The pregnancy is literally — and figuratively-a magical time when the miracle of life can have tremendous potential and transformative power for you and your little one if you have the awareness to make the right actions. There is a lot to know and a lot to be excited about, that is the reason why I wrote “Yeah Baby: The Modern Mama’s Guide to the management of the Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby and Bounce Back, Better Than Ever,” to help expectant parents navigate and make use of the latest information available to make your pregnancy smoother.
You may be asking yourself, “What does Jillian Michaels know about all of this?” and “Why should I listen to her?” Well, I came to the realization that I wanted to be a parent in my mid-30s. And while that may be considered too late, it is certainly more the norm of this time. Looking back now, with two little ones, I can tell you in all honesty say that there is nothing more rewarding, fulfilling, or important than the fact that a parent. And at the same time, no job in my life has proven to be more intensive, extensive, or all of the costs.
That said, brace yourself for this shocker: I personally have never been through the pregnancy process.
Insert “screeching halt” sound here.
While some of you know this about me, others are probably scratching their heads now. You might be asking yourself, “Why is this woman writing the book,” and “Why should I listen to her advice as she’s never even done it yourself?” Well, because one of the people I love the most in this world was pregnant, that her belly is even one of the people I love the most of my son. They did the physical labor, but I was there the whole time, placing my opinions, and help making big decisions, and obsessive researching of every demand and whim every doctor, every step of the way. From the moment Heidi looked me in the eyes and said, “I think I’m ready for a baby,” I was already in. I made it my mission to know everything about every conceivable aspect of pregnancy. I am an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) control-freak. Another shocking.
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I viewed there are hundreds of articles and studies in current journals of the midwifery, nursing and nutrition. I explored every aspect of what the mainstream medicine and alternative medicine had to offer. I consulted the leading naturopaths, homeopaths, registered dietitians, pregnancy fitness experts, endocrinologists, OB-GYNs, and pediatricians in the field, with respect to each item of the motherhood of food and the ability to work and the delivery of morning sickness and heartburn prenatal vitamins and acupuncture. I wanted to be sure I had the most current and reliable information to ensure the health and well-being of my family. Knowledge is power, and the appropriate information allowed us to make the best choices for us, for the optimizing of the experience and the result for my partner and my son, and all that time, to feel more in control during the entire experience.
I have learned a lot and there is so much to know. The whole time I was with the collection of this information, all I kept thinking: “How is this information not mainstream? Why isn’t every woman told about this kind of stuff? Why this information is standard for all pregnant women? It should not be in a number handy brochure? How do I get to dig through hundreds of studies and then ask experts to provide this advice? With all the parenting info out there, there should not be a place where you can go to the real, pure, raw truth?” Turns out, there is not.
The reason why there is not a one-stop-shop of complete, total, accurate pregnancy information is that there are many approaches and perspectives and opinions about what is true, and the doctors and specialists tend to have very specific knowledge in a certain area, but it might not be the most current knowledge, and it may have no knowledge about other, related areas. For example, in our culture, many doctors are not fully skilled when it comes to the more holistic approach of the pregnancy. They do not know much about nutrition or exercise science. They will probably tell you to cut caffeine and alcohol. They might say to eat a high-protein diet and make sure that you have enough fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. But some of them not so far and will tell you that it doesn’t matter that much what you eat, as long as you are not smoking and doing tequila shots. The most recommended prenatal vitamins and possibly omega-3 fatty acids, but they do not tell you what or what the differences are between the brands and the compositions.
Our doctors are good at many things, but to remain up-to-date on the latest in food, exercise, or environmental science is usually not the highest priority. They are too busy handling the day-to-day emergencies. And the delivery of babies. It is quite amazing how much some doctors know, but it’s also amazing what they do not know, that is one of the reasons why it is so important not only to choose a good, but to do your own research.
While I understand that each doctor has only so much time in a day, the fact is that in many cases, I discovered the dangerous advice that was tolerated by some medical professionals, often through the most important publications and regular web sites. Any idea why? A wide and extensive influence of impact on the health of information in our culture, and it comes from the unfortunate dominance of Big Food, Big Pharma and the insurance companies that affect what information you get. I probably do not have to tell you how much this sucks. It is outrageous. Unacceptable. Not more. No way. Not in my family. Not in yours.
If you’ve read any of my other books, listened to my podcast, or seen me on television, you probably already know or suspect that I have been raising the red flag for years when it comes to chemical and artificial foods and drugs which have about our food and our environment. It is one thing to try to avoid pollution and pesticides, and unnecessary medications as an adult, but if you are creating life inside you, suddenly, environmental toxins, fake foods, and pollution on a whole new level of threat.
But I have yet to know of an unmarried pregnant girlfriend, who was warned about this correctly, or not at all, pesticides, artificial additives and preservatives, and dyes, pollution, and adulterated supplements, and not to mention the toxic effects of stress. Instead, doctors tend to be the old textbook spiel, “to Prevent the soft cheese, no lunchmeat, or raw fish, and make sure that water to drink.” The end. When I hear it, I can’t help asking myself, “Wait, what century are we in again?” Much more relevant information should take precedence over “Look out for the soft cheese.” Do you realize that only about 500 of the four million pregnant women get listeria each year in the United States? There are many more things that we have about ourselves.
For example, did you know that according to a study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group, the umbilical cord blood of the babies of the women in the study contains more than 200 substances that shouldn’t be there? Yikes! You don’t even get to be born with a clean slate. That is how polluted we are. That is how much of our environment is infiltrated with toxic substances. This really annoys me, and if you are knitting a baby together, or you plan to, then I bet it annoys you, too.
That’s where the motivation and inspiration to write this book was conceived. (Pun intended!) I wanted to share everything that Heidi and I have learned with the other mommies and mommies-to-be out there, so they can also be armed with information that is important.
Each parent deserves equal access to the latest, most reliable and honest information about how to care for the health of both mother and baby. That is the purpose of this book is: to empower you with all the knowledge, facts, and cutting-edge research, so that you can best protect yourself and your baby, personalize this process for an optimal result, and create your own pregnancy and birth decisions for you and your baby.
JILLIAN MICHAELS is the greatest fitness expert in the world and a renowned life coach. Of her hit television shows, rich successful fitness Dvd’s and exercise streaming platform fitfusion.com, 8 New York Times best-selling books, live presentations, award-winning podcast, a soon-to-be-released iPhone app that will allow users to train with Jillian, both in the preset and dynamic training courses), social media channels and her personal website, jillianmichaels.com―she has an international community of followers of the 100 million + strong. More information can be found on http://yeahbaby.jillianmichaels.com/