Every year thousands of women on the planet conceive, give birth and nurse new human beings, which is part of the amazing circle of life. With the power to choose when to have a baby, comes the capacity to completely prepare for this rewarding phase of life.
Preparation for Motherhood nutritionally has many benefits:
· - You conceive more easily
· - You have a pleasanter experience of these nine months – less discomfort and avoid or minimize complications
· - You will give birth to a normal weight, healthier baby with lower risk of his/her developing future health issues
· - Regaining your pre-pregnancy weight and health status is easier
Ideally, your preparation for conception should start 3 months prior. The deciding factor is your weight – If you need to lose more than 7 kilos to reach your ideal body weight, start earlier, figuring a minimum of 2 kg loss per month. The good news is that whatever you need to do to build nutritional status is the same to lose weight. If you are at your ideal weight, don’t reduce intake, include more healthy foods and avoid the junk.
First, the stuff you need to avoid – deep fried foods (including chips, fries and vadas) , sweets and desserts (cookies, ice cream and other treats), processed foods (instant foods, ready-to-eat meals, artificially preserved meats, snack foods, high fat and sugar biscuits), bakery items (sweets, white bread , puff, etc), chaats (most have deep fried ingredients), soft drinks and other processed beverages which contain synthetic substances and sugar.
You needn’t regret leaving these foods behind, think of it as cleansing and detoxifying your body – these foods contain a lot of chemicals which are a burden on your entire system.
Keep oil consumption to a minimum, limit sugar (just 2 tsp per day, switch to unrefined, unbleached sugar - if you need it), half a coconut per week for the household is more than enough. Limit coffee intake. Following this advice improves your family’s health too.
Switch to whole grain cereals instead of rice. Use brown, red rice, millets like ragi / thinai (navane) / samai (saame) / kamb (bajra) / cholam (jowar), whole wheat and oats. Use split dals with skin and whole grams like moong, channa, rajma, karamani (cowpea), horse gram, etc. The above, along with at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day improve fertility.
This phase is the best to consider going organic. Even if you can’t regularly get organic fruits and veggies, sourcing organic grains, dried fruit, nuts and spices is beneficial.
Avoid cigarettes (even second hand smoke), alcohol and drugs. Don’t tolerate polluted environments and don’t get your house-painted at this time. Reduce exposure to toxic household chemicals.
Exercise - find an activity that requires expenditure of energy, which you enjoy and your OB-GYN permits for at least 30-45 minutes, minimum five days a week. This can be broken down into workouts of shorter duration throughout the day.
Reduce sources of stress in your life so that you can fully enjoy the process of creating life. Meditation, Pranayama and other disciplines are great tools to access a realm of heightened awareness.
All the above, working synergistically, give your child the maximum advantage in life. Encourage your family to eat this way and watch their health improve also. This is your time – take good care of yourself and allow others to support you. Our wishes for a happy Mother’s Day includes you Moms-To-Be!
This article was published in 'Life in Adyar', Chennai - May 12th, 2012.
|Couldn't resist - those who knew my Father may remember him saying that babies would be born one day soon complete with laptops!|