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We’re heading quickly into winter, which brings with it the challenge of staying healthy. It’s even harder for pregnant women, whose immune systems are naturally a bit depressed to keep their bodies from rejecting the baby. Plus, not all of the usual types of treatments are safe for pregnant women. How can you stay healthy?
First, if you haven’t yet, go and enter our giveaway for Green Pastures gift coupon! That’s a safe and extremely healthy way to stay healthy this winter! (And you should take it whether you’re pregnant or not, but it’s especially beneficial for pregnant women.)
There are a number of ways that pregnant women can boost their immune systems in a safe way.
Maximize your vitamin D levels for a healthier pregnancy as well as to avoid illness. Cod liver oil will help with this, as well sunlight if you are able to access it at this time of year — which is not easy for many. 15 – 30 minutes a day in the southern areas of the country is often helpful; don’t shower for several hours after sun exposure in order to allow the vitamin D (produced in the oily top layer of the skin) to absorb into your body.
This is another vitamin that plays a huge role in immune function, and it’s also found in cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is important for pregnant women!! Many illness complications are related to a deficiency in vitamin A. Low vitamin A levels can also affect a growing baby negatively (extreme deficiencies can even cause miscarriage). Make sure that you take a natural source and not a synthetic one — synthetic vitamin A is very toxic and may cause birth defects.
Probiotics are so key to maintaining your health, and can help to give your baby the healthiest start possible. I recommend using food-based probiotics like kombucha, yogurt, water kefir, milk kefir, fermented pickles and sauerkraut, etc. and consuming them 2 – 3 times per day. Choosing different options so that you get a good mix of strains is important. Lots of healthy bacteria in your body can help to fight off any “bad” bacteria you might run across!
It’s harder during pregnancy to get enough nutrients. Our soil, and therefore food (even real food) is depleted, and our requirements are greater during pregnancy. If you’re deficient, then you’re more likely to be run down by the “junk” you come across. Take a daily herbal multivitamin (or buy one here) to help keep your stores up.
Getting a little extra magnesium can also be beneficial in staying well. Many people are deficient and this leads to lowered immune system, fatigue, headaches, and more. Boosting your levels can help ward off illness and also make you feel better in general. Bonus: it’s been shown to kick morning sickness, even severe morning sickness. (And you don’t take it orally so even if you’re currently in the ‘too nauseated to eat’ phase you can still benefit from it!)
What to Do if You Get Sick
It might happen! Unfortunately. Sometimes, you get sick, no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
The first thing you should do is extra of all the above. Your body needs more nutrients to fight off whatever you’ve picked up. I specifically find a large dose of the Green Pastures’ FCLO/BO (butter oil) blend to often knock out illness overnight. I’ve done it many times in the last two years and it never fails.
Of course, there’s a lot more than that!
Get some high-quality acerola powder and mix it with your favorite drink. Take it as often as every hour in the initial stages of illness to help get rid of the infection faster. This has been shown to be very beneficial especially in cases of respiratory illness (including flu and pertussis).
Especially for respiratory illnesses, ginger is very beneficial (and safe in pregnancy). Cut 3 – 4 1/4″ slices of fresh ginger and boil in 2 c. of water for 10 minutes or so, until the water is a golden color. Add honey and/or lemon to taste and drink while it’s still hot. This can help soothe sore throats and clear sinuses. It can also help to settle upset tummies (whether from illness or morning sickness).
At the first sign of a stomach virus, take some bentonite clay — a couple of capsules, or 1 teaspoon in an 8-oz. glass of water. Follow it an hour or so later by large doses of probiotics. The clay helps to bind with the “yuck” in your system and clear it, and the probiotics will help fight off any bad bacteria. Some women report that they’ve been able to nearly entirely avoid symptoms by doing this, and it’s pregnancy-safe.
This fruit has been shown to be beneficial in helping colds, flu, or other respiratory illness. Since it’s a food, it’s safe in pregnancy. Make your own elderberry syrup easily and take some every hour or two at the onset of illness.
Not all essential oils are safe in pregnancy, but the small amount in this mixture will be for most women. Spread on the feet before bed to help breathing and banish a cold faster.
Fresh-crushed garlic is safe and very beneficial. The most effective way to take it is to crush it (crushing is necessary to release the allicin, the beneficial compound) and then swallow it whole, perhaps with a spoonful of raw honey. If you can’t bring yourself to take it orally, mix it with coconut oil and spread it on your feet. Both garlic and coconut oil are potent anti-virals and will help to get rid of whatever’s ailing you faster.
There are other ways to fight illness, but I’m unsure exactly what is safe in pregnancy (herbal options). The above options are safe and should be your go-to ideas if you happen to experience illness while pregnant. If these are not working for you, or if you are high-risk and have specific concerns, talk to a doctor or midwife about the best option(s) for you.
I do not recommend taking OTC drugs ever, and especially not while pregnant. They do not actually boost the body’s ability to fight infection (many, like Tylenol, actually deplete it) and could have a negative effect on the baby. OTC drugs are best avoided in the majority of cases.
**This post has been entered in Frugal Days and Sustainable Ways.**