Pregnancy and Nursing

Old convictions and practices
A woman's nutrition during pregnancy and lactation is doubly important. She must nourish herself as well as possible, and at the same time provide for the fetus during the period of gestation and for the infant during a critical time of its development. But as in many other instances, past practices were fraught with errors.

Early obstetricians fairly starved the expectant mother, on the grounds that she was bound to produce a smaller baby that would be a lot easier to deliver. In this they were right, of course. They didn't know that smaller babies are associated with small stature and reduced longevity. They labored under the consoling impression that the fetus got what it wanted from the mother, despite any inadequacy in maternal diet. This might be true to an extent with regard to protein, but probably untrue about nearly everything else.

They also believed that the needs of the fetus were reflected as cravings in the expectant mother. This is also largely untrue. Yet despite such convictions emphasizing the links between mother and fetus, they ignored the danger to the fetus from the mother's intake of alcohol, smoking and drug abuse, even when these were known to affect the mother's health.

Determinant factors
In determining the mother's diet, a number of factors must be considered. One is the expectant mother's age. If she is still an adolescent, her own growth needs must enter the nutrition equation. If she is near the end of her fertile period, as it seems to happen more and more with business women too busy with their careers to conceive earlier, the mother's reduced nutrient absorption must be considered.

Another factor is the number of pregnancies and the intervals between them. Pregnancies close to one another, as it was the case in rural areas sometime ago and are still the case in many developing countries, may exhaust the mother's store of many essential nutrients. This may place the new arrivals at risk, unless steps are taken to correct the imbalance, preferably before the new conception.

A third factor is the mother's eating habits and convictions. If she is a strict vegetarian or a vegan, close attention must be paid to her diet and eating habits to ensure her convictions are not violated, but also that the needs of the fetus and the ensuing infant are satisfied. This is easier said than done, as many supplements now routinely taken by other people, have not been sufficiently tested on pregnant women for obvious reasons.

Our program
Our program aims to give the expectant mother, or preferably the woman who plans to have children, a clear view of the dietary alternatives before her and the risks involved. It aims to give her some food for thought regarding the dangers to the fetus she is carrying of alcohol, smoking, and stress, particularly during the first few months of pregnancy. It aims to make her aware of the implications of her own and her mate's hereditary baggage and what these may mean for the coming child or children.

 

In summary, what we offer are,

  1. Comprehensive measures. An evaluation of the prospective mother's parity, or her readiness to have children, taking into account the present state of her health, medical history, hereditary disposition, blood group, and all these things which may affect her future offspring's health and welfare.
  2. Diet. What foods are best to eat just prior and during pregnancy, how to best combine these to avoid nutrient interactions that may lead to nutrient deficiencies, what foods to restrict or avoid for a while to prevent possible negative effects, etc.
  3. Nutritional supplements. Which nutritional supplements are safe for pregnant women, when and how to take them to balance the diet and to avoid interactions.