Best. Pregnancy. Ever.

Louisa, born 11-20-11

I completed my fifth pregnancy just 11 weeks ago. I can truly say that it was my best pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Considering that I am now in my 30’s, also caring for 4 other children, and this pregnancy was back-to-back with the previous one, that amazes me.

Although every pregnancy is unique for factors outside of our control (for example, I was not able to correlate more- or less-severe morning sickness with exemplary living), I did feel that the specific exercise and diet programs I followed in this pregnancy, particularly the last trimester, are what set it apart from the rest.

My previous baby (#4) was born at 9.6 pounds. He was not overdue. There were no complications during his birth, and he is completely healthy. However he was significantly more difficult to give birth to compared to my 7 and 8 pound babies. (And it hurt a lot.) So in pregnancy #5 I was motivated to do whatever it took to “build a smaller baby” as long as it would not harm my baby in any way.

Exercise

T-Tapp is an exercise program (developed by Teresa Tapp, hence the name) which puts you into alignment and activates the muscles for increased strength and flexibility. Although I had T-Tapped some throughout my 4th pregnancy, I really committed to doing the 15 minute basic workout 3 times each week in this fifth pregnancy. This gave me more energy, kept my lymph moving to avoid cellulite, strengthened my back to avoid back pain (even while sleeping) and helped keep my blood sugar in excellent ranges (avoiding an “over-big” baby).

A major motivator in keeping me on track with exercise was learning that I was chosen as a grand prize winner of the T-Tapp 30 day challenge (which I entered in Jan/Feb 2011) and would be attending (all expenses paid!) the Beauty Boot Camp retreat in Jan. 2012 put on by Teresa Tapp in Florida. The retreat was only 7 weeks after my baby was born, so I knew I had to exercise to the end of pregnancy to be able to tone up right away. I T-Tapped up until the day before labor started, then began some of the stretching exercises in week 5 postpartum, did the full 15 minute exercise in week 6, and was off to Florida in week 7 for the fitness retreat.

Diet

I followed the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) strictly from the middle of my sixth month up until a week before my due date, at which time I added back some complex carbs to “carb load” for labor. SCD is basically grain, sugar, and starch free…not even small amounts of lactose are allowed. Honey is allowed, and fruits, but those are the only sugars. This means you end up eating a lot of vegetables and meat, eggs and fruit. We also ate a lot of our own homemade (24 hour culture) yogurt and creme fraiche (like sour cream but even yummier), and zucchini and/or apple muffins made with almond flour.

My son’s doctor prescribed the diet as a way to improve his gut flora and absorption. However, I felt that my entire family may be able to benefit from it, and with all the work it would be I couldn’t see cooking two separate mealplans. So I put us all on it. (My husband ate grains at lunch away from home, and after a few weeks I began giving my 13 month old and 3 year old raw milk again.) My midwife had suggested avoiding carbohydrates as a way to have a smaller baby, and I felt that this diet was so packed with nutritious foods that it would be a good way to implement that idea.

The results?

I felt great.

My ending pregnancy weight was about 9 pounds less than the previous pregnancy (even though I began this pregnancy 5 pounds heavier than the previous, and I have more muscle than before, which is heavier).

In previous pregnancies I tested positive for Group B Strep, but my anti-microbial diet (SCD) along with GSE and probiotics was effective enough in altering my gut flora to the point that I tested negative at the end of this pregnancy (those of you who have tried to change the flora balance in your gut know how difficult this is…often taking years of effort).

And my baby was born at a lovely 7.8 pounds, even though she was 9 days over her due date.

Here’s a picture of me the week before my due date with my 5th pregnancy:

Full term, 2011

And here’s a photo at the end of my 4th pregnancy:

Full term, 2010

Although my 2010 pregnancy was good, my 2011 was great! Can’t you see that in the pictures?

Birth

I had my best labor and birth; much easier getting that 7 pounder out. This blog post is already way too long to launch into birth details…not that you were interested. 🙂

Postpartum

One thing I’ve learned after having 5 babies, is to take seriously the 6 week postpartum period. Stay in bed for the first week, then take it as easy as you possibly can. I was blessed to have many meals prepared for our family by friends and family. I decided to look on that as a blessing for REST, so I would take a nap in the afternoon when dinner was on it’s way. It would have been natural to me to clean house, do paperwork, or blog, but I MADE myself lay down. I’m glad I did. I needed it!

At 5 weeks postpartum I began stretches, and at 6 weeks began the 15 minute T-Tapp routine. Now a month later, I’ve been seeing my body tone up so much faster and easier than before. Louisa is just thriving; at her 6 week check up she was over 12 pounds, and she now sleeps 6-8 hours in the night. (Hallelujah!) She is solely breastfed.

Here’s a picture of me which my husband just snapped a few minutes ago (yeah, it’s not my favorite hair and makeup day, but I’m keeping it real).

11 weeks postpartum

17 thoughts on “Best. Pregnancy. Ever.

  1. You look so healthy and beautiful Bronwyn! Good job being so diligent and taking such good care of yourself (and thus your family too)! That is a very difficult thing to do in the midst of pregnancy and caring for and schooling four other little people. All I can say is “Wow”!

  2. This is such an encouraging entry on your blog! So exciting to know that pregnancies can get BETTER even as we age with the choices we make in diet and exercise. I am so impressed and will certainly remember your tips for any future pregnancies I have. I just birthed my 4th baby on Jan. 23 and I studied the Bradley method for my labor and birth this time around. It made such a difference in my experience of labor and delivery. It was so much better than my previous 3 births. So, I know firsthand that things can get better, even in something that is physically trying like pregnancy.

    1. Hi Bet! I use Basic Workout Plus 3 times a week. I did this through pregnancy, and after postpartum. During the 30 day challenge 13 months ago, I did BWOP, plus organs in place/half frogs, and lunges, balance, and thread the needle…that was 3X per week for 4 weeks.

  3. Bronwyn, did you do all of the exercises in the 15 minute workout during your pregnancy? I heard the organs in place wasn’t good?

    1. Paula, I read that too about organs in place. I did the box in BWOP, just did not press my tummy in (when she says “put your organs in place”). However, I suspect that the comment about not doing organs in place is referring to the exercise done on the back (floor) with pushing the pelvis up…certainly not to be done in pregnancy.

  4. Is there enough information on the BWOP to get you started or do you need the book too? I’m challenged by your success and thinking about starting up T-Tapp soon

    1. Christina, I think the video instruction is more helpful than the book. See if your library has the book…it’s a fun read, and you might want to trouble shoot an exercise or two…but you really don’t need it. The video is the key, because she moves you through the workout in 15 min. Good luck! Make sure you measure before you start…even if you are pregnant (growing) when you begin, you might lose inches in places like your arms…plus you’ll want to compare to now with after pregnancy measurements. 🙂

  5. Follow up comment. I started T-Tapp Basic Workout one week ago. I was absolutely shocked to find this morning I had lost 8 total inches in one week! I didn’t think I had that many inches to lose! This week I will be adding the “plus” part of the workout. Can’t wait to see the results! Thanks for the recomendation!

  6. When you started the SCD diet in your sixth month, did you start with the intro diet and go that route, or simply eating SCD approved foods? I’m only 7 weeks but I have severe recurrent SIBO and morning sickness combined with symptoms of that are kicking my trash! I’m trying to find out if it’s recommended or safe to start with the intro diet for SCD while pregnant. Any help would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    1. When I started SCD in my 6th month of pregnancy, I did a very abbreviated Intro. I followed pecanbread.com for allowed foods stage by stage, but added a new stage each day for about a week. At a week we were eating all SCD approved foods. I did this for the sake of my children, one in particular, who I wanted to do a “restart” for digestion (to alleviate constipation). We don’t have many symptoms of allergies, and that one child and I had already had allergy panels done, so we knew what foods to avoid without needing to introduce one at a time. And we were hungry…it’s a big change to go off complex carbs, because your body has to adjust to using a different type of fuel, and that fuel doesn’t last as long. In pregnancy, my body just wants calories all the time (SCD or not), and I often eat several snacks or mini meals between meals, and one before going to bed. All this felt heightened on SCD before my body adjusted to the new types of fuel, so I don’t think I could have gone any more slowly through “Intro.”
      You really need to listen to your body, and make sure you are getting enough protein, fats (both healthy saturated and unsaturated), and carbs (fruits and vegetables) while pregnant.
      I’m so sorry you are going through all the morning sickness yuk while having other symptoms. Not fun. Again, listen to your body regarding SCD at this time; are you able to handle SCD foods during morning sickness (if you are like me, it will let up around 12 weeks). I find that the most important factor for controlling morning sickness is keeping my blood sugar stable…and complex carbs eaten with protein are the best at doing that. Perhaps try to get through your first trimester as best you can to feel and function OK, and wait until later in your pregnancy to begin SCD?
      I began SCD at 6 months because that’s when I stumbled upon the diet, and I’m convinced it made a huge improvement in my intestinal health (which is then bestowed at birth to my infant). That’s a pretty short time for such a big benefit.
      I hope you are feeling better soon! Keep in touch on your progress.

  7. Im 30 weeks pregnant and the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing a whole30….kinda like your scd. I was wondering if you’d think starting the 15 min bwo would be fine this late in pregnancy. I have the dvd, just haven’t done it at all since getting pregnant. And I wonder if it would even benefit me since I’d be starting so late?

  8. Hello , Does lack of vitamins to pregnant when in the beginning of the diet (when intro diete and a long 1 stage ) ?sorry I not good at English?I am from Russia

  9. While I have never followed the SCD while pregnant, we have followed it now for over 4 yrs. The bone broth on the intro diet is loaded with minerals and vitamins and there is certainly plenty of protein so needed for a developing baby. The intro diet is not meant to be used for very long and is recommended for only a few days. There are SCD support sites on Yahoo with women who have done well following SCD while pregnant. We started it for our son who has Crohns with colitis. At pecanbread.com there is all sorts of info that can help better understand the diet as well as helping those who are using the diet for their gut health and the stages they can choose to follow. We say we are following the enhanced SCD…sour kraut and other homemade fermented foods have been added. A good friend of ours whom we get our raw organic milk and eggs from followed SCD shortly after her son was born and his colic went away and he starting sleeping 6 to 8 hour stretches. He also put on weight very steadily (breast fed only for some time). We always have the bone broth handy for soups (which are great throughout any stage of the diet) and eat plenty of veggies, fruit, SCD yogurt, fish and varying types of meat/poultry. There are no lack of minerals and vitamins….but there are SCD legal multi and individual vitamins available (Friedmans comes to mind). Don’t forget juicing if you can…no concentrates. I now eat SCD legal legumes/beans because of my IBS. I combine diet, T-Tapp/walking, lot’s of water, prune juice and OIP to keep me regular;-) SCD has been sooooo beneficial to my hormones! I wish I would have known about both SCD and T-Tapp when I was having babies 🙂
    Cheers and hope all goes well!
    Grateful for your new little life 🙂

    Therese

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