Jane is one of the mamas in our Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program. She and her husband have been married for one year and live in Miami. They are Whole30 alumni and currently working toward greater health while deciding when to start trying to conceive. Today we share Jane’s story in her own words. Do you have a Happy, Healthy Preconception, Pregnancy or Postpartum story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing for Pregnancy…
I completed my first Whole30 in 2015. Right after we got married in August 2016, I started my second round of Whole30. Towards the end of that round, I found out I was pregnant. We weren’t trying, but I was using Fertility Awareness Method (check out http://www.tcoyf.com/ for more info!) to avoid pregnancy, and was very liberal with one of the rules. Apparently it doesn’t work if you don’t follow the rules…oops!
I was already a member of HMHB and had been preparing for the time we were going to start trying to conceive with blood tests and healthy eating but wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon. Sadly, the pregnancy ended with a miscarriage around week 11. It was an emotional experience, but I came out hopeful for the time when my husband and I would begin purposefully trying. We are getting closer to that time, so in order to prepare my body I have started a Whole60.
…While Working Toward Food Freedom
Following a Whole30 lifestyle means that I am only putting nourishing, real foods into my body. It means a bit more work, less reliance on eating out, and creativity to avoid eating the same things all the time (or, sometimes just eating the same things all the time, ha!). I also really appreciate the community. Everyone on Instagram and in the Whole30 forums are supportive and a source of creativity for me.
The absolute best feeling for me is when I realize that my body and brain are not craving sugar. It is a freedom unlike any other, and I am still working on making this food freedom into a sustainable lifestyle. When I am not doing a Whole30 I do continue to look at labels and avoid additives, but sugar goes back in the coffee (despite knowing I like it without). Things without labels, like treats that get shared in my office, go back into my diet in a mindless way. But, with this extended Whole30 I have a chance to do another reintroduction and re-instate mindful eating post-Whole30. I’m hoping that it also leads to a pregnancy, and that I will be inspired to make the best nutritional choices.
The Healthy Mama, Happy Baby Program
I wanted to start learning about healthy, natural pregnancy before I got pregnant, and I wanted a one-stop shop. There is so much information out there, and I liked that the HMHB is packaged for me to avoid information fatigue! The Whole30 lifestyle makes sense to me nutritionally as well as functionally, so I imagined the information in the HMHB program would be provided in a similar style. The preconception health guide wasn’t available when I joined, but all of the information included in the programs is so helpful to someone planning to get pregnant, that I did not miss it too much. Glad to see it there now – right when I need it!
The information in the HMHB Handbook is thorough and helpful. Linking to other sources of research and information makes the viewpoints of the program seem well-researched and grounded. I really enjoy the private Facebook group too. I’m not super active yet (plan to be once baby-making commences), but I found the feedback that I got from Steph and the community so helpful during my miscarriage.
Advice for Other Women in the Preconception Phase
I follow the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) as a form of birth control. This includes tracking my basal body temperature and cervical fluid to pinpoint ovulation. I currently avoid intercourse during fertile times. However, FAM works in the reverse when you’re trying to conceive to let you know when it’s baby-making time! I believe that understanding my cycle and the times I am most fertile really helps me understand what my body is doing. Eating nutrient-dense foods can contribute to healthy fertility cycles, so FAM and Whole30, for me, compliment each other.
I’m thinking a lot about being kind to myself and preparing my body. I’m not currently an overly-active person, but I’m working to get into a movement routine that includes walking and yoga so when we start trying I’m not going into a pregnancy too sedentary. And of course, I’m doing a Whole30 and getting as many nutrients in my body as I can!
While these tips are all designed to improve general health in preparation for conception, often even the most dedicated lifestyle efforts aren’t enough to help couples conceive. According to RESOLVE.org and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, you should seek the care of a specialist if you are unable to achieve pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected intercourse (if the women is under the age of 35), or six months if the women is more than 35 years of age. You should also seek the care of a specialist if you have had more than one miscarriage. For more information, support, and resources, visit RESOLVE.org.