Planning for Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an amazing time filled with wondrous expectation. 

Some women have a relatively easy pregnancy and others find it may be a bit more challenging.

There are lots of ways to help support your body naturally while you’re preparing for pregnancy, while you’re pregnant and also in preparation for the birth.

Your Diet Preparing for and During Pregnancy

If you’re planning on falling pregnant, or it’s a surprise, getting started on optimising your diet as soon as possible is important for you and your baby.

Often women only find out they are pregnant when they start to feel nauseous and this morning sickness (which can last all day) can last for a few weeks or longer. To minimise morning sickness have snacks beside the bed to have when you first wake up before you get out of bed. Choose foods that are bland in taste and smell and are easy to have ready to eat.

Some of the best are; ginger tea, lemon juice in warm water, plain crackers or flat bread with or without vegemite, bananas, miso soup, popcorn or yoghurt.

Vitamin deficiencies, such as B6, can cause nausea in early pregnancy, so it’s important to eat a good diet or at least supplement if you’re struggling to eat certain foods. It’s best to talk with a practitioner about which supplement would be most suitable for you as everyone has different nutritional needs.

Getting our nutrients from food is also really important now and when baby is born. There is so much more than just the isolated element that you get in a supplement.

Vitamins and minerals such as iron, protein, calcium, vitamin B complex including folate, vitamins A, E and D, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium and iodine are all more important than ever. If you’re unsure which foods you should be eating to get these nutrients, I’m more than happy to help.

What happens while you’re pregnant?

While baby is growing your body adapts to allow for baby to grow. Your blood volume increases from around week 8 of pregnancy; by 28 weeks of pregnancy, you have added 50-60% more blood than you had before you were pregnant!

The food you eat is being used to nourish you, as well as your baby by supplying nutrients to the placenta, umbilical cord, baby’s blood supply, and also helps you keep up with all the extra work your organs are doing to support your developing baby.

Without enough nutrients your baby will take what it needs from you leaving you more deficient than you would have been without being pregnant.

Eating plenty of protein, good fats, and a variety of cooked and raw vegetables forms the basis of a nutritious pregnancy meal plan. Animal foods provide complete protein but you can also get complete proteins by combining proteins from vegetarian sources. Plant foods, especially vegetables, fruit, pulses and legumes, are also important as they provide lots of vitamins and minerals. Fat gives you energy, builds your baby’s brain, protects you from depression, and allows your body to absorb all the nutrients in your food.

Exercise during Pregnancy

I’m often asked about form of exercise is best while pregnant and the simple answer is whatever your body feels it needs.

That may change as the pregnancy goes along. You might be feeling too nauseous in the beginning to be able to do too much, so gentle walking and stretching would be best. Or you might be feeling like swimming laps or more power walking at that stage. Later on you might feel happier doing yoga for pregnancy to prepare your body for baby’s birth. Resistance training with weights is also good for muscle strength.

The important thing is to move and do some form of exercise and not become too sedentary. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise as it can help to keep the pelvis aligned as the baby grows, improves oxygen flow around your body and to our baby and may even help baby position itself better too.

How to deal with Changing Emotions

Pregnancy can be a time of widely varying emotions from joy, excitement, fear, awe, happiness etc. Some women feel an unexplained melancholy or even depression, during or after pregnancy, which is often a result of all those pregnancy hormones. If you’ve not felt this way before it can be quite disconcerting, but it is common and there are lots of ways to help from herbs and supplements to counselling therapies and physical techniques. Getting out into nature, walking barefoot on the grass, rest, meditate and getting good quality sleep is also really important at this time.