Here are six ways you can help yourself during pregnancy to avoid complications, have an easier birth and promote better health for yourself and your unborn child:
B vitamins - are very important during pregnancy to help avoid complications and also for healthy, normal development of the foetus. B vitamins may also help with the increased energy needs and stress adaptation required during pregnancy and birth.
Iron - iron needs are increased during pregnancy, particularly in the last trimester, due to an increase in red blood cell mass and the extra requirements necessary for foetal growth.
Omega 3 fatty acids - these are important for neurodevelopment in the unborn child and may help to improve mental function and behavior in the child after birth and during life. DHA in particular is necessary for brain growth and development. The mother's stores of omega 3 fatty acids may become depleted during pregnancy due to the high demands of the growing foetus.
Probiotics - it is important that the mother has plenty of beneficial, friendly bacteria within her body. Not only do they produce B vitamins within the body but a mother with good, healthy microflora will also ensure that the baby is more likely to acquire a healthy microbiome. Bacteria are passed on to the baby during natural childbirth through the birth canal which can set the stage for healthy microbial colonisation in the infant's body after birth.
Raspberry leaf - strengthens the uterus, improves effectiveness of contractions during birth, potentially shortening labour duration, and may help in reducing the chances of haemorrhage during labour. Red Raspberry Leaf can be taken in capsule form or as a herb tea.
Dates - eating dates during the last month of pregnancy may help the mother to have an easier labour (six dates a day is recommended). Dates also provide many nutritional benefits such as being a good source of iron and other minerals, B vitamins and fibre.