Stimulants and Pregnancy: A Combination to Avoid
As a follow up to my last post about diet during pregnancy, I wanted to write about some things you should absolutely avoid when you’re trying to get pregnant or when you already are. Stimulants are called such for a reason—they stimulate your bodies metabolic and hormonal system in a way that nature never intended. For that reason, it’s really vital to limit them.
Everyone knows you should avoid alcohol during pregnancy, but caffeine is also something you should avoid. Coffee increases your heart rate immensely, which can alarm the baby and make it feel unsettled in your womb. It can be quite hard to give coffee up if you’re a life-long drinker, so try first to transition to tea (which has much less caffeine) and focus not on how hard it is to give up, but on how good it feels to be in touch with your baby. You will have your whole life to drink coffee so now’s the time to focus on what’s right for your baby.
It’s also good to avoid coffee if you are trying to conceive, as it’s good to be as calm and un-anxious as possible. However, your husband or partner should not follow this advice, as coffee is good for his sperm and is known to make it swim faster. Encourage him to drink two cups a day when you’re trying to conceive.
As most of my readers know, I’m never a fan of sugar—it is a chemical and very toxic for your body whether you’re pregnant or not. I causes depression and anxiety and leaves you feeling wiry and anxious as well. But the need to avoid is particularly vital when it comes to pregnancy. As one study put it:
The SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) protein plays a key role in controlling the amount of testosterone and estrogen that’s available throughout the body. If there’s less SHBG protein, then more testosterone and estrogen will be released throughout the body, which is associated with an increased risk of acne, infertility, polycystic ovaries, and uterine cancer in overweight women. Abnormal amounts of SHBG also disturb the delicate balance between estrogen and testosterone, which is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease, especially in women
Sugar causes your insulin to shoot up and your insulin levels play a huge role in your hormonal cycle. Obviously, when you’re trying to conceive this is a huge problem as you want to stabilise your blood sugars to keep your hormones as balanced as possible. When you’re already pregnant it is also a problem, as your hormones are already in overdrive and you don’t want to exacerbate the fluctuations by adding sugar highs and lows.
For some people sugar is even harder to give up than caffeine, but there are things to transition to, like xylitol. Xylitol is not only a natural and healthy alternative to sugar, it’s also beneficial for dental health because it helps remineralise your teeth. This is utterly essential in pregnancy as the baby need calcium and frequently your body’s calcium levels will decline as your giving them to your foetus.
Just like in dieting, giving things up during conception or pregnancy is all about how you think about it. Don’t focus on deprivation, focus on your baby’s healthy future. For more tips on fertility and diet, see my fertility page on my website.
by Marisa Peer