Tips for Staying Healthy While Pregnant This Flu Seasonby Elizabeth MacDonald
As news outlets everywhere are reporting that this fall and winter may bring an increase in illnesses, including new strains of COVID-19 and influenza, it’s time to start preparing your body to be able to tackle anything thrown at it. Protecting yourself and your growing baby may seem overwhelming, but there are ways to lift this stress and feel confident throughout this season of your pregnancy.
Remember that stress can cause pregnancy complications, even triggering early labor or health issues for both you and your baby. Take the time everyday to assess your mental, physical, and emotional stresses and work toward lessening them through exercise, meditation, sleep, and open communication. You want your body to be balanced and open to accept all of the positive energy and supplements.
Tips for Staying Healthy While Pregnant This Flu Season
Researching and educating yourself will be your #1 defense against seasonal sickness this year (and every year). While the flu vaccine is strongly pushed, it is known to only be minimally effective. It is not mandatory, and it is your choice whether to receive one. You may or may not, after researching, decide that this option is right for you. However, there are several other lifestyle choices you can make to truly help this season:
Wash Your Hands
Research has proved time and time again that hand sanitizer is not a substitute for soap and water. Hand sanitizer can actually be a very dangerous product when used in excess. Limit your usage and stick with good old fashioned hand scrubbing.
Know Your Supplements
Prenatal vitamins are not all created equal. Most are filled with sugars, dyes, and even pesticides. Quality matters, as do the ingredients. You want to look for one containing folate instead of folic acid. You may also want to know your personal vitamin levels to ensure that you are dosing correctly with vitamin D, etc.
Everything in life has risks, and you have the ability and freedom to navigate those risks and make the decisions that are best for you and your baby. If you would like to limit your exposure to strangers, have your groceries delivered. If we have learned anything in 2020, it is that almost everything can be delivered to your doorstep.
Eat the Rainbow
Load up on fresh, whole foods. Eating well keeps your immune system strong and your body healthy. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day and consume organic whenever possible.
Limit Sugar, Processed Foods, Gluten, and Dairy
All of these products inflame the gut and weaken the body’s ability to ward off illness.
Exercise and Sleep
Keep your body moving and your blood pumping! Sweating out toxins and building muscle plays a vital role in keeping you healthy. The same goes for a good night's sleep. Try to go to bed earlier and catch a few extra zzz's.
Have Vitamins and Supplements Ready
You may choose to take some supplements preventatively, such as Vitamin A, D, C, Zinc, Melatonin, Probiotics, etc, or you may wish to have them ready to pull out at the first sign of a cough or tickle in your throat. This is where your research and your midwife or OB will really help you! When speaking with your birth provider, bring your research with you and talk openly about what you are concerned with and what you would like to achieve. A good doctor will have no issues sitting down and reading what you present.
As always, reach out and speak with your birth provider whenever you are considering adding something that could impact your health.