Any pregnant mother’s biggest wish is to have a health baby, and child’s health starts with Mom’s health. There is a growing trend of children having more chronic conditions like allergies and behavior challenges, and one way to reverse and stop this is to make sure that mom’s health is optimal, even before conception. The three pillars of health maintenance: diet, exercise and stress management, are more important than ever for a woman that wants to give birth. Here are some easy-to-follow lifestyle guidelines that can maximize a woman’s chances of having a thriving baby.
Diet: Remove the unhealthy stuff and add the good stuff. Unhealthy stuff includes processed food with artificial dyes and preservatives. Healthy stuff includes a whole food diet; organic as much as possible; not genetically modified; antiinflammatory diet: a rainbow of colored vegetables and fruits; lots of green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach; lots of seeds and nuts, fermented foods, plus healthy fats like olive oil and avocados. The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) is a great resource for determining which produce to buy organic and other information on safe environmental products. Nutritional supplements: Take prenatal vitamins with folate. Also recommended are fish oil, probiotics and vitamin D.
Exercise: Practice mild to moderate aerobic exercise and prenatal yoga.
Stress: It cannot be emphasized enough how important stress management is for a pregnant woman. Most people think about toxins as environmental, but the most harmful kind for both mom and baby are those caused by stress and unhealthy relationships. Any woman that wants to become pregnant or is already pregnant should make stress management a daily priority.
Carving out time in our daily schedule for self-care is not selfish; it’s vital. Popular stress management techniques involve meditation, and there are many types, including mindfulness, guided and breathing meditation. Pick one that resonates and make a commitment like the future depends on it, because a healthy and happy mom makes healthy and happy babies.
Alina Olteanu, M.D., Ph.D., is an integrative pediatric physician, certified meditation instructor and owner of Whole Child Pediatrics of North Texas, located near the Stonebriar Mall, in Frisco. For more information, call 214-736-1954 or visit WholeChildTexas.com.