The Pregnancy FAQ

November 3rd, 2009 - filed under: The Farm » Family


So, how have things been going with the pregnancy?
So far so great! This was a planned pregnancy so we were as prepared as we could be. Estimated date of conception: 5 June 2009. Date of positive pregnancy test: 30 June 2009. Estimated Birth Date: 10 March 2010.

Everything was smooth sailing up until about the 5th week, when I started getting nauseous and fatigued. Mmmmm, morning sickness, which for me lasted all day and never actually culminated in regurgitation. I just fell sick. Constantly. I also got a UTI, which are quite common in pregnancy, but I managed to treat it naturally instead of with antibiotics (woo-hoo!)

I’m a naturally go-go-go kind of person – we affectionately call it ‘Hyper-Productivity Disorder’ – so being too nauseous and too tired to work was a difficult adjustment for me. But relaxation has been an important lesson to learn, I think.

Prior to pregnancy I’d done all sorts of research and made all these awesome über-healthy meal plans. But of course, that all went out the window with my morning sickness. I swear I went a whole week sustained on nothing but popcorn and potatoes – nutritious! *sigh* But I digress.

Around 13-14 weeks, I started to feel much better, and I haven’t had any morning sickness since. My second trimester is humming along splendidly! I feel great, I love my bulging belly, and I’m finally feeling the little guy move!

What did you plan and purchase before you got pregnant?
Well firstly, I took out my IUD. I did this a few months before we began trying to conceive, because I wanted to give my body a chance to cycle naturally a few times. I also took out my nipple rings, because I wanted to give them lots and lots of time to heal all up before breastfeeding. I had my annual female physical to make sure everything was copacetic, and I also had an entire blood panel done. I checked my nutrient and metabolic levels (luckily everything was within normal range) so that I would know if there was anything (like maybe vitamin D, or B12), that I needed to pay special attention to. Those were the first big steps I took.

In the interim between removing the birth control and actually trying to conceive, I was all about researching pregnancy and nutrition. I began my prenatals, and I researched which nutrients were most important to pregnant women. I made lists of foods high in these nutrients and I tacked it to the side of my fridge.

I switched from coffee to tea, but didn’t remove caffeine entirely until I became pregnant. I continued to drink alcohol moderately until I discovered I was pregnant. I read a book on vegan pregnancy and parenting (but it was old and pretty outdated) and I began reading the classic, “What To Expect When You’re Expecting.” Other than that, I didn’t really buy anything at all. I kind of still haven’t, haha.

Are you going to remain vegan?

But is veganism safe for pregnancy, the baby, and breastfeeding?

There is a lot of misunderstanding about diet and nutrition, and there are a lot of misconceptions about veganism out there. I want to be very clear here: I am an intelligent, educated, and fiercely fact-driven person. I would never risk my or my child’s safety. Please don’t let anyone scare you into thinking you cannot have a healthy vegan pregnancy and infant. In fact, challenge them to show you just ONE case of a well nourished vegan mother birthing a baby who was unhealthy due to dietary deficiencies.

Then, remind them that the American Dietetic Association’s 2009 position paper on veg*nism states, “. . . appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.

Personally, I’m lucky enough to know vegan-from-birth children in my own life, but many people don’t have that experience to calm their nerves. For some awesome inspiration and reassurance, check out this page of vegan children and their stories.

What supplements do you take?
I replaced my multivitamin with a prenatal multi a few months before we began trying to conceive. My multivitamin and my prenatal both contain B12, but I take an additional sublingual once or twice a week. Since being pregnant, I’ve been taking between 1,200 IU and 2,400 IU of Vitamin D2 each day – 1,200 in the summer and now up to 2,400 for the sunless, cold + flu-infested winter months. I also take a calcium (cal-mag-zinc) supplement because I’m paranoid and I spent most of my adulthood not thinking about and not getting enough calcium. Finally, I take the ever important DHA (Damian calls it ‘the vegan fishies’).

I usually drink an Emergen-C packet most days, to keep the immune system up and the flu away.

Whew! Seem like a lot? Maybe, but I guarantee you I’d be doing it just the same if I were an omnivore! I’m just crazy like that.

What foods are most important to a pregnant vegan?
Whole foods! Non-processed, non-microwave ready, non-‘million ingredients’, real foods. I know it’s tough and I’m guilty of slacking in the kitchen myself these days, but it’s crucial to make sure our diets are primarily composed of real, whole foods. (With a little wiggle room of course, for the sake of our convenience and our sanity! Yay sorbet!)

The micronutrients that pregnant women should be especially aware of include: iron, zinc, folate, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Iron is plentiful in pumpkin seeds, soy beans, Blackstrap molasses, sunflower seeds, cashews, lentils, spinach/greens, quinoa, black and pinto beans, chickpeas, and potatoes. Try to eat iron with vitamin C (orange slices in your spinach salad; bell pepper on your beans) to greatly increase absorption.

Zinc is plentiful in sesame seeds (tahini!), baked beans, cashews, chickpeas, lentils, almonds, kidney beans, peas, peanuts, and oatmeal. Zinc is more common in ‘roasted, leavened, or fermented’ foods – so keep that in mind.

Folate is plentiful in whole wheat foods, lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, okra, OJ/oranges, spinach, asparagus, avocado, and grapefruit. Switch to whole wheat breads and pastas and tortillas, and you shouldn’t have to worry about getting your folate.

Calcium is plentiful in Blackstrap molasses, collards, soy beans/tempeh/tofu, navy beans, kale, bok choi, spinach, black beans, almonds, chickpeas, and sesame seeds/tahini. So make sure to eat your greens!

Omega-3s, in the form of EPA, are found in flax seeds and flax oil, canola oil, walnuts, and spirulina. A healthy body should be able to convert EPA into the essential and usable DHA. Still, I recommend pregnant women (veg*n and omni alike) take an additional DHA supplement.

How are you meeting your protein requirement?
The recommended daily protein intake for a pregnant woman is between 60-75 grams. If you’re meeting your caloric needs and eating a balanced, non-processed, whole foods diet, it’s really hard NOT to easily meet this amount. I recently did a nutritional analysis of a random day, and I had consumed 93 grams of protein! 93 GRAMS! And that was on a totally soy-free day, too.

So where do I get it? From everything! (protein is in everything, remember, even veggies). But especially from legumes like lentils and beans, or chickpeas and soy (tofu and tempeh), from whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, or whole wheat bread and oatmeal (a serving of oatmeal has as much protein as an egg!), nuts and seeds, and protein-rich fruits/veggies like sweet potatoes, pumpkins, sweet corn, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms.

I heard that pregnant women need to take fish oil or eat fish. / I heard that vegans can’t get DHA and this is bad for the baby.
DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, has been the subject of tons of research over the past decade or so. We now understand the importance of this essential dietary element, and the role it plays in brain development, attention span, vision, depression, disease prevention, and more.

You know how everyone is always going on and on (and ON!) about how healthy fish is and how awesome fish oil capsules are? Well, that’s because of the DHA. And a lot of people mistakenly believe that veg*ns can’t get DHA since we won’t eat fish.

But don’t worry! In the same way that we get our calcium just like cows get it (from green plants), we can get our DHA just like the fish get theirs – from microalgae! Veg*n microalgae supplements are widely available.

A recent study, published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2008, concludes that microalgal DHA is just as bioavailable, and totally bioequivalent, to consuming salmon.

Further, a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics in 2005, showed that pre-term infants fed with formula containing algal DHA grew significantly faster than those fed with formula containing fish-derived DHA. The algal DHA group was superior in both weight gain and in length.

There is also no risk of contaminants like mercury and other heavy metals, which is always a concern in fish and fish-derived supplements.

So you don’t need to eat fish if you get pregnant, okay?!

But what if your child wants to eat meat?
Well, it’s like this. I am an intensely thoughtful person. I think about everything, over and over, all the time. So, I tend to have pretty strong opinions on most things. As an opinionated and ethically driven person, I certainly will do my best to instill my own moral code into my children.

However, most important to me is raising a human capable of their own thoughtfulness. I intend to urge questioning, open-mindedness, curiosity, intellectualism, and free-thinking; all these things that may very well lead my child to different conclusions than my own. But I’m raising an individual, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I can’t wait to hear my son challenge my philosophy, to experience the breadth of his minds capacity. I’ll love wherever that leads him.

Are you using a midwife or a Doctor?
I see a group of midwives, one of which will deliver our son (but we don’t know who will be on call when I go into labor). I did have one meeting with an OB, just to feel it out, but we were pretty set on midwives from the start.

Will you deliver at home or in a birthing center or in a hospital?
My midwives have their own practice in a hospital, so we will have our baby there. I was curious about home birth, but in my husband’s words, “I want a swat team on the other side of the doors.” His comfort and sense of safety is very important to me and to our birthing experience, so I have no problem acquiescing on this. We are planning an all-natural, drug and intervention free, water birth.

Are you using a doula? (What is a doula?)
A doula assists in the birthing process, by providing physical and emotional support and often advocating on behalf of the family and their Birth Plan (should unforeseen circumstances arise). We will definitely have a doula, though Damian will be my primary labor support.

Will you circumcise?
Although I do not judge anyone for their choices (whether they are religious or secular), Damian and I will not be circumcising our son. I think I’ll leave it at that.

Will you breastfeed or use formula?
I believe very strongly in the importance of breastfeeding, when a woman is physically able. I plan to breastfeed long term (at least a year with our son self-weening when he chooses). I myself breastfed until I was two!

I also plan to pump and donate to a milk bank.

Will you use stainless steel bottles or plastic? Will you buy baby food or make it yourself?
We’re going with glass bottles. We will make all our own baby food (Vita-Mix Vita-Mix *crosses fingers for the Vita-Mix fairy* Vita-Mix!!!)

What does “Socially Conscious, Totally Fabulous” mean in terms of having a baby?
I plan to approach this experience the same way I approach the rest of my life: with ethics and enthusiasm. Damian and I intend to buy secondhand as much as we can, or to make what we need ourselves. We will use cloth diapers exclusively. (I just started the collection last week, with 6 gently-used BumGenius’s. Woo-hoo!) We will focus on wooden, cloth, and other ‘natural’ toys – and keep the plastic out of our house.

And our little family will be totally fabulous!

So, is that your natural hair color!???
No way! Neverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! hahaha

  • J

    Great information! It’s impressive how educated you are, and that’s what separates you from the scary vegan pregnancies that end up in the news.

    My question is, what specifically did you plan before you started trying to get pregnant? Aside from the obvious healthy eating and taking prenatal vitamins, what did you take the time to think about, plan, purchase?

    Also, I hope you post anything interesting you find about things such as diapers and baby food, letting us know exactly what makes doing things a natural way worthwhile. What do you plan to feed your baby right after breast milk? Any name brands you suggest for food and products, and why?

  • Homegrown Texan

    Just a comment on the Vitamix, before you get too excited. My son would *never* eat foods that were pureed. I think it was partly texture issues, and partly because he wanted to feed himself, which at that age meant finger foods. Bananas & avocados were great for him because they were soft enough for beginning solids, but firm enough to pick up. I think it was also because I nursed him long-term, so he really didn’t need (or seem to want) enough solid foods to rely on them for sustenance until he was past the “must be mushed to a pulp” stage. I think he was close to a year before he started reliably eating foods every day (although we offered them much sooner).

    Of course every child is different…and maybe you want a VitaMix anyway (and if so, this is a *perfect* excuse for one ;) ). But if it were me and I *only* wanted one for baby food, I think I’d wait until I had a better idea if my baby’s eating habits would make it worthwhile.

  • andrea

    first of all, congratulations!

    second, i recently saw this study about how breast milk pumped at different times of the day contains different levels of melatonin, so that morning breast milk will help a baby wake up as opposed to milk pumped at night, which will help a baby sleep. it seems pretty headsmackingly obvious in retrospect, but not a lot of people know about it. anyway, i thought it was interesting and i thought i would share. :)

  • EroSan

    I’ve got one Q and one thing I want one thing I’d like to get out of my chest…

    I once read a story about a baby (like less than a year old) getting ill because he was fed something sweetened with natural honey… If i recall correctly it had something to do with natural honey having pollen and other stuff that the immune system of a baby could not handle yet. It has worried me ever since, so please… no natural honey till she/he is at least a year, k?

    Also… though question, but what will you do if your kid wants to eat meat?

    Anyways, congrats again (for the baby and for being so informed)!

  • Kelly

    Hey Say. I’m curious how your Vitamin D levels look. I just had mine checked and, surprise-surprise, I was quite deficient. I’m sure you know this is fairly normal these days, especially where we live, but did you know that treatment for someone deficient can mean 50,000IU once per week for 6-8 weeks and then maintenance at 2000-5000IU per day?! So if you haven’t been checked – considering all the ties Vitamin D has to hormonal balance, depression, mood swings, bone health, cancer, etc etc – I highly recommend you do or keep close tabs…although I’m sure you’re already on top of it! :o)

  • Julie

    I knew that you would be exhaustively researched and ready for all of this but let me just give you one piece of advice. Don’t hold any of your birth plan or your well-intentioned baby plans too close to your chest. There are so many things that can change or go differently than what you had planned and if you are too concerned with deviating from your plan, it will only make the unexpected complications seem that much more stressful. Just two small examples are: I very much planned on a natural childbirth but after 12 excrutiating hours of contractions without any dilation or progression, I knew that I would not have the strength to deliver vaginally if I didn’t take the epidural and I definitely didn’t want a surgical birth. Also, despite valiant efforts and near constant offerings of breast to both baby and pump, I have not made enough milk to donate, barely enough to sustain Kaya actually, and since she sprouted her first tooth she will only latch on when very, very sleepy or upset and more in need of comfort from her mama than food. I hope she will still accept breastmilk at least occasionally for quite some time as I dearly wanted to keep it up for at least 2 years. But, as I learn everyday, MY plan is not always THE plan. Okay, last thing. Kaya will be 10 months next week and we still have not purchased any clothing at all. We received her entire newborn wardrobe at the baby shower, have taken very good care of all of her clothing and have been able to trade them at a consignment shop for larger items every 3 months.

  • Still in the closet

    I just found out that I am pregnant a couple of days ago (Yippee!) so I’m only about 4 weeks along. I’m still in the closet about it but it’s great to see how things are progressing for you, very exciting!

    I was wondering how you were able to treat your UTI naturally. Cranberry supplements? Please do tell! It would be great info to have just in case…

  • Ginger Baker

    I agree with Homegrown Texan on the Vitamix point – great if you want one just to have, not really necessary if you are nursing longterm. My first got some solid food at 6 months or so, the second closer to 9 months though she wasn’t that into “real” food until 1. In both cases, we really never pureed anything. They had oatmeal, banana and steamed sweet potato at first (all very easy to much a tiny amount in a bowl with a fork in about 2 seconds) followed by brown rice and other such stuff. Nothing crazy, and all super easy on our side.

    On the natural childbirth thing, WALKING is your best friend ever. Just simple, ambling pace walking. My biggest mistake with my first was going to the hospital too early – and I knew it at the time but didn’t want to miss my much beloved midwife! – as they want to strap you down and monitor you. Not only is this unnecessary for most people (you will know beforehand if you have complications in need of more careful watching) but it both slows down labor AND makes the pain harder to manage. So just keep ambling :-) is my advice! Also, if you haven’t come across perinium massage yet, check it out. It definitely helps, particularly with the first (though if your husband assists, be warned it will be THE most unsexy thing ever). OH and listen to your body – I found out the hard way that trying to “breathe and relax” while great for the dilation and effacement stage, SUCKS DONKEY BALLS when your body wants to PUSH. Once I stopped fighting my own body, it was sooooo much easier.

    And again, my offer to chat/email/talk on any of the above and more, holds. :-) (Also, I am quite thrilled on your breastfeeding stance, I nursed both long term, as in way over 2 years!)

  • Meghan


    I think that the deal with honey and babies is that honey can have bacteria that can cause botulism. Not enough to cause any harm to a grown up, but bad for babies!

    (I don’t use honey though, so I’m certainly no authority!)

  • Farmingtheburbs

    Wow, I bet you haven’t had a single post on your blog that has warranted such in depth and thoughtful advice. You have some experienced mamas reading your blog. I applaud all of your plans and wish you the best of luck in execution. I look forward to reading more.

  • Courtney

    Wow. There’s a lot of stuff in there that I didn’t know and will probably be applying to my non-pregnant, omnivore life. Sources for those vitamins and the info about the DHA are going to be so useful! And of course if we ever get pregnant (my fiance doesn’t want any but who know what’ll happen), this post will be one of my go-to’s for info!

  • M

    Will you circumcise him?

  • Sayward

    @ J – Thanks for the comment, and I actually amended the post to include your question. =)

    As for the baby food, I will be making all my own baby food from fresh vegetables and breast milk, so I don’t really know of (or advocate) any name brands. Sorry!

    @ Homegrown Texan – Thanks for the tip, that’s really good to know and probably much closer to what will happen for me. However . . . I have wanted a Vita-mix with all of my heart for so very long! I need this excuse, haha!

    @ andrea – Wow, of course that makes so much sense! That will be particularly useful if I pump and then freeze my milk, or even refrigerate it for Damian to use in a bottle. I’ll definitely be labeling ‘morning milk’ and ‘nighttime milk’. Thanks!

    @ EroSan – I have heard that honey is a no-no for children under 2 (and also for pregnant women). I think it’s because of the small risk of botulism (food poisoning), which is why women are supposed to avoid soft cheeses when pregnant. Luckily, neither cheese nor honey is vegan, so it’s not something I have to worry about! =)

    I answered your other question by adding it to the FAQ. Great question.

    @ Kelly – Thanks for this comment, it reminded me to double check the labs I’d had done before I got pregnant. I had received the ‘yay you’re healthy!’ card in the mail, but I wanted the actual numbers. I called and spoke to my doctor and confirmed that all my levels were within the normal range. I was especially glad to hear about my Vitamin D, because I was tested before I began taking any sort of supplement, and at the end of last winter. Since then I’ve had a lot of sun and began supplementing regularly, so I think I’m good. But thanks for the reminder and the motivation to make that phone call!

    @ Julie – You’re right of course, and I totally agree with you to a certain extent. I believe in being prepared and I know that I can’t be too emotionally invested in one way, because I need to be adaptable in all things regarding parenthood.

    On the flipside, I very much believe in the power of setting your goals with confidence. For example, I told everyone I knew that Damian and I would be getting pregnant – so much so that I would say things like “Yeah! Let’s grab another drink tonight, because next week I’ll be pregnant.”

    People always laughed at me when I said things like that, and of course it’s true that we could have had fertility issue, or missed my ovulation, or whatever. But we didn’t. We actually did get pregnant that week, exactly when we said we would.

    I think there’s a healthy balance between being prepared, and being clear with your intentions. Ya know?

    @ Still in the closet – Oh yay! Congratulations!!! That’s so awesome, but I very much understand the fragility of those first few weeks. Try to relax and enjoy it though!

    I treated my UTI in a combination of ways. Firstly, just with tons and tons of water. This part is crucial. Like, you should be peeing at least once an hour if not more. Cranberry is also great. I didn’t use the cranberry extract pills, though I have heard great things (my Midwife endorsed them too). I just bough the 100% pure cranberry juice (ack expensive! but think of it as medicine . . . ) and drank a glass a day. FInally, I did a high dose of vitamin C, 1,000mg 3X per day for 3 days. I think this is what really knocked it out. But, there has been some correlation between high dose vitamin C and early-term miscarriage, so you may want to investigate that before you give it a go.

    Congrats again!

    @ Ginger Baker – Thank you! This is all such good advice. Some of it I have considered (I spoke to my midwives about birthing mobility, long-term labor, and NO fetal monitoring, all of which they are fine with), but it’s really great to hear other people’s experiences. Like, so comforting. =)

    Also I have not really looking into perinium massage – I assume this is to help with tearing? I am planning to insist on no episiotomy, so I’m interested in natural ways to avoid tears. I’ll check this out for sure.

    Thanks so much again!

    @ Meghan – Yup, I think that’s the deal. But like you, I haven’t really investigated since it won’t apply to me.

    @ Farmingtheburbs – I know, I feel SO incredibly lucky. I swear my readers are some of the most thoughtful and intelligent people out there on the internet.

    I am truly so fortunate. =)

    @ Courtney – That’s great to hear! Of course this info is good for non-pregnant and non-vegans as well. =)

    @ M – I added your question to the FAQ, thanks for asking! See answer above.

  • Shira

    It makes me so happy to hear about your research and your self-and- baby care, Say. All the thoughtful questions and comments from your readers and friends leave me hopeful for the next generation. I especially resonated with Julie’s thoughts, having known YOU as a baby and how determined you were in your own path, I cannot but imagine that you and D will have a son with equal determination to set his own course. But a Big Yes to intentions and a Big Yes to Your intentions, in particular.

  • Amycat

    Oh my! I’m totally psyched for you! It’s such a positive thing to see someone so passionate and well educated on the topic of vegan pregnancy! I’m only 19 and a long way off thinking of having kids but it’s a huge inspiration to see you do this with all your heart and with such passion.
    And also, I thought you’d like to know that you are my total life inspiration. I’m not yet a saintly as you are, but I know looking up to you can only lead me to great places! So thankyou!!

    <3 Amy

  • Juile

    Sayward- Just wanted to thank you for the absolutely awesome and informative post! As a woman who hopes to have children someday, I found it really helpful, and I share your views on a lot of items. I think you will have a wonderfully healthy, happy and intelligent son with the methods your are using for pregnancy and life. I think a lot of the reason so many children have hyperactivity and attention disorders these day is because of what they eat and what they’re mothers ate (or didn’t eat) when they were pregnant. No one really knows what all those chemicals, preservatives, and fillers do to the brain, especially in children over the long term. Our grandparents certainly weren’t eating fast food, energy bars and drinks, and pre-packed microwavable food 2-3 times a day. And I think the generational issues that are presenting themselves as we progress show the benefits of simpler eating and living. So excited for you and the Mr!! And I couldn’t agree more, positive healthy intentions are helpful and shaping for our future! Best wishes!

  • Jenny B. did I not know you were pregnant:) Lets see belly pix in the fashion section:) CONGRATS sweets! You are in for the best ride of your life. xoxoxoxo

    PS boys are so much fun!

  • Kiri

    Congratulations to you both on your pregnancy. =) While I’m here I’ll just say I’ve been enjoying your blog for the past few months too. =)

    I’m not vegan, I’m celiac but I use meat minimally in my diet and am always on the lookout to find viable substitutes that are gluten-free. Which brings me to the reason I’m posting. I’d like to hear more about your experience with DHA substitutes and micro-algae.

    Lastly I love my vita-mix (if you think you love it now JUST WAIT) and have some nice baby recipes if you’d like them. Let me know. =)

  • Sayward

    @ Shira – Thank you! But I don’t know what you mean, I was an angel baby I’m sure . . . ;)

    @ Amycat – Thank you sweetie! Saintly, I’m not so sure, but I do try my best and it means the world to hear that I am inspiring others to live more mindfully. So thank YOU! You give me so much hope!

    @ Julie – I couldn’t agree more. I believe so strongly in ‘food as medicine’, but that also means food can be toxic as well. I can’t even begin to imagine what we will learn about the preservatives, chemicals, and ‘enhancers’ that are found in so many foods these days, but one thing’s for sure: they won’t be going into my kid! No way. =)

    @ Jenny B. – Thanks! I do have some belly pics up if your interested, on Bonzai here, and then there’s a full-on timeline here. And yes, I’m sooo excited to have a little boy!!!

    @ Kiri – Thanks! I’m planning to write a longer article on DHA, but just anecdotally I can tell you that both my husband and I have noticed an increase in energy and general happiness since we began taking it. I feel like my skin has been better and a few other little things, but of course it’s hard to parse what affects what. I’m pregnant, so I’ve got all kinds of crazy chemistry experiments going on in my body. I don’t really know which action (or natural occurrence) is responsible for which reaction (or coincidental occurrence). But I do have an article in the works!

    And I’m jealous of your Vita-Mix!!! Haha

  • Salekdarling

    If I am ever able to get pregnant, I’m hoping to plan my pregnancy out the way you are! I’m currently infertile but I’m working on that by eating less junk food, more healthy food and exercising. I’m attempting to get my fiancé to do the same thing. I told him that being healthy would better our chances at getting pregnant in the future but he’s such a stubborn man. It’s going to be a battle with him to do a natural pregnancy *sigh* Round 1: FIGHT!

    My fiancé is probably 100% the complete opposite of me. You’d be amazed…but I love him! Basically he thinks that anyone who is trying to better themselves and help the earth are all hippies… When in fact I think we’re just ethically awesome. ^_^ He’ll convert to my ways soon enough. Ha ha ha!

    I look forward to every little update on your tiny lentil. <3

  • Sayward

    @ Salekdarling – Thanks sweetie, and good luck to you in your journey. Diet can play a *huge* roll in fertility, as can positive thinking and living an ‘ethically awesome’ lifestyle!

    But truly, my love and good thoughts for you. Please let me know how it all goes.

  • Lisa Hoffman

    Sayward! You are Soooooooo AWESOME! And I am very proud of both you and Damian. I knew you would do a great deal of research on the subject of motherhood, nutrition and birthing and the results are fantastic! So many *right-on* comments here. YES, you will experience things you did not expect and it may be very uncomfortable and cause you some distress. I’m excited to hear that you are submitting to the process so well, but that’s what makes you just that much more intelligent – you know there will be things beyond your control and you will roll with the punches and make the best of your experience. You’ve got it wired! Well informed and ready to take Mr Toad’s wild ride! I’m looking forward to learning more about water birth, I have always thought it would be just PERFECT but didn’t know anyone who experienced it. Also, by the way, I’m glad there will be “help” on the other side of the door (just in case!) But I knew you were too smart to risk any unexpected complications. Good for you two, you are such a great team! Hey, I used a small hand grinder for Damian when he started solid food. He ate pretty much what we did, and I followed his lead on what to give him. He seemed to enjoy all the different textures, colors and flavors and liked most everything. We steamed our vegies and they were easy to grind up. It felt good giving him fresh food! I nursed D for around 9 months and had used a bottle on-and-off so that my Mom & D’s Dad could help at feeding time. D decided at around 9 months that the bottle was pretty good and started to prefer it. I missed the nursing more than he did, it’s such a special time for mom’s! It was clear that he was an independent little man and off to his own adventures. I LOVE your articles, keep it up sweetheart. Love to you and your sweet, new family! Mom

  • Sayward

    @ Lisa – Thanks Mama! You are amazing and I LOVE you a million!!!

  • Crystal D’Angora

    Why the Placenta is an invaluable part of postpartum healing for both mother and child~

    Placenta Encapsulation:
    Traditionally, placenta capsules are used to help:

    · Balance your hormones

    · Enhance your milk supply

    · Combat Fatigue

    · Increase your energy

    · Prevent signs of aging

    Studies show that placenta is extremely nutrient rich, high in iron, protein, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6 and of course, your own natural hormones, making it perfectly made for you, by you. Experts agree that the placenta retains hormones, and thus reintroducing them to your system may ease hormonal fluctuations.

    Placenta capsules may help to:

    · Recover more quickly from birth

    · Bring the body back into balance

    · Prevent and treat the “baby blues”

    · Lessen postnatal bleeding

    · Increase postnatal iron levels

    Some even believe it can help:

    · Build baby’s immune system

    · With life’s many transitions

    · Weaning from breastfeeding

    · Regulate hormones during menopause

    I first learned of mother’s ingesting their placenta as a supplement after childbirth while in school for Traditional Chinese Medicine, this has been in practice in many cultures for thousands of years. Almost every mammal ingests their own placenta after the birth, sometimes even ignoring the young until the placenta has been completely ingested.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine has used placenta for thousands of years to augment the qi (energy), nourish the blood, and augment the kidney essence. In layman’s terms, it brings the body back into balance, replenishing what was lost during childbirth. In China it is also used for debilitating chronic diseases and widely used as an anti-aging treatment, as well as a variety of other ills, including fatigue and insufficient lactation.

    In many cultures the placenta is considered the tree of life, and indeed, without it life would not be possible.

    *When and How is it Prepared?
    Ideally, the placenta is prepared as soon as possible after delivery, allowing you and baby to benefit from the most potency the placenta has to offer. The first two weeks are the most important and effective time to be taking the placenta, so, the sooner the better. Directly after the birth, the placenta should be placed in an enclosed container in the refrigerator or in a cooler of some sort if you are in the hospital, until it can be taken home and placed in the refrigerator. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, after 48 hours it should be placed in the freezer. However, I am usually there within the first 24 hours to begin the process. And although it is advised to begin taking placenta capsules as soon as possible after delivery, placentas that have been properly frozen, meaning that they were frozen just after delivery and have been double-bagged and protected from freezer-burn can also be encapsulated up to 6 months after birth. Although you may not be getting the postpartum benefits, these capsules can be saved and used for the baby and you throughout the years for any type of transition in life or trauma and can also be used for mommy later in life while transitioning through menopause, using your own natural hormones.

    Adhering to the strictest standards of safety as set forth by OSHA and the EPA and conforming to local health department guidelines for food preparation and safety protocols, the preparation process is always done in a sterile environment, using sterile equipment, with love and patience and infused with healing mantras, giving you the greatest quality and care you can ask for.

    The first visit I make to your home, taking about 2 hours, the placenta is prepared for drying, it is then left to dehydrate for several hours. I return the following day to begin the encapsulation process, taking about an hour and a half. You can then start taking your capsules right away for the maximum postpartum benefits!
    Happy birthing!
    Go to link for local Placenta Directory

  • Sayward

    @ Crystal – Thanks for the awesome info lady!

  • Melisa

    It’s so great to stumble across someone so much like myself, though your life seems way cooler. (; Not that you need it, but i want to encourage you that you’re totally on a wonderful path. My own healthy veg*n pregnancy led up to the drug-free delivery (in a birthing center, with a midwife, but with the swat team on the other side of the door) of my healthy 9-lb, 2-oz baby girl. With the encouragement of my local La Leche League chapter, I overcame breastfeeding hurdles, and to this day my baby does not get sick. Also, my BumGeniuses have hung in there for TWO years! Your enthusiasm for socially-conscious living renews my own. Thank you! Oh, and P.S., I love Tom Waits, too!

  • Sayward

    @ Melisa – Thank you lady! And thanks for sharing your beautiful story – sounds like you’re living my dream. =) It’s so great to hear from someone who’s been there.

    And yay Tom Waits love!

  • Sarah

    Just wandered over from Apartment Therapy to look at your dish soap / dishwasher detergent recipes, loving the sodium acetate explanations (I’m also a biologist), and feeling simpatico about banishing harsh chemicals from my house… and here I find that we have the EXACT SAME estimated conception AND due date! Wow!!! I’m also expecting a baby boy, happens to look a lot like yours at the top of the page. :-)

    Totally with you on the breastfeeding, cloth diapering, no plastic baby stuff (!!!), and yes to wooden toys strategies. I hope things continue to go well for you… looking forward to future updates. Will be checking in again.

    So, greetings from a gal with a parallel pregnancy on Boston’s North Shore!

  • Sayward

    @ Sarah – Oh WOW, that’s crazy! Hello fellow eco-fabulous biologist! So awesome. =)

    And that’s crazy we share a conception and due date. Are you familiar with Mothering Magazine? It’s an awesome resource, and they also have a pretty active online forum with TONS of info on all these sorts of issues. They have a ‘due date club’ forum for all us March 2010 Mamas. You should check it out!

    It’s great to hear from someone in such a similar position. Stay in touch!

  • Minna Toots

    I have a question about molasses, maybe you know more about it. I looked for an equivalent of ‘blackstrap molasses’ in our eco stores and I found this: which seems to be ‘sugar cane molasses’ in Afrikaans (or Dutch or sth), there’s no information about iron or calcium content on the jar but the label in Estonian says that it has a high mineral content. So I’m wondering, could it be the same thing as ‘blackstrap molasses’ or is it in fact just ‘sugarcane molasses’ which – as far as I understand – don’t contain as much iron? I also read that article about the difference between those two: .

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Minna,

    So I looked into it a bit and as far as I can tell, I don’t know how to tell if that’s Black Strap or not. It doesn’t have nutritional stats on the back? I’m sorry, otherwise I don’t know how to know.

  • Jennifer

    Hey Sayward, I started lurking in your past posts (been reading for about a year or two now) and wanted to read some of your pregnancy posts. You mention that you started to read “What to Expect When Expecting” and I wanted to get your opinions about it. I keep hearing how “alarmist” it is and other negative reviews. I have found the book very informative and helpful and keeps a broad range for the american reader (conservatives, granola crunchy, to science based) Just curious what another fairly well educated science based girl thought of it.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Meh, I think it’s fine. Not the best pregnancy book, but certainly not the worst. I think any smart person would be able to read that book and figure out how to modify the recommendations to fit their life, ya know? Sounds like that’s what you did, right?

    I think it gets a bad rap because it’s so old and considered from a different era or something.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for the feedback. I do find the writing a little- uh- tacky? I downloaded the app and the author does the most bubbly videos. She used the term “your sweet fetus” and I just don’t think you can make the word fetus cute and adorable. XD

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Haha, yeah exactly! It’s very like, midwest/middle America mom. Not for the modern ladies, ya know? =D