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July 29, 2009

All day sickness or nausea during pregnancy

It's totally gross and most women feel it. Nausea is a really big topic so I will write a couple of posts about it. I've searched and searched and western medicine gives no reason for morning sickness. There are a few un-tested theories and a few emetic drugs which are no longer prescribed because they deform the baby. So here is the Ayurvedic perspective. Ayurveda offers three causes of nausea during pregnancy. I'll do my best to translate these but would love some help if any of you know more!

1. Vaatha Vaigunya
Malfunction of Vata. This is like travel sickness, Vata moves around the body in the wrong way pushing other dosha's along too.

2. Dauhidra Avamaanana
Give the woman what she wants! So long as it is not detrimental to mother or her baby all her cravings must be satisfied. Unsatisfied desires cause morning sickness.

3.Garbha Nimittha
This means the embryo/feotus is pushing upwards which is what makes the mother feel nauseous or vomit.

The first trimester diet for a pregnant women advises lots of liquids, the embryo is still in a liquid form and the mothers body is building blood, amniotic fluid and fat. An increase in water element is very helpful.

However if you are anything like me fluids are the main offender, I just can't swallow anything liquid. I find that if I eat Vata and Pitta pacifying food as soon as a I wake up and then at 8am, 10am and 12 pm then it sets me up well for the rest of the day. You'll know what your worst time of day is (and it's not always the morning) so make sure you have food ready every two hours for that time of day.

My favourite snacks:
  • apples, bananas, grapes, pears
  • rice crackers
  • salty crackers with cottage cheese
  • plain bread, scones, chapati's
  • Blanched almonds, walnuts
  • Cold milk with ANZAC biscuits (cold milk is generally recommended during early pregnancy)
The evenings do tend to be better for me so I try and catch up on some fluids then. I sip my way very slowly through a glass or two or cold water or cold peppermint tea or cold juice at my best time of day, but don't bother with drinks when I feel gross. Personally I think comfort is my primary concern right now. Water is no good if I chuck it straight up again.

Week 7-blech!

Now I feel totally gross. I'm going to buy some of those acupressure wristbands to try and settle my stomach. I no longer feel queasy, it's now full blown nausea. Although I haven't thrown up I want to, almost constantly. Gross.

I don't like food much which is a new feeling for me, but I'm always hungry. And it's certainly an odd feeling wanting to stuff my face with food and throw up and the same time. Most smells are disgusting, though lemon, mint and coffee smell great!

My breasts are growing but they aren't much fun because they are too sore too touch. It feels like I have a huge bruise across my whole chest.

But it's not all such a drag. This week my little embryo is developing facial features and fingers and toes. Depending who you ask it's now the size of a peanut or a rasberry or a bean. Here's a portrait of the little one. Not exactly cute just yet, it still looks like a freaky mini alien to me.

July 22, 2009

Fear of miscarriage

Miscarriage is unfortunately common in the first trimester. 1 in 8 confirmed pregnancies will result in miscarriage, but don't despair, that means 7 in 8 little embryo's will hang in there for the long haul. No matter what the odds most pregnant women will have some fear of miscarriage, especially in those tentative early months.

Here are some things that help me in my moments of anxiety:
  • It's totally natural to have crazy mood swings during pregnancy. Anxiety is a sure sign that pregnancy hormones are doing their work, so if you are extremely worried it's just another symptom of pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy is preparation for motherhood. One of the greatest lessons is to realise that I am not in control. The fact that conception and birth are not dates that can be planned in stone is a reminder that although you would love to have a spring baby it's not really your choice. The universe will do what it will. Surrender.
  • Try to talk to someone who normalises pregnancy. Whilst it's great to have some friends get over the top excited sometimes this can feel like pressure, I don't want to let them down. Talk to someone who works with pregnant women all the time and will understand that pregnancy is a prefectly normal stage of life, most women do it.
  • Highs and lows are inextricably linked. Don't get too involved with your highs and you won't get too involved with your lows.
  • Go and talk to your health care provider for reassurance.
  • If you are not having bleeding or cramping there's nothing to worry about. A change or lack of pregnancy symptoms or simply not feeling pregnant does not mean you have lost the baby.
  • Dr Frawley suggests that anxiety can weaken the embryo, so let your fears go for the sake of your baby.
If you are an extremely fearful person (pregnant or not) it's best to eat well, rest well, breathe well and talk about it. Avoid anything that is very stimulating like spicy food, extreme weather, unpleasant loud noises or crowds and travel. Enjoy sex and exercise in moderation so as not to exhaust your ojas.

Finally the vast majority of pregnancies result in a healthy baby so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Week 6-Emotions

I'm a nervous wreck. I used to be such a cool cat but the pregnancy hormones have kicked in and I can't stop crying. Or singing.

Last week I was I was in heaven, I was so happy I was singing to my tiny baby all day long. Then a few days ago I had two full days of non-stop tears. I bawled my eyes out about everything, about nothing. My poor husband is exhausted!

Emotional rollercoatser rides are usually caused by Vata, so I'm trying to bring more earth an water into my life, as usual.

The weather at the moment is not conducive to calm. It's mid winter and whilst it doesn't get too cold in Fremantle we get gale force winds and torrential rain. My old weatherboard cottage feels as though it might just blow away to the land of oz. The storms certainly make me more nervous so I'm making sure I dress warmly when I go out and keep my head covered in the wind.

Eating lots of ghee and milk and whole grains all help to ground me too. A little back rub helps a lot and so does talking about it, particularly to other women who have been pregnant. They all know what I'm on about.

But to a certain degree I do feel like I need a good cry. Tears cleanse pitta and early pregnancy is an extremely high pitta stage of life. So I have a good cry, I watch my emotions come and go just trying not to buy into it. I imagine myself sitting by a raging river watching all my emotions floating along. I don't ignore them but I can feel that the emotions are not truly me. Truly I am an eternally peaceful soul. This is permanant whilst the emotions come and go.

July 18, 2009

Week 5-what to do?

So now that I know I'm pregnant I'm wondering what to do it about it.

I believe pregnancy is a very natural and normal part of a woman's life, rather than an illness or medical emergency. I'm choosing a home birth, and I feel so grateful to know about this safe and satisfying option, but this means my midwife won't be assigned until I am twelve weeks pregnant!

In the meantime what's a girl to do? I'm going crazy trying to keep it a secret and I'm choosing not to busy myself with obstetrician appointments, ultrasounds, peeing in cups, being jabbed with needles, being weighed, measured, poked or prodded. Now that I have a baby growing inside me I can see why all these women like to have obstetricians, it makes you feel like you are doing something. All I'm doing is waiting for a baby to come out.

So I read about pregnancy and childbirth and parenting. I love to read real life stories by real life women, single mothers, teenage mothers, adoptive mothers, lesbians, radicals, all women who fiercly love their babies. I dislike the medical week by week accounts assuming there is a husband involved and that all mothers sit on rocking chairs and wear aprons and alice bands. I want to hear about the emotional and spiritual changes, the pain and pleasure, the difficult decisions, the complications, the fears and anxieties, the deep desires and most of all the rewards that accompany all dark times.

The physicality of my pregnancy is just one aspect, the spiritual and emotional components feel so much more powerful to me. So I'm just gonna let things be as they are.

July 11, 2009

Constipation in pregnancy

Of course, typical to my dosha, I'm constipated before the morning sickness even hits. Read the general guidelines for constipation here, all the dot points in that post are safe for pregant women, but the informatio in this pregnancy specific post overrides any of the information in the general constipation post if you are pregnant. Ayurveda does not advise laxatives during pregnancy.

  • Never take aloe vera, triphla or castor oil during pregnancy and generally avoid any foods, herbs or medicines with a strong Apana Prana action, or downward force (Dr Sarita Shresta even advises against eating sesame for this reason)
  • First try drinking one cup of hot milk with a large teaspoon of ghee last thing at night, at least one hour after dinner, this is enough for a lot of pregnant women
  • If you need something stronger add a teaspoon of psyllium husks to your hot milk
  • Have a Vata and Pitta pacifying diet favouring warm soupy foods (if your nausea doesn't rebel against mush, mine did, just do what you can)
  • Have lightly cooked vegetables and stewed fruit, avoid raw vegetables and raw fruit
  • Put a tablespoon of ghee on every meal and drink a glass of warm water with every meal (large amounts of ghee such as this should be avoided in the last trimester)
  • Daily massage with warm sesame oil has so many wonderful benefits for pregnant women including relieving constipation
  • Failing a full body massage try just massaging your tummy very gently in a clockwise direction using your open palms (not fingers)
  • Add 30 drops of patchouli essential oil to 30ml sesame oil for a stomach massage oil that gives stronger relief

Week 4-peeing on a stick

I could smell my friends vegemite toast three rooms away so I suspected I might be in the family way. But I also knew what to look for so I didn't know if my symptoms were invented because I wanted to feel them.

So a week ago I peed on a stick and I was a bit bummed when only one control line came up. Not Pregnant. But it was our first month of trying so I wasn't really surprised, I've heard so many stories of couples trying for months and even years before concieving.

Three days later when my period still hadn't come and I was feeling hungry and tired I peed on another stick and there it was. Two lines. Up the duff.

I've been looking forward to this for years, just waiting patiently to get my health and finances in order. I felt happy and a bit teary, gave D a good squeeze and off we both went to a normal day at the office.

DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS!? I've just recieved the most exciting and significant news of my life and I had to rock up to work and act like everything's normal. The next few days were tough. I'm really bad at secrets, but I do want to wait till the pregnancy is better established before announcing it to the world.