My Holistic Pregnancy – The First Trimester

14717105_10153917704280069_3828214895104692499_nYes you read that right! I have been growing a human (:  We are expecting a mini Bernd/Kirsty in early April 2017 and we couldn’t be more excited!

I have been wanting to share this news for sometime, it is so exciting for us! And something we had planned on for a little while. You may have noticed my non appearance on my website or any social media for that matter. I have taken these weeks to relax and just get through each day! To rest as much as I can , and put all my attention and focus I have into growing this little being. All day sickness is a real thing! But I don’t mind one bit, we get a beautiful human in the end with a bit of both of us both combined!

I am going to be doing a blog post on each trimester and put it into a few sections for easier reading. They will be divided into Nutrition, Yoga and Emotional well being.


The first Trimester can be challenging in this department. I remember my sister saying to me that when you don’t want to eat something when your pregnant its not like your being picky or just don’t feel like it, you physically cannot eat that thing! And it’s not that I didn’t believe her, I just didn’t understand, as I had never experienced that. But now I have, and I get it sis! I think you will only understand once you have experienced it. As most people that know me know I am pretty passionate about healthy eating and very rarely do I eat something I don’t believe is good for my body. I remembered thinking ‘when Im pregnant I am going to be so healthy! ‘ Don’t put expectations on yourself mama! Trust me, your doing your best and thats all you can do. Surrender and rest, these months will be hard at times, you wont always feel like yourself. But it will pass (:

I mostly managed to eat rye bread with marmite or peanut butter, and lots of fruit and smoothies! These were my saving grace,  beans, lentils , most grains and vegetables were out! Crazy I know. But I did the best I could and managed to take my Barley life most of the first trimester to get greens in that I was not able to eat.

Nutrients to focus on during pregnancy


Folate- While folic acid and folate are often marketed as the same, their metabolic effects can be quite different. Folate is the bioavailable, natural form of vitamin B9 found in a variety of plant and animal foods. Folic acid, while readily utilized by the body, is the synthetic form of the vitamin and often found in supplements and fortified foods. The body is more easily able to use folate and will regulate healthy levels by releasing excess through the urine.

Folic acid/folate deficiency during pregnancy has been linked with neutral tube defects like spina bifida and other malformations like cleft lip . Because of the serious possibility of such birth defects, many woman take folic acid supplements. However I am a firm believer in getting your nutrients from the food you eat, and if your diet is at least 75% raw fruit and vegetables you will without a doubt be getting more than the recommended daily amount of folate. But during my first trimester I did not, due to food aversions and nausea. I didn’t feel I was getting all I needed. So I continued to take barley life and found a good folate supplement from Solgar.

Plant foods high in Folate

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits
  • Beans , peas lentils
  • Avocado

kale 4

B12- is essential during pregnancy and is necessary for the proper functioning of Folate. A deficiency of this Vitamin affects nearly all the body tissues, particularly those containing rapidly dividing cells. This can result in pernicious anemia and degeneration of the nervous system. Follow a high fruit and vegetable diet to meet your requirements or I recommend a good quality liquid B12. I use the ‘Vitamin Research products Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12’ .

Iron- Plant-based foods may contain less iron than animal foods, but eating smaller amounts throughout the day is a great way to increase absorption. Plant sources of iron are Lentils, soybeans, tofu and tempeh. The iron in beans, grains and seeds is better absorbed when combined with the vitamin-C found in fruits and vegetables. Iron is an element essential to life, it plays a huge role in transferring oxygen in the body. It is said to be normal to have slightly lower levels of iron during pregnancy due to the increase of blood volume in mothers in order to meet the needs of the growing baby. The human body has large reserves of iron in the liver and bone marrow. These stores are drawn upon to meet the body’s requirements during the course of the pregnancy. Iron supplementation can cause gastrointestinal discomfort such as diarrhea and constipation. 

Iron is easily available in all fruit and vegetables, and because of the high levels of Vitamin C found in these foods, the body is able to utilize the iron from plant foods efficiently. Cooking destroys Vitamin C in food, so to make sure you meet your Iron requirements, try to eat fruit and vegetables in their raw form as this is when Vitamin C is most usable.


When my iron levels where checked at 12 weeks they were perfect! 

  • Seeds- Pumpkin, squash, pine, pistacio, sunflower, cashews, unhulled sesame
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • All fruit esp raisins, currants
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Deep Orange or yellow fruits and vegetables.


I am very grateful that I managed to have my big fruit smoothie every morning for most of the first trimester, I just liked them a little icer and not too creamy. I was also loving fresh fruit and fresh fruit juice. And thats about it for most days. Then came the bread, something, anything to help settle my tum. And it did topped with some organic local cheese I had been craving. I don’t usually eat cheese or dairy but this was an exception, I really felt like it for a while I waited to see if it would pass and it didn’t. So I made the decision and found the best quality cheese I could and got involved and it hit the spot!

Pregnancy is unpredictable, you just don’t know how your going to feel each day, physically and emotionally. Take each day as it comes, be gentle with yourself and just embrace it all! I really feel preparing for pregnancy is something so great you can do for yourself and you bub.(post coming soon!) Do research, nourish your body and work on your emotions and relationship with your partner.

  • Find a good wholefood prenatal  I used Terra Nova (my wonderful sister sent it from Ireland)
  • Solgar is a good folate supplement if you can’t get any greens in, as well as barley life.
  • BarleyLife is great as a Whole food Multi Vitamin during pregnancy, I take a Tblsp with water or fruit juice as well as my wholefood prenatal.

AIM BarleyLife® is an all-natural, green barley juice concentrate that helps provide the daily nutrition you need to develop a strong foundation for your good health. The power of BarleyLife is found in the nutrients of young barley leaves. Research has found that green barley juice is abundant in enzymes, essential amino acids, and is rich in antioxidant ability, anti-inflammatory activity, immune system support, and cholesterol-lowering effects. The result is a feeling of total wellness.

  • Helps maintain whole body health
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • Provides increased energy
  • Offers unique and powerful
    plant antioxidants

barley 1


Nutritional Facts

I do recommend getting your nutrient levels checked before and during pregnancy to check where you are at and if you are meeting your requirements, as you don’t want to ‘overdose’ with vitamin Supplementation. Most Vitamin supplements are active chemical agents and should only be taken in pregnancy to make up specific and definite deficiencies diagnosed by your doctor. If you do decide to take supplements, find the best quality wholefood ones. In SA you cant find wholefood supplements so barleyLife is your best chance, or to order in from overseas. We tried to order the Synergy Prenatal from the USA but it got denied at SA borders. Very annoying! Do your best to eat a wholefood plant based diet, and if you feel its necessary to back yourself up with good quality supplements.

The American Medical Association points out that, ‘The routine prescription of multivitamin and mineral supplements for pregnant and lactating woman is common but generally unnecessary. A well balanced diet designed to meet the needs of pregnancy and lactation minimises the need for supplementation.


My practice has been amazing! I am so grateful for this. It has helped me keep somewhat grounded and balanced and to help the common pregnancy anxiety.  I continued with my usual yoga practice and just modified some flows as I felt needed. With some of the higher level, more strengthening classes I just rested when I needed (which was quite often) first trimester fatigue… One thing I can say is the yoga helped with the fatigue, on the days I didn’t really feel like going to class I did , I ended up feeling better! But there were some days for sure I stayed in bed and rested. You need to decided and listen to your body on that. Having a yoga practice before falling pregnant is ideal. If you havn’t you can start right away with a very gentle beginners yoga class and let the teacher know your pregnant. This will give your body the time to open and strengthen. To be able to connect to yourself and your breath and baby.

Prenatal yoga is great when it is paired with walking for cardiovascular exercise. These are both great ways to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy and to keep your body strong and fit for labour. Prenatal Yoga can help to tone your muscles and improve your balance, as well as improve your circulation all with very little impact on your joints. The breathing techniques used in Yoga will help teach you how to breath deeply and consciously relax, which is very helpful as you are faced with the physical demands of labour, birth and motherhood. Learning to use the yogic breath ‘ ujjayi’ helps prepare you for labour and childbirth by training you to stay calm when you need it most. When you are in pain or afraid your body produces adrenalin and may produce less oxytocin, a hormone that makes labour progress. A regular yoga practice will help you remain calm and relaxed rather than tightening up the perennial muscles when you feel pain.

More than ever listen to your body! Be gentle and move slowly with awareness.

I have recorded a first trimester practice that you can flow along with from home, I will be uploading it in a week or two (:

Emotional Well being

To stay centered and calm I have tried to do some breathing an meditation in the evening before bed and of course my yoga practice has helped here.

A great book to read during your first Trimester is Magical Beginnings , Enchated Lives by Deepak Chopra. It has great information and tools you can use during your pregnancy from a more holistic side.

I have had some anxieties during the first Trimester as Im sure most moms do, just wanting all to be ok and well. The scan at 12 weeks helped to ease this, hearing our babies heartbeat and seeing them on the ultrasound screen is just incredible! Through this I realized as hard as it is you have to try stay calm and relaxed because of course worrying doesn’t help! I found having friends and family that had been pregnant are a great support for this , and as always my yoga practice. I cant say it enough! Connecting to yourself is most important.


Surrender and rest, these months will be hard at times, you wont always feel like yourself but it will pass and you will feel better (:  Read , sleep eat , do yoga, watch happy movies repeat.

You are growing a human! Don’t forget that.

All my love and to a happy and healthy pregnancy




Sources * 


Healthy Kids the Natural Way by Mary Ann Shearer

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