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Integrative Nutrition and Yoga for Pregnancy

March 28, 2018

By Elizabeth Bechard, BA, RYT

It wasn’t long after I got pregnant that the coupons from Buy Buy Baby started to show up in the mail: somehow, mysteriously, the commercial universe seemed to know that I was pregnant, and wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to start my baby registry. I started receiving emails with pregnancy advice, presumably linked to the app on my phone that showed me what size fruit or vegetable my baby was each week (well, babies in my case – I was having twins). After the twins were born, the diaper coupons from Target arrived right on time, within weeks of our scheduled due date.

Aside from the fact that it was slightly creepy to be receiving information about how to care for my body and my babies from stores that I certainly hadn’t told about my pregnancy, it was also overwhelming. The firehose of commercial advice came on top of the advice from friends, family, and a rotating team of doctors at our high-risk pregnancy clinic. And as any of you who’ve had children will know, the information onslaught didn’t stop once my twins were born – if anything, the initial postpartum phase felt even more saturated by unsolicited guidance from every direction.

During the childbearing years, it can feel like women have unknowingly signed up to be the targets of a concentrated stream of counsel about how we should be inhabiting our bodies and parenting our children. Often, the information we receive is conflicting, confusing, and confidence-eroding. A strong inner compass and a trusted support team are essential for physical and emotional wellbeing during the pregnancy and postpartum seasons.

As a yoga teacher and longtime practitioner, yoga was one of the foundations of my self-care during my pregnancy, although my practice looked very different than it ever had before (a lot less vertical; a lot more horizontal). Many women come to yoga for the first time during pregnancy, envisioning it as a gentle movement routine that can support relaxation and replace more vigorous activity that may feel exhausting as their bodies support growing babies.

Yoga is this, but it’s also more than a physical practice: yoga is a tool for honing your inner compass and intuition. It’s a path to mindfully opening the lines of communication between mind and body, and between yourself and your baby. It’s a way of cutting through the din of the information onslaught coming from all directions, and practicing what it’s like to hear – and respond to – your own inner voice.

Two years into motherhood, I can say without a doubt that there’s no better preparation for parenthood than learning how to connect with your own mind, body, and heart: no Buy Buy Baby coupon, app, or well-meaning friend can replace the guidance that comes from within.

Learn More In Our Hands-On Workshop

If you’re expecting or postpartum, we’d love for you to join us for a full-day workshop on April 21st where integrative nutritionist Monica Gulisano and I will support you in learning how to use yoga and nutrition to support your mind, body, spirit, and baby during this beautiful (and challenging) season of your life. While we can’t stop the onslaught of advice that will probably keep coming your way, we can help you sort through the chaos and make choices for your health that feel right for you. You’ll leave with tools you can use throughout your motherhood journey – long after the diaper coupons stop coming in the mail. Click here to learn more or register for this program: Integrative Nutrition and Yoga for Pregnancy and Post-Partum. 

pregnant women practicing yoga

About the Instructors

Monica Gulisano, RD, LDN is a mother and expert nutritionist who brings a wealth of experience in working with fertility and pregnancy.

Elizabeth Bechard, BA, RYT is the mother of 2 year old twins, and teaches fertility yoga on a weekly basis at the Duke Fertility Center. She is also a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach and clinical research coordinator at Duke Integrative Medicine.


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