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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Cultivating The Garden of Pregnancy Before Planting the Seed: Helpful tips when you're preparing for pregnancy, from Dr. Kimberly Landino

May 31, 2013 11:36AM ● By Kimberly Landino, ND

Preparing for pregnancy is a sacred time for a woman, when changes in diet, lifestyle, exercise and avoiding exposure to chemicals and other environmental toxins can have long-lasting, positive effects on the baby and mother. Think of it as preparing the body in the same way that a gardener prepares the soil before planting seeds.

It is best to eat organic fruits, vegetables and dairy and lean meats that are hormone- and antibiotic-free. This limits a woman’s exposure to pesticides and fertilizers and genetically modified organisms (GMO). If there is a family tendency to allergies or previous children have them, undergoing a food allergy test is recommended so specific allergens can be avoided.

Avoiding alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, secondhand smoke, recreational drugs and over-the-counter drugs is a must. Many herbs should not be taken during pregnancy, but at the same time, many herbs can be helpful during pregnancy. Consult with a naturopathic physician or a qualified herbalist for more information about herbs and pregnancy.

In addition to avoiding chemicals that are in foods and drinks, also avoid chemicals that are applied onto the skin. Read the labels of skin lotions, shampoo and makeup and choose organic ingredients and preservative-free products. Women that color their hair may also need to go all-natural in this area to avoid chemical exposure. Limiting manicures and pedicures is also a good idea.

Using chemical-free and environmentally safe cleaning products in the home is the best way to go. Discontinuing the usage of any fertilizers and pesticides in or around the home will also prevent more chemical exposure and toxic effects. Choose essential oil sprays as room deodorizers, go without chemical laundry softener sheets and use dye- and fragrance-free laundry detergent.

Gentle exercise, in the form of walking, swimming or prenatal yoga, is a wise activity. A woman also needs to take supplements to provide herself and the baby with optimum nutrients. Other helpful aids include a good prenatal multivitamin (be sure to read the label to avoid artificial colors) and a probiotic for digestive and immune health. An omega-3 supplement containing DHA and EPA will assist in proper brain, eye and immune system development in the baby, lowering the risk of postpartum depression, reducing the risk of allergies in the infant and improving the intelligence of children.

Dr. Kimberly Landino is a naturopathic physician in private practice in Tempe. For more information, call 480-921-9530 or visit DrKimberlyLandino.com.

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