A Naturopathic Doctor (aka Naturopath) offers primary health care with an emphasis on prevention and natural methods of healing. Many expecting parents have a Naturopath on their healthcare team for guidance on safe and effective herb and supplement use, nutrition, birth preparation and more. Read on to learn Dr. Fiona Smulders’ top 5 reasons to see a Naturopath during pregnancy.
1. To manage common health concerns that come up during pregnancy
Pregnancy is an incredible and powerful time for many women. However, it can also come with some unpleasant experiences. Common health concerns that arise during pregnancy include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, water retention, constipation, heartburn, hemorrhoids, muscle cramping, pain and more.
A trained Naturopathic Doctor can offer effective natural remedies to relieve and treat these common concerns safely. For example, a Naturopath may recommend an herbal tea or supplement to relieve heartburn or offer dietary and exercise guidance to alleviate constipation. Naturopathic treatments include herbal medicine, nutrition, professional-line supplements, homeopathy, acupuncture, exercise recommendation and body work.
2. To know which natural health products are safe and beneficial during pregnancy
It can also be difficult to know which herbs and supplements are safe to take during pregnancy. Many healthcare providers recommend prenatal vitamins and folic acid for expecting mothers. Although these supplements are important, they are not the only options.
There are other evidence-based nutrients and herbs that can support a baby’s development and reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, pre-term labor and more.(1,2). A Naturopathic Doctor can safely guide you in choosing the right herbs and supplements to support a healthy pregnancy.
3. To know what to eat and what not to eat
Nutrition is foundational when it comes to supporting a healthy pregnancy. Getting enough calories and eating a balanced diet of protein, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables can influence a baby’s development and mother’s health and wellness.(3)
It is just as important to know which food and drinks to avoid during pregnancy. Avoiding undercooked/smoked seafood, meat and eggs, unpasteurized dairy, soft cheeses, alcohol and excessive caffeine is a good place to start. However, there may be other foods and drinks that could be problematic for you specifically. A Naturopathic Doctor can help guide you in choosing the right nutrition for both you and your baby’s unique nutritional needs.
4. To start and maintain healthy lifestyle habits for pregnancy and beyond
There is no better time to start healthy habits than during pregnancy. You’re riding on extra motivation knowing that the benefits are not only for you. Healthy lifestyle habits are where Naturopathic Doctors shine. They are experts in helping people optimize their nutrition, hydration, sleep, movement and mindfulness practices for a more balanced and vibrant life.
5. To prepare for birth and postpartum
Your body has an innate wisdom that knows how to give birth. A Naturopathic Doctor can support your birthing experience by suggesting certain herbs, homeopathic, movement and acupressure points to help ease labour. For example, one study based in Australia found that taking red raspberry leaf in the third trimester decreased the likelihood of preterm birth and lowered overall rates of caesarean section, forceps delivery and vacuum extraction.(4)
A Naturopathic Doctor can also recommend certain foods, herbs and nutrients that can help support lactation and speed recovery after birth, so you can focus on loving up your little one.
Learn more about Naturopathic Medicine on our services page, or book an appointment with Dr. Fiona Smulders ND to get started today.