While pregnancy is not a disease, and is the most natural thing in the world, the suggestions ensure that everything is optimal, making both the pregnancy and delivery easier, and can in fact create a healthier and more intelligent baby. What happens to the mother during pregnancy can affect the baby for the rest of its life.
• Regularly check the mother’s weight and blood pressure, and the baby’s progress.
• Prescribe 5mg of folic acid daily to reduce the incidence of spinal and brain defects such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
• If the mother’s iron levels are low, or if she becomes anemic she should take iron tablets.
What the mother can do
BEFORE becoming pregnant. Because the spine and brain develop very early in the fetus – before the mother knows she is pregnant – many mothers at that time will not be taking protective folic acid. The only safe way to protect your baby is to be taking a supplement containing folic acid ALL THE TIME when conception is possible. So as soon as the baby is conceived, the nerve tissues will have plenty of folic acid.
What the mother eats will supply both her own and also her baby’s needs. She generously gives to her baby before herself, so she must eat a good healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, avoiding toxins and preservatives as much as possible and eating organic food, to provide a better outcome for her developing baby.
She should avoid chemicals and drugs, both ingested and on the skin, as much as possible, because again these find their way into the baby. If possible use preservative free skin care products, without parabens and sodium laurel sulphate. Avoid dental work which may stir up mercury in the mouth, because babies are very sensitive to mercury. Because fish can have a high mercury content, even though fish oils can have major benefits, health authorities now recommend that pregnant women eat less than one fish meal per week.
Regular exercise, such as walking, is important, as is have a good night’s sleep and often a nap during the day.
Supplementation seems so obvious that it is hard to understand why many in the medical profession ignore this idea. Perhaps it is because most supplements have such poor contents and so give little benefit. Some supplements may contain potentially damaging impurities with no guarantee of their contents. Examples of these include mercury in fish oils, and lead, which is frequently found in cheaper calcium supplements. However there are supplements made to pharmaceutical levels which provide all the nutrients the body requires. Pregnancy is not a time to take any risks. So give your baby and yourself the best supplements you can.
• A good multivitamin/multimineral ensures that mother and baby have all the nutrients and minerals required to function, grow and develop perfectly. Make sure that it contains at least 5mg folic acid. Also make sure that the supplement contains beta carotene not vitamin A because vitamin A can build up in the baby and cause toxic effects.
• Omega 3 fish oils, 1-2 grams daily, are very important for good brain function and development in the fetus. Studies have shown that mothers who eat plenty of fish or fish oils during pregnancy have babies with higher IQs. Omega 3 oils also improve the tissue elasticity which can be a great help during childbirth. However, since eating fish can expose the baby to high mercury levels, use quality fish oil supplement which guarantee that they are mercury free and are made to pharmaceutical standards.
• Calcium and magnesium, 800-1,000mg/day. Magnesium has a very calming effect and helps with sleep. This dosage provides mother and baby with enough calcium to maintain and develop bones. Magnesium can also help with nerve function and reduce night cramps.
• Extra fiber in the diet can help prevent or reduce the risk of developing piles (haemorrhoids).