(Vitamin MePA Only)
Esther is Dr. Aardsma’s daughter-in-law (married to Matthew). Esther is a stay-at-home mom with 4 children. Esther is the first woman to have been taking vitamin MePA during pregnancy and birth.
Pregnancy and birth: February 11, 2019
by Esther Aardsma
I am a 25-year-old female. Overall I would term my health as “very good”, although I have a history of back pain.
I have had 3 pregnancies and deliveries prior to beginning Vitamin MePA.
I was underweight before, during, and after my first pregnancy. Baby number 1 arrived at 36.5 weeks after a spontaneously occurring 20-hour labor. Baby was 5 lb 10 oz. There were no complications for baby or me during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or postpartum.
Pregnancy number 2 started 9.5 months after my first birth. I was still underweight but not as much as before. I experienced SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) symptoms (symphysis pubis pain, nerve pain in inner legs, pelvic instability) as well as some backache throughout the later months of pregnancy. Baby number 2 arrived at 39.5 weeks after a 6 hour labor, and weighed 7 lbs, 2 ozs. There were no complications for baby or me during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or postpartum, although I struggled to maintain a healthy weight in the months immediately following delivery.
Pregnancy number 3 started 16 months after my second birth. I began pregnancy at a healthy weight and managed to stay at a healthy weight throughout pregnancy. I experienced onset of SPD symptoms at about 20 weeks, with symptoms flaring up to extreme pain toward the end of pregnancy. I also had more back pain and seemed to have slipped a disk (chiropractor diagnosed) at 30 weeks pregnant. My water spontaneously broke at 36 weeks and 6 days. After a 20-hour labor Baby number 3 arrived at 37 weeks exactly and weighed 6 lbs 14 ozs. No complications for me or baby.
Pregnancy number 4 started 16 months after my 3rd birth. I was able to keep a healthy weight during pregnancy.
I began taking 1 microgram (1/2 drop) MePA at 13 weeks and 3 days of my fourth pregnancy. I wanted to take MePA because of the evidence suggesting it might offer health benefits to me and my developing baby. I had initially wanted to wait until the results of ongoing dose rate research were in, but due to delays in the research I decided to go ahead and begin supplementation. I did not intentionally wait to take it until after the 1st trimester; it just happened that way. I took 1 microgram a day throughout the rest of the pregnancy. I did forget a handful of days but was overall very regular.
In a nutshell, my pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding experience was normal. A few small things improved.
After 6 weeks on MePA I noticed the first signs of any changes. I got sick with what I believe was the flu, but had drastically reduced symptoms and felt BETTER the next day instead of worse. I have never experienced this before; the flu has always wiped me out for a minimum of three days. I also believe I never reached a contagious stage as my family never caught it from me. Even if it was a fluke, it was extremely anomalous for me.
My SPD symptoms began around 16 wks of pregnancy. I began to seek regular chiropractic care around 20 weeks to try to prevent these symptoms from getting terrible. My SPD never did get as bad in this pregnancy; I am not sure whether the improvement can be attributed to MePA or chiropractic care. I also did not experience back pain like I had in prior pregnancies.
I had a routine ultrasound done at 19 weeks. Everything was normal. Due to previous late preterm birth I also had my cervical length scanned, which was normal at 4.4 cm.
At about 3 months on MePA I noticed an improvement in my sleep quality. I seemed to sleep much more deeply. I needed a lot of sleep still (ideally 9 hours at night and 30 min nap in the afternoon) but actually felt refreshed when I woke up. I noticed at the same time an increase in stamina. I didn’t necessarily feel like I had an excess of energy at any given moment, and I still felt tired all the time as in previous pregnancies, but I was more able to put in a long hard day of work caring for my family of 3 small children and get up the next day and do it again. During previous pregnancies I would have needed a day or two of rest to recover after a strenuous day.
I experienced normal pregnancy leg cramps, sciatica, Braxton Hicks contractions, and insomnia.
I discussed fears of preterm labor (due to my prior history) with my midwife at 30 weeks and I began taking 300 mg magnesium glycinate as well as extra Vitamin C at her recommendation.
I had a second ultrasound at 31 weeks to check on baby and cervix. Everything was normal.
I noticed much fewer Braxton Hicks contractions after beginning magnesium compared to previous pregnancies. I have wondered whether I was magnesium deficient even back to my childhood.
Possibly the biggest change compared to other pregnancies was brought up by my husband, who was then a full-time graduate student. At 35 weeks, he confessed that when we discovered we were expecting again he began to dread the effects of the pregnancy on me — that normally pregnancy derails my energy and stamina and I can’t keep up with the normal demands of a young family. He commented that he was very pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t “downed” by the pregnancy. I noticed around the same time that I could not seem to nap longer than 20-25 minutes anymore. In past pregnancies I would need at least an hour-long nap a day to function.
Baby number 4 arrived at 40 weeks and 3 days after several bouts of prodromal labor. Everything was profoundly normal. My labor was about 3.5 hours from “just-woke-up-think-that-was-a-contraction” to holding Baby. She was my biggest baby at 8 lbs 5 ozs, but my labor and delivery was the “easiest” of the four. Contractions never reached above an 8 out of 10 on a pain scale, and I never reached a point of “I can’t do this anymore” like I had with my 3 previous labors. No complications for baby or me; breastfeeding initiated immediately after birth.
I began taking 2 micrograms (1 drop) MePA the night after delivery.
I noted a sleep change after 1 month on 2 micrograms–I seemed to experience 4-5 hours of unusually deep sleep between 11 pm and 4 am. I also didn’t seem to need as much sleep in the postpartum period relative to my other postpartum periods. I was able to go without a nap, or with less of a nap, much sooner than after my other births.
Baby has been seen for the normal wellness visits with a pediatrician. He has been pleased with her growth and development. Baby has been interactive, active, and continues to grow and develop at a normal healthy rate.
I have more recently been experiencing more exhaustion and some problems with my back (which has been a re-occurring issue since I was a teenager) and increased my MePA dosage to 4 micrograms/day (2 drops) about a month ago. At 5 months postpartum, I have recently noticed a return to the deep sleep cycle I experienced several months ago. My energy does seem to be improving again. I need all the energy I can get to keep up with 4 young kids!
While my experience is just that, an experience of one pregnancy, it seems to suggest that MePA supplementation during pregnancy is safe for both expectant mother and baby, just as theory and research with animals strongly indicated. In addition, I believe that MePA supplementation improved my sleep quality, energy, and stamina, and may possibly have improved my back and pelvis health during and after pregnancy. While this is anecdotal evidence, I want to share my experience in the event that it may be useful to others.