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Tips for a Healthy, Natural Pregnancy

Posted: 05/22/2013 11:31 am

In the modern world we live in, almost everything we use includes chemicals and artificial ingredients. Understandably, many pregnant women are wary of exposing their unborn baby to harsh, unnatural substances. Here are a few simple changes I made during my pregnancy to avoid exposing my baby to harmful substances.

Clean with Homemade Cleaners

Household cleaners can easily be made with ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. This not only prevents exposing your baby to harsh chemicals during your pregnancy, but it can save you some grief as well. These homemade cleaning agents are much more gentle on your skin and breathing passages when you're cleaning. They also are less likely to upset you when you're feeling queasy. As a bonus, making your own cleaners usually saves you money.

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Eat Natural, Organic Food

Eating natural food is great for your baby and it's easy to do. Most grocery stores have an organic section that sells organic food and produce. Eating natural, organic food is also a great way to stay healthy and ensure that you gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy. With an increased appetite, it can be easy to go overboard with junk food and high-calorie meals. Sticking to fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy meats can help you to stay healthy during your pregnancy.

Use Natural Remedies Instead of Medication

I found that I was plagued with headaches throughout my pregnancy. To my dismay, my doctor recommended I shouldn't take Advil, which is usually my go-to for pain relief. My doctor suggested that I try drinking more water because many headaches are caused by dehydration. I made sure I drank water often and found that my headaches disappeared entirely. On that note -- make sure to talk to your doctor about any major changes you make throughout your pregnancy. I was fortunate enough to have a doctor who helped me make decisions about my health, birthing plan, cord blood banking options, swaddling and so much more!

I also came down with a nasty cold during my pregnancy. Before becoming pregnant, I had always relied on medicated nasal spray to deal with colds or nasal pressure. Since use of medicated nasal spray is not suggested during pregnancy, I invested in a Neti-Pot and some saline packets. Using the Neti-Pot I was able to clear my nasal passages naturally. I continue to do this now whenever I get a stuffy nose since it's much less harsh on my nasal passages and just as effective.

These are some simple things you can do to have a natural and healthy pregnancy. Avoiding harsh chemicals and ingredients can help you and your baby to stay comfortable and in good health!

By Katie Moore

The Purple Fig is a community where women share personal and relatable stories; no ego, no shame. We're about life, love and all of the stuff that makes us yearn, squirm, and giggle. These stories make up the authentic and intriguing journey of a woman.

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  • Bananas

    <strong>TRIMESTER:</strong> 1 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> "Having bananas during the early weeks of pregnancy may help with nausea that many women experience," says <a href="http://anarallidina.com/" target="_hplink">Anar Allidina</a>, a registered dietitian based in Richmond Hill, Ont. Allidina adds that bananas are a great source of vitamin B6 (helps with morning sickness), fibre, vitamin C and potassium.

  • Spinach

    <strong>TRIMESTER:</strong> 1 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> These leafy greens are packed with folate. "Adequate folate is required in early pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects (birth defects of the brain and spinal cord)," Allidina says. Spinach also contains fibre, manganese, iron, vitamin A, C and K.

  • Beans

    <strong>TRIMESTER:</strong> 1 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> Most of us know that beans are an excellent source of protein and fibre, but beans during pregnancy will help you deal with constipation. "Almost 40 per cent of pregnant women will become constipated at some point during pregnancy. Common triggers for constipation include the pressure on your growing uterus, the pregnancy hormone progesterone that slows your digestive track, and iron supplements," Allidina says. Beans also contain a rich source of folate and iron.

  • Red Bell Peppers

    <strong>TRIMESTER:</strong> 1 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> Vitamin C is responsible for the growth and repair of tissues in your body during pregnancy. "Red bell peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C content compared to green peppers — one large red bell pepper contains 209 mg of vitamin C, which is three times the vitamin C found in an orange," Allidina says. Consuming vitamin C also helps us absorb iron faster, so don't forget to add peppers to your stir fries, salads and sandwiches.

  • Eggs

    <strong>TRIMESTER</strong>: 2 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> Looking for the good stuff? Check the yolk. "Egg yolk contains choline, an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in the development of your baby’s brain in addition to boosting your own brain," Allidina says. Expecting moms should get around 450 mg of choline each day. And if you're a vegan or don't like eggs, other sources include beef, milk and soy beans.

  • Avocados

    <strong>TRIMESTER</strong>: 2 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> This nutrient-dense fruit is bursting with goodness. "Avocados are a great source of fibre, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B6," she says. Filled with healthy mono-unsaturated fats, these are the "good" fats that can help protect against heart disease. Avocados have been known to help <a href="http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/eating-well/week-11/big-nutrition-small-packages.aspx">fight morning sickness and help your baby's brain and tissue growth</a>.

  • Greek Yogurt

    <strong>TRIMESTER</strong>: 2 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> Creamier compared to most yogurts, Greek yogurt actually offers more protein. "Regular non-fat yogurt has six to eight grams of protein per serving, while Greek yogurt has 15 to 18 grams per serving," Allidina says. Greek yogurt is often strained so most the liquid is removed. It's also a good source of calcium — which every woman needs during pregnancy.

  • Papaya

    <strong>TRIMESTER</strong>: 3 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> This tropical food is full of vitamin C, folate, fibre and potassium. "Papaya is also a natural way to soothe heartburn, which is often experienced during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester," Allidina says. However, pregnant women should only eat ripe papaya, as unripe papayas contain pepsin in their latex (the resin from the papaya tree), which can induce contractions.

  • Nuts

    <strong>TRIMESTER</strong>: 3 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> As discomfort becomes more common during the third trimester, it's important to eat frequently. "Nuts are a great source of protein and heart healthy fats, and make a great snack since they're easy to store," she says. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashews all have healthy fats, protein and fibre.

  • Fatty Fish

    <strong>TRIMESTER</strong>: 3 <strong>WHY IT WORKS:</strong> You can eat up to six ounces of albacore (white) tuna a week — eating more than the recommended amount can lead to higher mercury levels that can be harmful to your baby, Allidina says. But including oily or fatty fish in your diet fuels your body with omega 3 fatty acids which helps your heart and strengthens your brain health. Eating up to 12 ounces of fish a week is considered safe during pregnancy.

 

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