Bringing new life into the world is one of the most amazing parts of being human. Forming a person inside your own body truly is a miracle. And it takes a lot of energy and effort to make this miracle happen. Your health and happiness during your pregnancy directly shapes your childs life. Here are a few tips we have gathered over the years to make this special time graceful for you and supportive for your baby.
Your Diet Makes Your Baby
At no time is it as obvious that human bodies are directly composed of the food we eat as when a baby is formed. Physical, mental, and emotional health of children is directly linked to the quality of food their mothers had when pregnant.
Eat a variety of organic, whole, fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, and seeds. Enjoy whole grains in moderation. Avoid processed junk food and refined grain products. Pay special attention to allergies and sensitivities, and only eat food that digests easily and energizes you.
Drink to Your Health
Oh sweet, pure water. Water is the primal building block of life, providing the base material for the amniotic fluid in which your baby floats and every little cell. You will need to drink more water than you might think while you are pregnant and nursing.
As your baby is susceptible to toxin exposure, you want to avoid tap water and plastic bottled water. Municipal tap water sometimes contains a variety of toxins including pharmaceutical residue, lead, chlorine, fluoride, and industrial waste products. Bottled water is contaminated by the plastic that houses it, and a lot of bottled spring water actually comes from municipal sources.
Pure spring water (that you draw yourself) or water that has been filtered through a reverse osmosis (RO) system are the cleanest ways to hydrate.
Build Your Team
Form a relationship with a qualified and compassionate health care practitioner. Laws and titles vary in different locations, so depending on where you live this might be a midwife or an obstetrician.
Find someone who has a clear understanding and experience with the medical aspects of pregnancy, labor, and delivery, as well as the emotional and energetic components of bringing new life into this world. Choose a provider who truly has your familys best interests at heart, and will never rush the birth process or take shortcuts.
If possible, work with a doula or other holistic birth support provider. Doulas provide emotional support and attention that many mothers find invaluable. Its also helpful to have the support of your friends and community. Nothing brings us together like a new baby, and you may be surprised t how helpful people can be if you let them.
Adequate nutrient levels are crucial for proper development. The most important nutrients for pregnant women are folic acid, iron, B12, vitamin D, probiotics, and omega 3 essential fatty acids.
While many of these nutrients are available in trace amounts in certain foods, to get adequate amounts for developing babies, supplementation may be necessary. Omega-3s are particularly challenging to come by, as most ocean fish is considered unsafe for pregnant women due to its high mercury content.
In addition to supporting the health of your baby, taking these supplements may help you feel more energized and positive during your pregnancy.
Cultivate a Non-toxic Lifestyle
Developing fetuses are particularly susceptible to dietary and environmental toxins. Do your best to avoid all poisons. This includes alcohol, tobacco, sugar, radiation, pesticides, chemical cleaning products, artificial sweeteners, and anti-bacterial soaps. These substances have been linked to the development of behavioral problems and developmental disabilities.
Avoid less obvious toxins such as unnecessary medications, caffeine, cell phones, wireless internet, solvents, certain metals (the mercury in vaccines and fish, and lead in old pipes), and cosmetics.
Have any mercury amalgam fillings removed before you become pregnant. If you still have mercury in your mouth once you are pregnant, wait until after you are done breastfeeding to have it removed. Avoid chewing gum and hot food and liquids while you are pregnant and nursing if you still have mercury fillings, to make it less likely that mercury vapor will be released into your bloodstream.
Other toxic products to avoid include pans and cooking utensils coated with Teflon, which has been linked to low birth weight. Many plastic containers are made with either Bisphenol A (BPA) or phthalates, both of which have been linked to birth defects.
Keep It Moving
Provided that you have not been ordered to go on bed rest by your doctor, daily exercise will support the health of your baby. Women who exercise frequently during their pregnancies tend to have easier labor.
Exercise will also keep your spirits up and help you adapt to the changes in your body more gracefully. Find ways to move that you truly enjoy, such as prenatal Yoga, dance, or simply walking in nature.
Sleep Like You Mean It
Learn to be a champion sleeper. Just like proper nutrition and exercise, restful sleep makes for a healthier baby. Insufficient or poor quality sleep weakens the immune system and suppresses the metabolism. Chronic sleep deprivation can cause psychiatric disorders and contribute to other health problems.
Set yourself up for sleep success by creating a completely dark, cool, and comfortable bedroom. Avoid eating or drinking with a couple hours of bedtime. Go to bed as early as possible, as the organs regenerate more in the earlier part of the night (11pm to 2am). And turn the computer and TV off at least an hour before bed so your mind can begin calming down.
Save Your Smile
Oral health is an important component of overall health for all people, and especially expectant mothers. Dental disease increases the likelihood of delivering prematurely. Remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss daily.
You can support the health of your teeth and gums by avoiding sugar and dried fruit, and eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Especially eat fruit and veggies high in vitamins C, E, and A, such as citrus fruit and leafy greens.
Bringing new life into the world is an incredible gift. It is also one of the most intense things any woman can do. Hopefully this can be a beautiful, magical time for you, aided by a lifestyle that supports your wellbeing and your babys health.