YESTERDAY I WENT TO THE HEALTH FOOD STORE and picked up my prenatal supplements.
Preparing for a baby is important and the habits you get into before and while pregnant can have a HUGE impact on mummy’s and baby’s health later on.
Gestational diabetes is a common condition that women get while pregnant. Eating what ever you want because you’re pregnant and not moving, is not smart.
I totally understand if you have terrible nausea and the only thing you can stomach are crackers and soup, but eating junk because it’s “okay to gain weight” isn’t a healthy mentality for you or baby.
So what have I been doing?
While pregnancy appears to really only involve to woman, having a healthy partner is just as important. To really support one another both partners need to be on the same page and respect the process.
Having healthy sperm is half of the work to create a baby, so men… man up and start practicing these healthy habits with your mummies-to-be.
1. Eating a clean diet… 80% of the time
Many people don’t react well to gluten. Me? I actually do okay as long as it’s not in large quantities… so no more pizza hut buffet for me!
If you don’t know if you are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to foods, I’d recommend you read this article.
- 8am – I have a morning smoothie with spinach, kale, frozen blueberries, 1/2 a frozen banana, 1 avocado, vegan protein powder, a veggie green’s powder, almond milk and water.Blend it up and I have a super healthy morning shake that carries me until 11am when I have my first meal.
- 11am – eggs and veggies or fruit. Sometimes they are scrambled eggs with cucumber or red peppers or some apple. Other days it’s sunnies with a handful of almonds and grapes.I always have some protein in the morning because it helps regulate my sugar/ carb cravings… especially before my period comes.
- Between 2-4pm – I’ll have a light lunch/ snack, usually left overs from the dinner the night before with a handful of salad, veggies and a fruit.
- Dinner can vary in timing. Sometimes we eat at 6pm if I have dragon boat practice in the evening, other times we’ll eat at 8pm. It will always consist of a protein (fish, meat, beans), a veg and some carbs (usually rice). I’m a big fan of stews, curries, chillies and pretty much anything you can make in a crock pot because you can throw in tons of veggies without noticing. They are warming, flavourful and hearty.
2. Be active
I don’t care if you don’t like “going to the gym” or you’re too uncoordinated for sports, pick something and do it on a regular basis.
This summer I’ve joined 2 dragon boat teams and practice 3 evenings a week. It takes me 20 minutes to bike to the docks, we do a 30 minute workout before the 1hr paddle and then I’m back home in time for an early bedtime. It’s social, not too intense, but enough of a challenge for me to be committed and take it seriously.
I also have a friend who I’ll be starting Monday night circus classes with.
These are all very different types of “exercise” than my weight training days, or when I used to train for triathlons. They are less intense but it keeps me active regularly… and it’s a fun change of pace for the summer months.
3. Sleep, even you night owls
I don’t know how many new moms have given me the advice to SLEEP AS MUCH AS YOU CAN NOW… haha.
I’ve always loved lots of sleep (usually 7-9 hours a night) and my body feels the best when I go to bed between 10 and 11pm, despite being a night owl.
If I let myself work past 10pm, then my 2nd wind kicks in, my cortisol elevates, I get a lot of work done, but then I don’t end up falling asleep until 1 or 2am and the next day is ruined.
I’ve done this too many times to know that I can’t sustain that type of routine. So I practice making myself a morning person by going to bed early.
Around 9pm I start my winding-down routine. Sometimes Jon and I watch a tv show on Netflix (nothing scary to get my cortisol up), or we go for a night stroll along the boardwalk or other nights we read a book together in bed.
Whatever it is, we start to wind down at least an hour before we want to be sleeping. Sometimes having a warm shower is all I need to plop into bed well rested.
Another nightly routine is to say 1 thing you are grateful for that day. I love this practice and I think it’s even more important once you have children.
Taking the time after a long and busy day to reflect and find gratitude no matter how stressful or tiring your day was builds meaning and purpose into your life.
This is a great habit to start with your partner before any little ones start popping up.
5. Drink lots of water
I have to admit that I suck at this one. I always forget to drink when I’m thirsty and I can go hours typing away without remembering to take a swig.
Jon is great at always pouring me a glass of water and leaving it beside me. When the water is there I will drink it. When it’s not, forget about it.
If you’re like me and enjoy drinking tea more than plain water, having more herbal teas might be a good trick for you.
6. Cut down on no-no’s
When you’re pregnant, you’re going to want to cut down or eliminate certain foods and activities for the health of your baby. Some of these things are cautionary, while others more pertinent to avoid (*). This includes:
- alcohol* (no safe level has been identified)
- raw fish and seafood (mercury content and potentially harmful organisms)
- raw honey (potentially harmful bacteria)
- illegal drugs*
- x-ray and radiation
- cats if you’ve never been exposed to them (the feces can contain the toxoplasmosis bacteria that can cause development issues in baby)
- travel to endemic areas (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel)
7. Start taking your supplements
Besides the supplements and medications that you have already been prescribed for any condition you are managing, you will also want to start taking:
- prenatal vitamins with Methylfolate, Iron, vitamin D, Calcium
- DHA Omega-3
- I’m also taking a probiotic because I travel a lot and have an irritable stomach
Sometimes these supplements can make a pregnant or non-pregnant person nauseous or gassy. I find if I take these with food or before bed, I have no trouble at all.
If you are on long-term medications, please speak with your doctor about any risks to being on them while pregnant.
Even “natural” products can be harmful to baby, including but not limited to this list of herbs:
- Berberis spp
- Chelidonium majus
- Hyoscyamus niger
- Iris versicolof
- Juglans nigra
- Pausinystalia yohimbe
- Tanacetum vulgaris
- Viscum album
- ALL CATHARTIC LAXATIVES (Aloe, Frangula, Rhamnus, Ricinus, incl Senna)
It’s good to check with your doctor and also refer to Mother Risk if you have questions.
So happy planning for pregnancy and make sure you and your partner are in the healthiest physical, emotional and mental state of mind.