“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” -Hippocrates, ancient Greek physician
We have all heard the phrase, ‘You are what you eat’, but now according to an article in Time magazine, ‘We are also what our mothers eat’!
Your baby’s health is directly related to what you eat before, during and after pregnancy. ‘Healthy Mothers have healthy babies’, as Robin Lim states in her book, ‘Eating for Two’. Nutrition is key to a healthy pregnancy and birth and is the biggest and best tool you have for avoiding discomforts and complications, such as…
- Hemorrhoids (Piles)
- Leg Cramps
- Pre-term labor
- Anemia (Low Iron)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lactation problems
Since around 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, living a healthy, eco-conscious lifestyle may be the best thing you can do to prepare your body for having children, planned or not.
It is important to focus on good nutrition as soon as you can. Eat wholesome organic foods whenever possible. Remember that good nutrition is like an investment-You have to pay upfront to get the desired result. The majority of birth defects occur in the first three weeks of pregnancy, often before many women know they are pregnant. It is therefore important that you already have your nutrient reserves boosted. If you are currently trying to conceive, now is the perfect time to make changes to your diet, to ensure you are getting the essential nutrients for your pregnancy. Often perceived ‘infertility’ can be resolved through dietary changes and/or alternative therapies, such as Acupuncture. Start taking a prenatal multivitamin (even if you are not pregnant yet). This acts as an ‘insurance policy’ for anything you may be lacking in your diet. In our modern world, unhealthy farming practices, such as spraying crops with chemical fungicides and insecticides, rob our soil and therefore our foods of vital nutrients, which is why I would recommend taking a prenatal vitamin, even if you already have a healthy diet. However, simply taking a multi-vitamin, is not enough by itself. Supplementation should not take the place of food. It is always better to get nutrients direct from food sources rather than from a synthetic source, as your body will be able to digest and absorb them more readily.
If you are already pregnant, don’t worry-it is never too late. You may find completing a food diary helpful. Jot down everything you are eating over the course of a week (and be honest). It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you will find you pay more attention to what you’re eating, and you’ll be more cautious about your food choices when you know you have to write it down. Show it to your healthcare provider, to see if they have a recommendations. It is also important to remember that the benefits of eating wisely during pregnancy are not just confined to the womb, it lays a strong foundation for our children’s future health and their eating habits for the rest of their lives.
As some of you may already realize, Folic Acid, or Folate, is one of the important nutrients a woman needs during pregnancy (especially in the first 3 months) to prevent against Neural Tube Disorders, such as Spina Bifida, but how many of you know that Folic Acid is great to take PRE-pregnancy too? Folic Acid can be depleted by oral contraceptives and is helpful for enhancing fertility in both men and women. Think, leafy greens, nuts, green beans, asparagus, legumes, lima beans, wholegrains and oranges for healthy sources of Folic Acid.
Below are my 2 favorite Prenatal Multi Vitamins. There are both organic whole food based supplements, rather than synthetic versions. This means the nutrients are more easily broken down, processed and absorbed by the body (bio-available), and you are highly unlikely to get any allergic reactions or unpleasant side effects.
Related Article - ‘Ten tips to prepare for your pregnancy’ – Healthy Child, Healthy World