So much stuff happens while you’re pregnant and after you give birth, sometimes it feels as though aliens have taken over your body! Listed below are a few common pre and post natal side effects, and foods that help to alleviate the symptoms.
Constipation: this uncomfortable side effect of pregnancy and birth is all too common. Make sure you seek out fiber rich foods and whole grains. Oats also have a mild laxative effect.
Include more quality omega 3 oils to help lubricate the digestive system. Foods like flax, fish, raw nuts and seeds, as well as fiber rich foods, legumes, fruits (such as pears, blueberries, prunes, figs), and veggies like cauliflower. Olives are also known to help stimulate peristalsis and parsnips helps to improve bowel function.
Low energy/fatigue: whether you’re pregnant or a run-off-your feet parent, chances are you’re tired to minimize these effects, be sure you consume complete proteins either from animal products (fish, eggs or a combination of vegetarian sources, like whole grains combined with beans or legumes), ion rich foods including dark green leafy veggies as well as avocados (which are known to prevent anemia) and beets (which act as a blood builder), and complex carbs, and finally whole grains are great too – but make sure to prepare them properly by soaking the grains to eliminate phytic acid, which inhibits nutrient absorption.
Lack of breast milk: quinoa helps stimulate milk flow, as well as dark green leafy vegetables. Avoid sage, as it slows down milk production.
Postpartum depression: fluctuating hormones and lack of sleep can cause a roller coaster of emotions that all mothers can relate to, but sometimes these lows can be longer lasting and more intense then the regular ‘baby blues’. It’s always important to talk to your doctor if you suspect you may be experiencing post partum depression. It is also known that increasing foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, such as nuts, seeds, fish (mackerel) also helps to balance hormones. Increase intake of foods containing B vitamins like nutritional yeast, eggs, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Foods with slow release sugars such as whole grains, legumes and starchy vegetables will help ensure that your sugar levels are not constantly peaking and crashing.
Morning sickness: who ever named it ‘morning sickness’ clearly was never pregnant. For many people, ginger can alleviate the symptoms, it may also help to increase vitamin B6 rich foods – such as millet, buckwheat and oats.
Tissue healing: omega 3 rich foods (salmon, walnuts and flax seeds) which are anti-inflammatory can help with tissue healing after giving birth. It’s best to avoid the night shade family (peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes etc.) which are pro-inflammatory. Also do your best to include more antioxidant rich foods (cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower etc., whole grains, berries etc.) in your diet.
Colicky baby: when you’re breastfeeding, the foods you consume go right through to your breast milk and can affect your baby. Avoid gas-promoting foods like garlic, onions, beans, legumes, and vegetables from the cruciferous broccoli, cauliflower family. Brown rice helps with colic when given to both baby (as rice water) and mother.
Heartburn: this is a common affliction amongst pregnant ladies, even those who had not experienced it before. Try to increase consumption of complex carbs, which are less likely to increase acidity. Heartburn is caused when stomach acid is washed back into the esophagus. eat foods like broccoli, brown rice, winter squash, and potatoes. Also include foods rich in vitamin B5, which helps break down fats, carbs and proteins, and helps to convert them into useable compounds. Examples of vitamin B5 rich foods include avocados, yogurt, sunflower seeds, salmon & mushrooms. Digestive enzymes can also be quite helpful, both papaya and pineapple are full of enzymes which will help aide digestion. Be sure to eat small meals throughout the day and be sure to chew thoroughly.