You’re contemplating pregnancy and want to prepare your body so baby gets a great start … but there is so much information out there and it can leave you confused and wondering where to start.
Below are 7 simple steps from a natural wellness educator to help you prepare yourself for a healthy pregnancy and stay as “low risk” as possible. These suggestions will take some effort, but that little person is worth it (and so are you mama)!
1. Do a pre-pregnancy fertility cleanse (if you’re not pregnant and not actively trying yet)
A fertility cleanse prepares your body and lays the groundwork so your baby is not exposed to environmental toxins which can disrupt your child’s DNA and alter your endocrine system. The study of epigentics has been well documented over the last several years. Your baby is affected by what you eat and breathe and clean with and on and on.
2. Take a high quality, food-sourced vitamin
Let’s face it, all prenatal vitamins are not created equal. Prescribed and many over the counter prenatal vitamins are synthetic and just don’t absorb as well as a food-based vitamin. Synthetics are not as “bioavailable.” Our body recognizes and assimilates food much more readily.
Beyond the bioavailability issue, many ingredients in standard-fare prenatal vitamins are a real problem for both mama and baby. One example is ascorbic acid, which is the source of vitamin C in most vitamins, and is most often extracted from genetically modified (GMO) corn! Who knew? Most of us think that ascorbic acid, vitamin C comes from citrus fruit. Not so!
Folic acid is another problem. Pregnant women are routinely told to take folic acid when, in fact it is completely synthetic and linked to forms of cancer and childhood respiratory problems.
Folate is the food-sourced B vitamin that effectively protects against neural tube defects,without the risk that the synthetic version carries. Again, our bodies recognize folate as food.
Look for vitamins that have a non-GMO source of vitamin C. Calcium ascorbate and magnesium ascorbate are less likely to be genetically modified. Look for folate not folic acid and for whole food supplements without artificial dyes, fillers and other synthetics.
3. Ditch food and drinks that aren’t actually food but chemicals
This topic is broad and wide but can be summed up by sticking with lots of fruits and veggies, clean (grass-fed and pastured) proteins and complex carbs such as oatmeal and quinoa.
A few pointers for cleaning things up are to avoid the “dirty dozen” which are heavily sprayed with pesticides which dramatically alter our (and our baby’s) DNA and purchase those high-risk foods only organically. Just by purchasing the items on the dirty dozen list in organic form, you reduce your daily toxic exposure by as much as 80%! That’s HUGE!
I think the clean 15 list is helpful as far as pesticides go but be aware of the potential for genetically engineered foods (GE) on that list, such as non-organic corn. If you like corn, reduce your risk of exposure to GMOs by purchasing that organic, as well.
4. Find alternative green cleaning methods to reduce your environmental exposure to toxic chemicals
This is a whole other blog post (and a fun class) for another day but, suffice it to say that, vinegar and water, coupled with some non-adulterated essential oils work wonders!
5. Expose and ditch the cancer-causing and endocrine disrupting chemicals in your personal care products
Visit the Skin Deep database by the Environmental Working Group to see how your make up and personal care products rank. Chose lower risk cosmetics and personal care products or make your own.
6. Find alternative and natural ways to care for your family’s health
Before turning to even more chemicals and synthetics, consider natural ways of health and wellness as a first line of defense. Some people use herbs, tinctures and homeopathy. My preferred natural health solution (besides prevention) is using very high-quality essential oils. The right quality of essential oils is super important and can support your health in ways you never thought possible, when used with wisdom and understanding.
Many essential oils are designated by the FDA as the “GRAS” standard which stands for Generally Regarded As Safe for human consumption. The GRAS standard is not really a quality standard but a generalization that if said plant, is only that plant, is generally safe for internal use.
If an essential oil is on the FDA’s GRAS list but not good enough (according to the manufacturer) to label as a nutritional supplement, it may have ingredients that are questionable. A questionable quality essential oil is potentially just as bad as a synthetic chemical so buyer beware!
Inferior essential oils can contribute to toxicity. Read your labels and choose wisely. If your essential oil says “not for internal use” or “not for topical use” you may want to consider a different quality brand.
7. Enjoy life and take care of YOU
Drink lots of filtered water, get sunshine on your body and breathe deeply every day. Dance to get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes three times a week. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night and reduce external stressors with your preferred coping skills.
Create joy everyday, rub your hands over your belly, connect and speak peace to yourself and your littlest love.
These 7 steps may seem overwhelming at first but if you’re willing to take it a step at a time, you can work towards creating a more beautiful garden to grow your baby. Give that amazing little seed of life every opportunity to grow and blossom into her full potential.
She believes in you mama! Create someone beautiful.
Lisa Byrd is a Licensed & Certified Professional Midwife, Certified Lactation Counselor, natural wellness educator, wife, mom of 7 and grandmama (or Gigi) to 7 amazing kiddos. She currently shares her knowledge on the Essential Wellspring website which focuses on total natural wellness in all aspects of life, and supports mamas in and outside of pregnancy with useful tools that empower and enhance their family’s lives. In addition, she is writing a book titled “The Midwife Within ~ The Art of Creating a Non-Toxic Baby in a Toxic World.” Aside from helping others in these fields, she finds her personal joy at the beach, relaxing at the edge of the surf with people she loves, and enjoys creating funky, organic jewelry. Follow Essential Wellspring on Facebook for the latest updates and additional helpful information.