Pregnancy is literally -- and figuratively -- a magical time when the miracle of life can have tremendous potency and transformative power for you and your little one if you have the awareness to take the proper actions. There is a lot to know and a lot to get excited about, which is why I wrote “Yeah Baby: The Modern Mama’s Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby and Bouncing Back Better Than Ever,” to help expectant parents navigate and take advantage of the newest information available to make your pregnancy smoother.
You may be asking yourself, “What does Jillian Michaels know about all 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 late, it’s certainly more the norm these days. Looking back now, with two little ones, I can honestly tell you that nothing is more rewarding, fulfilling, or important than being a parent. And simultaneously, no job in my life has proven more intense, comprehensive, or all-consuming.
All that said, brace yourself for this shocker: I personally have never been through the pregnancy process.
Insert “screeching-to-a-halt” sound here.
While some of you know this about me, others are likely scratching their heads right now. You might be asking yourself, “Why did this woman write this book,” and “Why should I listen to her advice if she’s never even done it herself?” Well, because one of the people I love the most in this world became pregnant, carrying in her belly another one of the people I love the most—my son. She did the physical labor, but I was there the whole time, inserting my opinions, helping make the big decisions, and obsessively researching every question and grilling every doctor, every step of the way. From the moment Heidi looked me in the eyes and said, “I think I’m ready to have a baby,” I was all 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 shocker.
I reviewed hundreds of articles and studies in current journals of obstetrics, nursing, and nutrition. I explored every aspect of what conventional 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, pertaining to every component of maternity from food and fitness to labor and delivery, from morning sickness and heartburn to prenatal vitamins and acupuncture. I wanted to be sure I had the most current and sound information to ensure the health and well-being of my family. Knowledge is power, and the right information allowed us to make the best choices for us, to optimize the experience and outcome for my partner and my son, and all the while, to feel more in control throughout the whole experience.
I learned a lot—and there’s so much to know. The whole time I was collecting this information, all I kept thinking was, “How is this information not mainstream? Why isn’t every woman told about this stuff? Why isn’t this information standard for all pregnant women? Shouldn’t it be in some handy brochure? How come I have to dig through hundreds of studies and then question experts to get this advice? With all the parenting info out there, shouldn’t there be a place where you can go to get the real, unadulterated, raw truth?” Turns out, there isn’t.
The reason why there isn’t a one-stop shop of complete, total, accurate pregnancy information is that there are many approaches and perspectives and opinions on what is true, and doctors and specialists tend to have very specific knowledge in one area, but it may not be the most updated knowledge, and it may not include any knowledge about other, related areas. For example, in our culture, many doctors are not entirely savvy when it comes to the more holistic approach to pregnancy. They don’t know a lot about nutrition or exercise science, either. They’ll probably tell you to cut caffeine and alcohol. They might say to eat a protein-rich diet and make sure to get plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. But some of them won’t even go that far and will tell you that it doesn’t matter that much what you eat, as long as you aren’t smoking and doing tequila shots. Most will recommend prenatal vitamins and possibly omega-3s, but they won’t tell you which ones or what the differences are between brands and compositions.
Our doctors are great at many things, but staying up-to-date on the latest food, exercise, or environmental science isn’t typically a top priority. They are too busy handling the day-to-day emergencies. And delivering babies. It’s pretty amazing how much some doctors know, but it’s also amazing what they don’t know, which is one of the reasons why it’s so important not just to choose a good one but to do your own research as well.
While I understand that every doctor has only so much time in a day, the fact is that in many instances, I uncovered dangerous advice that was being condoned by certain medical professionals, often via major publications and mainstream websites. Any guesses as to why? A broad and vast influence affects health information in our culture, and it comes from the unfortunate predominance of Big Food, Big Pharma, and the insurance companies that influence what information you get. I probably don’t have to tell you how much this sucks. It’s outrageous. Unacceptable. No more. No way. Not in my family. Not in yours.
If you have 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 now when it comes to chemicals and artificial foods and medications that have taken over our food supply and our environment. It’s one thing to try to avoid pollution and pesticides and unnecessary medications as a full-grown adult, but when you’re creating life inside you, suddenly environmental toxins, fake food, and pollution take on a whole new level of menace.
But I have yet to know of a single pregnant friend who was warned about any of this properly, if at all—pesticides, artificial additives and preservatives and colorings, pollution, adulterated supplements, not to mention the toxic effects of stress. Instead, doctors tend to give the old textbook spiel, “Avoid the soft cheese, no lunchmeat or raw fish, and be sure to drink water.” The end. Whenever I hear it, I can’t help asking myself, “Wait, what century are we in, again?” Far more pertinent information should take precedence over “Watch out for the soft cheese.” Do you realize that only about 500 out of the four million pregnant women get listeria per year in the United States? There are far greater things we should be concerning ourselves with.
For example, did you know that according to a study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group, the umbilical cord blood of babies born to women in the study contained more than 200 chemicals that shouldn’t be there? Yikes! You don’t even get to be born with a clean slate anymore. That’s how polluted we are. That’s how much our environment has been infiltrated with toxic materials. 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 all the other mommies and mommies-to-be out there, so they could also be armed with information that matters.
Every parent deserves equal access to the latest, most reliable, and honest information about how to nurture the health of both mom and baby. That’s the purpose of this book: 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 ideal outcome, and craft your own pregnancy and birth decisions for you and your baby.
JILLIAN MICHAELS is the foremost fitness expert in the world and a renowned life coach. From her hit televisions shows, extensively successful fitness DVDs and exercise streaming platform fitfusion.com, 8 New York Times bestselling books, live speaking engagements, award-winning podcast, a soon-to-be-released iPhone app (which will allow users to train with Jillian both in preset and dynamic workouts), social media channels and her personal website jillianmichaels.com―she has built an international community of followers 100 million + strong. Find out more at http://yeahbaby.jillianmichaels.com/