My Pregnancy Survival Guide

My Pregnancy Survival Guide

This post is also available in: Suomi (Finnish)

It’s been almost nine months since I gave birth to my little boy, but I thought I’d go back in time and talk a little about my pregnancy. I’ve actually been meaning to share this post a long time ago but only now got around to make it happen haha. So let’s dive in.

Pregnancy. It’s funny how it’s something so wonderful and I’d say even magical, but at the same time it can be absolutely awful. There are so many emotions you go through while growing another human inside of you, and so many physical changes too. It’s a lot to take in! I remember how scared I was at the beginning that something bad would happen, and then how excited I was when I felt the first kicks, but I also remember being so tired that I had to take two naps a day to make it till the evening (now those naps feel pretty luxurious though haha). In the end my pregnancy went quite well (me and my boy we’re healthy, which I’m forever grateful for), but still it wasn’t an easy one: the morning sickness, tiredness, anemia and different pains and aches made me feel pretty exhausted most days which lead me to try a lot of things in the hopes of improving my wellbeing. And now I finally got around to sharing all those things with you in the form of this post. So here’s a pretty extensive list of my tips and favorite things that helped me stay (pretty) healthy and get me through my pregnancy. So all you mothers-to-be out there, I hope you’ll find this post useful! :)

My Favorite Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy | tuulia blog

Let’s start with my least favorite thing in pregnancy, the morning sickness. First of all, it shouldn’t be called morning sickness, as it’s was more of an all day sickness, at least for me. I suffered from a pretty severe nausea and heartburn at least half of my pregnancy, and let’s just say that it wasn’t fun at all. I thought I’d be this glowing pregnant lady, but in reality I was more of a bread-eating sleepyhead with dark circles under my eyes. Besides trying a few different tricks (read them below!), one thing that made me feel better was to give myself the permission to just simply eat the foods that I was really craving for, and not to think too much about what I should be eating. Though I usually love salads, healthy treats, and am mostly plant-based, during my pregnancy that was not the case. I just wanted all the comfort foods! Cereal, pickles, mashed potatoes, fish fingers, pizza, and tons of bread were more like my thing. Even the smell of lentils got me puking, so I didn’t even try to eat them (sometimes even the smell of rice boiling made me ill…so weird!). Luckily I did love smoothies the whole time, so I added some greens in my smoothies so that I wasn’t completely living on potatoes and bread. And funnily enough just after I had given birth, I started to crave fresh food and all the healthy things! So just know, that you won’t be living on those weird cravings forever :)

My Pregnancy Survival Guide

My tips to relive morning sickness and nausea:

Eating small meals often: It might seem funny, but eating usually relieved my nausea and heartburn, so at some point I was eating every one to two hours. Small snacks throughout the day helped a lot, and I also made sure to eat a small snack just before going to bed and then again first thing waking up in the morning.

Citrus fruit: Luckily fruits were one of my cravings and especially citrus fruit relieved some of the morning sickness. I ate them as they were, squeezed some lemon to my water, and sometimes I even cut a lemon / lime / orange into half and just smelled the scent of citrus. It sounds weird but it works!

Acupuncture wrist bands: I read somewhere online about these acupuncture wrist bands and quickly went to buy a pair. They look like regular wristband but the point is that they press certain acupuncture points in your wrists, which is supposed to ease nausea pretty quickly. I’m not sure if they were super efficient, but I was ready for any help I could find. I wore my bands during the day when the nausea was at its worst and sometimes during the night too!

Fresh air: This is a such a simple, yet very efficient way to make yourself feel better. A short stroll outside in fresh air made me feel a lot better, the key was just to get myself out of bed to enjoy it.

Diffuser + essential oils: There were a lot (A LOT!) of smells that made me ill, but luckily a couple ones made me feel good too. We have a ZenSense diffuser in our bedroom and I used a lot of essential lemon oil in it. Sometimes I even added a couple drops of the lemon oil to my pillow before going to bed.

My Pregnancy Survival Guide

I usually have a pretty vast variety of superfoods in my cupboards but I stopped eating some of them while pregnant (you can read more about my favorite pregnancy superfoods in this post), and instead added some dietary supplements into my diet. Taking good quality probiotics daily was essential for me, as the pregnancy hormones messed up with my already sensitive stomach. Another important supplement for me was iron, as I was diagnosed with anemia after the first trimester and so I tried to be pretty diligent in taking  a good quality iron supplement daily.

My go-to nutritional supplements:

Probiotics: Vivomixx probiotics, Puhdas+ probiotics and Bioteekki Probiootti Plus.

Multivitamins: Terranova Prenatal Multivitamin Complex* and Wild Nutrition Food-Grown Pregnancy.

Vitamin D: Puhdas+ Vitamin D, D-Pearls Vitamin D and Wild Nutrition Food-Grown Vitamin D.

Magnesium: Terranova Magnesium Kalsium Complex* and Puhdas+ Magnesium.

Omega 3: Puhdas+ Premium Omega-3. Note: If you’re taking an omega 3 supplement while pregnant, it is recommended to quit taking it about a month before the due date.

Iron supplements: Futmed Natural Red Iron , Terranova Easy Iron*, Salus Floravital* and Wild Nutrition Food-Grown Iron Plus*.

When buying supplements, remember to always check that they can be taken while pregnant. If you use a lot of different supplements, it’s also good to check that you’re not taking too much of certain vitamins (for example a pregnancy multivitamin might have enough of folate so that you might not have to take it separately).

My favorite tips for a healthy pregnancy | tuulia blog

Cosmetics:

Pregnancy usually effects the skin at some level too, some might be lucky enough to glow for the most time, but others get acne, hormonal pimples, eczema, or something else as fun. Luckily for me it wasn’t that bad, but still my eczema got worse at times, and I got a bit more zits due to the hormones. Whenever my skin is acting up, I treat it with natural cosmetics, salt baths and scrubs, and sometimes with facials too. Here are a few ways I took care of my skin while pregnant!

Dry brushing: I’d been dry brushing my skin occasionally for a few years, but got really into it while I pregnant as I had read that it could prevent stretch marks. Dry brushing kept the skin of my legs and arms super soft, which was really nice, and it also relieved some of the swelling I got on my legs.

Oils: I started to oil my body regularly probably the minute I’d taken the pregnancy test to keep my skin well and to prevent stretch marks. And despite all of my good efforts, I did get stretch marks to my breasts but actually not any to my belly. So maybe some of that extensive moisturizing did really help! My favorite oils were this organic almond oil* and MÀDARA’s Infusion Vert Firming Antioxidant Body Oil*.

 Homemade Body Butter: In addition to the oils, I used my homemade body butter, which is super moisturizing. So it really did wonders for my belly, breasts, and legs.

Weleda Baby Derma Nappy Change Cream*: I’ve been battling eczema for years and this baby cream has been a favorite for years. The cream has zinc and it soothes irritated skin well, so it’s a nice natural option for cortisone.

My Pregnancy Survival Guide | tuulia blog

To read:

Since the early stages of my pregnancy, I remember wanting to read all the pregnancy articles out there. Because everything was so new, reading things was exciting and also made me feel more confident with the fact that maybe those weird feelings or strange physical symptoms I was experiencing were actually normal, and just belonged to certain stages of pregnancy. So I definitely recommend reading some stuff, but also know that it can be pretty overwhelming when there’s SO much information out there. So it’s good to also know when to stop and just be okay with the fact that you don’t have to know absolutely everything and also that there is no such thing as a perfect pregnancy. We are all different and have our own ways of fostering these tiny little humans inside us.

The Bump AppMy favorite pregnancy app to track baby development and read articles about pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, and baby care.

Pregnancy books: I ended up getting Nurture and The Natural Pregnancy Book. I also recommend reading a book about baby sleep, as there are things you can do already when the baby is little so I maybe wouldn’t wait until you’re absolutely sleep-deprived to search for information (like I did!).

My Pregnancy Survival Guide | tuulia blog
Things to get:

I tried to buy as little as possible, as all the baby stuff took so much space already, but some things very really helpful already in the beginning of my pregnancy. I also recommend getting these second hand if possible!

Belly Armor Belly BlanketThis soft blanket is designed to protect your baby from wireless radiation from cell phones, laptops, wi-fi and other smart home devices. Maybe it’s not a must thing to get, but at least it didn’t do any harm! And later on it’s been a handy blanket to have around for the baby to lie on.

Doomoo nursing pillowThis has been great while breastfeeding, but I also used my nursing pillow a lot while pregnant too! It helped me to find a comfortable sleeping position especially in the final days when it was so hard to find a good position to sleep.

Exercise ball: This is originally meant for working out, but my exercise ball was a great helper to my back pains and for the contractions, as it’s a comfy spot to sit on and give some movement to the lower back and hips. Later on my exercise ball was also a great helper in soothing our baby, as he loved the bouncy movement and bouncing with it saved me from doing a thousand squats a day!

Belly Bandit Support Band: I got this band to relieve my back aches and used it while working out and also just for walks outside. It didn’t remove all of the pain, but it did help me to move around more easily. Belly Bandit also has a lot of other models too which are worth checking out!

My Pregnancy Survival Guide | tuulia blog

Exercising:

I had this image of myself being a super active pregnant women working out regularly, so that I’d be in a really good shape for the labor and upcoming baby life. But oh well, that turned out to be a total hallucination haha. At first my nausea was so strong that I couldn’t get out of bed and rather slept than did anything active. And it was actually a lot better that way! But as the weeks passed, I luckily started to feel better and more energized, and I really wanted to work out, so I started to go to the gym and to some exercise classes. In my third trimester I also went to prenatal pilates and yoga, and those classes focused more on gentle movement rather than getting a sweat on.

Piloxing: / Himo Club: Last year I got really into piloxing, which is a combination of pilates, dance, and boxing and I went to classes throughout my pregnancy too (meaning whenever I had the energy to do so). It was a great workout and totally adaptable to pregnancy.

Prenatal Pilates: / Kirppanat: A class designed to expecting mothers with simple yet efficient exercises.

Prenatal Yoga: / Manipura: These classes were super chill (sometimes a bit too chill for me), but the course also had two prenatal classes about labor in the end and I thought that they were useful. If you’re into prenatal yoga, there are other courses in Pihasali, Purna Yoga and Hamila too.

Mama Bear Bootcamp: / Helsinki Core Trainers: My friend Kanerva is a fabulous coach and this class uses weights and bodyweight workouts that are designed for pregnant women.

My Favorite Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy | tuulia blogMy Pregnancy Survival Guide

Pampering yourself:

Growing a tiny human inside of you is such a big transformation (both mentally and physically) that some self care and some pampering are definitely needed. Once the nausea was gone, I suffered from a super annoying sciatica, which made even walking painful at times. But luckily osteopathy, gentle exercise and the belly bandit I had bought gave some relief. Below are also a few other tips on how to show yourself some love!

Osteopathy / Mommy & Me: My go-to place for osteopathy and I can warmly recommend both Reetta and Laura.

Acupuncture and massage / Hoitola Onni: A lovely little place in the center of Helsinki where you can get a super nice massage (with hot stones which I love) and Maippi (the owner) is sure to make you feel comfortable even in the last stages of pregnancy. I also got acupuncture treatments here twice after my due date in the hopes of getting my labor going. I’m not sure if the acupuncture did the trick or not, but at least those treatments were relaxing! :)

Floating / Float Kallio: Floating in a sensory deprivation tank is a pretty funny experience but I was so relaxed after my treatment (and my skin loved the salt water. Floating is a great way to relax especially if you’re feeling heavy or swollen.

Facials / Charmonie Spa: I’ve been going to this lovely little beauty salon for a few years already and love all the treatments that Tiia offers. She uses only natural cosmetics and it was so nice to pamper myself with a fascial just before my due date.


Sending you lots of love and health! And if you’ve got any questions related to pregnancy, labor, or anything, write me a comment below! ♡

My Pregnancy Survival Guide | tuulia blog

Photos of me at home by Susanna Nordvall
Green silk trousers by R-Collection
Black top with lace detail by Pura Finland


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