What a Pregnant Woman Really Needs

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{Image by Amy Swagman, the Mandala Journey}

Every cell of the body – including a pregnant woman’s body and that of her baby growing inside – is nourished by the food she consumes, the fluid she drinks and the air she breathes. But her physiologic needs are only the beginning.

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See this pyramid? These needs are as true for a pregnant woman as they are for anyone else, except the needs of a pregnant woman are even LOUDER – and more undeniable. Pregnancy and birth is like normal speed film on super fast motion. Just as a woman’s belly gets bigger and bigger and bigger …

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{Photos by Sophie Starzenski}

… her needs (all of them – not just the bottom rung) become more and more URGENT. The upside – if all of these needs are met, she flourishes, and so does her baby. While a healthy birth is a miracle, the recipe for a healthy birth is far from a mystery.

PHYSIOLOGIC NEEDS OF THE MAMA-TO-BE

  • DRINK: Healthy clean water, 8-12 glasses a day or even more as much as you can drink.
  • REST: 8 hours a day if possible, naps whenever possible, and rest when you are tired.
  • BREATH: Don’t forget to breathe mama. Slow, deep breaths. Your lungs carry oxygen which will nourish your baby’s little body. Breathe to your baby.
  • SUNLIGHT (aka Vitamin D): a little sunlight on your skin every day … it’s like medicine.
  • MOVEMENT: Regular movement of the body, like yoga, swimming, or a good old-fashioned walk in the sunshine (see above).

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  • GOOD FOOD, real food:
    • Tons of veggies and fruits, nutrient-dense foods, whole grains, healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, healthy animal meats, bone broths, eggs and good dairy – grass-fed butters, yogurt and milk).
    • Few processed or fast food. Few foods with large amounts of refined sugars.
    • Iron & Protein: from healthy animal sources, or if vegetarian, from complimentary proteins (and possibly B-6 and B-12 supplements ~ consult with a nutritionist as needed).

SAFETY

  • A clean(ish), safe place to live. A place to nest and prepare for your little baby.
  • Relative peace about your financial stability during the pregnancy and planning ahead after the birth.
  • Health insurance and funds for the pregnancy and birth.
  • Relative peace about how much you are working, if you would like to (or have to) continue, and/or making arrangements if you would not.
  • A SUPPORTIVE CARE PROVIDER for your pregnancy and birth, who hears your concerns and empowers you to make your own informed decisions.

LOVE & BELONGING

  • Relative peace in your marriage, romantic relationship, partnership or relationship with the father (or circumstances of the baby’s conception).
  • Peace in the dominant relationships in your life – supportive family and friend relationships, including your relationship with your mother or mother-in-law, your husband’s/boyfriend’s/partner’s family, and the female role models in your life (friends, sisters, aunts, mentors).
  • A village of support: a “tribe” of other mamas to share / confess / celebrate / ruminate with.
  • The planned support of a doula for labor and birth.
  • The ability to set healthy boundaries: knowing when to ask for help, while feeling confident in your own judgment and ability to make decisions for yourself, your baby and your family.
  • A healthy sexuality ~ love, sweet love, or whatever that might look like for you.

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{Image by ERJ Baby}

ESTEEM

  • Learning, then knowing, that YOU ARE FULLY CAPABLE OF BEING THE BEST MOTHER FOR YOUR BABY.
  • Knowing you are strong, and beautiful, and perfect in your imperfections.
  • Believing that your body is a safe and healthy place for your baby to grow.
  • Knowing your body is capable of giving birth to your baby in the healthiest possible way.

ACTUALIZATION

An empowered, beautiful and rewarding birth of a healthy baby.

Don’t ever forget ~

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