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Meet our Herbie of the Week: Kathy!
After Jesse shared her pregnancy experience as our Herbie of the Week, Kathy left a comment on Facebook about how she too was plant-based while pregnant. The only difference? She was pregnant with TWINS!
I immediately asked if she would be interested in sharing her plant-based pregnancy and I was so happy that she said yes!
Read on for Kathy's story!
My husband and I began trying to create our family in 2000. It took nine years, many invasive tests, several doctors in both Canada and the United States, and a mega-load of tenaciousness from us to achieve our dreams. In August of 2009, our twin miracles were born, happy and healthy. We were thrilled.
When I found out I was pregnant, happiness was superseded by a strong sense of anxiety over the health of the babies and whether or not they would thrive. I so desperately wanted a family and wanted to do anything and everything I could to bring these babies into the world. Naturally, my diet would be incredibly important.
I had been plant-based for just over 10 years when I found out I was pregnant and was confident that my diet was fairly balanced (but could use a little more work). I ordered some books on expecting multiples and began to read about the traditional dietary requirements for a healthy twin pregnancy. Honestly, I was overwhelmed by how much the authors recommended I consume and felt pressure to up my protein intake and *gasp* perhaps eat meat to achieve the appropriate levels. Very early on in my pregnancy, I made the mistake of ordering a chicken wrap at a local restaurant thinking I was doing the “right thing” for my babies. Boy, was I wrong. I took one bite and nearly lost it. I decided then and there that I wouldn’t compromise my healthy diet in the face of pressure from others.
I experienced nausea for the first 13 weeks or so and relied heavily on my cravings to get me through the worst of it. I gave myself permission to eat what my body wanted during the time I was most nauseous. Luckily, what my body wanted was veggie burgers. I ate a TON of them and wanted little else for those first few months. Blueberry bagels were also high on my list of go-tos when it came to satisfying hunger without compromising my fragile tummy.
Once I hit that glorious second trimester and my nausea and headaches were gone, a world of food opened up, once again. For the rest of my pregnancy I became a grazer and ate many small meals throughout a typical day. I was conscious to increase my caloric intake without negating my health in the process. Oatmeal, fresh fruit, raw veggies and dip, quinoa (in many different recipes), peanut butter, pasta, and so many delicious soups were all on my favourites lists. I never went hungry and my babies got everything they needed.
At my twelve week visit to my OB/GYN, he advised that I would gain 50 pounds with my pregnancy. I began my pregnancy weighing 147 pounds and on the day I delivered the twins, I weighed 198 pounds (a 51 pound gain). My doctor wasn’t at all concerned with my diet. He asked, in the beginning, if I felt it was balanced and was content with knowing that it was. Also, at each check up, the numbers and ultrasounds spoke for themselves. All results from every test I was given (from the blood-glucose test, to the nuchal fold test, to blood pressure tests, to urine tests) were always normal. My doctor, a widely known and respected infertility specialist, commented, on several occasions, that I was “textbook” for how a multiple pregnancy should be.
When I was 37 weeks and 1 day along, my water broke. The very next day, I delivered my twins and finally had the family of my dreams. Griffin was born at 7:35am weighing in at 6lbs and Kaia was born at 8:12am weighing 6lbs and 8oz. I did not need a c-section and was thrilled that my body could recover quickly.
If I could give anyone contemplating a plant-based pregnancy advice, I would tell her to trust herself. Many doctors aren’t well read on the topic of plant-based diets and may try to scare you into believing that a plant-based diet will not provide all the nutrients you require. Furthermore, they may insinuate that a plant-based diet will compromise your health and that of your unborn child. Neither is true. Listen to your body, enjoy whole, plant-based foods, and allow yourself to provide the first life-lesson to your children in plant-based wisdom.
Kaia and Griffin are plant-based to this day and are happy, smart, healthy, and vibrant kids. I hope that they will always choose to be plant-based and I know that I have set up their bodies for a lifetime of health.
Thank you so much Kathy for sharing with us!