Pregnancy Cravings? Try These Twelve Nutritional Trimester Approved Snacks

4 Trimesters, Twelve Snacks, 1 Growing Belly

A breakdown of nine snacks to power your pregnancy broken down into trimesters.

I often get asked by clients about what healthy snacks I ate during my pregnancy. As a personal preference, I tried to stay consistent about avoiding added sugars, highly-processed grains, and high-sodium foods. 

I was very active during both of my pregnancies and was teaching multiple fitness classes throughout, so I also had to make sure I was eating enough good, quality proteins, fats, and carbs and was very mindful of staying hydrated.   

My pregnancy tastes and food choices differed slightly between pregnancies. 

The pregnant body is fascinating, especially when it comes to cravings and aversions. It is often said that your cravings and aversions during pregnancy are a potential signal of nutrients your body needs or has too much of in order for your body to find homeostasis and provide baby with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development.

For example, I went from being a vegetarian for about three years before my first pregnancy, to quickly craving pulled pork in my first few weeks of pregnancy and being grossed out by numerous vegetables in my first trimester.

Yet, with my second pregnancy, I was grossed out by almost all meats and craved salad and fruit! 

The following snacks are of personal preference and were consciously chosen to support my needs, cravings, and comfort throughout pregnancy.

With that said, here are my top snack choices, by trimester, between the two of my pregnancies:

1st Trimester

As many women know, the first trimester can be hard when trying to eat right or eat anything at all! Sometimes I would wake up starving and want to eat everything… and some days I could only nibble on crackers just to get some food in my belly. 

Here were some of my go-to snacks that helped me deal with food aversions and helped me consume necessary calories for the day:

1. Bone Broth

Three cups of bone broth surrounded by carrots, mushrooms, herbs, and ginger set atop a cutting board.

Sipping on broth was a go-to throughout both of my pregnancies! Especially in the first trimester and the last month of pregnancy. If I ever had morning sickness and couldn’t eat anything, I could almost always sip on a cup of chicken bone broth. 

Organic Bone Broth is packed with nutrients that are great for a pregnant belly – protein in the form of collagen, healthy fats, calcium, Vitamins A & K, Magnesium, Iron, Selenium, and Zinc – to name a few.

The star of bone broth is the nutrient Collagen. This protein is necessary as our body shifts and grows throughout pregnancy – Collagen is important to help maintain the connective tissue that is stretched during pregnancy – such as the Linea Alba. 

A thinning, over-stretched Linea Alba can eventually lead to a pregnancy-related injury called Diastasis Recti. A diastasis in the Linea Alba is normal throughout pregnancy. A natural “separation of the abdominals” will occur as your belly grows to make room for baby.

However, if you let this connective tissue overstretch without maintaining control of your inner-core muscles, you are going to put more wear and tear on the connective tissue, leading to more microtears and injury down the line.

If your injury-based Diastasis goes untreated, there is also a higher risk in developing a hernia, which can cause more problems down the line.

Keeping up with your Collagen intake during pregnancy is going to help you maintain your connective tissue throughout your body.

For vegetarians or pescatarians, a variety of marine collagen supplements are becoming more widely available and still provide a variety of benefits. Just be sure they are not loaded with fillers and soy.

If you are concerned about collagen intake for a vegetarian diet, consider foods like wild rice and organic leafy greens – which both contain lots of supportive nutrients to promote muscle and connective-tissue maintenance.

Try adding some wild rice to an organic vegetable broth!

2. Flax

A spoonful of flax seed.

Flax Oil or Milled Flax Seeds are abundant in Omega-3 Fatty Acids – an essential nutrient for fetal brain development.

Caution: Flax seeds and flax oil should be consumed in moderation – about 1 TBSP per day.

Flax Seeds are packed with fibre, magnesium, postssium, protein, zinc, vitamins B6 and E, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. 

Flax is beneficial for both mom and baby.

For Mom: Pregnancy tends to lower mom’s immune system. By consuming flax, you’ll unlock some important phytonutrient protection which can provide our immune system with a boost. 

For Baby: Flax seeds are especially great in the first two trimesters since they are rich in Omega3s and Linoleic Acids – which are essential nutrients for fetal brain development – which is growing rapidly in those first few months. Did you know, your baby’s brain is already developing by week 5? And from here on out, rapid brain development occurs. 

Flax Seed or Cold-Pressed Flax Oil is best when consumed organic to avoid potentially harmful pesticides and chemicals.

Try some milled flax crackers and blend some up in a smoothie. You can get the same benefits from Cold-Pressed Flax Oil which will be found in the refrigerated section at most local grocers.

3. Berries

Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

Berries are high in Vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and folate – all of which are super important for your pregnancy. 

Folate is essential due to its role in making DNA and is essential for healthy neurodevelopment. 

You may be familiar with “Folic Acid” which is found in prenatal vitamins. Folic Acid is a synthetic form of folate and is not the same as naturally derived folate.  Folate is the general term for B9 – which can be found in Folic Acid, folinic acid, methylfolate, and food folate. 

While it is still considered important to consume a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid due to the limitations of our food industry and bioavailable foods, when possible, it is still a good idea to load up on folate-rich foods such as berries, leafy greens, beans, and citrus fruits because folate is more readily available. 

Note, those with the MTHFR gene variant and aren’t able to metabolize folic acid efficiently and will benefit from consuming folate-rich foods.

One of my favorite go-to snacks was frozen wild blueberries in oat milk as an after-dinner dessert.

Again, organic is best, when possible, since berries are known to be sprayed for pests. If you can find wild blueberries that are from a farm that does not spray their crops with harmful chemicals, wild is great, too! 

Second Trimester

1. Carrots

Organic carrots provide a great source Beta-Carotene which is converted into Vitamin A – A necessary nutrient for fetal development. (Note, Vitamin A in the form of Retinol – like in animal sources or synthetically derived – can  be harmful to a fetus when consumed in excess amounts.). 

Vitamin A is important for baby’s bone, teeth, and eye development.

For a yummy snack, crunch on carrots with creamy hummus!

Carrot sticks with hummus dip.

2. Hummus

Hummus can be a very beneficial snack during pregnancy – however, it comes with a warning.

Hummus, made from chickpeas and tahini, is high in protein, healthy fats and calcium. This dip also usually contains olive oil – a great source of MUFAs (Monounsaturated foods – great for heart health!), lemon juice– high in vitamin C and antioxidants, and garlic – also high in antioxidants! 

Take note, store-bought hummus comes with a risk of containing listeria or other bacterial contaminations. To reduce this risk, consider making your own!

Try my easy homemade hummus recipe!

3. Nut/Seed Butter with Apples

Sliced apples with a bowl of peanut butter. Some apples have been dipped in the peanut butter.

I loved almond butter with my first pregnancy and peanut butter with my second. Nut and seed butters are a great source of protein and healthy fats when you’re looking to take in a couple hundred extra calories to meet your increasing caloric needs as your baby grows. 

Bonus: Apples are high in fiber and vitamins and pair wonderfully nut/seed butters for a tasty treat to give you a boost between meals!

Third Trimester

1. Dates Dates Dates!

A bowl of medjool dates.

I loved to eat dates during my pregnancies (and still do)! 

Eating one medjool date will land you close to 70 calories per date and will provide you with some much needed vitamins and minerals – like potassium, to keep your body’s electrolytes in balance – and fiber. 

The main reason I love eating dates during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester, is for its alleged properties that influence our hormones estrogen and progesterone, which play a role in ripening our uterus and cervix. 

In a 2011 study, women who ate 6 dates a day for four weeks prior to their estimated due dates were shown to have a higher mean cervical dilation and shorter duration of first-stage labor compared to the group that didn’t consume dates. 

The study also noted that 96 percent of the women who consumed dates experienced spontaneous labor, while only 79 percent of the women who didn’t eat dates had spontaneous labors.

Try stuffing dates with peanut butter for a sweet caramel-like treat! Or if you’d rather something a little more savory, try stuffing dates with sharp cheddar cheese for a fun treat for your taste buds!

If you are on the go and needing a snack, grab a Lara Bar – which are non-gmo snack bars sweetened with dates and nuts. (The blueberry and chocolate peanut butter bars are my favorites!)

2. Green Smoothies

The top view of a spinach smoothie.

Not a fan of eating leafy greens like spinach? Blend it up! Spinach is another vegetable that is loaded with folate! Spinach will also provide you with the nutrients iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. 

However, spinach is on the “dirty dozen” list for pesticide contamination, so make sure to buy your spinach organic to help limit consumption of these nasty chemicals. 

Limit yourself to approximately ½ to 1 C of spinach per day if you are susceptible to kidney stones. Lastly, as with all produce, be sure to wash your spinach to reduce the risk of consuming harmful bacteria.

Spinach can be added to smoothies to help you get more greens if you’re not into eating steamed spinach or salads every day. 

Try my go-to delicious blueberry, spinach, and yogurt smoothie recipe.

3. Avocados

A bowl of guacamole with halved avocados on the side.

More specifically, guacamole.

I craved guacamole throughout both of my pregnancies. (I also craved salty tortilla chips to go with it!)

Avocado is a great healthy fat full of phenomenal nutrients like folate, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, and Vitamin C. Plus, they are high in fat to leave you feeling full and also provide you with the necessary extra calories to consume in your 3rd trimester. 

As for the salty chip craving, I opt for Cassava Chips to help keep gmo corn out of my diet. I like them even better than regular tortilla chips! My favorite are from the company Siete. They are super thin and crispy and are made with avocado oil. They pair perfectly with my guacamole recipe. (Ok, I’ll admit, I occasionally go for the white corn tortilla chips. Definitely buy these organic if you are able!)

Note, I do not recommend buying store-bought, pre-made guacamole or guac powders. These are loaded with fillers and preservatives to keep the guac from turning brown and sour. Fresh, homemade guac is always best. And it’s surprisingly easy to make!

Here is my favorite homemade guacamole recipe.

BONUS: Fourth Trimester, Mom’s Recovery

The fourth trimester is an important time for mom’s recovery. Your food choices are going to help nourish your body to recover more efficiently and effectively. And whether you are nursing or formula feeding, your caloric intake and hydration is still important.

1. Pineapple

Pineapple is a fantastic recovery food. It’s loaded with nutrients like Vitamin C, Manganese, and various micronutrients that are great for boosting immunity and lowering inflammation.

This antioxidant-rich food is touted for helping fight oxidative stress.

The first few days after delivering a baby can be hard on our elimination. Eating pineapple can help aid in digestion and is a great after meal dessert.

If you are planning on nursing, pineapple’s anti-inflammatory affects can help encourage less inflammation in the breast and can assist if your breasts become engorged.

Pineapple is also said to alleviate pain and aid in recovery from surgery and strenuous exercise. Pineapple juice after you deliver has potential to help limit pain from uterine cramping and post-birth discomfort.

Personally, I craved pineapple very soon after delivery and downed some organic pineapple juice along with some coconut water to rehydrate and promote healing.

Tip: Before your due date, buy an organic pineapple, wash the rind before slicing (to make sure no bacteria will contaminate the fruit when cutting) and throw it in a container or air-tight bag to freeze so you will have some on hand after delivery to throw into a smoothie.

2. Trail Mix

For a protein-rich, nutrient-dense snack that’s easy to grab and go, before labor, consider prepping a batch of trail mix to have on hand for when you are resting and recovering with your newborn.

Choose nuts with good fats and high protein, unsweetened dried fruits for a boost in vitamins, and dark chocolate chips or cocoa nibs for sweetness cravings.

3. Protein Bites

For another protein-rich snack that is already made, consider making some no-bake protein bites that you can stick in the freezer.

These are great for satisfying hunger between meals.

Try my No-Bake Chocolate PB Protein Bites recipe.

Mindful Food Choices

One thing to remember during your pregnancy, is the phrase “We are what we eat”… and if that is true, then it also applies to the baby growing in your belly (or, your breastmilk if you are nursing)!

Take care and be conscious of what you are consuming. Be mindful of harsh chemicals like pesticides and limit your consumption of chemically-processed sugar. Try baking or sweetening things with pure maple syrup and local honey** but stay mindful with how much you are consuming.

As your baby develops, they take in the nutrients you consume. These nutrients affect their growth and development. Treat your body and your growing baby with care. Find comfort in nurturing your baby right from the start by taking good care of yourself. 

Something else to be mindful of is how much you are eating and whether or not you are getting enough. Be sure to talk with your care provider about how many extra calories you should be consuming each trimester. This will vary depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, height, and activity level, among other things.

Lastly, don’t forget to stay hydrated and drink plenty of clean water throughout your pregnancy. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces and be sure to drink an extra eight ounces per 30 minutes of exercise.

Don’t Stress, Mama

Among all things, don’t be too hard on yourself. If some days, all you can take down is a a couple pieces of chocolate and a few peanut-butter crackers… don’t beat yourself up about it. Try not to let your food decisions weigh on you. Pregnancy is 40 weeks long. Some days will be easier than others. It’s ok, mama!

And if you ever have questions or concerns about what you are eating, there is no shame in seeking advice from your care provider, a friend, a nutritionist, or someone in the birthing world.

If you choose to breastfeed, be sure to check out my list of favorite snacks for breastfeeding along with what I packed in my nursing basket!

*Note: Melissa is a certified pre and postnatal fitness specialist with additional certifications in personal training and sports nutrition. Melissa is not a registered dietician. If you have any questions or concerns about your caloric intake or diet throughout your pregnancy, please consult with your care provider or a registered dietician.

**Honey is NOT safe to give to a baby under one year of age due to the risk of Botulism. However, it is safe for MOM to consume honey if breastfeeding, because botulism isn’t transmitted via breastmilk.

How Prenatal Corrective Exercise And Hypnobirthing Helped Me Labor Naturally

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or medical professional. Always consult your care provider with any health-related, pregnancy-related, birth-related, or postpartum-related questions and before performing any physical activities.

*Note: This is a BIRTH STORY and it includes some verb-age and graphic detail that might make some readers uncomfortable!

On January 11, 2019… I had an OB appointment at 38 weeks, 5 days gestation. Little did I know, it would be approximately 48 hours before heading to the hospital to deliver my beautiful baby boy. I can confidently say, how I underestimated just how important the exercises I practiced leading up to this point prepared me for the delivery I had dreamed of.

Before my OB checked me, she measured my belly and checked baby’s heart rate. She brought up talk of induction and that I had the option to schedule it. I told her I didn’t have any interest in induction – unless it was absolutely necessary. Given my history of low amniotic fluid with my daughter, I knew I had to keep an open mind.

My plan was to labor naturally – or as naturally as possible.  She said we could sweep the membranes to move things along. I declined but told her I’d consider it at the next appointment (on my due date). 

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32 weeks, baby number 2

Ready Or Not?

As she checked my cervix – which was 3 cm and 90% effaced – she again was trying to encourage induction should I make it to 40 weeks without progression. Again, I declined and told her I wanted to go naturally. After more chatter… and some miscommunication, she did end up sweeping my membranes…That wasn’t what I wanted at the time. However, I wasn’t too upset – I was eager for my little man to be born. After a little bit of discomfort, she told me it was done… Adding that labor could potentially start within 48 hours. 

As I left the office… I had butterflies in my stomach. I knew there was now a chance that I could be holding my little boy in just a few days.

Let’s back up…

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32 weeks, baby number 2

My first birth story (Abbreviated)

With my first child, I exercised throughout and had a healthy pregnancy. Once I hit 40 weeks, 5 days gestation, I was not progressing at all and my amniotic fluid had gotten “too low”, according to my OB’s standards. She said we had to induce and get the baby out. I had it in my head that I wanted to go naturally for the sake of the baby’s health and ability to thrive. I felt so defeated once induction was scheduled.

I was induced on a Monday evening around 5 p.m. and my daughter was born around 6 a.m. Tuesday – September 29, 2015. 

Labor, as it is, is no walk in the park… And when you’re medically induced, things intensify much more rapidly. So, I opted to have NOS on standby, just in case. I held strong to my plan to stay away from getting an epidural, but the NOS was nice to have nearby for when things got really intense. It wasn’t exactly the natural labor that I wanted… but I had safe delivery and a healthy baby. I was grateful she was able to be born vaginally, so she could benefit from the good bacteria in the birth canal. 

First-Timer’ Challenges

As goes the story for many first-time moms, you don’t know what to expect and you tend to think you don’t have a choice in the matter of how you want to birth or what interventions you can elect to have or deny altogether. I kept an open mind as best as I could for a natural hospital labor, but didn’t realize there were certain procedures or exams I could have denied. Looking back, I would have requested more of an explanation and reasoning for the procedures that were administered.

That being said, I was just excited to meet my baby. I didn’t care too much about how to get the baby to come out!

Side note:

I am absolutely not judging ANYONE who elects to have an epidural or drugs during labor and delivery. And sometimes – they are absolutely necessary! Simply put, if I could avoid using those interventions, I was going to. They’re just not for me.

I see it as this: One intervention can lead to other interventions and more drugs… and I just wanted to avoid it altogether. Also, I have a sensitivity to being poked in the back and fear I wouldn’t be able to stay still when someone is touching my back and placing a giant needle in my spinal column!

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Our daughter, Alex, helping us announce that we were having a baby boy!

My Second Birth Story

With my second, membranes were swept midday on Friday, January 11, 2019. I went home and tried to treat the rest of the day as I normally would. We sent my daughter to my in-laws house that night so that hubby and I could have some alone time before the arrival of the new baby… and also to help me remain in a relaxed state so that I didn’t have to stress about taking care of our daughter. 

When we woke up Saturday morning, I felt some mild contractions but they didn’t have any rhythm and weren’t too strong. We decided to try and help move things along ourselves and were intimate that morning. About an hour afterward, I definitely noticed things starting to pick up. 

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Labor begins…

Remember To Relax!

I did my best to relax and carry on with our Saturday… I ate a light breakfast, sat on my birth ball and watched some Conan and FRIENDS. Although things were picking up a bit, it still wasn’t too intense, so my husband picked up our daughter so she could spend some more time with us before baby’s arrival. As soon as he got home with her, my contractions intensified and got really close together. She was home for only about an hour before we decided to send her back to his parent’s house. 

The contractions were so close together now… They were consistent for more than an hour, so I told my husband maybe we should go to the hospital. 

To The Hospital!

As we drove, I noticed my labor was regressing. Though my contractions were strong, consistent, and very close, I should have picked up on the fact that they weren’t unbearably strong – something I clearly forgot about from my last labor!

When we got to the hospital, I told my husband that maybe we should turn back and that I don’t think it’s actually time. However, he suggested, ‘hey, we’re here, let’s just get checked out.’ Long story short, I was still only at 3cm, but now about 95% effaced. We headed back home. 

Back At Home…

I took a warm shower to help me relax, ate some light dinner, and we watched a movie. 

When I went to bed that evening, I could feel things slowing down again, which was disappointing. So, I put on my headphones, listened to my Hypnobirthing meditations, and just breathed.

 I remember getting up around 2 or 3 a.m. feeling like labor had just stopped. I was bummed. At this point, I was so anxious for this baby’s arrival! But I reminded myself to stay relaxed and let my body do it’s thing. As I sat in bed wide-awake, I decided to start Googling: What to do if labor feels like it stops… I found a lot of useful things I think helped a lot. One YouTube video suggested sumo squat holds – so that baby would put pressure on the cervix. I did a couple of sumo squat holds for 5 minute each and then did some side-lying positions in bed and relaxed some more. Shortly after, I noticed things starting to slowly pick back up. 

The Next Morning

That morning, I lost more of my mucus plus and felt more mild contractions. 

Since we didn’t have much food in the house, my husband suggested we go grocery shopping to take our mind off of things. As we walked around Trader Joe’s, I concentrated on my breathing. We moved slowly through the store… and every now and then, I had to stop and rest. 

When we got back in the car, I knew labor had kicked back up into gear. It seemed the more I took my mind off of labor, the more labor progressed.

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When we got home, I sipped on some chicken broth and nibbled on some crackers. I put FRIENDS on the TV, sat on my birth ball and just told myself to let go, stop thinking about labor, and laugh. This was at around 1 p.m. As I watched I could feel things leveling up. I decided to get down on the floor and to lean forward on my birth ball while sucking on a lollipop. The contractions were now getting to the point where I had a more difficult time talking through them. I also started noticing the contractions were in my low back – something I did NOT have with my first baby. 

Back Labor

I had always heard “back labor” was horrible. Everyone who has said that is absolutely right! I started becoming really uncomfortable. I asked Tim to bring me the heating blanket to help ease the back labor. For about an hour, Tim rubbed my back during each contraction to help take some of the pressure off. This helped a lot! Around 3:30 p.m., I told Tim I think it’s time to go. Contractions were less than 3 minutes apart, about a minute long each, for well over an hour. I had a hard time talking through them and I felt ready. 

This time, when we went to the hospital, I did not feel myself regressing. 

Back At The Hospital

I saw one of the same nurses I saw the day before. I told her: This time, I was ready and not going home! She checked me… I was barely at 4 cm! I couldn’t believe it. At this point, I was frustrated but still confident. The nurses monitored me for an hour, just as they did the day before. They said I was then 100% effaced, but hadn’t dilated anymore. Also, that the contractions were definitely strong and consistent. So they recommended I walk the halls of the hospital and they’d check me again in about 45 minutes. 

We took a couple of laps, I ate a popsicle (thanks awesome nurses who offered!) and then headed back to the room about 15 minutes before they wanted to check me again. I decided to do some more of the sumo squats I had done the night before. I sat in them for just a few minutes at a time so that I didn’t wear myself out too fast. This definitely helped. But the next time she checked me, there was still no change. Ugh. Again, I felt defeated. But I knew I felt different and that my body was doing its thing. 


They told me I had the option of going home or being admitted. Knowing how my labor went with my daughter (slow at first and then zero to 60 once in active labor), I thought I should probably stay. I didn’t feel like going back and forth, even though I would have been more comfortable in my living room… My husband asked if I was eligible for the labor tub, since he knew I wanted to use it. They said I was… So we asked to look at the room with the tub and then we’d decide if we wanted to be admitted. Once I saw the big tub, I decided we should stay so that I could get comfortable and zoned in. This was around 6:30 p.m.

I was so glad I was eligible for the tub. Once we got in the room, I met my nurse and told her we wanted to get in the tub right away. 

Best Labor Nurse Ever!

Our labor and delivery nurse, Shane, was the best nurse ever! She took into account my labor plan fully and just let me do my thing. She got me set up in the tub, made sure I was comfortable, and told us she was going to give us some time. 

Labor Tub

As soon as I got in the tub, I turned on my meditation music, took out my essential oils, and felt my body zone in. I breathed through each contraction with purpose, told my body to let go, and visualized my uterus doing its job to open the cervix. Guided meditations came to mind, which I had learned in my Hypnobirthing book. I used these along with my own personal affirmations. I had my tools and they were working! Within about 45 minutes in the tub, something happened. Not to be to graphic (but hey, this is a labor story, after all!), a big clot of blood and mucus came out. Seeing this energized me. It reassured me I was doing the right thing to keep things progressing smoothly and comfortably. 

I felt empowered now! Shane came in, removed the mess in the tub, and left me to continue doing my thing. At this point, she hadn’t checked me, but I’m going to assume I had dilated a bit more. 

Out of the tub

After about what I’m guessing was an hour and a half or so in the tub, the back labor really started to get uncomfortable and I felt like I needed to move around or get into a new position. Shane came in, helped me out of the tub and she checked me again. I was between 5 and 6 cm at this point – not exactly where I wanted to be, but at least I was making progress! 

Shane hooked me up to the monitor so they could keep an eye on me and the baby for a little while. I sat on the ball and put my music back on. I had Tim plug in my heating blanket and wrapped it around my lower back. 


The back labor at this point was kicking my ass, so I had Tim massage my low back with each contraction just as he did at home. He stood with me for about an hour doing this. At this point I was so distracted by the back labor (It had me swearing and saying “I just want this baby out” and “I can’t wait until this is over!!) that I totally had forgotten to concentrate on my breathing and was letting the pain in my back get to me. 

Time To Zone In

I reminded myself to zone in on the breathing techniques and affirmations I learned in Hypnobirthing. Tim noticed I became a bit more relaxed again and decided to take a break. 

I clearly had zoned in because he went and laid down on the couch for a few minutes. I could see he was getting tired (Ha, if only men knew what being tired during labor was!)… I’m not sure what time it was at this moment, but let’s just say it was likely around midnight now. Tim was passed out and I was in my own world breathing through contractions. The affirmations going on in my mind got me through each one. 

Breath And Affirmations

As I started to feel a contraction coming on, I began telling myself to ‘open and release’ and that ‘I can do anything for one minute’. I breathed, I circled my hips, and I meditated. Between each contraction I would put my head down on the bed and rest. It was like I was doing an interval workout! I’d get the work done, rest, and repeat. Breathe, “I can do this”, and relax. 

Getting Tired

After about an hour of this, Shane came in to check on me. She asked how I was feeling and if I needed anything. I told her I was starting to get tired, so she suggested dropping the end of the bed so that I could lean forward and rest on the bed between contractions. I attempted doing that for about 10 minutes or so, but it wasn’t comfortable, so I got back on my ball and continued as I had before. After about 30 more minutes or so, I felt like I needed a new position to rest and to relieve some of the back labor.

Shane came in and helped me get into a side-lying position and put a peanut ball between my legs. I did 15 minutes on one side before I needed to move to the other side. As it was so uncomfortable, it made it hard to rest between contractions. 

Side-Lying For The Win

Shane came back and helped me turn over to my other side with the peanut ball. After about another 15 minutes, I needed to get back up. As she got me out, she wanted to check me again but I told her I first really needed to go pee. So she helped me to the bathroom. As soon as I sat down, shaking, I peed and then immediately, it felt like I had to go poop – I knew the baby was down now. 

I told her how I felt and she got me into the bed so she could check me. She smiled as she told me I was just about at 10 cm! Shane said she could feel the baby’s head and that he was really low. She said my water was still intact, but that if we broke it, she guessed he wouldn’t take too long to come out. She left to contact my OB and get things moving along.

Momma Zoned-In, Daddy Zoned-Out!

Remember how I said my husband laid down to rest? Well, that was around midnight… It was now almost 3 a.m. He slept for nearly 3 hours while I labored! I was clearly in my own world because I didn’t even really notice him in the room!

My OB arrived shortly after 3 a.m. She checked me and explained the procedure to break the water. I laid back and she ruptured it at 3:15 a.m. 

Time To Push!

My OB then left the room to prep for delivery. She was only out of the room for about two minutes when I felt ready to push. As I like to call it, my body went into its “demonic, out-of-body state” and I couldn’t help but push. Shane paged the OB and told her I was ready.

My nurse laughed as the OB asked, “well did you check her?” Shane replied, “Well, she’s pushing so I think she’s ready!”

He Wants Out!

During all of this, the delivery team was assembling things to prepare for delivery. As soon as my body went into “let’s push” mode, you could see the nurses scrambling to finish getting everything ready!

My OB came in and they helped me get into the squat position (though, I was pretty much already there!) and as I requested in my birth plan, they let me push on my own while “breathing the baby down”. I tried my best to just let my body do its thing. 

I wanted the baby to crown for a little bit of time to help stretch things out down there… But it took only 3 contractions before he shot out. I couldn’t hold him in any longer! 

He’s Here!

At 3:25 a.m. baby Boy Ellis was born. Just 10 minutes after she broke my water!

I’ll never forget seeing him come out and gently fall into the bed. It was surreal watching this. The image will always be ingrained in my mind. (Unfortunately, with my daughter, the OB had me deliver on my back and I didn’t get to see her come out.)

They immediately scooped him up and put him on my chest. I was instantly in love. After about 30 seconds, they had Tim cut the cord. I was so involved with staring at the new baby in my arms, I wasn’t really paying attention at this point, but I was hoping for a longer delay before they cut the cord. At any rate, nothing else mattered now. My baby boy was here!


In my birth plan, I requested that the baby immediately be put on my chest after delivery and to stay there for at least an hour. They asked if they could proceed to check him while he was skin-to-skin with me. I allowed it, and they did their thing while I just stared at him. After about 15 minutes or so when the nurses were out of the way, I offered him the breast, which he immediately took. He ate for about 10 minutes on each side.

I Was In Heaven

After about an hour, my nurse took him to be weighed, measured, and swaddled. She handed him back and Tim gathered our things so we could head to the recovery room.

Shane was chit-chatting with us as we were heading to recovery and she said to me, “I’m not gonna lie, natural births scare me a little! They’re so unpredictable! But you did amazing, you were so laid back and chilled out!” I laughed and told her she was the most amazing labor and delivery nurse. I thanked her for being so laid back about everything and for keeping things calm and peaceful in the room for the entire process. It may not seem like a big deal, but having a nurse that goes with the flow and let’s you do your thing and isn’t pushy makes a world of a difference in labor. Tim, of course, chimed in and told her he did all the hard work! 

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Best Delivery Nurse Ever!

Thanks for everything, Shane!

Bliss And Recovery

As we were heading up to recovery, I thought in my mind, THIS, this was the labor and delivery I was hoping for and I was beyond words. Happy and in love with my little baby boy… whom we would not come up with a name for, for almost 48 hours! Needless to say, Maxwell Jacob Ellis instantly stole my heart from the moment I saw him land on the delivery bed. And with my husband by my side during it all (kinda!!), I fell even more in love with him. Our little family had grown to a family of 4… and now we were complete. 

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My Reason For Hypnobirthing 

Something both Hypnobirthing and Prenatal Corrective Exercise taught me is the power of a positive mind.

“The power of the mind: the body is merely a hunk of meat – does absolutely nothing without the mind telling it.” – Katherine Graves, KGH Hyponbirthing                       

I was adamant about remaining in as relaxed a state as possible and filling my head with positivity both during pregnancy and in labor. Around 32 weeks gestation, I started listening to an audiobook about Hypnobirthing. I came across this one by Katherine Graves. I stumbled upon it while watching a YouTube video when I was doing some research on Hypnobirthing. The reason I chose that book is simply because the YouTuber who used it had great success with it. Also, I liked that it included guided audio meditations and visualizations.          

The more I listened the more I knew it was for me! The author really drives home the importance of positivity and calmness when birthing to help keep our bodies in a relaxed state and mind. To put it simply, when relaxed, our bodies “let go” and make it easier on the baby coming out.

Guided Meditations

The guided meditations teach women how to stay positive through any discomfort and pain and how to use mind and breath to help open the cervix and push baby down. There are two breathing techniques the author refers to: the “upstage” of breathing and the “downstage” of breathing.

The “upstage” of breathing, for use during contractions (long slow breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth), is supposed to help you visualize the upper half of your uterus drawing up while the lower half of the uterus releases (and in turn, opens the cervix). The “Downstage” of breathing (Quick inhale through the nose and slowly out the nose), during baby’s transition, is supposed to help you push baby down and out. 

Once I started listening to the KGH book on audible, I used the guided meditations every single night before bed to help me practice being in a meditative and relaxed state for labor. The author emphasized how much easier it is to labor when stress is completely out of the way. Some women supposedly report feeling no pain at all during labor when using this method – Clearly, they were able to get in a much deeper meditative state than I could!

The author also points out the importance of calmness and positivity for the health of your unborn baby as they develop in the womb.

How Prenatal Corrective Exercise Ties In

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I became certified in Pre & Post Natal Corrective Exercise sometime in the midst of my second trimester of my second pregnancy. The course was so fascinating to me; I couldn’t wait to share it with everyone I knew and to start helping other pre and postnatal women!

With my second pregnancy came a whole new set of aches, pains, and discomforts. Throughout my first pregnancy, I don’t really remember feeling limited in my exercises. I was pretty much able to carry on with everything I did before. With this pregnancy, I quickly began noticing I had to restrict some of my activities. Running was no longer an option. Every single time I tried, I would get a feeling that my hips were going to separate and I would cramp up almost instantly.

I had to stop teaching my kickboxing class early in my second trimester, because it was just too uncomfortable (and honestly, not safe to continue due to the hormone Relaxin loosening all of the joints!). Teaching my cycle class was manageable, but super uncomfortable so I wasn’t teaching to the best of my ability. The only exercise I was able to continue teaching was mixed strength training up until I was about 33 weeks. And the only reason I didn’t teach beyond that was because my doctor had concerns about my placenta, so I decided to back off early and to focus on myself, rather than teaching.

Once I stopped teaching, I honed in on my prenatal corrective exercises (PCEs). I was already doing my PCEs every day… but now, I was focusing all of my energy towards them. I was paying closer attention to how they made me feel and analyzed what worked and what didn’t… And, I imagined how I would use them in labor. 

What I did:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing exercises
  • Pelvic floor Exercises
  • Hip alignment exercises 
  • CHEK 6 primal movement patterns

The exercise categories listed above are all designed to balance an “out-of-balance” body. A pregnant body tends put strain on all sorts of joints and muscles, for obvious reasons. It’s important throughout pregnancy to maintain a neutral balance throughout the body – which is exactly what Prenatal Corrective Exercise is designed to do. 

How Does This Help During Labor?  

Here are just a few benefits…

  • Helps get the baby into the best position for a smooth delivery
  • Aids in transition and pushing
  • Helps lessen the need for cesarean or other labor interventions (forceps, induction, etc…) 
  • Provides potential for more strength and endurance during labor and delivery
  • Assists in an easier recovery
  • And so much more…!
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Final Thoughts…

I can’t stress enough that EVERY PREGNANCY, EVERY DELIVERY, and EVERY BABY is different. Each woman’s capabilities are different… each experience will be different. With that said, we can all arm ourselves with knowledge and pregnancy-related exercises and practices (both mentally and physically) as we head into our pregnancies and labors.

For inquiries on how you can gain these toolsets to help you on your pre-conception, prenatal, and/or postnatal journey, book a Free Consultation here!

Together, we’ll form the corrective exercise plan that best suits you and helps you reach your long-term fitness goals. Join me in becoming the Supermom we’re all meant to be!

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