Pregnancy is a time of change and typically marks an important transition in the life of any family. Getting ready to welcome a new baby is a demanding time both physically for the mother’s body and emotionally in anticipating life-after-baby – both at home and at work. A new baby requires many logistical changes in life-as-we-know-it and many psychological adjustments for the new mother who will see her body change drastically in less than a year, both during and in the months after pregnancy. Finding support in this delicate time is thankfully possible if one looks hard enough. Naturopathic medicine strives to provide the type of care that is difficult to find in typical visits with the OB-GYN. S/he will look after basic parameters of health but may not necessarily inform you of birth choices or provide you with empowering ways in which you can positively impact your pregnancy and post-partum period.
Why see a Naturopathic Doctor during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, seeing a naturopathic practitioner is useful for 2 reasons:
1. Decrease uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy
Those tend to be different during each trimester and vary from woman to woman. For instance, traditional herbs can be helpful in relieving first-trimester nausea, and simple interventions like using fiber or vitamin C are useful for common pregnancy-induced constipation. We have an assortment of herbs to quell the appearance of varicose veins and magnesium helps in third-trimester muscle cramps.
2. Nourish the body in a targeted manner at each stage of pregnancy
This is to ensure optimal health for both mother and baby. Typical naturopathic support throughout a pregnancy resembles the outline below:
- Personalized dietary counseling – pregnancy is a time of high-nutritional demand for both mother and baby. Your naturopath examines your diet in detail and provides you with many simple tips to improve its nutritional content. Research has shown that pre-eclampsia, a serious condition of late pregnancy, can be prevented through adequate nutrition and optimal protein intake.
- High quality prenatal vitamins – unfortunately supplements are not created equal and many available prenatal vitamins do not combine the most absorbable form of individual vitamins or combine them in very low amounts.
- Checking vitamin D levels and correcting a deficiency if necessary – (low vitamin D levels are a common health concern in modern-day society) Optimizing omega-3 intake – especially since DHA has been shown to be crucial for the baby’s cognitive development.
- Addressing any uncomfortable symptoms of the first trimester such as nausea, feeling bloated or fatigue.
This is a good time to start thinking about the birth plan, the type of birth you want, the idea of a doula as birth support and any other complementary care that may be necessary. Your naturopathic doctor, Sigrid Grobys, has supported women in Singapore who have chosen a range of different types of birth – from home births, to natural hospital births, and elective C-sections.
A discussion on postural alignment is often useful as midwives are increasingly recommending simple exercises to be done in pregnancy so as to align and balance the pelvis to help optimize the labour process. This is also important to allow the baby plenty of space to rotate head-down later in pregnancy and prevent a situation of a breeched baby.
- High-quality probiotics with specific strains and potency are recommended – there is increasing information on the importance of the mother’s intestinal flora during pregnancy as there is evidence that it start impacting the baby even in-utero. At birth, the baby’s first intestinal bacteria will come from the mother and her optimal intestinal microflora has a role to play in preventing allergies, eczema and even weight issues in her baby.
- If gestational diabetes is an issues, personalized dietary counseling and specific supplements can be useful.
- If a woman has tested group-B strep (GBS) positive with her OB-GYN, your naturopathic doctor will recommend natural interventions that contribute to restoring proper bacterial balance.
- In the third trimester, we can start preparing the uterus for birth very gently with traditional herbs that have been used for centuries to nourish the uterine muscle.
- At this time, it is vital to slow down, as approaching the due date in a state of chronic stress can prevent the proper start of labour and lead to a situation of becoming overdue. As such, discussing stress-management options is often necessary.
- Recommendations on items to have to hand for the early post-partum period. Many natural items can be very helpful in supporting the health of mother and baby during the delicate first few weeks after birth. It is a good idea to have all of your naturopathic “tools” ready before birth – these might include:
- Herbs for post-partum care of the perineum in case of natural tears during labour or if an episiotomy was necessary
- Herbs to support lactation or to help with engorgement
- A network of contacts for supportive health practitioners such as a lactation consultant or osteopath (useful for babies with colic or poor latch after birth).
Your naturopathic doctor Sigrid Grobys had supported hundreds of women throughout pregnancy and had 3 children herself. She strives to provide you with a holistic 360 degree toolkit to address not only physical health but also mental-emotional health in this important time in the life of a family. Sigrid has worked with a number of birth support practitioners across Singapore for many years and can guide you towards the type and pregnancy and birth you are looking for.