Did you know your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy and baby, are better if you and your partner are as fit and healthy as possible?
What you eat, how much you exercise, and whether you smoke or drink alcohol are all important factors to look at once you have decided to try for a baby.
Remember it takes three months to produce and then release an egg at ovulation. If you incorporate all of the tips below into your pre-conception care period it can vitally improve egg quality in women as well as sperm quantity and viability in men.
Want to feel wonderful throughout your pregnancy?
You can feel wonderful during your pregnancy if you take good care of yourself. Increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby, by following these sensible steps to keep yourself in top condition:
What you eat during pregnancy will give your developing baby the healthiest possible start in life. A nutritious diet is directly linked to a higher chance of a normal birth-weight, improving fetal brain development and reducing the risk of many birth defects.
A healthy, whole food, nutritious diet will also reduce the risks of pregnancy complications like anemia, and may also minimise morning sickness, fatigue, and other unpleasant pregnancy symptoms. Good nutrition is also thought to help balance mood swings and may improve labour and delivery.
A well-balanced diet to help ensure the health of both mum and baby from pre-conception and throughout the nine months of pregnancy includes:
- Protein (an easy option is via our medicinal mushrooms in Shield)
- Vitamin C (an easy option is via one of the only forms of bio-available Vitamin C: Shine)
- Calcium – look for whole foods that contain calcium and magnesium (that helps your body absorb calcium) e.g. sesame seeds, spinach, chard, etc.
- Fruits and vegetables (whole and organic)
- Whole grains (but not too many)
- Adequate “good” fats such as coconut oil and cold pressed organic Greek olive oil (as long as you do not cook with olive oil)
- SuperFoods to keep your energy levels and nutritional intake high. “Revive” and “Glow” are SuperFood blends available from our natural fertility consultants or directly via our online shop, here. These superfoods are packed full of anti-oxidants to keep yourself and your baby in optimal health and vitality.
A simple way to satisfy your nutritional needs during pregnancy is to eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups every day.
Sometimes during pregnancy it is going to be hard to keep food down, or certain foods are going to be unappealing. Pregnancy smoothies are an easy way to get nutrients into your diet. You can add greens, protein, fiber from fruit and vegetables etc. to your smoothies, which will help you to meet your daily nutritional quota.
While most nutrients needed during pregnancy should come from food, prenatal vitamin supplements do play an important role. Folic acid (or betterstill, folate) is a B vitamin that has been found to be a very important supplement for pregnant women.
Folate taken several weeks prior to pregnancy and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy have been found to lower the risk of having a child with a neural tube defect by approximately 75 percent.
B12, electrolytes and essential trace minerals in the forms of Blue Green Algae and Marine Phytoplankton, have high concentrations of proteins, vitamins and nutrients. They are also available to order from our online shop, here.
Are you worried about pregnancy weight gain?
This is natural, many women are concerned about how much weight they will gain during pregnancy. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight gain. It’s important for you to monitor your weight and nutritional needs throughout the pregnancy. Weight gain recommendations will vary for women who are underweight before conceiving, for those who are obese, and for those with a multiple pregnancy (twins etc.)
What Not to Eat
It is essential to be aware that there are certain foods you should absolutely avoid so as to protect your baby’s health.
- To protect mum and baby from bacteria or parasitic infection (e.g. Listeriosis), make sure that all milk, cheese, and dairy products are pasteurised. Pasteurised products are very difficult for the liver to break down so do be mindful not to consume too much pasteurised dairy. You don’t “need it” so classify it as a treat.
- No soft cheeses with a white-mould rind (such as Camembert, Brie etc.) or blue mould veins (such as Gorgonzola, Danish Blue etc.).
- No raw or undercooked eggs or foods containing raw egg, e.g. mayonnaise.
- No cured meats, liver or liver products and pates.
- Fish – no marlin, shark and swordfish, tuna or any canned fish as they contain high levels of mercury, which is harmful to your developing baby’s nervous system.
- Limit consumption of oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna and sardines to a maximum of 2 -3 times a week
- If you love your sushi, stick to only the vegetable and not fish based sushi.
Also avoid refrigerated, smoked seafood and undercooked meat, poultry, and raw seafood such as oysters.
Drink organic fresh pressed juices and pregnancy smoothies in addition to water.
Drink plenty of fluids — at least eight to 10 glasses of clean spring water a day (not from plastic bottles) — avoiding caffeine, sugary and fizzy drinks and any drink with artificial colouring and flavourings.
As well as tea and coffee, caffeine is also present in cola based fizzy drinks, chocolate, energy drinks and some cough and cold remedies, so read the label.
For information on caffeine-free teas for pregnancy visit our article here.
Moderate exercise is not only considered safe for pregnant women, it’s encouraged and thought to benefit both mum and growing baby. Exercising 30 minutes a day is proven to help circulation, strengthen muscles, strengthen bones (if you do our Pregnancy Yoga DVD) and decrease stress.
For the majority of normal pregnancies, exercise can:
- increase energy levels
- strengthen muscles and endurance
- reduce backaches
- relieve constipation
Aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, swimming and QiYoga’s® Pregnancy Yoga DVD can stimulate the heart and lungs and improve circulation, as well as muscle and joint activity, which help to process and utilize oxygen. Walk or jog in cool, shaded areas or indoors in order to prevent overheating.
Hatha Yoga (QiYoga®)
The only type of yoga safe to do during your pregnancy is Hatha Yoga and QiYoga®. Fiona Kacz-Boulton of Awakening Fertility offers individual and group classes, as well as retreats which incorporate QiYoga®. Below is a list of safe and enjoyable yoga exercises, as recommended by Fiona:
- Pregnancy Yoga Pose: Warrior II
- Pregnancy Yoga Pose: Reverse Warrior
- Pregnancy Yoga Pose: Rainbow Warrior
Pelvic Floor Exercises
The extra weight you carry during pregnancy can see the muscles, ligaments and tissues of your pelvic floor overstretched and weakened. Pelvic floor exercises are simple to do, wherever you are.
It is important that you exercise your pelvic floor during and after pregnancy because they:
- Strengthen the muscles of your vaginal walls to enable you to push your baby out more effectively.
- Help prevent the embarrassment of leaking pee.
- Help give you back a great sex life (eventually!) after childbirth
- Protect you from incontinence in the longer term.
Fiona at Awakening fertility offers the following simple set of pelvic floor exercises:
- Tighten the muscles around your back passage and draw them up, as if trying to stop yourself from passing wind. At the same time, tighten the muscles around your front passage and draw them up as if trying to stop passing water.
- Once you’ve worked out what you’re doing, aim to hold the squeeze for a few seconds, and then relax for a few seconds. Gradually increase these times until you can hold the squeeze for up to ten seconds and repeat ten times.
- Then try another variation by tightening the pelvic floor muscles quickly and strongly, then relaxing quickly, up to five times.
Now that you are pregnant it is more important than ever that you learn the skill of how to meditate. Meditation can help you deal with any fears about the birth (seeing your pregnancy through to full term; having an enjoyable birth; being able to function as a good parent, etc.)
QiYoga offers free meditations, as well as meditation materials to ensure you can actually meditate. If you have tried meditation and it did not work for you, then you have not tried meditation with Fiona Kaczmarczyk (Founder of I’m Sublime, QiYoga and Awakening Fertility).
Creative Visualisation is a type of meditation that can be used to change any negative, self-limiting beliefs or fears into positive and empowering outcomes.
Creative visualisation can be used to change the map that your mind has of your body, so you can visualise a healthy body or a healthy baby whenever you get a cold or a greater health risk.
The power of the mind cannot be underestimated. If you want extra help to creatively visualse, to master your mind and overcome any fears during pregnancy, contact Fiona Kacz-Boulton by booking in a 60 minute session via the “Book Now” button, here.
Get adequate sleep
You need to be getting at least eight hours a night. If you’re suffering from sleep disturbances, take naps during the day and see your doctor for advice, if it persists. You can also see our article on how to improve sleep, here.
Cut out the bad habits
Healthy lifestyle choices will directly impact the health of a growing fetus. It’s important to cut out bad habits like smoking and alcohol consumption. These have been linked to serious complications and risks for both mother and baby.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is associated with a wide range of problems in the developing baby. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can also lead to complications including:
- premature labour and delivery
- low birth weight
- abnormal growth
- developmental problems in childhood
There is plenty of proof that smoking during pregnancy is hazardous. Smoking affects blood flow and oxygen delivery to a baby, thus affecting growth.
Cigarette smoking is the single most common cause of low birth-weight babies, which in turn is the most common cause of death and illness in the first few weeks of life. Smoking is also linked to a wide variety of pregnancy complications, including:
- vaginal bleeding
- ectopic pregnancy
- premature placental detachment
- premature labour and delivery
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Living a healthy lifestyle, through maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and keeping yourself mentally and physically fit and active, will make your pregnancy as enjoyable as possible for both you and baby. A balanced and healthy routine will ensure you are at your fittest for the stamina required for child birth!
Enjoy this unique and beautiful time.
Fiona Kacz-Boulton is a Fertility Specialist
(An expert in her field since 2007) and leader in fertility yoga – inspiring people to evolve on their conscious journey to parenthood.
Founder of Awakening Fertility – Harley Street and Clapham, London.
- Fertility Coach
- Fertility Support Group Co-ordinator for Harley Street Fertility Clinic and Infertility Network UK
- Nutrition Counsellor
- Public Speaker
- QiYoga® Founder
- Fertility Yoga Teacher Trainer (RYS 200)
- Fertile Lifestyle Motivator
- Fertility Support Group Facilitator
- Fertility Practitioner Training Co-ordinator
Through her coaching programmes, Fiona helps navigate major transitions to detox your mind (and body) to help you effectively ‘think yourself fertile.’
Other Topics Worth Reading:
- Sesame seeds, tahini and hummus – are they safe to eat during pregnancy? – Read here
- Fertility Events For Pregnancy and Parenthood Success – Read here
- Get Your Confidence Back – Regain Confidence for Pregnancy Success – Read here
- Low Calorie Fertility Foods Suitable For Pregnancy Too – Read here
- Pregnancy Support – Know what to do and what to avoid when you are pregnant – Read here
- Guide to Drinking Tea for Fertility and Throughout Pregnancy for Prenatal Nutrition – Read here
- How to Balance Yang Energies For Fertility When Trying To Conceive – Read here
- Need More Yang Energy When You Are Pregnant – Need Motivation to Exercise? – Read here
- Balancing Yin and Yang Energies with a Whole Food Diet – Read here
- Sleep and Infertility (Sub-fertility) – How Sleep Benefits Fertility – Read here
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