Meeting with the Midwife: Appointment 2


I’ve been trying to take more random photos to use in my posts as I think blog posts are always better with a picture attached. Don’t you agree?

Last week was my second appointment with Sarah, and it simply couldn’t come fast enough, after an indulgent Thanksgiving weekend and a few days of swollen ankles. The appointment lasted about 40 minutes and started with some discussion time that gave me a chance to have all of my questions and concerns for that month answered.

My first question was about heartburn, something I’ve been dealing with for several weeks now. As the pregnancy progresses my uterus pushes my organs further and further out of the way, forcing some of my stomach acids back up into the esophagus. I’m also releasing more of a hormone called progesterone, which (yay!) helps my uterus to relax, but (boo!) also causes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach to relax as well.  Sarah suggested several things:

  • Don’t eat right before bed, and try to avoid lying down right after eating.
  • Avoid greasy/spicy foods.
  • Avoid tums and other similar OTC antacids. Although some suggest that using medication like Tums can be beneficial because they are calcium based, I’d prefer to get my daily value of calcium through my food. Sarah advised me to avoid Tums because of recent studies suggesting a link between asthma and antacid use during pregnancy. The Los Angeles Times reported a study which followed 585,000 children born in Sweden and linked mother’s use of antacids to a 43% greater likelihood that a child would have an allergic condition, with asthma being the most common. My heartburn is not severe enough for me to feel that taking Tums is worth the risk of allergies/asthma in my child. I’m allergy/asthma free myself and would love to do whatever I can to make it so for my baby!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s a folk remedy with no scientific backing so I’m not likely to try it anytime soon as I can only imagine the nastiness associated with drinking that substance plain. I can hardly stand the smell! A little bit of googling suggested that baking soda dissolved in water is an even better home remedy. The TV show “Food Detectives” did a piece on this that might be helpful if you can track it down.
  • A  food based supplement called Zypan. I bought a bottle but haven’t used any yet.
  • Ginger tea, made by steeping ginger root. Some internet searching suggested peppermint tea as well. [Editors Note: Apparently the internet were very, very wrong in suggesting peppermint tea. All commenters so far who suffer from GERD, acid reflux, etc, have said that this is very, very wrong. Go with the ginger tea.]

I tend to avoid taking supplements/medications if possible, largely due to a tight budget and laziness, so my favorite method of coping has been drinking lots of water. My heartburn hasn’t been severe enough to keep me up at night or engaging in my normal routine, so this will likely be my coping method of choice unless something changes drastically.

My second question was in regards to swelling. For several days after Thanksgiving my legs and feet had swelled to awful proportions, and I was ready to do anything to bring the swelling down. Sarah’s suggestions were tough, but doable, and I saw immediate results when I followed her advice:

  • Eliminate all carbs possible, and replace them with protein. This is by no means the Atkins diet, rather a focus on severely limiting refined carbohydrates, potatoes and other starches, and instead making the focus of my caloric intake protein. Lots and lots of protein. I’m already at an average of about 80 grams of protein/day, but the day I met with her I kept my carbohydrate intake (barring fruit, I eat as much fruit as I want always) to two tortillas with dinner. Breakfast was fruit, lunch was salad, snacks were vegetables, and lots of protein in my tacos for dinner. All of the sudden my swelling was gone! Then my parents came this weekend and I stopped being so diligent about my carb avoidance and I felt the swelling creeping back up on me again. Guess I know how I’ll be eating the rest of my pregnancy…
  • Eliminating sugars. This goes hand in hand with eliminating as many carbohydrates as possible, and works just as well. Again, I don’t consider fruits something to eliminate.
  • Lemon water. Another folk remedy that I haven’t tried yet, but I actually enjoy squeezing lemon slices into my glasses of water so if limiting carbs and sugars isn’t helping I’ll add this to my routine as well.
  • Drink more water in the morning. I tend to drink all of mine at night, when I’m sitting in front of the computer blogging or editing. I’m still not very good at this one, but I’m working on filling a glass and setting it next to my computer as soon as I wake up in the morning.
  • Exercise in the morning. Because I’m still not really exercising routinely in general, this one is the hardest one. I tend to work through the night and wake up in the early afternoon each day so I’ll probably never get all sweaty in the morning, per se, but I am working on moving my infrequent exercise sessions to the beginning of my day, whenever that occurs, rather than the end.

My third question, as you might expect after yesterday’s post, was in regards to my rapid weight gain. I brought in my laptop and we looked through the days I had logged my diet using Fitday, and then Sarah gave me a few suggestions for areas where I could focus on making simple changes:

  • Eat eggs in the morning instead of cereal. She would even rather see me add some bacon in there to keep things exciting for me, rather than a bowl of crunchy and delicious cereal full of fiber. (Can you tell I really like my bowl of cereal int he morning?) This change works well with my attempt to reduce carbs and increase protein.
  • If I want juice, drink a little with my pills in the morning. Whole fruit has more fiber and is a better choice.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise. To make it even more appealing, she added in that moms who exercise during their pregnancy have easier labors, something I’ve heard many times from a variety of sources. I’ve started adding random squats into my day on top of trying to get in more exercise sessions during each week.
  • Beans and meat, beans and meat, beans and meat. Meat for the protein and beans for the fiber.

My last question was the one I didn’t want to ask, but felt I should. Gestational diabetes? Sadly, at this point she’s thinking I should get tested. We’ll continue to watch my weight gain, and I’ll be watching for warning signs like sharp pains in my chest, but 6 weeks from now I’ll likely be enduring a sugary drink and blood test to find out if GD is affecting my baby.

At the end of my appointment she measured my blood pressure (98/65), and busted out the doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat (140 bpm). The scale spit out the number 182.6 and I tested my urine and found slightly elevated leukocytes which Sarah wasn’t worried about. We scheduled my next appointment for the end of December and I headed home hoping that talk of gestational diabetes wouldn’t come up again at my next appointment. :)

59 thoughts on “Meeting with the Midwife: Appointment 2

  1. Re: the apple cider vinegar. I don’t know if you remember the quick post I did on that awhile back, but it can also be used to naturally fight colds because it kills the “bad” bacteria in your throat.

    I used it when I felt a sore throat coming on and I SWEAR it worked. To make it easier on the taste buds, make a cup of hot water like for tea, add a BIG dollop of honey, squeeze in a quarter of a lemon (you’ll get your lemon water in too!) and then add to heaping teaspoons of the apple cider vinegar.

    It smells like you’re making Easter eggs, but I honestly didn’t have too much of a problem with the taste. I had the drink every few hours for 3 days and didn’t get sick!

    Sophia Reply:

    It’s also fabulous if you have problems with allergies- about the same amount every day, plus the trusty neti pot once or twice a week and it’s all good :)

  2. I have problems with GERD (gastroesophogeal reflux) and have to take a prescription strength antacid every day…
    However it’s caused me to be pretty educated in the ways of heartburn. Aside from the obvious avoiding spicy and acidic foods (tomatoes, citrus) some of the other suggestions were great. I would avoid drinking peppermint tea though. Caffeine and mint are both known to relax the muscle as well as all that progesterone you’ve got in you :)
    My doctor also suggested I drink a lot more water, the theory being that the stomach acid will be diluted and when reflux does happen it won’t be as painful.

    Sarah Reply:

    Yes! I was just about to leave a comment about avoiding the peppermint tea as well. My stomach is basically partial up inside my esophagus so I take proton pump inhibitors every stinking day and am sad to say I have tried just about everything to calm heartburn. Little meals throughout the day and never within 2 hours of laying down seems to work the best for me (in addition to the PPIs of course). A big thing for me is also to avoid alcohol but since you are mormon and pregnant, that’s probably an unnecessary “tip” lol.

    Karin Reply:

    I hade the same problems as you Sarah (but had surgery a few months ago to bring the stomach back down – which I highly recommend). Another trigger for me was brocolli. Also, if you sleep with 2 pillows so that you are a little elevated, that might help as well!

    Sarah Reply:

    The surgery scares me… I was told it makes a “one-way” only type valve, where you can no longer burp or vomit if necessary. That’s the only reason I haven’t gotten it yet.

    Karin Reply:

    That is true, and was a concern of mine. I have no idea how it will effect me when I’m pregnant, but the risks of having the acid continue to wear at my esphagus won out for me. The surgery does have some drawbacks as well – and I’d be more then happy to answer any questions you have about it. (And to avoid a full take over of the comments on Jenna’s blog) feel free to email me at kfrenza at hotmail)

  3. Thanks for the post, Jenna!

    I gotta say, I love apple cider vinegar! If you don’t like it, you don’t like it, but have you ever tried making vinegrette with it? If a little light salad dressing is part of your diet, you might try making the dressing with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt & pepper. (Though the benefits may come from drinking it straight.)

    Also, it might be the brand of apple cider vinegar, not the stuff itself, that you’re not liking. If you’ve got a mass market grocery store brand, perhaps try buying a more “artisinal” brand at the health food store…

    Cristin Reply:

    I’m with Lucy – I don’t like the smell of any vinegar nor do I like apple cider. And in general, I avoid salad dressing (just don’t like it as much as ice cream and I’d rather avoid the calories from dressings and have dessert!). BUT – my mother in law makes a rockin’ salad with apple cider vinegar dressing. Might be a sneaky way to get some of the vinegar in you after all!

  4. Yup, I like raw apple cider vinegar too (well, I don’t LIKE it, but you know what I mean). It helped severe heartburn that I got a few times, but I also liked papaya tablets (tastes like candy) or the real fruit. Oh, and I had heard that peppermint was good for nausea, so I tried the candy and got the worst heartburn ever! Chocolate always was horrible too. And watermelon and cucumbers always helped my swelling go down.

    Glad you love your midwife

  5. I’ve had heartburn for the last month or so (32 weeks pregnant) and usually take a few tums each week, and I hadn’t heard about the possible relationship between asthma and antacids. I am the same as you, I don’t like to take medicine, so I’ve scoffed at my OB’s suggestion to take Zantac. I have been able to manage it by eating a bigger mid-day meal and a smaller dinner and making sure to be upright for a couple of hours after dinner (I try to eat dinner earlier too.

    I also bought this Heartburn tea from a company called earth momma angel baby. It’s yummy, not sure if it works, but may be worth a try. I put some milk in it hoping for a double whammy. I can’t give up the spicy foods though, so I suffer at my own demise. My breastfeeding class instructor said that babies tend to be less affected by spicy foods while breastfeeding if you eat them throughout your pregnancy. So I take the pain because this momma loves her spicy food.

    The GD test isn’t bad. Try to get the orange flavored glucola. I think it’s good that your MW is suggesting the test especially if you’re gaining weight rapidly while eating healthfully. Hopefully it all works out for you. Good luck and try not to stress about the possibility of GD if you can. I know that’s easier said than done. I was pretty nervous for my test, but it came back wonderfully – hoping for the same results for you, Jenna :)

  6. You might want to try eating raw carrots to help with your heartburn. I HATE the taste of Tums so much that I’d rather have heartburn, but my fiance suggested to eat some carrots the last time my heartburn was unbearable, and it did help.

  7. Jenna, your posts about pregnancy fascinate me. You’ve put so much time into this one that I feel like a short comment pales as a representation of how much I enjoy you sharing this information with us.

    It is so clear that you are knowledgeable about nutrition. When I started reading your comments about carbs, I thought, oh dear, someone is going to comment that you need carbs to get through the day in order to live and/or “Jenna, don’t you know that fruit has carbs and its good for you.” It appears you know your audience as much as you know your nutrition, because you cut any of those comments off at the pass. Phew :) But seriously, I think it is so interesting to consider the ways in which food can cure our ailments. Im glad that her suggestions about protein work for you, and I think your comments about getting calcium are smack-my-forehead brilliant. I would never think of taking supplements for iron or Vitamin C, which I try to get from my diet, but I have sure used Tums for heartburn. Why didn’t I think to just get it from food?!

    Last comment – girl, you’ve got to exercise! I’m not talking Richard Simmons style Sweatin’ to the Oldies, but a walk each day will do ya good. Even in Dallas, its probably cool enough that you won’t sweat your head off. Its good for your mental health to spend thirty minutes in the fresh air. Even if you bring your camera and turn it into an hour of snapping and walking, you will still get moving and might have fun shooting new locations in Dallas in the process. You could try to turn it into a field trip and walk/shoot in new neighborhoods & explore parks or the Christmas lights in those areas. Or … check out the Nasher, Meadows Museum, the DMA… A few hours walking through there and I bet your BodyBugg will thank you :) At least then, it might not feel like exercise, but you’re on your feet for a few hours.

    (Easy for me to say, right? I live in Manhattan, where I have to walk to work/school/grocery store/pharmacy…. if I don’t walk, I don’t eat! Who knows how I’d be health-wise if I got to drive everywhere?)

    Jenny Reply:

    I really agree with Cristin’s exercise comment. I don’t workout as much as I should, but I love going on walks. My friend Suzette and I have started walking together more for exercise (as in a faster pace) and I love it. I would recommend going with a walking partner as well. It’s very therapeutic. We get a lot of venting done. Haha. But I like Cristin’s idea too, of making it a photography field trip! Especially early in the morning. You can get some great stuff.

    Cristin Reply:

    Another way to “justify” walking or make it easier to multitask is to download sermons on your iPod. Most of the ones I listen to are in the ballpark of 35 minutes, so it helps pass the time and gives me the opportunity to reflect and have quiet time. When I don’t do that, I miss out on quiet time, because there’s too many distractions at home.

    Evelyn Reply:

    I love what you said about how interesting it is that food can cure our ailments… because it seems to be more and more apparent to me that sometimes food (the bad ones) are the source of our ailments too! =) I totally agree that it’s amazing and interesting what good foods can do for us.

    Jenna, I also really agree with Cristin and Jenny about the walking bit. My sister had all three of her girls naturally (2 at home) and the hardest labor she endured was her second, the best her third, the difference being exercise. I think it’s so intimidating to put ourselves on these exercise regiments of going to the gym, or exercising on a machine or to a dvd, all we really need to do is get out. That’s the exercise my sister did with her third, take long walks with her daughters in the stroller. She started small and eventually worked up to about an hour and then worked on walking faster, and listened to music and (I think) conference talks on a little mp3 player. Even if you don’t go out for an hour or walk at a heavy pace you’ll be able to feel a little better and more confident knowing you did something and didn’t do the same ol’ same ol’ “thinking about doing”. If you know what I mean. =)

    I didn’t comment on your post about the difficulties of coming to terms with your “morphing” body, but it was really well written. Remember that one of the reasons this is all so difficult is because you have more hormones in your body right now than ever before. Even when they “level off” and don’t cause emotional roller-coasters, they still toy with our feelings and perceptions regarding many things. Every woman is different, every woman’s body responds differently to pregnancy. Even those girls that look like they stuffed a basketball up their shirt would probably admit to feeling some/many of the things you expressed. Regardless, you look cute and pregnant. Not ugly or fat. Remember that!

    vicki Reply:

    Exercising during pregnancy is GREAT! I was carrying Evelyn (She wrote about her sis and walking) when I was gardening extensively. She is my 4th of 6, and the only pregnancy that ended with me wearing my “skinny” clothes immediately after birth. That gardening was/is tremendous exercise!

  8. I love reading your pregnancy posts – It does my heart so much good to read about people who make educated, informed decisions.

    I recently read an article in some terrible gossip magazine about a pregnant starlet who spent most of the article talking about how her husband picked the doctor, the hospital, and read all the pregnancy books. He picked everything and she just went along without any question! After I finished I was so irritated and thought,” Why does this girl get a national audience – it should be Jenna!”

  9. I am so excited for you. It sounds like you are handling your preganancy so well. I don’t comment much here, but I really enjoy your blog. My husband and I are hoping to conceive in about a year, and I really like reading about your journey. THANK YOU!

  10. Try organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. I buy mine from and mix about a tablespoon in a small glass of apple juice every morning. It doesn’t smell or taste nearly as strong as the stuff at the grocery store, and it’s still really cheap.

  11. I do agree. Pictures lighten a blog and just make them more enjoyable. :)

    I’m so glad you are doing these posts. It makes me all the more anxious to get pregnant so I can find myself a midwife and compare experiences.

    It sounds to me like your midwife (and possibly the birthing center as a whole) have the same mindset, training, and holistic approach my chiropractor (in Portland no less) has. He actually works with emotions (Trapped Emotions) tied with physical pains. When I first met him, he put me on this 30-day diet and I lost 10 pounds. I, sadly, need to get back on it, but from what she suggests you eat it sounds very similar. I’ll send it to you, if you like. He actually went to school there in Texas and I think possibly in Dallas. If you are interested, I can see if he knows of any practicing Chiropractors with the same focus. If nothing else I would say try it. It really has worked wonders for me and my family. Ty, who for his whole life, has hated fruits and vegetables, now has no complaint when they are placed on the table. Yeeeeeah. That’s HUGE! : )

    Thank you for sharing your experiences!!

  12. Hi Jenn

    I echoe everyone’s comments above, I love your blog and blgo postings but i was just wondering. Why is it so hard for you to fit in exercise time? Do you hate it? I’m just wondering.

    Jenna Reply:

    I don’t mind it actually, but it stresses me out because I spend the entire time wishing I wasn’t doing it so I could be crossing other things off my to-do list. I think during pregnancy it has been particularly hard for me because I like to do fast intense workouts and get them over with, but that isn’t as much of an option as I get further along.

  13. Hi Jenna,

    It might help to set aside a time each day for some exercise, think of it the same way you think of a midwife appt, you wouldn’t miss one of those! Set aside 20-30 minutes a day for a walk, or if you can’t do a chunk of time set aside 3 ten minute walks. Here is what I do, it’s odd but works, every time you go to the washroom do 10-15 squats or lunges, if you go ten times a day(I drink a ton of water.) then you’ve done 100-150 in one day! When I’m at home I do weight reps during tv shows.

    My sister gained over 50lbs when pregs(she didn’t exercise), she had lost around that just before she got pregs and it’s not as easy to lose after a baby as it was before as she is much busier now.

    If you make it part of your routine now then once your baby is here its already a part of your day.

    I really love reading about this journey of yours and it bums me out when you get down on yourself. You can do this!

  14. This is not based on any scientific evidence at all but I find drinking a bit of soy milk helps with my heartburn. Maybe something to try if you’re at your wit’s end.

  15. I’m just curious, does anyone know why reducing carbs would also reduce swelling? It’s great that it works, but my limited nutritional knowledge just can’t quite figure out why.

    Sophia Reply:

    Genavee, I think it has to do with the fact that most of the carbs we eat are bad, refined, sugar loaded bad-for-you carbs, and it probably spikes your insulin which in turn affects how much water you retain- that would be my best guess at least.

    Genavee Reply:

    Ah, that makes sense. Thanks Sophia.

    Jenna Reply:

    I don’t have a good reference or scientifically based answer for this, but my guess is that the carb reduction allows for more protein in the diet, and high protein intake helps reduce swelling. If you keep your carb counts high and you increase your protein as well you’re going to be eating so many calories that you gain too much weight. So maybe it’s about balance?

  16. Just a quick note about antacids versus baking soda — baking soda in water indeed relieves heartburn, but because it acts as an antacid. I only know what the article you linked said about the study, which seems to use “antacid” and “acid-suppression medication” interchangeably — before you decide not to use Tums or other OTC antacids, I would look into whether the study specifically studied any antacid, or specific prescription medications that reduced the production of stomach acids. But if you avoid Tums because it’s an antacid, then I think you should also avoid drinking a baking soda solution, because it’s an antacid too.

    Lala Reply:

    I looked up some information on those studies linking antacids and asthma, and I do think they are referring to Prilosec and Zantac-type antacids, that actually inhibit the production of acid, not Tums-type antacids that just treat acid afterwards. You should double-check, but that is what the study seems to imply.

    Jenna Reply:

    I have looked into this several times but I can’t find anything that feels really conclusive for me. So I just drink lots of water and try to avoid the things that will make my heartburn worse, and avoid ALL medicated heartburn treatments just in case.

    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks TJ! It’s tough for me to sort out fact and fiction sometimes when I’m trying to do research on stuff.

  17. Luckily I haven’t suffered from heartburn (yet), but I hope it remains managable for you :)

    And about the gestational diabetes test, I did mine last week (will get the results at my appointment on the 15th) – it was pretty painless. A simple test to put your (and your midwife’s) mind at ease.

  18. I didn’t read the comments above but I get the upset stomach all of the time. Stress makes me sick and I am allergic to diary and most things with gluten. Your doctor is SO RIGHT, tea saves me. It calms my stomach and the smell of the peppermint calms me too. Whole Foods has wonderful peppermint tea, if you can’t find it let me know and I will send some to you.

    Also, I am horrible about the cereal in the am but Trader Joes as this basically all fiber cereal and three bites and you are full. It’s called 9 grains of fiber or something like that.

    I know what it’s like to have an upset stomach and food restrictions. I am not preggers so I am sure it’s not the same, but tea will save you!

    Emmie Reply:

    I read all over the other comments and it seems that peppermint tea is not the way to go! Although there are a zillion teas out there that are not peppermint and don’t have caffeine.

  19. hey jenna!

    you’re probably fine either way, but don’t worry too much about the gestational diabetes stuff – i ended up getting diagnosed about a month ago (zero risk factors, but that’s just life sometimes) and since i made the necessary changes (just diet and exercise), i’ve felt a LOT better. and my weight gain has come to a grinding halt!

    and of course, it’s better for baby, too — she was packing on the pounds a little too quickly, which can lead to labor complications. since i want to go as natural as possible, that wasn’t ideal.

    anywho! i know there are differing opinions on the necessity of testing, but i’m actually grateful i got diagnosed since it’s made this past month of my pregnancy a lot smoother and healthier.

  20. well, I guess now I will know why if my baby has asthma… I used lots and lots of tums, especially in the first trimester. I want to second the suggestion of apple cider vinegar in hot water with honey… I used to drink it during my period to help deal with my acne.

  21. I have pretty awful reflux, since the sphincter between my stomach and esophagus never closes all the way (yay, hiatal hernia). I can indeed testify that ginger tea helps (although not nearly as much as my Rx meds that reduce acid production). Peppermint is actually an aggravator of reflux in the reading I’ve done, so that’s interesting. It basically comes down to eating mild foods when mine is really acting up. I avoid anything fatty, greasy, acidic (i.e. orange juice, tomatoes, pineapple, etc.), or spicy. Given that many of my favorite foods fall into one or more of those categories, it’s pretty rotten. C’moooon hernia repair surgery. Get here faster.

    Karin Reply:

    They actually have a surgery that helps: fundoplication. I had it done a few months ago, and my reflux is not nearly as bad as before. Although I recommend the surgery, I should warn you that it does have its side effects (your stomach ends up being a lot smaller and you really can’t eat ‘normal’ portions of food).

    Mary Reply:

    Oh, yes, I know the surgery exists. I’m just hopeful that I’m a candidate for it. It’s an ailment that runs in my family, so many of them have had the surgery. While I understand that the surgery has side-effects, my hernia is causing some serious quality-of-life issues for me. Besides the reflux, the hernia itself is very painful, particularly when I’m doing any lifting/mopping/scrubbing/etc. (which I do on a daily basis at work) but also nearly all the time. Besides, I can’t eat normal portions of food as it is, or my reflux makes me instantly regret it.

  22. Hi Jenna! Been reading for a while but I think this might be my first comment–yay!

    Just wanted to second what others have said about apple cider vinegar and peppermint tea. I have severe GERD too, and peppermint is one of the triggers of increased stomach acid. Ginger, however, is great! I actually tried apple cider vinegar for the first time this weekend. I was skeptical, but pretty desperate (isn’t that probably how most remedies are tested? Ha). It worked all right–it wasn’t amazing, but it helped, and it actually wasn’t gross. I poured a cup of hot water and added a tablespoon or so of ACV, and then a splash of good-quality maple syrup. It ended up tasting rather like apple cider, with a slightly sour taste. But it’s worth a try–don’t let the taste scare you away. It’s really not that bad. Another thing that’s really helpful in managing symptoms is chewing gum–something about all the saliva/swallowing it triggers. Good luck!

  23. So I went back and reread your weight entries. One of the reasons I love reading about your weight struggles is that I struggle too; most women do. But the other reason? We have very similar body types (although your breasts were much bigger). I’m 5’3″, I’m currently at 155lb and I look and feel my best when I’m about 135-140. BUT, we carry weight in the same areas it appears, and we’re both curvy ladies with muscular legs and a definite hourglass figure. I know that if I am not careful, my weight can easily balloon (especially when I was on birth control). I also know (just from birth control and my fluctuations) that I will likely be one of those gals that grows EVERYWHERE during pregnancy. We’ve recently moved back our ‘ttc’ time another six months, so I have about a year to lose and keep off at least 15 pounds. But knowing your struggles with your weight makes me feel less frustrated.

  24. Apple cider vinegar is nasty, but once you get used to it, it gets better. Try the “natural” kind–I think the brand is Braggs. Sprouts should have it. A teaspoon of ACV in a glass of water on a daily basis apparently helps with weight loss as well, if you need extra motivation :)

    Zypan=good. Does wonders for gas as well :) My family has been using it for years–my mom is able to purchase Standard Process supplements without going through a doctor, so they are always around.

    Maybe try a prenatal yoga DVD for exercise? I just started yoga for the first time ever as part of P90x. While it is really uncomfortable to begin with, you get flexible fast and I feel like it is doing a lot for me. Could be a great “wake up” low impact exercise for you.

    Marissa C Reply:

    PS–I should mention that I’ve never actually heard of Apple Cider Vinegar helping with heartburn–just as an overall healthy thing to do

    Anna Reply:

    Yes on the prenatal yoga and walking! I’m 20 weeks today and have been doing it since week 6. It’s kept me more limber, strengthened and kept my arms, legs, buttocks toned, and I’ve had no body pains yet. Also, my weight gain has been within the 1 lb/week after week 12. Besides the physical benefits, it seriously helps my mood. I alternate the walking and yoga ever other day. Give it a try, like someone else said, it’ll be a good habit to have established once the baby is here.

  25. As someone who suffers GERD (it really, really sucks) apple cider vinegar is a complete waste of time. The only thing I’ve ever found to work is actual acid reflux meds. I’m still on prilosec during my pregnancy. I couldn’t be without it pre-pregnancy, I don’t know how I’d live without it during pregnancy.

  26. Yeah, I was confused about the peppermint thing too, since the very study/article you linked mentions in it to avoid peppermint at all costs. I was like, “Wait a minuteeee…” haha.

  27. You are doing such an excellent job taking care of you and your baby! Regarding the reflux (GERD) – my husband’s doctor gave him a list of 10 things to do including reducing citrus (oranges and tomatoes) and putting the bead on an incline. We put a board under the box spring so that his head is always higher than his stomach when laying down. I don’t notice the bed is at an incline, and I’m not entirely sure what on the list made things improve (several of which were suggested to you) so I thought I’d mention it. All the best!

  28. Interesting. A peppermint always helps calm my stomach… but maybe it’s just a mental thing!

    When I had problems with acid reflux, I was told to avoid: carbonation, chocolate, alcohol, citrus, and tomato-based products. I want to say there was a 6th, but that was over 5 years ago and I just can’t remember. Basically, I lived on pasta with butter and cheese, and ice cream. Not the best when you’re trying to cut carbs, but cutting out the no-nos certainly helped!

  29. Another fan of apple cider vinegar here! I had such severe GERD that my doctor put me on every sort of medication since I was about 17. Finally I went to an acupuncturist who recommended ACV. It always works for me, and I’ve found it works faster than any medication. I’m weird…I kinda like the taste because it makes me think of boardwalk fries :0P , but there seem to be lots of good recommendations above about how to make the taste better! Good luck with your pregnancy! I love reading your posts.

  30. as someone with bowel disease, I testify that food can cause ailments, and cure . My panacea has been the diet suggested/advised by Dr. Peter D’Adamo in his book EAT Right for your Type (blood type).
    It has made a WORLD of difference for me and others. I have only one friend who had no improvement from it. Much to my doc’s chagrin, I am not taking meds for the disease.

  31. Jenna, I meant to ask before- are you planning on placenta encapsulation, or has your midwife mentioned to you the benefits of ingesting your placenta? It has been linked to lots of benefits from increased milk production to staving of PPD. I know most of the midwives I know freeze it and encapsulate it- although some are *way* old school and put it in smoothies, but, um, I don’t think this almost vegan gal could handle that ;)- but I didn’t know your midwife’s thoughts on it. Feel free to totally ignore this if it’s too personal a question, I just realized that this is on area of natural childbirth/midwife attended birth that I hadn’t heard you mention on here.

    Jenna Reply:

    Have you seen any scientific research on this? TH and I are both big believers in the placebo effect and we’ve discussed this several times and think that placenta ingestion benefits come from what you think could happen, not any scientifically measurable reaction (remember we are crazy, we are all natural only in the areas that we feel science can prove!)

    I think for right now I can’t see why we would eat the placenta, but not other organs. Why don’t we encapsulate healthy organs of those who pass on and ingest them? I’m not trying to be sarcastic, I just don’t understand why there are some who think we should eat one organ, but no others.

    Sophia Reply:

    I definitely think the verdict is mixed. Personally, I don’t think I could do it, and I do wonder at the placebo effect. Apparently a lot of the places that do it have linked to studies, and a lot of midwives and moms swear by it, but I still don’t think it’s enough for me to be convinced. I was more just curious if your midwife had brought it up, because it wasn’t until I was reading on the sister site of, which I think you might really like- that I had ever heard of it, and then all of a sudden all of these midwives and moms were talking about it, and I didn’t know if it was a new phenomenon or just something not a lot of people talked about.

    Jenna Reply:

    No, definitely not a new phenomenon in any way. I actually don’t find it gross or disgusting as most people seem to, but I have no intention of doing it myself since, as of right now, I think results are all in peoples heads (because I have yet to see anything that suggests otherwise).

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