Holistic Pregnancy: Healthy Diet and Morning Sickness
by Laurie S Roth Donnell, Master Herbalist and Holistic Health Practitioner
Twentieth-century medicine dealt with child health and adult health separately says Dr Jack Shonkoff of Harvard University. What 21st-century medicine is telling us is that if we want to change adult health, we have to look at babies, even before they’re born.
This concept seems to be the essence of the latest scientific research on anti-aging and diseases. Fighting against the diseases of aging begins in the womb during pregnancy. Conception is the beginning of the mother’s opportunity to give her baby the best chance for health. The baby and mom’s bodies begin a communication with one another through hormones, nutrients, and chemicals that travel with the blood flow into the placenta and amniotic fluid in support of the baby’s development.
Many factors contribute to the baby’s development and future health because the mother’s choices are all equally shared by the baby. The mother’s diet tells a fetus a lot about its future environment, including how much and what type of food will be available after birth. Babies conceived during times of famine have a metabolism geared toward hoarding calories and being very thrifty. Once such a child gets on a normal diet they have a propensity to be fat or diabetic. Junk foods and overeating sweets can also predispose the baby for metabolic diseases or food sensitivities and allergies later in life. As a mother, you may want to do your best to eat healthy, natural foods, avoid environmental toxins and exercise as regularly as possible.
The flip side of the diet issue is morning sickness; you must keep down your food and vitamin intake in order to provide the baby nutrients! Morning sickness is something almost everyone associates with pregnancy, yet no one is certain what triggers the nausea. It may be a result of the rapid rise in hormones as the mother’s body begins to work overtime building the baby.
What do you do if you’re so sick you can’t eat well? (Especially when you know how important a good diet is!) Morning sickness is worse on an empty tummy so nibbling a little bit throughout the day is fine. “Grazing” is what many doctors and midwives call it, and if you were eating well before pregnancy, you and your baby are probably fine.
Below are a few holistic suggestions to offer in defense of morning sickness:
An old family favorite—a few salty cracker before you get out of bed in the morning—yes crackers in bed!
Drink a half hour after or before your meals instead of with your meals.
Take a good prenatal vitamin supplement—suggested after your salty cracker.
Chamomile and ginger tea or sucking on ginger lozenges can also be soothing for the nausea.
Snack in the middle of the night. If you are up to go to the bathroom, this can stabilize blood sugar—yes mid-night snacks!
Putting a few drops of an essential oil onto a cloth to carry in your pocket, and inhale the scent if you feel queasy. Lemon and mint oils seem to be favorites, however others find the antiseptic smell of tea tree oil soothing.
Bands designed for seasickness have been reported to help some cases
Lemonade or lemon hard candies may have a soothing affect and are also enjoyable.
As an expectant mother, you are charged with the care and future welfare of this baby; please speak with your primary care provider about natural holistic approaches to your pregnancy before embarking on any new health care regime.
Best health to you and the baby!
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