It’s a nerve-racking time when you’re growing a baby inside. You get told to eat this but avoid that. Your doctor tells you something, your best friend says another, your neighbour insists that they have the ultimate solution. Then you Google something and all hell breaks loose in your mind. Keeping you awake at night and causing more damage than good.
Well, when it comes to immune support it isn’t any different. There is so much conflicting advice out there with the current state of the world. So I aim to be the voice of reason, in this confusing world of health and bring you the latest evidence-based recommendations that are safe during pregnancy.
Since finding out I was pregnant for the second time I have been widely researching and compiling as much information as possible to share with you. Here are a few tips to support your immune system during these crazy times.
Setting the Foundation for a Strong Immune System
A healthy immune system isn’t just about taking the right supplements at the right time. It is about fostering healthy habits that improve immune function at a cellular level. The body is incredibly efficient at fighting off infection when given the right environment.
Sleep is essential for immune function
Sleep is an essential process in the regeneration of your body. Each time you sleep your brain sends out hormones that signal your cells to repair and regenerate themselves. Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep each night. If you are struggling to sleep due to the pregnancy then you may need to consider speaking with a naturopath to get some support. If you are currently waking up at night to care for another child, then now would be a good time to speak with a sleep consultant to help you little sleep through. You can make a booking here.
Manage Fear & Stress to Support Immune Function
Over time chronic stress has the ability to shut down or dysregulate your immune function. When you’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens is reduced. You become more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid suppresses the effectiveness of the immune system. Chronic stress also depletes several nutrients that are essential for immune function. These include; vitamin C, iron and zinc. Not to mention your baby needs you to be as calm as can be while it is developing its own nervous system inside you.
The Importance of Gut Health for Your Immune System
Your gut is the key to a healthy immune system. A large majority of your immune system is housed in your gut. So when there is an imbalance it triggers inappropriate immune responses. A healthy gut will also help to develop a balanced microbiome and immune system for your baby. What is more, new studies are finding that people with healthy guts are less likely to get long Covid. So if you are experiencing some niggling gut symptoms now is the time to get onto those. You can make a booking here.
Prioritise Getting the Right Amount of Sunshine
Vitamin D is essential to the functioning of your immune system. It enhances your immune fighting cells. You can read more about it here. Since vitamin D deficiency amongst pregnant women is very common it is important to ensure you are getting the right amount of sunshine – roughly 15-45 minutes depending on where you live and what time of the day it is. You can use the APP ‘DMinder’ to check how much sunshine you need in your area.
Avoid Sugar & Processed Foods to Support Your Immune System
Sugar (more than 75g) has been found to reduce immune function up to 5-6 hours. Sugar also increases inflammation and disrupts your gut microbiome, which is crucial for a healthy immune response. Cravings can get pretty wild when you’re pregnant and some women will madly crave sweets. Cravings can often be an indication that there is an imbalance of some sort. Many sugar cravings stem from a blood sugar imbalance. When your body ingests sugar, your blood sugar spikes and your body releases insulin to lower it to a safer level. If the insulin brings your blood sugar level a bit too low, as often happens, your body craves foods that will raise it and increase your energy. This is very common in pregnancy and low blood sugar can often cause a bit of nausea. Other times sugar cravings can be an indication of microbiome imbalance, parasites, poor protein and healthy fat intake, amongst other things.
I hope you enjoyed these tips, let me know if the comments and make sure to sign up to my newsletter so you don’t miss any updates.
Love Laila xxx