Health, pregnancy, Trying to Conceive

Acupuncture Before and During Pregnancy

The month I ended up getting pregnant, I was four month past my miscarriage, and about nine months into trying to conceive a child. I’d already gotten pregnant once, though it didn’t stick, so my doctors weren’t worried, and I knew that it would be at least a few months before I could take any concrete steps towards investigating my fertility, but I was starting to feel powerless. So I wanted to try something. So I started looking to some alternative options. I’ve already talked about my experience trying the Circle + Bloom fertility meditation program, but today I wanted to talk a little bit about the other step I took to try to take a little more control of my fertility journey: acupuncture.

20100928 AlphaCityAcupunks-5

Of course, the scientific jury is out when it comes to the efficacy of things like acupuncture. On one hand, there is some evidence that it does something, but on the other hand, there is also evidence that it might be the placebo effect. So I realize that opinions of this might vary. Personally, I chose to hope that it could at least improve my general health and quality of life, even if it didn’t “make me get pregnant.” And I will state up front that I really don’t think it had much to do with the fact that I happened to get pregnant the first month of treatment. I also went because I was interested in seeing it might have some positive effect on my chronic migraines, which were proving difficult to manage as I avoided NSAIDs while trying to conceive.

So first a little bit about my acupuncturist: He’s trained in a style of acupuncture known as the Five-Elements Tradition of acupuncture, which differs somewhat from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) style of acupuncture. Basically, the main difference is that instead of putting needles in a whole bunch of points at once and then leaving you to relax for a while, the acupuncturist generally needles one point at a time by placing the needle, pushing it in until it “connects” with the acupuncture point, and then removing the needle. He will occasionally do a couple points where he places a couple or a few needles at a time and leaves them for a bit, but he’s in the room interacting with me the entire time. We actively discuss how I’m feeling and what reaction I had to each point. This turned out to be particularly helpful the first time I went because some of the points he needled on my spine ended up making me feel really dizzy! He also uses moxa, which is a processed form of mugwort. There are different ways to apply moxa, but his technique is to place a small ball of mugwort directly on the skin, set it smoldering (he says he “lights” it, but nothing is actively flaming on my skin!), and then removing it when I say I can feel the heat.

One of my concerns with this style of acupuncture and moxa was that it seemed like it would be more likely to leave a mark on my skin, since the needles go a little deeper, and the moxa is placed directly on my skin. So I wanted to say that I have never had any marks leftover after my appointments. Occasionally, I will have a small amount of pinkness to my skin from the increased bloodflow or warmth, but it has always faded before I even get home (it’s about a 15-20 minute walk). Anyway, other than that, I thought I’d talk a bit about the specific things I’ve found have been helped by the acupuncture.

Migraines/Headaches: I’ve suffered from migraine headaches from about the time I was in college, although I’ve never found a medication that I like to relieve them. I’ve found some level of relief by changing my diet and determining what food triggers I have, but I’ve since realized that another major trigger is the weather. So I know that I will likely continue to have them at least sometimes. Not only have I not found a medication that works for me without unreasonable side effects, but I also knew, going into trying to conceive, that I wouldn’t be able to take most migraine medications if I got pregnant anyway. So one of the main reasons I looked into acupuncture was to see if it helped my headaches and migraines.

I have to say that, yes, it has definitely helped. I have headaches way less frequently, and when I do, they’re less severe. Even my migraines are often just a little aura and nausea and not a full-blown, skull-pounding headache, which is much more manageable. It’s particularly nice because severe headaches and aura can be a sign of worrying pregnancy complications, so keeping my migraines at bay has also kept me from worrying that a headache is something more.

Nausea/Digestive Issues: When I was just shy of five weeks, I was having some nausea, bloating, and other digestive issues. I also had an acupuncture appointment. I left the appointment feeling completely better. Seriously, all my early pregnancy symptoms were just gone. For like 2-3 days. I actually freaked out that it meant I was going to have another loss, until they came back later the next week. But it was amazing to me that sticking a few needles in my body could have that strong an effect. Since then, I’ve gone from having appointments every week, to every other week, and now about once a month, but my acupuncture always feels like a kind of reset of my digestive system. I always feel less bloated after my appointment, and early on in pregnancy, when I was dealing with nausea, after acupuncture was often when my appetite was the strongest. No, it’s not always perfect, and I’ve also puked right after an acupuncture appointment (though it still helped my digestion in other ways and I always felt ultimately better), but it’s been a real help in making me feel more like myself, physically.

Joint/Muscle Pain and Cramping: This is a relatively recent one, but since I’ve found that I definitely need to sleep on my side, I’ve found that I have pain my hips from the pressure of my body on my hip joint while I’m sleeping. But since mentioning it to my acupuncturist, he makes sure to treat the hip joint, and I’ve found that my hips are less achy. Even though they still get sore in the middle of the night, they recover faster and I no longer hobble around half the day while my aching hips work out their kinks.

Additionally, I started getting Charley horses in my calves around 20 weeks, sometimes really painfully. I’ve started eating a banana every day to help, but I still sometimes have some mild cramping. At my last appointment, the acupuncturist placed a needle in my leg and while connecting with the acupuncture point, I felt the sensation go straight through my leg, to my calf, and then release completely, relaxing my calf muscle after the needle was pulled out. Since then, my calves are much less crampy.

Congestion: This one is somewhat related to headaches, since most of my non-migraine headaches are due to congestion, but I thought I’d mention it separately. It’s really, really disconcerting to have needles placed in your face, but the effect is undeniable. Especially in the aftermath of my summer cold, acupuncture along with the neti pot really helped work out some of the deep-seated congestion, plus it helps keep my general, pregnancy-related congestion at bay. Totally worth needles in my face.

Trying to Conceive: I’ve saved this for last because it was really something that I can say with any certainty was helped. But one thing my acupuncturist talked with me a lot about was my miscarriage and my lingering feelings of grief. He specifically asked about where in my body I felt like I was holding emotions around my miscarriage, and I do feel that the relaxation and care that I get from the appointments helped ease my anxiety and helped me release lingering feelings of grief. Plus, the somewhat-medical aspect of the treatment helped me feel like I was doing something to increase my chances of conceiving, despite the fact that I had no reason to believe I had an actual medical problem. Plus, it couldn’t have been a bad thing that it helped me relax during the times when I might obsess about whether or not I was going to conceive. In fact, I was so accepting and not obsessive that I hadn’t even convinced myself I was pregnant the month I ended up conceiving.

I know that acupuncture is one of those controversial things, with some people swearing by them for everything and others considering it complete snake oil. I will say, my experiences have led me to believe that there’s something to it, but I don’t expect it to work miracles, and of course I consult my doctor for acute medical problems. And, like any other body-related service, whether it’s a yoga teacher or an OB/Gyn, it’s important to find someone whose practice and personality work well with you (for example, in addition to helping my migraines, my acupuncturist is a devoted tea-drinker and we frequently end up swapping tea recommendations!). Also, make sure you find someone who has experience working with pregnant women, since there are points that are contraindicated in pregnancy (some of which you might not expect).

NB: This post is intending to share my personal experiences and shouldn’t be considered medical or health advice. Definitely ask your doctor and do your own research before getting any kind of treatment.

[Image Source]

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Second Trimester, Weeklies

Twenty-seven Weeks Pregnant

Romaine Lettuce

I’m rapidly approaching the third trimester! This week, I had the joy of serving jury duty while pregnant (spoiler: no one cared, other than the lovely women who kept offering to let me cut the line for the bathroom). I didn’t end up getting selected, and now I’m off the hook for a few years. I thought about seeing if I could get a delay because of pregnancy, but I didn’t want to deal with potentially getting called again during maternity leave, and I was feeling okay, so I figured I’d just show up. And it was pretty quick and painless. The baby did start kicking while I was sitting in the court room during the selection process, and I must have been making faces or something because I got a couple weird looks from the bailiff. But mostly, I just made sure I brought lots of snacks.

It continues to be miserably rainy, so again, the walking was a bit reduced, although I did manage to walk around a local street festival in the pouring rain on Sunday. That was… fun. I was glad to get home, get into dry clothes, and curl up under a blanket with some tea and warm cookies (chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, for the curious). Monday was jury duty, followed by working from home in the afternoon. The rest of the week has pretty much gone as usual. I had my acupuncture appointment this week on Thursday. I’ve been going just once a month, although he does a really good job of helping my general body soreness and bloating, so I might pick up the frequency a little later on. I think I’ll write a more detailed post about why I’ve appreciated my acupuncturist before and during this pregnancy, later on. Finally, I ended my week by attending a wedding with my husband and his family. Not only did I feel pretty good, but the bride and groom decided to spend most of their budget on the nicest set of portable toilets I’ve ever seen. Pregnant lady salutes them!

Other than that, I really feel like this is kind of the best I’ve felt all pregnancy. I’m big, but not too big, and I have almost no nausea anymore. My only concern is that I’m definitively at the point where most of my non-maternity clothing that isn’t specifically loose/flowy doesn’t really fit right anymore. I think I might need to pick up a pack of maternity t-shirts because a lot of my t-shirts are now tight over my belly, or else they hike up. I’m basically living in wide-waistband, jersey skirts, which isn’t a bad thing. But I went ahead and ordered a couple of basic black maternity dresses on Amazon the other day so that I have a pseudo-nice basic I can wear. They might even work for work, depending on the fabric when they arrive, which would be nice.

How I’m Feeling:

Like I said, this is kind of the best I’ve felt all pregnancy. I’ve found the energy to cook most nights this week, other than the night I had a theatre Board meeting, and one night when I really, really wanted a fish sandwich and figured that it was probably actually a good idea to eat some salmon, since I still can’t take my omega-3 supplement. One thing I’ve noticed is that I keep forgetting to take my vitamins in the evening this week for some reason. I guess I need to set a reminder or something.

I’m starting to get used to the feeling of the baby moving in my belly. I will say, it’s still a weird feeling. While I appreciate the reassurance, I’m not thrilled with the alien sensation of kicks and wiggles inside my own body. But I’m getting more used to it, which is good because apparently the kid is taking a Zumba class that I wasn’t invited to.

Current Cravings: Brownies, avocados and eggs, pasta aglio e olio

Exercise: 2.7 average miles/day walking, barre twice, yoga once

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Lettuce

[Image Source]

Food and Drink, Recipes

Pregnancy Cravings: Make-Ahead Easy Bean Soup

So in my “eat like a hobbit” post, I mentioned that lately I’ve been eating a lot of soup for lunch. I find that soup is easy to make, keeps for a good amount of time, is easily transported, and is a satisfying meal, especially when served with some fresh bread or cornbread. I’ve been relying on soups for my lunches for years now, and I thought I’d share the really easy version I’ve been making lately.

Since I have no problem eating meat and eggs, I don’t feel the need to eat meat every time I have a meal, but I realize I need to push more plant foods, especially beans, which are rich in the potassium, iron, and folate that I’m certainly in need of lately. I recently discovered that chickpeas have a phenomenal amount of folate. So, while this originally started as a copy-cat recipe of a bean-and-chorizo soup I had in Barcelona, I decided to change it to have more beans and no actual meat (though I do use bone broth for more protein).

This version uses a combination of black beans and chickpeas, since that’s what I had in my cabinet, but you can use any beans you like. I like it a lot with navy beans or black-eyed peas. If you’re not vegetarian, I highly recommend using the bone broth, as it adds a good amount of protein. I like Kettle & Fire brand, since it comes in shelf-stable boxes, but I’ve also used Bonafide Provisions frozen broth. Bonafide comes in 3-cup pouches, so you can stretch the soup a little bit if you use the bigger amount of broth.

I store this soup in 16-oz. mason jars in the fridge if I’m going to eat it within a couple days, or else in the freezer. Do make sure you leave headspace in the jar if you’re planning on freezing them. They defrost pretty readily overnight in the fridge, although I have forgotten to defrost one in the past, and just dipped the jar in hot water until I could release the frozen block of soup into a bowl. I simply reheat in the microwave until it’s bubbling. Typically, I can make a batch of soup on Sunday or Monday, and bring them to work to store in the office fridge or freezer for the rest of the week, which is nice. Anyway, on to the recipe.

Quick and Easy Bean Soup

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp. ghee or oil
1 small onion or leek, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp. good Hungarian paprika
1-2 tsp. garlic powder/granules
1 can of Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Roasted Garlic
2 cans of beans, drained
2-3 cups of bone broth (I used one container of Kettle & Fire chicken broth)

  1. Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the ghee/oil, and then saute the onion, carrot, and celery in the fat until they’re starting to soften. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add the paprika and garlic, and stir to combine with the veggies and oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes, drained beans, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil, and then simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed, then package or serve. Makes about 4 servings.
Second Trimester, Weeklies

Twenty-six Weeks Pregnant

kale

I know, I know! I was lazy about updating this weekend. We had a somewhat busy weekend, but still had plenty of time to sit around, so I really have no excuse. But I’m 26 weeks pregnant! Last week, I had another doctor’s appointment, at which I got my bottle of glucose drink for my upcoming gestational diabetes test, which was fun. My doctor actually uses a dye-free version of the drink, so it just looks like a mini water bottle with a big pink label on it that gives all the instructions for the test. I did make sure to remind Dan not to drink the thing that looks like a water bottle in the fridge.

The weather has also been really miserable, hot and humid in the early part of the week, and then turning to rain and storms in the later part of the week, so I didn’t get as much walking in as I usually do. But I did get to have some social time on Labor Day, plus Saturday we had our hospital tour. The nurse who led our tour was an absolute hoot, and I was one of two “overachievers” who scheduled tours when they’re not due until December. It actually really helped to tour the hospital and realize that a lot of the things that I thought I might want during birth are things that are standard at the hospital. I’m a lot more confident that I won’t need to be much of a squeaky wheel to get treated the way I want.

Other than that, I’m still just keepin’ on. I continue to feel more movement. Lately, I think it’s strong enough that I might be able to tell when I’m feeling a hand vs. a foot vs. the whole darn baby just flipping around trying to get comfortable. I totally understand.

How I’m Feeling:

Like I said, I’m feeling pretty good. I occasionally get fits of feeling lazy, but mostly I feel like me, only bigger. I still have occasional nausea, and there are still things that make it worse, but they’re fewer and further between. I have noticed that my energy is a little more finite, and it takes me a little more effort to get from place to place, so I’ve made the decision to drop down to two barre classes a week, to save energy for walking, since I have to walk to and from work, and I want to maintain my walking as much as I can.

I’ve also been pretty hungry most of the time, but I still get full later in the day. I’m still not making any real effort to eat a specific amount, other than eating when I’m hungry. I’ve had a few nights where I didn’t really feel like eating dinner, but I’m more than on track, weight-gain-wise, so I’m not worried.

My leg cramps continue to not happen, so I’m keeping up with eating a banana in the morning, plus doing leg stretches when I think of it. I guess that’s about it.

Current Cravings: Eggs and avocado

Exercise: 2.4 average miles/day walking, barre twice, yoga once

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: A kale

[Image source]

Food and Drink

My Pregnancy Diet: Eat Like a Hobbit

I thought I’d take some time today to talk a bit about how I’m eating during my pregnancy. Now, I’ve always had a pretty active appetite, probably because I’m a fairly physically active person (I mean, for someone with a desk job), but pregnancy showed me how important it was to eat frequently throughout the day to both keep from getting hungry and nauseous, and to keep up with my changing appetite. As my nausea has faded, I’ve found that I tend to be hungrier early in the day and then have worsening indigestion as the day goes on. So I need to eat frequently and healthfully at breakfast and lunch, and then eat a smaller dinner.

But in reality, three squares just isn’t going to cut it. No, my strategy has been to take a page from epic literature and eat like a hobbit.

Obviously, I was first introduced to the hobbit diet through the works of J. R. R. Tolkein and Merry and Pippin’s infamous exchange about the meals they were missing while on their quest to return the One Ring. But I first became aware of the actual mealtimes and foods associated with the hobbit diet through the blog Kitchen Overlord, where the author shares some recipes from her book An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. Looking at various other sources, and inferring based on parallels to British mealtimes, the hobbit meals are as follows:

7 a.m.: Breakfast

9 a.m.: Second Breakfast

11 a.m.: Elevenses

1 p.m.: Luncheon

4 p.m.: Afternoon Tea

7 p.m.: Supper

9 p.m.: Dinner

So for my pregnancy diet, I tend to eat as much as I can for Breakfast through Luncheon, have a snack before my evening commute at 5 p.m., and then make dinner/supper around 7 p.m. and perhaps have a little extra right before going to bed, to avoid waking up hungry in the middle of the night as much as possible. But how does this translate to actual meals? In practice, this comes out to about four proper meals and three snacks.

Well, I wake up around 5:30-6 a.m. and either eat right away or shower and then eat. Lately, I’ve been having a bowl of cereal with a banana and cashew milk, but earlier on, I would have something lighter, like an apple with some peanut butter. Originally, the point of this was to get me through my commute (and morning barre class) without feeling woozy or queasy from hunger. But lately, I wake up ravenous anyway, hence the larger breakfast. Then, once I’m at work, around 8:30 a.m., I made a second breakfast.

Second breakfast is generally more substantial, and my constant go-to is my one consistent craving: eggs and avocado. When I bring food from home, I slice up an avocado and cook some scrambled eggs in the microwave, then put both on an English muffin. If I’m coming from the gym on Monday, I’ll stop and get an avocado toast with eggs from the cafe near my gym. But eggs and avocado is almost always second breakfast.

Elevenses is usually a treat with a cup of tea, either some rustic biscuits (I like Effie’s nutcakes) or maybe a Hail Merry mini tart. Elevenses is particularly necessary on Tuesdays, when I go to yoga at noon and can’t eat my lunch early. So I can usually wait until about 1 p.m. for lunch, when I have a pretty standard lunch, usually a bowl of homemade soup with some bread, or maybe a sandwich or some tacos if I’m eating out.

Then, before my commute home, I have “afternoon tea” around 4-4:30 p.m. I often switch my true tea for a cup of my herbal pregnancy tea, and have that with another treat/snack, like for elevenses. Generally, I try to keep my elevenses treat a little healthier and allow myself a little more indulgence for afternoon tea, but it’s the same idea: something small, usually sweet, and often baked. This week, I’ve made a batch of oatmeal fruit bars for which I’m particularly excited.

When I get home, I start making dinner (supper), and lately we’ve been eating between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Food aversions, fatigue, and just general changes of taste have made our meals somewhat predictable. We eat a lot of beef chili, chicken stew, and the occasional evening fry-up. Sometimes, I’ll boil some frozen ravioli. And we generally get takeout a couple times a week, usually from our favorite Thai restaurant, a local fish sandwich place, or a Greek restaurant. Because my indigestion acts up later in the day, I’ve started making my supper a bit smaller than it once was, but I’ve learned I need to make sure to give Dan a little extra, as he only eats two meals a day, and started losing weight when I started reducing one of those meals (he’s more of a ranger than a hobbit, I think…).

Then, around 8:30-9 p.m., just before we’re getting ready for bed, I’ll have dessert, usually Coconut Bliss ice cream. It’s not really a meal, but I like to leave a little gap between our dinner and the treat so that I’m less likely to wake up in the middle of the night starving. So far, my desire to stay in bed has outweighed my need to eat in the middle of the night, and hopefully my hobbit habits of eating will keep it that way!

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Second Trimester, Weeklies

Twenty-five Weeks Pregnant

20180828-FNS-PJK-0148_TONED

The second trimester keeps on passing. It simultaneously feels like I’ve been pregnant forever and like I have forever left to go still. Oddly enough, towards the end of the week, I started feeling smaller (although I didn’t look any different), but I think that has to do with the fact that the baby grows in fits and spurts and when they’re not growing, I don’t feel stretched out and can get used to my new size for a bit.

Other than that, life has been pretty quiet and consistent on the baby front. I’ve settled into the differences in how I feel from how I “normally” feel and I’ve stopped noticing a lot of it. I’m looking forward to the beginning of fall, though, as the one thing that still galls me a bit is the fact that it does take more physical effort to simply move around than it used to, and the heat and humidity don’t help.

How I’m Feeling:

Like I said, I feel pretty consistent, if not normal. I feel movement pretty consistently, which is weird, but becoming more familiar. I had some issues with nausea this week, but I found that being a big better about my magnesium supplementation helped that. Thankfully, my increased nausea was not coincidentally accompanied by the headaches that I’ve been getting on and off throughout my pregnancy because it seems that if I had renewed nausea AND a headache, my doctor might have called me in for some tests.

But, especially in the latter half of the week, I feel pretty good. I had a minor meltdown yesterday because I do miss having real milk in my latte on the weekends, but I eventually got over it, got a macadamia nut milk latte, and enjoyed it.

My appetite is definitely a bit more variable this week. My husband commented that I haven’t really been having “pregnancy cravings” (this from the the man who pretty much has to go and get me something specific every weekend, like a McDonald’s cheeseburger (not a cheeseburger, a McDonald’s cheeseburger) or a pulled pork sandwich), but even more so than usual this week, I found that nothing really sounded good, even though I knew intellectually that I was hungry. This is compounded by the fact that I actually have a little less of a sweet tooth than I usually have, so simply trying to tempt myself with something sweet to stimulate my appetite isn’t working. But I’m eating plenty, and once I have something in front of me, it generally tastes good.

I was a little slack on my exercise this week, mostly because I took two work-from-home days instead of just one, and it was too oppressive-feeling outside for me to willingly go for a walk outside of what I needed to do to get to and from work. I’ve also decided that I’m probably going to cut back to two barre classes a week, since I’m paranoid about over-working my ab muscles. Also, since I have to go on Sunday instead of Saturday now, I’ve found that two days in a row of barre is a bit much, and I’ve felt kind of draggy the last two Mondays.

Finally, I’ve continued eating a banana every morning to help with my leg cramps and (knock wood) so far it seems to be helping. I’ve gone more than a week without one, and I haven’t been disliking the bananas too much. Plus, I’m pretty sure my favorite breakfast accompaniment, avocado, has also been helping.

Other than that, I’m keeping on keeping on. I’m curious how that’ll change in the weeks to come, as I move out of the second trimester and into the third…

Current Cravings: Fried pickles, eggs and avocado, fried chicken sub

Exercise: 2.1 average miles/day walking, barre three times, yoga twice

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Cauliflower (I’ve decided to switch over to The Bump’s size comparison because my app gave me a second week in a row of a “large” vegetable)

[Image source]

Food and Drink, Recipes

My Herbal Pregnancy Tea Blend

NB: I am not a medical professional or a licensed herbalist. Please do your own research and consult your doctor about any herbal supplements you take, especially during pregnancy. What follows are what I have chosen to use during pregnancy, not recommendations for anyone else.

Herbal teas can be tricky to navigate while pregnant. There are all sorts of restrictions and recommendations, and even conflicting information about what’s safe and what’s not. Then, there’s the fact that some of the teas that are specifically supposed to be beneficial for pregnant women are, well, not terribly tasty. Now, most wisdom is that herbal tisanes (i.e., not tea, which comes from the camellia sinensis plant) that are drunk for flavor contain such a small amount of active constituents that they’re unlikely to cause harm. But there are still proscriptions. Pregnant women are advised to avoid licorice root and certain hormonally-active herbs.

Then there are the total surprises. When I was in Barcelona, I learned that the standard mint blend that is served in cafes isn’t just peppermint or a blend of peppermint and spearmint, but also commonly contains the herb called “poleo” in Spanish. Since it smelled a little licorice-y when I was steeping up a cup of Mentha-Poleo tea one afternoon, I did look it up and found out that “poleo” is the Spanish word for pennyroyal, an herb I certainly didn’t want to consume while pregnant (it’s used in large amounts as an abortifacient).

So once I got home I decided I was going to make my own herbal blend, partly to have a more enjoyable way to drink some more red raspberry leaf (now that I’m solidly out of the first trimester, the warnings against it are less dire), and partly to have a caffeine-free hot drink to enjoy in the afternoons, especially after yoga sessions that I finish rather late in the say. So I started doing my research, as well as looking at some commercial “pregnancy teas” at the store and online. Obviously, a very common pregnancy tea ingredient is red raspberry leaf, for its supposedly uterus-toning abilities, but commercial pregnancy teas also commonly contain nettle. Personally, I don’t care for the taste of nettle tea (if I’m being totally honest, I think it tastes like overcooked spinach that has been boiled in urine), so I thought I’d make my own blend.

A side note: I will say that I’m rather enjoying Yogi Tea’s Mother-to-be tea, despite the inclusion of nettle. Although that’s probably because they tend to be rather heavy-handed with the flavoring herbs, and I find it tastes more of mint and cardamom than anything else.

While researching herbs to include in my personal blend, I decided that flavoring-levels of lemon verbena, rose petals, and citrus peels were probably safe. I stayed away from mint, although I might add it to a future batch, mostly because I find that the peppermint from Mountain Rose Herbs is often so potent that it overpowers any other flavor, and I wanted something a bit delicate and floral. And then I made the base of the tea red raspberry leaf. Interestingly enough, I get a strong hit of rose aroma and floral flavor from the rose petals, which blends rather nicely with the herbal citrus notes of the lemon verbena and peels, plus the slight tannic bite of red raspberry leaf.

Loose-Leaf Pregnancy Herbal Tea:

(A note about amounts: I used parts by weight, so the citrus peel will be a much smaller volume than the fluffier herbs. Using 1/2 oz. as a part, I got enough bulk tea to fill one quart-sized jar and one 8-oz. jar)

4 parts dried red raspberry leaf
1 part dried lemon verbena
1 part dried rose petals
1 part dried and cut orange peel
1 part dried and cut lemon peel

Mix all herbs well in a bowl and then store in an airtight jar in a dry place. To prepare, brew about 1 tablespoon of dried herb blend in 8-12 oz. of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. It’s particularly nice with a slice of lemon and a drizzle of honey.