Maternity remains one of the most unique journey experienced by women and the environment she creates for her baby is a determining factor to its growth and development.
A pregnant woman has specific nutritional requirements:
During pregnancy, her magnesium requirements nearly double, her calcium, phosphorus and zinc needs increase by 45% and she also requires iron and B vitamin supplementation.
One of the most significant discoveries in recent years has pertained to the decrease of neural tube defects by 80 % with folic acid supplementation at the onset of pregnancy.
Probiotics helps reduce allergies in infants…as stated by Dr Guy Delespesse, an allergy and immunology specialist at the University de Montréal. A clinical study conducted on 132 patients revealed that the use of probiotics, firstly with pregnant women, then on their newborns until the age of 6 months, reduced the incidence atopic eczema by 50%. Furthermore, a follow-up of the same study revealed that toddlers from the trial group were still benefiting from the treatment at the age of four. Atopic eczema is often associated with asthma and other types of allergies.
Numerous studies have revealed that Omega 3s, namely DHA, promote a healthy brain development in babies and prevent depression for the mother during and post-pregnancy.
Certain herbs can be useful during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Ginger is clinically acknowledged for reducing nausea and vomiting. Dandelion root can support a healthy digestion and improved elimination. Raspberry leaf is known for its tonic properties on the uterus in the final stages of pregnancy and promoting a better lactation following birth. On the other hand, the secondary effects of anti-nausea and heartburn medication are still unknown. The role of the placenta in the metabolism of drugs is yet to be determined.
During pregnancy, exposure to pollutants and contaminants should be avoided. The best alternatives are the following:
# 1 – Eating organic
# 2 – Optimal vitamin and mineral supplementation
# 3 –The use of a high DHA content Omega 3 supplement
# 4 – Using toxin-free cosmetics and cleansers exempt of known harmful substances.
By Lise Guénette, ND.A.
Member of l'Association des naturopathes agréés du Québec
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