Nourish - 5 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body is quite literally building an entire human being from scratch. This means you’re going to need a lot of good quality sources of nutrients in order to build a strong, healthy baby.
To grow a person inside of you is hard work! That’s why we’ve pulled out all the stops to put together our top 5 tips for a healthy pregnancy.
1. Educate yourself
First things first, do your research. Talk to your midwife, herbalist, an alternative health-care practitioner or doctor before starting on any new diet or supplement regime. That way you can gather as much information as you can.
There are plenty of fantastic books on pregnancy. Some on what to eat, drink, how to exercise with your new bump and so much more.
You have the responsibility for your pregnancy, your health and your baby so educate yourself, and enjoy the journey.
The importance of a good diet before, during and after pregnancy cannot be stressed enough.
Firstly, it is vital for the health and energy of the mother. Secondly, it is nourishing the foetus and providing the growing baby with all the nutrients required for a healthy body.
A focus on fresh, unprocessed, unrefined, whole food is essential for providing your body with excellent nutrition in its best and most absorbable form.
Aim for a well-balanced diet consisting of adequate protein, healthy fats, fruits and plenty of vegetables. Put your focus on nutrient-dense food, such as avocados, nuts and greens to help your baby thrive!
Learn more about foods we recommend for pre-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding on our sister blog here.
3. Supplement your diet
Whilst it is best to get the nutrients from whole food sources for optimal absorption in their most natural forms, it can be a smart idea to supplement your diet. A healthy pregnancy requires plenty of essential vitamins and minerals in ample amounts. This is because pregnant women in general have a higher nutrient requirement. Often supplements are the only way to get adequate nutrient levels.
Supplement needs can vary from woman to woman. It must also be noted that all supplements should be approved by a doctor or midwife to ensure safety during pregnancy.
Some excellent prenatal vitamin supplements include:
- Biocare Pregnancy and Lactation
- Naturesplus Prenatal
- Viridian Pregnancy Complex
- Oxylent Prenatal
Additionally, omega supplements are recommended:
- Nordic Naturals DHA
- Minami Nutrition MorDHA.
Before conceiving and during pregnancy supplementation
It is good to know that the best time to begin a healthy pregnancy regime is about 3 months before you conceive.
Building a strong nutritional system will not only increase your own health, vitality and energy levels, but it will also improve the odds of having a healthy conception. Equally, it will help to ensure your body is healthy and equipped to deal with the transitions of early pregnancy and the new changes it brings.
Prenatal Vitamins – For some, a good natural prenatal vitamin supplement can go a long way to provide the essential nutrients. This includes folic acid, B12 and iron. Taken for 3 months prior and often suitable for taking during pregnancy, these additional nutrients can really help support a healthy conception.
To learn more about which nutrients and supplements to look for in a prenatal diet, see our previous blog post here: 7 Nutrients and Supplements to Look For in a Prenatal Diet.
4. What to Avoid
When it comes to nutrition during pregnancy, the foundation of it all is to consume a whole food heavily plant based diet.
This means eliminating:
- processed and refined foods
- refined sugars
- non-organic dairy and meats
- artificial sweeteners
Instead, concentrating on nourishing yourself and your growing baby with foods that are grown or raised organically and naturally. This means without the use of unnecessary antibiotics, hormones, preservatives or additives.
Alcohol – almost goes without saying. No good comes from consuming it, and the possible detrimental effects are not worth the risk. Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy has shown to have detrimental effects on the child, both physically and also mentally.
Smoking – smoking should be avoided for the sake of both the mother and the baby’s health.
Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth and neonatal death, not to mention the increased risk of cancer.
Caffeine – This one causes much conflict regarding its safety during pregnancy.
Caffeine reduces the availably and absorption of nutrients from your diet.
There’s not a lot of point spending money on good foods and prenatal supplements to then drink a €2.50 cup of coffee and urinate the nutrients out an hour later!
Excessive caffeine consumption has also been linked to increased risk of miscarriage so it’s best to avoid it. If you do wish to consume caffeine, limit it to one cup a day, preferably from green tea.
5. Stay active
Exercise is good for you even when you’re not pregnant, and it doesn’t stop when you are!
Exercise is great not only for mothers-to-be but also for their developing babies.
Regular exercise shows many positive effects on the mother’s mood and physical disposition as well as on the development of the child.
It can help prevent excess weight gain, keep you strong and flexible during labour, and make post-pregnancy recovery much easier.
There are always prenatal yoga classes on offer to help with stretching, toning and building necessary muscle. Additionally, there’s also swimming, light running, walking and strength-building exercises.
Take it slowly and listen to your body. Now is not the time to be pushing yourself to the limit, it is about building and nurturing your body and your little’n.
Have a read of our blog on the benefits of prenatal yoga for further information on how prenatal yoga can help you during your pregnancy and labour.
Additional blog posts in our pregnancy series include:
- 7 Nutrients and Supplements to Look For in a Prenatal Diet
- Shopping List for Pre-conception, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- Guide to a Good Health Regime for Mums-to-Be
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet, especially when you’re pregnant or trying to conceive.