Five Natural Ways to Maintain Gut Health While Pregnant
Babies inherit 63% of their gut microbiome from their mother’s gut microbiota. That means having a healthy gut leads to a healthy pregnancy and baby. Even if you’ve never considered your gut health before, it’s crucial for both your baby and yourself that you understand the importance of good gut health while pregnant.
Why Is It Important to Maintain Gut Health While Pregnant?
Your gut health plays a critical role in your health by fighting disease, delivering nutrients, sending messages to your brain, and giving you healthy fuel to stay energized and focused. A gut imbalance affects every aspect of your health, both physically and emotionally.
Now that your gut health is supporting two, paying attention to what your body is telling you is imperative. Maintaining gut health while pregnant is vital in many ways for both you and your baby:
- Your gut microbiome fuels your developing baby’s immune system.
- Poor gut health increases your baby’s risk of health conditions such as asthma, neurological disorders, and diabetes.
- A healthy gut reduces the chances of complications for you and your baby during delivery.
- Good gut health reduces the risk of pregnancy-related conditions such as gestational diabetes, ulcers, depression, and GI issues.
- Maintaining gut health reduces your recovery time after giving birth.
How Does Pregnancy Impact My Gut Health?
While your gut health impacts your pregnancy, it’s important to remember that your pregnancy also affects your gut health.
Your gut becomes imbalanced in several ways during pregnancy.
- Increased progesterone levels slow digestion.
- Pregnancy increases blood glucose levels.
- Inflammation markers are increased during pregnancy.
- Pregnancy decreases good bacteria in the gut.
- Your expanding uterus presses on your gut, interfering with digestion.
Maintaining your gut health while pregnant isn’t just important for your baby. It ensures that you remain healthy too.
Five Natural Ways to Maintain Gut Health While Pregnant
There are several ways to keep your gut healthy during pregnancy. From a few simple lifestyle changes to supplements and dietary adjustments, it’s easier than you think.
1. Reduce Your Stress
Pregnancy is a time filled with joy and anticipation, but it is also very stressful for moms-to-be. Some stress is unavoidable and even healthy for us. However, keeping your body under constant stress damages your gut.
The gut-brain connection is real. Digestion slows when your body responds to stress in its natural fight-or-flight mode. Under normal stress levels, your body relaxes after a stressful situation and resets the digestive system.
When you are chronically stressed, your gut doesn’t get a chance to reset. You’ll suffer from nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, constipation, and other symptoms considered “normal” in pregnancy.
However, while they are common, these symptoms are not “normal” but are your body’s way of sending distress signals. You must find ways to relax daily through meditation, exercise, or reading a book while listening to calming music. However you choose to disconnect from your stressors, it’s important to find relaxing quality time for you and your baby each day.
2. Use Prebiotics and Probiotics
What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? Prebiotics occur naturally in the foods you consume, while probiotics are natural supplements that boost your gut’s natural microbiome. Both are vital to maintaining gut health while pregnant.
Good sources of prebiotics are fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, apples, asparagus, barley, and oats. Yogurt is another excellent source of prebiotics, but be careful that your yogurt isn’t full of excess sugar.
Probiotics come in capsules or powders and are a great way to ensure balanced gut health while pregnant.
3. Experience a Pregnancy Detox for Gut Health While Pregnant
The average person is exposed to hundreds of thousands of toxins each day. These toxins surround us in our homes, pollute the air we breathe and the food we eat, and even exist in the healthcare products we use every morning. You can’t completely avoid toxins in your everyday life, but you can reduce their effects on you and your baby through a pregnancy detox.
Remember that your growing baby’s only source of gut bacteria comes from your own. Any toxins in your own body will affect your baby. Exposure to toxins can have lifelong implications for your developing baby, including autism, asthma, ADHD, and even some cancers. Detoxing now is vital, especially if you plan on breastfeeding your baby.
A pregnancy detox is a focused way to eliminate harmful toxins and make expectant mothers more aware of what they put in their bodies. It’s a roadmap for a healthier you throughout pregnancy and beyond.
Your pregnancy detox will include a thorough assessment and exam, lab tests, a customized food plan, and recommendations for a healthy lifestyle and environmental changes unique to your situation.
4. Reduce Your Reliance on Sugary and Processed Foods
You don’t run a Porsche or Lamborghini on economy fuel. These intricately designed high-end cars require premium gas for optimal function. Likewise, your body needs quality fuel to maintain balance and functionality.
A diet full of processed and sugary foods impacts your health and causes symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues, and mental conditions such as chronic anxiety and depression. Since your food choices fuel your developing baby, eating a balanced diet is more important than ever to maintain and restore your gut health while pregnant.
Processed foods contribute to nutritional deficiencies, increase the risk of developing a chronic health condition like diabetes or heart disease, and expose you to 5,000 additives used to add texture, change color, and improve flavor of the food.
Eating junk food changes the gut’s microbiome, causing inflammation and disease. Instead of reaching for prepackaged foods, cook healthy meals with fresh ingredients. You can save time during the week by prepping meals in advance.
5. Take Vitamins and Minerals
Consuming vitamins and minerals is vital to supporting gut health while pregnant. These supplements help produce collagen, a substance necessary for repairing and maintaining your gut’s lining.
One of the most important vitamins to look for in a supplement is Vitamin C, which is essential in collagen creation. In addition to a supplement, add foods rich in Vitamin C. These foods include broccoli, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and citrus fruits.
Maintain Gut Health While Pregnant In San Francisco
Every mother-to-be deserves the chance to experience a happy pregnancy, and every baby deserves a healthy start. Your pregnancy visit to Clare Cattarin, MSN, FNP, IFM-CP, involves a detailed assessment, exam, testing, and wellness plan designed to help you maintain gut health while pregnant and well beyond. Schedule your appointment today and make the next nine months an enjoyable, healthy time for you and your baby.