Pregnancy and Childbirth
Pregnancy and Childbirth
How to have a healthy pregnancy and birth
acupuncture for fertility
How to have a healthy pregnancy first trimester
7 Ways to Ensure a Healthy First Trimester
The first trimester of pregnancy is filled with so many hormonal, body and emotional changes that it can be challenging to say the least. Through the overwhelm of it all, it’s easy to not know where to start, or how to continue to support your changing body during this time. So, here are seven easy ways to ensure a healthy first trimester…
1. Eat Healthy
First and foremost, if you have not already modified your diet, start making changes so you are eating a whole food pregnancy diet now. You will need to increase your consumption of many nutrients in pregnancy, which really is simple – just eat c
Eating clean is about going back to basic healthy eating principles. In pregnancy, concentrate on homemade meals and snacks from fresh, whole foods, that include a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, moderate amounts of organic or grass-fed lean meats and cold water fish, full fat or raw dairy products, nuts and seeds and healthy fats. Eating clean also means limiting processed foods, added sugar and saturated fats.
Your body’s ability to adapt to growing and nourishing another being in early life is because of the nourishment you offer it before, during and after pregnancy. The concentration you give to this way of nourishing yourself for nine months and beyond will ensure it becomes habit, and will help you teach your child to eat clean and healthy too.
2. Get moving and keep moving
Walk, walk, walk! And try prenatal yoga. Develop a healthy exercise practice while you can still move and bend over! The common recommendation for the amount of exercise you should participate in during pregnancy is 30 minutes of moderate exercise seven days a week.
Speak to your healthcare provider or midwife if you wish to start a new exercise routine or have concerns about continuing the routine you already have.
3. Learn to Manage 1st Trimester Symptoms Naturally
Sadly for many the first trimester can be riddled with not-so-welcomed symptoms of pregnancy, so much so that the joy of becoming pregnant can be temporarily overshadowed.
Your body is working overtime to make sure your baby is getting everything he/she needs for the rest of its stay in your tummy, which is causing you to feel fatigued and may be contributing to odd cravings. Your hormones are shifting to the extreme, leading to sore breasts, constipation and frequent urination. Your blood sugar may be low at various times, triggering morning sickness and nausea, so listen to your body, offer it what it needs. The key is to find what works best for you. S
4. Make Your First Prenatal Appointment
Your first prenatal visit most likely won’t be until around week 8 of pregnancy, if you don’t already have a trusted doctor or midwife, take these first few weeks of pregnancy to interview and find someone you connect with and trust. The person you choose to offer you prenatal care for the next nine months wears the first set of hands that will touch your newborn baby. You should nearly love them!
Expect to spend a bit of time at that first visit too. You may be asked to provide a urine sample, have a pap smear and provide a detailed health history. At around 10 weeks gestation you will have the option to have an ultrasound and hear your baby’s heartbeat. Other first trimester tests can include optional testing for genetic abnormalities of the fetus.
5. Emotional Self-awareness, Rest & Listen to Your Body
Recognize your feelings and emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. If you are tired, rest or nap. If you are hungry, eat. If you ache, try going for a walk or a gentle massage. If you are emotional, cry or find someone to vent to. If you need help, ask!
I am convinced (no scientific proof) that a woman’s awareness of her body – her sensations, feelings, emotions, etc. – are naturally heightened in pregnancy. Maybe it’s “mother’s intuition” coming alive. In the words of Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, “While pregnant and after giving birth, a woman needs time to reflect, to nourish her inner self, and to form a bond with her newborn.” Use the next nine months to learn how to connect with your inner self and your growing baby. You won’t regret not dusting behind the refrigerator, I promise!
6 Do something nice for YOU every day.
Plan and schedule some ME time each day. Reward your self by taking time to meet with friends, swim, go to a class, or simply have a nap. Better still book a massage or beauty treatment. However remember most products we use in hair and beauty are toxic so don't over do it.
7 Acupuncture, Cranio-Sacral Therapy and Aromatherapy
These therapies can be very good for you while pregnant. They each de-stress, and condition your body
How to ensure a healthy pregnancy
Minimize your exposure to toxic chemicals
Exposure to environmental toxins, both in utero and neonatally, may dramatically affect adult fertility. Compounds that can alter hormone function and result in adverse reproductive health effects include but are not limited to heavy metals; endocrine disruptors; phthalates (associated with testicular toxicity and hormonal disruption even at low levels); VCH chemicals used in rubber tires, plastics and pesticides; PAHs released from cigarettes, car fumes and road tar; pesticides and herbicides; formaldehyde; bisphenols found in plastic products; organic solvents; dry-cleaning chemicals and paint fumes.
Avoid drinking unfiltered tap water
Our waterways are constantly being polluted by industrial waste and byproducts, pharmaceutical drugs (such as birth control pills and other hormone therapies), pesticides and commercial cleaning products. Heavy metals are the most common of the reproductive toxins reaching our water supply through industrial waste, jet fuel exhaust residue and a variety of other sources.
Eat an optimal fertility diet
An optimal fertility diet is about what to avoid as much as it is about what to include. Eat REAL food, ideally organic, to avoid pesticide residues, and locally grown. Processed and packaged foods are a common source not only of pesticides but also chemicals such as bisphenol-A and phthalates.Key elements are good-quality protein sources (organic and grass fed when it comes to animal products) and healthy fats.
Avoid factory farmed animal products, harmful trans fats and processed vegetable oils. Also avoid unfermented soy products, as soybeans contain phytoestrogens that act on hormones. For an added boost, consider adding more of the following “sperm-enhancing” foods:37 organic pastured eggs, spinach, bananas, dark chocolate, asparagus, broccoli, pomegranates, walnuts, garlic and all zinc-rich foods (as zinc plays a key role in sperm development).
Avoid common allergens
An overactive immune system is more likely to attack its own body cells, and the link between food intolerances and anti-sperm antibodies is well established. The two most widely spread food intolerances are gluten and dairy. Factory farmed milk can also be a source of estrogen that can harm a man’s fertility. Hormones found in factory farmed cows’ milk include:
Luteinizing releasing hormone
Thyroid stimulating hormone
Corticosteroids and many more
Minimize microwave exposure
Avoid carrying your cellphone on your body while it is on, and avoid using laptops and tablets on your lap. More generally, it would also be wise to limit your total exposure by turning your Wi-Fi off at night, and make your bedroom an EMF-free zone.
Get checked for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Some STDs can be asymptomatic, meaning you may not be aware you have them as there are no obvious symptoms. One such STD is a chlamydia infection. In men, chlamydia can lead to sperm abnormalities including sperm antibodies.
In women, it can lead to scarring, blocked tubes and miscarriage. Most STDs are easy to treat, so it pays for both partners to have an STD check. There is no point in only one partner going for a test as the other partner can reinfect them again.
Avoid coffee, smoking and alcohol
While organic black coffee has a number of health benefits, fertility does not appear to be one of them. On the contrary, studies suggest it decreases fertility. In one study, men who drank three or more caffeinated beverages per day during the conception phase raised their partner’s risk of miscarriage by more than 70 percent.
Alcohol is also harmful to both eggs and sperm, and increases the risk of miscarriage. Needless to say, smoking and recreational drugs also have an adverse effect on fertility, reducing the size of your testes and lowering your sperm count.
Get regular exercise
According to recent research, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week can help boost men’s sperm count. And, to maintain healthy swimmers, you need to stay active — within a month of quitting exercise, sperm count starts to wane again. That said, be aware that bicycling may have an adverse effect on your sperm. In one study, men who routinely cycled 300 kilometers per week ended up having fertility problems.
Normalize your weight
Obesity contributes to infertility, so normalizing your weight can help improve your sperm quality and quantity. For guidance, please review my free nutrition plan.
Limit hot baths and saunas
While hot baths and saunas have a myriad of health benefits, the heat can take a toll on sperm. In one three-year-long study, 5 of 11 men who quit taking hot baths were able to raise their sperm count by nearly 500 percent. So, limiting hot baths and saunas for a few months may be helpful during the conception phase.
From making sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of sleep and exercising regularly to incorporating a tool like the Emotional Freedom Techniques otaking up yoga or meditation, there are many ways to address stress. Try a few different things and stick to whatever works.
Clean up your home environment
Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm. Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic and GMO-free.
This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, furniture, mattresses and others.
When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses or carpet padding, consider buying flame retardant-free varieties, containing naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk and Kevlar. Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame retardant chemicals.
Also switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database an help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.