It happened! You’ve got that positive pregnancy test in your hand and you’re about to embark on an amazing new journey.
But it’s not always all rainbows and unicorns. You may be feeling constantly nauseated (the name “morning sickness” is off the mark a bit), exhausted, and constantly running to the bathroom. For some, pregnancy can be a very tough nine months.
Whether this is your first, second, or sixth pregnancy, here are some tips to keep you and your growing baby happy and healthy.
You’ve gotta eat!
Your diet can play a big role in how you feel. Having food in your stomach can reduce some of your nausea, and your weird cravings may point to nutrients your body is looking for.
In your first trimester, you don’t need to increase the quantity of the food you’re eating, just increase the quality. Your baby needs lots of nutrients, so enjoy piles of steamed veggies, fruit, protein, and healthy fat.
Your second and third trimester need about 300 extra calories per day, so add in an extra healthy snack mid-day and your extra calorie needs will be easily covered. That might be some crackers and hummus, a cup of yogurt and berries, or some veggies and dip.
Super duper tired? How is your iron level?
Iron is a very important nutrient during pregnancy, and 26 percent of women are already deficient pre-pregnancy. Your baby needs extra iron during its third trimester, so it’s important to consume enough iron-rich foods throughout your pregnancy.
Eggs, beans, meat, and dark-leafy veggies are particularly high in iron. An iron supplement may also be necessary, especially if you tend to be low.
Floradix (US) / Floravit (CA) is a highly absorbable, non-constipating liquid iron that is the #1 most popular iron supplement in the US. It’s a safe, low-dose iron that can help keep your iron levels where they need to be.
Lots and lots of nutrients
You’re growing a human and this important job requires nutrients. Especially:
- Calcium & magnesium for growing bones – found in dark chocolate (my favorite source), avocados, nuts & seeds, and veggies
- Omega-3 for a growing brain – found in chia seeds, ground flax seeds, walnuts, and Udo’s Oil (US/CA)
- Folate for placenta support – found in all fruits and veggies
- B vitamins, such as Flora’s B Complex (US/CA), also found in whole grains, veggies, eggs, and beans
Your blood volume is expanding so you need more water! Constipation—and sometimes hemorrhoids—can be a common side-effect of not drinking enough water. Staying hydrated can be difficult when your baby is always putting pressure on your bladder!
The easiest way to know if you’re drinking enough water is to look at your urine. Pale yellow to clear means you’re hydrated. If it’s a darker yellow, then grab an extra glass of water.
Carry a bottle of water and be sure to keep sipping on it throughout the day.
Probiotics for a healthy delivery
You’ve made it to your last month of pregnancy and you’re getting ready for the delivery. Congratulations! There are lots of things to prepare and keep in mind during this time, and I’d like to add one little extra: probiotics.
When your baby is born vaginally, it gets covered in the bacteria found in your vaginal canal. This important inoculation quickly becomes the first bacteria to enter their gut and starts the amazing process of creating their microbiome. The strains in this probiotic have been found to normalize the vaginal flora even after antibiotics.
If your baby needs to be born by C-section, this probiotic supplement becomes even more important. Taking it six days before and 10 days after your C-section can dramatically reduce your risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (an extra unpleasant symptom following a C-section). It can almost eliminate the risk of your baby getting E. Coli or Salmonella in their gut.
Be sure to take lots of pictures of your growing belly during this wonderful time. Before long, your baby will arrive and your next amazing adventure will begin!
Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), founder of LisaKilgour.com, and a faculty member at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.