Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You are pregnant!

Congratulations if you are pregnant.  From the day you find out that you are pregnant, life changes.  There is a whole list of things that you are not supposed to eat and if it is not your first pregnancy then you will probably feel your body changing immediately.  Below is my top list of what needs to change and some useful tips on what to do/use.

Prenatal Vitamins made from Whole-Foods
These are more than just multi-vitamins and it is best to start taking them before conception.  They are higher in folic acid and often contain omega-3s or other useful ingredients to pregnancy.  Most vitamins are made from synthetic chemical isolates that are hard for the body to identify and absorb properly.  There are a few brands like New Chapter and Nature's Plus Source of Life that make the vitamins using whole-foods so the phytonutrients appear in the vitamin the way your body is used to seeing nutrients in food.  You and the baby will better absorb your nutrients and you do not have to worry about chemicals.  All whole-food vitamins require 2+ pills to be taken per day; there is no such thing as a one-a-day whole-food vitamin.

Other Medications
I find it useful to have references at my finger-tips for when I am under the weather or if something comes up.  The Whole Pregnancy Handbook has a decent list of alternatives.  This is where I learned 5 years ago that my seasonal allergies that I had since childhood were triggered by dairy (later I found it to be from pasteurized dairy). Especially in my first trimester, I get heavy mucus unless I avoid dairy.  For medications, I go to although this website is geared for breastfeeding moms, it has very helpful information.

Avoiding Foods That You Want
By now, you have found the lists of foods that should be avoided during pregnancy.  I find these lists to be extreme and they ignore some unlisted and often obvious exceptions:

  1. Avoid all nitrates because they are proven dangerous to the baby.  These are found in most deli meats, bacon, sausages (including hot dogs) and ham.  If you crave them then go to your natural store and buy some without nitrates. These meats are sold in sealed packages so you don't have to worry about them being contaminated with those unhygienic deli counter bacteria like listeria.
  2. My husband is famous for bringing home brie without thinking that it is on the "soft cheeses not to eat" list.  If we bought it fresh from a farmer, I would trust it but we don't.  So when it tempts me in the refrigerator I find ways to enjoy it heated like in a toasted brie and arugula sandwich.
  3. Egg yolks are healthiest when they are uncooked yet pregnant women are supposed to avoid raw egg yolks.  I found the exceptions!  Salmonella is on the outside of the eggshell so if you wash the egg first then you can do anything that you want.  Soft boiled eggs are not a risk.  Salmonella is mainly a factory farming problem so if you can buy your eggs from a reputable farmer who has free range chickens, then you should not have any worries.
  4. In America NO alcohol is considered good for a pregnant woman while other countries such as France are fine with a pregnant woman having a glass of wine with dinner.  I am just throwing this out there... Personally alcohol tastes gross to me while I am pregnant except for a few sips of beer now and then.
  5. Why does this list not have sugar on it?  Sugar is just empty calories and pregnant women need to have calories with high nutritional value.  So if you crave something sweet, figure out why you are having a craving (because cravings tell us that our bodies are lacking something that we did not eat earlier in the day) and try to pacify yourself with fruit or something with nutrients. I will write a blog on nutrition in the near future.
  6. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and zero calorie sweeteners are far worse than sugar. They trick our digestive system in unnatural ways that lead to future digestive and blood-sugar issues.  Zero-calories sweeteners either contain carcinogenic chemicals or are made using such chemicals. These are not chemicals that you want going to your baby.
  7. They also forgot to have artificial food coloring on this list.  Countries such as Germany have banned them due to their adverse health affects. You will know them on the ingredient list because they have numbers after them like Red #40.
  8. BPA has been removed from plastic baby bottles because of the known negative effects to babies and children yet it is still in the liners of most canned foods, store receipts, plastic containers and dental sealants.  It is proven to increase hyperactivity, depression and more in girls who were exposed to BPA in the fetus according to Harvard School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BPA is transferred from the mother to fetus through the umbilical cord so why expose yourself to it?  Don't. Try to cook from scratch and not use canned foods or stick to brands that are BPA free. I gave up buying any cans in 2011 and found it much easier than I thought it would be.  
If you don't already know what these are, read this and start doing them everyday.  If you do them daily (somewhere between 50 and 100) then you will have a strong pelvic floor that does not make you run to the bathroom every 5 minutes in you last months.  Continue these daily well after giving birth.  For some reason doctors and midwives often don't talk about kegals but they are so important!

Lesson your EMFs
Electromagnetic Forces (EMFs) are getting more and more attention.  These are everywhere in our society so it is hard to avoid them but we can lesson them around ourselves and not put them directly up against our baby.  Avoid heated mattress pads, hot blankets, heated car seats, cell phones close to you (use speaker phone at a distance), laptops on your laps (oops I was just doing this!), etc. Note that some of these things cause extra heat and are supposed to be avoided due to their high levels of heat near the baby (like avoiding hot tubs while pregnant).

What would you make sure that people start doing from day one of pregnancy?


  1. What about coffee and chocolate?

    1. Both coffee and chocolate contain caffeine and milk chocolate has a lot of sugar. If you need a pick-me-up, try adjusting your overall diet, planning for more sleep and getting some exercise ideally outdoors. If you must have a kick, a good quality dark chocolate is the lessor evil because it is lower in sugar than milk chocolate and contains a good amount of iron (important during pregnancy). Sometimes I sneak a weak cup of black tea when my older kids did not let me sleep well or I just cannot rest again thanks to my older kids.

  2. When I was pregnant I was careful about everything I ingested, but also always worried about other products such as shampoo, conditioner, moisturizing cream, deodorant...when you did your cleanse and while pregnant, what kind of health/beauty products do you use or recommend?

    1. When it comes to health and beauty, I suggest taking baby steps because most of us women have a huge shelf of "stuff" that we are reluctant to part with. It is all getting absorbed though your skin and getting flushed through your bloodstream. So start small, with the item that you use the most of. For me it was moisturizer. I switched my normal creams for a stick of cocoa butter and some coconut oil that I already had in my kitchen. That is teaser advice for me to expand on in a future blog post :)

  3. best prenatal vitamins products provide complete nutrition for mothers and children

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