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Healthy Pregnancy

Choosing a Prenatal Vitamin

Pregnancy is a time when most every woman decides to start taking prenatal vitamins.  But there are so many choices out there.  How do you decide WHICH prenatal vitamin to take? 

Of course, you should consult your health care provider first.

Many woman prefer to take a prenatal that is whole food based and doesn’t upset their stomach.  Pregnant women need extra iron but sometimes iron supplements or prenatal vitamins with cheap iron in them cause nausea or abdominal discomfort.

Looking for a vitamin that has absorbable iron in it and is whole food based (rather than chemically manufactured) can help you find something that is easier on your body and more likely to be used .

Some other whole food supplements that pregnant women report improve their pregnancy well being include:

  • Brewers yeast- Brewers yeast can be purchased in bulk at your local health food store in flakes.  It tastes great on air popped popcorn with a little melted butter or olive oil.  It adds flavor, amino acids, protein, and B-vitamins.
  • Vitamin C Powder- Many pregnant women experience  symptoms during pregnancy such as varicose veins or bleeding gums that can be an indication of a vitamin C deficiency.  A good quality vitamin C  powder can be mixed into your morning orange juice right along with your  yeast supplement for a powerful morning start.
  • Blackstrap molasses- Unsulphered Blackstrap molasses is full of iron and potassium and can naturally increase your intake of these important vitamins in pregnancy.  It can be poured on top of cornbread or biscuits or mixed in milk instead of less healthful chocolate for a protein and vitamin rich snack. 

Eating well through pregnancy includes not just prenatal supplements but a nutritious diet rich in naturally occurring vitamins.

Getting Enough Iron in Pregnancy

Many women struggle during pregnancy with anemia or iron deficiency.  Diet can often be helpful in improving this.  Having adequate iron is important for lots of reasons.  Women who have low levels of iron are often tired.  In addition, very low iron levels can impact your labor and birth and even increase postpartum hemorrhage.  Here are some simple tips to up your iron intake. 

A)  Get your leafy greens-  Foods that are dark green usually have iron in them.  Not only do greens help you get iron, they can help you absorb nutrients from your protein rich foods.  Some great choices are: spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy, asparagus, broccoli, dark salad greens, and the like.  Being sure to eat a salad daily, drink a green smoothie in the morning, or incorporate collard greens into your meatloaf or other meat dishes are easy ways to sneak in these vegetables that you may not be getting.

B)  Combine foods properly-  Calcium is known to inhibit iron absorption, so eating your calcium rich foods SEPARATELY from your iron rich foods can help your iron absorption improve.  For instance, have the burger without the cheese, take your iron supplement with an acidic drink rather than with milk.  On the flip side, vitamin C is known to help iron absorption, so adding some tomatoes to  your salad or burger may help improve your absorption.

C) Overall Nutrition- Simply understanding which foods are rich in iron can really improve your ability to make good choices.  Red meats, yams, some organ meats, greens (as mentioned above), shellfish, eggs and dried fruit are all rich in iron.  Knowing this and choosing to eat and snack accordingly can really improve your overall nutritional intake.

Part of a great birth education begins with proper nutrition throughout your entire pregnancy.  You might be surprised what a difference it will make in your health and your birth.

Morning Sickness Solutions


 

 

Many women struggle with morning sickness while pregnant.  This nausea upon waking can vary greatly, from a mild irritation to being so bad that hospitalization is necessary.  For some women, morning sickness isn’t just morning sickness, it is all day long sickness.

Luckily there are little tricks that can help ease and even eliminate the annoyance of morning sickness in some cases.

  • Protein with each meal- Many childbirth educators recommend eating a little bit of protein with each meal.  For some women, the nausea of pregnancy is caused by simple blood sugar imbalances as the body adjusts to pregnancy and the placenta is being formed.  Eating protein with every meal and snack, especially having a protein rich breakfast can really help ease your discomfort if blood sugar is the cause of your woes.
  • Ginger- Many women find that ginger can help with any kind of nausea, even that caused by pregnancy.  You can consume ginger in a spicy tea, cookies, small candies, and even in pill form.
  • Staying hydrated- Many people have difficulty drinking plenty of water at any time of life.  But during pregnancy, when the strains on your body are even more extreme, staying hydrated is especially important.  Trying to keep your fluids as healthy and natural and close to water as possible is especially important.
  • Exercise- Some pregnant women find that simply doing some small exercise each day can help with the morning sickness associated with exercise.  This can be as simple as a short walk or a relaxing swim.  Not only can this help you feel better, it can help you prepare for the work of birth.

Taking care of yourself while pregnant may be one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your baby.

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