6 steps towards a healthier pregnancy
Whether you’re fighting against fatigue, struggling with morning sickness, or wrestling weakened immune systems – along with nutritionist Shona Wilkinson, we recommend the natural saviours you need to get you on track towards a healthy, happy pregnancy.
1 Beat morning sickness
If you feel your relationship status with the bathroom is getting a little too serious – you’re not alone! As many as 90 per cent of pregnant women fall victim to nausea during pregnancy. ‘Subside the sickness with natural remedies like peppermint, ginger or camomile tea,’ Shona suggests. These ingredients are proven to help settle the stomach, so you can end that miserable relationship once and for all!
2 Boost your immune system
Pregnancy will lower your immune system. This is to keep it from fighting or rejecting the baby – a stranger to your body. If you’re finding yourself sneezing, coughing, or feeling downright under the weather, chances are this could be the unfortunate outcome of a compromised immune system. ‘Boost your body’s resistance with a diet rich in vitamin C or take a daily supplement*,’ recommends Shona. Try to up your intake of fruit and veg with each meal!
3 Fight off fatigue
There’s no question about it – pregnancy can make you feel exhausted. Experts advise pregnant women consume no more than 200mg of caffeine per day – that’s just two mugs of instant coffee, or two teas and a can of cola. If, like many of us, you rely on caffeine as a crutch to see you through the day, you might find it difficult to withstand your energy levels. ‘For a natural energy boost, try taking a magnesium supplement,’ advises Shona. These are proven to combat tiredness and will support your nervous system, too.
4 Nurture through nutrition
Many of the nutrients you’ll need to support a healthy pregnancy can be obtained through what you eat. Aim for a rainbow diet to ensure you’re maxing out on nutrients – we love this simple salad recipe. ‘Eat clean and eat vegetables,’ Shona recommends. Dark green veg is especially important as it’s a great source of folic acid, which will help protect your baby from spina bifida – a condition where the spine does not develop properly.
5 Pack in protein
Keep up the protein intake for the maintenance of muscles and bones and the development of those in your unborn baby. Protein’s amino acids work to produce healthy neurotransmitters which positively affect the brain and behaviour, while also improving your immune system. Chicken, eggs, and lean meat are all great sources of protein – don’t forget plant-based sources, such as lentils and seeds, too!
6 Fuel with fats
Fat is your baby’s main source of energy – the fuel it needs to enable that undeniably remarkable growth development. Consume healthy fats to maintain balance of omega-3 and 6. ‘Omega-3 includes EPA and DHA, which are essential during fetal growth stages,’ Shona explains. The best source for this can be found in oily fish – something pregnant women are advised to limit to a maximum of two portions per week. If you’re worried you’re not getting enough of the fats that count, fear not! Daily omega supplements are a simple and convenient solution to ensure you and your baby are fully fuelled and ready to grow.
*If you are pregnant, breast-feeding or under medical supervision, consult your doctor before taking supplements.
Shona Wilkinson is head nutritionist at NutriCentre.