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The Cure

Michelle Marinis of Petit Organics shows us how to treat 5 pregnancy ailments naturally with food.

The Cure

Reflecting on my three pregnancies, I have many wonderful memories. It seems that everyone is always happy to see a pregnant woman and offer advice, hold doors and generally complement everything about you and your growing belly. However, for every new mom-to-be there are side effects that are not the most pleasant to endure. The good news is that most of them can be treated naturally, simply by basic diet adjustments. Read on to learn more about five of the most common pregnancy ailments that can be easily prevented by or treated with food. INDIGESTION & HEARTBURN Heartburn is crippling, particularly during the final trimester. During my first pregnancy, I had indigestion on a level I never thought possible. It was near impossible to sleep at night. Desperate for advice, I spoke to a friend who already had two children. She mentioned that she ate through a roll of Tums about every three days with both pregnancies. I beelined it to the closest pharmacy to pick some up. When I flipped the package over, I read the ingredient list: calcium carbonate, maltodextrin, polyethylene glycol, talc, powdered cellulose, natural and artificial flavor, mineral oil. Not to mention the warning: “Do not use more than two weeks straight.” Hmm…it was hardly anything I would want to consume, let alone force upon my fragile unborn child. So I set out to find a cure through whole foods. After a few days of research, I happened upon ginger root. I found that steeping pureed ginger in hot or warm water twice a day (morning and immediately before bed) literally cured my heartburn! If the spicy ginger flavor is a little too overpowering, you can use honey or coconut nectar to sweeten it up a little.

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Ginger Root Tea Ingredients: 1 ginger root, warm water & honey or coconut nectar Preparation: Peel and thoroughly wash the ginger root under cold water to remove all potential dirt. Chop the ginger into ½” in pieces. Place the ginger in your food processor or blender. Process for 5 minutes until a creamy paste forms. Add 1 tablespoon of the ginger root paste to hot or warm water and allow it to steep 5 minutes before consuming. Add honey or coconut nectar if a sweeter taste is desired. Enjoy! LEG & FEET CRAMPING Charlie Horses! Is there anything worse than getting shocked awake by lightening bolt cramps from your toes all the way up your legs? Only labor pains can top these bad boys. So, let’s talk about how to keep them from popping up during your pregnancy… potassium! A potassium-rich diet will help prevent those pesky spasms. Potassium works with sodium to control the fluid balance in your body, and they have to be in the right proportions to each other in order to work effectively. Below are some simple steps you can take everyday to boost your potassium levels.

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1. Drink coconut water. Not only does staying hydrated prevent cramping, but also the extra-high concentration of potassium in coconut water will keep cramps at bay. 2. Eat more stone fruits. Did you know that apricots have over 20 percent of your recommended daily value of potassium? Other stone fruits such as peaches, plums and nectarines, are almost as potassium dense. This includes dried stone fruit as well, so keep a few bags of dried apricots in your purse or at work for snack time. 3. Include a serving or two of salmon in your diet each week. Salmon has about 20 percent of your recommended daily value in each serving. INSOMNIA When you are pregnant, exhausted and can’t fall asleep, it may feel like your world is falling apart. Growing mommies (and babies) need their rest, and insomnia is no joke. Try eating tart cherries or drinking cherry juice about an hour before bedtime. They are among the food sources richest in melatonin, the same sleep-inducing hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. A study in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that small doses of melatonin (about 0.3 milligrams) helped insomniacs get a better night’s sleep. One cup of tart cherry juice, or about 4 tablespoons of dried tart cherries, contains roughly the same amount. Sweet cherries also contain melatonin but not as much. If the tart flavor is a bit much for you, try mixing pineapple juice with the cherry juice to even out the flavor. Sweet dreams! CONSTIPATION This is a pregnancy side effect that no one is actually fond of speaking about, but the unfortunate truth is that it happens to all of us at some point when pregnant. It is critical not only for your growing baby’s health but also for your own comfort that you maintain a fiber-rich diet throughout your pregnancy. So what foods are rich in fiber? Any type of bean or pea is a great, lean source of fiber. Navy and white beans have the highest fiber content of any food. One cup of cooked navy or white beans has a whopping 19 grams of fiber, or 82 percent of your recommended daily value. Another great option is including chia seeds in your diet. Two tablespoons of raw chia seeds added to your daily diet will offer 10 grams (or 40 percent DV) of fiber. Below you’ll find a chia seed pudding recipe that is a perfect breakfast for healthy mamas. Chia Seed Pudding Ingredients: 3 tablespoons raw chia seeds & 1 cup warm water Preparation: Whisk together the chia seeds and water in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes while the seeds “gel,” forming a pudding or tapioca consistency and voila: breakfast! If you’d like a little more flavor (like me!), just add half of a sliced banana, 1 teaspoon honey and a few dashes of cinnamon. The pudding can keep in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 10 days so double or triple the recipe and you will always have pudding ready to go. ITCHY SKIN Dry, itchy skin seems like a rite of passage with pregnancy. But it doesn’t need to be. There are two ways you can battle this pregnancy challenge: moisturizing from the inside and moisturizing from the outside. Read on for a few easy peasy suggestions. Moisturize from the inside out: 1. Itchy skin during pregnancy is caused 99 percent of the time by dehydration. One of the best things you can do is drink water, water and more water. There is even an app for that! 2. Eat more avocados. Avocados are Mother Nature’s remedy for dry skin. They are rich in Vitamins A, D and E -- all of which help keep skin smooth, hydrated and itch-free. Try to eat half an avocado each day (or every other day) to help keep skin smooth, moisturized and balanced. Moisturize from the outside in: 1. Take an oat bath! Oats have been used for centuries to treat dry skin but only recently have we discovered that it can keep the itch at bay too. Simply grind 1 cup of oats in your bathtub as the water fills then soak for at least 15 minutes. 2. Use olive oil in place of your regular lotion. Often times our lotions are secretly hiding very harsh ingredients and chemicals. Shockingly 80 percent of lotions sold in the U.S. contain alcohol – hardly what sensitive, itchy skin needs. Try using olive oil instead. It is extremely high in Vitamins A & E. Olive oil is best absorbed by damp skin so try to use it immediately after a bath or shower to optimize its benefits. “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” –Thomas Edison Main image source.

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

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I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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So you—and baby—can start getting more rest.

Ah, the 4-month sleep regression...unlike, say, your baby's first solid food or her first steps, the 4-month sleep regression isn't a milestone that many parents typically look forward to. Whether you're currently in the midst of the madness or just anticipating what might be ahead, odds are you have some questions—and some worries—about this much talked-about sleep (or lack thereof) phase.

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