This Time, It’s Personal

One of the decisions I made when I decided to revive this blog was to start writing about things that were more personal. While I also want to continue sharing health advice for expectant mamas and their kiddos, I know that I identify much more easily with bloggers that are also willing to share some personal stuff about their own lives. Plus, on a more selfish note, I’ve always found writing to be extremely therapeutic and I know that writing about my own experiences with motherhood will help me process some of my own feelings about the difficulties I and all mothers face.

I also think there’s a real lack of writing that addresses the place that I see myself on the spectrum of motherhood. There are tons of super crunchy parenting blogs out there extolling the virtues of raising kids on seemingly nothing other than coconut oil, kale smoothies, and sunshine. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there are the blogs that promote camaraderie among the moms who constantly feel like they’re at the end of their rope, and barely make it to the end of each of their screaming, messy, chicken nugget-filled days when they can happily drink half a bottle of wine and pass out on the couch to Netflix.

If either one of those scenarios sound like you, more power to you. But neither one comes anywhere close to my own experience with parenting.

Don’t get me wrong—I love the fact that internet has enabled all of these women to share the truth of what their days look like, and that the rest of us can now get a glimpse of what parenting looks like for other real families. Until very recently, that was a luxury that most women didn’t have. They heard only what their close friends were willing to share with them, and many assumed they were the only ones struggling to balance the demands of family life.

Thank god we live in an time when we have the ability to see through the facade and can even make connections with women halfway around the world who are dealing with similar issues. I honestly don’t know how women did it without the support of the internet.

So in the coming weeks, I’m planning to share a little more about what motherhood looks like for me. From my son’s awesome birth story, to my difficult adjustment to motherhood, dealing with postpartum depression, and my troubles with breastfeeding, all the way through to my new reality as a happy, well-adjusted stay-at-home mom who wouldn’t trade her experiences for the world.

I hope you find reading about my life as a mother just as useful as I’ve found reading about others. Because no matter what our day-to-day looks like, I truly believe all mothers have more in common than not, and the more we recognize that, the better we’ll become at supporting each other despite our superficial differences.



Ah, the joys of pregnancy…

As if our bellies weren’t feeling full enough, what with the whole baby-living-in-there-24/7 thing, constipation during pregnancy can make you feel truly awful. While constipation is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms that can hit during any trimester (and definitely one of the most annoying), it’s also one of the least discussed.

There are several reasons you’re likely to experience constipation at some point in your pregnancy. The first, and most obvious, is that carrying a baby around in an already crowded abdomen can put a lot of pressure on your intestines. As your organs start to shift around to accommodate your growing uterus, things tend to get squeezed which can slow down the movement of stool through the intestinal track.

To add insult to injury, high levels of progesterone that occur during pregnancy tend to relax smooth muscle—which just happens to be the kind of muscle responsible for moving food and waste through your digestive track. As the muscles relax, transit time slows, and things have a tendency to… well, back up.

Another common constipation culprit, both in pregnancy and at other times, is supplementing with elemental iron. This is the form of iron found in most prenatal vitamins and it can cause all sorts of digestive problems in women who are sensitive to it. I’ve written on the ways that prenatal vitamins containing this form of iron can contribute to morning sickness, but they can also slow bowel transit times and contribute to constipation.

Fortunately, there are several easy, natural ways to treat constipation during pregnancy.

Switch Prenatals

If you’re taking a prenatal vitamin that contains iron and are having trouble with constipation, consider switching supplements. Many women who have adequate iron stores going into pregnancy don’t need to supplement with higher levels and can get away with taking a high quality multivitamin along with extra B6, B12, and folate (this is the combo I take during pregnancy). If you’re concerned with anemia or your doctor has suggested taking additional iron, try a food-based prenatal that contains a form of iron that is more easily absorbed by your body and less likely to cause digestive problems.

Just be aware that not all so-called food-based supplements are created equal… Since the term “food-based” is unregulated when it comes to supplements, many brands just throw a couple of true food-based nutrients into their existing mix of synthetic vitamins, slap a new label on the bottle, and jack up the price accordingly. Two brands I trust are Innate Response and New Chapter.

Change Your Diet

In addition to switching your prenatal, be sure you’re you’re getting enough veggies and fruit which contain the fiber and water needed to keep you regular. If you’ve been following the traditional advice for lessening morning sickness in your first trimester (i.e. eat lots of starchy carbs all day long to keep your blood sugar steady and avoid upsetting your stomach), your diet is probably significantly contributing to your constipation. Click here to find out what you should be eating instead to really keep morning sickness at bay.

Drink More Water

Along those same lines, drinking enough water is also necessary to keep things moving in your digestive track. Be sure you’re drinking enough to keep from getting thirsty and if you’re experiencing constipation, try adding in a few extra glasses throughout the day. Walking more can also help with constipation, but be sure to increase your water intake even more as you increase your activity level.

Load Up On Probiotics

Probiotics can also help with constipation. Try adding some full-fat, unsweetened yogurt or kefir to your diet, or add in more fermented traditional foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kvass, or kombucha.

There’s been a lot of controversy lately over whether or not probiotic supplements can be trusted after one independent research study found that many brands contained ingredients not listed on the label and another found evidence of fungal contamination. Other studies have found that many supplements don’t contain the levels of bacteria they claim to. Since researchers aren’t naming the brands they tested, I can’t currently recommend any widely available supplements and I suggest getting your probiotics from food (kefir is my personal favorite).

There are a few brands of high-quality probiotics I trust that are available through licensed healthcare practitioners. Unfortunately, they all require continuous refrigeration, so shipping on these products can often be two to three times the cost of the product itself. If you can find a local practitioner that carries them though, I like probiotics from Innate Response, Klaire Labs, and Thorne Research.

Supplement With Magnesium

If your diet is up to par, you’re getting enough activity, and you know you’re drinking enough water to prevent getting dehydrated, you might want to try taking powdered magnesium citrate. Most pregnant women are deficient in this mineral and it’s my secret weapon for combatting all sorts of pregnancy symptoms, from morning sickness to insomnia, anxiety, nighttime leg cramps, and more.

To use magnesium citrate to treat constipation in pregnancy, start by taking a half teaspoon in warm water before bedtime and gradually increase your dose until you’re having normal bowel movements that are comfortably soft, but not loose. If you get to the point where you’re taking more than a teaspoon, you can divide your dose so you’re taking half in the morning and half at night. Magnesium can also help with insomnia though, so if you’re having trouble sleeping you might find that taking your entire dose at night helps.

Take magnesium at least two hours away from any calcium supplements or calcium rich foods (i.e. don’t take it with a glass of milk). And although magnesium is usually safe to take at normal dosages during pregnancy, be sure to check with your midwife or OB before adding this (or any) supplement to your daily regimen.

Finally, avoid taking stimulant laxatives during pregnancy, including herbal formulas or teas. Many herbal laxatives contains senna or cascara sagrada, both of which are unsafe to use during pregnancy.

Number five was a lifesaver for me!


Is There Lead Lurking in Your Organic Dark Chocolate?

I’ve got some really bad news for you.

Are you sitting down?

You know that super-healthy, organic dark chocolate you’ve been eating? The stuff that you’ve convinced yourself is practically like taking a really good tasting vitamin every night?

There’s a REALLY good chance it’s got high levels of lead and/or cadmium (another dangerous heavy metal) in it.

Yep, seriously.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a new independent study that tested a really wide range of chocolate brands found that nearly every bar of dark chocolate sampled contained levels of lead and/or cadmium that are much higher than what’s considered safe—we’re talking high enough to warrant a warning label under current government rules.

This is especially worrisome for pregnant women since lead exposure during pregnancy can interfere with fetal brain development and may lead to slowed reflexes, lower IQ, developmental disorders, and other markers of impaired neurological development in babies and children exposed to lead in the womb. Additionally, exposure to cadmium has been linked to liver, kidney, and bone damage. Children and babies (including those in utero) are most susceptible to this type heavy metal poisoning and even low levels of exposure have been shown to cause irreversible damage.

Researchers aren’t yet sure what’s causing the contamination, but since the highest levels of lead and cadmium were primarily found in the chocolates with the highest percentage of cocoa, it’s likely that the heavy metals are somehow finding their way into cocoa beans during growing or processing. Because of that, while you’re pregnant (or trying to conceive) I’d recommend avoiding any brand of dark chocolate not mentioned as safe in the study, as well as cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and cacao until more testing has been done to find and eliminate the source of contamination. I’d also avoid giving your kids any of these products or those that contain them.

Two brands of dark chocolate that were found to be safe in the study were Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate (72% cocoa) and Ghiradelli Intense Dark Midnight Reverie (86% Cacao). An insane number (including products made by Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Green and Black, Hershey’s, See’s, Theo, Mars, Lindt, Godiva, and even others made by Ghiradelli) contained unsafe levels of heavy metals. For a full list of tested brands and the type of contamination found, click here.

Is There LEAD Lurking in Your Organic Dark Chocolate?

Too Many Pills In Pregnancy

Last week, the New York Times posted a great blog on the recent upswing in the use of prescription and over the counter drugs during pregnancy… The bottom line? We have no idea how most of these drugs affect the fetus, since very few have been tested for use during pregnancy.

Natural doesn’t always mean safe either, but I firmly believe that traditional remedies that have been used for generations without harm are always a better alternative than untested pharmaceuticals.

Click here to read the full blog post on the New York Times website.


Swelling and Water Retention

I’d be willing to bet that every woman reading this has experienced bloating and water retention at one time or another. Although normal hormonal fluctuations can cause fluid retention at any time, there is no time when this is more obvious than in pregnancy. In fact fluid retention in the form of swollen ankles is probably one of the most well-known symptoms of later pregnancy.

Water retention occurs during pregnancy for a variety of reasons. The first, and the one you’re probably familiar with from your pre-pregnancy days, is fluctuating hormones. The surge in hormones you experience just prior to your period is actually your body getting ready for pregnancy. The rising levels of estrogen and progesterone that occur premenstrually trigger an increase in aldosterone – a hormone that encourages your kidneys to hold onto water.

If you don’t get pregnant during your cycle, these hormone levels drop, signaling the start of your menses and allowing your body to release its premenstrual water weight gain. When you do become pregnant, those hormones stay elevated and you continue to hold onto the fluids you’ve accumulated.

One of the reasons for this increase in fluid retention is that your blood volume increases dramatically during pregnancy. This increase in blood volume really steps up in the second and third trimester, which is why it’s likely that you’ll notice a big increase in swelling during that time. Since your blood is over 80% water by volume, it makes sense that your body would need to hold onto a lot of water in order to increase the production of blood.

Making swelling worse is the increased pressure your growing uterus puts on the blood vessels that carry blood to and from your legs. One of the reasons swelling is usually the most noticeable in the legs, especially during the third trimester, is that this pressure makes it harder for your body to move blood and lymph out of your legs. Gravity doesn’t help this process and if you spend long periods on your feet, you’ll probably notice the swelling gets even worse.

So what can you do to prevent or decrease swelling and fluid retention?

#1 – Drink More Water and Eat More High Water Content Foods
I know this is one of those tips that’s all over the internet, but in this case there’s a reason for it. If you limit your fluid intake, your body will freak out and think you’re in danger of becoming dehydrated. It will compensate by hoarding every ounce of fluid you do take in.

In addition to drinking more water, eating more high water content fruits and vegetables can do wonders for fluid retention. You know the old spa trick of adding cucumber slices to pitchers of water? Well, there’s a reason for it. Not only do many juicy fruits and veggies contain compounds that can act a diuretics, the water and electrolytes contained in them will convince your body that it’s in no danger of dehydration. In addition to cucumber, melons, citrus fruits, greens, and berries are all excellent choices.

#2 – Walk More
Another well-known tip that actually works is to increase exercise, especially walking. The main way your body gets rid of excess fluid left behind in the tissues is through the lymphatic system. Unlike your circulatory system, your lymphatic system doesn’t have it’s own pump. It relies on movement to help move lymph fluid around the body. One of the best ways to accomplish this is walking.

Every time you take a step, all throughout your body muscles contract and relax, and joints flex and extend. All this movement is perfect for helping your lymph system move fluids throughout your body. While standing still or sitting can make fluids pool in your legs and increase swelling, walking actually does the exact opposite. Try getting up and walking around frequently throughout the day to decrease swelling in your legs during late pregnancy.

#3 – Cut Out Sugar and Grains
When most people think of water retention, they don’t usually think of sugar, they think of another white powdered food additive – salt. But unless you have a salt sensitivity or your kidneys aren’t working efficiently due to disease, salt probably has less to do with your tendency to retain water than you think.

A much more likely culprit is sugar. The reason for this is two-fold. One, sugar creates inflammation in the body, causing the release of many anti-inflammatory compounds, including histamine. Among other things, histamine increases the permeability of blood vessels, primarily to allow white blood cells and fluids access to areas of injury (this is one of the reasons you experience swelling when you sprain your ankle or slam your finger in the car door). However in the case of systemic inflammation (like that caused by sugar), this leaking of fluids into the surrounding tissue does not serve a specific function and can increase swelling all over the body.

The second has to do with the way your body stores glucose, one of the building blocks of sugar. If your body has more glucose circulating than it can use at one time, it converts this sugar to glycogen to be stored in muscles and fat cells. In order for the glycogen to make it’s way into the cells, it must first attach itself to several molecules of water. So in order to store extra sugar, your body stores three to four times the amount of water along with it, leading to swelling and fluid retention.

Eating grain products has a similar effect. In addition to being some of the most highly allergenic and inflammation-causing foods we consume, grains (even those “healthy” whole grains we keep hearing so much about) break down into glucose, so they’re processed and stored in the same way as glucose – along with the extra water.

Now I’m not suggesting you go on Atkins while you’re pregnant… Or anytime for that matter. You should continue to eat good for you carbs like fruits and veggies, including starchy veggies like sweet potatoes. But eliminating the excess carbs in sugar and grain products will go a long way toward enhancing your overall health and eliminating fluid retention.

Have you found any of these methods to be effective for reducing or eliminating swelling? In what other ways have you dealt with fluid retention during pregnancy?

Avoiding Swelling and Water Retention in Pregnancy

Natural Morning Sickness Remedies: EFT Tapping

Ok, I’ll be honest… The technique I’m going to share in this article is one I’m not particularly crazy about. Proponents of EFT (or Tapping, as it’s often called on the internet) claim it can cure everything from phobias and emotional traumas to dyslexia and warts. Usually, anything that claims to be a panacea of that magnitude leaves me a little skeptical, unless there’s a decent body of hard science to back it up. Most of the “evidence” of EFT’s usefulness is solidly anecdotal and I have yet to see any real proof of its effectiveness.

That being said, I do know people who swear by its ability to short-circuit physical and emotional patterns that won’t respond to any other treatment. When I was searching for relief from my own early pregnancy symptoms I came across several websites that promoted EFT as a “cure” for morning sickness. Willing to try anything once, I decided there wouldn’t be any harm in setting my skepticism aside and giving it a shot.

Now, I’m usually someone who is pretty level-headed and able to stay calm in almost any situation. But when I was still trying to get a handle on my morning sickness symptoms, I definitely had moments in which I started freaking out over the idea of not being able to work (something that would’ve destroyed my new brand new and still struggling business) or even over the irrational thought that I would never again just feel normal. What I found was that EFT seemed to lessen my morning sickness to some degree when it was at its worst and I was starting to feel panic-y.

Will EFT work for your morning sickness symptoms? I’m not making any promises with this one, but I thought I would include information on the technique in case you’re at the point that I was and you’re willing to try anything.

What is EFT?
EFT involves using your fingers to tap on specific acupuncture points located on the hands, face and body while reciting affirmations out loud. (One of the points used is KD27 which I wrote about in a previous article. Click here to read it. This is the best point for morning sickness-related nausea and stimulating it might have something to do with EFT’s effect on morning sickness symptoms.) Proponents says it “resets” the body’s energy circuits (this is NOT an idea found anywhere in Traditional Chinese Medicine or acupuncture, by the way, even though EFT practitioners often claim it’s based in TCM) and can cure all manner of ailments from mental-emotional disorders to physical diseases.

EFT How To:
The founder of EFT offers a free (if long-winded) tutorial online which does a much better job of outlining the technique than I could possibly manage here. Click here to access the free tutorial. (Just fyi, there are a million websites online that are charging for this exact same, or very slightly modified, information. Please don’t get suckered into paying for an ebook or video course on EFT when the same information is freely available to you.)

Suggested EFT affirmations:
(These will make sense after reading the tutorial.)
“Even though I have morning sickness, I deeply and completely accept myself”.
“Even though I have this nausea, I deeply and completely accept myself”.
“Even though I have this aversion to smell, I deeply and completely accept myself”.

You can substitute any other symptoms specific to you (specific food aversions, vomiting, digestive tract irritation, etc). I also suggest running through all of the points three times without stopping for each affirmation you decide to use. Once you’re done, assess how you’re feeling and repeat the process as necessary.

Have you tried using EFT for morning sickness? Did it help? Let me know in the comments below!

Natural Morning Sickness Remedies: Switching Prenatal Vitamins

Are your prenatal vitamins doing more harm than good?

One of the most common causes of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy isn’t a result of morning sickness at all… Your symptoms may actually be caused by something you probably think are doing nothing but good things for you and your developing baby: your prenatal vitamins.

Many women (including yours truly) are sensitive to the elemental iron contained in most prenatal vitamins. But unless they’ve tried taking high dose iron supplements before getting pregnant, they may have no idea their vitamins are what’s making them sick.

I found out about my sensitivity the hard way in my early twenties… I started taking prenatals in an attempt to get my hair to grow faster and soon was puking every morning before heading out the door to work. It took me a few weeks to connect the two, but once I stopped the vitamins my stomach issues disappeared almost instantly. When I asked my doctor about the reaction she told me that iron sensitivities are extremely common and to look for an iron-free prenatal.

While it’s true that your need for iron increases as your blood volume increases during pregnancy, not all women need to supplement their diets with iron. Many women who enter pregnancy with adequate iron stores have no problem keeping up with this demand through their normal diets.

Additionally, your iron requirement really only increases when your body starts to step up red blood cell production, which doesn’t occur until sometime in the second trimester. In fact, your body’s need for iron actually decreases in the first trimester since you’re no longer losing blood through menstruation. Your body’s ability to absorb iron also increases the farther along you are in your pregnancy, correlating to your increased need for the mineral.

If you’re extremely sensitive to iron, talk to your practitioner about whether or not you really need to be supplementing it. If your red blood cell counts are in the normal range and you’re not having any symptoms of iron-deficient anemia (many of these symptoms can be confused with normal symptoms of pregnancy, such as fatigue, dizziness and headache, but others such as brittle nails, mouth sores, paleness and cold hands and feet should act as red flags), you may not need to take iron during your pregnancy. Increasing your intake of red meat or cooking in a cast iron pan may even be enough to keep your levels where they need to be. If this is the case for you, rather than a true prenatal I’d recommend a high quality food-based supplement combined with extra folate, B6 and B12 (this is the combination of supplements I’ve taken throughout my pregnancy).

If you do need to supplement with iron, wait until your morning sickness symptoms have begun to subside and then try a food-based prenatal that contains a form of iron that may be easier on your stomach. I’m completely unable to take elemental iron in any amount, but have no problem with moderate doses of iron found in food-based supplements. My favorite high quality food-based supplements are made by the brand Innate Response (available online or through health care practitioners), but I also recommend those made by New Chapter which can be easier to find locally and are carried in most natural food stores.

Are you sensitive to iron-containing supplements? What ways have you found to increase your iron intake that don’t irritate your stomach? Let me know in the comments below!

Natural Morning Sickness Remedies: DIY Acupuncture / Acupressure

As an acupuncturist, it probably comes as no surprise that I would recommend acupuncture as the perfect remedy for morning sickness. I’ve been using acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting for years and there are many good points that can be used for that purpose.

One point that’s commonly recommended for morning sickness is called P6 (or Neiguan) and is located a couple of inches above the wrist on the inside of the arm. Many people even recommend Sea-Bands for morning sickness which are bands made to combat motion sickness and are designed to stimulate this point.

While P6 is a great all-purpose point for nausea, it’s not the best choice for morning sickness specifically. There is another point called KD27 (or Shufu) that is a much better (if lesser known) option. This is the point I credit with keeping me sane during my first trimester… While it didn’t completely eliminate my nausea, wearing tacks designed to constantly stimulate this point kept my discomfort to a minimum and relegated my morning sickness to the evening hours, allowing me to work comfortably all day. If I took the tacks off for too long, I’d be hit with all day queasiness that would make me want to curl up in bed all day and hide.

While I strongly recommend seeing an acupuncturist to locate this point properly (see to find a low-cost community acupuncture clinic near you), you can locate and stimulate these points on your own if that’s not a possibility.

How to locate KD27:
To locate the point, stand in front of a mirror and locate your clavicle (the horizontal bone that runs along the top of your chest and connects your breastplate to the top of your shoulders). Feel along the top of the clavicle toward the center of your chest until you feel the place where the clavicle meets the breastbone on each side. Now move your fingers down and slightly outward until you feel a slight indentation where the bottom of your clavicle meets the breastbone. Press around in this area until you find a a point that is more sensitive than the rest of this area. The sensitive point in this indentation is KD27.

How to stimulate Kd27:
There are several ways to stimulate this acupuncture point.

First, you can use basic acupressure techniques. When feeling nauseated, locate this point and use the tip of your index finger to rub it firmly, using a small circular motion. You can also press on the point, applying firm pressure for at least 30 to 45 seconds. Acupressure at this point may help relieve acute nausea, but will probably not do much to prevent feelings of morning sickness unless you are stimulating this point constantly throughout the day.

The next most effective technique is to apply seeds or beads that will keep constant pressure on the points. These seeds (commonly called “ear seeds” since they’re often used to stimulate points on the ear) are available through acupuncturists, or they can be ordered on Amazon. Traditionally the seeds used by acupuncturists are from the vaccaria plant and are attached to a paper or woven adhesive backing, similar to a band-aid. Some acupuncturists now use beads made of gold, silver, or even magnets instead of vaccaria seeds, although I prefer the traditional seeds myself. These seeds can be applied to KD27 and worn for extended periods, then replaced when the adhesive backing comes loose from the skin.

The third option, which is by far the most effective, is using tiny acupuncture tacks that pierce the skin and can also be worn long term. Similar to vaccaria seeds, the needles are attached to an adhesive backing and can be replaced when the adhesive starts to lose its stickiness. Although I highly recommend having tacks initially placed by an acupuncturist (you can replace them yourself after your initial treatment), they are also readily available on Amazon.

You may feel a small pinch when the tacks are first applied, but they are completely painless once in place. Although infection at the needling site is extremely uncommon (I’ve never seen an infection from acupuncture needles or tacks during my ten years in practice), the skin should be wiped clean with alcohol to remove bacteria before inserting the tacks.

Each of these methods can be used continuously until morning sickness begins to subside, usually around 12 to 14 weeks.

Have you tried using acupuncture or acupressure for morning sickness? Did it work? Let me know in the comments below!

Natural Morning Sickness Remedies: Magnesium

Magnesium is one of those minerals that can seemingly do no harm. Beloved by natural living enthusiasts everywhere, the lists of conditions it’s been credited with curing go on and on… Leg cramps, heart palpitations, insomnia, constipation, migraines, anxiety, even incontinence. And now we can add morning sickness to that list.

I’ve read several explanations regarding the mechanism by which magnesium lessens the symptoms of morning sickness, but frankly, none of them really stand up to close scrutiny. The most popular theory I’ve run across online credits magnesium’s ability to lower cortisol levels. While it’s true that magnesium supplementation has been shown to reduce levels of this hormone, cortisol production actually peaks later in pregnancy. That means that if cortisol was to blame for morning sickness, we’d be feeling nauseated later in pregnancy, not in the first trimester.

Regardless of how it works, I have found that using a magnesium supplement can reduce the symptoms of morning sickness. For me, it seemed to take away the feeling that my digestive tract was super-irritated which was one of the worst parts of morning sickness for me. It can also lessen nausea and aversions to foods and smells.

There are several ways to increase your intake of magnesium. The best is probably to up your intake of magnesium-rich foods such as nuts and seeds, spinach, and black beans. The magnesium found in foods is most readily absorbed by your body, so if you can tolerate eating foods that are high in magnesium, consider adding them to your daily diet. It’s likely however, that you may require additional supplementation if your morning sickness symptoms are severe.

While there are many forms of magnesium supplements available, I prefer powdered magnesium citrate, taken before bedtime. The most popular and widely available brand of magnesium citrate is probably Natural Calm, but independent testing of this supplement has shown it may contain unsafe levels of lead. Not the best thing to be ingesting while pregnant (or at any time for that matter). It’s entirely possible that the lead issue had been resolved, but just to be safe, I prefer Magnesium Serene (manufactured by Source Naturals and available in several flavors — I’m partial to the tangerine).

Start by taking a half teaspoon in warm water before bedtime and gradually increase your dose until you start to experience loose stools. Then back down a bit until you’re having normal bowel movements and stay at that dose. Take it at least two hours away from any calcium supplements you may be taking, or calcium rich foods (ie don’t take it with a glass of milk). And although magnesium is usually safe to take at normal dosages during pregnancy, be sure to check with your midwife or OB before adding this (or any) supplement to your daily regimen.

The last option is topical magnesium oil or gel. Topical magnesium is gaining in popularity, but may people find that it’s irritating to their skin. It has been purported that topical magnesium is better absorbed by the body and some people swear by it, but I have personally never had great results with it for morning sickness. I do recommend it for leg cramps that may occur later in pregnancy. Of the two options available, I prefer the gel since it’s easier to measure and control.

Have you used magnesium to combat morning sickness symptoms? What form have you found to work best for you? Let me know in the comments below!