Staying well, prepared and on your game during pregnancy is so important to keep you feeling your best. It's an incredible time in your life, but it can also be confusing, frustrating and wrought with a lot of unknowns. I am by no means an expert on all things pregnancy at this point, but I thought it would be helpful to share some of my important observations, finds, and health information to help you get through the journey.
P.S. Before you get dive into the information below, be sure to check out my Prenatal Preparations Checklist for thorough details on my guide to practitioners and trainers to have on your side during pre-natal preparations.
Okay... let's get started.
Supplements: Of course, as a naturopathic doctor, I was going to mention supplements! In fact, if you took a look in my fridge right now you'd see half a shelf full of supplements I am taking for my pregnancy. Now, I've had a few complications along the way, but they are certainly still important for healthy development of your baby and for your health, too.
It is best to work with your naturopathic doctor to determine the best supplements for you. A few basic ones include:
Prenatal Vitamin: (a good quality with active ingredients - like actually l-5-methyltetrahydrofolate). I have been using NFH PreNatal SAP for about a year since before I became pregnant and will continue to use if after delivery.
Fish Oil: The benefits of fish oil cannot be understated. I have been using a combination of Nordic Naturals PreNatal DHA and NFH Trident SAP 33:66 to help with healthy fetal development, and to keep baby brain at bay.
High-Dose Probiotic: With each new research paper that comes out about probiotics, the evidence becomes stronger and stronger that using it during pregnancy is a very wise idea. In fact, it can do so many wonderful for things for baby's immune system, your immune system and also ward of GBS positive status at the end of pregnancy. I have been using NFH ProBio SAP for most of my pregnancy, and then switched to NFH Recovery SAP in my third trimester to prepare for my GBS swab.
Vitamin D3: Here's another heavy hitter! Research shows more and more reasons to supplement with vitamin D3 before, during and after pregnancy. It's a no brainer. I have been using Genestra D-Mulsion throughout my pregnancy.
Calcium Magnesium: Your building a human inside of you and a good calcium magnesium supplement goes a long way in supporting the development of a strong skeletal system, teeth and more. I have been using Genestra CalMag Berry Liquid +.
Magnesium Glycinate or Citrate: Staying calm, sleeping well and warding off restless legs and aches and pains are all done by magnesium. A glycinate version won't affect the bowels, but a citrate version will (as in, if your a constipated mama - this one's for you!). I have been using NFH Magnesium SAP before bed at night, and Natural Calm Magnesium powder when instead of Magnesium SAP when I'm a little backed up (it does happen!)
There are a lot of wonderful supplements that can be used to help with a number of common pregnancy ailments – morning sickness, yeast infections, UTIs, headaches, restless legs, gestational diabetes, etc.
It may also be important to supplement with specific nutrients you may be deficient in, such as iron and vitamin B12.
Once it's time to work toward delivery, it's a good idea to adjust some of your supplements to maximum your chances of a healthy, strong delivery. Things like magnesium and fish oil come out and are replaced with uterine-toning herbs, prostaglandin-heavy evening primrose oil, and more.
Work with your ND to determine the best plan for you!
This is the time in your life to eat your best. You are growing a human after all. Admittedly, I have found the prenatal nutritional information floating around out there to be less than stellar. There are obviously a lot of restrictions on food (that I won’t go into here), but I think it’s important to remember that you choose healthy foods every single day. This has helped keep my baby brain at bay, and I’ve had a pretty decent amount of energy to maintain regular workouts, full-time work, avoid developing gestational diabetes, and more.
It's important to follow general nutritional advice, such as enjoying a combination of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fat at each meal. Eating every 2-3 hours helps keep your blood sugar steady and helps nourish baby during these demanding times. Hydrating with at least 2 litres of water each day is crucial. And avoiding sugary drinks, packaged and processed foods and more is key.
Cravings will happen, and I've found it best to give in here and there (otherwise I obsess for days), but I promise you that this isn't the time to go whole hog on ice cream, chips and cookies.
I have my fridge & pantry stocked with: fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butters, eggs, veggies, clean meats, rice cakes, clean protein powder, and more to keep me steady throughout the day.
If you're feeling really confused about pregnancy nutrition, it's best to work with your ND to figure out a good plan. In fact, most of us would recommended starting your prenatal preparations one year from the time to plan to try to conceive. Cleaning up your diet of toxins, too much caffeine and alcohol, sugars, processed foods and more will do wonders for your chances of conceiving.
Chat with your naturopathic doctor to work out the best plan for you.
Reading up on what is to come is so very important, and often comforting when learning what to expect. Here are the books on my nightstand:
- Natural Pregnancy Book by Dr. Aviva Romm, MD – My go-to for all!
- Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan - My husband and I are planning on incorporating hypnobirthing techniques into our delivery so we took the course and are using this book as a guide to help us both stay relaxed and calm.
- And Baby Makes Three by Dr. John Gottman, PhD and Dr. Julie Gottman, PhD – This book is to prep my husband and I for married life after baby.
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg – I know, so NOT a baby book – but such a good read for mom-preneurs and moms in the business world.
- The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin – This is for my husband & he's really enjoying learning how best to coach me through labour.
- Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin - The most beautiful birth stories to remind you that birth is natural and beautiful.
- Knocked Up by Rebecca Eckler - I read this for laughs!
There are a few things I would not have been able to live without this pregnancy:
- Stork Support - for back pain
- Pregnancy Pillow - for the best sleeps ever!
- Birkenstocks - for sore feet & back
- Lymphdiaral cream – for my swollen ankles
- Epsom salts for warm baths
- Belly Jelly – I’ve used both The Honest Company and Matter Company's Substance
- The 9 Pregnancy Journal
- Emily Ley’s Baby Book
Okay, seriously! Maternity clothing has been a nightmare to shop for. Why is everything so yucky? I decided not to break the bank on maternity clothes, and have tried to do my best with stretchy gear in my closet, going a size up at my favourite stores, and hand-me-downs from generous friends. Here are few items I did splurge on:
- Motherhood Maternity nursing bras and sportsbras – So amazing for ever-growing breasts that will last into breastfeeding days!
- Isabella Oliver dress shirt – Because we all need a good, white button down.
- Ripe maternity dress – Classic work dress #1.
- Seraphine black dress – Classic work dress #2.
I’ve stuck with items from a few great online retailers who often have sales:
And, finally, for laughs... I thoroughly enjoyed watching all of the Pregnant in Heels episodes on YouTube.
Okay. You should be all set! Definitely comment with your favourite essentials to help all of us on the journey, and don't hesitate to drop me a line with questions.