MePA start date: February 2018. MePA/MePiA start date: July 2019.
Esther is Dr. Aardsma’s daughter-in-law (married to Matthew). Esther is a stay-at-home mom with 5 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.
Energy and Sleep: December, 2019
I have chronically struggled with exhaustion and fatigue since reaching puberty at about age 13. I remember day after day after day in my teens, opening my eyes in the morning and feeling a wave of exhaustion, unready to start the day by even getting out of bed.
Yes, like most teens I did frequently stay up late. But even in periods when I did sleep well, still this exhaustion dogged me.
Even after marriage, I still struggled with fatigue. My husband would get up early in the morning and I felt like I physically could not handle getting up at the same time. I needed more sleep to even function on a minimal level. In the early months of my first pregnancy I was sleeping probably 14-15 hours a day. And still I felt wiped out.
It was majorly discouraging, going to bed exhausted, and waking up only marginally less exhausted. I dragged through every day. If I did anything “big”, like grocery shopping, or scrubbing the kitchen floor, it would take a day or more of taking it easy and extra rest and sleep to recover my energy. I would feel physically drained, a bone deep weariness that I could not shake. These symptoms only worsened when pregnant, to the point that getting food on the table and laundry done each day were major hurdles.
My sleep, and energy levels, began improving a month or so after I began taking MePA. Although pregnant, I had enough energy to take it upon myself to do our family’s biweekly grocery shopping (alone with kids in tow), and amazingly I did not have to rest the entire next day just to recover my energy. I slept more deeply than I had prior to supplementation, and although tired, I could function on a half hour nap a day instead of the normal hour+ I would historically have to have to survive.
Shortly after I began taking MePiA (in addition to MePA), I noticed that I felt able to get out of bed easily in the morning. Gone was the historical 10-60 minute long struggle to talk myself into getting up and starting into my day. When I woke up, I felt renewed, and refreshed, instead of feeling like I ran marathons all night long. My husband can corroborate that I have never been a morning person, but suddenly I was up before him, making him coffee and enjoying some quiet before the family awoke! And loving it! One morning I rose early and thought for the first time in over ten years that, “maybe I am a morning person after all”. I would wake up as early as 4 in the morning and feel ready to start my day!
The initial energetic exuberance has faded, and yes I still feel tired at times. Especially when my sleep is disturbed by small children several nights in a row, I desire a nap and look forward to bedtime. But my current state is light-years ahead of where I was just a couple years ago. I generally wake up feeling rested. I wake up feeling like my sleep has accomplished something, that it actually rejuvenated and replenished my energy instead of being the historical fruitless waste of time it seemed to be. I wake up generally able to get up right away in the morning, generally able to jump into my day’s activities, and work hard all day…and then do it again the next morning. I generally have enough energy left at the end of the day to wash the dishes instead of sighing and leaving them til the next morning. I generally am not completely wiped out by even major tasks, and feel much more able to handle big organizing and cleaning jobs that previously would have been much more formidable.
For example, recently one day after our family’s once a month big grocery shopping trip in the morning, I set out to entirely reorganize and clean my kitchen in the afternoon. After beginning the project I thought, “here we go, I am going to get 1/3 of the way through and have to give up and not do anything else but lie down the rest of the day”…because that would be typical of me. But I was surprised that I was able to completely finish with the kitchen, and then tidy the entire rest of the house before continuing on with the normal routine. Yes I was tired afterward…but a day that busy would literally not have been possible for me a year or two ago.
So, to sum up…the vitamins haven’t been a total sleep/energy miracle cure for me. I have experienced a phase or two of an overabundance of energy. I have also experienced a phase or two of feeling like I needed to sleep more than normal. I still get tired. I still sleep poorly at times. Energy and sleep are very complicated and affected by many factors. But overall, compared to my historical chronic state before supplementation with the anti-aging vitamins, I have seen dramatic, encouraging improvement in my ability to function in day to day life. Words don’t do justice to the difference it has made to my personal life experience; life is so much more enjoyable when it doesn’t take everything I have to do just the small things.