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Giving your baby the best start to life a modern world!

by Naturoapth Kate Perini

Pregnancy is such an important time to nurture wellness, good nutrition and self-care.
Having a relaxing pregnancy is linked to positive effects on both fetal behaviour and on obstetric and developmental outcomes for both mother and baby. Pregnancy massage, mindfulness, prenatal yoga and meditation are all effective strategies in keeping the balance for you and your growing baby.
Making sure you are eating nutrient-dense foods to ensure your optimal level of nutrients required is also very important for a healthy developing fetus. You can source most of the important nutrients required in pregnancy through food however additional supplementations can be required and ensure the recommended daily intake is being reached.

Important Nutrients Required for Pregnancy:

Folate and Folic Acid is important for embryonic neural tube development which is the precursor to the baby’s brain and spine. Folate is the general term used to describe a group of chemically similar forms of the water-soluble vitamin known as Vitamin B9.
Dietary folates may be readily destroyed by cooking or processing, with a bioavailability approximately 40-50% less than that of synthetic folic acid. Bread is now fortified with folic acid however some people with a gene mutation are not able to synthesise this properly and do not receive the folate they require. Instead they need to supplement with an active form of folate (5-MTHF).

Sources: Green leafy vegetables, sprouts, fruits, brewer’s yeast, liver and kidney.

Iodine is important in early pregnancy and affects brain development/ IQ and thyroid development.
Sources: Fish, seaweed, seafood

Selenium is important for the foetus’s developing nervous and immune systems. Australia has known to have depleted selenium in our soil so sourcing adequate food sources is essential.  
Sources: Fish, brazil nuts (from Brazil).

Choline is needed for lipoproteins, bile, kidney function and the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Women eating diets lower in choline have 4 x greater risk of having a baby with neural tube defect.
Sources: Eggs, beef liver (organic), chicken breast (organic), cod fish, wheatgerm, cauliflower.

Omega 3 fatty acids specifically DHA are essential for neural, cognitive and visual development of the growing foetus.
Sources: Deep sea oily fish such as Atlantic salmon, herrons and sardines.

Vitamin D - Have these levels checked on your first antenatal visit. Deficiency is linked with increased rate of caesarean, higher risk of wheezing, lower respiratory infections and eczema.
Sources: Sunlight
Iron - Our need for iron during pregnancy increases and deficiency can increase the risk of pre-term delivery and low birth weight, delays in the development of CNS.
Sources: Animal sources include red meat, chicken, turkey. Vegetarian sources: eggs, tempeh, spirulina, molasses. Combine iron-rich plant foods with foods that are rich in vitamin C as this will help the absorption of the iron in plant foods.
Calcium - requirements for pregnancy stay the same however supplementation reduces risk of hypertension and preeclampsia.

Folate Super Smoothie Recipe

  • 2 cups baby spinach or kale  
  • 1 apple
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 orange
  • 150ml water

Kate Periri, Naturopath & Herbalist is available for consultation at the Wellness Centre. More info HERE