitamin C and fruit enzymes
*Please remember everything on This Girl Life Podcast is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material is provided is for educational purposes only. Please seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions.