- Rest and relaxation
- Prenatal yoga is the perfect way to reduce stress and promote general well being. Many women report reduced levels of anxiety and physical tension following a yoga class.
- Massage therapy, in particular pregnancy massage is also a good way to promote rest and relaxation, as is meditation, or even a day in bed with a good book. Listen to your body, eat well, and take time out to rest and support both yourself and the growing child within you.
- A healthy diet is paramount at the best of times, however none more so than during pregnancy when most vitamin and mineral requirements increase rapidly. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no need to eat for two, instead the focus should be on quality of food rather than quantity. Go organic where possible choose food that has been organically grown. Not only has organic food been found to contain higher amounts of nutrients, it is also grown without the use of chemicals, hormones and antibiotics which means you won’t pass these nasties to your unborn child.
Foods to include:
- Fruit is packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre however watch your intake of fruit if you suffer from gestational diabetes.
- Vegetables also contain a variety of great nutrients- ensure plenty of leafy greens to provide optimal levels of magnesium.
- Whole grains and legumes contain B vitamins for energy and growth as well as a spectrum of minerals. Ask your local health food shop for the low down on the different grains and legumes they sell.
- Meat is a good source of protein and iron. Any meat eaten should be organic or at the very least free range. Choose lean cuts.
- Deep dwelling, cold water fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for healthy brain development of an unborn child. Good choices include: salmon, mullet and sardines.
- Nuts and seeds are filled with protein, good fats, fibre and a range of nutrients. Almonds are high in calcium whereas pumpkin seeds are high in zinc. Choose raw, unsalted nuts and seeds and keep them close at hand for a nutritious snack to prevent low blood sugar levels.
- Healthy oils provide healthy omega-3,-6 and -9 fats as well as fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Examples include flaxseed (do not heat), avocado and coconut oil.
Foods to avoid:
- Steer clear of cold ready to eat foods that you haven’t prepared yourself. These include pate, soft cheeses such as brie and camembert, smoked salmon, take away cold chicken, deli meats and salad bars. These foods may contain harmful bacteria known as Listeria which have been found to cause premature birth and miscarriage.
- Raw and undercooked eggs have the potential to cause salmonella. Choose eggs that have been fully cooked.
- Caffeine intake has been linked with increased risk of miscarriage. Keep caffeine to a minimum and replace with a natural alternative such as herbal tea.
- Alcohol consumed by the mother is easily passed on to the foetus and not only depletes the mother’s nutrients but may cause low birth weight, neurological impairment and physical deformities in the unborn child. Avoid throughout pregnancy.
- Mineral deficiency during pregnancy is common in Australia as many women, particularly where there is morning sickness, find it hard to meet the recommended dietary requirements set out during pregnancy. Often the unborn child drains the mother’s nutrient stores leaving the mother deficient. Symptoms such as anaemia, muscle cramps and morning sickness may then ensue. Ensuring that this does not happen is vital.
- Pregnancy Multivitamin: Supplementation with a high potency prenatal formula offers a convenient way of safe guarding against possible nutritional deficiencies. Supplementation should be continued well into the breastfeeding period as women who are breastfeeding have the same increased requirements nutritionally as pregnant women.
- Folic acid, if taken daily for one month before conception and during pregnancy, may reduce the risk of having a child with spina bifida/ neural tube defects
- Fish Oil: Maternal supplementation of Omega 3 fatty acids may help improve the infant’s cognitive function in particular hand and visual coordination.
- Magnesium/Calcium: Requirements of both Calcium and Magnesium increase during pregnancy, thus a steady supply of both these nutrients is paramount during pregnancy.
- Raspberry Leaf: Raspberry Leaf helps tone the uterus, in preparation for the birthing process.
Some recommended products: