by Aly Simons
In May, we found out we were pregnant with our first. Since then I have been bombarded with advice about things I am now “supposed to eat” or “not supposed to eat” because I am pregnant. Many newly pregnant women are torn between the enlightenment offered by the vast amounts of information available, and the fear of what eating a slice of deli meat or soft cheese will do to their unborn child.
Of course, I do not want to do anything that will hurt the development of my baby. Actually the reverse: I want to create an environment where my baby can grow strong. I know that unless I make a conscious decision about state of mind, I could easily become anxiety-ridden, which could harm the baby. I have that sort of personality.
I grew up with an outlook that was very black or white, I struggled to find balance. During this pregnancy, I have committed to maintaining balance. In my attempt to do this, I remind myself of the Be Better motto: Happiness is Healthy. I need to focus on my mental health in addition to my physical health.
Therefore, I have sort of created a mantra in my head:
Educate yourself, and don’t be an idiot. Don’t eat/drink stuff you know will seriously hurt the baby. But at the same time, don’t obsess about everything you could do that could “possibly” hurt the baby.
Eat healthy, but allow yourself treats.
Try to continue your active lifestyle (especially when you are free of morning sickness), but allow yourself rest.
And stop pretending like you actually have control, when the reality is that you have so little control right now.
Now, back to the “educate yourself” part of the mantra. Very early on my doctor told me I needed to start taking prenatal vitamins. Some doctors even recommend taking them while you are trying to conceive. In addition to your standard prenatal vitamins, most doctors recommend taking an additional omega-3 fatty acid vitamin called DHA.
The back of the bottle says:
A non-fish DHA solution for expecting and nursing mothers. Naturally found in the brain and eye, clinical research shows DHA supports a baby’s brain and vision development. *Doctors recommend expectant mothers take DHA. This unique non-fish DHA formula provides 200 mg of this vital nutrient, while avoiding risk of ocean-borne contaminants sometimes found in fish oils.
In addition to taking my omega-3 supplement this week, I have noticed products in the stores highlighting the benefits of omega-3. While shopping at Trader Joe’s this week, I saw a new product on the shelf called Super Seed Blend with Cranberry & Coconut Chips. It has chia seeds, buckwheat, and shelled hemp seed. In two tablespoons, you get five grams of fiber and one gram of omega-3 fatty acid ALA. According to WebMD, ALA is also known as alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. I have been sprinkling this seed blend on cereal, in smoothies and on yogurt. Honestly, it is delicious.
I am grateful for this week’s #bebetter52 challenge, because it made me dig deeper into why taking my prenatal supplements is so important. It’s fascinating how impactful omega-3 fatty acids are on brain development, vision, depression and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Keep it up, Be Better. Let’s continue to consume omega-3s this week.