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PREGNANCY, CHILD BIRTH AND RELATED AILMENTS


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It is important to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods and get plenty of rest when pregnant as the baby is taking all it needs to develop and any deficiency in nutrients can seriously affect the health of both mother to be and unborn foetus. Everything a mother eats, and doesn’t eat, and puts on her body, during pregnancy and breast feeding, can have a profound effect on the intellect, memory and mental and physical development of their baby.

The more varied the foods are, the better chance there is of avoiding any nutrient deficiency. Organic and natural, unrefined and unprocessed foods like oily fish, eggs, sea vegetables, whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit of all colours and types, berries, nuts seeds and sprouts are essential. See below for a healthy diet during pregnancy.

AVOID DURING PREGNANCY AND BREAST FEEDING

All essential oils

Alcohol

Almonds

Aloe vera

Angelica during the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy.

Artificial additives and sweeteners, especially aspartame

Astragalus

Blue cohosh

Blue vervain

Cats claw

Chicory root

Chinese rhubarb root is not recommended for long term use and not suitable for pregnant or breast feeding women or children under twelve years of age.

Coffee and any other caffeine beverages such as fizzy drinks.

Cumin during the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy.

Dandelion root

Echinacea

Ephedra sinica

Feverfew

Ginger

Ginseng

Japanese or Chinese knotweed

Land caltrop can cause foetal miscarriage and must be avoided by pregnant or breast feeding women.

Linden

Liquorice root

Marshmallow root

Motherwort during the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy.

Peppermint

Plums and prunes

Rosemary

Sage should be avoided during pregnancy but may help to reduce excessive lactation when breastfeeding.

Scutellaria herb

Sugar

Table salt use Himalayan pink crystals or unrefined sea salt.

Turmeric during the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy.

Yohimbine.

See more in Pregnancy and Childbirth.

BREAST MILK PRODUCTION

Some women experience problems with producing adequate milk to feed the new infant. Breast milk is vital for new babies as it contains all the nutrients necessary for healthy development

Anise seeds: A tea can be made from anise seeds by adding a cup of boiled water to three teaspoons of crushed seeds, steeping for 20-minutes. This may be used to stimulate the productions of mother's milk.

Fennel can increase breast milk in nursing mothers.

Drumstick leaves can be boiled in water and sea salt, the water drained and the leaves served with ghee (clarified butter) to lactating mothers to increase breast milk.

Motherwort can help mothers with milk production. Bring to the boil 6 ounces of bottled or filtered water. Add one tablespoon of dried motherwort and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Drink this tea two to three times a day. It has a bitter taste but honey can help to disguise this.

Sage can reduce excessive lactation.

Swede (rutabaga): Regular consumption of Swede increases milk production capacity in lactating mothers.

 

During the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy or if breast feeding avoid the following: angelica, cumin, ginger, motherwort, and turmeric.

Vitamin A: High levels of vitamin A (retinol) consumption can cause birth defects so liver and shellfish like cockles are best avoided during pregnancy.

Alcohol: Drinking during pregnancy can increase the chance of miscarrying and have devastating effects on the baby's development causing low weight at birth, slower learning and emotional and physical development abilities. Regular drinking can cause the baby to to be born with foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)  which can cause facial deformities, problems with physical and emotional development and poor memory or a short attention span. Women, who drink alcohol and work night shifts during pregnancy are more likely to miscarry. If either partner drinks alcohol it can reduce the chance of conceiving a child. See Alcohol Dangers and Infertility.

Aluminium and fluoride are independently bad for the brain of a developing foetus and the combination of them both makes the damage far worse. Drink filtered of bottled mineral water, use fluoride-free natural toothpastes and avoid aluminium-containing deodorants.

Anti-depressant medications: Taking antidepressants during pregnancy increases the child’s risk of autism by 87 percent.

Caffeine: Drinking lots of caffeine on a regular basis in pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage and babies who have a low birth weight. See Coffee Dangers

Cheese that is mould-ripened, such as brie and camembert, and soft blue-veined cheeses, such as roquefort, aren't safe to eat in pregnancy. Unpasteurised milk and soft cheeses (especially if made from sheep and goat's milk) as these could contain listeria bacteria.

Listeria can cause an infection called listeriosis that may harm the unborn baby. Hard cheeses such as parmesan and pecorino, even if they have been made with unpasteurised milk, are safe to eat, as the risk of listeriosis in these is low.

Chemicals: Numerous cosmetics and toiletries, such as perfumes, deodorants, hair spray, hair shampoo, toothpaste, etc. contains chemicals that are dangerous to a foetus and nursing infant such as phthalates. See Hygiene and Health to find out how to make natural powerful cleaners from plants which are free from hazardous toxins.

Drugs, both prescribed medication and recreational drugs,  can seriously damage the foetus both mentally and physically during development and should only be taken in extreme cases with the health practitioner's advice. Dextromethorphan, the major ingredient in most cough medicines, has been shown to cause birth defects and foetal death in chicken embryos exposed to concentrations relative to those typically taken by humans. Researchers found that dextromethorphan causes defects so early in the development of the embryo that in many cases the woman wouldn’t even know she is pregnant. Researchers feel that a single dose is capable of causing a birth defect and that, ultimately, it could be the cause for a woman to have a miscarriage.

Eggs: Avoid eating raw or runny eggs, as they may contain salmonella bacteria. However, eggs that have the British lion quality stamp are less likely to contain salmonella, as they come from hens that have been vaccinated against salmonella. In any case it is advisable to cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm, as this destroys salmonella bacteria. There is a substance in the raw egg whites called avidin that is a glycoprotein that binds with vitamin B7 (biotin) preventing its absorption.

Fish and shellfish: Some types of fish and shellfish may have high levels of dioxins and PCBs. These are sea bream, turbot, halibut, dogfish (also called rock salmon or huss), crab and sea bass. Limit these fish to two portions a week. Oily fish is a good source of vital vitamins, minerals and protein, but as oily fish can also contain environmental pollutants (PCBs), it's best not to eat it more frequently than twice a week. Women who may become pregnant, pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid eating too much deep sea ocean fish and shellfish. For foetuses, infants and children, the primary health effect of mercury is impaired neurological development. Mercury exposure in the womb, which can result from a mother's consumption of fish and shellfish that contain it, can adversely affect a baby's growing brain and nervous system and have impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language and fine motor and visual spatial skills. especially avoid marlin, shark, swordfish and tuna as they can contain unsafe levels of mercury. Consuming algae such as powdered chlorella or spirulina pr coriander at the same time can chelate any heavy metals present in foods and are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals.

NOTE: To still obtain the vital omega-3 fatty acids found in sea food, krill oil is a good alternative. Krill is very short-lived so does not have time to absorb mercury like other fish and molluscs etc so is a good addition when sea food should be limited because of mercury contamination.

NOTE: Avoid all raw fish and raw shellfish, such as oysters. Smoked salmon is considered safe as the curing process destroys listeria bacteria. However, if it hasn't been completely cured or frozen before being consumed, listeria bacteria may remain. 

Genetically modified (GM) crops and seeds contain the chemical glyphosate which have recently been linked to birth defects in birds, pigs and other animals and obviously could also be a great risk to the human foetus so should be avoided. Read more on the Pesticides page.

Meat other than liver are safe to eat, as long as they have been cooked well. Take extra care if cooking barbecued meat, or microwavable ready meals that contain meat. Processed meat should be avoided such as parma ham, because of the small risk of listeria. Pate, whether made from meat, fish or vegetables, may contain listeria bacteria, which can be harmful to the baby. Heat-treated or UHT pate is safe to eat, as long as it is not made from liver.

Mousse, homemade ice cream or mayonnaise from delis or restaurants, as these may contain raw egg. Always check that salad dressings and ice creams are made using pasteurised egg.

Potatoes: When potatoes are stored they they develop black spots which  are caused by the fungi: Aspergillus and Fusarium. The mytotoxins created by these fungi are: aflatoxin and fumosium. In pregnant women who consume large amounts of potatoes, the two mytotoxins have been incriminated as a cause of spina bifida.

Phthalates are metabolized in humans once ingested or absorbed through the skin. In pregnant women, phthalates pass through the placenta to be absorbed by the foetus. In nursing women, phthalates are found in breast milk, which means infants are ingesting these chemicals as they develop. In male foetuses and infants the phthalates have been shown to cause testicular atrophy and a reduced sperm count, among other serious health problems

Smoking tobacco can lead to early birth and an underweight baby and may lead to learning difficulties and a lowered immune system for the child because nicotine constricts the blood vessels and oxygen in the body is replaced by carbon monoxide. See Tobacco Dangers.

Triclosan: The antibacterial chemical triclosan (found in toothpastes and soaps etc) can react with the chlorine in water to produce chloroform gas. Researchers believe that over time, inhaled chloroform can result in depression, liver ailments and even cancer. It must be avoided when pregnant.

Visit the following pages for information about why elimination is very important before, during and after pregnancy and during breast feeding and the early years of an infant.

NOTE: Do not attempt raw juice therapy when pregnant without consulting a health professional.

Lifting more than 20kg (44lbs) during pregnancy (especially during the first trimester), obesity or being underweight increases the risk of miscarriage.


FOOD ALLERGIES DURING PREGNANCY

Many people are unaware that they may be intolerant to certain compounds in popular food products such as wheat found in so many processed foods these days. During pregnancy it is wise to consider reducing or even eliminating these compounds as they can cause nutrient deficiencies, low birth weight of the infant and even miscarriages. Two of the nutrients that can be reduced by a food allergy are vitamin B9 and vitamin K. Both of these are especially vital to the healthy development of the foetus.

There are seven common compounds known to irritate the intestinal lining which can lead to a leaky gut where undigested proteins (including bacteria proteins) can escape into the blood stream and the absorption of nutrients, vital for healthy foetal development and the mother's health, is compromised. The undigested proteins, that have escaped into the blood stream, then trigger an immune response against them as they do not belong there, and then other similar protein tissues, which are part of the body (or the unborn foetus), are also attacked. Some bacterial and viral infections, such as herpes and influenza can cause damage to cells which can also increase susceptibility to allergic reactions to the following components in food.

The seven compounds to be most aware of are:

  • A1 casein protein in cow's milk and dairy products.

  • FODMAPS carbohydrate intolerance

  • Glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids in vegetables from nightshade family such as aubergines, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes.

  • Gluten in barley, rye, spelt and wheat.

  • Lactose in cow's milk and dairy products

  • Lectins in beans especially navy and soya beans, dairy products (when cows are fed grains), grains especially wheat, some seeds and vegetables from the nightshade family.

More information on each of these and healthy alternatives can be found in the Food Allergies section.

It is of utmost importance, to the developing foetus, that the mother takes care of her body and the environment that surrounds her both before and throughout her pregnancy. Not putting the health and future of the unborn baby first, can have a devastating effect on the child for the rest of its life. Quality sleep and adequate rest with the feet raised during pregnancy is vital for the health of both mother and baby.


BLOOD TYPES

Alleles are different forms of a gene. They can be dominant or recessive. There are four basic blood types, O, A, B, and AB. Blood type is determined by the alleles inherited from parents. For the blood type gene, there are three basic blood type alleles: A, B, and O.

We all have two alleles, one inherited from each parent. The possible combinations of the three alleles are OO, AO, BO, AB, AA, and BB. Blood types A and B are "co-dominant" alleles, whereas O is "recessive".

A co dominant allele is apparent even if only one is present; a recessive allele is apparent only if two recessive alleles are present.

Because blood type O is recessive, it is not apparent if the person inherits an A or B allele along with it. So, the possible allele combinations result in a particular blood type in this way:

  • OO = blood type O

  • AO = blood type A

  • BO = blood type B

  • AB = blood type AB

  • AA = blood type A

  • BB = blood type B

You can see that a person with blood type B may have a B and an O allele, or they may have two B alleles. If both parents are blood type B and both have a B and a recessive O, then their children will either be BB, BO, or OO. If the child is BB or BO, they have blood type B. If the child is OO, he or she will have blood type O.


CAESAREAN SECTION AFTERCARE

Smearing honey and/or aloe vera gel on the scars after a caesarean section can stop infection occurring and help with healing.

 


FALSE LABOUR PAINS

Boil a handful of drumstick leaves with 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds and honey. Drink one glass. If the contractions are false, the pain should disappear.

Powder the bark of cinnamon and take half a teaspoonful with water or milk as and when required. If the pain persists, consult a health worker or go to a hospital.


REAL LABOUR PAINS

Black Cohosh can be used during labour and delivery to ease pain but should be used with caution as it can cause an allergic reaction.

Blue vervain can hep to stimulate the uterus during labour but too much can cause vomiting.

Drumstick leaf juice is very beneficial for pregnant women as it can help them overcome sluggishness of the uterus, ease delivery and reduce post delivery complications.

Maqui berry is a Chilean 'super fruit' which contains the highest amount of antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds than any other known natural food which can reduce pain and inflammation. The leaves are astringent and have cleansing properties. It is used by the Mapuche Indians of southern Chile during child birth.

Motherwort can stimulate uterine contractions and is a uterus tonic both before and during childbirth.


RHESUS DISEASE

Rhesus disease is also known as haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn  All pregnant women should know both their own blood type as well as that of their unborn baby. When the mother has rhesus-negative blood (RhD-negative) and the baby in her womb has rhesus-positive blood (RhD-positive) the mother's immune system sees the baby as "alien" and switches to "destroy" mode because these two blood groups are incompatible, Women who are RhD-negative can receive the anti-D inoculation to stop them making antibodies that could attack the baby or choose to have an abortion if they are too frail to risk stopping their system from making antibodies.

If blood cells from a rhesus positive baby get into the rhesus negative mother's bloodstream, her blood will react as if the baby's blood is a foreign substance and will produce antibodies against it. This is not usually a problem in a first pregnancy with a rhesus positive baby. However, the antibodies that the mother produces stay in her blood, and if she has another pregnancy with a baby who is also rhesus positive, her antibodies can cross the placenta and attack the blood cells of the unborn baby. This can cause 'haemolytic disease of the newborn'.

Haemolytic disease of the newborn can be very mild, but in a small number of babies it can be more serious and cause the baby to be stillborn, severely disabled or to die after birth as a result of anaemia and jaundice.

The most common time for a baby's blood cells to get into the mother's blood, causing her to produce antibodies, is at the time of birth. However, this can also occur at other times, for example during a miscarriage or abortion, or as the result of having an amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, vaginal bleeding, or turning the baby’s head down (external cephalic version). These events are called 'potentially sensitising events'.

Rhophylac injections contain a medicine called human anti-D immunoglobulin. People whose blood type is rhesus positive (RhD positive) have a substance called D antigen on the surface of their red blood cells. People whose blood type is rhesus negative (RhD negative) are missing this antigen. Whether a person is rhesus positive or rhesus negative is determined by their genes.

Anti-D prophylaxis is offered routinely to pregnant women who are rhesus negative, unless they already have anti-D antibodies in their blood. (This is tested by a blood test at the start of the pregnancy.) Rhophylac injection is given as a single dose between 28 and 30 weeks of pregnancy. The treatment is offered regardless of whether a sensitisation event has occurred, in order to be absolutely certain that the mother does not develop antibodies against the baby.

After the birth, a blood sample will be taken to test the baby's blood group. If the baby is rhesus positive, the mother will be given a further injection of anti-D immunoglobulin. (This is called postnatal anti-D prophylaxis.) Another dose of anti-D immunoglobulin will also be given after any sensitising event that occurs during the pregnancy.

Babies can be safely breastfed after having this injection. There are no known harmful effects on the nursing infant.

Anti-D prophylaxis may not be necessary for rhesus negative mothers if there is certainty that she will not have another child following the pregnancy, for example if she is to be sterilised after the birth. It will also not be necessary if the father's blood type is also rhesus negative, as genetically this means the baby cannot be rhesus positive.

Anti-D immunoglobulin may also be used if a rhesus negative individual is given a blood transfusion of rhesus positive blood. This is to prevent the individual forming antibodies against the transfused blood.

If this medicine is given within two to four weeks of having a live vaccine, such as yellow fever, BCG or oral polio, the anti-D immunoglobulin may interfere with the immune response to these vaccines. This could make them less effective.

If live vaccines are needed after having an anti-D injection, they should be postponed until three months after the last injection of this medicine has been given.


SPINA DIFIDA

A neural tube defect that develops during the first month of pregnancy when the spinal column does not close completely. Up to 90 % of children with the worst form of spina bifida have hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) and must have surgery to insert a “shunt” that helps drain the fluid.

The shunt stays in place for the lifetime of the person. Other conditions include full or partial paralysis, bladder and bowel control difficulties, learning disabilities, depression, latex allergy, social and sexual issues.

RISKS OF HAVING A BABY WITH NEURAL TUBE DEFECTSspina difida

  • A previous NTD-affected pregnancy increases a woman’s chance to have another approximately 20 times.

  • Maternal insulin-dependent diabetes.

  • Use of certain anti-seizure medication (Valproic acid/Depakene, and Carbamazapine/Tegretol).

  • Obesity.

  • High temperatures in early pregnancy (prolonged fevers and hot tub use).

  • Lower socio-economic status causing malnutrition.

  • Race/ethnicity. It is more common among white women than black women and more common among Hispanic women than non-Hispanic women

To prevent spina difida in a baby, eat all these natural foods which are rich in vitamin B9 (foliate) both before conception and throughout your pregnancy (steamed is best where possible):

HIGHEST SOURCES OF VITAMIN B9 PER 100 GRAMS

  • Yeast extract 3786 g

  • Brewer’s yeast 2340 g

  • Chicken livers 578 g

  • Basil 310 g

  • Wheat germ 281 g

  • Sunflower seeds 238 g

  • Soya beans 205 g

  • Shiitake mushrooms 163 g

  • Parsley 152 g

  • Peanuts 145 g

  • Chestnuts 110 g

  • Beetroot 109 g

  • Spearmint 105 g

  • Fish roe 92 g

  • Hazelnuts 88 g

  • Walnuts 88 g

  • Flaxseeds 87 g

  • Mussels 76 g

  • Okra 60 g

NOTE:  g is one microgram.

Other sources of vitamin B9 in alphabetical order: Alfalfa, asparagus, beef, beetroot, brewer's yeast, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, buckwheat, cabbage, cauliflower, cheese, cherries, chicory, collard greens, corn, cress, dates, eggs, kale, kohlrabi, legumes, soybeans, peas (fresh), mushrooms, okra, oranges, rice (brown), rye, rutabaga (swede), spinach, strawberries, chicken, lamb, milk, organ meats, rabbittangerinestuna, turnips and whole grains.

A good way to ensure you get enough vitamin B9 (foliate) in the diet is to grow your own sprouts and consume at least one handful per day. See the Micro Diet Sprouts page to find out how easy it is with just a jam jar and a daily rinse of water.


STRETCH MARKS

Coconut oil (pure cold pressed) can help to stop stretch marks occurring if applied to the stomach everyday. Use a teaspoon to scoop some into the palm of one hand then rub fingers into the coconut and it will become liquid due to the heat of the hands. Then rub this all over the stomach. It is readily absorbed and has antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties and is good to consume whenever oil is required in cooking.

Honey is another good healer for cars and stretch marks. Melt some in a pan over very low heat, cool then spread onto the areas where stretch marks are. Leave for ten minutes then wash off.

St John's wort: When rubbed onto the belly and breasts during pregnancy, the oil of St John's wort may help prevent stretch marks and topical application is also useful to treat haemorrhoids and aching, swollen veins that can also occur during pregnancy.


SWELLING OF FEET DURING PREGNANCY

In case of swelling of feet during pregnancy, go for a medical check-up and follow the doctor's advice as it could be a sign of an underlying condition that needs treatment. You can also do the following to reduce swelling:

Boil one teaspoon of palm sugar and two teaspoons of fennel together in a glass of water until it is reduced to one half glass. Strain and drink three times a day till the swelling disappears.

Take a handful of coriander seeds and boil in a cupful of water until it is reduced to half. Drink it twice a day for three days.

A decoction made from corn silk (the tassels of silk from the ear of maize) can help in reducing swelling of the feet. Boil a large handful of corn silk in a glass of water. Drink 1-2 glasses. This is not dangerous.

It is important to rest with the feet up as often as possible during pregnancy.


TAURINE

Taurine is an essential amino acid for a developing foetus and newborn babies because they cannot make it themselves and yet the development of their brain depends on it. In fact, taurine is the highest concentrated amino acid in the brain of the foetus and newborn.

The foetus must obtain it through the placenta and newborns can obtain it from breast milk or formula fortified with taurine. Rich sources of taurine are found in: beef, cheese (hard pasteurised only), eggs (hard boiled), milk (pasteurised only), oily fish, organ meats (except liver), pork, poultry, venison.

If a pregnant mother has chronic (even low grade) candida, bacterial imbalances or elevated levels of mercury, lead and cadmium (which create zinc deficiency), it could lead to taurine deficiency in the mother and baby. Algae such as chlorella and spirulina can help to chelate heavy metals like mercury from the body.

Placental absorption of maternal taurine can also be blocked if the foetus is under stress from both mercury and microbial challenges. This can set up a condition where the baby's detoxification pathways are inhibited, which could lead to neurological problems, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Taurine deficiency was found in 62% of autistic children, according to one study.


TOXOPLASMOSIS

The Toxoplasmosis gonndiii parasite is found in cat's faeces more often than not and especially if they have caught and eaten rodents, mice or birds. Protective gloves must be worn when cleaning cat litter trays or gardening in soil where cats may have defecated. Pregnant women must especially avoid touching cat litter trays or contaminated soil, water or sand as this parasite can be transmitted to the unborn foetus and cause major defects including neurological disorders, blindness and deafness and in rare cases death and still birth. There are other ways to become infected by this parasite. Visit the Nature Cures Toxoplasmosis page to learn more.


VARICOSE VEINS

During pregnancy, the blood volume increases and the pressure from the growing uterus on the mother's inferior vena cava, puts pressure on the veins in the legs. It’s already harder for the blood to return to the heart from the legs because of gravity, but add to that the increase in progesterone, which dilates the veins and causes the blood to pool.

Varicose veins usually develop in the legs but can also show up in the vulva or as haemorrhoids, which are a type of varicose veins.

Constipation during pregnancy can increase varicose veins and cause haemorrhoids, so drink lots of bottled mineral water, limit salt intake and eat high fibre foods.

Foods that can naturally relieve constipation are:

Alfalfa, aloe vera, amaranth, anise, apples, apricots, barley, basil, beetroot, bicarbonate of soda, black pepper, black strap molasses, brewer's yeast, brine pickles, brown rice, carrots, chicory, cinnamon, cranberry juice, cucumber, dates, dried fruit, egg whites, figs, flaxseed oil, grapes, gooseberries, lemon, lettuce, mint, miso, motherwort, nutmeg, oats, okra, oranges, parsnips, pears, potatoes, psyllium husks, quinoa, radishes, raisins, rhubarb, rye, soursop, spinach, tangerines and watercress.

The diet should include the following to help treat varicose veins:

Foods rich in the B vitamin complex can help to reduce varicose veins. See the Vitamin page to find out which ones.


VOMITING DURING PREGNANCY (morning sickness)

Powder 3-4 cloves and soak in a glass of water for half an hour. Strain and drink this water as and when required for morning sickness. This is not harmful and has no side effects.

One glass of lime juice with a pinch of cardamom powder taken as and when required. This is not harmful.

Other natural foods that can relieve morning sickness

Eating vitamin B6-rich foods may help reduce nausea and vomiting such as: ashitaba, avocados, bananas, barley, beef, brewer's yeast, brown rice, buckwheat, carrots, collard greens, eggs, oats, potatoes, peanuts, pistachio nuts, poultry, quinoa, sage, soybeans, spirulina, sunflower seeds, venison, walnuts and whole grains.


NATURAL FOODS TO EAT DURING PREGNANCY

Eating plenty of fibre, whole grains, fruit, seeds, nuts, legumes and vegetables per day will provide the mother to be with all the nutrients required to take good care herself and the developing baby.

Expectant mothers consuming foods rich in fatty acids, especially omega 3, during the course of pregnancy reduce the chances of birth defects drastically. Defects related to the brain and spine can be reduced and also the deficiency of vitamin B9 (foliate) in the mother’s body can be reduced. Consuming krill oil and a handful of hemp seeds every day are advisable throughout pregnancy. Krill is very short-lived so does not have time to absorb mercury like other sea foods so is a good addition when sea food should be avoided.

The Omega-3 fats are necessary for the complete development of the human brain during pregnancy and the first two years of life. The Omega 3 fat and its derivative, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), is so essential to a child’s development that if a mother and infant are deficient in it, the child’s nervous system and immune system may never fully develop and it can cause a lifetime of unexplained emotional, learning and immune system disorders.

Foods rich in nutrients like vitamin B9 (folic acid), B vitamins and methionine, are key components of the methyl-making pathway. Diets high in these methyl-donating nutrients can rapidly alter gene expression and are essential, especially during early development of the foetus, when the epigenome is first being established.

Hemp seeds also provide another nutrient vital to the developing foetus; vitamin E. Premature babies are usually low in vitamin E. Neonatologists often put these babies on lung machines and respirators to help them breathe. Sometimes, too much oxygen can cause oxidative stress because oxygen can produce free radical damage when it’s administered through respirators. Vitamin E helps premature babies fight off oxidative stress damage to the heart, lungs and eyes and defend against destruction of red blood cells that can lead to anaemia. Vitamin E is best absorbed, through natural foods rich in this nutrient, by the mother and transported to the foetus.

Maternal choline levels are critical for foetal brain development. Natural sources of choline are: almonds, beans, beef, calf’s liver, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, eggs, navy beans, oily fish, organ meats, nuts, peanuts, peaspoultryquinoa, rabbit, rampion, spinach, Swiss chard, venison, wheat germ.

Iodine is very important to the growing foetus also and can be found in: artichokes, beetroot, chlorella, citrus fruits, egg yolk, dulse, fish liver oils, garlic, halibut, hemp seeds, herring, kelp, kippers, kombu seaweed, oily fish, pears, pineapples, sea salt, seaweed, spirulina, strawberries, turnip greens, watercress, yoghurt.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of the major antioxidants and one of the few that gets past the blood-brain barrier. This makes it ideal for both the mother’s and the baby’s brain. It helps remove mercury from the body and though it would be ideal for a woman to have her dental amalgam removed, most women will not do that, even though it will help them avoid Alzheimer’s and dementia as they age. Consuming foods rich in alpha lipioc acid as well as chlorella and raw apples are a few of the main ways to remove mercury from the body.

Micro diet sprouting, especially of hemp seeds, is a good way to obtain high nutrition and essential minerals without excessive bulk.

Try blending steamed vegetables listed with the herbs and spices listed and serving as a potage soup. Similarly blend a selection of the fruits together with nutmeg and honey to provide a tasty nutritious 'smoothie' which will provide all the nutrients required. Add organic live yoghurt to make 'smoothies' or soups creamy.

To help gain good levels of the vital minerals, which the developing baby needs, drink bottled mineral water instead of tap water and use pure unrefined sea salt not table salt.

MEAT AND EGGS (well cooked, at least 3 times a week)
Beef (lean low fat), eggs (hard boiled), lamb, organ meats (except liver), poultry, rabbit and venison.

FISH (2 times a week)
All oily fish, bloater fish, carp, cod, eel, herring, kipper, mackerel, pilchards, salmon, sardines,  hilsa fish, sprats, trout and whitebait.

DAIRY (cheese 2/3 times a week, milk and yoghurt daily)
Cheese (hard pasteurised only), milk (pasteurised only) and yoghurt (live probiotic)

VEGETABLES  (a selection of at least 5 different colours per day)
Alfalfa, aubergine, artichoke, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, bell peppers (red, green & yellow), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, chicory, courgettes, corn, cress, cucumber, fenugreek, garlic, peas, kelp, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, onions, parsnips, radishes,
rocket, seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, sweet potato, swede, tomatoes, turnip, watercress and wild yam.

LEGUMES (4 times a week)
Black beans, black-eyed peas, broad beans, chickpeas, legumes, lentils, lima bean, mung beans, navy beans, peas, pinto bean, red kidney beans, soya beans and winged beans.

WHOLE GRAIN AND PSUEDO-GRAINS (at least 1 whole grain everyday)
Amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, oats, psyllium husks, quinoa, rye and teff.

FRUIT (a selection of at least 3 per day)
Apples, apricots, bananas, berries, blackberries, kiwi fruit, cranberry juice, cherries, grapefruit, grapes, lemon, limes, mango, papaya, peaches, pears, pineapple, rosehip berries, soursop, strawberries, tangerines and watermelon.

 

JUICE (pure, additive free, unsweetened - daily as often as possible)

Blueberry, cranberry, lemon, lime and mango.

 

DRIED FRUIT (as snacks or added to meals daily)

Dates, figs and raisins.

 

NUTS (as snacks or added to meals daily)
Brazil nuts, chestnuts, coconut, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts.


SEEDS (as snacks or added to meals daily)
Flaxseeds, grape seeds, hemp seeds,
poppy, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower.

 

OILS
Coconut (pure cold pressed), cod liver, hemp seed, flaxseed, grape seed, nut oils, olive, rapeseed and sunflower.


COMMON HERBS (to be used as often as possible and in teas)
Basil, cardamom, coriander, cloves, dill,
fennel, lemongrass, oregano, parsley, saffron, safflower, sage, tarragon and thyme.

 

MEDICINAL HERBS (consume as teas three cups per day)
Burdock root,
corn silk, dandelion and drumstick.

 

SPICES (to be used as often as possible daily)
Cloves, cardamom,
coriander seeds, nutmeg and pepper corns (ground).

 

DERIVATIVES (to be consumed and used as desired)
Apple cider vinegar, black strap molasses
, brine pickles, green tea, honey and miso.

 


 

FLYING WHEN PREGNANT

 

If the pregnancy is straightforward, flying is not harmful to the woman or her baby. Although everyone who flies is exposed to a slight increase in radiation, there is no evidence that flying causes miscarriage, early labour or a woman's waters to break. However, the side-effects of flying can be swelling of the legs due to a build-up of fluid, nose and ear problems caused by changes in air pressure and motion sickness making any pregnancy nausea a little worse.

 

Long-haul flights of four hours or more can increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, when a blood clot forms in the leg or pelvis, and pregnancy increases this risk even more. Having regular drinks of water can help prevent against deep vein thrombosis. Pregnant women should wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes, take regular walks around the plane and do exercises in their seat every 30 minutes. Avoiding drinks containing alcohol or caffeine and wearing elastic compression stockings can also help.

 

If a pregnant woman has an increased risk of going into labour before her due date, has severe anaemia, sickle cell disease, has recently had significant vaginal bleeding or has a serious heart or lung condition she should avoid flying altogether.

 

If more than 28 weeks pregnant, a woman should take her pregnancy notes, documents confirming her due date, a European Health Insurance card and any medication plus a letter from her medial practitioner. Many airlines have their own rules on when pregnant women can fly. For women with multiple pregnancies it is safest to fly before 34 weeks. A women can go into labour anytime after 37 weeks.
 


 

WEIGHT LOSS AFTER PREGNANCY

 

Between three to 12 months after birth is a critical time for women to lose as much of the weight gained in pregnancy as possible in order to avoid health problems that can develop like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. See the Obesity and Sports Nutrition page to see how to lose weight safely. It is important not to lose weight rapidly or go without important nutrients especially when breast feeding.

 


WHAT TO AVOID WHEN

NOTE: Motherwort may be habit forming.

CAUTION: Many herbs are powerful and can react with medications. Always check before taking at the same time as any drugs.

NOTE: Some nutritional yeasts, especially brewer’s yeast, can  also interact with medications. Those who are on Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor antidepressants (MAOIs) medication are especially at risk. It is also best avoided by those carrying the herpes virus as it can induce a attack.

Try to avoid any foods with additives such as aspartame, refined and processed foods, coffee,  fizzy drinks, sugar, table salt (use Himalayan pink crystals or unrefined sea salt), white flour and white rice (choose whole grains and brown or wild rice).

Only eat the following fruit and vegetables if they are organic because of the risk of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides:

  • Apples

  • Asparagus

  • Aubergine

  • Avocado

  • Bananas

  • Bell peppers

  • Blue berries

  • Cantaloupe

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflower

  • Celery

  • Cherries

  • Chilli peppers

  • Cocoa beans

  • Coffee beans

  • Collard greens

  • Courgettes

  • Cucumbers

  • Grapefruit

  • Grapes

  • Kale

  • Kiwi fruit

  • Lettuce

  • Mange toute peas

  • Mangos

  • Mushrooms

  • Nectarines

  • Onions

  • Oranges

  • Papaya

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Pineapples

  • Plums

  • Potatoes

  • Raspberries

  • Runner beans

  • Spinach

  • Spring onions

  • Squash

  • Strawberries

  • Sweet corn

  • Peas frozen

  • Tomatoes

  • Watermelon


 

WARNING ABOUT MESH IMPLANTS

 

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) are conditions that typically plague women after a hysterectomy, menopause or childbirth. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when a woman’s pelvic muscles weaken and the pelvic organs (including the bladder, rectum and uterus) drop into the vagina. Transvaginal mesh is a net-like implant used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence in women. The product design and implantation technique contribute to serious complications, such as mesh erosion, mesh contraction and organ perforation. Read more
 

See also Natures Cures For Babies and Infertility.

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