Helpful (And Unhelpful) Pregnancy Tips

Being pregnant can be overwhelming, to put it mildly. There is a shitton of information out there regarding what to eat, drink, do, wear, buy, use, and avoid. It will hurt your brain and stress you out if you let it.

I think, in general, if you don’t do anything blatantly dangerous or unhealthy, e.g. drink a 6 pack of PBR a night, sniff paint fumes, take up amateur lion taming, etc. you can figure out what works and feels right to you, and you and your baby will probably be just fine. Obviously, listen to your chosen medical professional, too.

Having been pregnant for almost 40 weeks now, I do have some observations regarding what worked for me and what didn’t. One thing I have learned is that the pregnancy experience varies widely, so these tips might be totally unhelpful for you.

But, throughout these last nine months I have enjoyed hearing about the pregnancy experiences of other women in as specific detail as possible, even if I ultimately rejected what they had to say. So here are some thoughts on what I have found helpful/unhelpful while preggo.

I stocked up on delicious but healthy beverages for hydration and to make myself feel better about not being able to drink wine. This is a good one.

I stocked up on delicious but healthy beverages for hydration and to make myself feel better about not being able to drink wine. This is a good one.

Yoga I took prenatal yoga classes at Seattle Holistic Center, and I really enjoyed them. I found prenatal yoga to be very gentle and non sweat inducing which would usually bore and annoy me but was actually quite soothing and restorative while pregnant. I’m fairly convinced that a lot of the poses help prepare your body for labor, which will be hard to quantify, but believing all the yoga I did will make a difference is probably like 80% of the battle, anyway.

I’m not a share my feelings with strangers and chant mantras kind of person and there is a little bit of this going down in the classes I attend, but I kind of liked it. The spiritual elements helped me connect with and think about my baby in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Chiropractor At about 24 weeks pregnant I started having heinous SI joint pain on one side of my lower back/butt. By the end of each day, I could barely walk. I’m not great with physical impairment and injuries and this really fucked me up mentally- I started to freak out a little bit, imagining that I would be couch bound for months and turn into a sluglike Jabba the Hut type creature who never left the house. I was totally skeptical of chiropractic care, but I was desperate, and saw Dr. Devine until I exhausted my insurance coverage (20 visits total).

Not gonna lie, the chiropractic experience is kind of weird (is this dude cracking my back for five minutes on a creepy table really doing anything?). However, Dr. Devine either cured me or the pain disappeared completely all on it’s own, and the latter seems unlikely to me given how severe the issue was. Highly recommend giving a chiropractor a try if you experience any back/neck/other pain during pregnancy.

Ignoring most food rules OMG, the food rules one hears while pregnant. No lunchmeat! No sushi! No soft cheese! These rules mostly stem from fear of foodborne illness, particularly listeria. Right….if you read the news, like, ever, you know that listeria, salmonella, etc. can come from anywhere. Yes, it is probably wise to avoid shady grocery store sushi and also smart to watch mercury levels of the seafood you consume but you can’t convince me that fresh, high grade, wild caught salmon sashimi from a reputable restaurant is an unhealthy choice for pregnant women.

Not allowed, ate it anyway.

Not allowed, ate it anyway.

Maybe this thrusts me into bad mother territory, but I ate/eat sushi, smoked fish, turkey sandwiches, oysters, and all sorts of soft cheese while pregnant, in moderation, and I have been fine. It may make sense to follow the food rules during the first trimester since the theory is that if you contract food poisoning you may be more likely to miscarriage, but if you eat a spicy tuna roll at 8 months pregnant is your baby going to die? Doubtful.

Did Not Work/Need
Pregnancy pillow I heard many raves about those ginormous pregnancy pillows that cost like $80. I intended to acquire one at some point but never got around to it, and found that making my own nest comprised of multiple regular pillows shoved I already owned worked just fine.

So many pillows!

So many pillows!

Jury Is Out
Dates There are studies (possibly with small sample sizes rendering the results a bit questionable) that show that consuming dates made labor easier for women who did so. I’ve been eating 4-6 dates a day for a couple weeks. I like them on their own or blended into a smoothie. We’ll see how labor goes…if nothing else they are giving me extra fiber and something sweet to eat that isn’t full of refined sugar like all the shit I really want to eat.

Also helpful to me/my raging pregnancy sweet tooth: keeping sweet shit that isn't candy around.

Also helpful to me/my raging pregnancy sweet tooth: keeping sweet shit that isn’t candy around.

Stretch mark oil I slathered on Bio-Oil or Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil twice a day starting in the second trimester and still don’t have any stretch marks. HOWEVER I also had pretty minimal stretch marks to begin with so I don’t think I’m particularly prone to them, and my bump has remained relatively small. But I don’t think lubing up your skin really well can hurt when it comes to helping it stretch. It just kinda makes sense to me: soft things expand more easily.

Coconut oil is great for dry, itchy pregnancy skin.

Coconut oil is great for dry, itchy pregnancy skin.

Pregnancy tea I’ve been downing 2 or 3 cups of this a day (Traditional Medicinals, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Yogi and probably others make this-I purchase it at Whole Foods or Central Co-Op). Supposedly it helps strengthen your uterus and prep your cervix and stuff. Again, we shall see how labor goes. At the very least it’s keeping me hydrated and giving me something more interesting than water to drink.


Cool Shit on the Internet

Hey there. Still pregnant! I’m feeling pretty good and fairly comfortable, but a little antsy. Time is crawling a little bit.


Just doing shit around the house and taking faux artsy selfies to pass the time. Here are some entertaining internet links for your enjoyment:

1. Celebrities Looking Sad at Disney Parks (New York Magazine) – LOLZ.

2. The More I Learn About Breast Milk, The More Amazed I Am (The Stranger) – Breast milk truly is effing amazing.

3. How To Book The Best Airbnbs, Anywhere (Into the Gloss) – Helpful tips when booking an Airbnb, which is a great way to go when traveling to cities where hotels are ridiculously expensive.

4. 20 Surprising Things About Parenting in Cuba (Cup of Jo) – I’m addicted to this series on Cup of Jo and this post is particularly fascinating.

5. The Sunniest Climate-Change Story You’ve Ever Read (New York Magazine) – Maybe we aren’t totally fucked!

6. 14 Psychological Tricks Everyone Should Know (Esquire UK) – These are helpful, especially at work. Total manipulation but legit because they called it “psychology”!

7. How To Not Get Sick (The New Potato) – Cold and flu season is imminent, yay. Here are some hippie ish tonics of questionable efficacy to help keep that shit away.

Preggo Power Smoothie

I’ve been drinking this lovely creation for breakfast on the regular.

Terrible photo but the Seahawks glass makes up for it.

Terrible photo but the Seahawks glass makes up for it.

Yeah, it’s sort of (very?) hideous to look at. But it is full of ingredients that are supposed to be extra beneficial for pregnancy, and actually tastes pretty good.

Here is the basic recipe, this can definitely be tweaked many ways:

1 cup almond milk (I like Whole Food’s brand organic unsweetened vanilla)
½ cup ish organic plain yogurt (calcium, protein, probiotics)
½-1 frozen banana (potassium, fiber, creamy factor)
1 cup fresh or ½ cup frozen spinach (iron, folic acid)
2 TBSP flaxseed (omega 3s for brain development)
1 TBSP raw cacao powder (tastes like chocolate, lots of minerals, fiber, protein)
2 Medjool dates (supposedly make labor easier, fiber, tastes like hippie candy)

Blend and feel awesome about yourself because this shit is super healthy.

Cool Shit on the Internet

Oh hey. Just over here being 35.5 weeks pregnant, tra la la. I’m experiencing an increasing number of rando aches and pains but am generally doing pretty well.

The exciting evenings of a preggo

The exciting evenings of a preggo

In other news, despite what our retail establishments want you to believe (see: back to school ads, stores stocked with fall clothing, and halloween decor displays, wtf especially to that last one), THERE IS BASICALLY A MONTH OF SUMMER STILL LEFT TO ENJOY.

This cool kid is super psyched about the rest of summer

This cool kid is super psyched about the rest of summer

Hallelujah. I, personally, would rather be completely sick of summer and 100% ready for crispy leaves, blustery weather, and pumpkin spice everything than feel robbed of a true summer, which has definitely happened in previous years here in Seattle. Summer 2015 has been around basically since May and I will gratefully accept that!

Anyway. Here is a roundup of delightful things I found on the interwebs recently:

1. Since we have a month of summer left, you should probably grill some burgers. Here’s how to make a delicious one. Cup of Jo

2. This may out me as a dog obsessed weirdo (as if the above sunglasses photo didn’t already) but I am really into this dog age calculator by breed. Pedigree

3. I’ve read some really annoying advice from “nutrition experts” about limiting fruit intake due to its sugar content, which always struck me as ridiculous. This backs me up. Fruit is good for you, duh. Detoxinista

4. Non celebrities recreating celebrity Instagram shots. Dying over the Kim K on a mountain one. Bustle

5. I want to eat this cheese plate RIGHT NOW. Cupcakes and Cashmere


So I am 23 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow, and figured it was a good time for a check in about the state of things. Some observations on pregnancy:



Made banana almond toast for breakfast today. Sliced the banana on a dirty cutting board resulting in garlic banana almond toast and I kind of enjoyed the flavor profile. #pregnant

I still miss wine and ridiculous nights out but holy shit, never being hungover is amazing. #pregnant

I have weird lists on my iPhone of random trashy junk I usually wouldn’t touch but definitely want to eat at some point (featured: Coldstone Creamery, Buffalo Wild Wings’ fried pickles, S’mores Frappuccino, Cinnabon). #pregnant

It’s a bad idea to keep chocolate in the house because I will probably (definitely) eat it all in one sitting. #pregnant

Really wish muumuus were more readily available at Seattle clothing retail establishments. #pregnant

Annoying things that didn’t happen (yet): morning sickness, stretch marks, intense food aversions/cravings. Annoying things that did: weight gain, bleeding gums, lower back pain so bad I can barely walk by the end of the day. #pregnant


*That would be a reference to Small Town Security, one of the greatest reality television shows of our time. It has tragically been cancelled by AMC and if you haven’t ever seen an episode, I send you my condolences, because it was truly amazing. I am Facebook friends with Dennis Starr, one of the show’s characters, a relationship that is pretty much the pinnacle of my social media existence.

Anyway, I made some delicious, healthy meatballs last night and I will now share the recipe, which I concocted on my own. Proud day. I eyeballed all of the amounts; you can’t really screw this up.

Mix together:

  • ½ lb ground meat (I used grass fed organic beef because ground meat is super effing shady)
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • Chunk of minced onion
  • Couple handfuls chopped spinach (you could use kale or whatever)
  • An ounce or two of feta
  • An egg
  • 1-2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1-2 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • Salt, pepper

This formed about six 1.5 inch-ish balls, which I then baked at 400 for about 25 minutes on a foil lined pan that I sprayed with TJ’s finest coconut oil spray.

We ate them atop spaghetti squash with marinara. Salad with ranch dressing (it was organic ranch, to be fair) on the side lest this meal become TOO healthy.



I took no meatball photos but will leave you with a photo of another ball of sorts: my preggo belly.

Shit Is Bananas

I think I may have a banana obsession. I’ve been mowing through bunches of them every week. There are none in my hanging fruit basket right now and it’s making me mildly anxious. I do have a few frozen though so the situation hasn’t devolved into a Level 3 panic yet.

Bananas really are pretty spectacular though. So creamy! Delightful in a smoothie. Or paired with one of the best foods ever, peanut butter. Quite a dynamic duo, those two. Yeah, I have an issue.

Granola, or vomit? Granola. Delicious granola.

Granola, or vomit? Granola. Delicious granola.

You can also freeze them and then blend them into a (healthier) ice cream type goo that everyone seems to be obsessed with, but I am lazy and hate scraping that shit out of my Vitamix so I usually skip this one.

Bananas also make a really good substitution for sweet/fatty stuff in baked goods, as it turns out. Hence the success of these two recipes. Totally delicious and pretty healthy:

Banana Bread Muffin Tops, Oh She Glows

I added raisins and walnuts in place of the chocolate chips as I am not to be trusted around leftover chocolate.

Banana Nut Granola, Nutrition Stripped

So good and barely any oil/sugar, because of the bananas. Magical! I threw some raisins into this one as well.