When you have a new baby on the way, you want to do everything possible to protect your unborn. Holistic healing offers the ideal way to complement your visits to your obstetrician.
How can you have a healthy, holistic pregnancy? It all hinges on making the right lifestyle choices while avoiding potentially hazardous habits. Here are eight tips to help you preserve your well-being naturally while expecting.
1. Consider Natural Birth Options
Recently, midwives have seen a surge in demand for their services — many women fear giving birth in hospitals due to COVID-19 risks. Plus, many facilities now limit who may accompany you in the delivery room.
Investigate alternatives to hospital birth if you have concerns. Homebirth can be safe if you invite a competent professional to accompany you. Some moms choose to go it solo, but if you take this option, make sure you keep your phone charged and obstetrician on speed dial.
2. Take a Prenatal Supplement
Your developing baby needs more nutrition than you probably take in daily, even if you try to eat a healthy diet. A prenatal supplement can provide your fetus with the additional vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients they need to avoid defects.
Take lutein and zeaxanthin, for example. Your body can’t manufacture these substances, but they’re critical to your baby’s developing eyesight. Research shows that children born to moms who had higher levels of these two vital nutrients experienced a lower risk of reduced visual acuity at three years.
3. Improve Your Diet
You can’t rely on a supplement alone to get your developing baby all the nutrition they need. You do need to improve your diet — what should you eat and avoid?
In general, your diet should consist of lean proteins, vegetables and fruits, whole grains and dairy products. If you follow a vegan lifestyle, ask your obstetrician whether you should take a calcium supplement — you can get enough of this mineral from plants, but pregnancy ups the requirement.
Try to stay away from red and processed meats and anything containing excessive white flour, salt or sugar. When manufacturers prepare refined foods, they strip them of vital nutrients like magnesium and make up for the lack of flavor with additives. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies lunch meats like ham as potential carcinogens, and you don’t want to truck with the Big C before you watch your baby graduate.
4. Continue Moderate Exercise or Start a Mild Program
If you engaged in routine fitness before you conceived, don’t stop. However, you may need to modify your routine. Most doctors recommend that expectant mothers stay away from contact activities such as kickboxing until post-delivery.
During your first trimester, expect to feel more tired than usual. Try light workouts, such as taking three 10-minute walks throughout the day instead of trying to drag yourself to Zumba after work. Unless your doctor advises against it, you want to move your body, but you also need to exercise gentleness and common sense.
5. Tend to Your Mental Health
When you get pregnant, your hormones go on a roller coaster ride. You might find yourself bursting into tears at the prospect of running the vacuum cleaner.
Many women know about the risk of postpartum depression, but the condition can also strike while expecting. Roughly 7% of pregnant moms experience this mood shift, although outside factors like the financial pressure a new baby brings may play a role. If you notice changes in your appetite or sleep patterns or lose joy in activities that once made you smile, talk to your doctor.
6. Ask for Support
Pregnancy isn’t for the fainthearted. Anyone who had to walk around with a watermelon strapped to their belly would suffer increased aches and pains. Plus, you have a ton of new responsibility weighing on your mind.
Talk to your partner if you have one. Rally your support network — your friends and family would probably love to help, but they might not know what will assist you the most. If you would benefit from someone else managing your meal prep for the week, the answer is always “no” if you don’t ask.
7. Sip Some Herbal Tea
Did you know that raspberry leaf tea may strengthen your uterine walls and make delivery less painful? Once you give birth, this miracle tea can also decrease symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
You do need to exercise caution with some blends. Herbs like black cohosh can stimulate uterine contractions, potentially causing a miscarriage.
8. Listen to Your Body and Rest
Finally, this may come as a surprise, but the best holistic doctor on the planet walks around in your body. While you don’t want to drive yourself paranoid, you probably can tell if something feels off. Practice doing mindfulness body scans regularly to check in with how you feel and identify potential problems.
Permit yourself some rest when necessary. Your body is creating a unique and separate human being. It’s a labor-intensive process, and you need to preserve your physical resources to nurture your unborn infant.
If you want to have a healthy, holistic pregnancy, the eight tips above can help. Always check with your obstetrician before making changes during this time, but once you get the green light, you cna enjoy enhanced well-being while expecting.