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 and baby.

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.

 

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