goop's Megan O'Neill Talks All Things Wellness And how quarantine got them pregnant

By Colleen Crivello

Statuesque and oh-so-chill, Meg, goop’s Senior Beauty Editor and co-host of The Beauty Closet podcast, is due in April with a boy!

Recently, we hung with this all-around wellness whisperat her colorful Brooklyn home as she readies herself to become a mom. Here, she talks pandemic pregnancy, trusting her instincts, Belly Oil all-day-everyday, constipation cures (because real), and raising her son amid a diverse cross-section of culture and race.

Feeling?

Good. And, honestly surprised by how normal I feel.

State of pregnancy?

That said, as normal as this experience has been, the constipation is real. Apparently, it’s quite common and makes sense that certain things would slow down for other things to ramp up, including digestion and such. Thanks to Whitney Tingle from Sakara, the antidote I learned is magnesium supplements; they’re excellent at relieving constipation. Once she told me that, I started taking two a day, and it’s been life-changing. I’ll probably continue post-pregnancy, too. As a bonus, magnesium has a soothing effect, so I take it before bed rather than during the day.

Another annoying thing (that no one told me about) was my stomach ligaments stretching. I understand it depends on your build, whether you feel them or not, and how severely, but I had these shooting pains as my stomach prepared to expand. They were fleeting but sharp and mainly in the beginning.

Path to pregnancy?

We always talked about having kids but kept putting it off for “another day.” Then the pandemic hit, and at some point, mid-lockdown, I ran out of my birth control. I went to the pharmacy, which was inundated with people, to refill my prescription. By the time I got to the counter, after being in line for an hour with coughing people all around, they’d run out of my birth control! Jolted by the experience, I refused to go back. So, we started messing around with the idea of trying for a baby! It’s funny looking back to think that was the impetus. In some ways, you could even say, Covid made us do it! Not to mention, we were stuck inside, and it seemed like a fun activity 🙂 It happened fairly quickly after that. I took six over-the-counter tests and had them all lined up, all positive. I was in total shock but very grateful as it’s not lost on me how many of my friends are struggling with fertility.

Wellness hacks?

I love wellness; it’s such a crucial part of my life, even when I’m not pregnant. Become a beauty editor at goop three years ago really shifted my practice and opened my eyes to clean living. In turn, I didn’t have to adjust my routine much for pregnancy.

Overall, I love oils for the face and body which I have really dialed up, especially Belly Oil on my bump every morning and night. Honestly, it’s just another excuse for me to pamper myself and give myself a massage. Side note, this is definitely one of the perks of working at home now… I can do this all day long!

To keep me feeling fluid and strong, I’m big into yoga and Pilates. Recently I started taking Zoom classes and doing FaceTime sessions with my favorite instructor from Flat Iron Pilates; she’s a body whisperer. Right now, we’re focusing on exercises to strengthen my hips for pushing, which have been amazing. Overall I attribute a lot of my “feeling good” to this practice.

Unfortunately, my skin tends to break out, which has been amplified by pregnancy hormones. My new morning ritual starts with raw vegetable juice after I work out on an empty stomach to counteract this. I load the juicer with tons of carrots, celery, kale, and daikon radish, all good for the skin. Carrots especially are rich in beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, and fun fact, vitamin A is the base ingredient for Retinol. It’s important to note that the body better absorbs the nutrients and makes it bioavailable with some fats like nuts, flax oil, or avocado. So, after drinking, I eat a few nuts, then pause and have breakfast an hour later.

Mostly, my main wellness practice is to trust my instincts. While I certainly listen to my doctor, our instincts are so powerful. After all, women have been doing this for centuries.

Cravings, much?

In the beginning, all I wanted was pizza, fruit, bread, and cheese. Everything else was unappetizing, such as broccoli, which is typically like candy to me, was disgusting. Now that I’m six months along, I’m back to my old ways of eating: healthy but delicious

Eating healthy, definitely doesn’t mean depriving myself. I love cooking and we’ve been making all kinds of amazing dishes like shrimp creole with rice, lots of curry chicken with rice, pasta with tomato sauce, and a ton of salmon. This Sunday, we made a slow-roasted salmon cooked at 200 degrees in the oven for an hour; it was flaky and yummy with crispy potatoes on the side.

Birth plan?

No big plan outside of wanting a doula present both for the support and to be my advocate. The stats regarding maternal death rates for Black women have been swirling around my head since the summer and Black Lives Matter. The fact that Black women are five times more likely to die during childbirth is real. Knowing this, I want to feel informed and empowered as much as possible, and I feel like a doula will help facilitate that. Additionally, we plan to go to a hospital, and I’d like to avoid interventions as much as possible, but my main concern is having a healthy baby; however, he needs to come.

Thoughts on raising the next generation?

I grew up in NYC being the only black person in the room for the most part. I went to an all-girls private school on scholarship and had a great childhood; this was my normal. Still to this day, my school friends are my best friends, but it does something to you when you’re a kid not to see anyone who looks like you; it skews your standard of beauty. I think about this a lot as I’m about to raise a Black man in America right now.

Growing up, my mom was intentional about how she approached the topic of race with us. Later in life, she told me she had thought long and hard about how much she wanted to make race a part of our lives. As kids, she didn’t want us to be obsessed with race, but she also wanted us to be aware that people would treat us differently because we were Black. It was a balance she grappled with my entire childhood, and it’s wild to think that 36 years later, as I become a mom, this is still an issue. That said, I’m doing the best in every way I can to help normalize the conversation through my job and raising my son. As a beauty editor, I love telling stories of successful, smart Black women, and as a mom, I plan to make sure the books I read my boy have illustrations of Black people, plus the movies we watch, the art on our walls, and the people we surround ourselves with include a diverse cast of characters. It’s important that he is surrounded by people who look like him and don’t look like him. Diverse, not homogenous. It’s a delicate balance of understanding what race is while not being discouraged by it.

One hope?

I hope we can lessen this impersonal hatred, or apathy rather, for people who don’t necessarily look like or live like us. I think if we all just cared a little bit more about people who have less than us or a different life, the world would be infinitely better.

Any advice?

Be thoughtful about your diet, it’s essential to your health and feeling good all the time. In my world, we talk a lot about superfoods and antioxidants, but it’s a wonder that doctors barely touch on the importance of eating well. It’s such a crucial part of being a human being, and, tragically, it’s such an exclusive thing in this country. The fact that organic is more expensive and people live in food deserts is appalling. Or that you go to a deli and chips are $1 while apples are $1.50…why?!? That said, my advice is to be mindful of nutrition and feeding yourself wholesomely, especially when you want to get pregnant. It takes a lot of energy to grow a human and nourishing yourself sets you up for success.