GoVita’s holistic health experts share their top tips for a happy, healthy pregnancy.
Every expectant mother wants her baby to be healthy and safe. Try these ideas to nurture your body and mind, protect your baby, and ease common pregnancy ailments.
Eat to protect your baby
Buy organic where possible, especially dairy foods, meat, nuts and seeds (conventional ones may be coated with petrol-based oils and sulphur dioxide). Scrub non-organic fruit and vegetables with a nail brush and a squirt of eco-friendly liquid soap. To reduce your intake of mercury, PCBs, dioxins and other pollutants, avoid carnivorous fish high on the food chain, such as swordfish and tuna. Don’t eat raw fish, including sashimi. To avoid salmonella food poisoning, cook eggs until the yolk is firm and don’t eat raw eggs.
Choose the right foods
The top pregnancy foods include broccoli (for folate, calcium and antioxidant vitamins A, C and E); berries (also rich in folate, plus vitamin C and phytonutrients); natural yoghurt (one serving contains a quarter of your daily requirement of calcium); oily fish, such as herring, mackerel and wild salmon (a great source of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids); olive oil (rich in vitamin E plus oleic acid to boost development of baby’s brain and nervous system); and whole grains (provide antioxidant lignans to keep gut flora healthy as well as fibre to prevent constipation and haemorrhoids). Supplementation with folic acid and iron is usually recommended during pregnancy, but do not self-prescribe – seek professional advice on dosage.
Add protein power
Protein requirements increase by 30 per cent during pregnancy; protein is also particularly important during the last two trimesters, because this is when most of the baby’s growth occurs. A handy new product to try is Amazonia’s Raw Protein Pregnancy Plus, a certified organic, plant-based and non-synthetic protein powder which contains 14 wholefood nutrients, including naturally-occurring folate, zinc, iron, and B-group vitamins. Add a spoonful to a smoothie or sprinkle it over cereal or yoghurt.
Keeping well hydrated is vital for all that extra blood circulating in your body, working hard to deliver nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy. It also helps your brain function, prevent constipation, and flushes out bacteria that may cause urinary tract infections. Research findings on the effects of caffeine during pregnancy vary, but drinking large amounts has been associated with miscarriage, insomnia and headaches, and also interferes with the uptake of iron and folic acid.
For your wellbeing and the health of your baby, you should ideally stop work completely toward the end of pregnancy. Try these soothing ways to de-stress at home and at work.
* Sit on your heels, knees wide open, and place pillows beneath your knees and feet and under your buttocks. Pile up large cushions or a beanbag or birth ball in front of you, then recline forward onto them, adjusting the support until you feel comfortable.
* Elevate your feet when sitting to lessen the chance of developing varicose veins and woollen ankles
Little changes, big difference
We are surrounded by manmade chemicals and many pass through the placenta to the baby, but don’t be scared – simple measures go a long way to protect you.
* Eat organic food.
* Install a water filter.
* Stop anyone smoking in or near you.
* Detox your bathroom cabinet and make-up bag, and choose greener brands.
* Swap to eco-friendly household cleaning and laundry products.
* Clear out chemical products in your garden shed, and take them to an appropriate recycling or disposal station.
* Skip chemical-based air fresheners. Open windows to air your home instead.
* Buy organic sheets, mattress and baby clothing, and paint.
Recipe: Ginger tea
To ease morning sickness, grate a 2-inch section of ginger root into a cup. Pour over boiling water and leave to steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey and a dash of lemon juice for extra zing.