22 Apr Pregnancy Nutrition
When you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, your life changes. It changes if it’s your first or your second or third or more! Each pregnancy is so precious & filled with wonder, hope, excitement, and joy! Once we realize we are carrying a little life, our perspective on our body also changes. We realize that we are providing nutrition for not one person, but TWO. Today we are diving into prenatal nutrition while you are growing a little human to give you and baby the best health!
Once you go to your midwife or OB/GYN, they will most likely prescribe a prenatal for you. These prenatals are to help fill the gaps in your diet and add extra nutrients. Let’s face it, during pregnancy we go through morning sickness, food aversions, and more. We develop a love-hate relationship for food throughout pregnancy, am I right?! The problem with most prenatals that doctors prescribe are from chemically made nutrients. Like all supplements, you need to be looking for a WHOLE FOODS based prenatal. Some of my favorites are Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal by Garden of Life, Mykind Organic Prenatal, and Raw Green Organics Prenatal. These prenatals are supplements that are sourced from real whole organic foods. You can’t get any better than that when taking supplements. Another thing that these supplements have incorporated in them are probiotics, which are good gut bacteria. It’s been shown that the more probiotics mom has, the more it will benefit baby.
You’ve heard it from your doctors, TV, magazines, that you need to take extra folic acid to help the baby’s neurological development. If you are planning to become pregnant, it’s even suggested that you start taking it while you are trying because some of the most important neurological developments in the spine and brain develop in the first couple of weeks after fertilization. But isn’t folic acid in supplements the synthetic source? What you should be looking for is FOLATE. These you’ll easily find in the whole food supplements I mentioned above because they are from whole real foods. Chris Kresser states the difference between folic acid & folate beautifully,
“ Folate is a general term for a group of water soluble b-vitamins, and is also known as B9. Folic acid refers to the oxidized synthetic compound used in dietary supplements and food fortification, whereas folate refers to the various tetrahydrofolate derivatives naturally found in food.
The form of folate that can enter the main folate metabolic cycle is tetrahydrofolate (THF). Unlike natural folates, which are metabolized to THF in the mucosa of the small intestine, folic acid undergoes initial reduction and methylation in the liver, where conversion to the THF form requires dihydrofolate reductase. The low activity of this enzyme in the human liver, combined with a high intake of folic acid, may result in unnatural levels of unmetabolized folic acid entering the systemic circulation.”
Always look for folate, not folic acid, when you are buying your prenatal supplements. Check out Chris’s blog here.
If you are looking for other supplements to give you an optimal pregnancy, I recommend taking an extra source of probiotics from Garden of Life and cod liver oil from Rosita (she sources and extracts cod liver oil from only the best and a safe way to preserve all the nutrients). This cod liver oil will give you those fat-soluble vitamins and essential omega-3’s. If you are a herbal tea drinker, some of the best teas that I loved when I was pregnant was red raspberry leaf. Red raspberry leaf is rich in nutrients like iron, B vitamins, and more. It also can help decrease complications during birth, decrease prolong labor, and decrease hemorrhaging. It’s recommended to wait until at least the 2nd trimester to start this tea. Green tea is also encouraged during pregnancy to help boost immune system (which is naturally down during pregnancy). Green tea is full of antioxidants and nutrients.
Foods That Will Help Nourish During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, eating a real foods diet can help you nourish your body and nourish the baby’s. Getting plenty of healthy fats is essential during pregnancy. Some of the best sources are from coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, salmon, grass-fed cheese, etc. Eating good quality protein during pregnancy can help you feel satiated (because I remember being ALWAYS hungry when I was pregnant), so when I ate more protein in my meals it kept me fuller longer. Good quality means organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, etc. This can be from chicken, beef, turkey, fish, eggs, and some pork. Eating good quality sources of carbohydrates will help to provide immediate energy and nutrients. These sources of carbohydrates won’t be from the processed refined sources of wheat (breads, pastas, crackers, cereal, etc), but they will be from rice, quinoa, starchy vegetables, fruit, nuts, and properly prepared oats/legumes. Eating more fats and proteins will help lower risk for gestational diabetes. In this study shows, eating healthy during pregnancy also helps prevent cavities, so nutrients are not getting pulled from your teeth, but from the food that you are eating. Eating plenty of vegetables should be your number one priority to provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs and the fiber to help reduce constipation during pregnancy. Leafy vegetables are full of vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and calcium. If these are one of your aversions, you can try putting them in a smoothie to mask the flavor but reap the benefits of the nutrients.
Don’t feel that you need to eat so much more because you are ‘eating for two’. Listen to your body and when you are hungry, eat. When you aren’t, don’t. I found that during the early months of having nausea that if I let myself go without eating for a long period of time, I would be more nauseous. Try to always have something in your belly and have healthy snacks handy. Don’t forget to stay hydrated during pregnancy. Dehydration can cause early contractions & an overall feeling of not feeling well. Having a big glass of water next to you at all times so you can sip throughout the day will help you stay hydrated. Enjoy these nine months as much as you can because before you know it, they will be grown up! Stay healthy friends!