This pregnancy (my fifth) has been my absolute easiest by far! My pregnancies had been getting easier as I’ve learned more about health and real food, but this one held a surprising difference! So much so, in fact, that I was really glad to hear a heart beat to make sure I was indeed pregnant.
To help understand what a change this had been for me, I should explain: I never had morning sickness to the level that several of my friends have had. I never came close to being hospitalized, though I didn’t usually eat much the first few months. With my first especially, the smell of food would sometimes leave me running for the nearest bathroom or bushes. The worst part, for me, was the fatigue. Especially after the first one, I didn’t have time to be tired, but the first few months, I’d play with my kids or read to them while laying on their bedroom floor, and I’d fall asleep any chance I got.
This time, I was a little more tired but didn’t notice it at all if I got to bed by 10 p.m. There were mornings that I didn’t feel like eating right away, but I wasn’t repulsed by food. One time, I chugged a huge glass of water and took Fermented Cod Liver Oil on an empty stomach and had a little nausea for about 10 minutes, but that was pretty much the extent of it. (For the record I don’t recommend that…)
Being the health nut that I am, I have food and supplement journals from at least parts of all of my pregnancies. I’d also been working on improving certain nutrient levels over the last year, so I knew what things I had specifically been focusing on that could have made a difference.
The things that had changed since my last pregnancy with respect to diet/supplements:
- Started actually remembering to take fermented cod liver oil daily
- Daily magnesium intake as I worked to intensively boost magnesium levels (this post explains what I used)
- Added daily bone broth while son is on GAPS program
- Upped protein intake BEFORE I got pregnant this time (not intentionally, but we bought part of a cow and my daily protein intake increased)
- Was eating very little/no processed foods, sugars, etc (didn’t change, but notable)
Looking back, I’d rank the factors that changed in this order of importance:
- Taking Magnesium daily or using Magnesium Oil on my skin!
- Taking 1-2 teaspoons per day of Fermented Cod Liver Oil
- Drinking Bone broth daily
- Eating protein/avoiding processed foods
I started researching to see if there was any actual evidence backing my theory that magnesium made the difference. I found some articles by naturally minded doctors and midwives that seemed to support the idea (or at least promote it as not harmful) and this post from Mommypotamus that talked about her experience with Magnesium. (I always love finding other actual pregnant women who had the same experience!)
I’ve also been randomly asking pregnant friends about their intake of magnesium containing foods and there does seem to be a correlation. (Asking friends how much seaweed and unrefined sea salt they consume daily is totally normal, right?) In fact, one person I know was doing the same protocol I was and had virtually no morning sickness either!
What Kind of Magnesium?
Here is what I did (from a previous post):
“There are several ways to supplement, and a mixture of more than one type of magnesium supplementation seems to be most effective. It is important to start slow and work up, as high doses will not be completely absorbed at first and most will be wasted.
Leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, kelp, and especially nettle (in herb form available here) are good dietary sources of magnesium, though if you have a deficiency, it will be difficult to raise your levels enough through diet alone.
The best ways to supplement with magnesium are:
- In powder form with a product like Natural Calm so that you can vary your dose and work up slowly.
- In ionic liquid form so that it can be added to food and drinks and dose can be worked up slowly.
- In transdermal form by using Magnesium oil applied to skin. This is often the most effective option for those with damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency.”
Since digestion changes during pregnancy, it can be difficult to absorb magnesium correctly, especially once you are pregnant. I found the magnesium oil (here’s how to make your own inexpensively!) seemed to be the easiest for me to absorb, and even before pregnancy, I noticed the biggest difference in my regularity (ahem) from the skin oil.
Magnesium is also an important mineral during pregnancy, so even if you are already pregnant, it would be worth a try to lessen morning sickness. If I had started the magnesium while pregnant, I would have chosen the magnesium oil daily, and the Natural Calm, which is slightly carbonated and might help with nausea as well.
Why Fermented Cod Liver Oil?
Fermented Cod Liver Oil is a great source of Vitamins D & A and Omega-3s. Vitamin D is essential for proper absorption and use of magnesium in the body, so this likely also helped the magnesium be more effective. Many women find they do better from consuming enough healthy fats and proteins in early pregnancy (magnesium aside) and Fermented Cod Liver Oil is a great source of healthy fats.
The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends Fermented Cod Liver Oil as a superfood during pregnancy for proper development of baby’s brain, bone structure, and more. At the least, I think the Fermented Cod Liver Oil was good for the baby, but I suspect that it also contributed to my lack of morning sickness.
Protein + Fats
I think the other factor that made a difference was that in very early pregnancy (before I found out and before morning sickness would have hit anyway) I was already eating a lot of healthy fats and proteins daily. My intake was already up and supportive of the pregnancy and healthy blood sugar levels before they started becoming a problem. My daily protein intake these days typically includes:
- 3-4 eggs
- Some form of healthy meat at every meal
- 2 cups (average) of homemade bone broth daily
- 2-4 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
- 2+ tablespoons grass fed butter
- Coconut based snacks like coconut cream
- Various other forms of protein and fat like tallow used in cooking, bison for snack, etc.
I also try to consume 3-4 cups+ of vegetables each day, usually in soups or with meats. I’ve found that I usually prefer cooked vegetables in early pregnancy anyway so steamed veggies with butter are on the daily menu.
Not only do I feel better this time, but I’m confident that I’m giving my baby a good start too. (I’m also taking probiotics and optimizing gut bacteria to give baby the best start after birth, but more info in another post on that soon…)
This is certainly my own experience, and nothing scientific, but the difference has been dramatic for me, and I’d love to hear if any of you have experience with this as well or if it works for you in the future!
What do you think? Does it sound crazy? Would you try it? Have you tried it? Weigh in below!