Kat Keogh, the leading fertility and prenatal nutritionist spokesperson behind respected prenatal supplement brand, Ovitae, is urging every expectant COVID parent not rush back into the swing of their busy pre-pandemic lives and to take things easy.
“The increase in down time at home with our loved ones over lockdown is the very reason a lot of our upcoming parents are booking in their ultrasounds and picking out strollers today. Life in the COVID-19 pandemic saw a spike in the sex lives of Australian couples that went on to conceive what are now being labelled the COVID baby boom generation,” Keogh said.
“Life in lockdown saw everyone take a step back from the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day routines. 6am HIIT classes, back-to-back meetings, and dinner and drinks in the city quickly turned into snuggly sleep-ins, Zoom calls and take-out on the couch. While it is exciting to see our lives return to ‘normal’, I encourage impending parents to take it one step at a time, rather than just diving straight back into the deep end.
“Building back up to our pre-COVID lives will undoubtedly put stress on our bodies. While someone who is not growing another human life may bounce back with more ease, someone who is pregnant needs to take things more slowly.”
Keogh believes it is inevitable, even if we try to resist, that our lives are naturally going to become busier as our workplaces open up, friends book in postponed weddings and other significant events, and family travel to visit. It is important that expecting parents, or couples trying to conceive, implement stress reducing activities and lifestyle choices that reflect a healthier, more balanced routine during this time.
Keogh has collated a number of simple tips for growing families to introduce in order to best support themselves and their little one during the transition out of our slower paced year.
Boost your kilojoules
“Pregnancy is a demanding time for the body, however, you will only need a little more energy each day, compared with before pregnancy. It’s normal and healthy to gain weight during pregnancy; the amount that’s healthy for you will depend on your weight before falling pregnant and in line with your doctors recommendations,” Keogh explained.
According to Keogh, fuelling your changing body with the nutrients that will best support the mother and baby are vital to feel and develop best during pregnancy. The following nutrient needs increase during pregnancy: protein, iron, iodine, folate, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and vitamin K2.
Add more variety into your meals
According to Keogh, good nutrition during pregnancy is more about the quality of food eaten than the quantity. Choosing a wide variety of foods from each food group will help to meet extra nutritional demands.
“Diet is unfortunately one of the first things that fly out the window as people get busy. Nutritious home cooked meals are out, and takeout is in. While it is easy to cave into your high fat and sugar content cheat meals when you’re under the pump, eating more nutritionally dense meals is a must during pregnancy to support the baby’s development and the mother’s mental and physical health,” Keogh added.
Keogh recommends eating more of the following during pregnancy:
Lean meat, chicken, fish, non-meat alternatives and hard cooked eggs.
Nuts and seeds.
Reduced-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt.
Green leafy vegetables.
Remove risky foods from your diet
“Getting the nutrients your body and baby needs is important, but there are also some foods you’re best to avoid while pregnant. Cut out all foods with an increased likelihood of containing listeria bacteria, such as soft cheeses, cold and processed meats, raw eggs and pre-prepared salads, particularly those with bean sprouts,” Keogh emphasised.
According to Keogh, it is also important to be aware of the type of fish you’re eating while pregnant. Seafood that’s high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish and mackerel, is best avoided, and if you do eat it, try to do so sparingly.
Take extra care of oral health
“Something a lot of expecting parents do not know is that during pregnancy hormonal changes can make your gums more easily irritated and inflamed. Even as your pre-COVID lifestyle creeps up, pregnancy is certainly not the time to slack on your good dental hygiene habits,” Keogh said.
Keep in tune with your body
“While regular life doesn’t stop while you’re pregnant, it’s a good idea to be gentle to yourself throughout your pregnancy. It’s important to stay active and exercise regularly, but you should listen to your body and indulge in more rest and sleep than usual if that’s what you need,” Keogh continued.
Take quality pre-conception supplements
According to Keogh, eating a balanced diet and staying active throughout your pregnancy will help to keep you and your baby healthy, however it’s often challenging to meet the expanded nutritional needs of pregnancy with diet alone.
“As your body adjusts to growing a baby, your recommended dietary nutrient intake increases dramatically – particularly in the second and third trimesters. Ovitae contains 25 essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that supports the optimal nutritional environment to support healthy pregnancy,” Keogh emphasised.
“Optimal nutrition, prior to conception and during pregnancy and breastfeeding, is crucial to your future baby’s wellbeing. The supplements you take will directly impact your baby’s physical and mental development, as well as their susceptibility for chronic disease and even their lifespan.”
Ovitae Global Health is the company behind Australia’s most complete prenatal supplement – Ovitae Pre-Conception Support. Endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives, Ovitae leverages the latest science to create products that promote the optimum nutritional state for the mother and baby throughout conception and pregnancy. With unique blend of 25 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, Ovitae Pre-Conception Support is far superior to anything in the marketplace currently.