Healthy Options for Pregnancy & Prenatal Care

Pregnancy and Prenatal Care Options - What I chose

I’ve gotten several questions lately about the various tests and procedures that come with pregnancy and birth and what I choose. These are topics that I researched extensively when I was expecting my first and have continued to research throughout my pregnancies, so I have shared my opinions and research below. I’ve also written in depth about my own pregnancy and birth experiences and how I’ve come to my opinions. I am not a doctor or midwife and you should always consult with yours before making any decisions during pregnancy.

Personally, while I often feel that some tests and procedures are not needed, I still consent to some of them to make my doctor/midwife more comfortable and more willing to agree to my non-intervention approach to birth and after care. I think that each option should be carefully researched and weighed by an individual couple after taking in to account their specific circumstances.

Prenatal Vitamins Or Not?

Typically, prenatal vitamins are recommended during pregnancy. While these are certainly beneficial for many people, especially those who aren’t getting adequate nutrition from diet, but I don’t usually take them for several reasons:

  • Most contain synthetic forms of Vitamin A and other vitamins that are not only not beneficial during pregnancy but can also be harmful
  • As I’ve mentioned before, you can’t out supplement a bad diet, and while some high quality vitamins can fill in the gaps from a poor diet, they won’t take the place of it and can give a false sense of health
  • I personally notice that I feel better when I take certain isolated nutrients instead and concentrate on an extremely nutrient rich diet

As I said, this is something that is very individualized, but during pregnancy, I take:

  • 1-2 teaspoons of fermented cod liver oil daily for the vital fat soluble vitamins
  • Consistant daily magnesium intake before and during pregnancy (this post explains what I used) This is also supposed to help with labor- I’ll let you know!
  • Daily bone broth for the minerals and gelatin
  • 800 micrograms of folate (not folic acid!!! it is synthetic) daily before and during the first trimester (this is the one I take)
  • Lots of probiotics, fermented food, and fermented drinks daily since baby inherits my gut bacteria. This is vital!
  • A very high nutrient diet that I consider non-optional. I mostly follow the Weston A. Price pregnancy diet except that I eat sweet potatoes and squash in place of sprouted grains.

First Visit Blood Tests/ Pap Smear

Though I don’t find much of a need for these personally, I agree to them anyway. I monitor my blood levels and check my Vitamin D levels regularly, so I already know that I am not anemic and after four pregnancies with the same person (my husband), I am also relatively confident that I do not have an STD.

The reason I consent is because I refuse some of the routine after-birth options like antibiotic eye drops and then have proof that I don’t have an STD that could be passed on to baby. (more on that later)

These tests are often unnecessary, but can also reveal important information (like rH problems) and have no downside so I don’t mind them.

Ultrasounds/Dopplers for Heartbeat

There is some controversy about the safety and necessity of ultrasounds and regular checks for baby’s heartbeat with a doppler. This article outlines some of the potential dangers in ultrasounds especially multiple or unnecessary ones. While I opt out of routine ultrasounds or those to check the size of the baby (which are not accurate anyway), I do consent to one 20-week ultrasound in my specific case.

My reason for agreeing is that I had placenta previa with my third that was not caught, despite an ultrasound and I hemorrhaged and could have died at 35 weeks gestation (we are both fine now). Since the risk of placenta previa is slightly higher if you’ve already had it, the risks of one ultrasound are less to me than another potential undiagnosed placenta previa. I would not consent to other ultrasounds to diagnose size, gender, etc.

In non-high risk cases, no ultrasounds may be needed and a mother should carefully research and weigh the options for her pregnancy. Most experienced midwives and doctors are able to feel size, position and movement of the baby without the need for ultrasounds unless there is a specific risk.

Dopplers (the instrument used to hear the baby’s heartbeat) come with their own set of concerns and some doctors prefer not to use them because they do pass on some radiation. As this article explains:

“According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, fetal Dopplers are not intended for over-the-counter use. The radiation used during a Doppler session has the potential to cause harm to the baby. You should only use a Doppler in your doctor’s office or under your doctor’s supervision. If you chose to use one at home, get a prescription from your doctor first. A Doppler should not be used when the number or lengths of sessions are not specified and should only be used when it is medically useful.”

I’ve had midwives with differing opinions on this and I prefer to avoid dopplers for the most part. I will sometimes consent to one very quick check for a heartbeat to satisfy the midwives at a first appointment, but then once it is possible (3rd-4th appointment usually) I ask them to use a fetoscope instead. Most doctors and midwives have a fetoscope and are able to do this if asked.

In labor, I will consent to doppler checks to monitor baby occasionally if it removes the need for constant monitoring and being tethered to my bed (oh the joys of v-bacs!)

Urine Tests

I consent to urine tests when indicated my my midwife/doc because they are non-invasive and test for sugars or ketones in the urine which can both be signs of problems, especially when paired with other symptoms like blood pressure changes, rapid weight gain, headache, etc.

If a urine test revealed a problem, I would seek additional testing (blood or otherwise) to confirm before consenting to any treatment.

Blood Pressure Checks

Another non-invasive test that I agree to as high blood pressure in pregnancy can be very dangerous and it would be better to find an elevated blood pressure as soon as possible and attempt to treat naturally if possible, or to get medical treatment to avoid a pre-term delivery if needed. High blood pressure, especially paired with other symptoms, can signal preeclamsia, a very dangerous condition.

Internal Exams

I completely refuse internal exams (cervix checks) and only consent during labor when I feel the urge to push (mainly to pacify the midwife, not for me). There is really no information that an internal exam can reveal that is useful or relevant in prenatal care before labor. It is a chance for external bacteria to enter the vaginal area and baby’s size, position, etc. can be determined with an external exam.

Many women like to know how far dilated they are at the end of pregnancy in hopes of knowing when they will go in to labor. Unfortunately, this is a notoriously inaccurate test for when labor will begin. I personally know women who were not dilated and effaced at all and delivered less than 24 hours later, as well as women who walked around at 3-4 cm for weeks.

Without a specific need, I always refuse internal exams… plus, it makes prenatal appointments easier and faster to not have to disrobe at every appointment. Here is an article detailing the risks and why one might refuse these.

Glucose Test

I do not consent to the normal glucose screening test that involves drinking 50 grams of a glucose solution for several reasons. First, there is no situation during pregnancy in which I would ever consume that much sugar/carbohydrates in one sitting, so the test is not accurate for me. There is a risk of false positive, which leads to another, longer test.

That being said, I do think it is important to make sure I don’t have blood sugar issues or gestational diabetes, as they can both cause complications. Instead, I monitor my blood sugar over a period of a week at two separate times during pregnancy and record it for my doc/midwife to check. I take my blood glucose levels four times a day and record. This article explains more on what the normal levels should be, but basically:

  • Fasting blood glucose (first thing in the morning) of 86 or lower
  • 1 hour after eating= 140 or lower
  • 2 hours after eating= 120 or lower
  • 3 hours after eating= back to fasting level

There can be some variation in this, but the majority of my readings should be in these ranges. I do this at 28 weeks and 33 weeks (my preference) to make sure my levels are good. Another reason I prefer this is that it is a more comprehensive view of glucose tolerance and I even get to see what foods cause higher spikes for me personally and which don’t affect it as much at all. I’ve also found through this testing that adding 1 tablespoon of coconut oil before each meal helps my glucose reactions improve and get back to baseline more quickly, so I would use this if I ever needed to control my levels.

Many doctors may not be familiar with this and I have had to suggest it to a doctor before and let him research it before he agreed to it. With anything I do that goes against the norm, I make sure to present it in a friendly and firm way and show that I’ve done my research and explain why I feel it is a better option. This is one thing I’d encourage you to research for yourself if you consider it, and talk to your doc/midwife about the best option for you.

Personally, I use this monitor and these strips because they are inexpensive and readily available, but any reliable monitor would work.

Optional Screening During Pregnancy

There are various optional screenings that can be done during pregnancy. This article explains the usual ones:

  • “Chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Tests the tissue around the baby to see if he has a genetic condition, like Down syndrome. The test usually is done between 10 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. Your provider may want you to have CVS if you’re older than 35, if genetic problems run in your family, or if your first-trimester screening shows that your baby is at increased risk for birth defects.
  • Cystic fibrosis (CF) carrier screening. Tests to see if you have the gene that causes CF. CF is a disease that affects breathing and digestion. If you and your partner have the gene, you can pass CF to your baby. You and your partner can have this test any time during pregnancy.
  • First-trimester screening. Tests your blood to see if your baby is at risk for some birth defects, like Down syndrome and heart defects. You get an ultrasound as part of this test. The test usually is done at 11 to 13 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Maternal blood screening. Tests your blood to see if your baby is at risk for some birth defects, like Down syndrome and heart defects. The test is done at 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Amniocentesis. Also called amnio. Tests the amniotic fluid from around your baby to see if he has a genetic condition, like Down syndrome. The test usually is done at 15 to20 weeks of pregnancy. Your provider may want you to have an amnio for the same reasons as for CVS.”

I refuse all of these tests. They all have some risk of a false positive, which can cause needless worry for the parents and they provide information which is really irrelevant to me. As one reader put it, one must consider “what you would do with the information.”

Finding out that my baby had any of these problems would not affect my decisions about my pregnancy and I would certainly never consider not continuing the pregnancy, so this is simply not information I need to know and since it could cause needless worry… I skip it.

Group B Strep

Pregnant women are generally screened for Group B Strep or GBS at 25-37 weeks gestation. It can be a life threatening infection if a baby contracts it from a mother during birth, so it is certainly best to avoid GBS, and the usual method is a GBS test and antibiotics during labor if necessary. There is some controversy over if GBS testing actually improves outcomes in GBS cases, and even more controversy over if routine use of antibiotics for all those with GBS is necessary.

The bacteria is naturally present in some women and it can come and go in the gut/vaginal bacteria. In my opinion, the best bet is to optimize good bacteria and work to avoid GBS and a positive GBS test as this makes labor much easier (IV antibiotics = stuck in bed on an IV). I highly encourage all women to do research on this topic before the appointment that tests for GBS. This article gives some advice for preventing GBS and making sure you test negative on the screening.

If you do test positive for GBS, I highly encourage researching the options in depth. Antibiotics are the usual treatment, but as more information emerges on the importance of gut bacteria and how baby inherits it from mom, antibiotics can have a much longer impact than just during the birth and days after. There is even information linking antibiotic use in labor and in baby’s early days to higher rates of allergies and asthma, which makes sense under the gut bacteria theory.

This article explains ways to avoid GBS and treat it naturally should this be an issue. I proactively consume a lot of probiotics and use them vaginally during pregnancy to optimize my gut bacteria that I am passing on, even if GBS is not a concern.

Kick Counts

Many thanks to a brave reader for stressing the importance of checking kick counts, especially if baby is moving less or if there is concern! Especially in the third trimester of pregnancy,  this is an easy and non-invasive way to double check the baby is doing well.

Basically, you just want to ensure that you feel some type of fetal movement within a 2-hour stretch. This doesn’t mean that you have to be constantly kicking, but just that at some point during the day you check to make sure you are feeling movement. A decline in fetal movement can indicate fetal distress or a cord wrapped around the neck and this information can be life saving for baby if found early enough.

This article explains how to do kick counts.

The bottom line…

Whatever a couple decided on pregnancy and prenatal care options, I think it is very important to research individually and not agree to or refuse any test without researching both sides first. While it can be hard to go against the norm, especially under pressure from a doctor, we (as mothers) must remember that ultimately we have the responsibility for our pregnancies, our health and our babies. We have the right to refuse or consent to any procedures and we certainly have the right to make an informed decision! In future posts I’ll be covering specific conditions of pregnancy and my preference on birth options/interventions.

Interested in a more natural pregnancy?

Sign up for the world’s first pregnancy week-to-week series from a *natural* perspective! Created by my friend Genevieve from Mama Natural, the series shows you what’s up with baby, mama, and more each week. You’ll discover natural remedies for various pregnancy symptoms and prepare for your best and most natural birth!
Click the image below to get access now!

weekly pregnancy updates from a natural perspective - purple

I’d love for you to weigh in! What other pregnancy testing is there? What do you refuse or consent to and why? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Thanks! This is very helpful, and a little overwhelming. 🙂 I was wondering about vaccinations. My doctor says both my husband and I should get the Tdap vaccine. I worry that it could be detrimental to the baby (we’re not pregnant yet), but I also worry about the consequences if I don’t get it. Do you have any advice?

    • Personally, I wouldn’t even consider it, and I’ve faced the same pressure from my doc during this pregnancy. Really research it and make sure you can justify the risks involved (miscarriage, etc) and actually feel that it is effective (I don’t, as many of the people who have whopping cough have had the vaccine). Good luck!

      • I am 31 weeks pregnant and I am experiencing the same pressure to get the whooping cough vaccine before the baby is born. The doctor has recommended that anyone who will be in contact with the baby to get the vaccination. Do you have any recommended reading on the vaccine?

        • I recommend “What Your doctor may NOT tell you about children’s vaccinations”. Excellent book, easy read, written by a pediatrician, and a very (in my opinion) balanced view.

      • I am almost 32 weeks along and I just wanted to agree with Wellness Mama and add that the Tdap vaccine is now being pushed extremely heavily during the third trimester. For the record, I am generally pro-vaccination, however not in this instance or during pregnancy. Why? Through my own research, I’ve learned the following: The claim that a pregnant woman who receives the Tdap vaccine will keep her newborn safe from pertussis until they can receive the Dtap series beginning at two months old is not proven. The Tdap vaccine is also still cited as a Class C drug during pregnancy by the FDA. It is also only approved as a single dose. So, the recommendation to get it “during each pregnancy” is also considered off-label. All I’m saying is do some research before blindly agreeing to what your doctor, or the CDC recommends. From what I can tell, receiving the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy essentially makes you part of an active experiment on pregnant women and their babies in utero. No thanks.

        • Amen! I have to disagree with fermented CLO and no prenatal vitamins. Dr. Kaayla Daniel did an excellent research based critic of GP Fermented CLO and tests showed the product to be so rancid that it shouldn’t be consumed by anyone especially when someone is pregnant. There are excellent food based prenatal vitamins from excellent companies.

      • Do you have any suggestions for articles referring to the tdap vaccine during pregnancy or other resources to read on this? I am currently 24 weeks pregnant and i was told that I needed to get it and my pediatrician also says to get it for the protection of the baby.

    • Ask for a titer test jnstead

  2. I’m really glad that you posted this article, at least for my future reference. I wish I would have known these things prior to giving birth two years ago.

    Thank you for such great and thorough information.


  3. Thanks so much for this article! You mentioned that you use probiotics vaginally. Which ones do you use and how often? Thanks again!

    • Bio Kult once to twice a week throughout pregnancy and more toward the end. Just don’t use a week prior to the GBS test as it can skew the results!

      • How do you take probiotics vaginally?

        • Just use them as a suppository.

      • I’m currently pregnant with my third and hoping to do things more naturally this time. I tested positive for Group B both times before, so am very interested in attempting to prevent it. I take a probiotic daily now, but how do you take it vaginally? And is it in addition to or instead of orally? Thank you!

  4. Thanks! no pregnancy yet, but I will be well-informed when it happens. Could getting an a1c test work instead of blood sugar monitoring?

    • another question regarding diet: I follow a paleo plan, but I generally respect WAPF. Do you eat raw milk daily? And what to do about liver? I know its a superfood. But I can’t seem to like it. I bought grassfed liver from a farmer and cooked it with a recipe that “was sure to convert liver haters”. It had plenty of bacon with it. I still gagged. (and that’s with me not pregnant) Suggestions?

      • I struggle with the liver too but I do eat it. I mix it in to really spicy chili and don’t taste it then. I drink raw milk some days, but just eat lots of fermented foods and raw cheese other days…

        • I know I’m a couple years late on this but I have also heard that another way to eat liver is the cut it up into small pieces (the size of a vitamin), store in the freezer, then swallow a couple frozen pieces each day so they can thaw in your stomach and you can still get all the good stuff from it. Any thoughts Katie?

          • Some people do this when introducing liver to babies (they freeze it and grate it into pureed baby food). I sort of feel like it could go either way. It is hard to become accustomed to the taste so that you can eat more… but you are still getting the nutrients.

      • One great suggestion I’ve recently read was to liquify the liver in a blender and add that to ground beef in a skillet so it blends in. It’s worth a try!

      • I know this is an old comment but I’ve heard beef liver is much stronger than chicken so you may want to try some pastured chicken liver…

      • WAPF states that Kifer capsules are a suitable alternative!

    • No, an A1c is a blood sugar average for a three month period..

  5. How often do you take probiotics before and during pregnancy. I am using BioKult

    • I take 2-4 capsules daily before and throughout pregnancy and double that the month before and after deliver to help really boost gut bacteria.

  6. I was so interested to read about your alternative to the glucose testing. That glucose drink screws up my body for days, plus that bright orange color can’t possibly be natural! My third pregnancy was completely free of morning sickness thanks to finding your blog and going grain-free 2 years ago. I will keep this article in mind if we are blessed with a fourth, thank you.

  7. I am 12.5 weeks pregnant and was just diagnosed with a UTI which they prescribed macrobid for. I also started a 7 days course of Flagyl for bacterial vaginosis that was diagnosed at 8 weeks but I had to wait until 12 weeks to take. I am concerned about taking all of these antibiotics, especially both at the same time. Is there a way I should be taking my probiotics so that the antibiotics don’t kill the good bacteria from them?

    • Take them a few hours apart at least. Probiotics are often most effective first thing in the morning, but as soon as you are off the antibiotics, really concentrate on getting your good bacteria back up before the birth!

  8. Such good information. I definitely want to try monitoring my blood sugar rather than taking that awful glucose test. During my first pregnancy, I was taking a heredity class where I learned that amnios could abort the baby. When thinking about that, it occurred to me that anything I learned from an amnio wasn’t worth risking the life of my child.

  9. Thank you for the helpful hints. I refuse most care after the babies birth, but learned a lot from you about Strep B and the glucose testing! This is touchy, but are you able to share hints or tricks about pregnancy weight gain? I blew up with my first, but have since started a paleo. I’m still concerned… 🙂

    • I have only gained about ten-15 pounds with my last two pregnancies, not intentionally, just because that was how much I gained. I think that eating a healthy diet without the processed foods keeps the cravings/carbs at bay and helped a lot (I gained 25 with my first two). I also think the fermented cod liver oil and magnesium helped me a lot, especially after birth. This time, I’ve also been doing T-tapp for exercise and it has been awesome! I’ll also swim or walk during pregnancy.

  10. Also! I’m not sure if this is elsewhere on your blog, but do you vaccinate at all/ ever? If not, have you had complications sending your children to school? I am more educated now and regret some decisions I made with my first daughter re: vaccinations. I am very thankful for a so far, healthy baby.

  11. How about non stress test…?

    • If needed, they can sometimes be a good idea, but it really depends on the situation. Most often, I see them being useful in giving moms peace of mind while trying to wait it out and not induce.

      • It doesn’t have any effect on the baby I guess . How about if you do it every week after 28 weeks. And I wish I knew this test before…..

  12. I did a fasting glucose test with the last 2 pregnancies…
    And thyroid problems…..What I know is no regular blood work is scheduled for thyroid check-up in pregnancy…..Do you recommend one?

    • Thyroid problems run in my family and I’ve been bringing my levels up naturally over the last few years, but I usually check in 2nd trimester and also about 3 months after the birth, as that is when a dip can occur.

      • Same with me …But doctors or midwifes don’t remind you for check your thyroid

      • How are you bringing your thyroid levels up naturally?

  13. Im curious if you have any sugg for avoiding placenta previa?! I had a complete with my 3rd (last) pregnancy which forced me to have a c sect. I had no bleeding at all during the pregnancy. Ended up it was because I also had placenta acreta(placenta had grown into my doc cut it out (thankgoodness he didn’t do a hysterectomy!) well i hemorrhaged then, he put a balloon in finally got it stopped, but had to be in ICU 3 days and the hospital a week, so as you can imagine I don’t wanna do that again, but would like to have more children! Would love some advice to avoid it next time. One thing I have had problems with ovarian cysts..any connections?

    • I’ve only ever seen anecdotal suggestions for preventing it, though it isn’t that likely to occur, even if you’ve had it before. It shouldn’t be connected to ovarian cysts, and the best option I’ve been able to find (and do myself) is to get my health as optimized as possible so that even if it should occur again, the complications are less likely. Good luck! I’ve been there too and know how frustrating it is to not be able to prevent or fix that!

  14. Thanks for the back link- much appreciated- Mama Birth-

  15. This post couldn’t have come at a better time! Thanks so much for sharing! Are you currently pregnant, and if so, how far along are you? I’m very excited about being mostly paleo this pregnancy!

      • Congratulations! I’m so happy you’re pregnant while I’m pregnant so I can get all your advice!!!

      • I’m due end of January so I’ll be reading up on your posts and past posts!

  16. Perfect timing! I’ll have to go back and read through the rest of your pregnancy posts now that they’re relevant to this time in my life. 🙂

    This is our first, so we aren’t sure what people usually do . . . when do you usually first visit the doctor/midwife?

    • Around 10-12 weeks. There isn’t really anything they can do before then anyway…

  17. I agree that it’s very hard to go against the norm. I got so much flack for refusing the Down’s Syndrome test. I can also say that evidence would suggest that in our family that antibiotics at birth do lead to asthma and allergies. My two youngest received antibiotics the middle one for GBS and the youngest for GBS and a c-section. The last two winters were a nightmare in dealing with allergies and asthma. They’re growing out of their sensitivities but it’s been extremely stressful on our family to deal with!

  18. I only discovered your site after having my first baby. While I am grateful for the copious amount of thorough information, It makes me sad and a bit anxious to read things like this now, only 9 days (or so) away from having baby #2 b/c I probably would’ve made different choices along the way (regarding prenatal vitamins, flu shots, etc.) had I read articles like this earlier. But in the end, I’m only one woman and can’t possibly discover all there is to know about a wellness lifestyle overnight and I’m grateful for those things I have learned so far. Thank you and good luck with your pregnancy.

  19. I’m expecting in April, and I definitely agree with everything you’ve said here, except I still take a food-based prenatal. I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant again (not planned) because this time around I knew so much more about nutrition and I wanted to do everything perfect. But then I just went through 8 weeks of hell with horrible morning sickness, and have been living off anything I could possibly stomach, just getting out of bed enough to take care of my 8-9 month old. Now here I am at 13 1/2 weeks pregnant feeling utterly guilty about the first trimester, and I’m so worried. Hopefully will be on track with nutrition soon though! I just can’t stop feeling guilty about it and worried that now my pregnancy won’t be optimal or healthy etc.

  20. What range do you like to see your Vitamin D level in? Is the normal range they give you good enough? Mine was 40-something ng/ml. I don’t have the number on me to be exact, but I was told that was normal.
    I too refused the first ultrasound but I had to email the office manager to get my appointment scheduled without it. The front desk was insisting. So, don’t always take the front desk’s word as final.

    • I try to keep mine at 50+… I think my latest was 53

  21. I am currently breastfeeding and I am still taking my prenatal vitamins.
    I take Garden of LIfe Vitamin Code Raw prenatal vitamins. What do you
    think of this brand? Also I did not do a good job with taking probiotics
    during my pregnancy. Is it safe to
    feed my baby fermented food to help build his normal flora?

  22. I frequently read your posts and I’m 23 weeks pregnant with my second now. My glucose screening is coming up soon and I had an extensive talk with the doctor maybe 2 weeks ago about it. I did not want to drink the red dye/brominated vegetable oil fruit punch glucose they were to administer for the test because I would never have that much sugar/grains at once (barf) and it just didn’t seem like a healthy decision! I asked the nurse first if I was able to not take the glucose test, and she quickly responded, “No! You just take it!”, then the doctor said I had the other option of the fasting test where it takes a few hours and two blood tests instead of one, but the fasting test seems healthier… I also agree about the excessive cervix checks and risk of infection or bacteria. I’m also really wanting a home birth but unsure if I can manage that, and if I’m in a scary hospital environment, I will be sure to end up taking an epidural with just laying there for my labor… Not anticipating it at all.

  23. I agree with your recommendations completely. I strongly urge ladies eating a WAPF or paleo diet to skip the glucose tolerance test. If you opt to take it, don’t sit still waiting for your blood draw! Do squats or find a stairwell, getting a GD Dx will make those doctors monitor the heck out of you.
    Also, when getting a non stress test, eat a little good chocolate (I think WAP still frowns on chocolate 🙁 ). The test can last for hours if your baby is sleeping, a square of dark chocolate will get him moving and you out if the doctor’s office.

  24. Hi Wellnessmama! I have a question about cod liver oil while pregnant. I just got the positive (cautiously happy!) and have been taking the codliver oil/butter oil blend- but your post above links to a different cod liver oil. Do you recommend sticking with the blue ice royal blend (since I have 2 new bottles) or switching? Just curious- thanks!

    • Yes, the one above should just be a different variation, but the FCLO/butter blend is great while pregnant. Check out the link for the WAPF diet I follow as well, as things like eating enough fats, eggs, liver, etc are needed to make the FCLO safe and effective. Congrats! Are you taking folate as well?

  25. We are currently trying for a second pregnancy, so I have been so excited to read all of your recent posts! I had borderline gestational diabetes first time around, although the glucose test showed negative. The doctor treated me for it during my last month of pregnancy anyway. So this time around I’m thinking I’ll avoid the test completely – my diet is totally different, and it was urine tests that showed high glucose in my first pregnancy, not the glucose test anyway.
    My real concern is with delivery, as I had a c-section the first time around. I was induced, which (in my opinion) caused the fetal distress that led to a c-section. My husband is on the fence about vbacs, and I’m just not sure! I will look forward to future posts from you about your delivery options (I’ve read your birth story already).

  26. Wow–thanks for this post! I’m not expecting now but hope to be before long. My first baby (I’ve had three healthy since) has spina bifida and I’ve been on a very high-dose folic acid ever since anytime I thought a pregnancy was possible which, with three subsequent babies meant a lot of the time. That’s a lot of synthetic folic acid! I consider myself fairly well-researched on this kind of thing but I had no idea that folate was different. I’ve already ordered some and thrown out my folic acid. Thanks so much for the tip!

  27. I am happy to say that Bio-Kult Probiotics cured my GBS! The bacteria was detected in my urine early on in pregnancy, which meant that it was really colonized in my system. I asked the docs if I could do Probiotics and test again later in pregnancy. They refused stating that they were not confident that would work and would still require antibiotics. My husband and I switched care to a midwife who agreed with the natural Probiotic treatment and sure enough, when she tested at 37 weeks….GBS FREE!!

    • That is awesome! Thanks for sharing and hope you have a wonderful birth!

  28. What kind of magnesium do you suggest taking in the pill form? I just found out I’m pregnant, I believe around 6 weeks. I have been taking Folate and Vitamin D, and have a bottle of magnesium malate, but haven’t been taking it out of lack of knowledge about it’s use during pregnancy. Any advice would be helpful! Thanks!

    • I’d use magnesium oil on the skin instead. Easier to absorb during pregnancy and your body will just absorb what it needs…

      • Thanks!!

      • I’ve tried the magnesium oil but find that I’m crazy out of my skin itching and stinging from the oil. Any thoughts on lessening this or other formulations? Thanks!

        • I work in supplements and this is a common problem and sign that you REALLY need the magnesium…the stinging comes from the capillaries opening up at the surface of the skin to suck down as much magnesium as possible. Start by rubbing it into the bottoms of your feet only, then very gradually work your way up your legs to the rest of your body. The thick skin on the bottoms of the feet will prevent the burning sensation and as you become less deficient your body won’t react as intensely.

      • I know this is an old comment, but do you wash the magnesium oil off your skin afterwards? That’s what the directions say but it deters me from using it…

  29. I am planning on getting pregnant soon and am wondering what kinds of vitamins I should be taking. I have been taking a prenatal with folic acid but after reading this article and doing some more research I will stop taking that and switch to folate. Is there another multi vitamin that I should also be taking?

  30. Thank you for posting! I am in my 12th week and am really interested in using the mineral oil spray, but all the research I have done on it has said not to take during pregnancy. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me though, because the benefits are huge! I asked my nurse midwife about talking the “calm” drink and she didn’t recommend it. I would really love to know more about how you benefited from the mineral oil spray during your pregnancy and if there are any positive links you could send me to for more information! Thanks!

  31. I bought the FCLFO from the link you posted. It was available in capsules so that is what I ordered. I am not sure how many capsules to take a day to equal the 1-2 tsp you talked about?

      • Thanks for your reply 🙂 I have PCOS and have had a hard time maintaing pregnancies. So, I am trying to whatever I can to make my body as healthy as possible.

  32. I just learned that I am 5 weeks pregnant after trying for 2 years (3 months of following your diet/plan). I had 2 miscarriages (one at 10 weeks) a year and a half ago and have struggled to get pregnant ever since, so we are still a little leary, but hoping we get to meet this baby! Anyway, I do have a daughter who is almost 4, and I remember I tried to refuse the glucose test when I was pregnant with her, and my doctor would not allow it. I am concerned if I make it that far in this pregnancy, that they would force me to drink that awful stuff, causing damage to myself and the child. Especially since I now do not eat sugar or grains at all. Any suggestions on how to get your doctor to agree when refusing certain tests?

    • Congrats and prayers for an easy and healthy pregnancy! Did you offer to do an at home test instead? The doctors mainly worry because if it is undiagnosed, it can lead to problems that they need to be prepared for. If you are self testing (and not eating a high carb diet anyway) there is no reason to take the test, in my opinion. I’d do what is right for you and baby… I’ve even had to “fire” a couple of docs before over different issues…

  33. Do you have any recommendations for a prenatal multivitamin? (I’m currently expecting #4, after starting our marriage with 5 years of infertility!) I have taken Standard Process products during my other pregnancies, but my nutritionist is now recommending Innate Response. Rainbow Light and New Chapter also make prenatals that have been recommended by other WPF bloggers. I’m at a loss for how to compare the various companies that all produce whole food supplements, and they are all pricey!

      • I just purchased the vitamins/supplements you had listed in the post and I also purchased the pure encapsulations vitamins. It has 800mcg of folate in 6 capsules. How many of the pure capsules did you take a day and did you still take the folate tabs you have listed in the post? Trying to prep my body as best I can since we are trying again after a miscarriage with our first pregnancy and someone directed me to your site!

      • I have the same question Sherry had… It sounds like taking both the Pure Encapsulations and the other Folate tabs at the same time would be too much… Could you please clarify? I hope you and your newest little one are doing well!!

  34. No wonder the US has one of the highest rates of perinatal mortality in the developed world!

    Come and give birth in Scotland, where care is evidence-based, and unnecessary or harmful procedures are much less likely to be done. Births are attended by midwives as standard, with doctors involved only if you get into difficulties. We don’t routinely do the glucose tolerance test, because it’s a stupid way to test for blood glucose levels. We don’t do internal exams (unless requested during labour), and certainly not during pregnancy. We don’t do risky tests like CVS or amniocentesis unless the mother requests it after a blood test or ultrasound scan has shown there’s a potential problem. We certainly don’t give prophylactic antibiotic eye drops just in case the mother might have picked up an STD.

    • Rhiannon… I agree! My family is originally from Scotland, so it sounds great to me… want a house guest for a while? (j/k)

  35. Thank you so so much for this article. I have been researching and trying to decide where to even begin as we determine what tests to take or refuse an this is a great launching board. Thank you so much and God bless your work!

  36. Just stumbled upon your blog and this article…I have a question about the internal exams…my doc is concerned about premature labor since I gave birth at just under 36 weeks with my previous pregnancy, and she has checked me at my last two exams (31 and 33 weeks). Apparently I’m 3 cm dilated, which I’ve heard from many is surprisingly common to stay at for several weeks, so is it unnecessary to get more internal exams at this point, and how would I go about refusing if I’ve already consented to others? Also, I’ve been getting progesterone shots to lengthen the pregnancy, and also got two steroid shots after she found I was at 3 cm this last time. What are your thoughts on those? (for future reference I guess….)

    • My personal opinion is that vaginal exams can do more harm than good for premature labor, as anything that disrupts the cervix and membranes can bring on labor if baby is already trying to come out early. I’d definitely research it for your specific case, but personally, I would refuse them and just say that unless I was having contractions or gave some other indication that labor was beginning, I’d prefer not to be checked as it is not needed and can introduce bacteria. Best of luck with your delivery!

  37. Regarding the OGTT: My midwife is normally amenable to bypassing this test, However, because I am overweight (so far I have only gained 4 lb this pregnancy at 25 weeks) She is VERY uncomfortable with just the a1c and fasting glucose test. I am a paleo eater. Most days my carbohydrate intake is below 60g total. I am told that low carb women often get false-positives on this test because we don’t consume that much glucose ever + your body is naturally insulin resistant during pregnancy. Since I have to take this test, how do I avoid bombing it without sacrificing what I know is healthiest for the baby?

    • Will she not agree to blood glucose monitoring since this will give a more accurate picture of what’s going on? Whatever you decide, remember that you don’t “have” to do anything 🙂

  38. I (very reluctantly) just took my glucose test 3 weeks ago. I didn’t feel comfortable trying to test my own blood because I don’t know how plus I am too squeemish. When I went to the doctor today, they told me I failed the test and will need to schedule a 3 hour test. I had previously done some research and read that if you are eating a low carb/paleo diet, you will almost always get a false positive. I even read that some women get a false positive on the 3 hour test and are incorrectly diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I told my doctor that I would really rather not take the 3 hour test because the chances of me having gestational diabetes with the diet I eat are very slim. He said that there have not been any studies of the effect of that diet in pregnant women so they can’t be sure. He said if I don’t take the test, they will have to assume I have gestational diabetes and make me take daily insulin injections and test my blood 4 times a day. I don’t want to take insulin injections that would be very expensive and also could be harmful to me and my baby, not to mention it would be a big inconvenience. My doctor is pressuring me to take the test and my husband is telling me no way, don’t take it. He is saying to find a new doctor, but I have a feeling that I wouldnt find a doctor who would agree with me, plus I am 30 weeks and don’t think anyone would accept me as a patient this late. I feel like I am being painted into a corner, wanting to do the right thing for me and my baby, but I don’t want to upset my doctor or seem like I am being difficult. Any ideas or advice?

    • That is so tough! I’ve been there too where I disagreed but didn’t want to upset the doc. From experience, I wish I had stood up for what I knew was best and been willing to upset the doc back then. Definitely research and do what you and your husband think is best, but it is very normal to get a false positive. Also, they can’t “make” you do anything, so keep that in mind. Are there any good midwives in your area?

      • I haven’t been able to find any that are in network for my insurance. I went to my drs appointment this morning and explained why I feel taking the test would do more harm than good. She completely blew me off and said if I don’t take the test, then they will have to dismiss me as a patient. 🙁 not sure what else I can do. Probably nothing.

  39. What about organic/all natural prenatal vitamins? Is that an oxymoron? Is there any particular kind you would recommend?

  40. Loved reading this, very helpful thank you. I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and have developed a bad case of gingivitis. My gums are very swollen and bleed easily. I have been applying tea tree oil, clove, eating garlic, brushing and flossing regularly and I eat probiotic rich food, nothing seems to help even remotely. It just seems to get worse or stay the same. I am not sure how to cure my condition or what is causing it. I am otherwise, very healthy. Any help/advice?

    • I’d call the people at and maybe also try oil pulling if it were me.

  41. Hi! I know you posted is a while ago, but is fish oil just as effective as fermented cod liver oil? Right now I take puritans pride double strength fish oil with 768mg active omega-3, but am wondering if I should switch….

    • It isn’t as effective but it does different things. Fish oil has more concentrated Omega-3 (though make sure the source is good) but FCLO has more fat soluble vitamins

  42. Do you recommend pure encap. nutrient 950 over a whole based prenatal such Garden of life?
    ANd since the nutrient 950 has a good amount of vit A and D do you still recommend taking FLCO with it?

  43. Pregnancy newbie here! I have a question – in your experience what is the latest you can go in for your first prenatal check up? I know if you’re high risk it’s recommended you go earlier – but for a “normal” pregnancy? I’ve heard from 10-12 weeks is perfectly fine. Opinion? Is there really much they do that first appointment that you would need/want to have done early on?

  44. I’m wondering about your take on the vaccine debate. My hub and I are trying to conceive our first and I’m leaning more and more towards avoiding vaccinating, but am getting a lot of grief from some family. What did you do with your children? And could you offer any resources, the information out there is overwhelming and mostly biased…

    Thank yoU!

  45. I know this post is old, but hoping I can still get an answer! 🙂

    You said you tested your blood sugar 4 times a day. When? Waking? After meals? How long after meals? And how many in a row days did you test for?


    • For two weeks I tested: fasting within 10 minutes of waking, then 1 hour after eating, 2 hours after eating and 3 hours after eating

  46. Hi! I recently found out I am pregnant, 5 weeks, with my first ( I am age 33) and my husband and I couldn’t be more thrilled. However, we are also moving to a different city next weekend and I am overwhelmed by packing and cleaning and now trying to find a midwife/OBGYN that goes along with non-convential prenatal care. I want to avoid ALL unnecessary tests at all costs. Any suggestions on the best way to find such practitioners? Internet searches have gotten to be too much… there a midwife/doctor database for each state that you know of? OR better yet, any recommendations in the state of PA?!! Love your site and all the info you provide. Thank you.

    • I’m not sure what type of midwife you are looking for, but there are homebirth meetups in many places and you could search for one in your state. If not, there are often natural birth or mom groups and you can sometimes find these on facebook on by searching. Good luck! Whatever you find, remember that you can refuse any treatment or test you aren’t comfortable with.

  47. Hi Katie,
    thank you for your extensive research and wisdom you offer your readers. I just wanted to ask you a quick question. We are pregnant with #4, and I have the MTHFR mutation. In the past, I would have taken a whole food prenatal vitamin, but recently, we have been introducing a more nutrient dense diet, and are starting to phase out a lot of our “normal” vitamins/supplements.
    I am currently taking FCLO, Natural Calm (morning/night), a NeuroMethylation Cream (morning/night), in the past few months replaced my morning tea sweetener with molasses, and have just started taking a daily herbal tea with organic Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, Alfalfa and a bit of peppermint.
    So my main questions are…would you add any supplements to my regime? I’m not having the appetite to eat QUITE as healthy as before, so I begin to worry about nutrition, but realize there aren’t a lot of options that don’t include Folic Acid, GMO ingredients, or synthetic versions in general. Also, are any of the herbals I’m doing interfering with the MTHFR? I typically would add alfalfa and nettle towards the last trimester (I’m currently 7 weeks)…should I be holding off on these?

    Thank you!

    • I stick to a super nutrient dense diet while pregnant and take 5-MTHF and folate in the first trimester. I add the vitamin K rich herbs (alfalfa and nettle) at the end. Congrats on your pregnancy!

  48. Hi Katie,

    I was diagnosed with a low lying placenta during my 19 week scan. There is a small chance of it improving but given that I also have a marginal insertion cord I will have to undergo a lot of ultrasounds and interventions and have little hope of a natural birth. This is the last thing I wanted. I took excellent care of myself before and after conception and have felt very good so far. Unfortunately there is nothing that can prevent these problems, as far as we know, and am really sad that this is happening. Unfortunately I cannot say no to the many ultrasounds that will come: how to minimize their impact? I will continue taking care of myself so as to speed up recovery if there are complications but am also worried about blood flow to the baby and growth restriction. Do you have any suggestion?

    Thank you for this very informative article. I have used your insights about supplements and foods and benefited from them.


    • I’m not a doc so I can’t give specific recommendations, but I completely understand your frustration! I felt the same way when I had placenta previa, but eventually also came to realize that I would have been harder on myself if it was something I could have prevented and didn’t. I used bentonite clay externally to minimize the ultrasound radiation (after I got home from ultrasounds) when I had to get them and just focused on an extremely nutrient rich diet while I was pregnant to make sure baby was getting the best I could give. Best of luck! I hope the placenta moves and you are able to have a natural birth. If it is any consolation, I had a battledoor placenta with a marginal insertion with my last and she was a healthy, breech v-bac 🙂

  49. This is a great article. I would add a note next to the cod liver oil suggestion.

    “IMPORTANT WARNING: Cod liver oil contains substantial levels of omega-3 EPA, which can cause numerous health problems, such as hemorrhaging during the birth process, if not balanced by arachidonic acid (ARA), an omega-6 fatty acid found in liver, egg yolks and meat fats. Please do not add cod liver oil to a diet that is deficient in these important animal foods. It is important to follow our diet for pregnant mothers in its entirety, not just selected parts of it.”

    That was on the Weston A Price website and is important advise,

    • I’m a little worried about taking the Cod Liver Oil because of this. How do you know if you’re getting enough of the Omega-6 fatty acids? I eat meats and have eggs but I’m not eating 2 eggs a day like the diet says you should and I don’t care for liver. Is there something you can do/take just to be safe?

  50. Hi there!
    I realize this is an older thread – but I am at a loss as to where to turn. Today I was diagnosed with GD at 33 weeks pregnant. I’m 38 & this is my first baby. I tend to eat a pretty balanced diet (although, reading through your incredible blog, I’m realizing I have a loooong way to go). I’ve been riddled with issues during this pregnancy – a sub-chorionic hematoma (and subsequent modified bed rest), then a partial placenta previa which is now considered a low-lying placenta, and finally the GD. I took both the 1 hour and 3 hour tests, and “failed” both. I’m so sad and feel like such a failure. I have followed everything my midwives have told me to do, and at this point, I have no idea how to proceed. Any suggestions or thoughts on how to control the GD from here on in? And have you ever heard of false positives for both tests? (This seems unlikely, but jeesh I wish). I’m really afraid of the repercussions on babies future health, and mine.
    Thank you so much for your blog. I wish I’d begun reading it much earlier.

    • Hugs and congrats mama! As hard as it is, try to stay positive and focus on that you’ll be meeting your little one soon. If I were in your shoes, I’d just focus on reducing stress, consuming a really nutrient rich diet (and avoiding any refined or processed foods or carbs)and eating enough protein, tons of green veggies and healthy fats (and drinking enough water). Best wishes for an uneventful rest of pregnancy and joyful birth. I’d love to hear how it goes!

  51. Hi there,

    Could you write a post about pregnancy vaccinations? I personally don’t do any vaccinations unless forced. I’m willing to take the risk of getting sick or whatever, but I can’t place my child at that same risk. You’ve been through several pregnancies so I would really appreciate your insight!

  52. Hello Katie

    Have you heard of toxoplasmosis test during pregnancy? If yes, could you please give me your thoughts on this.



    • I think its a good idea. Just a blood test that tests for a bacteria that you can get from cats( and their poop)

  53. Is there any way you could give me a little more information about your glucose test. You said you do it over 2 weeks during your pregnancy (at week 28 and 33) and that you do 4 readings a day. So to clarify, does that mean you do 4 readings for 7 straight days (for a total of 28 readings per week)? Do you always do it after a specific meal? I wanted to try this because I had an awful experience last pregnancy with the 3 hour glucose test and my results were no where near an issue of concern and actually my levels were so low by the end I didn’t feel it was a healthy experience for my body in any way. My daily routine is usually wake up, work out for 30 mins, have breakfast. Would this be a bad time to do it since I have exercised? Would lunch be a more accurate time?
    Thanks for any additional help and all the help you have already been!!

  54. Do you have any advice on what to do in my situation. I am pregnant. My OBGYN who I have established care with just had her nurse call me to let me know she would no longer be my doctor because I am refusing the glucose intolerance test and any unnecessary blood tests. I had the general beginning blood tests done, and I feel unless there is a necessity for more tests I don;t just want to do all the routine/preventative tests they try and force on me.

    Can my doctor just drop me like that?! Leave me with no care? All the other OBGYN’s in my area are not taking new pregnant patients. I am lost. Is there a patients rights advocate group I can get help from?

    Thank you so much for your posts!

  55. Hello Katie,
    I’ve been kombucha drinker for about a year now. I make it my self the continuous way.
    I am 6 weeks pregnant now and was wondering if it’s safe to continue consuming it giving the fact that there is a small amount of alcohol and caffein involved.
    Also, if I take fclo is there a need to take additional dha
    Thanks a lot
    Love your site!!!!

  56. Hi Kate! I am really enjoying your site. I am new to this health food thing. But after a recent miscarriage I am determined to be healthy! I had a question about the folate. Should I take it during my whole pregnancy? Or just before and the first trimester? Thanks!

  57. Thanks for the info! You mentioned you take probiotics vaginally when pregnant. How do you do this?

  58. Hi! I just got back from my first prenatal appointment at my local health department where they do Centering Pregnancy. I was refused service because I would not submit a blood test, even though it’s my right to say no. Is it legal for them to tell me to go somewhere else?
    When I originally only went there because my WIC nurse told me regular doctors wouldn’t see me without giving into the blood tests. Please help. I feel like I’m not going to have any prenatal care because of my choices as a parent. I also agree with you on a lot of the other tests and I believe if it wasn’t the blood test, the first time I said no to something else they would have treated me the same way.

  59. Just refused to drink the glucose drink, I had to find another team and boy am I happy I did. Happy nesting to all the little ones in the tummy!

  60. Katie,
    Thank you so much for the post. It is my first pregnancy after 2 1/2 years of trying! I am so nervous about something going wrong after all it took to get to this point. I really appreciate you insight on all of these tests. I do have one question. I do have a question about a pap smear. I have heard that it can cause bleeding and I feel like I would rather not do it. Do you really think it’s safe? I don’t want to refuse it just because I’m overreacting.

    Thanks for any feedback you have!

  61. Hi Katie, I am wondering at what stage in your pregnancy do you monitor your blood sugar? You said you do it for a week at a time two separate times. How far along were you when you did this? Thank you!

    • I do at the beginning (for my own knowledge) and then again when the doc or midwife wants to do the glucose test.

      • Thank you, Katie! I am 14 weeks (with my 3rd). Just ordered the device and strips you suggested. Will test as soon as it arrives. I am so happy to have this alternative method. Thanks again.

  62. Hi, Katie!

    This is rather last minute, but I have my first visit tomorrow, and I’m dreading the pap smear. In my online research, I’ve read that pap smears do not cause miscarriages or any other problems; however, many women say that they miscarried shortly after getting one. As someone who is generally skeptical of widespread medical practices, I’m not sure who/what to believe. So, I’m wondering if I could have some more of your thoughts about pap smears. Why do you allow them? Are there any risks associated with them at all (I’ve heard rumors of infection, miscarriage, etc.)? If I’m uncomfortable with it, should I just say “no”, or is it not worth the conflict? We aren’t planning to announce our pregnancy until week 12, so I feel like there’s no one I can ask for advice! Any words of wisdom?

    Thanks so much,

    • I’d ask yourself what you would do if you found an abnormal result from a pap. If you would refuse treatment until after baby is born, perhaps it would be better to wait. I personally never felt comfortable getting a pap during pregnancy and just got them between pregnancies instead, but was comfortable with this because I knew I was low risk. Definitely do your own research and talk to your doc. And congrats!

      • Thanks so much for your reply, Katie! I really appreciate it and value your opinion. I think we’ll pass on the pap smear, but I will discuss it with my midwife as you suggest. Thanks again!

  63. Part of the reason they want to test for down syndrome and other birth defects is because babies often act different during labor if they have certain birth defects. It helps your doctor be prepared and aware of the needs a baby with a birth defect has, helping to reduce death during delivery.

  64. Hello! 🙂 this is a late post but wanted to ask you abou GB test, I took I at 35 weeks and am now 39 weeks and just found out that the test came out positive… Is it too late to start on a probiotic? I really do not want to take antibiotics through an IV during labor, I am going to for a natural birth. Thank you! Love all ur information! Thank u for sharing! 🙂

  65. Hi wellness mama!!! I need your help! My midwife advised me that I need to switch from Natural Thyroid 1/2 grain to Synthroid because the natural from doesn’t cross the placenta. I am extremely cautious to take Syntrhoid as I do not take anything synthetic whatsoever. I know you have had thyroid issues in your past and was wondering what you did/took during your pregnancy.

    Thank you!!! I hope you are well 🙂

  66. I’m always amazed when I hear people don’t have diagnostic testing (for chromosomal abnormality) as it is so crucial for picking up on the 2 fatal abnormalities (Patau and Edward’s). I myself discovered, through diagnostic testing and then CVS, that my baby had Patau syndrome and so had no other option than to terminate. If I hadn’t the baby would have either died before birth or within a couple of weeks of birth. There is so much wrong with those babies that I would personally have found it horrifying and cruel to deliver that baby and then watch it struggle and die. Please consider this when you make your decision ladies!

  67. Wish I had stuck up for myself with this pregnancy! I was on a standard american (basically high sugar/high carb) diet with my son. I gained 48 pounds with him, and passed the glucola with flying colors. This time our diet is somewhere between primal and wapf, definately a lot lower carb than last time. I’ve been exercing 5 days a week and feeling great the majority of my pregnancy. I initially tried to fight the glucose tolerance test but caved and did it anyway. It turns out I failed the 1 hour test with a 144 and no one caught it until 11 weeks after I took it. am with a different practise now that is allowing me to using a glucometer at home rather than do the 3 hour test. So far, I have learned there is nothing wrong with me. I wish I had done this in the beginning. Thank you for the glucometer suggestion, much cheaper than what my midwife suggested.

  68. hi im in my 3rd trimester of my 3rd pregnancy, and I’ve always drank red raspberry leaf tea towards the end 3 times a day to help strengthen the uterus and also was wondering what your opinion on taking evening primrose oil was for softening the cervix to help labor be more efficient? Thank you

  69. Hi Katie,

    I’m researching the vast info on the Vitamin K shot at birth. We are for sure declining the Hep B, but the Vitamin K seems somewhat necessary. What has your experience been with this? Did your kids receive the shot, or did you supplement orally after they were born. Thank you (I feel I have had a diet with good Vitamin K, but I want my baby to be safe)

    • I personally supplemented orally and made sure my levels were high through diet and supplements before birth, but this is a very personal decision and I’d definitely do a lot of research on it before making a decision. Also- If I’d had births that involved any type of trauma to the baby, I may have reconsidered.

  70. Hey! I was wondering. Have you ever ingested kombucha while pregnant? I’ve been drinking it randomly when I feel like I should. The non caffeine ones made with tea other than black or green. Do you think its safe? I do but I just wanna know your opinion.

    Thanks for your article and comment section by the way, I’ve been pressured to have a tdap shot as well and I don’t feel like its necessary especially since I’ve had one before maybe five years ago. I’d think the antibody would be present but I guess they can’t test for that, which is silly because they can test for rubella but why not pertussis. Anyways, thanks again!

    • Yes, I drank one today…while pregnant 🙂 Of course, check with your midwife or OB if you’re worried…

  71. Hello,
    I’m wondering if you have an article that address this or could provide any information on preventing recurrent miscarriages. ( I have read your article on “How To Get Pregnant Naturally” and follow a lot of those steps and have been able to conceive). I am currently pregnant and sadly, am losing this one as well. Two miscarriages in 5 months, hcg levels started to decline between 5 and 6 weeks with both. We have two young children (under the age of 6 , healthy vaginal births. I’m careful about what I put in and around my body (food and chemicals, lotions, perfumes) and take probiotics, cod liver oil and other strong quality vitamins. Everything is fine anatomically speaking. My prolactin levels were high prior to getting pregnant, which prevented ovulation until I took medication to bring that down. The prolactin levels increased after my first child and never went down. I got pregnant with my second child while prolactin was still pretty high, which was a surprise.
    Any suggestions you may have which will help me be able to carry a baby to term again, I would be unbelievably thankful for!

    • could it he a clotting or immune system problem? Google Allen Beer immuological endocrinology

  72. Hello 😉 Just wondering why the probiotics only during the first trimester vs. throughout your pregnancy? Or do you just take a high dosage at the beginning? Thanks!!! We are start on our next baby soon. Shhhh. We haven’t told family. Hahaha.

    • I take probiotics throughout pregnancy, and up them at the end for the microbial aspect of birth. Congrats on your little one!

  73. Thank you for the very informative a article. I love Bio Kult probiotics. I have a question about the Cod Liver Oil. According to this post, it looks like you took Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver oil and you monitored your vitamin D levels. Did you ever have low vitamin D during pregnancy in the past while taking GP FCLO? (I only ask because of the recent controversy. I am still taking GP FCLO and I am trying to get pregnant. I am going to get my Vitamin D levels tested soon). Thanks!!

    • I did not have any issues with my vitamin D.

  74. Katie, I’d really appreciate a bit of additional information about the ultrasound that you decided to have. I am currently 15 weeks pregnant with my first baby and am planning a homebirth. My midwife does not require that I get an ultrasound, but did recommend one to check for things like placenta previa that may make me decide I’d rather deliver in a hospital. At this point I’m pretty on the fence about whether or not to get an ultrasound since my understanding is that there’s not an overwhelming likelihood that they would correctly identify a condition like placenta previa. I’m planning to discuss this more with my midwife at my next visit before making my decision. How did you go about getting an ultrasound where they only checked for placenta previa and didn’t go through all the typical measurements? Were there any other things that you decided to check for when you got an ultrasound? Did you do anything differently with subsequent ultrasounds after your placenta previa was not identified by ultrasound in your earlier pregnancy?

    • After having the undiagnosed PP in the past, I now always opt for one ultrasound and make them show me the placenta. Fortunately, I found an awesome and very experienced ultrasound tech near us who can check for PP and do all measurements in literally 5 minutes (about 1/5 of the time of previous ultrasounds I’ve had) and I felt that the benefit of this (checking for PP and other conditions) outweighed the risks. So, to answer your question- the main thing I do differently now is make them show me the placenta and identify its size, location, etc on the form very clearly.

  75. My daughter is expecting our 1st grandchild. Today she asked me if I’ve had the whooping cough vaccine. I asked her if she was ok. She let me know her DR. said she will have ot get the DTP vaccine & anyone who is near the baby must have had it within a certain # of years! I was going to be the baby’s caretaker while my daughter works. I am vaccine wise ( as of about 15 years ago) sadly, I had my children get their vaccines or at least most of them before I became aware. I can’t allow myself or any of the rest of my family to be vaccinated again! I have thyroid disease & even if I didn’t, I don’t want those vaccines in our bodies. I can’t make the decision for my daughter or her husband, but , ugggh, she feels so strongly about those words from her Dr.! I am outraged by the medical field!

  76. What are some articles you’d recommend reading on doing the alternative glucose testing, the way you do it? I’ve never opted out and have never tested positive for gestational diabetes, but they always want to test because BMI is slightly higher than the recommended and I’ve had “larger” babies. I really want to opt out this time and I think my doctor would be fine with it I would just like some backing before bringing it up. Thanks!

  77. Hi, I absolutely love following your post. My 30 year old daughter is just starting her sixth month of her first pregnancy. She is a nurse practitioner with relatively conventional beliefs. She has been experiencing a lot of feet problems and today when I saw her, her feet were swollen as well as her legs. Do you have any suggestions for a home made recipe to help with this condition? Thank you for all your contributions!!

  78. I am allergic to dairy and am working on rebuilding my gut to hopefully reverse the effects that dairy has on me. I noticed the diet you follow has a lot of dairy in it. Is there a diet I can follow without dairy that you’d recommend??


    • Just omit the dairy and make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats from other sources…

  79. Hi! I’m from the Netherlands, where natural (home) birth is very common. For our regular check ups we only visit our midwife (only if there is some risk we go to a gyn.) She checks our weight, blood pressure and measures the growth of the baby externally. We do 2 ultrasounds and blood tests, and the other test (glucose, pap smear etc. ) only when we suspect something. That’s it! So I agree a lot of tests are unnecessary!

    I’ve spend part of my pregnancies in Ukraine, its completely different there, they test everything… (the gyn. even took a picture of my uterus). This is my 3rd pregnancy and I’m refusing to do any more of those tests. I had 5 ultrasounds in my first pregnancy, I regret that now! I think I’ll refuse the 30 week ultrasound this time, since it is not really necessary. Thank you for this info!

  80. You have written down that you take 1 to 2 teaspoons of cod liver oil daily but your recommendations is the capsules. Do you just take 2 capsules then daily? The price diet says to take 20,000 IU daily which is in two teaspoons but I can’t find on the green pasture blue ice cod liver oil how much is in one capsule. Do you have any advice for how many capsules to take daily?

  81. You dont know what you are talking about. My babies needed regular growth scans because they were small and the scans were accurate. With my 4th, bless her poor little soul i felt there was something wrong and it was discovered at the 20 week scan that there was, she died inside me at the 6th month mark. That was years ago and things didnt work out with their father. Im pregnant now with my fantastic partner and they are recomending scans because of my previous babies sizes and you bet im doing it.

    • How did the scans help? I’m honestly curious, not trying to say they weren’t valuable.

  82. Is there any reason you are now recommending just plain fermented cod liver oil and not the butter blend? I know there was back and forth about Green Pastures but I took the blend my last pregnancy and even my dentist remarked at how great my teeth looked during pregnancy! So I’m planning to take it again unless there is a reason not to.

    • It is still a great option. It was out of stock for a while and I changed the link and forgot to change it back…