extra help. In these instances, I believe it is of extra importance that the substances a woman puts into her body are as natural as possible, minimising the chance of side effects on the baby. Remember, you may be sick, and whilst your baby may be feeling the effects of your sickness, he may not need that same cure or in anything like the same strength.
An issue of growing importance at present is how and whether many of the common pharmaceutical drugs cross the placenta, and what effects, if any, they might have upon a baby. There are now databases being set up to gather more conclusive evidence from women who are regularly taking drugs during pregnancy. The more this research continues, the more we are seeing health warnings for pregnant and breastfeeding women appearing on the packaging of so many medicines. So be careful when using all drugs during pregnancy. If in doubt, get several qualified opinions from different allopathic and / or naturopathic practitioners before taking any strong medicines.
I have cautioned about becoming overly involved in the usual medical model for pregnancy, which we all know is extremely efficient at managing the physical symptoms of disease, but which all too often tends to ignore the base causes of ill health, and also underplays
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the psycho / spiritual elements of being. In my opinion, the natural therapies score much higher in these regards. Most natural therapists are trained to look more holistically at their patients, and to prescribe remedies which are gentler on the system and which have fewer side effects. Naturopathy, herbalism, homeopathy, acupunc-ture, osteopathy and massage of many kinds are the things to try first. Yoga marries well with such therapies and is often recommended by alternative therapists as an adjunct to their own treatments.
These days, some of the orthodox medical practitioners are utilising natural therapies in their practices as well as conventional methods, and this is now called “complementary” or “integrative” medicine. These practitioners have all the usual medical knowledge about pregnancy and the usual medical prescriptive options, and as well, they have qualifications in one or more of the natural therapies. These sorts of doctors usually look more holistically for a solution to the common illnesses, and usually assist pregnant women with the “softer”, alternative types of medicine. If you do need to engage a doctor in helping to manage your pregnancy or due to an illness during it, I believe one who practices complementary medicine is the best way to go.
The importance of a proper diet during pregnancy cannot be underestimated. It is immensely important that your body has all the necessary chemical elements, strength and stamina to make it through pregnancy and birth good health. Your health and development during pregnancy is in fact one and the same as the child’s. There is much research now showing evidence that poor diet during pregnancy can have lifelong consequences on the physical and mental health of your child(14).
The general issue of what is a balanced diet is dealt with fully in Chapter 8, such that if any woman ate a well balanced, broad-based, wholefoods, vegetarian diet for more than a year before conception, all throughout pregnancy and for the duration of her mothering life, no further discussion would be needed on this topic at all! I make this claim, and know this to be a fact, having been vegetarian myself for over 10 years now, in which time I have conceived, carried, borne and breastfed 3 children, along with having brought up a total of 5 kids now between the ages 4 and 14, who are some of the healthiest and fittest children in their schools and local community. We have never in that time taken any kind of dietary supplements, herbal remedies, nor have I needed to pay special attention to any particular pregnancy or motherhood dietary needs. In times of the odd illness such as tummy bugs or upper respiratory congestion, my family has used a combination of yoga methods, rest and food-based healing.