What To Eat During Pregnancy?
In this article I offer some insight about nutrition and what to eat during pregnancy to complement Lorraine's recent article - 10 Top Tips for Coping With Back & Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy.
Lorraine provided some insightful advice, some based on her own experience in dealing with the physical demands of pregnancy and also offered some realistic self-managing techniques.
Firstly, I feel compelled to point out that our food choices are personal and we all need to discover what works best for our own bodies which is not necessarily the easiest of tasks. Personally, my own journey of discovery is constantly aided, sometimes challenged, by picking up ideas and insights from other people. It is for this reason I 'follow' a number of health related websites, blogs, journals, etc. I recently came across two articles over on the primaldocs website related to the choices you can make about what to eat during pregnancy. These articles, referenced below, served as my inspiration for this blog post. I hope to inspire your curiosity on a topic that perhaps you may not have given important consideration to in preparation for your pregnancy.
Healthy you = healthy baby
I can only imagine what it must be like to experience the responsibility of having a child growing inside of you. Wow! So it makes a lot of sense that a mother needs to care for her own wellbeing as a precursor to being able to provide a healthy environment in which a baby can develop. Such care will most certainly consider what is best to eat during pregnancy.
If your lifestyle and diet needs improving it is advised to make these changes before getting pregnant but it is always better to start late than to not start at all.
Avoid toxins from food
It is suggested that the best way to avoid ingesting toxic chemicals from food is to eat organic as much as is possible. Unfortunately I believe it is never as clear cut as that, sorry. Organically grown food is not really an option for everyone and there are many valid challenges against society moving towards this 'misguided' idealism.
Ireland's own Professor Mike Gibney, Director of the UCD Institute of Food and Health and author of a recently published popular food-science book “Something to chew on: Challenging controversies in food and health”,
explores such ideas as the unsustainability of an organic crop.
Another reference for you can be found if you head over to cheateats(.ie) to read Don’t waste your money on organic fruit and veg for an easy-read post to expand on this idea.
Taking a brief side step from food and what we eat during pregnancy let's consider a few other important points and then come back to this thread.
Have you heard of BPA-free water bottles or the BPA-free tinned food?
Read more about BPA and it's effect on our health here - What's BPA, and do I really need a new water bottle?
What about the chemicals in our body lotions, cosmetics and general personal care products that we lather on ourselves everyday. Have you ever heard the advice not to eat or rub on to yourself anything with an ingredient you could not pronounce? Although potentially a fail-safe method it is possibly an over-simplification to be effective and sustainable.
Warning: read at your own risk - Worst Endocrine Disruptors Revealed, and They Could Be Raising Your Family’s Cancer Risk
… a long and insightful article by Dr. Mercola that left me thinking "heck, what is safe then…?"
Okay let's get back to the main topic...
Should you be taking vitamins?
Dr Kelly Brogan published a recnt article on primaldocs giving her analysis of the vitamin conundrum that applies to us all but also with a focus on vitamins in pregnancy.
Recent health-news headlines have suggested we should believe that vitamin supplementing is a waste of time and money. This on-going conflict between natural medicine supporters and pharmaceutically-based medicine systems leaves most of us somewhere in the middle and confused by the contradictory 'evidence' claiming to support each side of the argument.
This said, Dr Brogan states that when it comes to pregnancy all skepticism and concern about the 'risks' of vitamin taking is selectively ignored - quoting the The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology:
“Taking a prenatal vitamin supplement can ensure that you are getting these extra amounts.”
Her article continues on to explore in more detail why the typical american diet is recognised to be nutritionally deficient and therefore warrants vitamin supplementation. Her catchy subtitles in her article draws your attention - such as 'dead dirt', chemical oppression, fast food nation, sugar and stress, 'meddling meds' and toxic overload.
Dr Brogan speaks of the importance of B Vitamins as well as Vit. D for it's anti-inflammatory and immune enhancing influence. Have you heard that vitamin A is regarded as a toxic supplement in pregnancy? Well apparently to Brogan vitamin A is an essential and important co-supplement to enable proper conversion and utilisation of Vit. D challenging the 'science' that suggests vit. A is not good for pregnant mothers.
Read Dr Brogan's full report here - Vitamins in Pregnancy
Omega-3's seem to get universal support for pregnant mums-to-be supporting the development of the baby and reducing the risk of pre and post-natal depression in the mother.
In the end the greatest benefit to the health of expectant mothers and their babies should come from careful consideration of what to eat during pregnancy. With regard to making decisions on whether to supplement or not this should ideally be done on the back of an individualised assessment based on relevant health markers - inflammation, autoimmunity and serum levels of vitamins in the body.
It's not simple nor straightforward knowing what's best for our health and that surely includes the question what to eat during pregnancy. I hope this article gave you some 'food for thought' and I wish you well on your own personal discovery to good health.
Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net