I feel fortunate to have had a wonderful experience in pregnancy, labor and delivery and postpartum. These are a few of the products and preparations I used throughout to look and feel my best.
I regularly enjoyed a cup of LINNÉ Skin Tea. It contains 13 organic and biodynamic herbs, flowers, and fruits known to support overall wellbeing. Pregnant women can enjoy up to one cup daily, or make a custom blend using pregnancy safe herbs such as rooibos, raspberry leaf, peppermint, chamomile, ginger, linden and fennel seed. Some women may prefer to skip raspberry leaf and peppermint tea in the first trimester but it is recommended to enjoy 3 cups a day of raspberry leaf as you near full term to support uterine health and promote contractions.
The other brew I made regularly is one I have enjoyed since a child. It is a korean recipe that combines a handful of dried jujube dates, goji berries and fresh sliced ginger if you like. Slowly simmer these nourishing foods in purified water - the longer the better. Strain and serve warm. The beverage will be a bit viscous and you can dilute it with more water if you prefer or add some milk of your choice (this is a great beverage to enjoy postpartum as well but it is recommended to avoid dairy in the early days breastfeeding). I love it mixed with the LINNÉ Skin Tea, and homemade cashew milk. Anti-inflammatory red dates are known to promote digestion, relaxation and a healthy complexion. Like Medjool dates, this tea made from Chinese/red/jujube dates can be used in the final weeks of pregnancy as well as postpartum to stay warm and restore Qi.
During pregnancy I avoided other herbs, such as the adaptogenic mushrooms I regularly incorporate into potions, smoothies and food, but I did occasionally add Sunpotion pearl powder to my smoothies. The consumption of pearl powder has been a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It is mainly composed of calcium carbonate which can help improve bone, muscle, and nervous system health in both mother and child. It is also said that consuming pearl powder during pregnancy can improve the skin quality of your developing child. If you are curious it is best to wait until the second trimester.
Perelel prenatal - there is a special blend for each trimester
I had no morning sickness and ate a healthy balanced diet rich in lean protein, healthy fats and fresh organic produce. There were however a few early weeks when I wanted little more than fruit and simple carbohydrates. I had little taste for salads which slightly worried my husband as they are essential to my diet otherwise :) Since pregnant women need significantly higher levels of protein, and I had no taste for meat, I added spirulina to my smoothies to ensure I got my daily dose.
I also developed a sweet tooth and to help keep me stay regular (since increased progesterone can cause constipation) I regularly enjoyed super ripe bananas and dried prunes and dates. Frozen ultra-ripe bananas with dates and a touch of cinnamon makes for a super yummy pseudo-desert.
At the end of term I increased my consumption of dates to about 6 a day. There is interesting evidence that suggests that dates can help shorten the first stage of labor and help ripen the cervix. I also increased my LINNÉ tea consumption and supplemented with additional cups of raspberry leaf tea. At 36 weeks I started taking a capsule of evening primrose oil orally in the morning and at night, and inserted a capsule vaginally at night before bed. As per the recommendation of my midwives I also took Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep herbal supplements. They contain squawvine, blessed thistle, black cohosh, pennyroyal, false unicorn root, red raspberry leaf and lobelia. These supplements should only be used in the last six weeks of pregnancy and usually under the care of a midwife or doctor.
A great resource for diet during pregnancy is the book Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols RDN, CDE
I am big into baths, and while it’s important to never soak in hot water while pregnant, warm baths infused with LINNÉ Bath Salts were a bi-weekly treat and became especially soothing towards the end of pregnancy when I started to experience some aches and pains. Our Bath Salts are rich in tension-releasing epsom salts as well as mineral-rich dead sea, pink Himalayan and red Alaea salt. We use a gorgeous blend of revitalizing essential oils in our bath salts, but to make your own, you can add essential oils, clays and flowers to your favorite salt blend. Some pregnancy safe essential oils include cardamom (in our SMOOTH body balm), frankincense (in REPAIR face oil and REST functional fragrance), geranium (in REPAIR, BALANCE face oil and SMOOTH), German or Roman Chamomile (in REST and SCRUB face mask), lavender (in REFRESH mineral mist, BALANCE, and REST), petitgrain sur fleur (in BALANCE, REPAIR and REST), sandalwood (in REPAIR) and orange (in RISE functional fragrance).
I also used PURIFY, SCRUB, REFRESH, RENEW, REPAIR and SMOOTH throughout pregnancy as they are all considered pregnancy safe.
During labor, REST helped ease the pains of contractions which persisted for two nights in a row. I do believe I have a fairly high tolerance for pain and had great coping techniques, but it’s worth mentioning that I labored without medication until 9cm at home. When I called my midwives, from the calm in my voice they thought I may have only been 3cm at most. I’d like to think REST may have had an influence. The key ingredients here are petitgrain sur fleur, german chamomile, frankincense, and ylang ylang - which are all super calming and tension relieving.
RISE came into play in the pushing phase. Thanks to naturally occurring oxytocin I was feeling pretty blissed out in my final stage of labor but the pushing phase was hard and lasted four hours - in part due to her having a short cord and being born en caul (this is apparently very rare - 1 in less than 80,000 babies are born in an intact amniotic sac. It is considered a sign of magic or luck :) RISE contains orange, red mandarin, black spruce, black pepper, coriander and holy basil essential oils which are wonderful for boosting mood and energy- all needed after a long but super positive labor.
Even though my birth center allows you to eat during labor (which most hospitals discourage or forbid) I was so flooded with oxytocin and in such an altered state that I did not want food. I did however drink 32oz of Harmless Harvest coconut water to stay hydrated and keep my electrolytes in balance. After delivery, once I had rested and breastfed, I feasted! The first thing I ate were my favorite nut butter cookies - they are so yummy and are packed with energizing protein. Recipe below.
Postpartum I made sure to drink plenty of water. I was thirsty from breastfeeding so needed no persuading but supplementing water with herbal teas, and broths made sipping much more interesting. Bone broths are especially fortifying post-partum.
While I usually crave cold, crunchy raw fruits and vegetables, in the days following birth, no matter the time of year, its recommended to choose soft, warm easy to digest foods. Fortunately my husband is a talented and creative cook and it was soul satisfying to see how much joy he experienced nourishing my body post-partum. If you do not have someone to cook for you in the days following birth, ask friends and family to deliver food that you enjoy and stock your freezer with soups and other easy to heat meals.
Oatmeal has been a new morning favorite. It’s deeply warming and satisfying and is said to help support lactation. I love cooking steel cut oats with finely chopped apple or pear. I finish with cinnamon, maple syrup, fresh berries and my favorite coconut and seed granola made with tahini (recipe ℅ Eden Grinshpan’s cookbook “Eating Out Loud”).
For further lactation support you can make herbal infusions with fenugreek, fennel seed and blessed thistle herb. Traditional medicinals makes a yummy pre-made blend with the above plus spearmint, lemongrass and lemon verbena. Nettle is also a great herb to infuse into beverages throughout the final stages of pregnancy into postpartum.
A great book for postpartum care is The First Forty Days by Heng Ou
Perelel Mom Multi Pack + Vitamin D3 so that my daughter can get her recommended dose via breastmilk.
I love taking baths with my baby. We only do it a couple times each week so as not to dry out her delicate skin. We keep salts out of the bath when we are bathing together but now that she is two months old I dilute a very small amount of our soon to launch CLEANSE face and body wash onto one of our soft silk sponges that come with PURIFY and SCRUB. I use this to gently cleanse her body. After the bath I give the both of us a full body massage. She uses our soon to launch REPLENISH body oil which is simple and super gentle. I intended to delay the use of products for as long as possible, but she started to develop some really dry cheeks this winter so I started using the REPLENISH oil and overnight her skin returned to baby soft and smooth. Because the oil was such a success I thought it might be okay to also test our creamy cleanser on her and her skin has responded so well. The only other product I use on her is our soon to launch NURTURE body balm. I started using this when she developed a diaper rash that would not go away. NURTURE healed the red, bumpy rash and now that we use it preventatively a few times a day - she has yet to have a reoccurring rash.
As per my own self-care, I continue to use LINNÉ and have been testing our new products including REPLENISH (great for mother’s body massage, hair oil and pregnancy bump), NURTURE (perfect as a corrective and protective nipple balm as it contains food safe ingredients), CLEANSE (which is great for dry winter skin and yesterday I tried it in my hair) and our eye serum which we hope to launch in the late spring/early summer.
I also use RISE every morning to help me start the day. And while I hardly need any help getting to sleep, REST is super soothing before bed.
My Favorite Cookie Recipe:
1 cup nut butter (I love to do a mix of tahini, sunflower and peanut)
1 cup fine almond flour
1/2 cup maple syrup
As many chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, nuts, or dried fruits as you like
Chill for 30 min then add and mix:
1 egg or egg substitute
1 tea baking soda
Cook for 10-15 min in 350 degree oven. Eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner ;)