It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.
Women’s health topics are becoming easier to talk about, and that’s wonderful, because pregnancy and birth are topics so complex, we still do not always understand why they turn out the way they do. Once pregnant, having the healthiest possible pregnancy—and the healthiest baby—is top of mind for mothers-to-be, and makes many of us hungry for knowledge. If we lose a pregnancy or a child, that can leave a hole behind and still more questions.
If we fail to get pregnant, or have recurrent miscarriages, we need support. We should know we are not alone—close to a million babies are miscarried or stillborn each year in the US. The most common reasons for these problems are well known.
Today on the FloraHealthy blog I would like to focus on other, less-discussed, yet equally important, factors for baby, birth, and pregnancy that you might not have given much consideration to before.
Getting to know our body—our physical terrain
Women often do not fully understand why they are more or less able to conceive than they wish, or why their pregnancy was hard or easy. Tracking your cycle is an easy action to take, and learning more about the position of your uterus or your hormone levels is also possible when you actively engage your healthcare practitioner.
Our glands are sensitive organs, and prone to imbalance. Less than optimal thyroid or insulin hormone numbers can affect our ability to get pregnant or carry to term successfully, as well as create brain fog, poor energy, and low mood. Because health care practitioners will accept different ranges for hormones, however, sub-clinical imbalances may not be red flags to all doctors.
Getting the results from a full thyroid panel test is much more informative than being told you are within range. Some endocrinologists have found that women have a hard time conceiving with a TSH reading over 2.0, but can conceive a healthy baby after treatment. You may hear you’re fine, not knowing you have a TSH of 3.5 or 5.5! This can make it a struggle to get pregnant. Many women spend thousands on fertility treatments at fertility clinics without becoming pregnant, without this very important test! Other women will give birth prematurely, or lose babies unnecessarily. Get checked.
Getting the right ‘baby’ fat
Moms know to get adequate protein and enough vitamins, but are less clear on fats, and unfortunately, fats are not built into our prenatal supplements. One study found 90% of pregnant Canadian women do not meet the recommended amounts of DHA! Even those who know that DHA is a critical omega-3 fat may not know that actually BOTH AA (an omega-6) and DHA (an omega-3) are critical to fetal and infant central nervous system growth and development.
DHA is highly concentrated in the retina of the eye and in the brain, and used for neurotransmitters. AA is less familiar, but it is embedded in our cells, involved in cell division and signaling, and makes inflammatory and powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Luckily, once we know we need it, we can get good quality AA from sunflower and sesame oils, as well as walnuts, flax, and some specialty oil blends. Try Flora’s omega oil blends for a superior quality oil.
Getting to know our spiritual, emotional, and mental terrain
Understanding ourselves deeply reaps huge rewards during pregnancy and parenting and is helpful for living with loss as well. This is a good time to dig into your unique garden of thoughts and beliefs. Are there feelings of fear, shame, blame, or guilt that you can weed out? What are your hopes and expectations? What do you believe is possible for you? Why or why not?
My hope is that the dialogue around women’s health issues will expand, joyfully, like a mom with a pregnant belly, and make healthy, happy, successful pregnancies more common.
I would like to open up the discussion to you, so feel free to comment below.
About the Author: Dana Remedios
Holistic Nutritionist Dana Green Remedios, RHN, RNCP has a passion for helping others break through their blocks to greater health, wealth, and happiness, working with transformational mind-body tools. The Vancouver-based educator and coach answers your questions in English, French, and Spanish as a Specialist working in the Product Information Department at Flora, and is a regular contributor to the FloraHealthy blog.
Flora’s DHA Omega 3+6+9 blend is one oil that could provide DHA and AA essential fatty acids. CA/US.
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