By Nicole Bandes
A rush of emotions. A little stick. Will it be pink! Or blue? Who should you tell first? What do you do now?
Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience that is full of excitement and love and anxiety and tension. There are a lot of decisions to be made and you must face the realization (whether it's your first or your 12th) that life will never be the same.
Once you have the details of the actual delivery, the who (midwife or doctor), what (your baby), where (home birth, birthing clinic or hospital) and when (determining your due date) down, you can get on with making sure that baby has the best possible beginning even before you give birth.
Nutrition will be one of the keys to help you to keep your growing baby healthy and safe while still in your womb. And an extra bonus will be helping you to keep up your energy and minimizing the unpleasant effects of carrying your little one inside of you.
If you have a craving, indulge it. If you can't eat something, don't worry about it. The body has different needs during this time and those needs show themselves in various ways. It's a temporary situation and nothing to be concerned about.
Prenatal Vitamins - While many multiple vitamins have the necessary quantities of vitamins and minerals for an average adult, prenatal vitamins have the increased quantities of those vitamins most important during this precious time. In addition, some prenatal vitamins have added the herb Ginger to help with morning sickness.
Calcium and Magnesium - These minerals are important during pregnancy for a number of reasons. If you don't have enough calcium to provide to your baby as he begins to form bones and teeth, your body will naturally compensate by pulling these critical minerals from your own teeth and hair. This is why many women get more cavities and have brittle, dull hair during pregnancy. In addition, adequate levels of calcium may prevent preeclampsia during late pregnancy. Of course, there is the added benefit of avoiding excess leg or muscle cramps, common in pregnant women.
Red Raspberry - This herb is commonly known as the woman's herb and can be taken throughout pregnancy. It has been used traditionally to strengthen the uterus and help women carry full-term reducing the chances of premature birth.
5-W - This is an herbal combination by Nature's Sunshine Products. Many mothers and midwife's insist they would not deliver without it. 5-W (five weeks) should be taken during the last five weeks before the scheduled due date. This product will help to tone the uterus and shorten the duration of labor.
Common ailments and natural alternatives
Sometimes our best efforts aren't enough and we end up getting sick or having other problems that need to be addressed during this delicate time. Because anything that you take will also affect your growing baby, it's best to use safe, natural alternatives whenever possible.
For almost all of the following, the best natural prevention is water. Pregnant women need far more of it than the average adult. Be sure you have water with you every where you go and drink it by the gallon.
Allergies and sinus congestion - Fenugreek may assist by acting as a mild laxative (opening the bowels to flush the irritants and mucus) and by reducing mucus secretions. A side benefit of fenugreek is that it promotes lactation in nursing women.
Back pain - See a good chiropractor and use rice pillows to ease the pain.
Bladder Infections - Use cranberry supplements daily as a preventative if you are prone to bladder infections. Should you contract a bladder infection during pregnancy, you could increase your dosage of cranberry and add colloidal silver, a natural antibiotic. Be sure to do this at the very first sign of the infection as bladder infections that reach the kidneys may increase the risk of preterm labor.
Colds - Echinacea is a safe alternative that can be used during pregnancy. Sip on Echinacea tea or take a few capsules several times a day. Another herb that may be effective is Olive Leaf. Of course, don't forget to increase your vitamin C.
Constipation and hemorrhoids - This sometimes occurs due to the extra iron in prenatal vitamins. While it is generally not safe to take a laxative during pregnancy, there are some things you can do. Increase magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and will help to relax the sphincter muscle that allows for proper elimination. Increase fiber. Often, due to cravings or specific food aversions during pregnancy, women don't get enough fiber. Supplement if needed. Exercise may also help.
Insomnia - Valerian root acts as a natural sedative and may be just enough to help induce sleep.
Nausea - Ginger or peppermint tea can be very helpful here. Also try aloe vera juice.
This is a time of joy but it may take a little extra strength and willpower to stick to your desire to stay natural. Just remember, the less toxins you put into your body, the healthier your baby will be..
Nicole Bandes is a Certified Herb Specialist that has been helping others to regain their health and vitality since 1999. Nicole uses and recommends Nature's Sunshine Products for her family and friends. Read more articles by Nicole at Naturally Herbs.