Health and Wellness - Childbirth
Thanks to education, advancements in medical care and modern health and wellness programs, a woman in the developed world is more likely to experience a risk-free pregnancy and childbirth than ever before. Women may still have some anxiety about the birthing process, but most modern women don't have the fear of death and/or eternal judgment many did in the early 1700s.
In the ancient times not much thought was put into prenatal care for the health and wellness of the mother and unborn baby. Having a baby, in most cultures, was simply a natural act and life resumed as normal. In some cultures, like the affluent in ancient India, a woman was expected to live a life of ease and rest until the baby was born. She was expected to develop a finicky appetite and all the demands of her eccentric appetite were to be met. In upper caste India this meant that servants, slaves and sometimes junior family members would need to travel far and wide to find the food that the pregnant woman required.
In other ancient cultures women visited sacred stones, trees, waters or participated in religious rituals for her and her unborn child's health and wellness.
The 18th Century
According to some health and wellness articles, pregnancy was sometimes treated with special diets, bloodletting or purging in the 18th century. All women could experience bloodletting or purging but a special diet wasn't typically an option for the average woman. The average working class woman simply went about with life as usual. No special diets were created for the mother-to-be and neither was there any more or less activity. Chores needed to be done and a woman just continued doing what she had done before she got pregnant. Women simply ate what they'd always prepared for their families.
The Victorian Era
During this era, a connection between the health and wellness of the mother and the health of a newborn baby was discovered. Women who had the money and the means were encouraged to eat healthy by that era's standards. Cooling foods like fresh vegetables and fruit were encouraged. Heating foods like coffee, tea, meat, eggs, spices and alcohol were strongly discouraged.
Unlike women of the lower classes who got their exercise daily from regular chores, upper class women didn't get the same level of exercise. The Victorian era was the first time in history where health and fitness in pregnancy were connected. Upper class women were encouraged to get some light exercise for their and their babies' health. Leisurely travel was encouraged since this involved walking and other light activity. Ironically, while light exercise was encouraged, a woman would still be blamed for causing a miscarriage by being too active. Women were encouraged to drink mineral water and bath in sea water.
Modern Pregnancy Health and Wellness
In our modern developed world, an interest in health and wellness during pregnancy has reached an all time high. There are special pregnancy diets where women are encouraged to make sure they eat from all the food groups to help their unborn child grow strong. Sufficient calcium consumption is especially encouraged to create strong bones in the fetus. Pregnant women are encouraged to get at least three servings of iron-rich food daily as well as folic acid. Prenatal vitamins are recommended.
The health and wellness industry for pregnant women has also produced numerous products promoted as helping you, the expectant woman, give birth the healthiest child possible. It's a multi-million dollar industry and few of the products are necessary, but they might be worth taking a look into them. Products like natural decongestants might be useful, but there might be little value in specialty products like first, second or third trimester teas.