I’ve been blessed to help quite a few women pre, during and postpartum to find that we need A Clear Plan before getting into the world of pregnancy; this should help you prepare your body for pregnancy even before you are pregnant. It is so reassuring for these mamas to know that they are educated on what is happening to their body and how to respond to the sudden changes they are experiencing. Unfortunately, as a pastor’s wife, I have been through the process of walking with a number of couples through unexpected miscarriages, pregnancy complications and panic attacks.
This is a very sensitive issue and something that I hold in confidentiality with these couples, so I will not provide any “real-life” examples, but it has been on my heart for quite some time to share what I have learned through walking with these couples and my own research in helping “keep them pregnant.” None of this information is to replace or negate what your practitioner advises you to do, only to supplement and provide a natural, reassuring perspective that can further empower you as a mama or mama-to-be.
The first area of concern for me is that many times I have found women’s bodies and minds are not prepared for pregnancy. There is a common belief that “I will just get pregnant, grab a pre-natal vitamin off a grocery store shelf, get to my doctor, take a blood test to confirm and keep it moving.” But when there is not enough body fat to maintain the pregnancy, the body has toxins causing a hormonal imbalance, or the body is not getting enough healthy nutrients to keep mama and baby healthy, this can result in an unwanted crisis. Unfortunately, this risk is not always shared with mama until it is too late. So, what can you do to prepare your body for that day when you find out you are pregnant?
This is important if you are married, trying to get pregnant, or using no means of protection and may get pregnant. Let’s give our body what it needs in a preventative way so that we can have healthy, full term deliveries.
#1 Find a Whole Food, Good Quality PreNatal Vitamin
There is only one downside to a whole food prenatal, it is more expensive, but the cost is worth every penny when you consider its benefits. This is different than a prescription or over the counter manufactured prenatal. Instead, it consists of all natural ingredients and vitamins from their natural source. The prescription prenatals can be very hard on some women’s digestion, cause nausea, heartburn, indigestion and constipation. It may not be right for all women. Doing your own research and discovering what is best for your body in consultation with your doctor is helpful.
Prenatal vitamins are helpful because the baby pulls from mama’s nutrients to get her own taking care of, leaving mama depleted of daily intake if not eating enough or supplementing. This can cause more nausea, fainting or other complications (including miscarriage or the baby not growing at a recommended rate). To ensure both baby and mama get all they need I have included a few prenatal vitamin options to supplement your daily food intake.
A few high quality, whole food prenatal vitamins are:
Baby & Me
Baby and Me is a plant based, vegetable vitamins so you do not have to worry about manufactured items entering your body and it is full of great vitamins for you and your baby, as it’s name suggests. There is also a Herb-Free Version of Baby & Me available (especially important if you are already taking herbs or tonics to support your health). A lot of mamas absolutely love how easy this vitamin is on their stomachs and how they can take it with no worries of a sick tummy! It is also very high in Vitamin D (which helps prevent miscarriage).
Rainbow Light Prenatal One
Another option is Rainbow Light Prenatal One. This 100% vegetarian and natural vitamin has no preservatives and is also vegan. Another perk is you only need one a day to get your daily intake, and it is very light on the stomach due to it’s inclusion of probiotics (good for digestion). It has twice the amount of the following vitamins as a lot of prenatal vitamins:
- iron (good for metabalism and blood cell production),
- vitamin D (for mama and baby’s healthy bones and teeth),
- vitamin C & A (for skin, eye, immune, brain health, and destressing),
- folic acid (to prevent birth defects, help with the baby’s brain and cell development, plus spine growth), and
- vitamin B (for energy, cell growth, stress, immune support and more).
#2 A Whole Food, Healthy Diet
Of course, this is only a supplement to eating a whole food, healthy diet, with healthy fats like organic butter, coconut, olive, sunflower and sesame seed oils, fish, nuts, seeds, lots of dark leafy vegetables, and bright, vibrant choices like carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Plus a lot of fruit (think half your plate being full of fruits and vegetables). There are so many new fruits and veggies that you may not have tried yet and can now focus on enjoying.
The key is to snack, snack, snack on healthy foods and meal prep ahead of time so you don’t run out of food and go crazy at a fast food restaurant! To avoid preservatives, try organic, grass fed, farm fresh food from the farmer’s market or the organic section of your grocery store. This will protect both you and baby from unwanted harmful substances.
This is your chance to taste the rainbow. Think about beautiful colors, many beautiful colors you are taking into your body on a daily consistent (never skipping meals) basis. Try some of the foods on this rainbow chart to get you started:
There are so many healthy options out there, a few tips on snacks: slice oranges, apples, kiwi, peaches and bring them to work with you. Grab a bunch of grapes and throw them in your lunch bag. Keep a cooler in the back of your car/trunk full of yummy homemade smoothies (by the way this is a good snack option), lots of water, and your fruit.
And mama’s protein intake is really important too. You can get this from grass fed meats (lower in fat plus essential fatty acids) and cold water fish (look for “wild” fish, rather “farm raised”in grocery store- like cod, Alaskan salmon, and Alaskan halibut), lentils, beans and vegetables like kale and broccoli. Try to get a balance of both meat and vegetable proteins in your meals.
A few tips: Low zinc is believed to cause miscarriage (you can always get your blood levels checked prior to pregnancy) and the right amount of vitamin B12 can help prevent miscarriage by strengthening mama’s endometrium lining where the egg is fertilized. Zinc: shrimp, lamb, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, turkey, sesame seeds, green peas. B12: Lobster, eggs, liver, crab, fish, beef, lamb, oysters.
Foods to avoid: cold cuts, excess caffeine, soft cheeses, alcohol, don’t go on a low fat diet (you need healthy fats to support your growing baby)
#3 Relaxation Plan
Of course there’s a lot more mama’s-to-be can do to prepare for pregnancy and keep a healthy pregnancy, but for today, we will close this up by talking about the importance of the R&R: Rest and Relaxation. We all need rest, but your body is working twice as hard when pregnant, so you finally have a good excuse for sleeping A LOT.
Sleep– On your left side (your liver is on your right side, this will help avoid pressure on your liver- this can get harder as you get bigger, so just try your best). Try to avoid sleeping on your back because it pressures a lot of organs and can lower circulation.
You can also get a wedge when you get bigger to help with sleep.
Journal– Write down your thoughts, feelings and emotions, your joys and annoyances while pregnant. Doing this can help declutter your mind and give you a sense of needed relief. Taking note of what is causing you to feel stressful in your environment can be really helpful as well.
Relaxing Exercise– There are pregnancy exercises you can do like walking, leaning forward on an exercise ball (think about how much pregnant mamas lean back), and butterflies (remember these cute exercises from when you were a child?).
Prayer and Meditation– Daily spending time praying and meditating on Scripture can help remove fear and increase your faith in a smooth pregnancy. There are so many concerns and questions pregnant mamas may have; having a few Scriptures handy is helpful when we are in uncertain times. This book, Supernatural Childbirth, I did a review on recently is really good to have on hand to help you pray prayers for pre, during and post pregnancy (plus while in labor)!
Best of wishes on your coming baby, or if you’re just really proactive and preventative, I wish you the best on your way to being a mama one day!xoxo,
A few Mama Scriptures:
You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Psalm 22:9-10
He will have no fear of bad news; he heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. Psalm 112:7