Determinants of Health

NUTRITION

What you eat is the foundation of your overall health. Focus on eating a variety whole, unprocessed foods. 

  • Be sure you are eating enough protein throughout the day.
  • Include a fruit and/or vegetable at every meal and snack.
  • Nuts and seeds are nutrient-dense, great for hormonal health, and support digestion. Cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds are all excellent choices.
  • Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods like dark leafy greens, berries, flaxseeds, broccoli, artichokes, bell peppers, eggplant, green tea, and dark chocolate can support immune health.

For more guidance on nourishing yourself during pregnancy and postpartum, check out our free online nutrition classes.

Community

Positive connections with those around us impacts our health at a cellular level. A positive support group and community connections improve mental health, decrease stress, reduce inflammation, and improves immune system response. The opposite is also true- toxic relationships have a negative impact on our overall health and wellbeing. Protect your health by fostering positive connections with your family, friends, and community at large. As a birth center, we are honored to be a part of your positive community support group. 

GENETICS

Genetics refers to your individual biological makeup and can include genetic predispositions to various states of health, from disease to allergies to being athletic. It’s important to remember, however that “genetics loads the gun, and lifestyle fires the trigger”. Knowing your family history and genetic predispositions can help to inform your lifestyle choices, but know that your life is not pre-written by your genetics. 

If you want to learn more about your genetics, you have access to non-invasive genetic testing as part of your pregnancy care with New Birth Company. This can be valuable information! 

MICROBIOME

Have you pooped yet today? That might be a strange question, but regular bowel movements is an incredibly important part of overall health! The microbiome is the whole collection of tiny bacterial colonies that live on and in us. These bacteria live in our gut, on our skin, in our vaginal canals, in our throat…really everywhere! These tiny organisms play a huge role in our health, our immune system, and our digestion, so keeping a friendly environment for them is critical. 

  • Eat plenty of fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, yogurt, and miso.
  • Support healthy digestion by pooping every day. Eat lots of fiber rich foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Be sure you drink plenty of fluids as well- dehydration can slow our digestion down big time. 
  • Avoid added sugar and processed foods. 
  • Take a probiotic supplement daily.
  • Try to eat a wide variety of foods every week.
  • Spend plenty of time outdoors, especially barefoot in the soil. 

toxins

Toxic compounds from alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and various environmental sources (pesticides, plastics, personal care products, etc) can negatively impact our cellular, hormonal, immune, and organ health. Many of these compounds can even pass the blood barrier in the placenta, so pregnancy is a great time to start reducing toxic exposures. 

  • Avoid recreational drugs like alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana
  • Reduce plastics use- get a stainless steel water bottle, store food in glass containers, and vacuum regularly to reduce microplastics in the home.
  • Gradually swap out your personal care products (soap, shampoo, makeup, lotion, deodorant, etc). Avoid ingredients such as fragrance, phthlalates parabens, aluminum, oxybenzone, talc, and sodium lauryl sulfate.

MOVEMENT

Regular movement is incredible for both mental and physical health. Exercise supports a healthy immune response, decreases overall inflammation, and improves digestive health. Focus less on “working out” and more on regular movement- walking, dancing, yoga, playing sports, etc. Moving your body outside has additional benefits, so get out in nature whenever possible. 

STRESS MANAGEMENT

The role of mental health and stress cannot be overstated. A stress response actually down-regulates our immune system, and if it is happening regularly it does damage at a cellular level. 

  • Get enough quality sleep- 7-9 hours / night is a good goal. This is SO important! Try to make it a priority (those dishes will get done later). 
  • In moments of overwhelm, focus on taking deep belly breaths. Count your breaths for a minute or two and try to focus your mind only on your breathing.
  • Try out a daily mindfulness practice. There are lots of mindfulness apps and videos out there to get you started.
  • Move your body every day.
  • Get out in nature as often as possibe.

SUNSHINE

Vitamin D is a powerful mood and immune booster, and we can make vitamin D from sunshine exposure. Sunlight can also stimulate the release of serotonin, a powerful neurotransmitter that helps us with depression and anxiety. Try to get outside as much as possible, and soak up those rays!