What’s the secret to a happy, healthy pregnancy?
Dr. Emily Guilfoy, chiropractor and acupuncturist at PALM Health, gives her top 10 tips to keep your body and baby in great shape throughout your pregnancy.
- Nourish your body and baby well. Eat a whole-food diet consistently, loading up on protein, organic vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. “One of my favorite books is Lily Nichols’s Real Food for Pregnancy for evidence-based dietary information,” says Dr. Guilfoy.
- Take a high-quality prenatal vitamin. While a healthy, whole-food diet is crucial, prenatal vitamins act as the insurance policy behind your healthy diet. The Ortho Molecular Prenatal is one of Dr. Guilfoy’s favorites — and it’s available at PALM Health.
- Optimize your movement. With your doctor’s approval, exercise increases circulation and oxygenation throughout your body, in turn enhancing circulation for your growing baby, and has been shown to shorten the length of labor.
Dr. Guilfoy recommends The Bloom Method or Birthfit, which are fitness methods that offer exercise routines to maximize stability in pregnancy. You can also work with a personal trainer at PALM Health to get personalized recommendations for your abilities and support for your safety and health.
- Keep your body balanced with the help of a Webster-certified chiropractor. During pregnancy, it’s important to work on maximizing the space within your pelvis for your growing baby. A Webster-certified chiropractor can perform adjustments and manipulations that are maternity-safe and can help you avoid pain and discomfort, potentially helping prepare your body for a smoother labor and delivery.
- Seek acupuncture treatment for challenging symptoms. Acupuncture optimizes your body’s innate energy reserves and can be helpful in relieving some of those pesky pregnancy symptoms like headaches, nausea, and constipation. Our acupuncturists at PALM can tailor their acupuncture treatments to your pregnancy symptoms.
- Avoid toxins in your environment. Toxic exposure negatively affects your health whether you’re pregnant or not, but while you’re pregnant, exposure to toxins can pose a higher risk to a fetus.
Dr. Guilfoy recommends Rebecca Fett’s It Starts with the Egg and Brain Health from Birth that offer some practical tips to minimize toxic exposure to you and your growing baby.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! “Throughout pregnancy, your blood volume increases by 50%, so your hydration needs also increase,” says Dr. Guilfoy. One way to help your body stay hydrated is by adding an electrolyte replacement. Dr. Guilfoy’s favorites are the Hydration Complex, available at PALM Health, and LMNT.
- Prioritize good sleep. Though often easier said than done, sleep is essential for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Research suggests that women who don’t get enough sleep during pregnancy are at a higher risk for complications like pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night — and remember that sleeping on your left side is the ideal pregnancy sleeping position because it facilitates the best blood flow.
- Educate yourself on all things birth-related in order to be prepared. For most pregnant women, there will likely be several people involved in your birthing process. It’s important to be prepared to have productive dialogues with everyone involved so that you all are on the same page and well-informed.
“Evidence Based Birth is a great data-driven resource to help guide you in your birth research,” says Dr. Guilfoy.
- Prioritize your mental and spiritual health with daily meditation or prayer. Staying calm and grounded throughout your pregnancy will not only help you have a smooth maternity experience, but it’ll also positively influence your growing baby. “Throughout my pregnancy, this has helped me maintain a positive outlook on birth,” says Dr. Guilfoy.
Ultimately, the secret to a healthy pregnancy is starting before you even become pregnant. Healthy lifestyle habits for your sleep, nutrition, and exercise form the foundation for a healthy pregnancy, and extra attention to your body, mind, and spirit during those nine months can help bring you a smooth and safe maternity experience.
PALM Health is an innovative lifestyle medicine and wellness center that offers a comprehensive range of advanced medical and wellness services, empowering people to transform their health and feel their best in mind and body.