Foods to Avoid:
Sugars - especially refined sugars - degrade the immune system and have an overall inflammatory effect on the body. Avoiding desserts, cookies, sweet snacks, pop and chocolate might seem like a cruel joke during pregnancy, but it is only for a short time and could greatly reduce stress on your body - try it! If you really want something sweet, use two teaspoons of unpasteurized honey or maple syrup each day. Remember that fruit can also be high in sugar and should be eaten whole and in moderation. Avoid excess amounts of mangoes, bananas and grapes which are all higher in sugar. Bonus: Although pineapple is a high-sugar fruit, it is great for digestion and can be consumed in moderation.
Wheat (or better yet, all gluten) - even if your body normally tolerates it, wheat tends to be an inflammatory food for many people. Again, it’s only for a short time and you can get great energy from other grains (more on that below).
High fat meats such as sausages, pates, pork, etc. Not only do some of these products contain additives that your body must clean up, but the saturated fats in these foods tends to be harder to digest, slowing everything down and possibly causing some stagnation and discomfort.
We all know that a good diet can benefit us in a myriad of ways. But what does your diet have to do with the position of your baby in utero? Indirectly, a lot. Diet is often overlooked in situations where it is thought that ‘mechanics’ are at play.
Regardless of whether your baby chooses to turn or not, a good diet is a great way to deal with physical stresses that can dehydrate tissue, create areas of stagnation, cause low-grade inflammation and degrade the immune system. So how does this help?
- If baby is trying to turn, you may increase their ability by releasing toxins and alleviating inflammation in tissues surrounding the baby.
- If baby chooses not to turn and you wish to have a vaginal breech delivery, healthy tissues of the uterus, perineum and cervix will be more able to stretch and contract when necessary and will be more responsive to hormones in preparation for and during birth.
- If you choose a caesarean birth, healthy tissues are better able to handle the stress of surgery, recovery time may be shortened and the chance of secondary infection may be reduced.
- Even if you believe it does nothing else, you are giving your baby a great start outside the womb.
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Foods to Add:
All vegetables are cleansing and nourishing. They also tend to be easier to digest and provide a variety of vitamins and minerals to help nourish you and baby. Remember to choose a large variety and choose vegetables of every colour.
Low sugar fruit such as pears, apples, apricots, avocados (up to three servings each day). Avoid juices and eat the fruit whole.
Whole grains such as brown rice, millet, oats and quinoa are all easy to prepare and provide B vitamins (vital for energy and growth) and minerals. Oats are also a galactogogue (a food that promotes lactation) so go ahead and enjoy some oatmeal.
Light proteins are easier to digest. Cook with lentils and beans, choose nuts and seeds as snacks, and lighter meats such as chicken, etc. When choosing beef, lamb and other red meats, choose leaner cuts and smaller portions (4 oz or less) to avoid digestive upset.
Fish such as salmon, mackerel and char are high in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation.
Water. Water. Water. Staying hydrated is crucial for health. Make sure your tissues aren’t ‘catching up’ after a period of stress. If your body is well-hydrated, it will be better able to handle whatever is coming.