1. DRINK WATER - ALL DAY - EVERY SINGLE DAY - OF YOUR PREGNANCY
Pretty easy, huh? I was a natural water-drinker before pregnancy, so this change has not been too difficult for me, but the sheer volume of water needed during pregnancy is outrageous. Moms carrying multiples should be drinking a gallon a day – that’s 128oz, almost 8 average-size bottles of water. My only tip for doing this is to break it down by hours. When I wake up, I drink a glass of cold water, with a straw (the straw helps it go down quicker). In between 8am and 12pm at work, I drink 2.5 bottles, the same for the afternoon – minimum. At home, I need to make-up the difference and drink about two more servings, this is the toughest part for me. I don’t like to drink too much before bed, so I am not up half the night, so I try to get my two servings before 8pm. Hot water with lemon is nice for an after-dinner drink (or morning) and then I have one more glass to drink before I’ve consumed enough. This is challenging, to say the least, but dehydration is one of the leading signs of pre-term labor. Not to mention, water intake really helps your digestive system which is under attack during pregnancy. Here is the other difficult part: you are not supposed to drink water WHILE you eat – supposedly it dilutes the nutrients. So try to drink around meals when drinking this much. Also remember, it is much easier to stay hydrated than to become dehydrated and build your hydration back up. Start this immediately, if you haven’t already.
2. MAKE YOUR OWN SALADS (this includes salad-bar, chicken salad, etc.)
When I visited the nutritionist only a few weeks into pregnancy, this was one of her first tips. As a lover of mayonnaise-based salads, this was a tough one for me. My local market makes delicious Lemon Almond Chicken Salad and has a killer salad-bar that I frequent. For nine months, not allowed. You may be like me with this and once you hear the facts, you’ll stay away for good, but the reason we need to stay away from salad bars and premade salads certainly during pregnancy, if not life? Germs, bacteria. According to the New York Times, food at the Salad Bar tests very low at inspection for a few reasons: uncleanness, mishandling and expiration. Yeast, mold and high levels of bacteria are found at most salad bars on a regular basis. Most salad bars are stocked in the morning and disassembled at night. Items that can remain on the salad bar for longer periods of time get covered and refrigerated in the evening and carried-out again the next morning. Depending on the expiration of an item, let’s take Lettuce, for instance, these items can shuffle from salad bar to refrigeration for days. Firstly, that’s a lot of hands handling my produce. Secondly, this isn’t even something I would do in the comfort of my own home. Temperature of the food when on a salad bar to refrigeration fluctuates – so is it any surprise that spoilage could occur? The same principals are applied to pre-made chicken, tuna, ham salads, etc. Make your own, you won’t regret it.
3. PASS ON THE SOFT-SERVE ICE CREAM. Sigh…
I love Oreo McFlurries from McDonalds… but not during pregnancy. This corner to NOT cut is all about the machine – not about the ice cream itself. Listeria is horrible for pregnancies and can cause stillbirth. Because the machines serving your soft-serve ice cream are not always cleaned properly, listeria can grow and distribute right-alongside your cold treat. If you are craving ice cream, its best to get a gallon of ice cream from the store or go to a reputable ice cream shop that serves “hard” ice cream. Make sure they are using pasteurized milk though!
4. WASH AND REWASH YOUR TRIPLE-WASHED PRODUCE
It simple: it’s never really clean. All the junk they put on our (even organic) produce is enough to make your tummy (and your baby’s tummies) turn. Even if it says “triple-washed”, take the extra step and give it a rinse. My mom always washes the outside of her avocados – I always criticized this, but when you think of it, we hold the avocado, cut, peal, and we are using the same hands that held the outside of the avocado to touch the inside to remove the eatable part! Just take the extra minute and wash everything - it’s better than consuming all the ugly.
5. INVEST IN QUALITY MEAT
When deciding between conventional and organic, spend the extra few bucks and go organic. Not only does the meat taste better, in my opinion, but by doing so you are avoiding chemicals from fertilizers, pesticides, and you are paying for meat that was feed with organic feed. It should be noted that the animal was in a more humane environment when living as well. By investing in organic meat, you avoid the risk of growth hormones in food. You also avoid antibiotics which are given to the conventional animal by going organic. I know it’s more costly, but at what cost do you stop for your babies? This is not a corner to cut.
6. SHRED YOUR OWN CHEESE
Pre-shredded cheese has a synthetic coating which prevents the cheese from sticking or clumping. Ew. Also, wood pulp is used, called “cellulose”, to keep dairy more creamy and tasty. Double-ew. Supposedly wood pulp repels moisture which, you guessed it, keeps the dairy from sticking and molding. Not all cellulose is bad (like the kind found in broccoli), but the kind found in many dairy products, including pre-shredded cheeses, is carrying the ever-so-appealing wood pulp and should be avoided. It’s quite simple to avoid this one – just stop cutting corners and shred your own cheese. Always.
7. GO TO SLEEP
Stop playing on your phone. Stop watching TV. Stop stimulating your mind. Close your eyes and sleep. Can’t sleep? Close your eyes and rest.
It is so vitally important that your body rests while you help in the miracle of creating humans. Again, signs of pre-term, it’s imperative that you take the time to let your body rest from all the work you and God are doing. I have been struggling with this the last few months because the babies seem to want to wake-up at 5:00am to play in my tummy, but when they do, and I have to say it is the very best reason to be woken-up ever, I just lay, quietly and close my eyes. No, it’s not the REM you need, but it’s resting, and that’s almost just as important. Enjoy this time of rest too – it will be over as soon as they get here.
BONUS. TAKE YOUR PRENATAL
I don't think an explanation is needed for this one. See my other posts on the brand I am using (RAW Vitamin Code! LOVE IT!) and my thoughts on why.
Enjoy taking the "long way around" for the next nine months (or maybe longer!)!