(If you're not in the pregnancy stage of life, I still believe you'll find this a very interesting article. Please share it with someone who can benefit, too. Thanks!)
Pregnancy is a very exciting and important time in a woman’s life. Mothers and fathers make strong commitments to provide the best they can for their child. They hope and pray for a healthy baby. Much can be done in regards to nutrition to help ensure the child has a wonderful start to life, and that both the mother and baby are nourished well throughout the pregnancy. A pregnancy is typically known to last 40 weeks and has three trimesters. Some holistic health professionals, however, consider two additional time periods as equally important in regards to nutrition of both the parents and the baby. These include the time period pre-conception and also the post-pregnancy period during breastfeeding of the infant.
Preparation for Conception
Ideally, nourishment starts with both parents before pregnancy. This is because the health of the egg and sperm both suffer the effects of poor nutrition, exposure to toxins, viruses, medications, or drugs. The stronger and healthier the parents are at the time of conception, the healthier the baby will likely be, both in the womb and beyond. Most of the crucial development of the baby is in the first eight weeks after conception, when there is a rapid rate of growth. If the mother is lacking in any vitamin or mineral nutrients, or is toxic, that can have a large influence on the child’s development. Preparing the body for pregnancy may take four to six months for a relatively healthy person. Someone with more significant health issues may need a year to work on strengthening their vital nutritional reserves before considering pregnancy. Nutritional status also will have an effect on the man’s sperm count.
Potential parents should get a check-up and take care of any nutritional imbalances before conceiving. They can raise their immunity through eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet that is dense in whole foods. The nutrients that are especially helpful during preconception and for fertility include essential fatty acids, folate for the woman, and zinc for the man.
It is important to engage in lifestyle practices that foster physical well-being. Minimizing exposure to toxins is vital. Exercise is also important both before and during pregnancy. It helps to circulate nutrients throughout the body, clear out waste, and build muscle tone of the uterus and the rest of the body.
A healthy state of mind is also key to conception and a healthy pregnancy. Relaxation helps detoxification. Excess stressors hinder health and create imbalances in the woman’s sex hormones, which can influence fertility.
These healthy pre-pregnancy practices should be continued during the pregnancy and beyond. I will expand further on the specifics of the nutrient-rich diet, helpful herbs, weight gain and calories needed, avoidance of toxins, and healthy lifestyle behaviors in the sections below.
Jenny Yelle, MHNE Holistic Wellness Educator
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