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 all moms.

  • Mind: Nurturing thoughts and a calm, loving vibration for mom and her surrounding environment.
  • Spirit: Heartfelt connection to broader sources of creative energy.
  • 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 fatigue.
  • 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.

General Tips:

  • 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 and hemorrhoids.
  • 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.

Important Nutritional Components

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.

Learn all the essentials in Julie's Nutrition for Pregnancy class.


Avoiding Toxins

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

Vegetarian Moms

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 of the Home




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