Nutrition during pregnancy

November 19

As a natural therapist it is one of my greatest professional pleasures to work with women to maximise fertility and support pregnancy. My aim with all prospective and pregnant mums is always to work towards optimum mental and physical health and wellbeing to ensure that we create the best environment for mothers to fertilise, carry and nurture their foetus.

Healthy eating is always advisable. However, eating a nutritious and balanced diet is especially important if you're pregnant, or planning a pregnancy. Your baby is in partnership with you and relies on you to provide the right balance of nutrients to help them grow and develop properly. Lack of proper nutrition during pregnancy can result in poor foetal development and a range of potential health problems for the mother. When one considers that your gut contains around 70% of your immune cells, it is a no brainer that looking after your gut means good health for you both. 

Dietary recommendations for fertility and pregnancy are aimed at supporting healthy hormonal function, dna replication and cell formation. It is generally recommended that the unhealthy fats, sugars and salts found in processed foods are avoided and replaced with natural versions of the same, such as butter, vegetable oils, dried fruit and sea salt. Omega fats found in eggs and fish are particularly important for the development of the baby’s brain and central nervous system. Fruit, vegetables and wholegrains not only contain important vitamins, minerals and trace elements but contribute to creating a balanced and inviting environment for fertilisation and foetal growth to take place. Organic foods are known to offer up to 50% more nutritional value whilst also managing the bodies’ toxic load. Important vitamins to include in your nutritional intake are the B Vitamins found in good quality meat, fish, eggs and wholegrains. They are specifically important for cell replication and hormonal balance. Vitamin D known as the sunshine vitamin is needed for bone formation and good immunity. Vitamin C found in many fruits and vegetables has been linked with a reduced risk of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy). As the body does not store this vitamin, it should be taken every day. Pregnant mothers can often be prone to low iron levels(anaemia). Foods rich in iron such as red meat, fish, green leafy vegetables, beans and whole grains, and off the shelf products such as Flouradix, Spatone and Molasses are all useful iron supplements. Despite being important, Vitamin A is the vitamin to be taken with caution as recommended.

It is also worth noting that being underweight is as problematic as being overweight for fertility and pregnancy. Being underweight could deprive your growing foetus of essential nutrients for healthy development and compromise your ability to breastfeed. Being overweight puts you at increased risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Both states of health negatively affect hormonal balance. It is also worth saying that despite the fact that you are feeding two there is no need to “eat for two”, even if expecting twins or triplets! If you are feeling more hungry just eat a little more of what is good for you. Slow release carbohydrates found in bananas, porridge and pulses can keep you full for longer.

There are some foods that are generally not recommended during pregnancy. These include soft and blue cheeses to avoid listeria, raw eggs to avoid salmonella and uncooked meats.

Our bodies and those of our developing foetus are also dependent on a variety of naturally occurring cell salts, and a “Tissue Salt Programme” can be a useful additional support, to ensure that mother and baby are getting all the help they need for a healthy pregnancy and birth. Ferrum Phos. helps to oxygenate the blood and reduce effects of anaemia; Silicea supports strong bone growth and prevents stretch marks; Mag. Phos. helps with nerve development and heart burn/indigestion, and Natrum Mur controls fluid retention and can prevent swollen ankles. Take Calc. Flour. if you want to prepare the cervix for dilation and prevent stretch marks.

Last but not least let’s not forget that good nutrition is not only essential for physical health but also mental health. If you eat a balanced diet including healthy fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, you will benefit from more balanced mood, reduced anxiety and calmness - as will your baby. Eat the best you can get and nature should take care of the rest! 

For more information contact Daniela Karsten, RS.Hom., Dip. Hom. ACH,

© Daniela Karsten



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