Thursday, September 11, 2014

natural health for early pregnancy

in my garden : daisies grow alongside mint (planted in anticipation for refreshing summer drinks) / I'm transplanting aloe vera from Popa's garden; it's great for cooling the skin after long mornings at the beach

I've been seeing a naturopath for four years now, hence my preparation for this pregnancy included naturopathic herbs (and if you're wondering, they really do work). Since conceiving I've been on a pregnancy multivitamin as well as a daily dose of fish oil (recommended for healthy brain development) and have been particularly aware of my diet; hearty breakfasts, lots of nourishing broth, fruit and vegetables and an abundance of water. 

Whilst I don't write this as a naturopath or qualified natural health specialist, I thought I'd share with you the foods and rituals that I'm currently including in my every day. At 14 weeks I leapt out of the first trimester exhaustion and hence I have more energy and inclination to prepare and cook good food and put nourishing practises into place.


I start my day with a big glass of warm water infused with some fresh lemon juice. This simple tonic kickstarts the digestive system and quenches my thirst. I then take 10ml of liquid iron supplement and my pregnancy multivitamin (soon to be replaced with a pregnancy tonic that my naturopath is currently preparing for me). A protein-rich breakfast is really important and ensures I don't snack too much mid-morning. I've been having scrambled eggs with fresh herbs and a slice of spelt sourdough with a little bit of butter. Sometimes I'll have baked beans/tomatoes/mushrooms/bacon...whatever I have on hand. I fill my insulated water bottle and take it with me wherever I go (for the record, it's the best drink bottle I've ever owned and it's currently 25% off with the code biome25). 


...also known as "cup of tea" time; english breakfast or lemon and ginger are my current choices. I'll usually have a piece of fruit or some chopped up veggies with hommous and eat them whilst sitting in the sun. Vitamin D is pretty important for baby's development (and my health) and the best way to get it is to spend 15 minutes in the morning sun. I don't wear sunglasses at this time as the best absorption of Vit D is through the eyes. 


I've been making a point of cooking a warm lunch and making it my biggest meal of the day. I find if I eat too much at night my sleep is disturbed and my digestive system complains. I've been making rice with chopped vegetables, tamari and chicken broth; chicken broth with leftover roast chicken and shallots; salads with avocado, hommous and sourdough etc. Whilst I may harp on about it, broth has been such a comforting food for me over the past few months and it is, indeed, full of nutrients and minerals for baby (it also helps with the absorption of vegetables when they're eaten raw). I have at least one cup a day. 

At lunch I take a strong herbal iron tablet (blood results at 7weeks showed low iron which is a bit scary considering it was so early in the pregnancy) as well as a fish oil tablet and a tonic of calcium, magnesium and zinc (for strong bone health, increased immunity and to prevent agitated legs - my pregnancy pet hate). Thankfully I haven't suffered any constipation due to iron supplements - plenty of water, broth and a few prunes once a week has helped (I soak them overnight to leach some of the high sugar content).


A nap or short rest is still absolutely essential for me and regardless of what's happening in my day I make sure I get at least 15minutes on the couch. I also have such strong cravings for sugar come 3:30 and to be honest, a few pieces of fruit usually suffices (but sometimes there is cake). I'll often make tea at this time, too.


I start preparing dinner at about 4:30 (if I don't I lose all interest in preparing food and we end up eating a snack plate). I've been making lots of roast vegetables, soups and the occasional bolognaise/stew/pie. We have a roast chicken once a week and, if tiredness has the better of me, I'll make something really simple: avocado on toast, noodles in broth, boiled eggs etc


I don't think I can stress how important a bedtime ritual is. And an early bedtime - absolutely essential, no ifs or buts. After the children are in bed I run a bath with epsom salts (great for magnesium absorption) and once the bath is ready I add a few drops of lavender oil to calm my busy mind and prepare for a good, settled sleep. Before bed I rub my belly with this cream, make a chamomile tea and pour a big glass of water. I usually get up once in the night to use the toilet and apart from some bizarre dreams, I'm currently sleeping quite well. 

No doubt I'll write a few posts on natural health as my pregnancy progresses, the seasons change and the inevitable aches, pains and discomforts arise.

Soon I'll be announcing a fabulous online course perfect for those who want easily accessible information on natural health for pregnancy, preparing for birth and taking care of baby. It will start in early 2015 and I can't wait to take part in it! 


  1. I'd love some tips on broth making. Am a relatively new reader... Is there a post up about it?

    1. Hi Tessa,

      Yes, I've written my very straightforward recipe here -

      For a more comprehensive post I recommend you read -

      It's so easy - you really can't go wrong! x

  2. Thanks for this really interesting post, Jodi, and thanks for reminding me to drink more water (I always tend to forget this throughout the day). I'll definitely try to add some lemon juice to it.
    A hearty breakfast and homemade chicken broth sounds fantastic!

  3. Hey Jodi, I'm a new reader too, with a couple of questions! I'm 21 weeks pregnant and really suffer with agitated legs, where do you get your tonic? Also my other little ones have horrible coughs at the moment, do you have remedies to recommend? (Some of them are pretty tiny still) thank you kerry

    1. The calcium, magnesium, zinc tonic is the Floradix brand - available at most health food stores (chat to one of the staff about it before you begin). It's also a good idea to do some gentle stretches about 20minutes before you get into bed.

      As for coughs, I usually cut an onion in half and place it beside the kids' beds at night as well as rubbing eucalyptus balm into their feet and covering with socks (I use the balm from I also highly recommend this course - which will be running again soon (keep an eye out as I'll mention it on here) x

    2. Thank so much Jodi, a great help :) x

  4. Hi Jodi
    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I've been following your blog quietly for years and now my husband and I are preparing ourselves to conceive our first child, hopefully very soon. I love your philosophy and look forward to following your pregnancy tips as time goes on. I am also on a herbal tonic at the moment, which I find absolutely horrid! I'm hoping I'll still be able to cope with getting it down once I am actually pregnant...
    Amy x

    1. Hi Amy,

      I actually stopped taking a tonic in the month before conception and have only just started taking it again (at 15 weeks). Perhaps se if you can take a pregnancy multivitamin in tablet form - it's definitely easier to stomach in the first trimester x

  5. Are you taking a probiotic? It's VITAL. Metagenics LGG is the best, and recommended for pregnancy - shown to reduce allergies etc. I basically grew Clancy on broth as well. Kellie xx

  6. THE PREGNANCY DREMS!! they're sex dreams, right!!?? Mine always are ;)


    1. No, actually. In my most recent "weird dream" I was sitting at Dubai airport with Beyonce and Jay-Z and we were chatting about birth and midwifery. Weird!

  7. I really love this as a general post to keep in mind healthy habits in general! I love your approach and outlook on simplicity and clean straightforward living.

  8. Glad to hear you are over the most exhausting part of pregnancy and it's wonderful the initiatives you have taken for good health. You often remind me (a night owl) in your posts how important it is to go to bed early and also I believe I am lacking magnesium too as I get sore and irritable legs. Always such good and helpful tips here. Thanks Jodi!

  9. This sounds incredibly thoughtful and nourishing. I think, sometimes, about how well I tended to my body when I was pregnant with my little ones... And how quickly all that was left behind after they were born. Self-care can be so easily dismissed, with guilt or too-busyness, but still, it's so very important... +Chelsea

  10. This is so interesting to read! I'll surely read these posts again (and again) when (or if) I get pregnant. Very interested in that course too!

  11. I totally envy your energy and enthusiasm for healthy living. I'm 12 weeks pregnant and since finding out my energy levels have been so low and my sickness so bad that I've hardly had the motivation to look after myself nevermind my pregnancy and toddler. I've been so wiped out and I'm sure half of it is due to diet - I've been surviving on cereal and baked beans. I'm praying for a 14 week energy boost too - apparently that's when the pregnancy hormones drop dramatically (so much so it's unreliable to do pregnancy tests via bloods I'm told by a midwife) so I'm praying mine do the same. This pregnancy has knocked me for six - totally unlike my last pregnancy which was full of blossoming new life) mine and my sins), positivity and happiness. This time I'm dreadfully down in the dumps and miserable - I'm convinced a bit of healthier living would help I just don't have the energy to do anything about it.

    Pregnancy vitamins have always been impossible for me to stomach too. I need to check out your broth recipe in the hope it'll kick-start me into good living action. All the best for the rest of your journey x

    1. Oh, don't be hard on yourself! That first trimester can be intense and contrary to popular belief, it often extends to 14/16 weeks pregnant. The best thing you can do for your body and your baby right now is to let go of all guilt. You're wasting energy on guilt - choose to use that energy to nurture your body with good thoughts and intentions. I've just posted about some practical ways to ease worry and fear in pregnancy - perhaps you should read it.

      Congratulations on your pregnancy and go gently, you're growing new life! x

  12. Hi Jodi, can you recommend some teas that you like to drink and the brands? I'm 17 weeks pregnant and I've read about teas you should and shouldn't be drinking (I think i've been spending a little to much time on google, but it's my first child so you never can be too safe, right?). I just like a little direction into some of your favorites if you wouldn't mind sharing, especially for these cold Wisconsin winter months ahead of me. :-)


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