To Your Health
May, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 05)
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Preparing for Baby

By Dr. Claudia Anrig

For women considering becoming pregnant, healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits are an absolute must, both for your sake and the sake of your future child. If you're considering starting a family, here's what you need to know before you decide to have a baby.

Most women don't understand the importance of establishing healthy eating and lifestyle habits before becoming pregnant. It's rare that great nutritional advice is provided to women until after they've conceived, and the Western lifestyle often leads to unhealthy and out-of-balance choices.

The first question to ask your doctor is: What does the body require to have a healthy pregnancy? Start with the whole-food concept. To eat a balanced diet, we should understand that living a "whole-foods" rather than a "processed" lifestyle is best for you and your future baby.

Start With Whole Foods

  • Woman standing in front of the ocean. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Proteins and iron are important, preferably derived from organic, grass-fed, or hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, lamb and poultry. Eggs will provide vitamin A. Additional sources of iron can be found in wheat germ, bran, nuts, parsley and molasses. Essential fatty acids and protein can be found in fatty fish (salmon, black cod, etc.). Fish oil supplements should be a part of the regimen as well.

  • Dairy products are a great source of calcium and protein, but your diet should be balanced with other healthy calcium sources such as soy products, nuts, seaweed products, wheat germ or wheat bran.

  • Beans, legumes and green leafy vegetables provide fiber, protein and other essential vitamins for a healthy, balanced diet.

  • Folic acid and vitamin B are addressed with a diet of whole grains, nuts and dairy products. Monounsaturated fats also can be found in nuts and avocados. Berries provide antioxidants, additional vitamins and phytonutrients.

Woman stretching her legs before running. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark When considering dietary changes, remember that living foods do not come in boxes or packages. They will not be found in the aisles of your grocery store, but in the meat, dairy and produce sections.

Review Your Eating Habits

A "wellness pregnancy" shouldn't start once you become pregnant; it should start four to 12 months prior to conceiving. One of the first things you should do after deciding to have a baby is ask your doctor for nutritional advice.

The vital initial step in having this discussion involves providing your chiropractor with a nutritional journal for one week so they can review your eating and drinking habits. Often it's not how much you're consuming that will concern your doctor, but rather what you're eating.