So, I know a lot of you probably didn’t catch my little surprise announcement in my last post, but I am pregnant again! In fact, I am 23 weeks pregnant. If you have followed my blog for a little while then you know that I do in fact have a daughter who is 11 months old. These two kiddos will be 15 months apart in age and baby number 2 is a little boy.
Why Are You Just Announcing It Now?
With my last pregnancy I broke up my posts by trimester and talked a lot about how to navigate pregnancy with autoimmune disease and following an AIP or Paleo diet while pregnant. So, why I am I just now sharing this pregnancy news now you ask? Well, I am human and while we are very excited about this new little addition I struggled with feeling self conscious about how others would react to the news. Having children close in age is often met with judgement and as I adjusted to the news, I needed to give myself some space to process free from the reactions of others. Also, as is often the case with subsequent pregnancies life is busier and it is harder to find time to sit down and write when you have an active 11 months vying for your time. All of that being said, I feel incredibly blessed to have gotten pregnant a second time. I believe wholeheartedly that pregnancy is the result of being in a state of health and when I think back to the darkest days of my autoimmune struggles and the anxiety I felt over the possibility of not being able to get pregnant at all, I feel nothing but lucky and blessed.
Have You Felt Differently With This Pregnancy?
Yes! In almost every way. When I first found out that I was pregnant again I started to panic, remembering how sick and uncomfortable I was the first time around. I did not know how I was going to continue breastfeeding, doing nightly wake-ups and taking care of an under one year old while going through that level of sickness again. God is good though because this pregnancy has been totally different. I had some nausea in the first trimester but it was much easier to manage and I only ever actually threw up a couple of times (probably less than I did in one day of my last pregnancy). I was much much much more tired in my first trimester this time, which I’m sure is a combination of hormones, not sleeping as much, and the general toll of being pregnant twice in two years. However, as soon as I hit my second trimester my energy went back to normal and I felt great, not something that I could have ever said last time. I have also had crazy crazy dreams this time and much less weight gain (probably since I am not sick and wanting to carbo-load 24/7).
Have You Had Any Autoimmune Issues So Far?
Unfortunately, yes. I definitely went into an immune suppressed state that led to remission during my first pregnancy and it seemed to stay that way through much of this past year of breastfeeding. However, over the past month or so I have started having more ulcerative colitis symptoms and am battling a mild flare that I think is probably the result of some misguided supplementation, an over-indulgence in reintroduced foods and fluctuating hormones caused by changes in breastfeeding. This is new territory for me since, like I said, I was symptom free during my last pregnancy, but so far it seems like this flare will be able to be managed through diet and lifestyle adjustments and an increase in self-care.
What Have You Done Differently So Far?
Many things have stayed the same, I go to regular chiropractic visits. I see a midwife for prenatal care. I take the Optimal brand prenatal vitamin . I take regular epsom salt baths to help with aches and swelling. I still follow the same AIP template for my diet as I always have. I have focused on exercising differently during this pregnancy. With my first pregnancy, I focused a lot on diet and my exercise mostly consisted of walking and yoga. That being said, I struggled more with weight gain/loss than I expected to and I felt like my muscles became much weaker and out of balance as a result of the pregnancy than I was expecting. So, this time I am focusing more on strength training. Nothing major, but I do a 30 minute routine with hand weights 2-3 times a week that focuses a lot on squatting and lunging which are great movements for pregnancy. I allowed myself a few more temporary reintroductions like white rice and some goat cheese during my first trimester when I was struggling with nausea, something that I agonized over the first time, but it made life simpler this time and as soon I started feeling better I removed them again. Outside of that, most things have remained the same.
Are You Breastfeeding While Pregnant?
Many of you may not be asking yourself this question, but this is a topic that so few people talk about I wanted to include it. The answer is yes. My goal was to breastfeed Baby Girl Sweet Potato for a minimum of 12 months because there is so much research supporting the life-long benefits of breastfeeding for gut and immune health. As is true to my nature, as soon as I found out that I was pregnant I started researching how breastfeeding would be impacted and much to my frustration I found almost nothing. The information I did find was less than encouraging and primarily focused on mothers who were nursing older toddlers. Many women find that their milk supply decreases significantly by the midway point in their pregnancies and only returns in the third trimester in the form of colostrum. To prepare for this I started to pump milk regularly to build up a stash that could help us work through part of all of a dry spell that might arise. However, I am happy to report that so far this has not been an issue. I certainly don’t have the oversupply that I used to have, but between the milk that I am able to make and solid food Baby Girl Sweet Potato has continued to grow nicely and without any issues. I did supplement with this calcium/magnesium supplement for much of my first 20 weeks, since there is limited evidence to show that this can help reduce the hormonal impact on a milk supply but when the bottle ran out I stopped using it and I didn’t see any change in my production. Breastfeeding during pregnancy is not without its challenges, namely soreness and discomfort, but all in all I feel like things have gone as smoothly as possible so far and I am so incredibly thankful for that. I highly recommend the book Adventures in Tandem Nursing to anyone else who finds themselves in this same situation. It is the only true evidenced based resource that I found helpful.