I second the WAPF principles, but based on Price's book, 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration' rather than Sally Fallon's accompanying Nourishing Traditions book. It was once my bible but I still can't eat grains or dairy of any description, including raw and fermented, in spite of the WAPF insisting I can.
AIP Paleo is the pinnacle of total health as far as I'm concerned. I used this protocol for my third pregnancy age 40. I ate raw oysters, liver, smoked salmon etc. and swanned through ignoring all the nurses and doctors well-meant advice. Easiest, quickest, least complicated birth ever. Barely hurt- not that I would have napped through it, but certainly the opposite of a horror story. I had absolute respect for my body and instincts by then.
My first and second pregnancies aged 21 and 35 I was a train wreck and had swollen feet, barely slept, developed the worst restless leg syndrome, addicted to sugar, wheat at every meal. Awful. Milk, cheese, the works. I was sick and tired and it was generally uncool all round. Scared of everything, not quite enough research to fully relax. No www back in 1995 either. What a scam!
I had to go through midwives and doctors, and ended up with an epidural with my first. My second in 2009 was a natural birth with a magnificent midwife who I'd never met prior, and she took my >>BIRTH PLAN<< seriously, even halting a vitamin K shot to my thigh- she fought for me against the head nurse and I never knew it until much later, via my partner...
I wish I hadn't had men in the birthing rooms. Apparently their smell is out of whack for birthing women. They have no business in there.
I wish I hadn't taken chemical nutrition with the first two pregnancies. I ate liver with the third and oh the sleep quality! Deep, restful, restorative sleep! But with the first two I had anaemia and was put on stupid iron tablets. Just say no. It messes up you and the foetus. Eat as much liver as your body requests. The folate is gold. (Folid acid will mess you and the baby up too.)
Be extremely wary of ultrasounds and doppler radiowave systems to spy on your foetus. They can cause all number of issues with speech, development etc. Nasty navy technology to scare away sharks. No one needs that. Get the nurses to use the old-fashioned ear horn things. If they can't use them anymore, tell them to use their hands for feeling weight and length. Trust your instincts, not their fear-mongering.
I wish I'd had a better relationship with my mother and/or was closer geographically to my aunts. You NEED help, and not from nurses who will lead you astray with their best intentions, taught to them via the pharmaceutical industry, just like the doctors who will try and scare you in to all sorts of hideous choices like vax, man-made folic acid instead of folate proper, etc..
I also agree with the doula idea- I had one for the last birth and she was worth her weight in gold. She was a student doula so we didn't have to pay her, but did because she was just SO VALUABLE.
The learning curve is so steep it can be way too intense for comfort. We, as females, should be taught about nutrition, conception, birth and child-rearing from five or so, not study various subjects to ensure a lucrative career. This is coming from a woman who was sent to an expensive private school with a mother who worked, with the intention of making lots of money and hand-picking her partner from the creme de la creme. It's bullshit. I ended up with an Italian peasant anyway, and he's rad. Family is all.
I co-sleep and breast-feed still, and will until she or I have enough of it. Co-sleeping is an excellent way to get sleep, though it can mess up the shoulders/back if they're a bit weak/westernised. I also baby-wore both of the last two babies. Highly recommended, just make sure you research your carrier- some of them can wreck the infantile hip joints.
Righto! Over and out. Good luck with it all, it's such a blast. Best thing in the world, parenting.