Optimal nutrition before, during and after pregnancy is essential for not only the mother but her baby too.
- Some nutrient deficiencies have been shown to contribute to congenital abnormalities and birth defects.
- Also, gestational under nutrition contributes to increase offspring’s susceptibility to chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension among others in adulthood.
- Proper nutrition makes conception easier and helps prevent possible miscarriages, promotes a healthy pregnancy and the birth of a healthy baby.
- It can also help to lessen or avoid the common problems experienced during pregnancy.
- The pre-conceptual plan should take at least 3 months it takes for the egg and sperm cells to fully mature.
YOUR PRE- NATAL PLAN
How can you boost fertility and provide a good foundation for a healthy pregnancy?
- Avoid/reduce foods, drinks or substances which reduce fertility i.e.
- Smoking – Smoking is linked to infertility in women and contributes to reduced sperm count in men
- Alcohol – Studies have shown that women who drink less are more likely to get pregnant. Research has shown that alcohol reduces sperm count and increases abnormal sperm cells in men. In addition, it decreases the absorption of important minerals such as zinc.
- Xenoestrogens – These are environmental oestrogen from pesticides and plastics which can cause hormonal imbalance. Consuming organic produce helps to eliminate such compounds.
- Caffeine – Drinking a lot of caffeine especially in form of coffee may reduce fertility.
- Do a proper detox/cleansing e.g. a whole body detox
- By removing toxins from the vital body organs such as the liver, kidneys, blood, gastro-intestinal tract and lungs among others you can improve hormonal balance (liver), improve circulation especially to the reproductive organs and enhance proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Consume a suitable diet which provides the full spectrum of nutrients.
- This helps to avoid common deficiencies during pregnancy s
- Nutrients such as iron, folate and other b vitamins, vitamin A, calcium and vitamin D, zinc, omega 3s and probiotics are very important.
- Also, supplementing quality pre-natal multi-vitamin and mineral complex can provide these nutrients in proper proportions and formulations.
Proper nutrition may help to lessen or prevent common problems associated with pregnancy such as morning sickness, constipation, heart burn, weight problems, pre-eclampsia, pre-mature labor and infections.
These important nutrients include;
- Folic acid – Prevents neural tube defects such as spina bifida
- Iron- helps in hemoglobin formation which transports oxygen throughout the body. During pregnancy the amount of blood in the body increases steadily hence more iron is required.
- Omega 3 fats – Provides DHA and EPA which are essential to build a healthy brain.
- Calcium and vitamin D – For proper development of bones and teeth. Also, it prevents the loss of bone minerals in mothers.
- Zinc – Required for proper growth and development and for immune boosting.
It’s important to note that all nutrients are required in proper proportions to support optimal health for both the mother and the developing fetus.
The important food choices to obtain these nutrients include:
- Organic green leafy vegetables and fruits– They are high in fiber and contain important nutrients such as vitamin C, k, iron, magnesium, manganese, and fiber among others.
- Cultured or fermented foods e.g. yogurt and Kefir. These provide fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Also, they provide probiotics which improves digestion, improves immunity and reduces the growth of pathogenic bacteria among other functions.
- Proper protein rich foods e.g. poultry, fish, eggs, lentils, tofu – Suitable protein sources for growth and development.
- Seeds and nuts – Provides fibre, minerals and essential fatty acids essential for normal brain development.
- Whole foods e. whole grains, oats – low glycemic load foods which ensure sustained energy release and helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
OPTIMAL NUTRITION WHILST NURSING
How can I ensure my body has all the nutrients I need when nursing?
- Neuner’s nursing tea and stomach calm tea – Provides nutrients such as fenugreek and fennel which helps to increase breast milk production and reduce colic respectively.
- Colic calm – A homeopathic remedy which helps to relieve colic in babies.
- Prenatal omega mom – Provides essential nutrients for a healthy mother and baby.
- Probiotics – Promotes a healthy intestinal lining thus helping to improve digestion, immunity and reduce the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
- Omegas – For proper growth and development especially the development of the brain.
- Seeds and nuts
- Fenugreek seeds and powder, dill seeds – Helps to increase breast milk production
- Fennel tea – Helps to relieve colic.
- Green foods (organic) – Provides essential nutrients for proper growth and development.
- Peas, beans, lentils, brown rice – nutritious whole foods.