As a mom of two, I know the struggle of trying to have a heathy pregnancy and being overloaded with advice from family, friends, doctors and of course google! It can get overwhelming. I often get asked for nutritional advice and suggestions for pregnancy so with so much information out there I decided to keep it simple and put together a list of my top 5 pregnancy tips of the things I found to be a) the most important for optimal health and wellbeing during pregnancy and b) tips that I found a lot of people didn’t know about and should.
So here we go:
It is important for everyone’s vitamin D to be at the optimal level – it is not only important for many important health factors such as: immune health, gut health and mental health (to name a few), but during pregnancy it affects the following: Fetal Growth Impairment, Gestational Diabetes, Growth and Development Problems, Preeclampsia, Prenatal Infections and Preterm Birth. Most people are deficient or not in the optimal range and this includes woman during pregnancy – see this article for more information. It’s also important to have the proper level in order for the baby to have proper stores. If nursing, it isn’t passed in the breast milk unless the mother has enough in her system. The Vitamin D Council is a great resource to get an idea of how much vitamin D is needed for pregnancy and nursing and/or formula feeding. This chart shows many of vitamin D’s benefits including throughout pregnancy. Most doctors do not offer to test and do not discuss optimal levels, it is important to be an active participant in your own health and ask for the tests, given the above reasons it is worth the cost and time (plus you will be getting blood work anyways). Please feel free to contact me for a consultation to help you get into the optimal range if you are not where you should be and all of your other important nutritional questions during your pregnancy.
I still remember in my first pregnancy the leg cramps almost every night that were so uncomfortable they would keep me up for hours. Fast forward three years later when I had discovered the benefits of magnesium and was pregnant with my youngest, I would spray my calves every day and I didn’t get one single cramp! If I could travel back in time to give myself advice during my first pregnancy it would be to buy a quality magnesium spray! Magnesium gets depleted really quick normally and a lot of pregnant woman suffer from sore legs (especially calves). A quality magnesium spray will help with that, and it also helps sore muscles from sleeping in those awkward pregnancy positions or once the baby is born and you are sore from all of those wonderful newborn snuggles that always seem to last forever when your in an awkward position but don’t want to wake the baby!
In the last trimester the baby takes up very large amounts of DHA. It is so important for the mother to either eat foods rich in DHA or supplement it. Fatty fish such as salmon and halibut are good sources of DHA and there are many products available that have been fortified such as plant based beverages. If nursing, the amount of DHA in breastmilk will correlate with the mother’s intake (and most woman are depleted from the baby using so much in the last trimester). DHA is important for the baby for brain and eye development and to the mom to help with post part depression (low DHA is linked with depression).
When a baby is born, the baby’s skin and gut get colonized from the mother’s microorganisms in the birth canal. It is so important to have a good population of symbiotic bacteria (think friendly) to start your baby out at their healthiest. Most of the immune system is in the gut so the healthiest bacteria you can pass along will be nothing but beneficial for you both. The best way to get probiotics is to eat fermented foods daily and to switch it up to keep a good healthy variety as well as eat lots of vegetables and foods full of prebiotics which will feed all of the good bacteria. Another way to get probiotics is by supplementation and there are many options available at your local health food store.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a mom to be who isn’t nervous about the labouring process. I have found affirmations to be a great tool to help prepare yourself mentally as well as put your intentions out there. The important thing is to take a few minutes each day and read over them. If you tend to forget to do this, put them where you will notice them: bathroom mirror, dresser, car, etc. If you are looking for instructions or ideas, this is a great site to check out. You can also be as creative as you like from jotting them down on a post it to typing them out and adding pictures. I put some pregnancy photos on mine and my older son decorated it. I would take about 5 minutes a day to read it and diffuse an essential oil blend that I enjoyed. After my baby was born, I put my intention page in his keepsake box.
If I could I would have probably written a top 100 but I think these five points are so important that I wouldn’t want them to get missed in the shuffle. I hope you found some useful advice here to help with a healthy, happy pregnancy!
ps – Please feel free to contact me for a consultation to help you be at your healthiest while preparing for pregnancy, during pregnancy and/or after pregnancy.
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The Human Micriobiome Considerations For Pregnancy Birth and Early Mothering