So you just found out you are pregnant – congratulations! You likely want to do everything you can to make sure that you and your baby are on the right track. These days, it’s not uncommon to receive unsolicited pregnancy advice at almost every turn. But how do you find reliable and trustworthy information? Adding an ND on your pregnancy health care team can help you sort through those details and create a solid approach. Here’s how:
To Manage Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Early pregnancy can be a challenging time. You may feel nauseas or tired, have headaches, feel bloated or constipated, and have varying degrees of interest in eating. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I have multiple options to help with those early pregnancy symptoms. Acupuncture can be a nice way to address nausea and calm the nervous system. We have several options available to manage digestive symptoms such as constipation or loose stools, bloating, heartburn, or lack of appetite. A dietary plan can help ensure you get the nutrients you need without worsening your symptoms.
To Know What Health Products are Safe to Take While Pregnant
You might have heard that it’s good to take folic acid while you are pregnant, but what about other nutrient needs? What is the best form of folic acid and do I need a whole prenatal vitamin? How long do I need to take it? These are some of the most common questions I get regarding supplements in pregnancy. As well, many people want to avoid pharmaceutical medications in pregnancy and try something ‘natural’ instead. Unfortunately, ‘natural’ doesn’t always mean safe. A Naturopathic Doctor who is familiar with pregnancy can help you decipher what products are best for you.
To Get Answers To Your Questions
Feeling informed and empowered is incredibly important in pregnancy (and in parenting!) This is a time in your life where you will be faced with many different choices, and ensuring that you have solid, evidence-based answers to your questions is one of my favourite parts of being an ND. What does genetic testing look for? How do I protect my microbiome if I need antibiotics in pregnancy? What will it look like if I require a caesarean? While NDs don’t actually catch babies, an experienced ND can help you decipher common pregnancy concerns and prepare for your delivery in an educated way.
To Prepare for Post-Partum
Our culture in North America doesn’t do a great job of supporting women after having a baby. Typically, a perinatal care provider will see a patient until six weeks post-partum. Six weeks is still very early post-partum! Many patients can feel a little bit lost after this time. As an ND, I help families navigate these early weeks by providing well baby checks, helping with breast or bottle feeding concerns, providing nutritional support, checking on birth recovery and referring to other professionals when needed, running lab work to assess post-partum recovery, and more.
To Optimize Your Baseline Health
Your midwife or OB/GYN will often run screening bloodwork in pregnancy, but NDs usually interpret them differently. We want to make sure that nutrient levels are optimal – not just sufficient. This not only helps prevent pregnancy complications (such as ensuring you have enough iron to deliver vaginally), but it also protects against post-partum complications as well (optimizing vitamin d can protect against post-partum mood disorders).
Dr. Carley Akehurst, ND
Dr Carley Akehurst, ND is an evidence based Naturopathic Doctor living and practicing in Vancouver, BC. She has a primary practice focus on women’s and children’s health – including pregnancy, birth, and post-partum care. With over a decade of clinical experience as a Naturopathic Doctor and doula, Dr Akehurst brings a common-sense approach to healthcare. When not in practice, she can be found enjoying time with her husband and three young children. She practices at Mint Integrative Health Clinic in Vancouver.