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What is a Nutritional Doula and Do You Need One?

Years ago, when I was pregnant with my second son, I spent 2 weeks exiting every room I’d just entered because of the noxious smells. I know now that those smells were just everyday scents, but with heightened senses and hormones – everything made me sick. I had a hard time keeping anything down and opted to just not eat to avoid the unpleasant – well, vomiting. My mom looked at me in pity and started making fresh juices so that I could at least get some nutrients into my body. Little did she know, that was the best thing she could have done for me! The nutrients – vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals from those colorful fruit and vegetable drinks during my early pregnancy were exactly what I, and my unborn baby needed at the time.

My mom had become my Nutritional Doula. In short, a Nutritional doula works with women during preconception, pregnancy and/or postpartum to help her get what her body needs. Lets dig a little deeper… A woman’s body needs to be in the right state during preconception in order to ensure implantation and healthy development of the fetus. That “right state” can be altered by a health condition or illness, her emotional wellbeing, her environment, and/or several other factors. A Nutritional Doula (also a Lifestyle Doula or doula with advanced nutrition credentials from MILK) is trained and experienced with helping mom create conditions within her body – through nutrition and other means – to prepare her for pregnancy. Her body doesn’t need to be in an optimal state to get pregnant, but to ensure a health pregnancy, full-term baby and reduced pregnancy complications, the healthier – the better. You should contact a nutritional doula if you’re planning to get pregnant and you’re dealing with obesity, endometriosis, high blood pressure, or general lack of appetite, etc.

During pregnancy, your body will begin using what is present – iron, folate, calcium – and so forth, to help grow your fetus. During the growth phases or trimesters, it’s important for mom to take in more of these minerals so that her baby develops healthy and without any birth defects. However, a prenatal alone is not sufficient to prevent a preterm baby, gestational diabetes or other pregnancy complications. Many of the conditions that would classify a woman as “high-risk” can be remedied before delivery. This is where a Nutritional Doula becomes crucial – she can help alleviate some of the risk associated with lifestyle matters by creating a meal plan specific to mom’s situation. An astute doula will assist mom, not only by making a meal plan to address nutritional deficiencies, she’ll develop a lifestyle plan that is whole-person centered and takes into account mom’s environment, race, schedule, preferences and more. She’ll incorporate exercise, sunshine, water intake, nesting, setting boundaries, partner education, etc. throughout your 9 months of baby growing.

Contact a Nutritional doula with MILK if you’re considered a high-risk pregnancy for any of these reasons: age, race, weight, health – including gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, feminine fertility complications. And last but not least, a Nutritional Doula helps mom after the baby is born get adequate nutrition to maintain her energy, breast milk supply, and speed her healing. Get support from a Nutritional Doula during your postpartum period if you need direction on what to eat for great health, how much to eat, or you simply don’t have time (or the desire) to prepare the foods your body needs.

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