Being pregnant and staying healthy
If you’re pregnant, your hormones are surging, your muscles and ligaments are stretching, your heart is working overtime, and our body is string up lots of fluid and fat reserves. Despite all this, for most of your pregnancy, if you’re like the majority of women, you’ll feel completely healthy. Even so, there’s that bit at the beginning (with the morning sickness an ligament pain) and towards the end (with the backache and labor pain) when the incredible changes taking place inside your body can make you feel pretty terrible.
Pregnancy is often the first time many women turn to natural medicine – because, rightly, conventional doctors are reluctant to recommend drugs during pregnancy, and, for the same reasons, many women don’t want to take drugs while they’re pregnant in case the medication crosses the placenta and is absorbed by the baby.
Carrying the life of another human being inside you is both amazing and joyful. Now, more than at any other time in your life, you’ll probably want to know which foods and lifestyle choices are best for you.
You’ll need to know that foods to avoid, as well as what to eat and what supplements you should try to take. Other aspects of health are important, too – how do you stay fit, but safe, during pregnancy, for example?
The importance of diet
During the nine months of our pregnancy, you literally “make” your baby – almost from scratch. For this reason, it is important for you to eat healthy, nutritious food.
To some extent your baby is protected in your uterus – we know that if there isn’t enough good food your reserves, and you’ll go without. However, that’s not to underplay the effects of what you decide to eat or not to eat on your unborn baby’s health. Your developing baby is highly sensitive to your nutritional status; and poor intake of essential nutrients can alter the rate of growth of your baby’s organs, and influence their structure and long-term function. The overall result is to increase the risk of health problems for the baby after he or she is born and even into adulthood.
For the nine months of pregnancy – and longer if you breastfeed – your baby is totally dependent on you for all the nutrients it needs. It’s important to eat well from the moment you find out you’re pregnant. The responsibility is great but not daunting if you experts guidelines.
During your pregnancy, take a supplement that contains the following nutrients at levels as close as possible to those in this list. If you can’t find a good prenatal supplement locally, you can order one online.
• Vitamin B1
• Vitamin B2
• Vitamin B3
• Vitamin B5
• Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxal-5 phosphate)
• Vitamin B12
• Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
• Vitamin E
• Vitamin D3
• Folic acid
• Chromium (from saccharomyces)
Food to avoid during pregnancy
“Unhealthy” foods, such as fast foods, deep-fried food, foods containing hydrogenated (trans) fats, and processed meats (sausages, hamburgers, and so on) are all off the menu while you’re pregnant.
Avoid all undercooked meat, poultry, and fish, which can cause food poisoning, as can raw eggs. These can carry salmonella, which won’t directly harm your baby, but will cause you to have diarrhea and vomiting and make you feel extremely unwell.
Food-borne illnesses are also rife in meat pates, ready-to-eat salads, and unpasteurized soft or blue cheese, such as brie or Stilton. All these foods can contain listeria, which if passed to your unborn baby can cause a miscarriage. Cottage cheese and hard cheeses, however, are fine.
Candy, chocolates, processed foods, and carbonated soft drinks are full of refined sugar and give you no nutritional value, so avoid them. Caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage, so limit your intake to only one cup of coffee or tea a day; and alcohol can harm your baby’s development, so you should abstain completely from drinking it during pregnancy.
However, just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that you have to become a food saint. If about 90 percent of your diet is healthy, you can afford to treat yourself to goodies such as ice cream and chocolate once in a while. But choose the best-quality foods available, so they’re not full of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colorings, and so on. A balanced, healthy diet contains a wide variety of foods – just don’t’ go overboard. Enjoy a little of everything in moderation.