Healthy Steps Towards a Healthy Pregnancy [Episode #533]
Today’s solocast topic is: Healthy Steps Towards a Healthy Pregnancy
As someone who went through two very healthy pregnancies and as the mother of two thriving young boys, I am very passionate about the topic of fertility and pregnancy. I am so excited to share some of the best steps towards a healthy pregnancy on today’s episode!
There is a lot of misinformation and confusion out there about the “right” things to do and eat when you’re pregnant. It can be overwhelming and exhausting. I know the feeling first hand!
That’s why today we’re going to cover a lot of tips and information about simple steps towards a healthy pregnancy, that you can start today. I love nothing more than to help support mamas-to-be everywhere in this beautiful cycle of pregnancy. So let’s dive in!
Topics Covered In Tips for Healthy Steps Towards a Healthy Pregnancy
#1. Top nutrition tips for keeping you and your baby the healthiest during pregnancy
#2. The importance of exercise during pregnancy
#3. How prenatal yoga can reduce depression in mothers
#4. How to reduce stress and anxiety, which can increase risks during pregnancy
#5. How spiritual growth can contribute to a healthy pregnancy
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Note: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate. This is due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Kimberly: 00:00 Hey Beauties and welcome back to our Monday Solocast Podcast, where I am very excited about our topic today, which is healthy steps towards a healthy pregnancy. And there is so much I want to say about this topic. In fact, in just a few months, we’re going to be launching a very comprehensive fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum course. But in the meantime, I wanted to leave you with some information today that hopefully you’ll be able to utilize in your own body, whether you are thinking about having a baby right away, or in five years, or 10 years, or maybe you’re just interested in this topic and you never want a baby. I think that this is great information for all of us.
Kimberly: 00:48 And we all come in contact with nieces and cousins and even grandchildren that are thinking about conceiving. And it’s great to be able to share some of this. And even if we don’t have such people in our lives, it’s something to consider because this ability to create healthy life means that, in any case, we are building our vitality, we’re building our vital life force inside of us. So again, even if you’re not in the boat of wanting to have a baby anytime in the near future or beyond, I still think this is a really interesting topic for you to listen to.
Fan of the Week
Kimberly: 01:27 Before we get into it, though, I want to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week. Her name is Living Well With Nick, and she writes, “Kimberly Snyder is incredible. Kimberly Snyder inspired me to transition to a plant-based diet years ago and I haven’t felt better. She is such a beautiful soul and radiates such genuine, positive energy in all that she does. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us, Kimberly.” And thank you so much, Living Well With Nick, for your beautiful, beautiful shout-out. I love you and I send you so much love over the airwaves if you’re listening to this. I have my hand on my heart and I just so appreciate you, sister. And thank you so much for being in the community.
Kimberly: 02:13 I also have to tell you guys that this, I can just see, as this show continues to go on, it’s amazing how we all continue to evolve. Even a year ago, or a few years ago definitely, but a year ago, it would’ve been really hard for me to have read this Fan Of The Week Review. My voice would have changed. I would have cringed. I would have felt a little bit embarrassed to say Kimberly Snyder’s incredible. So I think that, like all of us, we continue to evolve and I’ve certainly grown a lot in my self-love. And I just feel like when I take this in, I take it in as oneness. And I know we’re all connected, so it doesn’t feed my ego, in a sense. It just makes me happy that I can be of service.
Kimberly: 03:08 And I also know that when we see love and light and beauty in someone else, it’s because we’re feeling it inside of ourselves. It’s a matching energy. So remember that. When you’re admiring someone else, there’s something inside of you that matches that. And otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see it. So thank you again, Living Well With Nick.
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Kimberly: 03:32 And Beauties, for your chance to also be shouted out as the Fan Of The Week, please leave us a review, which is just an amazing way to support the show. And it’s free, easy, and takes two or three minutes or less. And while you’re over there, please be sure to subscribe to the show and that way you don’t miss out on any of these Solocasts, amazing interviews that we often do, and our Q&A community shows as well, which are on Thursdays.
Kimberly: 04:00 All right, so let’s get into Healthy Steps Towards a Healthy Pregnancy. And I’m going to be talking about these tips from our four cornerstone perspective. Our cornerstones, again, are food, body, emotional well-being, and spiritual growth. And I really love to approach everything from this perspective, because I think it’s really important that we look at things in a holistic way because we are whole beings. And when we honor that whole-ism within us, then we honor our true selves. That’s when we access our true power, our true beauty, our true confidence, all these things that we’re looking for.
Kimberly: 04:37 So sometimes we think we can get it from the outside, and there’s more procedures, or products, makeup, or workouts, or whatever it is from outside of ourselves. And we do need some stuff outside of ourselves. I’m a huge believer in great skincare. That’s why we have our Solluna Feel Good high-performance skincare and our SBO probiotics. But I don’t think we need that much. I think we pick and choose things that are effective. And then the rest, we just kind of let it be. We don’t have to be on this treadmill of constantly feeling like we need to buy more and seek out more and just be this slave to more and more and more. We can honor this wholeness within us. And then everything starts to tie together. And it’s very much as true from a pregnancy standpoint.
#1 Cornerstone Perspective Towards a Healthy Pregnancy: Food
Kimberly: 05:30 So let’s go through it cornerstone by cornerstone. I’m going to start with the food one. So there’s quite a few nutrition studies here that I want to highlight a bit of. And remember that all of this is also in the show notes, which are over at mysolluna.com. And remember, as well, that this is just a little tiny peek, a few things I wanted to highlight. There’s a bajillion times more information in our course that we’re going to be launching in just a few months. So if you’re really interested in this topic, I highly encourage you to check that out as well. So let’s talk about food, though, and some really interesting things that have come across.
Kimberly: 06:10 So it’s really important that you’re getting folic acid into your diet. And the CDC recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid for women of child-bearing age, and 600 micrograms during the last five months of your pregnancy. This is the CDC, “We want to make sure that we are getting folate from food, which is the food-based form of this important nutrient, before we even think about getting pregnant.” We want to start establishing it now. And guess what one is, one of the best sources, is dark leafy greens, i.e. drinking your GGS, foundational and important. And so if you’ve been doing that all these years, you can know that you’ve already been starting to lay really important foundational groundwork for your body when you are ready to get pregnant.
Kimberly: 07:03 So I’ll share that I didn’t think about getting pregnant until I got pregnant both times. I’m fortunate and very grateful that it happened very easily for me. But also, I had been doing this work. I had been balancing my body. I had been having the GGS and a lot of healthy foods for a long time. So it’s just important that we start to lay down that foundation now. And so I can’t stress enough how wonderful that will be for you.
Kimberly: 07:36 While we’re pregnant as well, it’s really important that we don’t try to follow any sorts of diets that constrict macronutrients. So I want to say that I’m a huge believer in healthy whole food based carbohydrates, both in the preparation of pregnancy so you’re building up your energy reserves, and while you’re pregnant. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that low carbohydrate diets while you’re pregnant can result in lower birth weight. And we don’t want that. So you want to just make sure that you’re nourishing yourself and remember that carbs are not evil. They’re not the enemy. You just want to properly food combine them, and you want to eat the best and highest and most whole forms versus a bunch of flours and sugars.
Kimberly: 08:24 Now, National Institutes of Health shows that prenatal vitamins are very important, as does a 2019 study from the JAMA Psychiatry journal. This is pretty obvious, but I want to point this out because I don’t always talk about taking so many supplements. Now, this kind of crosses into the body one, but I just want to say that if you’re thinking about getting pregnant, you want to get in a good prenatal right away and just make sure that you’re taking it regularly. And also make sure that you’re taking some DHA, which is always good insurance. It’s a healthy fat from algae. So those are two supplements that I definitely recommend.
Kimberly: 09:08 Now, according to information published by Oregon State University, the recommended daily allowance for calcium is a thousand milligrams per day throughout your pregnancy and lactation. And I will also say, with all these studies, before you get pregnant, so in your fertility period as well. Now, remember, calcium is not best sourced from dairy. Dairy is acid-forming, and can actually result in a calcium loss. The best sources of calcium are plant sources, like hemp and kale and hemp seeds, hemp milk, broccoli. For instance, two cups of hemp milk, which you can easily get by having a big Power Protein Smoothie, is 60% of the general RDA calcium recommendation. So right there, boom, you’re getting a whole bunch of calcium. It’s very easy to get calcium from plant-based foods. You just need to be a little bit more mindful of it.
Kimberly: 10:07 Now, another interesting study I wanted to point out is a 2019 study from the Current Developments In Nutrition journal. And this studied protein intake of pregnant women. And they found that animal protein intake may be associated with negative outcomes of insulin sensitivity of their children, and plant protein intake may be associated with positive insulin sensitivity outcomes. So there is so much more I could say about this topic, but I want to tease it with this study to show and bust through the myth that you need to eat animal products, meat while you’re pregnant, or while you’re trying to get pregnant. Not true.
Kimberly: 10:47 I have been plant-based now for over 12 years, before, during, after having my babies. I got pregnant very easily. My babies were both about nine pounds, big, healthy, very healthy babies. So there’s a lot of nutrient density and lower toxicity advantages that come from being plant-based. If you don’t want to be fully plant-based, at least largely plant-based is a very powerful way to nourish yourself and your body and baby while you’re pregnant. So again, it’s hard for me to do this a little bit because I could go on for hours and hours about any of these topics, but just remember that we have that pregnancy course coming down the road. For now, these are important guidelines to keep top of mind.
#2 Cornerstone Perspective Towards a Healthy Pregnancy: Body
Kimberly: 11:32 Now let’s move to our body cornerstone. Here, there are also some really wonderful studies that show how important it is to keep your body moving while you’re pregnant and before you’re pregnant. I will say that I am a huge fan of natural movement. So I like to do yoga. That feels good on my body. I don’t like to push myself. I don’t like jump back anymore regularly. Like things that feel jarring, I just don’t really do. I also like to walk. I like to hike. I used to do beach walks when I lived down Venice, near the ocean. Now I live in the mountains. So I do mountain walks. Not really hiking per se, but a little bit of hills. I think it’s really wonderful. I walked my entire pregnancy.
Kimberly: 12:21 And studies from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who exercised during pregnancy have shown benefits, such as decreased gestational diabetes and shorter postpartum recovery time, both from C-sections and vaginal deliveries. So we want to continue to move our bodies, which is our natural form of being-ness. We’re dynamic beings that are meant to flow and move. And then down on the micro level, on the cellular level, we are always moving. There’s always cellular activity that’s flowing and moving around. So I encourage you to keep moving in ways that feel good to you.
Kimberly: 13:01 I also encourage you to not introduce new forms of movement while you’re pregnant. Now is not the time. So don’t start getting into spin or rowing or something that you’ve never done before. You want to continue your practice, rest when your body tells you to rest, and keep it pretty chill. Some people really push themselves in pregnancy, but I’m a big believer it’s a time to just chill and go inward and really honor your energy, and remember that you’re creating life, and it’s so amazing and powerful. And what you’re doing is really wonderful. So yeah, I highly recommend that you do something that just feels nourishing and in flow for your body.
Kimberly: 13:49 Another study published in the BMC Psychiatry journal found that prenatal yoga can reduce a mother’s chances of depression and is effective in managing depression in pregnant women. Along with that, this is really interesting, a study of 4,500 patients and their children found that a mother’s depression while pregnant can increase the child’s chances of suffering from depression later in life by one and a half times by age 18. So this just shows how important our emotional and mental well-being is, which we’ll get to next specifically, but how doing yoga and moving and connecting with our bodies and just having that space to be with our bodies is so important for us and it’s important for baby. So again, all these tips, I’m recommending that you get more connected and in tune with your body and take the steps necessary to lift yourself out of depression as best you can before even trying to get pregnant.
Kimberly: 14:54 We have some really great depression focused podcasts, which we can link to in the show notes, from some really amazing researchers and doctors and those that focus on depression. So I’ll refer to the experts in those subjects. But I have some great podcasts that I recommend to you if you’re going through something like that. But just remember that we really want to work with that before we get pregnant, ideally. And then, if you do find yourself having some tough moments while you’re pregnant, you feel some depression while you’re pregnant, to really pay attention to that. And just remember that yoga and breathing and walking and nature and sunlight, all of these are very therapeutic in that regard, as well as paying attention to your emotional well-being and spiritual growth, which we will get into now.
Kimberly: 15:42 So our third cornerstone is emotional well-being and mental health during pregnancy. First, I want to take a quick break though. I could just plow right through, but we have a short break for you guys. And when we get back, we will get into our last two cornerstones on this topic, healthy steps towards a healthy pregnancy.
#3 Cornerstone Perspective Towards a Healthy Pregnancy: Emotional Well-being
Kimberly: 16:36 All right, Beauties. We are back from our break and we have two more cornerstones for you guys. The first is our very important emotional well-being/mental health. And I can’t stress this enough. When you are looking to get pregnant, first and foundationally, and also while you’re pregnant. I’m a huge believer that our mental state really does affect our fertility levels. And there’s so many ways our mind impacts our body, including our hormones. I think it impacts our ovulation. I think it impacts, really, our chances of getting pregnant and sustaining the pregnancy in a healthy way. So again, so much more that I will say about this in our pregnancy course.
Kimberly: 17:27 But just for now, I want you to remember that tuning into your feelings, processing, journaling, connecting with your tribe, with our tribe here, these are all really, really important ways to spend your time during pregnancy and before pregnancy in your fertility period. So Systematic Review, and I love this. The Systematic Review published in the Mindfulness journal explored meditation, pregnancy and mental health outcomes. Across the board, mindfulness-based practices were found to be beneficial for anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and levels of mindfulness during the perinatal period. More on that in a second.
Kimberly: 18:12 And then another study I just want to highlight, it comes as a report from the Journal of Psychology and Health, that also found that mothers who have high levels of stress or anxiety during pregnancy are more likely to deliver their babies at preterm or low birth weights. So imagine, what we’re feeling, the baby is feeling. And stress hormones just, again, impact the way that you’re able to hold the baby. And the baby can feel that. And maybe in some ways, it’s just not the healthiest environment for the baby. No blame. We’re all doing our best. But it is so wonderful when we focus on ourselves so you feel good and baby feels good. And then baby is going to hang out in there longer. We give baby the best chance of doing that to really going to a full-term pregnancy.
Kimberly: 19:05 Now I talked about meditation here a bit and mindfulness, which we usually talk about in the spiritual growth cornerstone, but I think there’s crossover here because this whole concept of mindfulness is so important that we’re paying attention to our feelings, when we start to get overloaded with stress, when things start to feel like too much, when we need to ask for help. Especially when we’re pregnant, especially when we’re preparing for pregnancy. It’s really, really wonderful, really important that we actually take action and take steps towards doing that. And I just feel like it’s really wonderful when we feel wonderful for our pregnancy. When we feel open and expansive, we allow life to come in. When we feel stressed and constricted, I don’t care how well you’re eating, I don’t care if you’re taking all the right supplements and doing all that, it affects everything. It will affect your pregnancy.
Kimberly: 20:10 So just make sure that you’re paying attention to your stress, you’re creating healthy routines, journaling, time spending with your, just being-ness with your partner, relaxing, laughing, drawing, doing crafts. I’ve recently started to really give myself the space for fun reading. I love reading. If you give me a day where I can do whatever I want to do, besides spending time with my family, I will spend it reading. So for me, that’s like my dream day. I love it. I love it. So probably why I love to write books too. So just spending time just being and letting yourself play and have that playfulness and that space to be creative. So that’s why I mentioned drawing and painting.
Kimberly: 20:55 Having a baby and getting pregnant in the first place are very creative endeavors. So I think the more we nourish the creative space within us, it’s just helping to bring that forth. And it’s highlighting that energy instead of the more masculine going down the list of to-dos, which I fall into at times. I want to get a lot done. But there’s a real power in that being-ness in that creative space that I really love, and I think is so, so powerful during this period of your life and of your journey, fertility and pregnancy, for sure.
#4 Cornerstone Perspective Towards a Healthy Pregnancy: Spiritual Growth
Kimberly: 21:31 So our last cornerstone is spiritual growth, and there’s a very interesting study here I want to highlight. This comes from the 2019 study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, which found that healthcare providers who support and understand the spirituality of the pregnant women they care for found great benefit. This was a qualitative analysis, but they found that mothers who had a connection to their inner voice felt more responsible towards taking care of the spiritual being within their wombs, which boosted their overall well-being during pregnancy. This, to me, goes back to connection, which is what spiritual growth is all about. It’s not about religion. It’s not about rules and dogmatism, at least the way I think about it. To me, the spiritual journey is about how we understand ourselves and connect with our true selves more deeply.
Kimberly: 22:29 And I believe that spirit is inside of all of us, whatever word we want to use. Love, God, the universe, Lord. Whatever word, it doesn’t matter. But there is something that’s very powerful inside of us, and it manifests in many different ways. It manifests as our uniqueness. It manifests as our inner voice, our gut intuition. And I think, when we start to connect with that, we feel really aligned. And we feel powerful. We feel whole. And that will boost our well-being during pregnancy. That will definitely allow us to just feel grounded as we go through these different phases. And that, again, does very much include fertility.
Kimberly: 23:18 So I think it’s important to connect to that inner voice, to have space, to have time for your meditation practice, to have time when you’re pregnant to just put your hands on your belly and to connect with that being. And also, at the same time, to connect with your own heart. So it’s an interesting time because there’s two of you in there. So connect with yourself, connect with baby, and do both. And when you’re in your fertility moments, really connect with that beautiful, amazing, strong, powerful body of yours, and do that before you really take the leap into pregnancy.
Kimberly: 23:50 So I love this topic. I hope you got some interesting ideas. And remember that there was a lot of studies I rattled off today, but they’re all in the show notes as well as some helpful resources, such as the depression focused podcasts that I listed off that we’ve done here on the show and some other podcasts that may be very helpful to you. And I just want to call out that we do have those free meditations for you over at mysolluna.com and they will be a big part of our upcoming Solluna app as well. So be sure to check that out. I think it’s so important and I want to offer you as many resources around it as possible.
Kimberly: 24:28 Before we get going, let us do our quote of the week, our quote of the day. And this one’s a very, very simple one, but I want you to, if possible, unless you’re driving right now, to just close your eyes for a moment and put your hand on your heart and then just remind yourself, the thought of the week is in the form of an affirmation this time. It is, all the love that I’m seeking is inside of me. All the love that I’m seeking is inside of me.
Kimberly: 25:03 So when we just love ourselves, when we feel that the source of love is inside of us, we just become brimming, brimming with love and then we can give it out. Then our body is in the more coherent state as well, which is a powerful, powerful boost, I believe, to fertility, healthy pregnancy. We have more coherence between our brain and our hearts. We are able to release heavy emotions like guilt and shame, which affect everything, including our neuro-transmitters and our hormonal balance and possibly even our ovulation and fertility. So just affirm to yourself that you are loved, the love you are seeking is inside of you. You are amazing. And that’s really important to keep in mind as we continue this beautiful fertility and pregnancy journey together.
Kimberly: 25:58 Now, I also want to remind you, if you’re listening to this and, as I said at the beginning of the show, if you never wanted to get pregnant in the first place, you can see how a lot of this information still very much applies to you and hopefully is super helpful to you as well. So I send you so much love. I’m so grateful for you. And I am incredibly honored to walk this journey with you. Whether we have been walking together for a long time, or maybe we are new friends on the path, please know that I’m grateful for you. Please know that I’m always here for you. Please know that I authentically do this because I care.
Kimberly: 26:39 So there’s so many different ways to connect with me. On Instagram at _kimberlysnyder. It may take me a few days, but I actually right now do go through every single comment. So I will read your comment on there. I’m listening all the time to your questions which come in for our Thursday Q&A Podcast show. Also, the upcoming app is going to be a really big way to connect with me. So I can’t wait for all of this. I can’t wait for just the journey to keep unfolding together. Sending you lots and lots of love. And I will see you back here Monday for our next interview podcast. Lots of love.