Nutrition for Pregnancy

Nutrition for Pregnancy

Emily at 30 weeks into her pregnancy

I can hardly believe it that I am about to check off the THIRTY weeks pregnant box!  This pregnancy is flying by and before we know it baby Hutch William will be here.   As I’ve gone through my pregnancy I’ve seen SO many “suggestions” on how to eat and drink during pregnancy and to be honest with you most of them kind of annoy me.   I see lots of recommendations for “whole grains” and dairy and lots of other things with which I adamantly disagree. SO- today I’m going to share with you what I DO think is important to both CONSUME and AVOID.

Foods To Eat During Pregnancy:

      • Protein: Most women need 80+ grams of protein every day for healthy pregnancy. Research shows lower risk of preclampsia and other complications with adequate protein, and some women report less morning sickness when they consume this much protein.  A good rule of thumb is to eat 2/3 your body weight in grams of protein per day.  Check out Momsanity's MomFuel a clean, great-tasting protein powder that satisfies sweet cravings while loading the body with great nutrition.  I make a shake almost every afternoon for a protein filled snack!
      • Vegetables and Fruit:  Vegetables and fruits have a variety of vitamins, minerals and fiber that are helpful during pregnancy. Eating a varied diet including a lot of green leafy vegetables can also help raise Vitamin K levels.  Fiber is also incredibly important and NO I’m not talking about fiber from cereal and whole wheat bread which can be harder on the gut plus they contain all kinds of preservatives, additives, colors and unhealthy fats.  Also- when possible buy organic while pregnant- consult the Dirty Dozen for those fruits and veggies that are most important to eat organic.
      • Fats: Why do women avoid healthy fat- especially when pregnant?  Dietary fat should never be significantly limited or avoided.  Consuming adequate fats is absolutely vital to baby’s organ and brain development. Women should focus on healthy sources like meat (including red meat), butter, eggs, olive/oil, coconut/oil, and nuts.  Side Note:  I recommend 2 egg yolks per day- egg yolks contain the powerful nutrient.  P.S.  Dietary fat plus protein (in my opinion) is THE most important nutrient for establishing a good milk supply post-partum.  I know we all want to get lean again quickly, and that CAN happen when we eliminate some of the things below AND pump up the good nutrients.
      • Water: Blood volume  increases during pregnancy and Mom’s body needs to  supply fluid to replenish the amniotic fluid the baby is in. Drinking enough water (usually around a gallon a day) can help fight off morning sickness and also helps prevent constipation and make sure mom and baby are properly hydrated.  A good rule of thumb (especially during breast feeding) is to drink DOUBLE the amount of water that you were drinking before.  So for example if you’re already drinking a gallon then drink TWO.  Yes it’s a ton and YES it will help your milk supply and more.  Als0-  make sure your water is distilled and filtered.  We do not want the toxins in tap-water adding to our body’s (and baby’s) toxic load during pregnancy.
      • Supplements:  On top of great nutrition our bodies need a few extra things during pregnancy.  I’ll share details later, but magnesium (great for digestion and relaxation), probiotics (digestion is slower and the gut can use all the help it can get), methyl-folate (the most bio-available source of folate), Omega-3 Fish Oil, and Vitamin D and K2 are all important.

Healthy meal during pregnancy: mixed vegetables and baked or roasted chicken

Foods to Avoid/Limit

  • Processed Grains: Ahhh Grains… they are the center of the pregnancy controversy.  Pregnant women should focus on the most bioavailable and dense sources of nutrition, which means choosing meats, fats, and vegetables/fruits over grains, sugars and baked goods.  That said- a serving of oats, brown rice, or quinoa once or twice per day is a good way to consume healthy starches.   Avoid breads, crackers, rice cakes etc and choose natural foods that you prepare yourself (no oatmeal packets etc).
  • Sugar:  I know… I crave it too.  It’s really important to limit sugar during pregnancy.  Blood sugar is much more sensitive during pregnancy plus your body is doing extra work without having to deal with too much insulin.  When sweet cravings hit try to use organic stevia or eat a few bites of rich dark chocolate.  I also love Momsanity's CRAVE which I drink most night’s before bed.
  • Caffeine: There are a lot of conflicting opinions on if caffeine is safe during pregnancy.  The truth is everyone metabolizes caffeine differently.  If you tolerate it well while not pregnant then you likely will during pregnancy too.  Do your best to limit to ONE cup of caffeinated coffee (then switch to decaf) per day and avoid soda.  Your body doesn’t need any more toxins- please don’t drink soda!
  • Processed Foods: With up to 200 chemicals found in the umbilical cord blood of some babies, there are many reasons to avoid any unnecessary chemicals in foods or environment.   Processed food is pretty much everywhere so be sure to read labels!!  A few questions to ask:  1.  What are the first few ingredients?  2.  Are there artificial sweeteners?  3.  What preservatives are used?  4.  How much sugar is in this product?  5.  What is the ratio of Carbs to Protein to Fiber? 6.  Are the fat sources vegetable oil fats (avoid).

Eating for TWO is so fun!  I DO “eat whatever I want” which is super nutritious healthy food that nurtures my baby.  On a side note- the first trimester is not a time to watch nutrition.  My heart goes out to every single Mama fighting fatigue, exhaustion, nausea and more.  Please focus on SURVIVING!!!  You will feel better soon enough and can prioritize nutrition again.

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