A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Pregnancy
I had a question the other day about pregnancy.
During pregnancy, it’s more important than ever to have a balanced diet high in nutrients and fiber and low in bad fats and cholesterol.
An excellent multivitamin has the right mix of nutrients you need to support your own health and that of your unborn child’s.
You should take an excellent multivitamin throughout your childbearing years, so when you become pregnant, your body is full of essential nutrients.
To deal with pregnancy it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily.
*Alfalfa is a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin K, which is essential for normal blood clotting.
*Red raspberry leaf tea helps your uterus contract more effectively. It also helps enrich your milk. Drink no more than 1 cup per day until the last 4 weeks of pregnancy. Then drink 1 quart daily.
*Avoid the following herbs during pregnancy: aloe vera (internally), angelica, arnica, barberry, black cohosh, bloodroot, cat’s claw, celandine, cottonwood bark, dong quai, feverfew, ginseng, goldenseal, lobelia, myrrh, Oregon grape, pennyroyal, rue, sage, saw palmetto, tansy, and turmeric. Use caution when taking any herbs during pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks.
*Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet and be sure to get moderate exercise, fresh air, and plenty of rest. Pregnant women need an additional 100-300 calories a day. This isn’t a lot of food, and if you’re slowing down on your regular activities, don’t increase your caloric intake. The lack of usual movement and increased caloric need will cancel each other out. Three hundred calories is 1 tablespoon of nut butter – like almond or soy butter – and jelly on one slice of whole-wheat bread and a glass of low-fat milk. Try to include the following foods in your diet each day: Grains – 6 servings (whole wheat and other grains); Vegetables – 2-4 cups (not cooked in oil); Fruit – 1-3 servings; Meat and beans – 5-7 ounces protein (1/2 cup of legumes/beans is about 2 ounces of protein); and Milk – 3 cups (dairy or soy; rice and almond milk don’t have the right mix of nutrients, especially protein).
*Stick to a weight gain schedule.
*Eating vegetables has been found to be especially important to assure a healthy baby weight and length. Eating a lot of vegetables increases the chances of a healthy-sized baby four- to fivefold. Vegetables are low in calories and rich in fiber, two good things a pregnant woman needs.
*Don’t consume junk food, fried foods, or too much coffee.
*Avoid eating rare, undercooked, or raw meat, poultry, or fish. Don’t eat grilled meats. Grilling has been shown to produce carcinogens in meat. In addition, to avoid a bacterial infection, avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheese and prepared meats like hot dogs or deli meats unless they’re reheated or steamed first, and wash fruits and vegetables well.
*Fish and fish oil have been associated with improved fetal brain function and birth weight. Try to stick with low-mercury fish.
*Don’t use any medications while you’re pregnant without consulting your health care provider. The first trimester is the most important stage of development for your child. If it’s possible and doesn’t harm your health, you shouldn’t take any medications during the first trimester of pregnancy.
*Don’t smoke, consume alcohol in any form, or use drugs, except as prescribed by your health care provider.
*Don’t take supplements containing the amino acid phenylalanine. Phenylalanine may alter brain growth in your fetus. Also avoid food products containing the sweetener aspartame (found in Equal, NutraSweet, etc.), which contains high levels of phenylalanine.
*Don’t take mineral oil, which blocks the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
*Avoid activities that may endanger your abdomen, or involve jarring, bouncing, or twisting movements. Also avoid activities involving rapid starts and stops, because your center of gravity changes during pregnancy and it’s easy to lose your balance.
*Don’t use an electric blanket. Several experts warn the invisible electromagnetic field emanating from an electric blanket may increase the risk of miscarriage and developmental problems.
*Take warm, rather than hot, showers or baths. Anything increasing your core body temperature for any length of time may cause neural tube defects in babies.
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