During the period of Pregnancy you’ve to strive to take in approximately 200 extra calories per day, mainly from high-quality sources of protein – eat 3-to-4 servings of meat and protein alternatives every day.
To ensure natural pregnancy consume 3-to-4 calcium-rich foods (from dairy and/or non-dairy sources) daily. Get in at least five (5-to-10 is preferable) servings of fruits and vegetables each day, including two servings of fresh, green veggies, two servings of fruits or vegetables containing vitamin C (to promote iron absorption, boost immune function, improve protein synthesis, and decrease your risk of pre-eclampsia), and at least one red, orange or yellow fruit or vegetable per day.
Drink 6-to-8 glasses of pure water daily, and avoid pop/soda/soft drinks and juice as they can lead to excessive weight gain and may have harmful effects on the foetus. Salt your food to taste. Use mainly olive oil for cooking and in your salads and avoid consuming products containing harmful hydrogenated oils and trans-fats.
Supplement your diet by taking a pre-natal vitamin containing at least 0.4 mg (400 mcg) of folic acid and 20-to-60 mg of iron. Also consider taking fish oil to increase your consumption of Omega-3 essential fatty acids or incorporating at least 5 ounces of cooked fish per week.
Get regular, moderate, low-impact exercise. Research shows that regular exercise improves mood, enhances well-being, reduces stress, and contributes to a heavier, healthier baby and on-time delivery.
Regular exercise prevents excessive weight-gain, can help prevent gestational diabetes and helps build the stamina needed for labour and delivery.
And do specific Kegel exercises to prepare and tone the pelvic floor muscles for delivery. (To do Kegels, contract the muscles around your urethra, vagina, and rectum (imagine you’re trying to prevent yourself from urinating). Hold for several seconds, then release. Repeat in sets of 10, several times each day).
Pregnancy can be a time of great anticipation and heightened emotions. Take regular deep breaths, take a prenatal yoga class, practice meditation, practice pre-natal bonding and visualisation, say daily affirmations (including birth affirmations), remember to take special time just for yourself to reflect on your pregnancy experience and consider keeping a journal of your thoughts during this exciting time.
Get a relaxing pregnancy massage, chiropractic adjustments and regular exercise. Talk to a trusted friend or family member, and make sure you have a support system in place for after the baby is born. And remember to have (or find!) a sense of humour about all the changes taking place physically, mentally and emotionally as you prepare to welcome this new life into your family!
Prepare for your baby’s birth and delivery. Think about the type of birth you would like to have, find out about all the different options and then put it into a birth plan.
Interview your prospective pregnancy health care provider with your birth plan in mind and choose the one you feel the most comfortable with – who will honour and support your choices and preferences – do not just settle for who is available! Read lots of books, take Lamaze, Bradley Birth, Spirit of Childbirth, or Hypnobirthing classes to get better informed.
Practice your Kegels, perineal massage (in the last trimester), relaxation and birth breathing, and birth visualisation and relaxation exercises. Knowledge is power!
Regular chiropractic care by an experienced prenatal chiropractor has been shown to prevent and treat pregnancy back pain, sciatica and in-utero constraint by ensuring that your pelvis can open easily during labour and that your pelvic bones, muscles ligaments and nerves are in a balanced state.
Chiropractic care has been shown to shorten labour times (24% in first time pregnancies, 39% in second or third pregnancies); reduce the need for analgesics (pain medication) by 50% in labour; and furthermore, 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy. Chiropractic care has also been shown to increase breast milk production and breastfeeding comfort.