arteida-mjeshtri-151140-unsplash

Pregnancy Care

What you choose to eat while you are pregnant, and during the 4-6 months prior to pregnancy, can have profound and lasting effects on your child’s health and wellbeing.

The expression ‘you are what you eat’ applies, but in this case, it is this: ‘you are what your mother eats’.

During the prenatal period, your baby has the enormous task of evolving in only 9 short months from a single-celled, fertilized egg to your beautiful child. In order to accomplish this, your baby must have all the necessary nutrients available in the proper quantities and at the exact time they are needed.

Although a pregnant body has an amazing ability to compensate for nutrient deficiencies and excesses, a woman cannot provide essential nutrients for her child if she herself is deficient in them. Many factors influence a mother’s nutritional status during her pregnancy. Your own health before conception, your health during pregnancy, your lifestyle choices, and environmental exposures can all change what and how much you eat and limit the precious nutrients available for your growing baby.

Here are just a few examples of why it is so important to eat and live in a balanced way before and during your pregnancy:

  • Insulin resistance or high blood glucose levels (higher range of normal – not pre-diabetic or diabetic) in early pregnancy increases the risk of your baby having heart or other birth defects. [1] Many people of us are walking around with high blood glucose levels and we don’t even know it.
  • Low levels of methyl folate (not folic acid) and vitamin B12 can cause neural tube defects (birth defects) in your baby’s brain, spine or spinal cord. [2]
  • A mild to moderate zinc deficiency significantly increases the risk of prematurity and low birth weight; as well as baby having compromised immunity and neurological development. [3] In my experience most clients I meet are deficient in zinc.
  • Pregnancy and lactation result in increased iron demands; an iron deficiency during pregnancy will adversely affect both you and your baby; if you are iron deficient your child will be born iron deficient and this increases their risk of developmental difficulties, involving cognitive function, social-emotional, and adaptive functions, as well as delays in both language and motor development. [4]
  • Iodine requirements increase by 50% during pregnancy, and many women I meet are already deficient in iodine before they even become pregnant; this can result in low birth weight, and damage to brain development, as well as infant hypothyroidism. [5]

Health conditions during Pregnancy

I can also offer effective natural treatments for many pregnancy related disorders including: nausea, constipation, high and low blood pressure, iron deficiency (anaemia), muscle cramps, prevention or treatment of pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes.

How I can help

As a Clinical Nutritionist, and Natural Fertility NZ Educator, with a specific clinical focus on women’s reproductive health, and using the most recent research and information on prenatal nutrition and pregnancy care, I will work with you to optimise your nutritional status by:

  1. completing a thorough Clinical Assessment of your health history, diet and lifestyle
  2. using appropriate nutritional testing to discover your existing nutritional status
  3. teaching you how to support your nutritional status and pregnancy through dietary and lifestyle changes
  4. providing you with nutritional supplementation designed to optimise the health and development of your baby

References:

[1] A. Molloy, P. Kirke, L. Brody, J. Scott and J. Mills, “Effects of folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies during pregnancy on fetal, infant, and child development.,” 29 06 2008. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18709885. [Accessed 02 02 2018].

[2] National Institutes of Health, “Mothers’ High Normal Blood Sugar Levels Place Infants at Risk for Birth Problems,” 07 05 2008. [Online]. Available: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/mothers-high-normal-blood-sugar-levels-place-infants-risk-birth-problems. [Accessed 02 02 2018].

[3] I. Darnton-Hill, “Zinc supplementation during pregnancy,” World Health Organisation, July 2013. [Online]. Available: http://www.who.int/elena/bbc/zinc_pregnancy/en/. [Accessed 02 02 2018].

[4] E. C. Radlowski and R. W. Johnson, “Perinatal iron deficiency and neurocognitive development,” 23 09 2013. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779843/. [Accessed 02 02 2018].

[5] S. A. Skeaff, “Iodine Deficiency in Pregnancy: The Effect on Neurodevelopment in the Child,” 02 2011. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257674/. [Accessed 02 02 2018].