Before conception

Usually a woman eats whatever food she happens to enjoy. She probably suffers a few mild nutritional deficiencies; perhaps low blood pressure and/or low blood count, an occasional bout of constipation or headaches, gums may bleed easily and bruising occurs easily. She may suffer from a few colds or mild infections etc and will considers herself “healthy”, because of lack of understanding of what good health really means.

In this condition she conceives and is perhaps aware of conception only after nausea sets in. Even though the nausea is mild, it is almost impossible for her to eat an adequate diet during this period. Nutritional deficiencies can become more severe, as her nutritional requirements greatly increase with the ongoing development of the baby.

It must be remembered that by 12 weeks all neurological development has taken place. The same applies to other parts of the baby’s body; for example tooth development which is completed by 12 weeks. This is true for the entire parts of the baby. Thereafter, the baby grows, based on the cellular outlines created and imprinted during these first few weeks.

From this it can be seen that prior to conception a mother has to have nurtured her body to best facilitate this miraculous transformation.

After conception
Factors that will severely affect physiological development of your baby.

Alcohol
The conception that alcohol is a relaxant is so misplaced and unfounded. It dulls the emotions, feelings and thoughts of the moment, but puts a lid on the real stress issues which, like a bubbling cauldron are gathering steam and will rear their head once the alcohol has worn out of the system. Feelings can be even worse. As there has been a negative impact on physiological aspects of our bodies. Blood sugar is worsened and nutritional requirements are increased. Alcohol has long been known to be a depressant. So although it may momentarily assist our mood, in a few hours we can psychologically plummet to an all time low.

Alcohol is the causative factor in numerous of health problems. Such as, ulcers, digestion, depression, hydrochloric acid in the stomach, it can be harmful to those with ulcers. It reduces the efficiency of digestion and absorption and interferes with normal muscular contractions of the intestines. The absorption of several nutrients decreased by alcohol include: thiamin, niacin, B12, folate, calcium, and magnesium. There is a direct correlation between excessive alcohol intake and cirrhosis of the liver. Fetal alcohol syndrome is also the result of excessive maternal alcohol intake. It is nonreversible and children with this syndrome usually suffer from impaired intellectual development, behavior problems and can have stunted growth.

Cigarettes

although the detrimental toxic effects of smoking are well documented, many people are not deterred and continue to smoke. The nicotine in the cigarettes is extremely addictive. It has been shown that the higher the stress levels the greater the need for the ‘coping’ agent nicotine which in turn causes huge cellular stress on the body. The effects on the baby can cause stunted growth which can continue throughout life. The decrease in fetal growth occurs due to the restriction of oxygen and blood flow which are essential to nourish the fetus. Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide which being highly toxic can even cause miscarriages. The baby can also be born with a nicotine addiction if the smoking has been excessive.

Drugs
Substance abuse (Marijuana, Exctacy, cocaine, heroin, LSD etc.)
Any form of drug will compromise the baby and they will be born having to go to rehab immediately. It will go through the same excrutiating pain of withdrawal that an adult would experience. Is this fair?

Over the counter drugs (Pain killers)
This category of medication is often overlooked and can be potentially lethal if used continuously and/or in excess. A baby born from a mother overusing such medication will also need to “dry out” at birth. And can result the risk of all sorts of complications the thalidomide babies in the 1960’s occurred due to this.

Slimming products
Nutritional supplementation by an expert in this field combined with a planned eating plan can assist in reducing excess weight during pregnancy. Slimming products bought over the counter and/or from Doctors should be avoided at all costs.

Stress
One of the huge nutritional drains on our systems is how we handle stress. Any condition that harms the body or damages, breaks down, or causes the death of many cells is defined as stress. If the diet is adequate, repair quickly occurs, but when rebuilding fails to keep pace with destruction, illness is produced.

Disease results from multiple stresses such as anxiety, overwork, multiple consequent pregnancies, perhaps bacterial or viral attack, an inadequate diet, sleep and excess exercise.

Pregnancy and lactation can be regarded as “stressors” to our bodies. In many instances the intake of specialized and specific nutrients is far from adequate.

A certain amount of stress is needed to keep us motivated and for our bodies to function effectively. A certain amount of stress is actually good for us. But when it takes over our lives, it can adversely affect all of us. Our bodies have been designed to handle stress, just not constant stress 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It is only when our bodies can no longer adapt to stressful conditions and destruction to our bodies occurs, that it has a detrimental effect on our health.

Stress is both good and bad. Believe it or not, all types of stress react on the physical body in the same biochemical manner. So whether we are getting married or getting divorced or even having a baby the physical effects of the stress are the same! It is the intensity of the stress and the ongoing nature of the stress that has far reaching negative physiological consequences.

Stress is often combined with incorrect lifestyle habits and choices. The demands of life do not let up, no matter how tired, or pressured we are. We need to keep going. We need to perform. So how do we do this? We may then resort to excessive smoking, drinking and eating or even tranquillers, anti-depressants etc. All seems fine for a while but then the negative effects start taking control. If pregnant or planning to fall pregnant it is essential to take stock of the stress factors in your life and your coping mechanisms. If you are falling into the category of the almost burnout phase it is imperative that drastic measures are put in place to defuse this situation.

Stress in pregnancy can trigger off a multitude of problems, chronic fatigue, headaches, excess weight gain, unstable moods, water retention. This in turn also affects your unborn baby, who feels and experiences the same stress conditions and symptoms as you do!!!!

Aerobic exercise plays a vital role in reducing the toxic adrenalin load caused by continued excess stress. It is well known that exercise increases endorphins which have the power to make us feel good. Moreover, 20 min of good aerobic exercise can actually rid the body of adrenalin build up.

Hormonal issues
With chronic stress exposure the adrenal glands are not able to keep up with the bodie's demand for cortisol. Cortisol production is favoured at the expense of our hormones like as pregnenolone, DHEA, testosterone and estrogen. Most of doctors are un-familiar with adrenal fatigue cause it's super hard to diagnose subclinical adrenal fatigue using the traditional blood tests.

So, the Mom’s stressful living will actually affect the hormonal conditions of her developing baby as the baby is nurtured through the placenta that passes whatever hormones are circulating in the mother’s blood stream straight through to the baby.

Overweight
If a women is overweight prior to her pregnancy there are already extra stressors that her body has to cope with. Lugging the extra weight around, together with the weight gain of the baby, strain on the heart, knees, back etc. Moreover, with larger waist circumference the circulating hormones for the Mom are already compromised and it is easier for her to gain even more weight due to increased fasting insulin levels, which can cause the metabolic syndrome/insulin resistance etc.

Now to lose the compounded extra weight after the birth of the baby is doubly difficult and in many cases women NEVER manage to return to their normal weight. This predisposes them to a lifetime of battling with her figure, self esteem and other health problems that are compounded in these situations. This too can lead to pre-diabetes.

From what has been described above it is evident that to avoid this scenario a competent nutritionist/Dietitian be consulted.

Pre-Diabetes
This is a condition which occurs during pregnancy where the Mom actually presents with diabetic symptoms and blood results which concur with this diagnosis. In many instances it may clear up after the birth of the baby, but just to return at a later stage as full blown diabetes.

Hypertension – toxaemia; water retention
Many studies have shown that the condition of toxaemia can be prevented and/or treated with specific nutritional supplementation augmenting a high nutrient packed diet.

Water retention can often be linked to hypertension and the treatment of the two would be carried out simultaneously.

Fatigue
It is very common in pregnancy and after the birth of your baby when total exhaustion, combined with lack of sleep is so prevalent. In some instances there are specific medical and/or nutritional problems involved. From a nutritional point of view specific nutritional deficiencies could be the cause. It may be that specific nutrients like iron, Vit B-12, or Magnesium are deficient. It may also be that food choices are completely out of balance and are causing our bodies to ‘misfire’ in their energy transport systems.

The importance of maintaining blood sugar during pregnancy cannot be stressed enough. The very fact of being pregnant, places huge strains on this hormonal balancing act. Blood sugar is the level of glucose in the blood stream. It is the quick oscilatting levels of this important energizing substance which causes us to feel fatigued. Very low levels of glucose can also severely affect us; so to can high levels of glucose in the blood stream. From this it can be seen that it is important in the maintaining of good energy levels that this is kept as constant as possible. This is achieved by choosing sensible foods eaten throughout the day, combined with specific supplements to assist in controlling this biochemistry. Help in this matter be gained from a qualified nutritionist/dietitian and supplement expert.

Another important aspect in the balancing of blood sugar levels is that glucose is one of the main fuels that our brains need (Glutamine being the other) and it is important that these levels are maintained constant throughout the day. Glucose crosses the blood brain barrier. It is one of the few substances that can. Due to this fact if blood glucose is too high or too low the brain is the primary organ being affected. As the glucose levels fluctuate throughout the day we can experience a variety of differing emotional, physical and mental symptoms like, weeping, emotional outburst, headaches and nausea.

Being pregnant and looking after a baby is earth shattering enough and if we are not looking after our blood sugar levels it will make this event a nightmare.

Anemia
Before conception, during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby it is essential to check blood levels of some vital nutrients to ensure that anemia does not occur. If anemia occurs, complete exhaustion and fatigue is guaranteed. The blood cells do not have sufficient oxygen and women drag their feet around through the day. It will also compromise the babies oxygen and development.

 

Exercise during pregnancy

Regular exercise will keep you fit and streets free. You can walk in morning and go for another outdoor exercise like Running, cycling, Swimming, but you need to be careful don’t be fall.

Cycling

First cycling is super good exercise for any one. But question is Cycling is safe during pregnancy? Our answer is you can go for riding your bike, but need to be careful about fall down.

Swimming

 Swimming is better than cycling during pregnancy period. You can go for swimming.

Running

Walking and running is safe exercise for women during her pregnancy. It will be very good for health if you walk at least 1 hour in day.

Pregnancies in close succession
When a mother is fairly healthy and her diet, although unplanned happens to be more or less adequate, her first baby is usually a fine normal infant. She will have been robbed of calcium, phosphorus, iron, Vit B-12, folic acid and other nutrients. Unless her diet has been excellent, the increased nutritional requirements during pregnancy and even more heightened demands during lactation have left her with multiple subtle deficiencies.

In this condition she conceives again. She is so busy taking care of her first baby that she has little time to prepare food for herself. Chances are the budget is more limited, and she ‘econonomizes’ by buying less expensive foods. This pattern reproduces itself with each successive baby.

If a Mom is severely malnourished and finds herself pregnant once again, baby is at risk. In some instances it has been the third child of such a mother who might succumb to abnormal development.

If children are planned in close succession, the diet needs to be unusually adequate not only during but also between pregnancies due to the huge nutritional demands that pregnancy and lactation incur on the Mom.

Chronic illness
In the case of chronic mental or physical illness immediate assistance must be attained from a competent health practitioner. Once that is done a nutritionist/dietitian can offer invaluable input.

Nutrition in lactation
The nutritional aspects of lactation are often ignored. Lactation is an extremely important time for both baby and Mom. Apart from being the time when baby and mom spend special time bonding, it also contributes to mom’s body regaining it’s pre-pregnancy state and get her ideal weight back. The first eight weeks are the mother’s window of opportunity to achieve this goal. It is very important that this is understood.

The calorific drain of producing milk is huge, far greater than that of even providing nutrients for the baby to grow!!! Another factor which is of vital importance is the nutritional drain on the Mom herself. Her nutritional requirements are huge.

It is so easy for the Mom if a sensible eating plan which stabilizes blood sugar and provides high density nutrients is adhered to at this time. She might need professional assistance to work out what is optimum for her health. Ideally this should all be sorted and planned before Mom comes home with the new bundle of joy.

For many women if this is not achieved, they battle with their weight for the rest of their lives.

Final word:
If the Mom has a poor nutritional status the quality of her milk will be inferior. So much so that the milk feed at the end of the day, can be “weak”, just at the time when baby needs a really full stomach and all the nutrients for a good nights sleep. Running around all day, shopping and visiting and trying to carry on with life as normal in these early weeks can jeopardize the quality of your milk and thus will severely impact the peace and tranquillity of the home.

The “stress” the Mom has just been through with pregnancy, the birth, lactation and adjusting to the daunting task of new commitments needs to be taken into account when planning meals and nutritional supplementation is strongly advised at this stage.

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