Thursday, July 18, 2013

Garbh Sanskar: All About Pregnancy

Eat more complex carbs and limit highly processed ones before conception for better fertility.

Your body digests bad carbs (like cookies, cakes, white bread and white rice) quickly, and turns them into blood sugar. To drive down the blood-sugar spike, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream.

Good carbs (those containing fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains) are digested slowly and have a more gradual effect on blood sugar and insulin. Studies have found that high insulin levels appear to inhibit ovulation.

Food is not only fuel to burn but also sometimes the source of basic chemicals to make hormones and various other necessary chemicals for healthy living. When these building materials are oils, they are called essential fatty acids. What makes them essential is that you’re not able to make them so you have to consume them as food. Of the 20 edible fats, only omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential building blocks for our physiology.

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The health risks associated with today’s imbalance in the dietary intake of essential fats sets us up for problems including heart disease, exacerbation of inflammation and even pregnancy implantation failure. During pregnancy, these vital omega-3 fats are needed by the developing child for healthy brain and eye development. There is even evidence that they can reduce the risk of preterm birth.

When couples are having difficulty conceiving, studies show that at least one-third of the time, there is a contributing male factor.For couples that already know that they are dealing with a sperm problem, there are very few good recommendations on what they can do at home to improve their outcome; until now. Dietary fats can impact pregnancy outcome  in women. More recent data has even helped differentiate that some fats can improve fertility.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are critical for sperm function and production. These fats are necessary to make healthy sperm as well to optimize their ability to swim. They are called essential fatty acids because you need to consume them in the foods that you eat so that your body can use them to manufacture hormones and other substances. Unfortunately, the typical foods that most of us consume don’t contain them. Instead, many of us eat foods that contain unhealthy fats; a situation that worsens the imbalance between good fats and bad fats.

Now that we know male fertility is improved with Polyunsaturated fatty acids, the challenge is getting men to change their diet or take a supplement. Nutritionists have been encouraging men to increase their consumption of fish, flax seed and other foods with healthy oils but only with limited success. Now a group of researchers has found a practical solution. They had a group of men begin eating 75 grams of walnuts per day. After only 12 weeks they demonstrated an improvement in sperm count, better sperm motility and increased sperm vitality. Better still, they did not experience any increase in body weight or body mass index proving that this recommendation is practical with no identifiable drawbacks. In fact, eating walnuts has also been shown to be heart healthy and may reduce the risk of prostate problems [ as well. So, it’s time for men to “go (Wal)nuts!”

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The most natural way to boost your intake of these healthy omega-3 fatty acids is to boost your consumption of the fish that naturally produce them. For vegetarian’s like myself you can increase your intake of healthy plant sources in order to get your daily recommendation  of omega-3 per day; for instance, flax seed oil (1/2 tsp), canola oil (1 tbsp) or soybean oil (1 tbsp + 1 tsp). At the same time, you should also consider reducing your use of oils with high levels of the omega-6 like sunflower oil, corn oil and cottonseed oil.

Canola Oil:Fats are made of smaller units called fatty acids.Canola oil is low in saturated fatty acids. In fact, it is lower in saturated fat than any vegetable oil found in supermarkets today.Fats and oils like canola oil aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Canola oil also contains Vitamin E and K. Vitamin E is an antioxidizing agent and may be a valuable tool in fighting cancer and heart disease. Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting.

Nutrition Information of Canola Oil

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Unsaturated Fats

Avoid all trans fats and eat more healthy unsaturated fats.

Trans fats (found primarily in foods such as commercial baked and snack foods, animal products, french fries and some margarines) increase insulin resistance.

Insulin helps move glucose from the bloodstream to the cells; resistance means it's harder to move glucose into the cells. The pancreas keeps pumping out more insulin anyway, and the result is more insulin in your bloodstream. High insulin levels cause a lot of metabolic disturbances that affect ovulation.

Protein

Get more protein from plant foods like beans and less from red meat. Plant protein (from beans, nuts, seeds and tofu) comes with healthy fats and is relatively low in calories and can be helpful for weight loss.

Consume one or two servings a day of whole milk or other full-fat dairy foods, such as yogurt, and less non- and low-fat dairy. “We found that the more low-fat dairy products in a woman's diet, the more trouble she had getting pregnant,. The more full-fat dairy products she ate, the less likely she was to have trouble.

Take a daily multivitamin that contains at least 400 micrograms of folic acid and 40 to 80 milligrams of iron. Women who took daily multivitamins containing 400 micrograms of folic acid were 40 percent less likely to experience ovulatory infertility over the eight years than women who didn't.

Folic Acid: If you are trying to get pregnant, it is vital that you begin taking folic acid as soon as possible. Most GYNs recommend that you take 400 mcg to 800 mcg of folic acid a day before you conceive since most women are a month into their pregnancy before the pregnancy can be confirmed. Once you conceive, you can increase your folic acid intake to 1 mg a day. So if you plan to become a mom in the near future. It is a good idea to start taking a high-quality folic acid supplement right away.

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Caffeine

Drink coffee, tea in moderation, and avoid sugary drinks entirely. One to two or several cups of coffee or tea a day had little effect on ovulation problems.

Fertility Weight

Keep your weight in the "fertility zone:" a BMI of 18.5 to 24.

Being too thin (a body mass index of less than 18.5) or overweight (a BMI of 25 or more) can affect your fertility and your baby's health. 

When should you begin taking a prenatal vitamin?
Start three months before you begin trying to get pregnant, if possible. “The egg starts maturing about three months before it’s released, and it’s critical that the proper nutrients are present during the earliest stages,”.

“Neural-tube defects [such as spina bifida] happen in the first four to six weeks of pregnancy,”. If you think you’re pregnant and are not taking a supplement, don’t wait until your first appointment for a prescription because you will have missed this crucial developmental period. Start taking an over-the-counter folic acid supplement with 600 micrograms right away.

Which vitamins and minerals are most important and why?
 “The three most important nutrients, based on very good research, are folic acid, iron and calcium,”. Folic acid helps prevent neural-tube defects; iron is important for the delivery of oxygen to the baby and prevents anemia in the mom; and calcium helps build your baby’s bones and prevents bone loss in the mother.

Are all prenatal vitamins pretty much the same?
No. Prescription vitamins are not required to contain certain nutrients. “There are many different formulations available, with different concentrations of each nutrient,”. Some have a little of everything; others contain only a handful of nutrients. If you have special health considerations, your GYN may suggest a supplement with added nutrients to meet your needs.

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Important: A recent study found lowering dietary fat intake can reduce a woman’s risk of developing gestational diabetes. They were tracking the diet and lifestyle habits of 13,000 women that were between 22 and 45 years of age. They found about 6% of women developed gestational diabetes. However upon analysis they found that women eating more foods that were high in animal fats had double the risk of developing this problem compared to women on a low fat diet. When they performed a more detailed nutritional analysis, they found that dietary cholesterol and animal fats were the only foods consistently associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes. So carbohydrates (sugars) did not create any measurable impact. Exercise was found to reduce the risk of diabetes but not enough to offset the effects of a high fat diet. They concluded that reducing the consumption of animal fat by as little as 5% while trying to become pregnant –even if replacing it with plant derived fats—measurably reduces a woman’s risk of diabetes during pregnancy.

Higher pre pregnancy intakes of animal fat and cholesterol were associated with elevated gestational diabetes risk.

Take care of your unborn baby.

Disclaimer
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)
www.ayurvedapanchkarma.in

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