You’ve just discovered you’re pregnant. Now what? Whether planned or unplanned, the thought that a fetus has began its life inside you can be a daunting and stress-inducing thought. So here are some starter tips for your pregnancy.
7 things you should be mindful of when pregnant:
- Are you going to be cared for by an OB or a midwife? If the latter, get on your local midwifery clinic’s waitlist as soon as you’re able to. If you’re healthy and have no health complications and would like to have a great, calm, healthy and as natural as possible of a pregnancy and labour experience, a midwife may be the best fit. Otherwise, an OB is a great option –especially if you have health concerns that would fall outside the scope of a midwife.
- What foods must you avoid? Generally speaking, you want to avoid all raw animal meats. As well, do not consume anymore than 2 cups of caffeinated beverages and eliminate them all-together if you can. Seafoods such as tuna and other larger fish contain higher amounts of toxins like mercury, and so must minimize such seafood to no more than 1-2x/week or again completely eliminate them from your diet if possible. For a list of safe and unsafe seafood, see the environmental working group’s list here.
- Should you continue your exercise regiment? Yes, by all means! Just be aware that as your blood volume increases, you may more easily and more frequently experience episodes of breathlessness and lightheadedness. So take things easy and do not push your body beyond its level of comfort. Moreover, in the weeks and months leading to your due date, your body begins producing more and more progesterone in order to help soften and relax muscles and joints in preparation for labour. Be mindful of this as your lax joints and muscles are now more prone to injury.
- Should you continue on your weight-loss program or go on that detox as you had planned? Absolutely NOT! It is never a good idea to lose weight or go on a detox regiment when pregnant. Apart from the extra nutrients that your body and baby now require, the toxins released in your blood stream as a result of weight-loss or detox will end up in your baby. Weight-loss and detoxes are great preparations pre-conception! However, since your body stores it’s toxins in fat cells, weight-loss leads to a overload of toxins circulating in your blood stream. As well, the goal of detoxification is the release and elimination of toxins. However, as toxins go from storage to blood stream to organs of detoxification, your baby will also absorb some of these toxins as they get released into the blood! It is therefore imperative that you wait until after birth -and if you’re planning to breastfeed, AFTER you’ve completed breastfeeding- to go on any weight-loss or detox program.
- How best to supplement your diet? This does not have a straightforward answer as every individual’s unique needs will require a unique supplementation regiment. However, every pregnant woman needs to supplement with a quality prenatal and iron supplement. A quality prenatal would be one where the supplement is taken 2-3x/day and the vitamins/minerals come in the most bioavailable form and in sufficient quantities. Consult your naturopathic doctor for the best professional line of supplements suitable to your needs.
- How could the new daddy-to-be help in the healthy growth and development of baby? Dads have a great and important role to play during their baby’s gestation period. A mother goes through a roller-coaster ride of varying emotions and moods throughout the pregnancy due to the highly fluctuating hormones. It is important for dad to be mindful of this and with conscious awareness work to provide for the mother’s physical, mental and emotional comforts. However, in cases where your partner isn’t able to do this (away often on work trips, or just not very available and giving in these areas), remember that you have within you all the resources you need to provide for your well-being. All those things that you hope your partner would say to you, provide for you, offer, etc., make it your mission to do for yourself!
Which brings us to our next point…
- In what other ways could you ensure the healthy development of your baby? Apart from a good nutrition and supplementation regiment, it is just as important to maintain a healthy mental, emotional and spiritual (for those who believe in a Higher Power) state of mind! Practice self-compassion, self-soothing and self-care as often as you can (more on this in my following blog). And remember, emotions come and go. Here’s one great tip: Breath through your intense emotions. Take a short breath in and blow out as if blowing out a candle or blowing a huge balloon. Repeat this a few times until you’ve reached a less reactive state. Research has proven that this type of breathing (activating the vagus nerve) has a direct response on the emotional centers of the brain and is able to calm them so that the problem solving parts of your brain could function again. Our brain unfortunately cannot do both (feel emotions and problem solve creatively). Whenever you’re feeling intense emotions, the problem solving brain is shut down and the only way to activate it so that you can find healthy means of dealing with those emotions, is to shut down the emotional brain. So, breathe OUT!
Reflect on the above and see which areas may need your attention the most and work to improve those. As I’ve said in previous articles, there will never again be a time in your life when you’ll have SUCH control over the health of your child. So take advantage NOW! To learn more proactive measures you can take to address your goals and health concerns pre-conception, post-conception (gestation period) and post-partum with regards to health of mommy and baby, don’t hesitate to contact me and book your one-on-one initial consult.
Yours In Health,
Dr. Negin Misaghi, ND