Balance – Pregnancy / Breastfeeding
For most women, discovering that they are pregnant is cause for great joy. Nevertheless, pregnancy poses an extraordinary challenge for the female body. Women are often told that, "Now you have to eat for two!" To a certain extent, it is true. However, it is not the amount of food of food consumed which matters, but the quality and the nutritional value of the food.
Nowadays, the medical community is in absolute agreement that pregnant women require an increased daily amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids promote the development and synthesis of cell membranes and play a major role in the development of the embryo’s brain and visual system.
An increased omega-3 intake is also important for the mother’s health and mood. It is suspected that the ‘baby blues’ (postpartum depression), which are extremely common in Central Europe, are caused by a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. The mother’s body sets clear priorities during pregnancy and compensates the lack of nutrients, for example omega-3 fatty acids, by making the any potential nutrients supplied available to the developing fetus first. If the mother’s diet is lacking in some way, the nutrients from her body are exhausted in order to nourish the baby.
A varied, balanced diet which supplies all the essential nutrients is the foundation for the development of the child and as well as for the well-being of the expectant mother. After birth, breastfeeding provides the infant with all essential nutrients it needs in optimal composition. A study carried out in Spain concluded that breastfeeding reduces the risk of infectious diseases in children under one year by 30 to 56%. *
The daily caloric needs of the mother increases in breastfeeding by about 500 kcal. To compensate for this energy consuming, yet incredibly fulfilling task, the mother must receive a sufficient daily amount of high quality, polyunsaturated fatty acids to ensure that both she and the child can thrive.
Symptoms, discomforts and nutritional needs during pregnancy
It cannot be emphasized often enough: the mother's diet during pregnancy and lactation plays a crucial role in the proper development of her baby. While an expectant mother’s caloric requirement increases by approximately 250 kcal daily until the 4th month of pregnancy, the recommended amount of vitamins, minerals, and polyunsaturated fatty acids in this time increases significantly. This rule applies both to meeting the needs of the mother and the fetus.
In pregnancy, the female body is constantly changing in rapid and various ways. During the first three months in particular, it operates at full speed. Hormone release increases enormously and vital organs adapt to support the needs and growth of the fetus. All these changes do not go unnoticed. The body can react with various minor and major ailments. Thanks to the abundant production of hormones, most pregnant women are able to take the physical changes in stride. Some experience the physical changes more than others. Typical symptoms such as nausea, breast tenderness, bloating, an increased urge to urinate, and hot flashes can often abate over the course of pregnancy or may not manifest at all as often is the case at the beginning of pregnancy.
Natural remedies and their effects
Essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids are vital for generating healthy cells. Since the body cannot manufacture these compounds on its own, they must be supplied through daily diet. In our cell membranes, the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids affects not only their structure but also the function of the cell itself. Especially high quality, natural, gently pressed oils are an ideal source of healthy, polyunsaturated fatty acids. Here you can find a variety of healthy fatty acids, which can have a beneficial effect on our health.
60% of nerve cells are made up of omega-3 fatty acids. In this case, the fatty acid DHA is of special significance, because DHA makes up 97% of the omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and up to 93% of omega-3 fatty acid of the retina. It is, therefore, an important building block for the growth of neurons and connecting nerve cells.
Put simply this means: An adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from flax seed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from algae oil, during pregnancy and breastfeeding forms the basis for the healthy development of the nervous system and the brain of the fetus. A well-developed nervous system is a prerequisite for emotional stability and intelligence in childhood and adulthood. Electron-rich, vegetable oils make great sources of essential fatty acids, and are the perfect complement to a well-balanced, lacto-vegetarian diet.
Expert tip: During pregnancy, expectant mothers should make sure that they take in 450 mg DHA through their daily diet. *
* Lt. DGE (German Nutrition Society)
The right quality is important
When choosing a source of healthy fatty acids, quality is paramount. Only then - as Dr. Johanna Budwig pointed out again and again – can our cells receive the full benefits of the electron richness found in the oils. A great importance must be attached to the selection of the seeds, the crop rotation, the extraction, and any further processing. Therefore, Dr. Johanna Budwig clearly defined and documented quality standards. For the extraction of oil, she developed a very gentle process, the "Original Dr. Budwig pressing method" – which is still known under that name today.
In the second half of pregnancy, the recommended amount of protein almost doubles. A woman who needed 40-50 grams of protein a day before pregnancy, now requires 70-90 grams of protein daily. The main sources of dietary protein are milk and dairy products, eggs, fish, and whole grain products. Quark, in particular, fulfills a crucial role in the absorption of electron-rich, polyunsaturated fatty acids in the body.
A healthy start to the day
In order to improve the energy state in all our cells, Dr. Johanna Budwig recommended a breakfast meal rich in omega-3 fatty acids and sulfur containing protein building blocks (amino acids).
The oil-protein diet developed by Dr. Budwig combines valuable flax seed oil with quark (cottage cheese may serve as a substitute). Flax seed oil contains a high proportion of the vegetable omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. Quark, on the other hand, is rich in sulfur amino acids. Together these ingredients form a strong unit: the positively charged amino acids from the quark and the negatively charged fatty acids from flax seed attract one another. In this unit, the quark acts as an "omega-3 protector." The omega-3 fatty acids from the flax seed oil are protected from oxidation and are thereby able to enter the human body to a large extent unchanged and, therefore, are much more available for use by our cells and their membranes.
Take good care of your digestive tract!
Whether our cells actually benefit from the food we consume each day, depends largely on our intestinal health. The decisive factor is our intestines’ ability to absorb the nutrients that we eat. Dr. Johanna Budwig, thus, recommended daily consumption of fresh sauerkraut juice or sour milk to maintain our intestines and their intestinal flora. Furthermore, the regular consumption of dietary fiber plays an important role in healthy bowel function. Therefore, an integral part our daily diet should include 1-2 tablespoons of shredded and fortified flax seed, blended into a Budwig cream, made of quark and flax seed oil, or in Muttersaft (pure, unfiltered, unsweetened first-press juice of a fruit or berry) such as Fermentgold.
Nutrition and Co.
A balanced, nutritious diet which contains plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and whole grains, as well as nuts and seeds provides us with many important nutrients. Eating plenty of fiber, such as that from flax seed, and drinking sufficient liquids reduces indigestion and can prevent the formation of hemorrhoids. Due to the expectant mother’s increased nutritional demands, special attention should be paid to ensure that she is also receiving an adequate supply of B vitamins, in particular B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, carotene, vitamin C, iodine, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
* J. M. Paricio Talayero et al. Full Breastfeeding and Hospitalization as a Result of Infections in the First Year of Life, PEDIATRICS Vol. 118 No. 1 July 2006, pp. e92-e99 (doi:10.1542/peds.2005-1629).