Pregnancy/Preconception Care

Pregnancy is a truly miraculous process which requires considerable biological resources. It is possible to nourish your body before, during and after pregnancy to assist in the process of bringing life into the world.

Some people plan pregnancies in advance, if this applies to you then it is possible to pay extra attention to your health before becoming pregnant, such as detoxing or addressing any nutritional deficiencies you might have. If you are able to involve a nutritional practitioner, they will be able to offer advice specific to your personal situation. There are also books available such as Optimum Nutrition Before During and After Pregnancy,  If your partner is interested, research has shown that the health of both parents contributes to a successful and healthy pregnancy, so they can also be involved in pre-pregnancy preparations. It is strongly recommended that women do not detox while pregnant because this may expose developing fetuses to unnecessary toxins as they are released and expelled from the body.

It is possible for both aspiring parents to consume supplements which provide the body with nutrients and minerals when trying to get pregnant. A good basic supplement plan for both a man and women is suggested as following:
  • A male or female specific multi vitamin and mineral i.e. Solgar Prenatal for women or Solgar VM2000 for men. (Beta Carotene is the preferred form of Vit A in supplements for pregnancy.)

  • A high level DHA fish oil for women i.e. Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA and for men a high strength EPA/DHA fish oil i.e. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega.

  • Vitamin C to boost both immunity, reduce inflammation generally in the body and support collagen formation. (500 mg per day is a supportive dose of vitamin c.​)

During Pregnancy
Once you are pregnant then the above supplement plan can be maintained to support a healthy pregnancy. During the 3 trimesters of pregnancy you may be faced with some symptoms such as morning sickness, back ache, varicose veins, heart burn, pre-eclampsia and leg cramps. 
  • Morning Sickness - often occurs during the first trimester as the baby develops organs. This growth uses a lot of nutrients. Eating frequently (every 3hrs) and with sufficient protein (to balance blood sugar) and dark green leafy vegetables (which contain B complex vitamins) can offset the feeling of sickness.  A supplement of 50mg of B6 twice per day and 300mg of magnesium once in the evening can sometimes help or Ginger in capsule or tea form. If you can't face food in the morning you could try a power shake with half a dose of Nuzest protein powder and half a dose of nuzest green stuff.
  • Backache - during pregnancy carrying extra weight can alter your sense of balance.  Antenatal yoga is an excellent practice for developing good posture and the breathing techniques are also good for pain management in labour.
  • Varicose Veins - extra blood circulating and restricted blood vessels can cause prominent or varicose veins. You could consider a vitamin c supplement to support collagen formation and strengthen blood vessels and vitamin e with fish oils to help keep blood fluid. Staying hydrated by drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day also helps to support blood flow. Light exercise and putting your feet up can also help by taking the pressure off those blood vessels.
  • Heart Burn - This can be common in the last part of pregnancy as the uterus can press on the stomach.  Aloe Vera juice and eating smaller portions more frequently may help.
  • Leg Cramps - Can sometimes be caused by a lack of calcium and magnesium.  Babies also need lots of calcium and magnesium to build bones.  You might like to try supplementing with 600mg of calcium and 300mg of magnesium every day.
  • Pre-eclampsia - The firs sign of pre-eclampsia is raised blood pressure and swelling in the ankles.  A diet with lots of vegetables and fruit can reduce your risk of developing this condition.  Supplements that may help are B complex, Vitamin E and C and Fish Oils and of course 6-8 glasses of water per day.
  • Stretch marks occur when skin is asked to stretch beyond its capacity.  Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin E all help to support a healthy supple skin.  Massaging from the outside with weleda stretch mark massage oil may help.
  • During the last few weeks of pregnancy weleda perineum massage oil will increase blood flow and elasticity which may help in the prevention of tearing.
Eating during pregnancy
It can be said that during pregnancy certain foods are probably best avoided whereas others are highly nutricious. Interesting, a pregnant woman only requires an extra 200 calories per day.
  • Say no to pâté, and soft or blue cheeses due to the potential listeria risk.  

  • Raw meat and shellfish may contain parasites.  And large fish i.e marlin, tuna, shark and swordfish are best limited to once a week due to mercury contamination.

  • Green or sprouting potatoes as they contain toxins which have been linked to spina bifida.

  • Liver and cod liver oil as too much Vitamin A (retinal) may be harmful to a baby.  

  • Raw eggs and poultry as they may harbour salmonella.

  • If your vegetable intake is low -  (5 per day being at the bottom end of optimum) then you could consider taking a green food supplement such as Lifestream Ultimate Green Capsules or Nuzest Good Green Stuff .  A good protein (vegetable or animal) intake level is about 70 gm per day.  If  you find it difficult to reach this level then you could try some of the excellent protein drinks and snacks, see our section on protein.

  • Other healthy foods to include are beans and lentils, green leafy vegetables, good quality protein, live natural yoghurt, complex carbs from wholegrain bread, rice and pasta.  

  • It is advisable to keep sugar, additives, sweeteners, preservatives to a minimum as these foods put strain the liver and use up nutrients trying to digest and eliminate them. 

  • It is best to avoid alcohol and smoking

  • During the last few weeks of pregnancy a probiotic supplement can be a good protection for your baby. Studies have shown that babies who are low in healthy bacteria when they are born are more prone to eczema and asthma.

  • If you happen to have a caesarian birth or a quick second stage (less than 30 mins) or if your baby is given anti-biotics early on then an infant probiotic is advisable in order to support the immune system.

Please note – This information is not designed to prescribe or treat in any way, if your symptoms persist or you are concerned in any way please see your healthcare professional.

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