I can picture the glare in the eyes of mothers as they read the title of this post. Comfortable pregnancy? There is no such thing! Spoken just like a man!
I will never claim to know what it’s like to be pregnant or that I can make all discomfort disappear. However, as a chiropractic physician for 20 years, and as a father who treated my own wife during five pregnancies, I’ve found great fulfillment in helping women remain as healthy, comfortable and stress-free as possible before, during and after their pregnancies.
A healthy pregnancy is the result of more than healthy eating, although nutrition takes on even greater importance in pregnant women. We need to address all three components of the Triad of Health during pregnancy – the physical, the nutritional and the psychological – through an integrated approach to wellness.
Let’s start with nutrition. You’re not eating for two. It’s more like “one plus.” That means you don’t have to consume a significantly higher amount of calories. An extra 300 calories per day and a 30 percent increase in protein will cover the nutritional needs of you and your baby. Three meals and three slightly larger snacks per day will typically do the trick.
It’s important to take a pre-natal vitamin that’s high in folic acid and includes the proper amounts of calcium, magnesium and iron. However, high doses of vitamin A can cause birth defects. You should avoid fish due to mercury content, but studies have shown that Omega 3 fish oils are critical for brain development. Take a high-quality EPA/DHA Omega 3 supplement that has been tested for heavy metals, PCBs (toxic contaminants) and rancidity.
Avoid caffeine and artificial sweeteners, as well as any herbal formulas unless they’ve been approved by your physician. It’s unfortunate that this isn’t obvious to some people, but there is no amount of alcohol or smoking that is acceptable during pregnancy. When you drink and smoke, so does your baby. You also need to get conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes under control during pregnancy. They can cause complications for the mother and problems for the baby.
Pregnancy isn’t an excuse to stop exercising. In fact, exercise is recommended during pregnancy. Exercise for no more than 30 minutes at a time, keep your heart rate below 140, stay well-hydrated and focus on core strength and stability. When you reach your fifth month of pregnancy, avoid overstretching, unstable environments, and any exercise that would be done on your back.
Physiological and endocrinological changes occur during pregnancy to help the baby develop properly. They can also cause a misaligned spine or joints. Chiropractic adjustments can establish pelvic balance and alignment, which can help to get the baby into the best possible position for a natural, non-invasive delivery. Chiropractic care can also help to control symptoms of nausea, shorten the length of labor, relieve back, neck or joint pain, and reduce the chance of cesarean delivery.
In addition to traditional medical care, acupuncture can be used to help relieve stress, reduce morning sickness, relieve pain in the hips and low back, and induce labor. According to research from the University of North Carolina, women who received acupuncture treatments went into labor on their own more often than those who did not receive acupuncture. Massage therapy can also be beneficial during pregnancy to relieve stress and improve mobility and flexibility.
If you’re pregnant or thinking about having a baby, come see us at Natural Healthcare Center. Remember, it’s not just about eating healthy and managing your cravings. We’ll discuss your family history, order comprehensive blood testing and use an integrated approach to wellness to help you maintain balance, comfort and good health during your pregnancy.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.