How to Prepare for Pregnancy With Essential Oils

Aromatherapy is a game changer. When it comes to managing stress and PMS pain, very little comes close. It's amazing how quickly a couple of drops can banish cramps and mellow a haggard soul.

I love singing essential oils' praises. So I was beyond excited when one of you lovely readers asked how to use essential oils to balance your hormones and prepare for pregnancy. Thanks for the post idea; you know who you are! This one's for you.

Wanna know how to use aromatherapy to create a more fertile and fruitful body and mind? Read on.

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Book Review: Expect the Best by Elizabeth M. Ward MS, RD

From cover to cover, Elizabeth shares great advice about what to eat before, during, and after pregnancy. The highlight of the book for me were The Words of Motherly Wisdom sprinkled throughout the book where real life mamas share insider tips to manage some pesky pregnancy problems or just offer an encouraging word.

You'll find information on food safety, meeting your nutrient needs, eating for twin pregnancies, preconception nutrition, and recipes.

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Pregnancy and Fertility Friendly DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash

If you've read any pregnancy books or food safety articles online, you've probably been admonished to "thoroughly wash all produce" more times than you can count. That's because as healthful as fruit and veggies are, they can harbor not so healthful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. All of which could make you and your baby sick.

Fortunately, cleaning produce is not difficult to do at all. Honestly, a thorough rinsing with clean water, followed by drying with a paper towel is pretty darn effective for most produce. But there's something even more effective.

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Mediterranean Lifestyle Basics for Optimal Fertility

Next month is my second favorite month of the entire year (October for some inexplicable reason has always held the top spot in my heart.) I love May! For one, May is Mediterranean Diet Month. It’s also the month our attention turns to mothers and motherhood. And if you didn't know, I'm kinda obsessed with maternal health and women's health in general. Mother's Day serves as a reminder of the amazingly complex ways a mother’s body shaped her child before, during, and after her pregnancy.

At first glance, a connection between the Mediterranean lifestyle and maternal health isn’t readily apparent. But if we look at the research, we’ll find the former has the potential to positively affect the latter.

Before we dig into the impact the Mediterranean lifestyle has on fertility and maternal health, let’s define the Mediterranean lifestyle. 

What is the Mediterranean Lifestyle?

The Mediterranean lifestyle includes the delicious and healthy eating pattern, a focus on fun functional movement, and the social habits of the traditional Mediterranean way of life. There’s plenty of research which details health benefit after health benefit related to following the Mediterranean lifestyle.

The healthy eating pattern is all about eating:

  • plant based meals full of fruit, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, herbs, and spices.
  • ample amounts of healthy fats from olive oil, seafood, nuts, and seeds.
  • limiting red meat and refined sweets

The other equally important parts of the lifestyle include:

  • weaving enjoyable movement throughout our days
  • spending time with people we like and love
  • participating in activities that light us up

It’s pretty clear why the Mediterranean lifestyle is associated with improved health. And good health is one of the cornerstones of optimal fertility.

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Making Peace With My Period

Warning, oversharing ahead...

I lay on the floor, behind our orange velvet couch. Curled up like an infant, I gripped my belly in pain. My only thoughts, "I'm dying, I don't want my mom to worry. I'll just die here behind the couch." Melodramatic much?

My mom found me. And it turned out I wasn't dying. I was just having my first period. Oh!

Now, before you judge me, my mom, or the California school system, just know I had already read and reread the menstruation pamphlets from my pediatrician's office at least 10 times. My mother had already had "the talk" with me. And my teacher had already walked us through the wonders of puberty.

But somehow, everyone forgot to tell me how much it might hurt. And I failed to connect the dots. Blood in cotton bloomers and cramps = period, not death. Good to know.

After our first meeting, I was afraid of my period. I dreaded its arrival. Excruciating pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting certainly didn't fill me with the warm fuzzies.

Unable to use tampons, I had to wear bulky pads. Which may have been ok if I wasn't an active kid. In the SoCal heat, a bulky pad was far from comfortable.

It wasn't until I was 19 that I was able to successfully insert a tampon. While the menstrual product problem was solved, the painful cramps and tummy upset continued to kick my butt.

My PCP offered me the usual: birth control pills and NSAIDs. Though I turned down the BCPs, I happily accepted the suggestion to pop painkillers at the first sign of my period.

First I tried Midol. Total waste of time and money. Then Tylenol. A little better but I needed more. Finally, I tried Aleve. It worked like a charm... until it didn't. 

After years of bliss, Aleve turned against me. Suddenly, it stopped alleviating my pain. Worse yet, I would vomit nearly immediately after I popped that once magical little powder blue pill. 

I was 26. I had suffered for 15 years. And I was over it.

Tired of the pain, tired of missing work, and tired of assuring people I wasn't pregnant when I inevitably upchucked at work, I finally took matters into my own hands. I turned to the three things that never fail me in a crisis: prayer, Google, and PubMed.

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Pregnancy Nutrition Guide

My obsession with women's health nutrition began as an obsession with prenatal nutrition. So putting together this guide was a bit like being reunited with an old pal.

Food and nutrition during pregnancy are uber important. What you eat during this time affects how you feel, your health, and the health of your baby. Not only that, food can also be a powerful ally in your quest to remedy some of the not so pleasant pregnancy symptoms.

So whether you're experiencing constipation, morning sickness, heartburn, all the above or none of the above, food is your friend during this time. 

I hope this info helps you make food choices that support a healthier, happier pregnancy. Plus, simplifies the often overly prescriptive and complicated advice women are given about nutrition during pregnancy.

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What You Need to Know About Marijuana and Your Fertility

I've been putting off writing this post for awhile now.  

Mary Jane, weed, pot, Bobo bash, no matter what you call it, marijuana can be a very polarizing topic. And I tend to steer clear of controversy, at least in my online life. 

When you talk about cannabis, folks tend to assume you're a pothead. Add in my fro, fondness for boho fashion, and love of essential oils, and it's easy for people to assume I must be.

Truth be told, aside from the time in elementary school when my older friend (who had much older friends) rolled sugar, pepper, and dried grass from her backyard in a sheet of loose leaf paper and offered it to me as a makeshift dooby, I've never been offered a smoke of anything, nor have I ever smoked anything. But just because I choose not to, doesn't mean I'm completely against others choosing to.

There are medically legitimate reasons to take it. And it's the most used recreational drug in the US. Nearly half of the US population has tried it at least once. With more and more states decriminalizing its use, medical marijuana going mainstream (heck, even Whoopi Goldberg has medical cannabis line of products for menstrual issues), and Well + Good dubbing cannabis as one of THE wellness trends to watch in 2017, I'm sure its use is only going to continue increase.

Before we get started, remember I'm not here to pass a moral judgment, I just want to provide you with the info. That way you can make a decision that's right for you, your health, and your fertility.

That being said, I would be an awful healthcare practitioner if I didn't say, the American College of Gynecologists strongly encourages women to avoid taking or using marijuana in all it's forms while TTC, pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Alright, let's jump in and answer your questions about fertility and marijuana.

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