Immune System Support: Conception Through To Pregnancy
by Ellen Tattam on Feb 01, 2022
Who wants to support their immune system naturally while they are pregnant which will also support their baby in the womb? Where do I sign up I hear you say!! Pregnancy is obviously a time you don’t want to get bogged down with a cold or flu. That's because you’re building a baby and well… ain’t nobody got time for that!
But did you know that your immune system may be lowered substantially when have a bun in the oven? This may lead to higher susceptibility to colds and flu’s. Here are some ways that you can support your immune system through nutrition and lifestyle when pregnant. To rid off any nasty bugs going around work, home, or just on icky doorknobs or the trolleys at supermarkets!
Favourite tip: prevention is always better than cure. Meaning: Let’s support the immune system and not get sick in the first place. Strengthening your body’s defences will help your baby’s too so it’s a win/win!
We are constantly exposed to many different pathogens everyday. Our immune systems have lots of tools to defend us from them. In a healthy body most of the time our immune system will be able to keep us safe. If our immune system does not have the nourishment it needs, it will not be able to perform optimally for us.
Pregnancy can be tricky for us to support our immune system - more so in a supplemental way. As many supplements can be unsafe during pregnancy - especially anti-microbial herbs and medications. This is why it is even more important for us to build our immune system before falling pregnant. This can help our immune system as much as possible during pregnancy.
Eight Ways to Naturally Support Your Immune System
- Good Hygiene: Hygiene from the germs… Washing hands, wiping down handles of trolleys and baskets at shopping centres etc.
- Vitamin C: Let’s be honest; vitamin C is Queen Bee of immune support in the body1. Some examples of vitamin C rich foods are: kiwifruit, oranges, capsicum, papaya, strawberries, guava, broccoli, pineapple.
- Probiotics: Research has shown that a large portion of your immune system is in your digestive tract. Good bacteria are the healthy bugs that live in your gut and help fight off infections. Bacteria and yeast that are useful for immune function are: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces. Different strains are needed for different conditions, always consult with your health care practitioner to find the right probiotic for you.
- Garlic: Throughout history, we as humans have known and used the benefits of garlic for immune boosting and infections. Garlic has a wide range of applications, safe to eat in pregnancy and can be used in cooking or raw.
- Sleep Quality: Research shows that in certain sleep cycles you produce immune fighting cells. This shows how important getting deep sleep is and why aiming for 8 hours is so important for immune function. Therefore, while pregnant, prioritise those 40 winks as much as you can!
- Sunshine & Vitamin D: Did you know in Australia 1 in 3 people are vitamin D deficient? Vitamin D is essential for the immune system to fight infection1. You can get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight without sunscreen on. Baring your chest and arms in the middle of the day for 5 minutes is ideal, oily fish and eggs.
- Zinc: Zinc is an essential nutrient for immune function and it’s also great for sperm health. Zinc is found in oysters, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, beans and various nuts.
- Lower your stress: Stress not only affects our mental health, but it can also result in adverse physical responses. There are many meditation apps out there to help you stay calm and reduce anxiety.
Cortisol: Interesting to know
Have you ever caught a cold while on holiday? It may be your body taking the opportunity to slow down and repair. Cortisol is your stress hormone and when we take a break from continuous stress our cortisol levels drop.
Being chronically stressed or constantly busy/on the go can lead to this. Over years this is a dangerous game because it may also place you at greater risk of other health conditions. Chronic stress levels can lead to hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, autoimmune disease and more.
Our bodies are no longer on high alert so our immune system takes a holiday too. Taking a good quality supplement prior to conception prepares you and your immune system for pregnancy. I recommend NaturoBest's Preconception Multi for Women and Ultimate Vitamin C & Bioflavonoids.
Always consult with a health care practitioner before taking any supplements to find out what is right for you.