By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
Pregnancy support is vital for mom and baby, but it can be difficult to know where to start. There is so much information out there! And a single prenatal supplement might not cover everything you need, functionally. While you’re pregnant, taking care of yourself and taking care of your growing baby are one in the same.
The Best Nutrient-Dense Dietary Habits:
- You’ll want to eat fermented foods occasionally, like non-dairy/unsweetened yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir. These foods diversify your microbiome, improving your immune health. Research shows that a good diversity of probiotics not only benefit mom, but also help to develop baby’s microbiome, even in the womb.
- Make sure to eat a whole-food, nutritious diet, such as described by a well-rounded Mediterranean diet, a Modified Whole 30, or the traditional Weston A. Price dietary guidelines, depending on your individual sensitivities. The main idea is to eat like our ancestors did, before the food manufacturers took over the grocery stores. Whole milk, whole fat, eggs, and animal meats that have been raised on pasture provide the most nutrients and healthy fats for development. These rich foods need to be balanced by plenty of organic fruits and vegetables. Starches and grains should be kept to a minimum.
- Make sure you get enough naturally occurring Vitamins A & D, especially from Cod Liver Oil, grass-fed butter, organ meat like liver, and of course, sunshine! These vitamins play vital roles within the body, for immunity, tissue integrity, and hormonal support, too. You don’t want to supplement much of these two; you need to get them from your food!
- Drink plenty of water at all times. Hydration is key for cellular health, energy, bowel movements, and delivering nutrients through your placenta. Your water intake goal without being pregnant is half your body weight in ounces. You’ll want to drink about 20 percent more than that to keep your blood volume up.
Good Lifestyle Habits During Pregnancy:
- You’ll want to prioritize getting good quality and quantity of sleep. Think about creating a calming nighttime routine. You want to be in a peaceful state before closing your eyes. Dim all the lights in the house while getting ready for bed. Play soft, instrumental music. Cover the electronic lights in your bedroom with black tape.
- Create a peaceful home environment. Your pregnant body has enough to do – it does not need the extra stress of negativity. Declutter your living room. Organize your pantry and fridge. Clear out the closets to make way for all the wonderful things you’ll need when your baby arrives.
- Be sure to make time for gentle daily exercise and stretching. Exercise increases oxygenation, prevents swelling, and helps your happiness, too. The more you move, the better you will feel. Try yoga, swimming, pilates, or walking with a friend. Just keep an eye on your heart rate and know what’s normal for you. There’s no need to be too intense.
Immune Support While Pregnant:
How much do you think about your immune system’s role during pregnancy? Have you been feeling more congested while pregnant? Cold or allergy-like symptoms can be common early on when your baby is developing because your immune system is working extra hard to keep things in balance. This is a time when you’ll want to avoid common over-the-counter meds, (especially avoid Tylenol!) so supporting yourself naturally is even more important.
A woman’s immune system is naturally suppressed at certain times during pregnancy because the baby is foreign to your body. This can make the mother more susceptible to colds, flu, and other bacterial or viral diseases. However, you can still do many things naturally to support your immune system.
Vitamin C is vital to the immune system as well as tissue repair, bone growth and cell protection. It is the foundation for building connective tissues.
- Eat fresh citrus fruits and vegetables that contain Vitamin C such as oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, sweet red peppers and broccoli.
- When you need extra, you can safely consume 2000 mg/day of Vitamin C as a supplement.
- When sick, consume 1 crushed, raw garlic clove with each meal. Add raw honey for taste and added benefits.
- Mix 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (preferably raw) into water or tea and drink three times a day.
- Consume onions regularly
- Make homemade bone broth and chicken-vegetable soup, and consume regularly.
- Take 1 tablespoon of elderberry syrup up to four times per day.
More than a Prenatal:
Prenatal vitamins are a convenient way to cover your basic nutritional needs. Our current favorite is the Prenatal Pack from Biotics. It’s an all-in-one convenient packet with whole-food forms of vitamins, and mineral chelates, for superior absorption. And it contains 1200 mg of beneficial DHA per pack.
But when you want to get more targeted, you can ward off many of pregnancy’s common complaints by adding a few key supplements. We love personalizing our protocols to your individual needs!
- Zypan – this is our most foundational digestive support. You’re eating for two, after all! We recommend this for just about anyone who feels a little lacking in breaking down their food. With morning sickness, oftentimes that’s when weak digestion is highlighted, so having extra hydrochloric acid and enzymes can really help. Later on in pregnancy, heartburn can be a problem, so digesting your food more quickly and moving it along can help, too.
- Drenamin – With pregnancy, you’ve got a lot of changes going on internally as well as figuring out changes to your home and work schedule, too. This adds so much hormonal stress to the new Mom just trying to keep up with it all. Drenamin provides the Vitamin C, adrenal extract, and B vitamins your stress-handling glands need – so you can recover from the day and get ready to do it all over again!
- Tuna Omega 3 Oil – The most important nutrient for a healthy growing brain is Omega 3 fatty acids – specifically, DHA. Tuna Omega 3 is an alternative to Cod Liver Oil. It’s our most affordable fish oil, third party tested, and very high quality. It supplies EPA and DHA in a perfect combo to keep cellular membranes fully functional. And it comes in chewables for the kids, too!
For more specific needs, like morning sickness, lower leg swelling, hemorrhoids, or constipation, be sure to let us know so we can help!
Looking Ahead to an Ideal Childbirth:
The work isn’t done when you go into labor. Even more so, you could say that’s when the work begins! You thought you were tired before? Just wait! You’ll have a new routine to figure out – of feedings, and naps, a lot more laundry, and a lot less sleep. You’ll want to make sure you have support systems and plans in place. This will help keep anxiety in check and make your life simpler. Consider these things:
- Write out your birth plan, indicating your preferences for any medical interventions
- Will you have a Doula, your spouse, or any other family members with you?
- Will you do placenta encapsulation? (We recommend you do!)
- Prepare your nursery for the essentials your baby will need: diapers, swaddling cloths, onesies, and diaper cream, etc.
- Prepare your bedroom & bath for the essentials YOU will need: padsicles, sitz bath, witch hazel pads, favorite stress relief (homeopathy or essential oils), and a good jojoba oil for soothing your skin
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- Stock your pantry with oatmeal, millet, quinoa, fennel, ginger, flaxseed, almonds, sesame seeds, and dates to promote lactation.
- Make some lactation cookies and freeze them.
And You’re Ready!
When you plan ahead – whether it’s for meal prep, packing your hospital bag, or extra time for a nap – you’re bound to have success!
Minimize your stress with the above steps, and you’ll be ready for anything motherhood throws your way!