Improving Digestion and Intestinal Terrain for Pregnancy
Improving and maintaining healthy digestion is an
essential step for increasing nutrient reserves for
pregnancy. We only
absorb the nutrients that we adequately digest. Among
the most common complaints I hear from clients in
the general population are digestive disturbances. But
interestingly, most people have tolerated them so
long they've come to believe that their discomforts
are “normal.” People don't
know what to do, so they learn to live with it.
In addition to increasing nutrient absorption, improving
digestion will also bolster the mother’s comfort
level during pregnancy. When women are pregnant
they are more likely to experience constipation,
heartburn, and other digestive disturbances. Improving
digestion before and during pregnancy helps the mother
feel better and supplies needed nutrients to mother
Healthy digestion is dependent in large part on
the correct combination of intestinal flora (bacteria).
We want our gut to have high levels of beneficial
bacteria, and low levels of yeast (Candida), parasites,
and “bad" bacteria. Because antibiotics
are so common in our culture, many people are low
in good bacteria (antibiotics kill bad and good
bacteria) and high in yeast. This causes uncomfortable
symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and poor digestion.
Babies do not have any bacteria when they are born.
They must receive these beneficial bacteria from
their mother on their way through the birth canal
and, after birth, from breast milk and their environment. If
the mother has high yeast and low beneficial bacteria
in her gut, conditions are typically similar in her
vaginal tract, and during birth, the baby will be
exposed to this flora imbalance. This intestinal
imbalance can affect baby's digestion capability. Additionally,
when an infant's bacteria is off balance colic
and thrush can develop.
You can work to improve you digestion at any time – before,
during, and after pregnancy.
Learn all the essentials in Julie's Nutrition
for Pregnancy class.