Pregnancy is that time of life when a beautiful life is all set to nurture another beautiful life using all the internal resources she possesses within, to be able to nourish the developing life. Hence, healthy pregnancy is all about building strong internal resources to create a new creation in its best form.
Latest researches are now explaining how a mother’s imbalanced diet during pregnancy can alter the DNA (known as epigenetic change) of her child & increase baby’s risk for obesity or metabolic disorders even before a baby is born. Preparing body for pregnancy with holistic diet & lifestyle principles is gradually becoming the topmost agenda for health professionals and the route to creating healthy generations.
What is Holistic Approach to Pregnancy?
The holistic approach to pregnancy is about understanding, supporting & strengthening the body-mind of the expectant mother which is a far broader perspective than just focusing on right foods during pregnancy. An expectant mother’s state of health, diet, nutritional status, stress levels, lifestyle, physical, mental & emotional state of health, in totality has a huge impact on the growing fetus. Thus, a holistic approach with an equal focus on diet, lifestyle and stress management can go a long way in ensuring healthy pregnancy & robust health of mother & the baby.
Diet in Pregnancy
Life is all about balance & so is the time of pregnancy. A new life is nurtured well in a balanced internal environment & any extremes may cause health concerns. That’s a little mantra to remember for sailing through this beautiful phase of life without any major health concerns. Extremes or overintake of extremely concentrated foods such as sugar based items, fruit juice, spices, animal foods, baked products, high salt foods can push the body to limits causing pregnancy related health concerns.
The expectant mother’s diet must be carefully planned to ensure subtle balance of macronutrients & micronutrients. The need for certain nutrients goes up during pregnancy. These include protein, calcium, B vitamins, to name a few. Following dietary guidelines will help an expectant mother live through each phase of pregnancy with ease:
- Maintaining regular meal timings will avoid blood-sugar fluctuations keeping the health in balance.
- Foods that are easy to digest will support digestion, assimilation & absorption.
- Refrain from consuming overly spicy foods that can cause acidic issues & heartburn. However warming spices such as ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, fennel, cinnamon and coriander in limited quantity can support body for a smooth pregnancy.
- Foods must be properly cooked, but not overcooked to retain nutrients.
- Fresh food provides best nutrition for demanding pregnancy needs.
- Simple meals comprising of whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds & fruits must be consumed regularly to ensure varied & balanced nutrition.
- Over eating or under eating is not recommended during pregnancy.
- Cooking styles such as boiled, steamed, sautéed are best suited to provide warm nourishing energy for fetus growth. Focus on vegetable soups, stews, congee recipes are provide apt nutrition in cooked form.
- Including a variety of fruits & vegetables daily will help keep body alkaline to create best internal environment for fetus growth.
- Gentle herbs such as tulsi can help digestive health optimal, though any herbs must be consumed as per doctor’s advice.
- Consuming foods rich in Proteins, calcium & B vitamins is vital demand of the body during pregnancy. Foods such as sesame seeds, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, fermented foods such as kanji or sauerkraut can help keep body’s nutritional needs high during pregnancy.
Supporting Foods for Pregnancy
- Pumpkin – Rich in Vitamin A, it grounds & calms the system to create a peaceful environment for fetus growth.
- Sweet potato – Contains B-vitamins, fiber & other trace minerals. It grounds & calms the body and is helpful in constipation & edema which are common concerns during pregnancy.
- Walnuts – Provide omega fats & protein to strengthen body for fetus growth.
- Ginger – Helps deal with morning sickness.
- Carrots – Strengthen the blood, promote digestion and heal constipation.
- Spinach – Nourishes blood, strengthens organs & is rich in folate which is primary nutrient required for fetus growth during initial days of pregnancy.
Lifestyle to Support Pregnancy
Following lifestyle practices support the health of expectant mother in subtle but powerful ways:
- Meditation & deep breathing practices help keep stress & its impact at bay. A peaceful internal environment is much required for the baby to grow peacefull.
- Regularity in waking & sleeping timings & meal timings helps keep the energy levels up.
- Pre-natal yoga or walk in nature can support pregnancy drastically.
- Managing emotions during this sensitive time is of utmost importance as mother’s emotions may directly impact the growing baby. Investing time in selfcare, pursuing a passion or simply preparing for the coming baby can help the mother keep her moods high.
- Maintaining balance between work & rest, avoiding standing for long hours and avoiding doing any laborious work is the key to supporting fetus health & mother’s health simultaneously.
- Harmful practices such as alcohol consumption and smoking can impact fetus health adversely making the unborn child prone to serious health issues even before birth. An expectant mother must refrain from such practices during pregnancy.
- Practicing some selfcare during pregnancy such as body oil massage helps mother nourish herself & create a beautiful bond between the growing fetus & herself.
- Avoid any unnecessary medications during pregnancy, these come with their own toxicity making body weaker.
- Take warm baths to soothe the body & mind.
About the author
Deepti is amongst selected few certified Macrobiotic Nutritionists in India. She is also a certified Alkaline Diet Coach & qualified Clinical Nutritionist. Deepti holds Master’s degree in Yoga & Science of Living & is a certified Yoga Teacher. She is an educated Ayurveda & Yoga Lifestyle Practitioner, ICF certified Holistic Wellness Coach, an Author & an Entrepreneur (Founder of www.svarasya.com). Deepti deals in holistic philosophy of mind-body diet & wellness and her areas of practice broadly include holistic diet, yoga, skincare & holistic lifestyle. Her dietary practice is a medley of ancient food principles adopted from Macrobiotics, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Yoga Science.
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