Thursday, October 2, 2008

How to Have a Healthy, Happy Baby

You are what you eat. Most of us know that on an intuitive level, but we may not know it on a practical level. There is no "secret formula" for good health. It is available to each and every one of us and is largely determined by what we eat. A healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby is only possible when our body has enough body-building nutrients to meet the nutritional demands of pregnancy.

Food is not just fuel for our bodies, but it is also the building blocks that are used to create a baby. Your baby's cells, organs, brain, and bones are built from the food you consume on a daily basis. When your nutrition is optimum during pregnancy and your health has been good, you can expect a baby: that is perfectly formed and free of birth defects, that is a sound sleeper, that nurses easily, that is free from rashes, gas, colic, and sickness, that has alert eyes, that smiles and laughs more than cries, that has a wide, round face, that has smooth pink skin with a rosy glow. Inadequate nutrition can be the root cause of a number of problems: infertility, difficult pregnancies, miscarriage, complications at birth, premature births, birth defects, lowered IQ, learning disabilities, etc... Optimum nutrition supplies the necessary building blocks for the body to reach it's full genetic potential. This means that the body has the nutrients it needs to be formed correctly as Nature has designed. Nature designed us to have nice wide faces that allow for all of our teeth to come in straight, not crowded or crooked. Nature designed us to have good bone structure, to have high intelligence, to have resistance to disease, and to have cheerful dispositions. It is the foods found in Nature that enable the body to reach it's genetic potential, not the foods of modern commerce.

Consuming nutrient-dense foods during pregnancy is the absolute best way to ensure that your increasing nutritional needs are being met. The typical American diet is full of foods devoid of nutrition (white flour, junk foods, fast food, refined foods, etc..) and also loaded with unnatural foods that actually rob the body of vitamins and minerals (sugar, soft drinks, candy, etc...), which is the last thing your body needs.

Ideally, it is most beneficial to improve your diet BEFORE conception. But anytime you start to implement a healthier diet, your body and your baby will start to benefit. The foods that I recommend are natural foods that have nourished cultures around the globe for thousands of years. Weston Price, a dentist and researcher, studied the effects of natural foods on the health of many cultures around the world, and also the detrimental effect modern refined foods had on health. He wrote the nutrition classic, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He found that as long as people ate natural foods, they had easy childbirths, healthy babies, and were disease-free. When modern processed foods began to be consumed, they began to have all sorts of health problems.

Here are the foods I recommend (in order of importance):
-Cod liver oil (20,000 IU of Vitamin A and 2000 IU of Vitamin D per day) This aids in correct bone development-2 or more eggs a day, organic and free range preferrably
-Fresh seafood from the ocean, particularly wild salmon, a few times a week-Fresh fruits and vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), raw or lightly cooked, several servings per day (*very important*)
-Sprouts (rich in vitamins and other nutrients)
-Sea vegetables ( for trace minerals and iodine) just a little bit each day is all you need
-Raw nuts and seeds (soaked or sprouted is ideal)
-Natural fats such as butter, olive oil, coconut oil, 2-4 Tbsp. per day
-Whole, raw milk from pasture-fed animals (see if not allergic or lactose intolerant
-Homemade stock or broth (rich in calcium and other bone-building minerals) It is very easy to make your own.
-Organic meats and poultry
-Whole grains (gluten-free grains are better for most people, such as brown rice, etc..)

-Trans fatty acids (Hydrogenated oils, soybean oil, canola oil, etc...)
-Junk foods
-Commercial fried foods
-White flour
-Soft drinks

Some brands of prenatal vitamins that I recommend:
-Pure Essence Labs: Mother and Child, etc..
-Rainbow Light Prenatal

I have seen firsthand the amazing benefits of a healthy diet on my own pregnancy and birth of my child. She has been a beautiful, happy child from the first day of birth. Excellent nutrition is a goal worth striving for because the benefits can be so profound. There is nothing more amazing than to be able, by the choices we make, to directly influence the health of the next generation.
Eat well!!
Becky Mauldin, N.D.