Taking the Natural Approach to Pregnancy: What are the Benefits?
What is a natural approach to pregnancy?
Entering the sacred time of pregnancy and childbirth brings on many life shifts and changes. There is great value in approaching these changes holistically, considering more than merely the physical changes. The changes we experience can be healing and redemptive if we look at ourselves holistically, as body, mind and spirit. From choosing to make proactive health choices, to digging deeper when fears or anxieties arise around pregnancy and even parenthood.
Approaching this journey holistically, looking at root causes, supporting our bodies and taking preventative measures can lead to a beautiful season ahead.
What are the benefits of a holistic approach to pregnancy?
The benefits to a natural approach are endless. It's not always easy in this fast paced, convenience world we're living in, but it's worth the effort to opt for natural options whenever possible. We were created to work with our intricately designed bodies, nurturing them and supporting them. All products that we derive from nature are easily absorbed, digested and bioavailable to our bodies.
Pregnancy, and childbirth especially, cause many changes to our bodies. Considering a holistic pregnancy can help you achieve the best physical health possible, minimise discomfort, and help you enjoy and accept your new body. Holistic pregnancy is about choosing healthy, nutrient dense foods, and getting regular exercise, to help your body deal with the demands of pregnancy and childbirth. Not only does this approach improve physical fitness, it's also great for mental-wellbeing. There are instances where allopathic medicine and medical interventions are needed in your journey. However, many can be avoided when focusing on prevention over cure.
How can I have a healthy pregnancy naturally?
Follow these guidelines and tips for a healthy, holistic pregnancy:
Eating a well balanced whole food diet is the simplest way to nourish your body. Avoiding processed foods that are filled with empty calories and focusing on foods without a lengthy ingredients list, especially those ingredients that you don't recognise.
Gentle movement and controlled strength training is ideal during pregnancy. Getting out in nature and enjoying fresh air and sunshine while taking a walk or going for a swim will be great for both your body and mind.
Prioritising healthy sleep habits is excellent to practice early in your pregnancy. Avoid screen time for at least an hour before bed, switch off your Wifi router and leave your cell phone outside your bedroom. Using an old fashioned alarm clock and getting outside soon after waking has many benefits. Practise grounding by walking barefoot on the morning grass and allowing your eyes to acclimatise to daylight helps in optimising your body clock, normalise your cortisol rhythm, reduce stress and regulates your nervous system.
From natural toiletries to household cleaners, choosing clean products has a profoundly positive effect on your body. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and absorbs everything you expose it to. The biggest effect of transitioning to natural products is hormone balance. Chemical ingredients in conventional toiletries and household cleaners are endocrine disruptors, they mimic your hormones and send incorrect signals throughout your body leading to hormone imbalance.
Natural Fibre Clothing
Cotton, linen, hemp, silk and wool are amazing natural fibres that are comfortable, durable and breathable. They keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. They're gentle on your skin and help tremendously with skin sensitivities and even regulating the nervous system. Due to their durability, they're great hand-me-downs, so worth shopping less and investing in quality natural fibre clothing as much as possible.
However you choose to birth your baby, it remains a miracle. Although, in many countries with privatised medical systems, you need to be proactive if you'd like a natural birth. That could mean choosing the route of midwife led care or perhaps choosing a doula to be part of your birth team, alongside your gynaecologist, if birthing in hospital. We have wonderful midwives and doulas in South Africa.
There is a well-known saying in the natural living space, "Know better, do better" but a friend of mine graciously changed it to "Know better, try better". An accumulation of many seemingly insignificant natural minded decisions will build a beautiful tapestry and have a positive effect on the trajectory of you and your family's health.
- By mama Beth from Cape Town -
Beth is passionate about flipping the script on fast paced living and is obsessed with unlearning bad health advice. Find her on Instagram - @punkandposy
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