The Healthy Mummy Q&A Summary – Cheree Sheldon, Nutritionist

Q&A Summary - Cheree Sheldon, NutritionistIn The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Support Group we hold Q&A sessions each week or two with experts to talk about relevant topics to do with healthy pregnancy.

On May 6, 2015, Cheree Sheldon, Nutritionist held a Q&A session and below is the summary of questions and answers:

I might start the discussion by talking about probiotics in pregnancy:

So, taking a probiotic in pregnancy will not only help your bowel health during pregnancy, but will help reduce allergies in your kids!! The state of your gut flora is reflected in your vaginal flora, and you want bub to be smushed all over with awesome bacteria on the way out, as this starts off their own gut colony!! Totally amazing!!

Q: I was going to ask about probiotics because I keep getting thrush and it’s driving me nuts. If I was to take a probiotic which one should I take is Yakult going to help or am I better off with something else?

A: The strains in Yakult are good for diarrhea, but not much else. Blackmores has a probiotic and you can insert the capsules vaginally. Also a good plain unsweetened yoghurt can be inserted. Avoid sugars as that will feed the thrush bacteria. Use cotton or bamboo undies and use an unscented, SLS free soap or body wash.

There are some great pregnancy specific probiotics. Bioceuticals has a good one. If you see a naturopath they can get you some excellent ones.

Q: Would eating a probiotic yoghurt everyday suffice or should I be having a Yakult or pill additionally?

A: A good yoghurt would be ok. Avoid Yakult due to sugar content unless you have diarrhea. It is worth taking a supplement as well, or adding other fermented foods like real saurkraut, and kefir. If there is a family history of allergies I would be taking probiotics twice a day in third trimester, as the research says it reduces the incidence.

A: The new Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothies are a great way to get probiotics into your diet. You can read about the probiotics in the Smoothies here.

Q: I have been craving plain bread and butter (the salted bad for you kind) wondering if my body is really needing something else and any healthy suggestions on what that something might be?

A: Craving bread and butter might indicate you are just not meeting your energy requirements. As bread and butter is pretty quick and easy for our bodies to breakdown into simple sugars, this is a way for the body to get energy fast… Try an extra Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie, or some more low GI foods mixed with proteins throughout the day.. Salt may be also because your electrolytes are out of whack..

Q: I’m 28 weeks and I’m experiencing a very tight choked like feeling in my throat. Is that normal? Also I feel light headed at times. I drink water and eat well.

A: That sounds like a normal thing… could be related to heartburn but also your organs get a bit squashed the bigger the baby grows. You could take some slippery elm and see if that helps. For headaches add some electrolytes.

Q: I have the Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie but am finding it way too sweet for my taste buds. I use two tablespoons is that too much?

A: You can easily adjust the quantity of the Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie that you add into your mixes to suit the other flavours you are combining it with. Two tablespoons isn’t too much but you may prefer to reduce the amount to compliment the other ingredients you are adding.

I find adding water as opposed to milk helps and add a veggie too.

Q: There has also been lots of talk this week about tips for getting a good nights sleep. Do you have any natural suggestions?

A: SLEEP!! Well, depends why you are not sleeping: Cramps= magnesium. Mind racing= chamomile or passionflower. Nausea= ginger and B6 plus protein. Uncomfortable belly= pillow support!

I have also used a homeopathic spray for sleep which really helped.

Q: I’m currently 17 weeks pregnant with twins. Are there any extra requirements my body needs in order to try and get babies at a good size considering the higher chance of premature birth? Also I’ve heard I should try getting more calcium than if I was pregnant with one, is this correct?

A: You probably know this, but it is highly likely you will deliver early with twins. You will need heaps of all your essential nutrients as you have two babies to nourish. You don’t need to double your energy requirements from 2000 to 4000, but a single birth needs to add another 300calories per day during 2nd and 3rd trimesters. You will need to add roughly 500-600cal. Try to make every single bite count and be as nutrient dense as possible. Keep monitoring your nutrient levels at your GP and if they drop then supplement with good quality supplements.

Q: Low iron and platelet count? I try to take an iron supplement (ferrograd C) and add spinach etc to my Smoothies and everything I can. I find the iron supplements affect my already crazy digestive system resulting in discomfort. What else could be done to try and elevate levels before birth? I’m 28 weeks?

A: Ferrograd C is the enemy of a naturopath! I don’t understand why doctors recommend it as it causes so many digestive issues and is poorly absorbed. Better sources of iron are Spatone or floravital. They are both liquids. The forms are readily absorbed. Fusion has a product called Iron Blood and it is amazing for raising iron levels. Adding spinach to your Smoothie will only help a tiny bit, as you are having it with dairy which blocks iron’s absorption. It will get in, but not much… You are better off having some baby spinach in a salad with some citrus (lemon juice is good), as the vitamin C encourages iron’s absorption. The number one way is LIVER!!! Get some organic liver, cook it well, and you will be feeling much better.

Q: I’m 26 weeks and suffering from excruciating headaches that last days. I haven’t been doing anything different lately either. Any ideas what could be causing them and what helps to get rid of them?

A: It could be any number of things: Dehydration, pressure on your neck/shoulders, not enough sleep, hay fever, hormones not clearing fast enough. I think the main thing to remember with pregnancy is you are not in control of your body anymore! And every single day, your requirements change because your baby’s requirements change! So your iron requirements have increased again, same with calcium and magnesium…. check your blood pressure.. If it has dropped, could be a cause of headache, and you need more magnesium.

Q: Foods for stabilising moods….?

A: Mood foods… blueberries, walnuts, goji berries, fish… Anything with a nice healthy fat is good for the brain, and lots of colourful antioxidants will reduce stress in body. Avoid stimulating foods, sugars and anything processed as these lead to highs and lows. You want to keep your blood sugar levels stable= stable moods… So low GI, colourful foods with nice fats.

Q: Is there anything you would recommend safe while pregnant to take to help with successful breastfeeding? Currently 24 weeks. I had low supply with my first (saw many lactation consultants). I’ve heard of alfalfa and goats rue that can help?

A: Make sure your protein levels are high. Your energy requirements INCREASE after pregnancy to support breastfeeding for the first month or so. So stock up on high protein, nutritious meals. Your vitamin D levels need to be adequate. So it is worth checking in third trimester, and supplementing if you need. Have lots of old school nourishing foods- chicken soup…heaps of water – 3L day.

The herbs that will help will only work if your milk supply is low They won’t supercharge it if it is ok! So fenugreek, milk thistle, blessed thistle, goats rue, fennel, aniseed.. all help. You can get breastfeeding teas which would be a good place to start, and also supplements, and a naturopath or herbalist could make you a custom liquid tonic. The breastfeeding cookies will help as well.

Q: What are some great fertility foods when trying for a bub?

A: A super clean diet! Specific foods are really random but black cumin seeds, berries, apricots, raw beetroot, fish. Anything with lots of antioxidants. I would suggest a nice gentle detox- using green juices- broccoli sprout powder and beetroot to get rid of toxins. Think a Paleo style alkaline diet.

Q: I have GD and completely over it! I’m diet controlled and levels are all normal. Any ideas of healthy snacks? Getting sick of the same old foods. Also, I’m thinking about starting raspberry leaf tea – which is the best? Loose leaf or capsules and can you recommend any brands?

A: Dependling on how far you are along would depend on tea or supplements. Start of 2nd trimester- tea. But if you’re end of 2nd trimester then choose supplements. Brands – tea: Red Seal or Hilde Hemmes are good. For supplements- try Herbs of Gold.

Q: Can you give me some tips on keeping swelling down, it’s not related to blood pressure or anything like that I just tend to get really swollen in the face, hands and ankles in the last trimester.

A: Swelling – electrolyes! Coconut water or a good powder like Endura or Ethical Nutrients are good to rehydrate. Don’t get Powerade or Gatorade as they are full of sugar and colours.

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Disclaimer: Always speak to your doctor before changing your diet,taking any supplements or undertaking any exercise program in pregnancy. The information on this site is for reference only and is not medical advice and should not be treated as such, and is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice..

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