Ljupka Peev Naturopath and Herbalist

PREGNANCY CARE

Pregnancy Care

 

Pregnancy is a very significant life stage from every perspective. A woman’s dietary needs change greatly, as does her physical body, placing demands on organs in accommodating and caring for a pregnancy. It is also a time of life change, as considerations and preparations are made for the arrival of baby.

 What can naturopathy offer?

Each woman will have her own unique experience of pregnancy. During this time, Ljupka aims to address the individual needs and ensure optimal health of mother and baby, both during the pregnancy and post-partum period. Optimising the health of the mother may also reduce health risks in the child later into life.

Some key aspects of naturopathic care during pregnancy:

Most importantly, naturopathic care must complement or positively contribute to any other forms of treatment. Ljupka brings much experience into working collaboratively with doctors, midwives and other healthcare providers to offer a comprehensive model of care (read more about Ljupka Peev).

 

Management of Symptoms of Pregnancy

Many women experience various symptoms during pregnancy that may disturb sleep, effect energy or mood, or generally cause them to feel unwell. Common symptoms include:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Heartburn or reflux
  • Difficulty falling asleep, waking through the night or waking very early
  • Leg cramps
  • Other, non-pregnancy related complaints such as colds and flus.

A naturopath has many tools that may be useful in managing symptoms, such as:

Safety of treatments is of utmost concern and it is through experience, expertise and keeping abreast of the latest evidence base that Ljupka may utilise nutritional and herbal medicine safely during pregnancy.

 

Preventative Care

Preventative care identifies any factors that put mother or baby at risk of a health condition during pregnancy, into the post-natal period and later into life. We now have a plethora of research and information to help us identify risks for health conditions and to help us reduce or prevent these. Evidence-informed strategies can help to preserve the ongoing health of mother and child. These strategies may be used to help prevent and/or treat conditions during pregnancy such as:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Allergies or atopic conditions (such as eczema or asthma) in baby

See also Preparing for pregnancy.

 

Dietary Advice

Through dietary assessment, specific and individualised dietary advice can address many important aspects of pregnancy care, including:

  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Addressing symptoms of pregnancy (such as constipation/diarrhoea, bloating, gastric reflux, heartburn)
  • Assessing risk for future illness or disease (such as gestational diabetes)
  • Maintain a healthy weight (read more below)
  • Optimising health of mother and baby.
  • See also Nutritional Medicine,

Individualised advice also means that your diet is adapted to suit your lifestyle, rather than idealised and difficult to maintain. Plenty of recipes and support are provided along the way, to help incorporate good eating for everyone in the household. See Recipes for some examples.

 

Weight Management

Regardless of which end of the scales, whether underweight, overweight or within a healthy weight range, weight management during pregnancy is important in improving the outcomes for mother and baby during pregnancy, at birth and later in life. Pregnancy itself contributes to weight gain and women are often confused as to what is considered “healthy” and how to make changes whilst maintaining the health of the baby. Common questions that can be addressed include:

  • How much weight should I gain during pregnancy to remain in a healthy range? (This will depend on your BMI before you became pregnant, as well as other factors).
  • What should I eat to achieve my healthy range while meeting baby’s need?
  • How do I maintain weight loss safely during pregnancy?
  • How do I gain extra weight without compromising my health? (The key is to gain lean muscle mass, not simply all fat).
  • What sort of exercise is safe for me to do during pregnancy? (See also Exercise-How, What, When).
  • How does all of this change after birth?

For more information, see also Nutritional Medicine and Exercise-How, What, When.

 

Stress Management

Pregnancy can be an exciting and wonderful experience, but it can also bring added stressors and considerations for the pregnancy itself and the arrival of baby. Physical symptoms of pregnancy might affect energy, which can influence mood. Symptoms might also disturb sleep, contributing to changes in mood. Insomnia may also suggest changes in stress hormone fluctuations or patterns.

There are lots of strategies available to help manage stress during pregnancy, however it manifests. With the many tools available, such as lifestyle and dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, herbal medicine, or additional counseling, Ljupka can help you assess your needs and decide on an appropriate step forward.

 

Birth Preparation

This involves preparing for the birth itself as well as for the arrival of baby and the changes this can bring.

Raspberry leaf (Rubus ideaus fol.) has a long history of use in “preparing the womb” for birth and as such women often self-prescribe this herb to try to improve their birth experience. However, the safe use of herbal medicine during pregnancy requires training and expertise and is best left to a qualified herbalist who can provide more information and advice, and, importantly, can work collaboratively with medical doctors and other healthcare practitioners involved in pregnancy care.

The arrival of a new baby will bring many challenges, particularly in the first few weeks of baby’s life. Acknowledging this immediate post-birth period and devising practical strategies will help you feel more prepared to deal with the inevitabilities like broken sleep patterns. See also Stress Management above.

 

Post-Natal Care

Herbal and nutritional medicine has lots to offer in the post-partum period, both for mother and baby. Together with a holistic approach, naturopathy can provide great support in post-natal care, including, but not limited to:

  • Supporting breast milk supply;
  • Preventing or treating breast or nipple conditions such as mastitis, nipple thrush or cracked nipples;
  • Preventing or treating constipation and/or haemarrhoids;
  • Dietary advice specific to this stage, whether breast-feeding or not;
  • Stress management;
  • Health assessment and maintenance;
  • Assessment and treatment of baby as required (e.g. colic, reflux, etc)
  • Providing lots of resources, support and strategies through this time of transition.

 

Consultations

Consultation with Ljupka is available by appointment. Please call 0488 995 474 or email ljupka@naturopathy.melbourne for appointments.

Ljupka is currently specialising in reproductive health in men and women through a Master of Reproductive Medicine. Read more about Ljupka Peev.

 

 

 

 

 

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