Tips for boosting energy during pregnancy
By Sharlene Ronayne
During nine months of pregnancy, it is important to have the right nutrition to meet the needs of both mum and the growing baby.
If you are a mum to be, energy is probably one of your top priorities. Your day-to-day routine and current lifestyle demands such as being a mother, juggling work, or looking after your family and household amongst common health challenges can become trying, not only on your time, but your available energy.
Common issues like morning sickness or general tiredness can all impact on your normal energy reserves. Pregnancy in itself can be a full-time, daily demand on your body.
What are some of the important nutrients that can support energy levels during pregnancy?
- Folate and iron for baby’s development and energy support for mum
- Essential fatty acids for brain support in both mum and baby
- A probiotic for digestive and immunity maintenance
- Magnesium to help ease restless legs and cramps in pregnancy.
Folate offers a specific role in the development of baby’s brain and spinal cord. Folate is known as vitamin B9, an essential B vitamin found naturally in leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, wholemeal bread, yeast, liver and legumes. During the first trimester, it is recommended to have an additional supplement of 800 micrograms to support the need for healthy cell growth and development, as well as energy.
Iron for energy support
Iron is a vital mineral during pregnancy, as this nine-month period of growing a baby takes a huge amount of cell replication. Iron is also the mineral in blood cells that carries oxygen, which is why it’s needed for energy. Blood tests can determine the need to supplement with iron to support energy levels. Dietary sources of iron are red meat, spinach, liver, legumes, turkey, pumpkin seeds and quinoa.
What about essential fats?
Omega 3 fats form the backbone of every cell in your body and therefore contribute greatly to energy production in general. Good fats like omega 3 are vital for baby’s brain and nervous system development. Foods rich in omega 3 include salmon, sardines, mackerel, walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds. A supplement of omega 3 fish oil during pregnancy, with a suitable DHA level, can help you stay focussed in daily activities, especially where brain energy is required.
Is it worth taking a probiotic?
Probiotics support your overall health and wellbeing. Up to 80 percent of your immune system is made within your gut. A pre and probiotic work effectively together to achieve optimal gut flora balance. The prebiotic (food for the probiotic) feeds the probiotic and the probiotic (the good bacteria) helps provide beneficial bacteria.
A probiotic not only helps to support a healthy mood and gut, but certain strains of probiotics can be useful for known skin issues like dry, itchy skin and poor immunity which are common in pregnancy.
Is there a nutrient for muscle support?
Magnesium is a well-known vital mineral for muscle health and your nervous system. It also helps support healthy functioning in your neurotransmitters, which is equally important for brain health. Magnesium is important part of your serotonin and melatonin release, making it vital for a healthy mood and sleep pattern. Magnesium deficiency is common due to its big role in your body.
Magnesium can help you relax, support your mood, provide good quality sleep, and assist in muscle and bone health. In pregnancy, magnesium can be a simple but effective way to support yourself with its many health benefits, helping with poor sleep and tension.
Sharlene is a well-qualified naturopath and medical herbalist with 16 years of health retail experience. Sharlene has a special interest in children’s health, auto immune conditions and digestive disorders.