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5 Tips for Growing a Healthy Baby

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Now it’s time to start growing your healthy baby! Growing a healthy child begins before they are born and the foundation f
May 23, 2015 | Du La

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Now it’s time to start growing your healthy baby! Growing a healthy child begins before they are born and the foundation for a healthy child is a healthy pregnancy. Here are my top five recommendations for giving your baby the best start:


Optimal nutrition during pregnancy is one of the most important elements of a healthy foundation. Nutrition is easier than you think! Eat fresh, “whole” foods (i.e., not processed and packaged foods). Whole foods have all the things you should eat more of (fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.), and none of things you’re always being told to avoid (trans fats, added sugar, salt, etc.).

Did you know? The foods you eat affect your amniotic fluid in the womb. And, as early as 16 weeks, babies start to swallow amniotic fluid, which can influence their palate later in life! Eating healthy foods (rather than over-flavoured, “junk” foods), can influence their food preferences and help them develop a preference for healthy foods as children!


Attend to cravings when pregnant as they may offer clues as to nutritional needs. During each of my pregnancies, I experienced unique food cravings. In my first pregnancy, I had a strong craving for beef, which is a major dietary source of iron and vitamin B12. In my case, iron deficiency was confirmed using blood work. In my second pregnancy, I had a distinct craving for dark chocolate. Within weeks of noticing these cravings, I started to develop leg cramps, which confirmed a magnesium deficiency.

Warning: Don’t confuse your body’s signals with a green light to eat only ice cream for nine months. Acknowledge cravings, but incorporate craved foods within a balanced, over-all healthy diet. If you’re unsure, a naturopathic doctor can help you understand the relationship between your body’s “signals” and your body’s needs.


Listen to your body, and be aware of, and respect your boundaries. If you feel tired, rest. We, certainly in the Western World, don’t value rest as we should. It is especially important during your first and third trimesters. Fatigue during the first trimester in particular is common and may be so intense, I call it “non-negotiable” fatigue. The third trimester brings more physical fatigue: the fatigue of carrying more weight and of bearing the discomfort of aching of joints; and the fatigue of disrupted sleep. Acknowledge your needs and give your body the rest it needs to carry out its biological function of growing a healthy baby.



A great way to make the most of time spent in rest or quiet is to set aside time to bond with your baby. Honour the fact that they are growing in you, that they share your thoughts and feelings and they are truly a part of you. Yoga, or guided meditations or visualizations can help you begin to form a bond.


A final, important factor in giving your baby the best start possible is to preserve your body’s ecosystem (“microbiome” to those in the know). You are about 90% “not you,” that is to say, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. This is a good thing. The population of your microbiome is essential to your/your baby’s health. Disruption of the balance of your microbiome is linked to a host of health conditions including acne, asthma, allergies, eczema, autoimmune diseases, cancer, depression, anxiety, gastric ulcers and obesity. Vaginal birth is the foundation of developing a healthy microbiome.

Support your own microbiome by avoiding undue use of antibiotics and consumption of non-organic meat (antibiotics fed to the animals are passed on to you) and plan to birth vaginally. Passage through your vagina at birth is your baby’s first inoculation with a healthy microbiome and is the foundation of its own bacterial ecosystem.


To maximize the odds that you will have success birthing vaginally, choose a birthing team that supports vaginal birthing. Use a midwife, the experts in natural childbirth and seek out the support of an experienced a doula. Research demonstrates that using the services of a doula to support you during labour and birth reduces c-section rates by 28%, among many other benefits.

Following these tips will ensure your baby is healthy in the womb, at time of birth, and for years to come. Your sweet little pea is sure to thank you, just as soon as they can form the words!

May 23, 2015 BY Du La
Kendra   •   May 25, 2015

Thanks for a great article Du. Do you have any recommendations for guided meditations or yoga. I am having trouble finding any meditations specifically for pregnant women and their is very little variety for yoga. I'm just through my first trimester and feeling like I have a bit of energy to devote to this important stuff. Thanks!


Du La   •   May 26, 2015

I would highly recommend for mediation podcasts. They have one specifically for expecting moms, Pregnancy Meditation - Connecting with your Baby. I would also recommend recordings by my friend and colleague, Shawn Gallagher, who teaches Hypnobirthing classes in Toronto. Her recording, Birth Suggestions, is a great way to prepare for labour and she has other relaxation recordings available to download from her website, In terms of yoga, if you are an experienced yoga student, I would suggest continuing your regular yoga practice and modify poses and pacing as needed. Third trimester is a great time for Prenatal Yoga since it is slower paced and more geared towards labour preparation. We will discuss all of this in more details in my workshop on June 18 so feel free to sign up. For more info, call 416 598 8898. I wish you well in your pregnancy!


Erin   •   July 28, 2015

Appreciate the helpful information! I am almost 10 weeks and finding it hard to eat as well balanced as I used to. Try to sneak in nutrients anywhere I can. I am wondering your thoughts on goji berries. I don't eat them much but I had consumed a bit. There is so much conflicting information!

Joy McCarthy   •   July 29, 2015

Natasha Motyer   •   September 2, 2015

Joy, what do you think about pregnant women having to take the certain tablets they are told by doctors to take? Is this necessary?

Kate McDonald Walker   •   September 3, 2015

Megan Gage   •   May 26, 2016

Nice to find your post. I was just looking for some helpful information about newborn baby health care and pregnancy mom health care. What do you think about how a pregnant mom can be healthy?

Heather Allen   •   May 26, 2016

everlyn   •   July 20, 2017

thanks u very much for giving us that kind of advice, it was greatfull me to hear that type of tips or main point for keeping a baby healthy.....and it teach me alot .....thank u so much.......

Rachel Molenda   •   July 21, 2017

Scott Manuel   •   March 23, 2018

Life with a new baby is a big adjustment, and it’s okay to ask for help. If you are planning to breastfeed, start learning what it entails and what support you might need to get off to a good start.

Rachel Molenda   •   March 23, 2018

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