Preparing for a healthy pregnancy
- Maintain a healthy, nutritious diet. Enjoy an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, and moderate amounts of lean protein foods (fish, poultry, legumes, eggs). Choose low GI, wholegrain carbohydrates. Avoid animal fats, excess salt, refined sugars and processed foods. Choose organic where possible.
- Aim for a healthy weight before falling pregnant.
- Check your rubella immunity, and ask your healthcare practitioner to check your zinc, iron and iodine status.
- Start taking folic acid 500mcg/day as early as three months prior to falling pregnant.
- Supplement with a pregnancy multivitamin to ensure you meet your daily requirements.
- Enjoy regular, moderate exercise including aerobic, strengthening and stretching exercises for at least 30 minutes three or more times a week. (As long as you have been doing this exercise before falling pregnancy, you should be able to continue with the same exercise throughout your pregnancy, within reason.)
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and drugs as these are linked to lowered fertility and poor pregnancy outcomes.
During your pregnancy
- Do not “eat for two”. In your second and third trimesters, having an extra two serves of fruit or a sandwich is often enough to meet your daily calorie/kilojoule requirements.
- Choose nutrient-dense foods, particularly those rich in calcium, iron, protein and folate.
- Eat plenty of oily fish or supplement with omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA (430-1720mg/day in the first and second trimesters and 1720-2580mg/day in the third trimester) for healthy baby’s brain development. Note: Avoid flake, marlin, broadbill, swordfish, sea perch/orange roughy and catfish to reduce mercury intake.
- Supplement with a pregnancy multivitamin to ensure healthy nutrition for you and your growing baby.
- Ensure sufficient fibre intake.
- Drink 2 litres of water daily.
- As well as maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet, reduce the risk of listeria and salmonella infections by avoiding: additives, deli meats (including cured and smoked meats and seafood), sushi, soft cheeses (unless cooked), green potatoes, raw egg (e.g. mayonnaise), undercooked meat, pate, pre-packaged salads.
- Enjoy moderate physical activity such as aerobics, yoga, pilates, fast walking and swimming for 30 minutes daily.
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and drugs to reduce the risk of growth retardation, miscarriage and bleeding.
- Find ways to manage stressful situations. Options include massage, meditation, visualisation, acupuncture, cognitive behavioural techniques and exercise.
- Aim for at least eight hours of sleep every night.
- Breast milk not only provides nourishment, it also protects your baby against infections, allergies and diabetes. For mothers, breastfeeding can help reduce your risk of bleeding after birth, certain cancers (breast and ovarian) and osteoporosis.
- While breastfeeding, your body needs an extra 300-500 calories (1250-2100 kilojoules) per day, plus extra protein, calcium and iodine. This can be achieved by having a slightly larger portion of meat/poultry/fish (preferably ocean fish) at lunch and/or dinner, and snacking on nutrient-dense foods: low-fat yoghurt, fresh fruit, nuts, vegetable crudités with hummus.
- Take a supplement specially formulated for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to help you meet daily requirements for iron, zinc, magnesium, iodine, vitamin D, vitamin E and folic
- Ask your healthcare practitioner to recommend a high dose, broad spectrum probiotic blend to support women and their babies during and after pregnancy. Probiotics, or “good bacteria”, support the maintenance of a healthy digestive, urogenital and immune system. Maternal intake of probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding may also decrease the incidence of mild atopic dermatitis/allergy symptoms in children in the first years of life.
- Over-the-counter and prescription medicines should be cleared with your doctor first.
- Drink plenty of water. A good habit is to drink a glass of water every time your baby feeds.
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and other drugs as these can pass through to your milk and make your baby fussy and irritable. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it right after nursing and try not to nurse again for at least two hours.
Your postnatal recovery
- You might be lacking in sleep and feeling exhausted, so look after yourself as well as your baby.
- Arrange your support network before baby is born.
- Sleep/rest when the baby sleeps.
- Aim for at least seven hours of sleep in every 24-hour period.
- Eat nutritious, high-fibre foods and take a good multivitamin with added zinc and vitamins A, C and E for faster recovery
- Drink 2 litres of water daily
- Use relaxation techniques such as yoga, massage, breathing techniques, meditation and positive visualisation.
- Get exercise, sun and fresh air. During the first 4-6 weeks, include pelvic floor exercises, easy 30-minute walks with baby and gentle stretching.
- Don’t try to do too much; that vacuuming can wait a few more days!
Mr Vitamins Recommends:
Bioceuticals InNatal, UltraBiotic Pregnancy Care and UltraClean DHA Omega
Bioceuticals is a Practitioner only brand so please ‘ask a Naturopath’ to help youSpeak to your healthcare practitioner for more information about supplementation. Make sure to always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare practitioner. Resources
- What should I eat? Nutrition for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service 2008, http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=438&np=460&id=2769#8
- Pregnancy and diet. Better Health Channel, State Government of Victoria 2009, http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Pregnancy_and_diet
- Food safety during pregnancy. NSW Food Authority, http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/consumers/life-events-and-food/pregnancy/
- Doege K, Grajecki D, Zyriax BC, et al. Impact of maternal supplementation with probiotics during pregnancy on atopic eczema in childhood--a meta-analysis. Br J Nutr 2012;107(1):1-6.
- Michaelsen KF. Probiotics, breastfeeding and atopic eczema. Acta Derm Venereol Suppl (Stockh) 2005;(215):21-24.
- Betsi GI, Papadavid E, Falagas ME. Probiotics for the treatment or prevention of atopic dermatitis: a review of the evidence from randomised controlled trials. Am J Clin Dermatol 2008;9(2):93-103.