PRO­BI­OTICS

Your Pregnancy - - Month By Month -

Pro­bi­otics sound like medicine, don’t they? They be­came pop­u­lar as a food sup­ple­ment be­cause of the un­pleas­ant side ef­fects of an­tibi­otics (which kill good as well as bad bac­te­ria in your gut). This has been iden­ti­fied as the cause of the vagi­nal thrush, nau­sea or di­ar­rhoea some peo­ple get from a course of an­tibi­otics. Pro­bi­otics are bac­te­ria, but only the “good” bac­te­ria, which many (though not all sci­en­tists) be­lieve can help your body with di­ges­tion, con­sti­pa­tion, di­ar­rhoea and uri­nary tract in­fec­tions. There are many dif­fer­ent kinds of pro­bi­otic bac­te­ria, which all af­fect the body in dif­fer­ent ways – far too many to list here. If you have found a prod­uct that you be­lieve helps you with preg­nancy nig­gles such as flat­u­lence or slug­gish di­ges­tion, there’s no rea­son to stop tak­ing it. Stud­ies have shown no ad­verse ef­fects from tak­ing pro­bi­otics, even in preg­nant or lac­tat­ing women. Many doc­tors now pre­scribe pro­bi­otics with an­tibi­otics.

Pro­bi­otics are an ex­pen­sive in­vest­ment, though, and there is no known ben­e­fit to your un­born baby from tak­ing them. If you are feel­ing healthy and well, and es­pe­cially if money is tight, there is no spe­cial rea­son to start tak­ing pro­bi­otics while you are preg­nant.

MAG­NE­SIUM

It looks so in­no­cent, that “Mg” on the pe­ri­odic ta­ble of el­e­ments. But you re­ally do need a steady sup­ply of mag­ne­sium in your preg­gie diet – about 350mg (mil­ligrams) per day on av­er­age. Mag­ne­sium is good for build­ing and re­pair­ing your

No­tify your em­ployer of your preg­nancy, if you have not done so al­ready.

Find out about ma­ter­nity ben­e­fits and leave.

Make sure your work­ing en­vi­ron­ment is safe for preg­nancy.

Start think­ing about the birth you would like. Although this may seem early, don’t leave things for the last minute when it is hard to make big changes.

Check with your care­giver and start to ex­er­cise if you haven’t al­ready. Walk­ing, yoga, Pi­lates and swimming are good, or join a preg­gie ex­er­cise class. body’s tis­sues, bones, car­ti­lage and teeth, it helps reg­u­late blood sugar lev­els, and it also re­laxes mus­cles (sports­peo­ple use it to re­duce leg cramp­ing), and hav­ing good lev­els of mag­ne­sium in your body can help guard against pre­ma­ture labour (by pre­vent­ing the uterus from con­tract­ing). It even aids against heart­burn and anx­i­ety (and can make you sleep bet­ter). If you’re crit­i­cally low on Mg, you are in dan­ger of preeclamp­sia and a low birth­weight baby.

Signs of a mag­ne­sium de­fi­ciency in­clude high blood pres­sure, weak­ness, mem­ory loss, cramp­ing and den­tal trou­ble. You can find this magic min­eral in seeds, grains and pulses, green leafy veg, eggs and fish. If you are eat­ing a healthy, var­ied diet then you are prob­a­bly meet­ing your mag­ne­sium re­quire­ments, and mag­ne­sium will be in your pre­na­tal mul­ti­vi­ta­min, if you are tak­ing one. But if you are strug­gling to eat or vom­it­ing a lot, a sup­ple­ment could be a good idea.

OMEGA 3

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You will have heard the term es­sen­tial fatty acid. The Omega fatty acids are “es­sen­tial” be­cause our bod­ies don’t make them, we only get them from our di­ets. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids build and main­tain cells and are good for your eyes, brain and nerves. They are polyun­sat­u­rated fats, which are ac­cepted in the main­stream as health­ier for your heart, and pro­tec­tive against di­a­betes and Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

Most of us get plenty of Omega 6s from veg­etable oils, nuts and seeds in our diet, but are lower in Omega 3s, which you get from fatty fish, wal­nuts and flaxseed oil. Preg­nant women are on a “fish limit” of two serv­ings per week (be­cause of the po­ten­tial mer­cury con­tent found in our seafood). Fish that is not high in mer­cury can be con­sumed more of­ten, such as yel­low­tail, trout, pilchards and sar­dines.

Gy­nae­col­o­gist and ob­ste­tri­cian, and YP res­i­dent ex­pert, Dr Bron­wyn Moore says: “I rec­om­mend that my pa­tients take an Omega 3 sup­ple­ment un­less they have a good di­etary in­take of Omega 3s. How­ever, I tell them to stop tak­ing the sup­ple­ment at 36 weeks. Omegas, and other oils, pro­long your blood clot­ting time and so they can in­crease bleed­ing, bruis­ing and ooze from a tear or epi­siotomy site, or from a cae­sarean sec­tion in­ci­sion site.”

SU­PER­FOODS

A food eaten by su­per­heroes? Nope, it’s an um­brella term for foods that are densely packed with nu­tri­ents – mean­ing that eat­ing them is sup­posed to de­liver a nu­tri­tional punch above its weight class. So­called “su­per­foods” keep be­ing “dis­cov­ered” ev­ery day, and there is no con­sen­sus on what ex­actly con­sti­tutes one. But they are far from harm­ful, so you can add all these “flavours of the day” to your diet with con­fi­dence. Be aware, though, that you can get the same nu­tri­ents (though some­times in lower con­cen­tra­tions) for far less money if you sub­sti­tute. So while we say a big tick to these foods, you can sup­ple­ment them for cheaper foods for the same ben­e­fits.

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