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What Being Healthy Has Meant to Me During Pregnancy

39 weeks and astounded by how different this pregnancy has been!

When I got pregnant the last two times, I wasn’t that healthy.  Especially the first time.  I didn’t eat well, I was a bit overweight, and so on.  My experience with pregnancy this time, when I’ve been much healthier, has been entirely different.  And it’s pretty cool to note that some things I simply thought were “par for the course” in pregnancy turned out not to be, at least not for me, this time.

I thought I’d tell you a little more about what worked for me, and what a difference it really has made for me.

Constipation.  Weight gain everywhere.  Bleeding gums.  Leg cramps.  These are just a few of the not-so-fun pregnancy symptoms that are really quite common, and which I experienced with my first two pregnancies.  I was sure that they just “happened” and there was nothing I could do about them.

Turns out, I didn’t have those things this time around.

In my first two pregnancies, I ate “pretty well” — at least by most standards.  I had a lot of salads, fruit, lean meats (no red meat at all), low-fat foods, and so on.  But I did eat a lot of snack foods, rely frequently on boxed meals (I was student teaching and very busy during my first pregnancy), and other processed foods.  I started my first pregnancy a little overweight — around 143 lbs. at 5’3″, placing my BMI around 25.  I experienced lots of not-so-pleasant pregnancy symptoms that didn’t signal any real problems, but were definitely annoying to deal with.  After my baby was born, I was so nutritionally depleted that I felt sick all the time, got something like mono (I was never tested but it lasted 5 weeks and I’ve never been so exhausted nor had a throat so sore), and just felt…bad.

It was in the last months of my second pregnancy that I started to discover foods like coconut oil and kind of embrace a different way of eating.  It wasn’t until my son was about 9 months, though, that I got really into sprouting grains, eating grass-fed meats, not restricting my fat intake at all, drinking raw milk, and so on.  I felt great.  My lowest weight was about 112, which was really too little on my frame — I didn’t get a normal period until I hit about 125 and settled there (making my BMI about 22).

That’s how I went into this pregnancy — at a healthy weight, feeling good, eating very well.  I had lots of butter, grass-fed beef, eggs, coconut oil, fruits and veggies, and so on.  I was careful to eat the most nourishing foods available to me.

There were a lot of symptoms that I had experienced in the past that I did not this time, including:

*Spotting/bleeding — I had at least one spotting episode in both my first two pregnancies; I didn’t have anything like it this time at any point.

*Weight gain “everywhere” — I gained weight before in my hips and waist and felt that I looked more ‘fat’ than pregnant.  This time I’ve been all belly.

*Leg cramps — Any time I’d stretch my legs out, the muscle would cramp up horribly and be so painful, even after I massaged it out.  I haven’t had that happen a single time this pregnancy.

*Anemia — I was always anemic in my third trimester, with my iron levels being around 10.  This time they were easily 12.5 at 28 weeks and I didn’t have to take any supplements or do anything special to keep anemia at bay.

*Constipation — I struggled with this a lot in my first two pregnancies, but haven’t had an issue this time.

*Heartburn — I had it several times throughout both my first two pregnancies.  I’ve only had a few bouts this time, just in the last few weeks as baby’s gotten really big.

*Bleeding gums — My gums were so sensitive they’d turn the toothbrush and rinse water literally red before.  That hasn’t happened this time at all.

So as you can see…I had a totally different experience!  I keep looking for the same “signs and symptoms” this time as I did before.  But it’s not happening.  I’ve also carried this baby longer than my previous pregnancy — I had my son at 38weeks, 4 days; I’m at 39 weeks now and no signs baby’s planning to show up any time soon.  Most women do have subsequent babies earlier, especially if they are close together (not enough time to re-build nutrient stores) but I’m carrying mine longer. 

I’m just really excited that some of the annoying parts of pregnancy aren’t necessarily “par for the course,” at least for me!

That said, I did experience increased fatigue (at times; I’m doing better at the end of pregnancy than in the past; I don’t need daily naps!) and increased back pain.  I felt like being thinner meant that there wasn’t extra weight on my hips/backside to “balance” the extra weight out front, which caused me more strain/stress.  My chiropractor and massage therapist have helped a lot with this, but it has been harder.  I also experienced longer-lasting morning sickness (which was combatted primarily through eating very fresh foods, I couldn’t stand to cook or eat much that was cooked for a long time!).

So now I just wait to see how the labor and birth ultimately pans out!  I’m curious how that will be different, as my labors were looooong and exhausting with my first two.  This time I’ve had a LOT more pre-labor, and hoping for a faster active labor.  But we’ll see!

Have you ever noticed striking differences in your pregnancies, if you’ve had more than one?

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