[Cassie Matthews- Dip RM, Mother of Four]
Good health is essential during pregnancy and I found following these steps has helped keep me and my developing baby healthy.
Women who eat well and exercise regularly during pregnancy along with regular prenatal care are less likely to have complications and are more likely to have a successful birth to beautiful healthy baby.
What I eat during pregnancy could give my developing baby the healthiest possible start to life. A healthy diet is linked to a higher chance of a normal birth weight, improving fetal brain development and reducing the risk of birth defects.
A balanced diet can also reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, help balance mood swings and may improve labour and delivery. A well balanced diet including protein, vitamin C, calcium, fruits and vegetables, wholes grains, iron rich foods and fat will help to ensure mine and bubs health through the 9 months of pregnancy.
I try to eat a variety of foods from each food group but remembering to avoid the unsafe foods during pregnancy. These foods include: Ready to eat seafood, raw seafood including sushi, coleslaw and premixed raw vegetables and salads, precooked meats like pate and deli meats, unpasteurised milk, soft serves and soft cheeses like brie and camembert. There are concerns that these foods may be contaminated with the bacteria (such as Listeria) that is harmful for your growing baby.
Most nutrients come from the food we eat, but added prenatal supplements can provide extra nutrients to the developing baby.
Folic Acid – is a B vitamin that is the most important supplement for women who are trying to conceive, who are pregnant and breast feeding. Folate has been found to lower the risk of having a child with a neural tube defect when taken before conception and in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
For more specific advice about supplementation that you might need, or for help with fertility and pregnancy support, please speak with our Naturopath, Anna.
Moderate exercise is encouraged for pregnant women with benefits for both my baby and I. 30 minutes a day can help with circulation, strengthen muscles and decrease stress. Exercise can also increase energy levels, improve sleep and reduce backaches. Aerobic exercise like walking, swimming and jogging stimulate the heart and lungs as well as muscle and joint activity. I have found that walking is not only keeping me fit and healthy but also relaxing. I have enjoyed walking local fire trails and my other kids to and from school. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous it can be light and easy.
Swollen feet, ankles, hands and face maybe noticed during pregnancy. This water retention known as oedema is often worse in warm weather and later in the day. Drinking more water will help, so drink up! Massage therapy can also help to reduce swelling.
Other massage benefits include:
- Reduce stress
- Reduce anxiety
- Rejuvenates energy
- Relieves discomfort, aches and pains
- Muscle relaxation
- Improved sleep
- Can improve labour outcome. More relaxed mothers tend to have lower risk of intervention during labour and birth.
It is advised you speak to your midwife or doctor before seeking any treatments if you have a high risk pregnancy and or may have other contraindications.
Please remember that the advice contained within this article is general only. This is not intended to be specific advice for yourself, or your baby, and you should always consult your pre-natal provider to get specific advice for you and your situation.
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