Daphne Oz On Her Third Pregnancy: "I’m Growing a Life Inside of Me, and I Feel So Powerful"

She parlayed her passion for food into a successful career, and Daphne Oz, expecting her third, also has plenty of wisdom to share about pregnancy, labor, and new motherhood.

Daphne Oz: Behind the Scenes of her Fit Pregnancy Cover Shoot

Surprise! In June, Daphne Oz revealed to her more than 269K Instagram followers that she’s expecting her third baby. “Party of 5!!” she wrote under a photo of her kissing her husband, financial analyst John Jovanovic. Fans cheered her good news and watched her belly grow on ABC’s The Chew. Then, in August, Oz posted another reveal on the social site: She was leaving the lifestyle series after six seasons. Motherhood and growing up with a famous father, Dr. Mehmet Oz, have taught this 31-year-old to follow her gut above all else, and now she’s ready to stick closer to home, posting cooking videos as @domesticgoddish. We asked the mom to share what she’s learned from raising Philomena, 3, and son Jovan (called John), 2. 

More Is Merry!

“This time I had blood work done to confirm I was pregnant. When the doctor told me the news, I got this huge grin on my face and called my husband immediately. I love being pregnant. I always joke with him that I want seven kids. We’ll see what number we actually get to.” (Oz herself is one of four.)

Keeping Secrets Is Hard

“You don’t want to tell people you’re pregnant right away, but this time my belly popped sooner than it ever has. People start looking at you skeptically. We went to a wedding, and I very conspicuously tried to drink things that looked like cocktails. It was a total bullshit moment, but it worked.”

Carbs Cure the Nausea

“First-trimester morning sickness is tough, because you feel like crap but can’t yet tell people why. I’ve found that as long as I eat some refined carbohydrates every hour—bagels, pizza, pretzels—I’m fine! In my normal life, I love a good grain bowl with legumes and lean protein, but I can’t even look at that during the first three months of pregnancy. The weird thing is that while I’m always hungry, I’m also full after eating about three bites.”

Indulge Your Cravings 

“As long as I have good food and a comfy bed, then I’m pretty solid. When I’m pregnant, I don’t eat raw fish or filter feeders, like clams or mollusks. I miss my stinky cheeses. I still drink one Americano coffee a day. Part of me wishes I could quit that, too, but the medical community says that the stress we put on moms to be perfect is way more damaging than just having that cup of coffee. We stress ourselves out so much!”

Exercise! Your Future Self Will Thank You

“During my first two pregnancies, all I did was walk and I ended up suffering. I had terrible back pain in the last trimester. After each birth, I was so weak that when I’d bend over to lift the baby, I’d have to use my arms for support because I had no core strength. So, this time I’m doing 20 to 30 minutes of real exercise a day. For the first 18 weeks, I did a modified Tracy Anderson program. Then I transitioned to her pregnancy DVDs. I also love Ballet Beautiful. It’s low-intensity but strengthens my muscles. I try to stay active too. I live in New York City, so I walk to do my errands. I’m not a gym rat. In fact, I hate going. If exercise is easy, the more likely I am to do it.”

Daphne Oz Blue Floral Flowy Dress Spin Alexandra White

Embrace Body Changes

“I struggled with my weight during my entire adolescence. Now I no longer associate my self-worth with my size, which is helpful because your size fluctuates when you’re pregnant. During that last month, it’s like someone sticks a balloon pump in you and puffs you up everywhere! But the more you fixate on your weight, the harder it seems to be. So I’m not focused on not gaining weight. I’m growing a life inside of me, and I feel so powerful.”

Involve Older Kids

“I told Philomena, ‘We are having a baby girl, and she’s coming around Christmas, like a present.’ She looked at me and, in all seriousness, said, ‘Oh man! I was really hoping for a dinosaur.’ It was so cute. Now, she’s excited. She kisses my belly and  says, ‘How’s Sugar? Isn’t she done cooking yet?’ But her brother is younger, so he either doesn’t understand or maybe he just doesn’t care. He’s such a dude.”

Kids Can Improve Your Relationship

“Having children with someone makes you vulnerable. You have no ability to hide anything anymore. You are so stripped down because you need all that mental, emotional, and physical support. Parenthood helps you let things roll off your back too. You realize what’s important compared to the stupid things you used to fight over.”

Deliver Wherever You’re Comfortable

“I debated delivering at a birthing center with my first, but I ruled against it after my doctor said that even though the birthing center is only one floor away from the trauma center, if anything goes wrong, that minute could make a difference. In my mind, why risk it?”

Drugs Are Your Call

“With Philo, I wanted a natural birth, but my amniotic fluid was dropping, so I had to be induced. After 28 hours of labor, I was like, ‘Give me the motherfucking epidural!’ But the experience of getting one was more painful for me than the labor. They spinal-tapped me four times, and each time, half of my body went numb. I thought I was paralyzed! Then, when it finally came time to push, I was worried I wouldn’t feel anything. But in reality, you feel everything, only without earth-shattering pain. You’re aware and in the moment, and it was beautiful and nothing like I’d expected. The only catch is, my recovery was hard. With my son, I did it without drugs. It sucked for the eight hours I was going through it, but that second labor was shorter and my recovery was much easier. I was walking around that day and my body bounced back faster. We’ll see what this next labor brings. I’m going to try natural again.”

Daphne Oz With Kids On Staircase Alexandra White

Give Nursing a Go

“I breastfed each for about eight months. For me, it wasn’t blissfully easy. Those free-the-nipple Instagram posters are my dream, but not my experience. It’s a huge commitment to be the constant food source for another human. And I’ve always gone back to work after two months and spent a lot of time with my breast pump. Eventually you can move a baby to formula and let go of this one part of being a great mom. I say: Do what you have to do.”

Keep the Name Secret 

“We haven’t chosen a name yet, but I know one will come. It’s so hard. We shared the names early the last two times and never will again. People say things to change your opinion.”

Third Time’s a Charm!

“During my first pregnancy, I was so pampered. Everyone was looking out for me. I got a ton of advice, ate really well, and had prenatal massages. With my second, I was just so tired. My daughter was 10 months old, so I was juggling first-trimester exhaustion while entertaining a toddler. This time, the pressure is off me. My kids play with each other, so now I get to sit back and enjoy the moment.”

Three Tricks for an Easier Labor

At least, this is what’s worked for Oz!

  1. Watch births. “I didn’t take any birthing classes, but I watched an absurd amount of home-birth videos. What you really learn from them is that, no matter what happens, at the end you’ll have your baby in your arms.”
  2. Pack smart. “I brought an aromatherapy diffuser to make my hospital room smell like lavender and eucalyptus, snacks for the nurses so they’d stop in more often, and evening primrose oil for my doctor to do perineal massage. I think it’s the reason I’ve had no tearing!”
  3. Plan with your partner. “In my case, I gave John orders to not speak to me or touch me. During delivery, I’m so focused on being in my body that if he gave me one word of encouragement, I’d attack him. I get so vicious and evil. I just have to do it on my own.”

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