Let’s review – holistic and natural approaches to just about anything means that we optimize and support what Mother Nature designed and put into motion.
So, a holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth means that we are supporting the naturally designed process of conception, nourishment, and giving birth – hopefully from a standpoint of having had optimal health when starting this process. This process believes in and follows the natural progression of having kids from before conception through labor and birth.
But let’s face it – not all of us are at our optimal health when getting pregnant. So, the good news is that even if you don’t start this process from a point of total health, it’s entirely possible to build your health from that day of finding out you’re pregnant onward!
If you read my blogs and newsletters, you will know that a natural pregnancy starts with a natural, health-giving diet, hopefully tailored to you and your lifestyle and your individual, unique body. Eating nutrient rich foods, whole foods that require minimal processing, is best. Avoiding overly processed foods, empty, junk calorie foods (you know the drill!) is a given, especially when you get pregnant. Be aware of any food or other sensitivities you (and/or your baby) may have and adjust accordingly.
After all, your body has a great deal more to do when you’re pregnant, and you don’t want to bog down either your own health or that of your growing baby. So, think about eating a wide variety of fresh and lightly steamed veggies and some fruit, all preferably organic if you can get it. If not, fresh will certainly do!
By the way, if you find yourself craving sugar, try eating clean proteins first before succumbing to sugary treats. (Okay, indulging once in a while probably won’t be a deal breaker!) This means fresh meat, poultry, seafood, etc. If you’re a vegan, eat in whole form that which creates plant-based protein. If consuming protein from an animal source, try to procure wild fish and seafood (or responsibly farmed), poultry that is free-range, grass-fed beef, etc.
Stay hydrated! Drink lots of fresh water each day, either very well filtered water (a triple filter will likely do), or spring water. Watch that you don’t drink too much juice – even if there are no added sugars, fruits, especially in concentrated forms like juice, contain a great deal of sugar.
It’s a good idea to be sensible about this – but getting moderate exercise – without hurting you or your growing little one, is always a good idea unless you are restricted medically. (It goes without saying that you should always be working with a competent health care professional!) I remember doing some bike riding (nothing strenuous) and continuing to take dance lessons…until my baby protested too much! Then I knew I had to cut back….
Mindfulness is a common buzzword – and the shoe fits here as well. Center yourself, calm yourself, and enjoy being in the moment with hopefully joy and fulfillment. Do meditation, binaural beats, take nice luxurious bubble baths, or whatever helps you be calm and just … be. There are no self-recriminations or condemnations allowed.
It’s also a great idea to surround yourself with positive, supportive people. I had a friend who was fearful, each time she was pregnant, that she didn’t love her child. I told her I knew she was a very loving person, and soon she would feel that love for her kids. Not to worry – she was flooded with love as soon as she met both of her boys at the births!
Some people find great comfort in keeping a gratitude journal. Imagine all the good things in life we take for granted … I’m guilty, too! So, by keeping a journal of wonderful things, people, happenings, around you, you can at least give equal time to all of that. It might be the smell of coffee in the morning, or a rose in your garden with raindrops on it. Whatever makes you feel appreciative, note it and bask in it.
If it’s a natural birth you desire, take time to find the right people and situation and be ready for that big moment. You might also consider utilizing integrative therapies if this resonates with you.
Even if you end up with a conventionally handled birth, it might be a wonderful experience. If it’s not, don’t let that steal all your joy! Your own happiness emanates from within you, no matter what’s going on outside of you.
And as always – please have a happy, holistically healthy day!