Healthy Pregnancy and Conception
Pregnancy is the most important time to be conscious about what you eat. Traditional
wisdom, scientific inquiry, and mother's intution understand that nutrition
has an important impact on fetuses and babies, as well as a mother who needs
good health and strength to take care of her newborn and breastfeed if desired.
At Healthful Living, we suggest the following Nourish The Future focus for
- Mind: Nurturing thoughts and a calm, loving vibration
for mom and her surrounding environment.
- Spirit: Heartfelt connection to broader sources of
- Body: Inner environment optimally suited for creation
of life for mom and baby.
Benefits for mom and baby of holistic nutrition during pregnancy:
- Lifelong impact on the health of your child by building a strong physiological
system from the beginning, during gestation.
- Minimize the challenges of morning sickness, constipation, anemia,
heartburn, gestational diabetes, and preclampsia.
- Lowers some of the risks of low birth weight, susceptibility to infection,
birth defects and miscarriages.
- Increase daily energy level, feelings of well-being, and help reduce
- Positively affects labor. Women who get proper nutrition are less
likely to deliver early than women with poorer diets - deficiency in
zinc and essential fatty acids have been correlated with preterm labor.
- Promotes healthy weight gain.
- Better postpartum recovery. A well-nourished body recovers faster,
and healthy pregnancy weight gain comes off more quickly.
- Maximize every bite. In order to absorb the large amount of nutrients
required for pregnancy, it’s important to eat as many nutrient-dense
foods as possible.
- Adding fiber to your diet can help you avoid problems like constipation
- Abundant water and good hydration are important for pregnancy. Water
flushes waste products from cells and aids liver and kidney function
for mother and baby’s waste. Proper hydration is important for
adequate breast milk production and flow.
- Take a prenatal supplement. This is a good “insurance policy.” However,
it is still best to get as many key nutrients as you can from whole
foods. Nutrients from food are more easily absorbed than supplement
- AVOID additives and toxins in foods (such as the following) is important:
mercury in fish, MSG, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives,
nitrates/nitrites in cured meats such as ham and bacon, artificial
sweeteners, contaminants in water, and pesticides in produce and animal
products. These substances are harmful to mother and baby.
Fats: Nutritious and balanced fat choices such as omega
3, 6 and 9 are essential for brain growth and development of babies. Trans-fats
and hydrogenated fats should be reduced or eliminated, but essential fats consumption
should never be restricted during pregnancy and nursing.
Protein: Proteins are the building blocks for mother's muscles,
teeth, and bones - and also vital to normal growth patterns babies, and for
production of immune system antibodies.
Carbohydrates: A well-balanced diet with carbohydrates from
complex, whole food sources such as vegetables, grains, fruits is important
to ensure adequate intake of fiber, nutrients, and energy.
Minerals: Minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium and
zinc are critical to the health of a pregnant woman and her baby. Iron
supports the increase in blood volume needed in pregnancy. Calcium and
zinc are key to bone growth and maintenance and healing.
Vitamins: Vitamins, like minerals, are also critical for
a healthy pregnancy and baby. Most of us know folic acid can help prevent certain
birth defects. Vitamin A aids cell growth and repairs and aids visual
function - natural food forms of vitamin A absorb better than supplements.
This seems obvious; however many women have no idea that the substances in
the food they eat, cleaners they use, and vapors they inhale would or could
be harmful. This is essential because the baby is most vulnerable when
he is developing and has no detoxification system of his own yet. These
chemicals that are eaten, inhaled, and absorbed can cause damage to the baby,
including causing miscarriage. Here are a few examples to illustrate
the importance of reducing your exposure to chemicals and toxins:
- Mercury in fish can cause biochemical and brain damage
- Plastics and plasticizers in our food and body care products can cause
birth defeats and miscarriages
- Vapors in paints, solvents, even perfumes and fragrances can be damaging
to the fetus
- MSG hidden in many food products is a potent neurotoxin especially to babies
and associated with reproductive disorders
You can be a vegetarian during pregnancy and provide proper nutrition for
yourself and your baby. However, you need to be even more careful and
intentional with your diet to ensure that every food that you eat provides
important nutrients, including B12 – a nutrient often low in vegetarian
diets. Being a vegan is more difficult and not often recommended unless
someone has been successfully using this diet and is very educated on food
and nutrient supplementation.
Learn more about these toxins and how to avoid them in Health
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