Pregnancy is a time of growth and change. Lifestyle strategies like nutrition and exercise can have the greatest impact on pregnancy outcomes during the first 20 weeks. These strategies set the stage for what happens later in pregnancy, during labor and delivery, and the time after birth (for both mom and baby). Sifting through information online can be challenging, so this article offers some general considerations for a healthy pregnancy.
Food & Nutrition
Nutrition guidelines in pregnancy aren’t extremely different from general guidelines for good overall health. In pregnancy research, nutrition guidelines look at populations with a high risk of pregnancy complications and compare them to low-risk populations. Based on a study in 2018, these are some of the recommendations associated with lower rates of gestational diabetes, small babies, urinary tract infections, high blood pressure, and other high-risk pregnancy complications:
Vegetables and fruits: 12 servings each per week
Nuts and oily fish: 3 servings each per week
Extra virgin olive oil: approximately 30 mL (2 Tbsp) per day
Ample whole grain cereals; limit white rice, pasta, or
white bread to less than 2 servings per week
Plentiful legumes (beans, chickpeas, etc.)
Skimmed dairy products: 1 serving per day
Homemade sauces in place of conventionally processed ones
Limit red meat consumption as well as refined flour,
sweetened drinks, pastries, and biscuits
Even if your eating patterns are very different from this list, decreasing refined flour and white bread while increasing plant-based foods is a good place to start. Most of this data does not account for your cultural or familial eating practices, so please keep this in mind as well.
These vitamins are essentially multivitamins that offer the minimum nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. Ideally, a prenatal, or folic acid (400 mcg)—at the very least— should be started before you try to conceive. The WHO and most national guidelines recommend taking folic acid if you’re of childbearing age. Folic acid is needed for rapid cell division (among other things), and a deficiency can cause neural tube defects. If you haven’t been on folic acid or a prenatal, then adding one in as soon as you discover you’re pregnant is recommended by healthcare professionals. Folic acid, choline, and DHA are three nutrients that play important roles in a baby’s nervous system development and should be part of your regimen (through a prenatal, food, or separate supplementation). Choline, especially, should be supplemented (if not prenatal) for patients who do not consume eggs.
This is another supplement to consider. It helps with the development of the placenta and the immune system and supports communication between the fetus and the placenta. Testing through blood and ensuring adequate levels is recommended.
This nutrient is important to supplement, especially if your iron is deficient. Iron deficiency in pregnancy is associated with preterm delivery, low birth weight, mental health issues, and poorer school performance in offspring. It’s also extremely prevalent in menstruating populations globally, so please take your iron!
The last supplement to consider would be calcium, especially if your dietary intake is low. It’s of special consideration for those with recurrent pregnancy loss, high-risk pregnancies, malnutrition, gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia, heartburn, heparin use, and muscle cramping (which may be experienced at around weeks 18–22). A minimum of 1000 mg of calcium is recommended during pregnancy (there should be a little bit of it in your prenatal too). Food tracking apps or working with a nutritionist/ dietitian can help you figure out if you’re getting adequate calcium.
Exercise & Movement
There’s a lot of information about exercise during pregnancy on the internet. Strength training, walking, and other forms of cardiovascular exercise all show similar levels of benefit, although there may be additional benefits to a mixture of aerobic and resistance training.
“Sometimes Healthcare Professionals Don’t Discuss The Importance Of Exercise During Pregnancy, Which Can Leave Patients Feeling Like It’s Not A Priority.”
The guidelines in Canada are to reach a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, spread over at least three days; ideally, some form of daily exercise is best. You can also layer in some non-exercise activities, like walking or stretching. If you haven’t been active before pregnancy, then perhaps 30 minutes of walking (at once or broken up) a few times per week is a good place to start. If you’re already active, then keeping up with your routine (with minor modifications with the help of a professional) should be fine. Listen to your body to gauge if you need to change the intensity or duration, as pregnancy does alter how your body a ...
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! This is the perfect opportunity to treat all the Mama's in your life and even yourself to a few sweet gifts to celebrate this beautiful day. Healthy Planet is currently running an INCREDIBLE Mother's Day Sale, full of pampering and practical products for all Mothers!
I have narrowed down my top 4 favourite products that not only do I use, but would make the perfect Health & Wellness gifts for the Mama's in your life this Mother’s Day!
Organika Collagen – Because healthy skin is always on trend. Collagen has many beautiful benefits that does our body so good - promotes skin health, boost muscle mass, improve ingestive health, burns fat, alleviate joint pains, promotes heart health, and improves cognitive health. Our bodies naturally produce collagen, however our ability to produce it decreases less and less as we age. This is why it is so important to either incorporate foods that contain collagen in our diet or supplement it with a product like, Organika Collagen. Because let’s be real, who doesn’t want beautiful skin?
Skin Essence Facial in a Jar – Spoil the Mama's in your life with this multipurpose product. You can either use this as an exfoliator to scrub away dead skin or leave it on as a mask so that the product can absorb all the oils and impurities out of your skin. Either way, this product will leave your skin super soft, supple, nourished and will brighten your overall complexion!
Everyone Hand Soap Coconut Lavender – This is the best naturally smelling hand soap on the market. I really love that it is kind to our earth, cruelty free, gluten free, does not contain synthetic fragrance, and really does a wonderful job at cleansing and moisturizing the skin.
Andalou Naturals Body Lotion Lavender Thyme – You will not catch me without some sort of hand lotion in my diaper bag. With all the diaper changing and constantly washing my hands to avoid catching my toddler’s germs, it strips away my natural oils leaving my skin super dry and cracked. I love this hand lotion not only does it DELICIOUS but it also does a fab job at moisturizing and keeping the skin moisturized for a long period of time. If Lavender Thyme isn’t your jam, they also have a large selection of other scents as well!
Written by Healthy Planet Ambassador @lifestylebycp. Follow Cherrie as she lives her best life spreading her vision of the Health and Wellness lifestyle with the help of Healthy Planet!
Whether you are new folks who have just welcomed an angel or the one who have already gone through preps post having a baby, huge supermarket racks might look hallucinating to you as there are infinite products stocked up. You might not have heard of some of those products or you might not exactly know how to use others. Healthy Planet has categorized all your babycare needs so that you can shop easily.
When it comes to baby’s caretaking, no considerations should be left unturned. Below are some baby care products that are exclusively made for your little one's daily use.
• Baby oils: Always go for specially formulated baby oils rather than the general ones. Baby skin is different from adults and it requires exceptional care. Sometimes severe climatic changes especially dry winter months can adversely affect your baby’s skin. Healthy Planet has pediatrician tested baby friendly oils and one of them is Burt’s Bees Baby Nourishing Baby Oil which comprises of enriching antioxidants and vitamins. This oil is free from all artificial synthetics like phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or SLS. So, without any worries, you can massage your baby to sleep and provide your little one’s skin with smoothing nourishment.
• Baby Bath: Infants have weak immune system and it does not have fighter antibodies that can protect them from harmful germs. A bath not only removes harmful bacterias but it also exfoliates skin pores so that baby can sweat out impurities. The most vital aspect that is needed to be taken into consideration while picking soap or cleanser for babies is product’s pH balance. Alkaline soaps are a big NO for the baby skin as it makes skin dry and causes rashes.
Dr.Bronner's Castile Soap Unscented Baby, is best for the sensitive baby skin. It is concentrated, biodegradable and is prepared using organic ingredients. You can also explore other Bathing products which are experts certified and totally safe for your babies.
• Baby Food: To make your babies’ digestive system strong it is essential that they are provided with healthy edibles that help them grow. Healthy Planet has delicious baby food supplies for every little one’s taste buds and one of them is Healthy Times Baby Cereal Organic Barley which is USDA Certified Organic, Dairy & Soy Free, Unsalted and Unsweetened. This baby cereal consists of iron, vitamins,and minerals that accelerate baby’s overall growth and development.
You can also feed your baby with healthy and nutritive full dinner bowl. Earth's Best Baby Food Potato & Chicken is made using fresh sweet potatoes, apricot puree, whole grain brown rice flour and ground chicken. It doesn’t comprise of artificial flavors or colors. So, you can schedule your little tummy’s healthy hours with healthy edibles.Baby products are like supplements to baby’s growth so it is recommended that you use organic and non-artificial, synthetic free products.All mommies, you can now become stress-free and can shop any baby product to meet your baby care needs from Healthy Planet.
Over the moon thinking about life with your new baby? While you’re planning your Lying-in, here are some essentials to help you have a comforting and calm recuperation so you can establish a bond with your baby while you heal your body!
How long can you “lie in” – realistically do you have two days, a week, a luxurious month? Whatever you can manage, prepare to make the most of it by doing the least you can once baby arrives. (Remember, not “doing”, just “being”.)
Who will be there while you bond and heal? A partner, a friend, a relative, a support team of people or a group of trusted neighbors? Think about who you can turn to so you don’t have to even get out of bed. Make a schedule so you know who to count on.
Prepare and freeze padsicles (frozen herbal pads to comfort your healing vagina – see below).
Spray bottle with a comforting herbal mixture to help you prepare for when you need to pee.
Towels and pads for under your healing bottom and milk-filled breasts.
Meals in the freezer – enough for you and for the people coming to help you. You don’t want to have to feel like you need to cook or even order pizza. This is just what crock pots were made for.
Prepare several simple, nourishing, healing foods for you, like bone broth, oatmeal, healing and boosting herbs, foods that can help get your body rebalance and heal, help your milk production, and more. Not just dinner! You need easy-to -eat, easy–to-prepare breakfast, lunch and snacks too, and have lots of healthful fluids, lots of water, herbal teas and kombucha.
A loving but clear message to friends, family, neighbors that you may just need some time to yourself, people can see the baby after you’ve all got to know each other a little.
Don’t wear pants.
A mantra or saying: something that helps you to remember this is your time to heal, bond with your baby, get to know each other and prepare for a lifetime of love. Anything else is a distraction.
With preparation and awareness you can make your own lying in peaceful, nourishing and healing. Want to know more about Lying-in?