If there is ever a time to clean up your act and live Filtered, pregnancy is it. After all, you only get one shot at building your precious little one, both of you deserve a clean, healthy pregnancy.
When I look at how healthy and vibrant my little one is I credit much of it to being extra careful about what I did and didn’t do during pregnancy.
Here are 12 simple things I did to have a healthy pregnancy, along with 5 things I wish I had done.
Now before anyone gets their feathers ruffled (as is inevitable with these kinds of posts), I am NOT saying that a complicated pregnancy or a sick child are due to a mother’s bad choices. Honestly, I’m not the finger pointing type. It’s not my style.
What I am saying is that if you can stack the odds in your baby’s favor, you should.
That means doing everything possible to assure a safe, toxin-free, and nutrient dense pregnancy. It’s always about kindness, not judgment.
1. Ate healthy BEFORE I got pregnant
This is a biggie folks. It is so important to eat a healthy, clean, nutrient dense diet BEFORE you start making babies.
Remember that your body will use what’s already stored in your body to build the foundation for this new person. Even if you find out at your missed period and do everything right from then on, you’ve already invested two critical weeks of baby building. Some would argue that these are the most critical two weeks.
Of course not all is lost if you miss this step but I do suggest you spend at least six months to a year getting healthy, changing your eating habits, and detoxing long before you get pregnant.
If you’re not sure what healthy diet is, check out my post on The Beginners Guide to Clean Eating.
2. Drank plenty of water
I’ve always loved drinking water. There’s nothing like a nice cold glass of lemon water to give you a boost.
When you are pregnant it’s extra important to stay well hydrated. Not only are you using water to make extra blood and amniotic fluid.
You’ll want to be careful not to get dehydrated which can cause preterm contractions and high blood pressure. Both dangerous complications.
Make a habit of always having water with you, and always drink first thing in the morning when your blood is at its thickest.
3. Ate a lot of healthy fats before and during my pregnancy
Fats are building blocks for cells.
Fats are especially important for a healthy pregnancy.
When I was pregnant I indulged in a variety of fats including avocados, organic expeller pressed unrefined virgin coconut oil, soaked nuts & seeds, and organic full-fat dairy products from pastured cows (yogurt, kefir, and cheese).
It’s very important to diversify your fats as each form acts differently upon your body, and a balance is very important.
My only caveat would be to avoid seafood during your pregnancy (check out why in the fish oil sections below).
4. Started each day with a probiotic rich smoothie
I’ve talked before about why I think everyone should start their day with a nutrient dense smoothie. Basically they are yummy, nutrient dense, and easy, so what’s not to love?
An easy way to get some good probiotics is to add them to smoothies. Assuming you don’t have a dairy sensitivity, you can add pastured cultured dairy like kefir or yogurt to your morning smoothie too. Even better make your own kefir or yogurt!
There are also many mix-ins, read my posts 25 Nutrient Dense Superfood Smoothie Add-Ins.You can't build a healthy vibrant baby with foods that's designed to kill living things. Click To Tweet
5. Ate a lot of healthy salads
Here’s an easy way to get much-needed nutrients cheap and easy, eat a salad every day. Greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All important to a healthy pregnancy.
One of my favorite pregnancy salads includes organic mixed baby greens (nutrient dense) with half a cubed avocado (healthy fats), some organic shredded carrots (beta-carotene), organic sliced cucumbers (silica), a bit of organic dutch gouda from grass-fed cows (calcium + K2), and a handful of pumpkin seeds (zinc). Dress it in a light vinaigrette and you’ve got a simple nutrient dense meal.
6. Drank fresh pressed juice
In general you don’t want to overdo the juice since it does tend to spike blood sugar, even fresh pressed has this effect. That said, there’s nothing wrong with a nutrient dense juice a few times a week.
Always go for fresh pressed juice, not the junk in a bottle.
You want the enzymes and vitamins that come with a glass of freshly made juice. Otherwise you are mostly drinking glorified sugar water.
My favorite pregnancy juice was carrot, apple, and spinach. Super yummy!
7. Got plenty of sunshine
This is a big one that many women miss. There’s too much talk about skin cancer risk and not enough discussion about the critical role of vitamin D. This is especially important for pregnant women and their developing babies.
I agree that you shouldn’t be out in the sun so long you burn (that’s your body saying you’ve had too much sun) and certainly don’t be foolish and go tanning, of course take your individual risk into account, but this attitude about avoiding sunshine like we are all vampires is just crazy.
I don’t think avoiding the sunshine at all costs is the best approach. Here’s a short read about vitamin D deficiency to educate you about the hazards of too little sunlight. For pregnant women in particular vitamin D is extremely important, read more here.
8. Took a fish oil supplement
This is a tricky one because I’ve seen a lot of disturbing data coming out about the level of toxicity in our oceans.
Furthermore disasters like the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and its continued release of deadly toxins, continue to be a concern. By the way, the Fukushima meltdown happened the month my daughter was born, so this has become a big issue for me.
Although I LOVE fish, I no longer eat any fish or seafood whatsoever (I’ll be writing a post about this). I used to follow the guidelines put out by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but the damage to world’s oceans has become so concerning that I cannot recommend the consumption of wild seafood at all. And most farmed seafood is often sourced from even worse conditions.
That said, DHA and EPA continue to be an important nutrient, especially for babies. So I am tentatively recommending Antarctic sourced krill oil from a very reputable source, like this Antarctic krill oil.
9. Used toxin-free beauty and body products
This is something every woman, pregnant or not, should be doing, because beauty products are a common source of toxins.
We know that people absorb into their bodies what is on the skin, that’s why you see some medications in patch form. And beauty products are known for containing hormone disruptors among other toxic substances (not good for baby). Therefore I highly recommend you choose non-toxic natural beauty and body products from head to toe.
If you are just starting out check out my article on 11 Natural Beauty and Body Swaps to Keep You Toxin-Free.
10. Kept a mostly toxin-free household
This is another important step toward a cleaner lifestyle.
If you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to swap out all those household toxins and replace them with safer toxin free versions.
In my home I had changed everything from my cleaners to my shower curtains (you want fabric not plastic).
Remember, you’ll be exposed to these toxins on a daily basis so this is a big step toward a cleaner more Filtered life.
If you aren’t sure where to start EWG also makes a database listing the safety of household cleaning products. You might also want to read my post on 5 Kitchen Swaps to Keep Your Home Toxin-Free.
11. Used an air purifier
If you have the budget. I highly recommend using an air purifier.
The best ones aren’t inexpensive and buying a purifier for each room will add up quickly, but it’s worth the investment if you can manage it.
If you can only invest in one air purifier, do what I did and move it to the room where you spend the most time.
I worked from home while I was pregnant and so the purifier was mostly in my office while I worked. At night it moved to the bedroom to keep my air clean while I slept.
An air purifier will make a big difference in the quality of your indoor air.
Another option is to simply buy a lot of air purifying plants.
This is much cheaper and with enough plants you can get clean refreshing air. I once had a friend who had a wall, from one end to the next, and floor to ceiling, full of tropical plants, and the air inside her place was like hanging out in a jungle, truly amazing.
If you want more info on air purifying plants check out this post from Sustainable Baby Steps.
12. Did my best to stay positive, rested, and relaxed
Pregnancy itself can stress you out.
Getting ready for a new baby can be daunting.
If there are money concerns (aren’t there always?) or relationship problems then that will add extra stress.
I get it. Stress is everywhere, and it sucks!
So yeah, I definitely had my fair share of pregnancy stress, BUT I did take steps to try and relax. Walking, reading, and mediation were all ways I decompressed from life.
And 5 Things I wish I had done
1. Been more physically active
I started out well enough, taking regular walks to the beach and walking the dog three times a day. But then morning sickness hit (ughh), it was mostly downhill from there.
If I had to do it over I would have been more dedicated to a fitness routine instead of finding reasons not to exercise.
2. Watched my salt intake better
While I was pregnant salt wasn’t really on my radar, but it should’ve been. I have a family history of high blood pressure, and my mom had pre-eclampsia when she was pregnant with me. I should have known better.
I ate pretty healthily, so I figured I didn’t need to worry about it. The problem was I was eating much more in general and visiting my local organic café a bit too much. By month seven I was retaining a scary amount of water and eventually caught the scrutiny of my doctor. There was a lot of frowning in my direction. The suffering I experienced during those last few months was horrible. Next time I would be extra cautious about the salt.
3. Done a better job of curbing my sugar intake
Here’s a confession, I pretty much ate all the sweets I wanted while I was pregnant. And I wanted a lot of sweets.
I told myself that since they were all-natural and organic it was okay. The truth was I knew better, BUT I was also pregnant and lost a bit of self-control.
I was lucky not to develop gestational diabetes. Today I’m much more careful about my sugar intake, and if there is another pregnancy, I’ll be way more careful about those sweet treats.
4. Not eaten as much overall
I’ve alluded to this already. I ate way too much food during my pregnancy! Like crazy amounts of food.
My excess consumption was partially due to cravings (or as I prefer to call them, crazy demands for random food combinations from the human feeding off my blood) and probably in part due to the stressful situations around me at the time (see stress happens to everyone).
Whatever the reason I ate like I was carrying triplets, and not the petite little girl I ended up with.
I’ve met a lot of moms who fell into this trap. Pregnancy is not a reason to eat with abandon (though it sure was fun).
Should you eat a bit more? Of course. Should you eat everything that crosses your mind, nope.
Be careful with this one ladies. Weight gain can bring a lot of complications during and after pregnancy. Better to keep a steady but modest weight gain, instead of ending up storing fat for three winters (like I did).
5. Eaten even cleaner
In general I ate a pretty clean diet while I was baking my human. Even so, I had moments of weakness. Ah the delicious moments of weakness.
First, I ate out more than I should have (at good restaurants but still).
Second, I ate things that I knew weren’t ideal. Even though I (mostly) bought healthy food, I should have been more careful about my choices.
There was indeed major foodie remorse (and heartburn).
When you are pregnant your body is doing a lot of work growing your child and keeping you healthy. Adding toxins to an already stressed system is a bad idea. Just one sketchy meal is a toxin exposure you don’t need.
If I ever have the chance to make another baby, I will be much stricter with my eating and do an even better job of keeping toxins out.
Doing YOUR best
It’s not about perfection. No one is perfect. Let me repeat that, NO ONE IS PERFECT. I’m definitely not.
I did my best, but I could have done better. That’s what evolving is all about.
If you are pregnant remember to be kind to yourself, if you are caring for a pregnant gal make sure to support her as much as you can, and above all be kind.
If you are pregnant and need more tips you might like my posts The Natural Mommy’s List of Resources and Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy and 5 Powerful Steps to Have a Healthy Non-Toxic Pregnancy.
That was my little list. How about you? What did you do to have a healthier pregnancy? What could you have done better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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