Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Drinking red raspberry leaf tea is one of the remedies recommended by my midwife during my third pregnancy, and I was hooked after my first cup. Red Raspberry leaf tea is rich in nutrients and antioxidants and is used to strengthen the uterus.  A stronger uterus can help shorten labor and aid in a healthy delivery and postpartum recovery. Because red raspberry leaf tea may help induce labor, it’s recommended you don’t drink it until week 32*. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, up to 3 cups can be enjoyed each day. It’s something I look forward to each pregnancy! (*always check with your doctor or midwife before trying any natural or herbal remedies as their potency can be surprisingly strong.)

This tea tastes good hot or iced, with lemon or without. I always buy my loose leaf tea at our local health food store where I scoop and measure it myself. Here’s the “recipe”, as simple as can be!

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Recipe

1 Tablespoon loose leaf red raspberry leaf tea + 1 cup boiling water

steep 15 minutes

drink warm or pour the 1 cup of warm tea over ice and add enough water to fill a large glass

During the last few weeks of pregnancy I like to double or triple this recipe (2-3 Tbs. tea + 1 cup boiling water). After steeping 15 minutes, pour the warm tea over ice in a water bottle and fill to the top with cold water, leaving the tea ball in the water bottle. I’m counting down the weeks to when I can enjoy this tea again!

7 Ways to Ease Morning Sickness

I think all women who have ever experienced morning sickness would agree that whoever named the nausea of the first trimester “morning sickness” clearly never had it. I suppose confining it to a small, manageable part of the day makes it a bit less intimidating; if it were labeled “all day sickness” some of us might have been scared away from pregnancy altogether! I really struggle through the first trimester, and if I hadn’t been so determined to give our oldest daughter siblings, we would have one kid right. However, I suffered powered through, and over the course of five pregnancies I’ve picked up enough tips that by the fifth, my toilet hovering was minimal. Here are a few of my absolute must-do’s during the first trimester that have helped ease my nausea. Let me know if any of these have helped you as well, or any additions you might add to this list!

Epsom salt bath

I’m going to start with this one because it’s rarely on lists of things to do to help with morning sickness. My midwife recommended Epsom salt baths to me my third pregnancy. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was a placebo she was offering just to keep me distracted, but I decided if there was even the smallest chance it could help, I was willing to try. I normally follow the directions on the bag for the amount of salts to use; then I stay in the tub at least 20-30 minutes. I experienced less nausea on the weeks I regularly took baths in Epsom salt throughout 3 separate pregnancies. Maybe it’s coincidence that I felt better those weeks or maybe it was because of an actual magnesium deficiency, but there’s absolutely nothing to lose trying this remedy.

NEVER let yourself get hungry

This may be obvious, but it took me a long time to figure this out. The very earliest feeling that hits before the nausea of no return is hunger. For me it’s hunger so fast and so bad I don’t even realize it’s hunger, instead I assume it’s a need to throw up. When I realized this feeling began with hunger (around pregnancy number 3) I realized I could avoid the worst of the sickness by eating sooner rather than later; normally about every hour and a half. HOWEVER…

Protein is Important!

…a few crackers and ginger ale were not enough. I would eat roll after roll of ritz crackers to fend off the sickness only to hate ritz crackers and still feel empty and sick. By pregnancy number 4, I realized protein was important. Protein helps you feel full longer, and protein rich foods also provide other nutrients our bodies need during pregnancy. I ate all forms of non meat protein with my 4th, and it really seemed to help, but what I really discovered the fifth was the HUGE difference between meat protein and non meat protein. Cheese, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, vegan protein shakes, milk, and eggs all helped me feel a little better, but beef and sometimes chicken could actually make me feel “normal” and stable.

Lemon and Peppermint Everything

During my first pregnancy at one of my first appointments I asked the doctor what I could do about my incredibly oversensitive gag reflex; how was I supposed to brush my teeth if my toothbrush was always gagging me? She laughed and told me to just avoid brushing my teeth. I ended up finding a new doctor (not just because of her bad oral hygiene advice.) Nausea can at least be felt and planned around, but there’s not much you can do about an unpredictable gag reflex that acts up anytime it sees a stray hair. The gag reflex is often activated by smells. Sucking on a lemon drop or peppermint altoid (or any STRONG mint with real peppermint in the ingredients) and using lemon or peppermint essential oils (*in this necklace I was gifted a few Christmas’ ago) to smell in lieu of unpleasant odors helped me avoid many moments of being sick. I also diffuse peppermint throughout the house and add lemon juice to my drinking water.

Carbonated Water

Burping always helps my nausea–an unfortunate reality. When my go to fizzy drink was soda pop, though, I felt like I was limited because of the caffeine and sugar. Then I discovered carbonated water; any brand, any flavor does the trick. You get the satisfaction of the bubbles going down, bubbles coming up, and you can drink it all day and all evening without the consequences of too much caffeine or sugar.

Cut Sugar

Somehow milkshakes always sound good when I’m in the first trimester, but the sugar never settles well. I’ve discovered I feel much better when I avoid sugar as much as possible. About half an hour after eating protein I always feel good, but half an hour after sugar I feel worse. It’s really a win-win because keeping your blood sugar levels within a safe range is also important during pregnancy, and less sugar can help slow weight gain.

Sleep

The last tip is to get plenty of sleep. I’ve had pregnancies with young toddlers (less than 2 years old) who don’t sleep through the night, which means I don’t sleep through the night. It makes a huge difference sleeping a full 8-10 hours a night + a nap whenever possible! I know this isn’t always possible, but it helps so much it’s worth giving up anything else to get even one extra hour of sleep.

I remember spending so much time googling “ways to help nausea…” and “is it normal to….” throughout my first couple pregnancies; I felt like there had to be more help related to morning sickness. But, until there’s a magic pill to take away the constant nausea (other than the sleep inducing nausea suppositories I took during my first pregnancy) the best we can do is share tips and tricks with each other, and remember it will all be worth it in just a few short months!

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New Baby in 2020

 

 

I’m so excited to share we’re expecting baby #5! We’ve talked about it off and on over the past two years because I’ve always dreamed of having a large family. We’re beyond excited and grateful for this new addition in early 2020!

I’m still early in my pregnancy, just coming to the end of my first trimester. It’s hard to know when is the best time to share this news, but it’s hard to hide when morning sickness controls everything we do and eat. Right now amidst morning sickness and an almost daily need for a hamburger, I just laugh at how things change. I spent all spring not eating meat, and now that’s all I want. We have to be able to roll with changes in life and be stable and grounded in matters of the soul and not let ourselves be defined by a lifestyle or a diet or any particular area of life. Because everything changes. 

We’re slowly adjusting to what it will be like with another kid in the house. The first trimester has already forced us to slow down and readjust some of our schedule, cutting back on a lot of things. Overall, I’m still feeling exhausted and foggy. I’m looking forward to the second trimester in a couple weeks and hoping it brings energy and motivation! Since this is my fifth pregnancy, and I always have bad morning sickness, I’m planning on writing out some of the tips I’ve gathered over the years. Using all the little tips together has helped me go an entire first trimester with minimal throwing up! With every pregnancy I wonder if it will be my last, so I’m trying to enjoy every moment of this one, and I’m looking forward to sharing more as I go through this pregnancy over the next few months!