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A new year always brings the opportunity to start fresh and consider new ways to be healthy. If you’re pregnant, this is one of the most important times to adopt healthier habits. With ever-growing rates of cesarean section in our nation’s hospitals, increased rates of infant and maternal mortality, and levels of chronic health conditions in children that have never been seen before, it’s critical to reexamine the way we view pregnancy and childbirth from the very beginning. There are always ways to improve our current habits, no matter where you may be in the prenatal period. Here are some good places to start:

-Try to limit any unnecessary stress when possible. It is well documented and researched that stress hormones present in a woman’s body also affect the fetus; in the same way, the maternal chemistry that produces happy emotions has a physiological impact on a growing baby. Yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and massage can provide a time for calm and relaxation during the prenatal period.

-Be sure to eat a well-balanced, whole foods-based diet. Research continues to show that not only does the development of taste preferences for foods begin in utero based on what mom is eating, but what a woman eats during pregnancy has the potential to affect a child’s long-term health, such as an increased risk of diabetes later in life.

Shockingly, the United States has the worst maternal death rate of any industrialized nation. This horrifying reality has increased in the last 25 years – with billions of dollars spent each year on hospitalizations for pregnancy and childbirth – while a whole host of medications and interventions has been used to replace the natural birth process. If you hope to have a more natural birth experience, there are easy ways to prepare for this during pregnancy:

  • Find a care provider that supports the birth experience you are hoping to have.
  • Meet, interview and hire a doula in your area. The use of doulas has been proven to have a positive impact on birth outcomes and experiences, including shortened labors.
  • Look into all of the possibilities when it comes to where you can have your baby and how you can manage the intensity of labor

Have a question about how to improve your health during your prenatal period? Ask one of our experts or moms at the Pure Living Community.

Image courtesy of Pexels.