We’ve recently shared our exciting news that Equi founders Rosie and Alice are both pregnant! Rosie is expecting her second girl and Alice a little boy in the coming weeks, so the office has been filled with cheer (and hormones!)BFFs for almost 15 years, founders of Equi and now twinning with baby bumps. The girls have been busy growing our not-so-little ones over the past few months and there is no getting away from it, pregnancy is hard at times!! They both experienced bad morning sickness and have had the typical ups and downs of pregnancy which can be tricky, especially when you're working full time, and/or running around after a toddler.
Today we wanted to interview our founders on all things Mama-to-be and pregnancy-related to find out how they’ve been getting on. Also to divulge any tips on how they’ve navigated pregnancy and supported themselves as well as their little ones.
Let’s start at the beginning – any top tips to support fertility?Alice – I did my best to eat as well as I could prior to pregnancy, to build up my nutrient levels. This is a good idea as I'd heard from many clients as well as my sisters that in that first trimester you often don’t feel like eating much, and whatever the baby needs it takes from your stores. This can contribute to pregnant ladies feeling so tired, especially later on, and why immunity can also suffer.. so I wanted to get a head start!
As well as taking Equi Pregnancy Formula for 3 months before we started trying, I focussed on nutrients such as folate (green leafy veg, beetroot, legumes, avocado) which is essential for the early stages of pregnancy, B12 (meat, fish and eggs) but also zinc (sunflower seeds, poultry), iodine (seaweed) and magnesium (green leafy veg, whole grains and beans) which are important for fertility.
As I advise my clients to do, I also made an effort to clamp down on reducing my chemical intake - choosing more organic foods, washing fruit and veggies, using cleaner beauty products and doing my best to limit environmental exposure to chemicals where I could. This has been shown to help support hormone balance and maybe important for fertility too.
I also had acupuncture to help get my hormones regular and balanced, as I can sometimes struggle with this especially when I'm stressed or overworked. It’s been shown in research to help improve fertility – and I would really recommend it!
Rosie – Like Alice I was v focussed on making sure my diet delivered as much goodness as possible (though let's face it, this isn't always easy especially when cooking for a family!) but I also found it was important to slow down a bit, as stress can really impact hormone balance. This isn’t easy when you’ve already got a little one to run around after, but I made sure to take baths in the evening, get to bed early and slow down my workouts a bit, switching my focus from weights to pilates. I also started prioritizing time for meditations or simply reading a nice book, which I’d struggle to make happen if I didn’t lock in some time.
What about the first trimester – did you get morning sickness and any tips for managing it?
Both – Unfortunately we both did suffer quite badly with sickness, which was not fun! At times we actually took it in turns to throw up in the office – thank goodness we are great mates!
Rosie had had terrible sickness for 9 months with her first pregnancy, but luckily it only lasted the first 16 weeks or so for her with this one.
We both found that eating carb-based meals lessened nausea – a big salad or smoothie just didn’t do it for either of us! That being said we were careful to try and get some protein too, as we found that low blood sugar or dips in energy could instantly bring on sickness. Alice went off meat and fish totally in the early days, so she went for more plant-based protein such as nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans.
We had a store of ginger oatcakes and Dr. Kargs crackers, and found that avocado toast or porridge with almonds were office staples! We also ordered-in food more than we usually would, and this wasn’t always a healthy as it could be… but to be honest we just needed to get thru it as best we could.
Taking both our Pregnancy Formula and Pregnancy Oil Edition gave us real peace of mind during these weeks, as quite often a day would go past where we hadn’t managed to eat as many veggies or iron as we would have liked, so we felt confident that our bodies and babies were still getting those key nutrients in the best quality form that you can find in a supplement.
Getting as much rest as possible was essential (but not always easy) as poor sleep can impact blood sugar the next day and for some make nausea worse. Fresh air also made a big difference, so we would try and get a walk at lunchtime to blow out the cobwebs – it was spring/summer at the time so we took advantage of the sunshine.
Favourite comfort meal?Rosie – definitely my bolognese recipe with lots of veggies such as carrots, onion, celery, tomatoes, peppers, and parsley added. The meat contains protein, iron and B12 to energize me and it’s also fibre and nutrient-rich with all the veggies. I would also do a vegan version with lentils sometimes too, which was equally as good. I would try to have this with whole grain pasta as much as possible, but sometimes did opt for regular white pasta!
Alice - I struggled to find anything I wanted to eat and I was totally off meat, fish and most veggies too. After living on avocado toast and homemade club sandwiches for a while, I found that a homemade bean curry or dahl with spices and wholegrain rice worked well for me. I also found a great refried bean recipe with red peppers and tomatoes, chilli, fresh herbs, and spices was great. I had this with grated cheese, guacamole, and sour cream and it was one of the first things I actually enjoyed eating!
Do you prefer to have the full dose all at once, or split it?Alice - I definitely prefer to have my supplements split between meals, and I found this essential in trimester 1 when I felt sick just drinking water sometimes 😷
Rosie – I tend to neck them all in one! I carry a little Tupperware pillbox for convenience, and set an alarm on my phone to ensure I never forget!
Rosie this is your second pregnancy, do you feel different to your first?
Rosie – They say every pregnancy is different, and mine certainly have felt worlds apart as this time I’m definitely much more energized and focussed. I definitely in part attribute this to our Pregnancy Formula, which we developed after my first pregnancy because we couldn’t find any good prenatal formulas in the market. I was told to take the typical low-quality high street brand, so Alice helped me get some better products.. but even then I had to take a few different ones, and some of them got held up in the post coming from the USA as they weren’t available in the UK. This time my energy and focus have been brilliant, and I’ve had normal iron, vitamin D and B12 blood levels throughout. I also really think the better forms of B vitamins have helped me stay feeling energised, and zinc and vitamin C have helped my immunity too. When I read about the prevalence of choline deficiency earlier this year, I was also so happy that I’d had Equi this time around, as it’s so important during pregnancy and you cant find it in any other prenatal formulas (we are so keen on choline, a little known nutrient vital for pregnancy that we wrote a blog post about it why it’s so important here).
My skin also feels so much better this time and people keep telling me I have that pregnancy glow - which I don’t think I enjoyed last time as was suffering from some hormonal breakouts…so that’s been a welcome side effect!
My daughter is an early riser and nightmares have just become a thing too, and though I get to bed pretty early to try and counteract this I do struggle with sleep when pregnant. There are definitely days where I feel more like a zombie, but overall I have been so happy to feel better this time!
Alice – this is your first pregnancy, have you found it overwhelming?
I have been lucky not to suffer too much with anxiety but I would definitely say there have been times where I have found pregnancy and preparing for motherhood overwhelming. I am currently buying all the ‘kit’ and if that’s not enough to make one lost and confused then I don’t know what is! I have really valued meditation to help with this side of things, and use a pregnancy app called YogiBirth – as well as meditation and positive labour visualizations, it’s got lovely yoga videos to do at home which is so convenient when you’re too busy to take a class.
What are your fave pregnancy products?Rosie – My water bottle with a rose quartz crystal in it (which Alice bought for me!) as it reminds me to drink water. And Aromatherapy Associates Rose Body Oil is delicious for your bump (plus it lasts for months!).
Alice – I have a dodgy hip so I got a BBHugMe pillow early on, and I absolutely love it to support my sleep position overnight. It wasn't the cheapest pregnancy pillow but it really works for me shape-wise. That’s if I can wrestle it of my husband!
If you had to recommend one book which would it be?
Rosie - The Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg – I read it the first time around and I love her gentle, balanced approach… its 20 years old but her advice is so solid.
Alice - Juju Sundin’s Birth Skills which is all about helping to cope with pain in labour… Who knows how that’ll work out for me but I’ve loved reading it and really appreciated having some concrete tips to help me manage.
"When we say we truly believe in everything that goes into our products, we really mean it! We've both been taking our Pregnancy Formula & Pregnancy Fish Oil since before conception and throughout pregnancy so far, and they have helped us stay feeling great. We have also loved the priceless peace of mind in knowing that we are supporting our bodies with the absolute best quality nutrients - especially on the days when food wasn’t appealing!"