3 Ways To Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy

www.drangelapotter.com

 

Holding on to extra fluids during pregnancy is not fun!  Your body is already changing in many ways and that extra swelling can make you feel so much more uncomfortable. 

 

Pregnant during the summer?  The heat can usually make the swelling even more cumbersome.  Luckily there are a few simple changes you can make to help keep all that swelling manageable.

 

Here are 3 simple ways to reduce swelling during pregnancy

 

1. Drink raspberry leaf tea

 

Raspberry leaf tea is a wonderful tonic for pregnancy.  One of it’s many benefits is that it is incredibly nutrient dense.  The extra vitamins and minerals from the tea will help your body absorb fluids better which will reduce swelling.

 

2.  Put your legs up the wall

 

This may sound funny to do, especially if you’re 9 months pregnant, but it works!  Place some pillows on the floor, lay on your back and keep your legs up the wall.  This helps tremendously with circulation.  Most women who are struggling with swelling feel it most in their lower legs and feet.  By keeping your legs up the wall, you’re helping redistribute the fluids.

 

3.  Add electrolytes to your water

 

That extra swelling may be telling you that your body needs some help absorbing the water that you’re drinking.  Adding electrolytes is perfect for increasing absorption.  And it’s really easy!  Just add a splash of fresh lemon juice or a (small) pinch of salt to your water.

 

P.S. If you do have a lot of swelling, make sure to check in with your doctor.  Sometimes the swelling can indicate that other things are happening in your body and you want to talk with your doctor to make sure it’s all normal.

 


Hi!  I'm Dr. Potter!

Are you trying to get pregnant, currently pregnant, or healing from childbirth?  Wonderful, I'm so happy you are here.  It's my passion to help mothers feel honored and cared for during this tender time.

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Nutrition Between Pregnancies: 3 Foods For Recovery And Fertility

Guest post by nutrition-guru Anna Bohnengel
www.alavitanutrition.com

 

Mama, life is moving fast.  You’ve got a sweet, soft bundle of baby squirming in your arms and it’s already time to start thinking about making another.

 

Eeeek! It’s all so exciting, but also kind of scary!

 

Take a deep breath, because you got this. You were made for this. And there is so much you can do to fortify your mama superpowers. The first of which, is eating well.

 

Growing another human, whether in your belly or on your breast, takes a lot out of you. The World Health Organization recommends waiting two years between pregnancies to rebuild your nutrient stores. Whether you have two years to wait or not, take this time in-between babies to indulge in nourishing yourself.

 

This is not a time for deprivation!

 

You can get your body back later. Right now, focus on treating yourself to the most nourishing, health-enhancing foods you can get your hands on. See just how good you can feel from the inside out.

 

Tip: Ignore the ‘pre’ in prenatal vitamins and take them before during and after pregnancy. If you know another babe is on the way, there’s no reason to stop taking them! 

 

Here are three particularly nutrient dense foods to replenish your nutrient stores post-partum and make sure you’re set up to thrive the next time around:  

 

Salmon

This pretty pink fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty-acids and vitamin D, nutrients that are in short supply in the typical American diet, yet they are essential to a healthy pregnancy. Omega-3s can help reduce inflammation in mom while boosting the baby brain development. Vitamin D enables calcium absorption for strong bones. Both nutrients help protect you from post-partum depression.  

Recipe: Lemon-Dill Salmon Cakes

 

Eggs (with the yolk!)

Eggs are a nutrition powerhouse. They provide vitamin D, zinc, B-vitamins, protein, antioxidants, and too often overlooked, choline. Choline is important for cell formation and cognitive function. This nutrient is also needed in higher quantity during pregnancy and breastfeeding. To meet your choline needs, dish up three (yes, three) eggs a day.

Recipe: Mediterranean Egg Muffins

 

Beets

From greens to root bulb, beets are packed with nutrients mamas need. The greens have much needed calcium and folate (think spinal cord development in baby) and fiber (keeping mom regular). The deep purple beetroot provides iron to keep fatigue at bay.

Recipe: Beet-Avocado Smoothie


 

About Anna

Anna Bohnengel is a registered dietitian and co-founder of Alavita Perinatal Nutrition. Trained at the National Institutes of Health, she has spent most of her career at Oregon Health & Science University.

She has years of experience helping women achieve their healthiest, happiest self with a fresh, simple and results-driven approach to eating good food. As a new mom herself, she is now dedicated to helping women feel confident and nourished as they venture into mamahood.


 

A Note About Metabolism

By Angela Potter
www.drangelapotter.com

I find it hard to talk about weight loss and postpartum because I don't want to come across as someone who is perpetuating the idea that every woman needs to get back to their pre-baby weight right away (or at all!).  Birth changes us in so many ways and we come out on the other side women who are changed, and who are stronger because of it.

 

That being said, I understand how hard it can be to watch your body change drastically in just a matter of months.  

 

With my patients, I help them make gentle changes to help their bodies naturally lose the weight without going through a lot of drastic diet changes.

 

One big way to do that is work on boosting the metabolism.

 

Boosting metabolism helps your body use the food that you eat more efficiently (aka burns calories better!).  It also helps your body use your food for it's intended purpose which means you're getting use out of all the vitamins and minerals you eat. 

 

When your metabolism is sluggish, that can lead to stomach cramping, bloating, an inability to lose weight, or even weight gain.  

 

Boosting metabolism can support weight loss in a healthy way that involves making some really small changes to your regular diet.  Stay tuned on the blog for more information about how exactly to do that!

 

 

A Surprising Way To Detox For New Mothers

By Angela Potter
www.drangelapotter.com

 

Giving birth is an incredibly special time.  You have just been the portal for a soul to enter in to the world.  That is no small feat and your own recuperation after birth needs to be well-tended to.  There is one act of self-care in those early days of motherhood that often goes overlooked.

 

That act of self-care is to do a digital detox. 

 

Consider signing off of your phone and computer for as long as feels comfortable to you.  Maybe it's a few days, maybe a week, or perhaps a full month.  

 

If doing a full digital detox is not an option for you, consider these two areas:

 

1.  Social media

 

Many social media accounts focus on portraying only the perfect moments.  You are bound to see photos of mothers and families who look like they have it all together.  When you're in that sweet newborn stage with your baby it is also full of a lot of sleepless nights, tears and emotions.  The last thing you need is to compare yourself with other families.

 

2.  The news

 

Your number one focus once you've given birth is to care for your newborn and for yourself.  The transition of welcoming a new person in to your family can often be overwhelming.  While staying up to date on current events is important, it may be an added source of stress for you.  Consider asking your partner or a friend to share news with you that is of upmost importance, but to update you on other events once you're ready.

3 Ways Signing With Your Baby Reduces Stress

By Shira Fogel
www.tinytalkersportland.com

 

Using signs to communicate with your pre-verbal child is one of the best things you can to do to
promote attachment parenting, reduce stress and create a lasting bond with them.

 

When your baby starts signing, everything becomes easier because they have learned that using their hands to communicate is quicker and more effective than crying or whining.

 

Here are 3 ways that signing with your baby can reduce stress

 


1.  Are you constantly playing the guessing game with your baby by wondering why they
are fussing?

 

When you teach them to sign with you, you’ll empower them with the ability to tell you when they are: hungry, needing a diaper change, teething, bored, scared etc. One of my students recently told me: “I want my child to be able to tell me what she needs so that I can meet her needs faster. It’s frustrating not knowing how to soothe her.”

 

2.  You will be able to understand and respond to them much quicker

 

As language starts to emerge (imagine an 18-month- old child), your toddler is often very
hard to understand while the muscles in their mouths are still continuing to fine-tune
themselves.

 

Did he just say “duck” or “truck?” When an undecipherable word is combined with a sign, you are able to immediately interact back with your child rather than try and guess what it is he was trying to say. This, in turn, eliminates a potential opportunity for a temper tantrum based on a communication break-down. Signing saves the day!

 


3.  Boosting the bond with your child

 

This is quite possibly the biggest benefit of them all!  Boosting the bond with your child which, in turn, also creates a greater emotional intelligence. Emotions such as happiness, sadness and empathy are all shaped by how your infant is cared for and nurtured.

 

Having a strong bond with your baby doesn’t just reassure them, it actually affects their biological systems that help them adapt to stress. Although this process continues to develop as
children get older, these early experiences are essential for establishing your child’s
emotional wiring in their brain. Simply put, teaching your baby how to sign is good for
their brain and overall development!

 

About Shira

Shira Fogel began to research baby sign language when her daughter was a baby and too young to talk. Shira’s daughter absolutely thrived with her newfound way of communicating and consequently became a very early speaker as a result of signing.

Shira eventually became certified by a speech and language pathologist and started her own company called Tiny Talkers. It is her vision to spread this knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL) with other parents who want to be less frustrated, give their child a gift of communication and have a greater bond with their child/children.

Metabolism Boosting Oatmeal

By Angela Potter
www.drangelapotter.com

How many of you have a bowl of oatmeal in the mornings because of its good fiber and then an hour later you're hungry and want a second breakfast?

 

Oatmeal is a great source of fiber which can help with hormone balance and digestion.  On the other side, it doesn't have much protein or fat in it which can cause your blood sugar to crash. 

 

Cue hunger and irritability.  

 

How does this oatmeal recipe help change that and improve metabolism?

 

1.  It is filled with healthy fats and good protein which helps balance blood sugar.

 

2.  It has warming spices that help improve digestion.

 

Try this recipe to feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.

 

Side note

I like to put a lot of intuition in to my cooking.  Often, a recipe looks different every day because of my preferences and what I have in the kitchen.  Use this as a guideline to create a recipe that you love!

Nourishing Oatmeal
By Angela Potter

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of oats (or try a multi-grain mix for a more nutrient-dense breakfast!)
  • A spoonful of yogurt
  • A tablespoon of coconut oil or butter
  • A spoonful of nut butter - try peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter
  • A handful of blueberries (fresh in the summer, frozen in the winter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • A small pinch of cayenne

 

Directions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, add the oats and reduce to a simmer.
  2. While the oats are simmering, add the yogurt, coconut oil or butter, nut butter and blueberries to your breakfast bowl.
  3. When the oats are almost done cooking, add the spices and mix well.
  4. When the oatmeal is finished cooking, add to your bowl of goodies and mix well. 
  5. Enjoy!



 

Breastfeeding As Contraception: Fact Or Fiction?

By Angela Potter
www.drangelapotter.com

Fact!  Breastfeeding your baby can be an effective form of birth control.  Breastfeeding as contraception is helpful in the early postpartum months but must be used wisely and within some guidelines.

 

Here are the guidelines to use breastfeeding as contraception:

 

1.  Your baby is exclusively breastfed, no solid foods or formula.

 

2. Your baby is 6 months or younger

 

3. You are breastfeeding your baby every 4 hours a day and 6 hours at night.

 

If your period starts even while you are following these guidelines, you will need to switch to a different form of birth control.

 

I also like to remind people that all forms of birth control come with a small chance of pregnancy.  The only way to truly avoid pregnancy is surgical removal of reproductive organs or abstinence.  

Motherhood Insight With Mari Hosti

By Angela Potter
www.drangelapotter.com

Mari has an incredible heart and is so joyful!  Her and I have grown up together and now we still live close-by and it is wonderful watching our families grow.

 

Where do you call home?

 

Portland, Oregon

 

How many kids do you have?

 

One son and one step-daughter

 

What was one of the hardest changes for you physically during your postpartum journey?

 

My blood sugar was often unruly and unpredictable due to breastfeeding.

 

What was one of the hardest changes for you mentally/emotionally during your postpartum journey?

 

Thinking about how to raise him to be a good man.  He's growing up in a weird world that has a lot of ugly, so how will I teach him to be respectful, kind, stand up for the underdog, and do what is right? 

 

My son is constantly on my mind and sometimes that gets in the way of quality time with my husband, who used to be the one on my mind all the time.  We're learning how to love each other in a new way.  

 

Also, we started letting Soren cry it out pretty early on and would check on him every 10-15 minutes.  Those 10-15 minutes were torture for me emotionally.  I felt like I was neglecting my child and that he would feel alone and abandoned (he's happy and secure and knows he is loved and cared for). 

 

What has been your greatest joy in motherhood?

 

Everything!  But to be more specific, falling in love with my son is such a joy.  It's a choice to love everyone else in my life, but I can't help loving my son.  It's very out of this world.  And I have loved watching him learn new things and develop. 

 

What is one resource that felt invaluable to you during the postpartum time?

 

My husband and other mothers.  Not only does Anthony (my husband) has a 9 year old daughter, he also just has a naturally calm knack for babies and continually teaches me so much and keeps me strong when I'm at my lowest.  

 

What is one piece of advice you would like give to pregnant moms in preparation for their postpartum journey?

 

It's okay if it's hard  It's okay if it's easy.  Just be honest with how you're doing and let other people support you and rejoice with you. 

 

About Mari

 

I'm Mari, 33 years old, wife of my dreamboat hubs, Anthony, and mom to my dreamboat baby boy, Soren, and my bonus daughter, Cecilia.  I never had baby fever but I love motherhood more than I thought I would and want more kids now that I actually have one.  

 

Winter Nourishment: Benefits Of Eating Seasonally

By Angela Potter
www.drangelapotter.com

Mothers with young babies need lots of nourishing and nutrient-rich foods to help with recovery after birth. 

 

One of the easiest ways to get the most nutrient-dense foods in your diet is to eat with the seasons.

 

Why?

 

1.  When foods are grown in season they (usually!) aren't grown in hot-houses, they are grown in soil, and grown in exactly the right environment they need to thrive.  When the vegetables thrive, that means you get the maximum benefits out of them!

 

2. Eating with the seasons means you are getting a variety of nutrients in your diet.

 

Here are some foods that are in season for The Pacific Northwest in the winter.  Eat these with abundance during the winter months!

  • Squash
  • Parsnips
  • Leafy greens like kale, chard and collard greens
  • Pomegranates
  • Oranges
  • Leeks
  • Turnips

One Thing I Wished I Knew Before Having A Baby

By Dr. Angela Potter
www.drangelapotter.com

I remember the first night we were home with our baby boy. My husband fell asleep first. I wrapped our little one in a swaddle, laid him down in the pack 'n play next to our bed and laid down myself. The last few days had been exhausting with the birth and I was looking forward to some sleep.

 

But our little one kept tossing and turning.

 

Wasn’t he comfortable?

 

Why won’t he just go to sleep?

 

I had no idea what to do, so I picked him up and held him all night long (yes, all night long!).

 

We can all agree that there were some other options that night, like wake up my husband!  But as an exhausted new mother, holding my baby through the night seemed like the most logical thing to do at the time.  

 

Our little one now sleeps through the night but those first few weeks (actually months!) were really hard for us to figure out how to get our baby to sleep well. And of course when the baby doesn’t sleep well, the parents don’t sleep well either.

 

Sleep is one of the most important things in our recovery as mothers. Physiologically, it helps with hormone balance but more importantly it helps with our energy and sanity.

 

While I was pregnant I didn’t read any parenting books, I figured that once the baby was here, I would read them as needed.

 

The one thing I wish I had read about was how to help a baby sleep!

 

If you are struggling like we did with getting the baby to sleep, here are two things to try:

 

1. Hire a postpartum doula

 

Before I had my baby I didn’t understand why people would hire a night nanny. Now I see it as a pivotal resource for so many families. The doula/nanny can help feed the baby to give you extra hours of sleep and help get a rhythm going for your family.

 

2. Talk to a sleep coach

 

The earlier you meet with someone, the sooner you can start getting longer stretches of sleep. It may be a bit of an investment up front, but the benefit of getting more sleep will be priceless to you and your family.

 

What are your favorite resources that you found to help you and your baby sleep better?  Let me know in the comments!