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A Naturopathic Foundation for Your Unborn Baby

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It's exciting news: your progeny is percolating. Most women, upon learning of their pending motherhood, naturally become protective and pay more attention to providing their unborn child with a safe and healthy beginning.

It's exciting news: your progeny is percolating. Most women, upon learning of their pending motherhood, naturally become protective and pay more attention to providing their unborn child with a safe and healthy beginning.

Limiting exposure to cigarette smoke, avoiding alcohol, and using prescription medications cautiously are a few of the safety measures prospective moms should observe. However, we also need to be more aware of the maternal diet and how it can both benefit and hinder the development of a fetus.

Prenatal Precautions

Caffeine is a mainstay for many North Americans. We know that caffeine is a stimulant that keeps its drinkers "on the go." Yet one has to wonder how an unborn baby tolerates the effects of caffeine.

Caffeine passes through the placenta and enters the fetal bloodstream. Although adults are equipped to break down caffeine fairly quickly, a developing baby is not. Adrenaline and norepinephrine, two stress hormones released by the consumption of caffeine, can pass to the fetus, reaching dangerously high levels.

We also know that caffeine can leach vital nutrients, such as calcium, needed for both mother and her baby. This is of even more concern when you consider that pregnant women excrete caffeine more slowly than non-pregnant women.

Antibiotics should be used cautiously by mothers-to-be. A study reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (2002) revealed that when a mother is exposed to high doses of antibiotics while pregnant, the chances of her baby developing asthma, allergies, or eczema dramatically increase.

Pregnant women should, instead, boost their immune systems by making healthier food choices, eating more organic vegetables and whole grains, while minimizing meat and sugar consumption.

Baby-Friendly Advice

Omega-3 fatty acids' outstanding health benefits are well-known to many, but did you also know that omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be a critical component for both neurological and early visual development of babies? A study reported in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2001) confirmed that adding omega-3s to the diet of pregnant women has a positive effect on the child's visual and cognitive functions, with effects measurable up to the age of four.

This essential fatty acid has also been shown to decrease the incidence of early labour and increase birth weight. In addition, studies have shown that omega-3s are important in preventing pre-eclampsia, a leading contributor to maternal mortality, preterm delivery, fetal growth retardation, and perinatal mortality.

Water is a must. Drinking 8 to 12 glasses each day will help both mom and baby maintain optimal organ function and nutrition. By consuming adequate supplies of water, mothers also decrease the odds of having a preterm birth and a low birth-weight baby.

By making simple, wise choices in your diet, you can minimize risks to the health of your unborn baby. These simple changes can help build a strong natural foundation for your child that can be maintained throughout his or her lifetime.

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