A healthy pregnancy is what every expectant mum wishes for – not only for herself but for the unborn child.
A healthy lifestyle can help you stay fit, get into good condition for the birth and and maintain your energy levels in preparation for the postnatal phase. Here are some key considerations to make sure you give you and your baby the best start.
Water: drink at least 8 glasses of filtered or bottled mineral water and herbal teas per day. As well as helping to keep you hydrated, which can prevent tiredness and headaches, this helps with bladder and kidney health which can be under extra stress during pregnancy.
Fibre: fibre helps the body to excrete used hormones and toxins. The best sources are not harsh bran cereals and breads, but softer oats, rice, beans, vegetables and fruit.
Protein: protein provides the ‘building blocks’ of life so is vital for both the growth of your baby and for allowing your body to adapt to the changes of pregnancy. For optimum intake it’s best to balance sources of organic animal proteins with vegetable sources such as seeds, nuts and pulses.
An Amino Acid Test can identify imbalances in your body’s essential building blocks, helping to support your body whilst it’s growing a baby.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs): as the name suggests, EFAs are essential for life. They form a vital component of every cell and are particularly important for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Maintaining optimal EFA intake is vital for a healthy pregnancy.
An Essential Fatty Acid Test can tell you whether you have deficiencies in this area of your health.
Blood sugar balance: a diet high in sugars and refined foods can make us feel great one minute and really low the next. This can lead to mood swings and plummeting energy levels. Avoiding sugar, confectionary, tea, coffee and alcohol, and instead filling up on slow sugar-releasing whole foods, can help to balance out these peaks and dips.
An Insulin Resistance Test gives you vital information on how well your body is able to balance your blood sugar, helping to support your energy levels during pregnancy.
Antioxidants: antioxidants protect cells by neutralising damaging molecules called free radicals.
Eating 5-8 portions of fruit and vegetables a day from a rainbow of colours can help to protect both your baby’s cells and your own from free radical damage.
An Oxidative Stress Test can tell you how much stress your body is under from free radicals.
Folic acid: folic acid is essential for protecting against developmental problems such as spina bifida and for general intellectual development.
Ensuring an adequate supply of folic acid through diet and supplements is essential, especially during the early stages of pregnancy.
Folic Acid levels are checked as part of the comprehensive NutrEval test or can be tested separately here.
Comprehensive Nutrient MOT
The NutrEval Test gives a complete overview of your nutrient status and can be used to target key problem areas that may need tweaking to support your pregnancy.
Alcohol and tobacco: drinking and smoking should be strictly avoided during pregnancy as research shows that both can cause damage to the unborn child.
Environmental chemicals: pesticide exposure has been linked to an increased likelihood of miscarriage.
Opting for organic foods where possible and limiting your exposure to chemicals such as household cleaning products can help reduce your toxic load and protect your baby.
Stress: stress depletes the body of vital nutrients and disrupts hormonal balance.
If stress is a significant part of your life, an Adrenal Stress Test can identify key imbalances. Smart Nutritional can also put together a stress-busting protocol for a more relaxed pregnancy.
Sunlight: sunlight is needed to stimulate the pituitary gland, the master hormone gland. During pregnancy, it’s advisable to have some fresh air and daylight every day.
Exercise: if you’re already exercising regularly, a check with your midwife can help to reassure you that what you are doing is appropriate. If regular exercise isn’t part of your lifestyle, then generally speaking, a gentle exercise programme including walking and pregnancy-specific yoga are extremely beneficial on many levels.
Morning sickness: morning sickness is characterised by nausea and vomiting in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, though not necessarily in the morning.
The cause is not known but may be linked to hormonal changes or nutrient levels.
If you suffer with morning sickness, Smart Nutrition advise you on ways to help to keep your symptoms in check and maintain healthy nutrient levels. Please use the link at the bottom of the page to book a consultation.
Pre eclampsia: pre eclampsia is a serious pregnancy-induced condition which can occur from the second half of pregnancy. It’s characterised by high blood pressure, sudden-onset swelling, rapid weight gain due to fluid retention and protein in the urine.
Pre eclampsia requires immediate medical attention. However, as it seems to have a genetic basis, if you know you may be vulnerable, it’s advisable to ensure you’re consuming the right foods and nutrients. Please use the link at the bottom of the page to book a consultation.
Gestational diabetes: this condition affects 3-5% of all pregnancies. It occurs when hormones secreted by the placenta disrupt insulin function.
Proper dietary management of blood sugar and ensuring you eat enough blood sugar-balancing nutrients can help to reduce symptoms and limit the impact on your baby. Please use the link at the bottom of the page to book a consultation.
Anaemia: anaemia is common during pregnancy, often as a result of the rapid increase in blood volume as your body grows to accommodate the baby.
Following an iron-rich diet and ensuring adequate intake of the other nutrients needed to absorb iron and make blood cells can help to support your body through this process.
You can get your iron levels checked by your GP. Smart Nutrition offer an Anaemia Profile, and a consultation will help to ensure you are eating the right foods to keep your iron levels topped up.
Bleeding gums: increased oestrogen levels during pregnancy can cause gums to swell and soften, making them more prone to bleeding. Nutrients such as protein, vitamin C and bioflavonoids can help to counteract these processes.