Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Garbh Sanskar: All About Pregnancy VIII

Become aware of all unnecessary chemicals hidden in your foods. Be a food detective. Purify your diet as much as possible, and try to enjoy natural eating. Drink more purified water than any other beverage. Cut back on artificial food substitutes. Get back to the basics of eating and exercise regularly.


Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute for foods like diet soda. Aspartame is not good for the human body and should be avoided, especially prior to trying to conceive and through pregnancy. It has been linked to infertility and birth defects through DNA damage and endocrine disruption, which leads to hormonal imbalance. If that wasn’t bad enough, aspartame consumption has been linked to a variety of other major health issues such as autoimmune disease, ADD, ADHD, hypothyroidism and the list goes on.

Aspartame is made up of three elements: phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. Does this sound like something you should be eating? I try to stick to a food rule, if I can barely pronounce an ingredient listed on the label, it probably shouldn’t be eaten.

It is absolutely vital to protect your own health, so that when you get pregnant, the health of your baby is protected as well. Think about what you are eating daily. If any of the foods you are eating list the ingredients aspartame, phenylketonurics which contains phenylalanine, avoid purchasing or consuming it.

Aspartame is everywhere. Most sugar free foods contain aspartame. Diet soda, chewing gum, sugar free jellies and jams, hot cocoa mixes, some chips, some cooking sauces, some yogurts, some drink mixes and cereals. Be a label reader prior to purchasing food at the supermarket!

Why should aspartame be avoided though? Here are 5 very important reasons we consider anything containing aspartame to be anti-fertility foods.

1. Protect Your Body from Cell Death
Aspartame is made up of two amino acids found in food we normally eat daily, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. The problem with this though is that these two amino acids are only considered natural and harmless when eaten in combination with other amino acids. When eating alone they enter the central nervous system in higher than normal concentrations. This may cause an abnormal firing of neurons and potential cell death.

Alone, phenylalanine and aspartic acid are considered excitotoxins, which stimulate the generation of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cell structures. Some free radical production is normal, for example free radicals are made during energy production. The problem though is that chemicals in our environment can also create free radicals. Overexposure to free radicals speeds up the aging process.

Aspartame is but one toxic chemical that we can avoid to protect cellular health. This is important because the ova (egg) and sperm are single cells. In fact, the entire human body is made up of about 100 trillion cells. In order to sustain health of cells, avoiding anything that creates the formation of free radicals in the body is imperative to reproductive health.

Various forms of stevia sweetener

2. Potential Damage to DNA
DNA is the genetic code within each cell. Both the ova and sperm pass this genetic code on to offspring. Research has pointed to the potential of aspartame damaging the DNA within cells.

Aspartame is temperature sensitive. When exposed to temperatures above 86 degrees fahrenheit or stored long-term, phenylalanine converts into diketopiperazine (DKP), which is a known carcinogen. On top of that, 10% of aspartame is absorbed into the blood as methanol. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that a mere 7.8 milligrams of methanol is the daily safety limit for consumption. The scary truth though is that a one-liter diet soda typically contains 56 milligrams of methanol. This is eight times the EPA suggested safety limit. When kept at cold temperatures, methanol will convert to formaldehyde. Studies have shown that formaldehyde formation resulting from aspartame ingestion accumulates in cells, then interferes with DNA replication.

3. Developing Babies are Easily Impacted
Have you ever heard of the blood-brain barrier? This is a specialized system comprised of high-density cells that restrict the passage of certain substances, like toxins, from the bloodstream. This protects the brain from harmful substances.

The blood-brain barrier is forming and incomplete in a developing baby in the womb and up to the first twelve months of life. This means aspartame can be easily passed to a developing fetus and baby through the placenta and later through breast milk. Prior to birth, the placenta concentrates the amount of amino acids passed to the fetus. This means that the levels of phenylalanine and aspartic acid in the fetal blood will be four to six times greater than the levels in the mother. These levels run the risk of potential birth defects.

Other studies have shown that infants are four times more sensitive to excitotoxins, which aspartame is.

4. Aspartame Affects Insulin Levels
So does aspartame actually help overweight people lose weight? Well we already have learned that aspartame doesn’t help a person to be healthier, so what is it doing to the body’s blood sugar levels?

Some studies point to phenylalanine and aspartic acid actually stimulating insulin release. These strong and rapid spikes in insulin remove glucose from the bloodstream and signal the body to store it as fat. The result is hypoglycemia and sugar cravings. This may cause weight gain over time.

Any quick, consistent, daily changes to insulin levels is dangerous, especially for overweight-obese people, women with PCOS or those with diabetes.

Stevia would be a much better option as a no calorie sugar substitute. Be sure the stevia you consider purchasing is pure and organic!

5. Aspartame is NOT Food

One of the most important things to consider when trying to get pregnant is what you put into your body. Each food you put in your mouth is not only making up your body, but is going to help develop your child. Even before a child exists, the egg and sperm do. What a person eats daily impacts the health of those eggs and sperm. Consuming a variety of man-made chemical additives may be damaging to the health of your body and that of your future children.

This s not suggesting anyone go out and choose to consume a ton of sugar instead, or even choose another artificial sweetener. To put this in perspective, it is probably just as damaging, to consume a cup of sugar than it is to consume a soda with aspartame. Other artificial sweeteners such as Splenda®, which is sucralose, carry their own risks and research. Find it best to consume whole foods, with natural ingredients you can pronounce.

Take care of your unborn baby.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.

Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Garbh Sanskar: All About Pregnancy VII

The most important thing you can do for your future child is to prepare your body before getting pregnant by optimizing your egg and sperm health. After all you are creating a new human life. The greatest gift you can give your child is robust health, and this gift  starts with the quality of your eggs and sperm at the time of conception.



Exposure to environmental toxins (in the form of industrial chemicals) both in utero and neonatally may dramatically affect adult fertility. Most chemicals used in everyday life do not go through the same checks medicines do. Consequently; poisonous chemicals end up circulating in our environment, food supply, air and water. The strongest evidence of heavy metals and environmental pollution adversely interfering with healthy reproductive function in women has been found for lead. Other compounds that can alter hormone function and result in adverse reproductive health effects include:

  • Ovotoxicants: can disrupt or even stop ovulation.
  • Endocrine disruptors: can interfere with hormone function and cause endometriosis and PCOS.
  • Phthalates: in plastic food containers, cling wrap, medical supplies, vinyl flooring and packaging at high levels have been associated with miscarriage and testicular toxicity. At low levels they disrupt hormonal balance.
  • VCH chemicals: used in rubber tires, plastics and pesticides.
  • PAH: released from cigarettes, car fumes and road tar

Sperm seems to be more sensitive to heavy metals and industrial pollutants than eggs. Many sperm abnormalities have been linked to these toxins. The majority of these chemicals can be found in the atmosphere, on the ground in cities and in the waterways. They have also been termed “reprotoxicants” for their negative effects on sperm development and maturation. Studies confirm male sperm counts are declining, and environmental factors, such as pesticides, exogenous estrogens (Xenoestrogens), and heavy metals may negatively impact spermatogenesis (formation of sperm).


The top 6 environmental toxins to avoid

1. Pesticides: found on non-organic fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and unfiltered tap water

2.Formaldehyde: found in air fresheners, deodorants, floor polish, upholstery cleaners

3.Bisphenols: found in plastic containers and can leach into food and water.

4.Organic solvents: petroleum based liquids found in household products, electronics, car repair, health care, photography, agriculture, printing, construction and cosmetics and many more.

5.Dry-cleaning chemicals

6.Paint fumes

Occasional exposure to one or the other toxic chemical is not of concern. What is of concern is accumulation of these chemicals over a long period and having it become one of the common causes of infertility.

2. Don’t drink unfiltered tap water

Our waterways are constantly being polluted by industrial waste and byproducts, pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides and herbicides and commercial cleaning products. There are many companies polluting the water regardless of the country you live in. Either there is no environmental law at all, or there are loop holes in the law or there is no law for the XYZ chemical getting into the water.

Heavy metals are the most common of the reprotoxins reaching our water supply through industrial waste, jet fuel exhaust residue and a variety of other sources.

Pharmaceutical drugs are commonly found in tap water. Because the drugs do not metabolize fully, small quantities are excreted via feces and urine and flushed away. Toilet water is often treated and filtered before being discharged into lakes and rivers thereby re-entering the water supply. The trouble is, many drugs are not filtered out via the regular filtration process. Minute quantities of chemotherapy drugs, contraceptive pills, antidepressants, anxiolitics, anabolic steroids, HRT (hormone replacement therapy), heart drugs etc…Have been found in tap water.


Use a dual filtration system

Buy a dual filtration water system which filters particles smaller than 1 micron (this will filter out the drugs as well as heavy metals). Use the filter in your shower and your kitchen. Shower steam contains the same chemicals which you can end up inhaling and can be absorbed through your skin.

3. Aim to eat an optimal fertility diet

In the first trimester of pregnancy your growing embryo will increase 20 million times. In the first 8 weeks your baby’s organs, hands, fingers, legs, feet, head, eyes, nose, ears etc…are being constructed. To ensure the best possible foundations are laid down during this phase, you want to make sure there are plenty of building blocks in the form of the right nutrients in the right combinations.

What does a fertility diet contain?

An optimal fertility diet is about what to avoid as much as it is about what to include. A fertility diet should be as fresh as possible and organic wherever possible. Key elements are; good quality protein sources (favor vegetable sources of protein) and good fats.

What should you eat?

  • Whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit in season, organic where possible.
  • Increase your consumption of good fats and avoid dangerous fats. Good fats include; monounsaturated fats in olive oil, polyunsaturated fats in oily fish and nuts and midchain fatty acids found in coconut oil.
  • For cooking use clarified butter (ghee) or coconut butter (without flavor) as they do not become unstable when heated.
  • For non heated oil requirements (salads etc) use cold pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil and nut oils.

4. Avoid dangerous fats

Did you know – consuming trans fats hidden in foods such as;  biscuits, lollies, candy, chocolate, chips, pies, fries, take aways and thousands of other foods may increase your risk of infertility by as much as 70%? Scientists from the Harvard University School of Public Health advise women wanting to get pregnant to avoid all trans fats. The sole purpose of adding trans fats to food is to extend its shelf life. To minimize your consumption of trans fats be diligent about reading the ingredients and avoid the most likely culprits altogether. Trans fats are mostly listed as ‘hydrogenated fat’ or ‘hardened vegetable fat’ or simply ‘vegetable fat’.

5. Minimize animal derived estrogens

Dairy products account on average for 60-70% of estrogens consumed. Humans consume milk from cows in the second half of pregnancy when cows estrogen levels are high. We usually associate dairy and drinking milk with calcium, and never think about what else we may be consuming along with the calcium (and dairy, by the way is not the best source of calcium). Here is a list of hormones which have been found in cows milk:

Prolactin, somatostatin, melatonin, oxytocin, growth hormone, lutenizing releasing hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, estrogens, progesterone, insulin, corticosteroids and many more. Do you think an excess consumption of all these hormones could disrupt your own hormonal balance?


Consumption of milk has been linked to certain cases of male infertility. Excess estrogen and pesticide exposure has been linked to PCOS and Endometriosis. Studies have found higher concentrations of pesticides in cheese than in non-organically grown fruit and vegetables. The first line of naturopathic treatment  recommend for PCOS and Endometriosis is to minimize intake of animal products. Animal products have a high content of hormones, pesticides and herbicides which are known endocrine disruptors. They play havoc with your hormones and this can lead to anovulation.

There is a common misconception that egg and sperm quality can not be improved. In fact, it is possible to improve the quality of your egg and sperm however, it takes 120 days. This is because it takes approximately 120 days for eggs to mature and sperm to develop. During the generation and maturation of gamete cells – sperm and ovum – that form an embryo, everything that you and your partner ingest, inhale or are exposed to will influence the health of your eggs and sperm for better or worse, and the ultimate quality of the genetic building blocks you pass onto your child.  

This is why it’s crucial to follow a good preconception plan for a minimum of 4 months before conception. A baby is a 50-50 product of his or her parents – therefore optimizing the quality of eggs and sperm is of paramount importance. Sperm disorders contribute to 40% of infertility cases. Woman who suffer from recurrent miscarriages often have partners with low sperm counts and visually abnormal sperm. Therefore both partners should detox (i recommend Ayurveda Panchkarma process before conception) follow a fertility diet, take preconception supplements and avoid reproductive toxins discussed in this article for minimum of 4 months before conception.

Regardless of whether you are eating organic produce and a healthy diet, you are unlikely to be getting all the nutrients your body needs for optimal fertility from your diet. This is why supplementation is important. Getting pregnant and growing a new human being with your own reserves, requires a surplus of nutrients and energy. In your body’s accounting terms, pregnancy is a luxury, a splurge of energy and nutrients. Some of the key nutrients for fertility are: zinc, selenium, magnesium, calcium, B12, B6, folic acid, vitamin C and omega 3 essential fatty acids.

You may not want to hear this, but these are common causes of infertility. Drinking coffee decreases fertility. A large study  found as little as 1 cup of coffee per day increases the risk of not conceiving by 55%. And if you have 2-3 cups per day that risk rises to 100% and continues to increase with an additional cup up to 176%. And did you know that women who drank coffee before and during pregnancy had twice the risk of miscarriage?Alcohol is harmful to men’s sperm and as little as one glass can reduce fertility by 50%!

A study tested the effects of cigarette smoking on semen quality in men and found that sperm motility (ability to propel forward) decreased in light smokers while heavy smoking produced abnormal sperm shape. Scientists have discovered that quitting smoking may increase sperm count in men who quit smoking for 5-15 months by 50% – 800% respectively.


Your level of fertility and the quality of your eggs and sperm is determined by many small but crucial factors. When combined these factors add up to the difference between fertility and infertility. Pregnancy – a creation of a new human being – requires a toxin-free internal and external environment, enormous surplus building blocks in the form of nutrients and good energy reserves.

In addition to this; specific bacteria and viruses can interfere with a growing embryo, resulting in miscarriage or birth malformations. Toxins from the environment, drugs and many commercial cleaning and body care products can disrupt your hormonal balance and lead to infertility. As such you need to be aware of those factors before you embark on this amazing journey.

You need to prepare for your pregnancy as you would for an important trip. Good preparation will not only minimize the chance of complications and heartache down the track, but will also ensure the healthiest baby possible. After all, the greatest gift you can give your child is robust health and the best of your partner and yourself. Even if your only option is IVF – at it should never be the first option dealing with common causes of infertility – it pays to optimize the quality of your eggs and sperm with a good preconception program before you undertake the procedure to maximize the success rate and prepare your body for pregnancy.

Take care of your unborn baby.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.

Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)

Garbh Sanskar: All About Pregnancy VI

“Supporting the energy of Pre-Birth Communication...You do not need to be psychic to listen to your baby (it helps), but all you need is to tune into your natural intuitive experience that asks you to be open in heart & mind.”

Most of us know that the exposure to the sun is important as it provides the body with vitamin D through the ultraviolet rays. However, such source can be  consider a main source for vitamin D as the person may need to stay for long in the sun to obtain the required intake-But pale people may have a tendency to spend a very short time in sunlight, in order to avoid sunburns.


Vitamin D can be obtained from the foods instead. With a balanced diet, rich in certain foods, the individual can obtain a moderate level of the vitamin.To reach a moderate daily intake of vitamin D means to stay for a suitable period in the sun and eat balanced foods that contain vitamin D.

Vitamin D - Fluid milk, including fat-free and low-fat milk, is typically fortified with vitamin D. Yogurt may also be fortified with vitamin D. Some calcium-fortified fruit juices and soymilk (soy beverage) also have vitamin D added.  Check the label and choose products with vitamin D.

Fortified cereals represent any type of commercial cereals that are enhanced with appropriate daily intake of vitamins; and with consuming such types of breakfast cereals you can get nearly 50% of your daily vitamin D supply. 

If you're a vitamin D seeker looking for a crunch, look no further than fortified cereals. Choose a low-calorie fortified cereal  to get part of your daily fill of vitamin D. You can pair it with fortified milk too.

Your very best starts with a diet enriched by a variety of vitamins and minerals; cereal plays a very important part in providing these nutrients.Made with the goodness of grains, cereals are nutritious. But cereal can do even more to help us maintain a well-balanced diet.

Cereals that Contain 100% of the Daily Value  of Folic Acid:Cereals are a great food choice for breakfast, snack, even dessert. Cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals to add nutrients that may be lacking in the average diet. Fortification is different than enhancement, which replaces nutrients lost during processing. The most commonly fortified ingredients are vitamins A, B, C and D and minerals like iron and calcium.

Iron: A little more about iron:

Among pregnant women, expansion of blood volume by approximately 35% and growth of the fetus, placenta, and other maternal tissues increase the demand for iron threefold in the second and third trimesters. Although menstruation ceases and iron absorption increases during pregnancy, most pregnant women who do not take iron supplements to meet increased iron requirements during pregnancy cannot maintain adequate iron stores, particularly during the second and third trimesters.


After delivery, the iron in the fetus and placenta is lost to the woman, but some of the iron in the expanded blood volume may be returned to the woman's iron stores.

Natural remedies for reflux and heartburn during pregnancy:

Heartburn is also experienced by many women during pregnancy.  Heartburn occurs when the acid in your stomach rises up into your oesophagus.  The oesophageal sphincter is like a rubber band at the top of your stomach that prevents food and stomach acids rising up. However, that rubber band doesn’t close up completely and sometime doesn’t work properly, and this results in heartburn.

The symptoms of heartburn and reflux can be managed by making changes to your diet.  A nutrition consultation can help you with:
•   which foods can trigger heartburn and should be avoided
•   the best portion sizes for reducing reflux and heartburn
•   the best times of the day to be eating to reduce the symptoms of heartburn
•   foods to eat that can alleviate the symptoms of heartburn
•   ensuring you are having an adequate intake of nutrients while avoiding certain foods

Natural remedies for constipation during pregnancy

Constipation is also quite common during pregnancy and can be very uncomfortable.  A nutrition consultation can help you with:
•   how to easily increase your fibre intake to relieve constipation
•   the amount of water you need to be having each day and how to distribute your water intake for optimal effects
•   certain foods that contain natural enzymes and fibres to promote regular bowel movements
•   what supplements are safe to take to relieve constipation during pregnancy
•   exercises that you can do to help ensure regular bowel movements


Proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits are essential for both men and women when trying to conceive. Nutritional deficiencies, oxidative stress and environmental pollutants in the diet such as pesticides, plastics and heavy metals can all undermine your chances of falling pregnant. Eating well and making some simple lifestyle changes is a safe, natural and inexpensive way to improve your fertility.

The right diet can improve your fertility by assisting ovulation in women and improving sperm count and quality in men. Not only will optimising your nutrition improve your chances of falling pregnant naturally.

It’s important to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition from at least 3 months pre-conception to give you the best foundations for a successful, healthy pregnancy.

A nutrition consultation can help you optimise your fertility by helping with:
•   ensuring your diet provides all the nutrients you need for a successful pregnancy
•   what to eat to improve your fertility and increase your chances of conception
•   what to eat and drink to reduce oxidative stress
•   which foods are potentially toxic and must be avoided
•   how to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals in foods. These chemicals, also known as xenoestrogens, can interfere with your hormones. An example is BPA (Bisphenol A).
•   managing polycystic ovarian syndrome with nutrition therapy
•   which supplements you need to take when trying to conceive

Eating for two? Then you already know the benefits of a good pregnancy diet and getting your daily quota of fruits and veggies, complex carbs, and protein. But did you also know that while your little peanut can benefit from all the healthy nutrients you're nibbling on, a baby-to-be can also be affected by anything else say: the bad stuff, that could be lurking in your food — from bacteria to chemicals? That's why when it comes to eating during pregnancy, the best rule is to err on the side of safety and stay away from foods that could  make you sick.  Besides the potentially harmful bacteria and chemicals you'll want to avoid when you're expecting, there are certain ingredients, like caffeine, that you'll want to limit. It depends -how do you figure out what's safe and what's not?

Taking care of yourself is one of the best gifts you can give that baby in your belly. But it’s hard to eat right when facing a snack attack. Healthy pregnancy snacks that are nutrient-dense to leave you satisfied, energized, and nausea-free without overloading you on fat or calories. Plus, these easy-to-make titbits deliver the good stuff your baby-to-be needs to grow.

Carrots are rich in vitamins C and A, which help develop your baby’s bones, teeth, and eyes. They’re also a great source of vitamin B6, which can boost your baby’s growing brain and nervous system. For you, they’ll help ease queasiness; and the raisins are fiber- and iron-filled, so they’re helpful with digestion and building blood cells. As for the walnuts, they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which will aid your baby’s brain and eye development while reducing your risk of postpartum depression.


Avocado Toasted Bread:

How to make it: In a small bowl, mash up half of an avocado with the juice of half a lime. Spread the mixture onto two slices of toasted whole-wheat bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Why it’s a healthy pregnancy snack: Avocados are a superfood, offering nearly 20 essential nutrients, including folic acid, which promotes brain, tissue, and nervous-system growth in your baby. Plus avocados are packed with potassium, which can prevent pregnancy leg cramps, and they’re free of sodium and cholesterol. But since avocados have fat in them (though it’s the very good kind), don’t nosh on this high-cal snack too often.

Whether you're pregnant for the first time or becoming a mama yet again, you know the main rule of caring for the bundle in your belly is caring for yourself. From how to keep morning sickness at bay to what to buy to make pregnancy as comfy as possible.


  • "Eat small meals throughout the day to keep your energy up and keep morning sickness away."
  • "Gardening is good for exercise during pregnancy and your diet because you'll have fresh vegetables at your disposal! Plus, you get the joy of watching something grow as your baby does."
  • "Take everything slow — there is no need to rush around, trying to do more than you can. And maybe read a good book to brighten your day."
  • "Get lots of support. It helps to talk and get fresh air."
  • "Go to the dentist at least once during pregnancy."
  • "Take deep breaths when something might stress you out or upset you."
  • "If you're having morning sickness, try taking your vitamins at night so you don't lose the benefits."
  • "Eat soup! It's easy on the stomach and can be loaded with veggies and other healthy foods!"
  • "sprinkle wheat germ on everything, and bake with it. Wheat germ is a good way to sneak in a few essential vitamins, especially when morning sickness is a problem."
  • "Get a good pregnancy pillow! A big pillow will stay in place much better than using two or three extra regular-sized pillows. Plus, it'll help you stay in the side sleeping position. You'll wake up feeling rested, even when you're getting up all night to pee."



The simple act of walking during pregnancy may help draw the baby down into your pelvis (thanks to gravity and the swaying of your hips). The pressure of the baby on your pelvis may then prime your cervix for labor — or may help labor progress if you've already felt some contractions. And if walking doesn't do the trick, it'll at least get you in shape for D-day (aka delivery day). Just don't walk too much and tire yourself out before the big day. You'll need all the energy you can muster to push out that baby of yours!

Take care of your unborn baby.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.

Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Garbh Sanskar: All About Pregnancy V

Optimum nutrition during pregnancy is vital to give your baby the best start in life and beyond.  Even the slightest nutrient deficiency during pregnancy can have a major effect on the health of your baby.

Sweet Potatoes : Sweet potatoes are full of nutritious fiber, vitamin B6, potassium (even more than bananas have!), vitamin C and iron, as well as copper and beta-carotene. Other foods offer many of the same nutrients, but we're singling out sweet potatoes for their beta-carotene -- an antioxidant that your body converts to vitamin A. And as you may recall, vitamin A plays an important role in the development of baby's eyes, bones and skin. Sweet potatoes are also a great way to meet your iron quota. Not only do these orange spuds contain iron, but they also have copper -- a mineral that helps your body absorb iron. So swap in sweet potatoes for your usual sides; they're great mashed or baked.


Oatmeal: Oats are filled with fiber, protein and vitamin B6.

Start your morning off right with a nice big bowl of oatmeal. Whole grains are great for keeping your energy levels up, especially if morning sickness has you feeling a bit drained. Plus, all that fiber will help with another pregnancy pleasantry: constipation. But the benefits don't just stop with mother. This convenient breakfast dish also contains protein and vitamin B6, both of which are important for baby's development. Bonus: Look for a variety that's fortified with iron, B vitamins and folic acid.

Choline is essential for normal functioning of all cells, especially those in the brain, liver, and the central nervous system. Choline works together with folic acid to promote proper nervous system (including the brain) during pregnancy, and preliminary evidence suggests that choline curbs the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida, early in pregnancy. 

Before pregnancy, you need 425 milligrams choline every day. During pregnancy, choline needs are 450 milligrams daily. If you breastfeed, get 550 milligrams every day. Don’t rely on supplements or prenatal pills. Most supply little or no choline, or contain a form that the body cannot readily use.

Many women begin pregnancy with a choline-deficient diet. Choline content is highest in animal foods, so women who avoid or limit eggs, meat, poultry, and seafood may be low in choline intake.

Here are some common foods with choline:

  • Egg: 1 large, cooked : 125 milligrams
  • Broccoli or cauliflower: 1 1/4 cups cooked: 40 milligrams
  • Potatoes, mashed, dehydrated, granules with milk, dry form Choline: 55mg 
  • Potatoes, mashed, dehydrated, flakes without milk, dry form Choline: 55mg
  • 100 g of chopped spinach contains 24.8 mg of choline
  • 100 g of cooked broccoli has 40.1 mg of choline.
  • 100 g of cooked brussel sprouts contains 40.6 mg of choline.
  • Tomato paste provides 38.5 mg of choline per 100 g.
  • 100 g of cooked green peas contains 27.5 mg of choline
  • Raspberries contain 12.3 mg of choline per 100 g of the fruit.
  • grape juice contains only 3.2 mg of choline per 100 g of fruit.
  • Blackberries have 8.6 mg of choline per 100 g, blueberries 6.1 mg, cranberries 5.4 mg, strawberries 5.7 mg and kiwis 7.7 mg.
  • 100 g of raw orange, which only has 8.4 mg of choline. Cantaloupes 7.5 mg and grapefruits 7.6 mg per 100 g of fruit.
  • figs contain the highest levels of choline at 15.9 mg per 100 g. Apricots : 13.9 mg. Plums contain 10 mg of choline per 100 g, peaches have 6.1 mg, pears have 5.1 mg, but apples have only 3.4 mg of choline per 100 g of fruit.
  • avocados contain 14.1 mg of the nutrient per 100 g of fruit. Bananas: 9.7 mg. Pineapples have 5.7 mg of choline per 100 g of fruit.
  • Navy beans - 1/2 C cooked - 48 mg
  • Tofu - 100 grams  - 28 mg
  • Almonds - sliced - 1/2 cup - 26 mg
  • Peanut butter - 2 T - 20 mg
  • 1/2 cup spinach: 240 mg
  • 1 medium potato: 105 mg
  • 1 cup cooked navy beans: 81 mg 
  • 1/4 cup pistachios: 20 mg
  • 1/4 cup cashews: 21 mg
  • Cereals, oats, instant, fortified, plain, prepared with water (boiling water added or microwaved):1.00 - cup, cooked:16.6 mg
  • Bread: whole-wheat: 2 servings:1 slice: 14.8 mg
  • Apples, raw, with skin: 1 large: 7.6 mg


The choline content in citrus fruits varies, but you would get more choline if you drink orange juice than if you eat the fruit. Frozen orange juice concentrate contains 20 mg of choline per 100 g of juice.

Some fruits also contain decent amounts of choline. Berries, particularly raspberries and blackberries, are some of the best types of fruits rich in this nutrient. Figs and apricots are considered to have high levels of choline as well. Grapes and raisins also contain small amounts of choline.

Other foods with choline include vegetables. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach contain high levels of choline, for example. Green peas, along with certain other legumes, are also considered to be rich in this nutrient.

Vegetarians can get the choline that they need from meat substitutes made from soy or tofu, which is made from soy milk. Soybeans and certain nuts are other types of foods with choline. Pistachios also have a lot of choline, as does wheat germ.

Since meat and eggs are a primary source of choline, certain vegetarians are at risk of becoming choline deficient. This is especially true for strict vegetarians who consume no animal products at all, including eggs and milk. While it is possible to get enough of this nutrient from fruits and vegetables, many vegans choose to take supplements that contain choline.

Did you know that what you eat during pregnancy can determine the health of your child into adulthood?  Research shows that a good maternal diet can help to prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity for your child later on in life?  Not only that, your diet during pregnancy can even affect the health of your child’s children… your grandchildren.

Take care of your unborn baby.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.

Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)












Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Garbh Sanskar: All About Pregnancy IV

“Women must stay connected to the body and be open to experience the energies voices that speak through physical issues, emotional tensions, and mental warnings. Preventive care begins with tuning into the BODY and listening with the HEART. Women are deeply intuitive and healing warnings are always available with courage and love to receive” 

What are some of the most important things a first time mother should focus on during pregnancy in order to prepare herself, and the baby, for a healthy lifestyle?

For the best pregnancy outcome, I recommend a mom and dad-to-be start to get their diet, lifestyle and health into good shape before conception, things I recommend are:

  1. Try to get closer to a healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight during pregnancy can set the stage for pregnancy and delivery related problems as well as potentially lifelong health issues for the baby such as: obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
  2. Take a close look at lifestyle and diet. A healthier diet for both the mom and dad-to-be can have a positive impact on fertility as well as increase the probability for a healthier baby. Start eating better at least 3 months before trying to conceive for the best outcome.  Quit smoking and avoid alcohol, and minimize direct contact with chemicals and pesticides. A very simple strategy for eating during pregnancy is to make sure half your plate is full of fruits and vegetables, choose a variety of lean proteins, opt for whole grains for most of your meals, and do not forget to incorporate 3 servings of fat-free or low fat dairy options.
  3. Begin taking a multivitamin containing 400 mcg of folic acid, as recommended. 
  4. Visit your health care provider for a check up and discuss current medical conditions and medications.


A pregnant woman will quickly see that if she starts eating for two adults, her weight gain during pregnancy may skyrocket. Remember, always follow the advice of your personal medical provider for weight gain guidelines during pregnancy. Keep your weight gain moderate to prevent having more weight to lose after delivery, and prevent you from carrying that baby weight when your baby starts school!

Nutrient-dense Meals/Snacks

  • Try carrot & bell pepper strips on the side for extra crunch. Add a cheese  and yogurt for bone building calcium for you & the baby.
  • Homemade trail mix with mixed nuts, dried fruits such as apricots (high in iron), raisins, dried cranberries & blueberries, whole grain cereal and popcorn for extra fiber. Popcorn sprinkled  lots of flavor with out too many added calories. You can make this ahead of time and keep with you for an easy, nutritious snack.
  • Fresh fruit with yogurt. Vary your fruits and cereals to prevent boredom.
  • Veggie or Soy sandwich topped with  cheddar cheese, spinach or another dark leafy green, sliced tomatoes, and onions on a whole-wheat bun. Microwave a sweet potato to go with it and top it with  handful of walnuts for another healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Mix up a salad of mixed greens, such as iron rich-spinach, beans, carrots, tomatoes and a handful of high fiber nuts. Top  with your favorite nuts – sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds, etc. Top with olive oil & vinegar. Remember to avoid soft unpasteurized cheeses during pregnancy.
  • Dry cereal – 100% whole grain with no more than 6 grams of sugar per serving, served with some walnuts or almonds.
  • Dried or fresh fruit served with low-fat yogurt.
  • Steamed and cooled soy beans with or with out soy sauce or salt (little).
  • String cheese or any small serving of cheese and fruit (either slice up something fresh or use canned fruit with no added sugar packed in its own juice).
  • Apple slices tossed with lemon juice.
  • Whole grain bread spread with nut butter and topped with banana slices and blueberries or strawberries.
  • Mineral water mixed with 100% fruit juice. You may just be thirsty, not hungry!
  • Sliced cheese and cucumbers on brown rice cakes.
  • Make your own popcorn mix: air popped popcorn with nuts and dried fruit.
  • Popcorn with cheese.
  • Glass of non fat milk, organic soymilk or almond milk.
  • Glass of the above milk of your choice blended with a banana.
  • Mixture of raisins or dried cranberries and healthy, low-sugar cereal.
  • Baked sweet potato.
  • Small serving of whole grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk.
  • Strawberries with yogurt and honey.
  • Make sure your breakfast always includes a serving of fruit! Whether it’s grabbing a banana with nuts while heading out the door, adding chopped fruit to cereal or yogurt, making a smoothie or enjoying orange slices as a side to scrambled eggs and whole grain toast. Make fruit and veggie kabobs.
  • olives and roasted peppers make a great snack, appetizer or meal accompaniment.


Highly recommended to eat during first trimester: Take higher caloric intake of breakfast cereal: The women whose caloric intake was highest also consumed a wider range of nutrients, including potassium, calcium and vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B12.

Eat a balanced diet and supplement wisely. Vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, E, B12, folic acid, selenium and zinc  in the right amounts are all beneficial to men's fertility. Women should take folic acid before trying to conceive, and during pregnancy, to lower the risk of certain birth defects.

Eat well.

  • Take your vitamins.
  • Increase your iron intake.
  • Drink whole milk.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Cut out trans fat from your diet.
  • Eat plenty of fiber.
  • Use unsaturated vegetable oils.
  • Maintain a normal BMI.
  • Eat more vegetable protein.

During the first trimester, it is generally recommended to consume an additional 150 to 200 calories per day. Steady weight gain is more important in the second and third trimesters, especially if you began your pregnancy at a normal weight. An extra 300 calories a day is typically enough to help you meet this goal.

Some ideas of how to add 300 calories into your diet are:

  • 1 small banana with 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • Half-cup trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruit
  • 12 almonds with a cup of yogurt and 1 small orange
  • Glass of non fat milk, organic soymilk or almond milk.


For women who are overweight before pregnancy, increasing daily calories by no more than 100 calories beyond the pre-pregnancy intake appears to be sufficient. Fat should be limited to less than 30 percent of calories and come in the form of “good” unsaturated fats, from sources like nuts and canola and olive oils.

Some women need more or fewer calories, depending on their individual metabolism and activity level. Gradual weight gain is ideal. There is no need to worry if you do not hit the targets mentioned above exactly. The important thing is to pay attention to your overall weight gain and to treat your body in a healthy way. 

After you know your BMI, you can classify your pre-pregnancy weight..


Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain:

Pre-pregnancy weight:Recommended weight gain

Underweight (BMI less than 18.5): about 13 to 19 kilograms

Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9): about 11 to 17 kilograms

Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9): about 7 to 11 kilograms

Obese (BMI 30 or more): about 5 to 9 kilograms

If you're carrying twins or other multiples, you'll likely need to gain more weight.

Take care of your unborn baby.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.

Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garbh Sanskar: All About Pregnancy III

“When did you last meditate into the feminine body of being? Let yourself be in a practice of body awareness. To bring attention to the spiritual heart and flow into the lower body of the womb and reproductive organs of life. Let awareness guide YOU into healing the womb for conception, in pregnancy, postpartum, motherhood, and into the wise sage”.

Women today may have a harder time getting pregnant than ever before. This could be because women are now waiting longer to have children; or it could be a result of the increase in environmental toxins, consumption of processed foods, celiac disease, and obesity, not to mention the constant pressure of the always-on digital world in which we live. In all likelihood, women are struggling to conceive due to the confluence of all of these factors.


Recently,  awareness about our health and physical  body’s needs is surfacing and people are now stopping to take the time to make sure the foods they are consuming are of no harm to them, and even catching up with nutrients that might be lacking from their diet. What many of these people over look are nutrients like Omega-3, which aids in maintaining healthy heart and brain functions; magnesium, which helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve functions, keeps bones strong, promotes a regulatory blood pressure, and supports a healthy immune system; and iron, which many people around the world are deficient of and have a hard time correctly stabilizing their intake.

Start taking prenatal vitamins at least two months before conception. The birth defects of the spine and brain can occur if the mother does not get sufficient folic acid during the first few weeks of her pregnancy.

One of the best ways to boost fertility and have a healthy pregnancy is to make careful food choices. Nothing is more intimate than to swallow something and then digest it so that it becomes part of you. Yet most of us give little thought to what we eat. In today’s fast paced lifestyle it’s critical that we also find tips that are practical so that people can incorporate healthy changes with less effort. That’s why when a good study comes along, I feel compelled to share it.

Last week a study was presented at the American Chemical Society that revealed the potential health benefits of popcorn. Researchers found that popcorn contains more concentrated healthy antioxidants. Whole grains contain a group of chemicals called polyphenols which are able to capture free radicals and therefore protect your DNA and the proteins in your body from damage. More noteworthy, since these polyphenols are not soluble in water, they are more concentrated in dehydrated foods like uncooked popcorn so you get more of them with fewer calories. These are the same chemicals that make wine, tea and chocolate of interest to healthy conscious foodies.

What prompted researchers to investigate popcorn is that now that we know grains contain high concentrations of healthy chemicals and dietary fiber. In fact, popcorn is a completely unprocessed whole grain. As a result, one serving provides people with more than 70% of the minimal recommended daily intake. That’s more than most people  get on a daily basis! So that’s another health benefit of this easy to find snack.

It is important to pay attention to how popcorn is prepared since that can be its downfall from the wellness promotion aspects. Using too much oil or covering it with the unhealthy fake butter—a.k.a. “movie theatre style”—are the worst ways to prepare a serving of popcorn. Air popped popcorn is best since it is lowest in calories. Microwave popcorn often contains unhealthy trans fats as well as more calories. A healthy compromise is to cook popcorn on the stove in healthy canola/olive oil blend; about half the calories and the addition of some healthy omega-3. Enjoy



Popcorn naturally contains beneficial amounts of L-arginine, an amino acid needed for healthy sperm production. As research shows, increased consumption of L-arginine appears to improve sperm count and quality in men with slightly impaired fertility. Plus, air-popped popcorn contains no sodium or sugar, is naturally high in fiber and low in calories and fat, making it a sound snack option for anyone.

Bell Peppers

Picking a bell pepper for your next meal can give you folate (important for sperm production and preventing early pregnancy birth defects), fertility-boosting B vitamins, beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), and vitamin C, another antioxidant vitamin that may help prevent DNA damage in reproductive cells. Some research shows that vitamin C intake could help clomiphene fertility drugs work more efficiently.

Olive Oil

Studies have shown that eating too many trans fats, those unhealthy "bad fats" found in hydrogenated oils, may put women at greater risk for ovulatory fertility disorders. The best way to avoid the trans-fat trap? Switch to olive oil. Free of trans fats, olive oil is a rich source for monounsaturated fatty acids, which are not only good for your heart and cholesterol levels, but also help you maintain a balanced and healthy endocrine system.


Studies have found that eating protein from plant sources, like beans and peanuts, is associated with increased fertility in women, as opposed to women who get their protein solely from other sources. Plus, beans are also high in iron and B vitamins, other nutrients that are helpful for fertility.



Crunch your way to conception success! Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables—cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts—contains some natural compound that  believe helps to balance the body's estrogen levels and improve fertility.


Rich in antioxidants, iron, vitamin E, folic acid, and other B vitamins, just one serving a spinach provides your body with so many of the key nutrients you need for a healthy reproductive system. Layer spinach leaves in sandwiches, eat it steamed, or blend a handful of spinach in with your next smoothie. It could be your fertility superfood?

You may miss the most fertile time if you time intercourse to occur just after your day of egg release. The egg can live in the reproductive tract for about 36 hours. Sperm can live there for up to five days. "If you have intercourse for the five days preceding and on your day of ovulation, you maximize your chances of conceiving because the sperm are physically near the egg as it's being released."

Women attempting pregnancy need to take a multivitamin with folic acid, which is crucial to the normal development of the baby's spine. Ideally, start taking the recommended amount of folic acid—.4 milligrams (mg)—three months before trying to get pregnant.

Green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals are common dietary sources of folic acid. During preconception and pregnancy, eat a common sense diet—well-balanced with lots of fruits and vegetables. Avoid fast foods, snack foods, and refined sugars. Also, if you're undergoing fertility treatments, research has found that a Mediterranean diet may boost your chances of getting pregnant.

You can’t eat your way to getting pregnant, but maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy weight can make a difference. Both obese and underweight women take longer to conceive. Obesity is associated with menstrual dysfunction, decreased fertility and increased risk of miscarriage. In men, obesity is associated with abnormal semen parameters and may also adversely affect fertility.

A body weight above or below average can affect fertility. A large study looking at more that 2,000 pregnant women established that time to pregnancy was 4 times longer for underweight women (BMI<19 kg/m2) and 2 times longer for overweight women (BMI>25 kg/m2) in comparison to women with a normal weight.

It's important to get enough sleep when you're trying to conceive. Most sleep experts agree that seven to eight hours of sleep each night is a good target for the average adult. If you are falling short of this recommendation, try setting up a bedtime routine that includes a warm bath before bed and some downtime, like reading or journaling, rather than watching television.

Researchers found that men taking antioxidant supplements were more than four times more likely to get their partners pregnant than men who did not take antioxidants. Over all, antioxidants were associated with more than a five-fold higher rate of live births.

And don't forget to eat your veggies! The easiest way to get a heaping serving of antioxidants at every meal is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, foods that are rich in vitamins C and E and other naturally-occurring antioxidant compounds.


In women, researchers found that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D helps to balance sex hormones and regulate ovulation by increasing levels of progesterone and estrogen. In men with low levels of vitamin D, taking in more of the nutrient increased sperm count and improved sperm quality and testosterone levels.

Zinc. High levels of zinc are found in the testes and prostate, and providing infertile men with zinc has been shown to improve their sperm count and motility, according to research. Zinc is also found in  poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C's antioxidant properties can protect the sperm's DNA. However- suggest not to exceed the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamin C, as large doses of it have been implicated in fertility problems for both men and women. Examples of foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, potatoes (with skin), strawberries etc.

Take care of your unborn baby.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.

Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Garbh Sanskar: All About Pregnancy II

You are the earth.....
You are brave...
You are lovely...
You are delicate...
You are all of life...
You are limitless...
You are.......Woman

Keeping a healthy lifestyle throughout pregnancy, as well as before and after, is key for both baby and mother. Important steps to a healthy pregnancy includes……

Long Walk: Take long walks, which helps to keep weight gain under control, increases and maintains muscle mass, and offsets stress and boredom. It also looks like  2,500 calories a day: right on target.

improve with portion sizes: Lets intake of whole grains, fruits, and veggies max as possible.


How to cut down weight gain during pregnancy:

  • Keep a daily food diary to monitor calories.
  • Weigh your regular portions for one week. This can be a real eye-opener, especially when you count up all those calories.
  • It's easy to overdo it with pasta. Try halving your normal serving and mixing in loads of veggies. You'll be eating the same amount of food while boosting your intake of vegetables.
  • Take a smaller serving first. If you're still hungry, go back for seconds.
  • Trick your eye — and stomach — by eating from a smaller plates

Eating regularly: Eat six or so small meals a day, but she need to make healthier choices. In general, eating balanced meals with a decent carb-protein-fat ratio is good one. It will boost your meal D, A, and E, plus folic acid, fiber, iron, manganese, and selenium.

Let you remind once again….

A balanced diet for pregnant woman:

  • Whole grains: Breads, cereals, pastas and brown rice.
  • Fruits: All types of fruits, fresh, frozen or canned without added sugar.
  • Vegetables: Eat a variety of colorful vegetables, fresh, frozen or canned with no added salt.
  • Lean protein: Choose protein from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and peas, peanut butter, tofu and nuts.
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy: Milk, cheese and yogurt.
  • Healthful fats: Vegetable oils including canola, corn, peanut and olive oil are good choices.


Keep target at  least two cups of fruit and two cups of veggies a day.

  • Eat a whole orange instead of a glass of juice. It has fewer calories and more fiber.
  • Grated carrots, spinach, chopped tomatoes, avocado, and sliced red peppers are great in sandwiches and wraps.
  • Instead of white potatoes, eat sweet potatoes, which are high in fiber and vitamin A. 
  • Eat a cooked or raw fruit or vegetable at every lunch and dinner.
  • Keep fresh berries, cut-up melon, and other fruit on hand for snacking.
  • A handful of raisins, dried cranberries, or cherries often does the trick.  
  • Add berries or peaches in low-fat frozen yogurt.
  • A fruit smoothie is a perfect mid afternoon snack: Just blend a cup of fruit with a cup of milk or yogurt. Sweeten to taste with honey or sugar.

Whole grains contain fiber to help the digestive tract work smoothly, plus provide antioxidants and minerals — iron, manganese, and vitamin E — that are hard to find in other foods. Try to reach a goal of three varieties a day in these simple ways:

Choose whole-grain pasta and brown rice.

Choose whole-grain cereal for a quick morning meal or an afternoon snack.

Eat a healthy diet while you're pregnant and ask your doctor/GYN to help you set up an exercise program that's right for you. Eating for two doesn't mean eating twice as much as you usually do. In fact, you don't need any extra calories in your first trimester. You need only 350 extra calories a day in your second trimester, and 450 extra calories daily in your third trimester.

Almost all pregnant women need to get more protein, more of certain vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and iron and more calories (for energy). If your diet is poor to begin with, making a habit to eating nutritious meals is one of the best things you can do for your baby's health.

Our body becomes more efficient during pregnancy and is able to absorb more of the nutrients you eat. So consuming twice as much doesn't double your chances of having a healthy baby – instead, it's likely to mean excessive weight gain for you, which can put you at risk for pregnancy complications.


Write as you eat. Don't depend on your memory at the end of the day at  the end of the week.
Write it all down. Keep the diary in your bag and write down everything you eat or drink. Those "little eats" are easiest to forget, but they can have a big impact on health.
Be specific. Indicate whether there's mayo on your bread, cheese on your burger, or crackers in your soup.
Be honest. No one's judging you on this — it's for your eyes only — so don't worry about trying to look like a  healthier eater.

Avoid extra calories from added sugar and fats, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Cut down on foods like regular soda, sweets and fried snacks.

Experts now believe that it's the growing baby who suffers if the mother's diet is lacking. Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy is thought to have lifelong effects on a baby's health.

Learn more about how to avoid listeriosis, a food-borne illness that's particularly dangerous during pregnancy. Listeria can infect the placenta, the amniotic fluid, and the baby, and can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. Infected babies who survive are likely to be born prematurely. Many will be born severely ill or get sick soon after birth, with problems that can include blood infection, difficulty breathing, fever, skin sores, lesions on multiple organs, and central nervous system infections such as meningitis. Because Listeria contamination can also occur after food has already been cooked or processed, and the bacteria can survive – and, unlike many bacteria, continue to grow – in the refrigerator, heat all previously cooked leftovers to 165 degrees F or until they're steaming hot. Don't eat soft cheese.

Consume perishable and ready-to-eat food as soon as possible after you buy it, especially once you've opened it – even if it hasn't yet passed the "use by" date. This date refers to unopened products.

Remember that a cold fridge is helpful but not fool-proof: Listeria is a hardy organism that can survive and even continue to grow in cold temperatures. That's why you should always heat leftovers and precooked ready-to-eat food until they're steaming hot. It's also why it's a good idea to clean your refrigerator regularly.

If you have trouble swallowing your vitamins or keeping them down, search for a chewable supplement or one in a powdered form that you can mix with water. Keep in mind, too, that more isn't always better: Don't take mega doses of any vitamin or mineral or any individual vitamin or herbal supplements without medical supervision – they could be harmful to your developing baby.

Important: Your baby's health and growth is directly related to what you eat before and during your pregnancy. What you eat is important. And when you're tempted to overdo it, remember that you're eating for a baby, not another full-size adult. Choose quality over quantity!

Take care of your unborn baby.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.

Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)