Thursday, April 14, 2011

4 Natural (& Really Nice!) Ways to Prepare for Pregnancy

Growing a baby is a big job, no question. And like all big jobs, planning and preparation make a huge difference to the outcome. That’s true whether you’re having difficulty conceiving a child and are trying to increase your chances or whether you’re simply committed to providing the best and cleanest living and growing environment possible. Pregnancy preparation is important. Physically, mentally and spiritually.

There’s already more than enough written about the pre-pregnancy diet: what foods to avoid and what you should choose to eat. There’s a lot written about yoga and exercise to prepare a lean, strong, supple and flexible body that will manage the challenges of pregnancy and birth. There’s even a little bit out there written about colon cleansing pre-pregnancy to help detox your body.

So, are many women actively preparing pre-conception as a result? Sadly, apart from throwing away their contraceptives and any lingering dreams they may have had of extensive global travel, wealth and loads of personal “me” time, not really. Why? Many women simply feel it’s too hard, too challenging, “too much” and not achievable or enjoyable in the space of their stressed and busy lives.

Preparing for pregnancy doesn’t have to be onerous or difficult. Sensibly reducing your toxin load diet-wise, adding some super foods each day and starting to practice some simple yoga stretches is manageable for even the busiest woman. But did you know preparing for pregnancy can even be downright pleasurable, relaxing and fun? Smiling yet?

We learn two basic facts in high school science when we are about 13 years old, and then promptly seem to forget or sidestep this knowledge for most of the rest of our lives. (i) everything in the body works better when blood, lymph and energy are moved and stimulated and (ii) our skin is by far our largest detoxing organ.

How can we use those two simple facts to help prepare well (and enjoyably!) for pregnancy?

1. Regular therapeutic massage during your pregnancy preparation phase will have a noticeable effect on your overall health. Ask for a Thai massage, a hot Thai Herbal Massage Ball treatment or a real detoxing/lymphatic stimulating massage rather than a few touchy-feely strokes with a bit of oil. Try to breathe with the therapist during the massage and visualize your body shifting and releasing all that it does not need. Ask your therapist to use only a natural plant-based oil to make sure no extra petrochemicals find their way into your bloodstream at the time you least want them.

2. Indulge in a herbal steam. Actually, any steam or sauna treatment that encourages sweating and the release of toxins through the skin is good. A steam treatment is less harsh and drying for your skin than a sauna, and a herbal steam simply adds the benefit of healing and detoxing herbs in the most pleasurable way. Try to steam before and after your massage for optimal benefit.

3. Use herbal clays, scrubs and oils to encourage the release of toxins through your skin. The more that is released through the skin, the easier the job for your liver, kidneys and other organs to help cleanse your blood. Clean blood and clean organs mean optimal hormone function in the body, which is exactly what you want for conception and pregnancy.

4. And finally, nourish your skin from the outside with plant-based oils to ensure optimal moisture, resilience and elasticity before it becomes weight bearing. Preventing stretch marks is way, way smarter than trying to heal and repair them later when the damage has been done.

So, how does that look in summary? Massages, herbal steams, natural skin treatments and loads of plant-based nourishing oils. Are you smiling yet? Yes, all pleasurable and good for you and your new baby.

How long would I recommend you prepare pre-pregancy? I would say 9-12 months is optimal, but even

3 months can be beneficial. The better shape you are in before conception, the easier and more pleasurable the process will be.

Be well, relax and focus on enjoyable and positive pregnancy preparation – a smiling pregnant mom transmits important “happy hormones” to a baby that encourage optimal growth and development. So it really is true: what’s good and enjoyable for you is good and positive for your baby.

Enjoy the journey of creating a new life – a truly magical and wondrous adventure.

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