There is a common misconception while pregnant, that eating for two means you need to consume more food. While pregnant you only need 250 -300 more calories then you do before you were pregnant. Chances are if you are eating typical American diet you are getting way over the daily calories needed even with out a baby growing inside. Instead of worrying about eating enough food, focus more on its value. Everything you put in your mouth goes right into your baby’s development, forming the structure from which they will grow. The healthier you eat the better you will feel and the stronger your body will be to support your pregnancy. You can shift your awareness simply asking yourself these two questions; how is this food feeding me? How is this fueling my baby’s development?

EAT ORGANIC – organic foods are certified to be free of any chemical treatments. Pregnant woman and children are the most vulnerable to these toxins its been proven that pesticides cross the placenta. Growth hormones are found in cattle, poultry and eggs that are not raised on organic farms. Growth hormones have been linked to certain cancers; can alter hormone production that can lead to early puberty in girls and cause development and reproductive problems. Organic foods might coast a little more; but is there really a price you can put on you and your families health?

EAT COLORS – the more colors you eat the higher the vitamin and mineral content is. Make sure you eat plenty of green, red, yellow, orange, purples, blues and browns.

EAT FOR FUEL – Whole foods (non processed, fresh, high quality, nutrient rich foods) are filled with lots of healing properties, when we become aware and see how it really feeds us, our relationship with food and eating will change. Lets take beets for instance, Beets – tone the blood and build red blood cells, they are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc (just to name a few) beets are great for anemia, during menstruation or to nourish the blood after birth.

When pregnant or trying to conceive you need load up your intake of these supplements you can also get them from eating whole foods that contain these properties:

FOLIC ACID-. In the beginning of pregnancy its important to you make sure you get enough folic acid to reduce your chances of having a child with spinal bifida and other abnormalities of the spine and brain. Folic acid can be found in foods such as: Brewers yeast, wheat germ, fortified cereals, whole grains, bananas, blackberries, strawberries, yogurt, asparagus, green beans, peas, avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, raw spinach, dark leafy greens, mushrooms, orange juice, sunflower seeds, egg yolks, lentils, beans, split peas, barley, brown rice, liver and baked goods made with enriched flour.

CALCIUM - Is essential to consume through out pregnancy for your baby’s development of strong bones and teeth. It also can help you with leg cramping and insomnia. – Calcium can be found in: dairy products, non fat and whole milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, sesame seeds, soy beans, tofu, tempeh, tahini, black strap molasses, almonds, almond butter, orange juice, calcium- fortified rice, soy or almond milk, calcium fortified tomato juice, dried figs, broccoli, dark leafy greens- such as – kale, bok choy, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, sardines, salmon, parsley, sea weed and beans.

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS / OMEGA 3 – these oils are vital for the normal development of the retina, fetal nervous and immune systems and are essential for normal development of the fetal brain (70% of all EFA’S go to the brain) They also help reduce your chances of developing preclampsia, reduce postpartum depression and minimize the chance of preterm labor. Foods that contain omega’s are: Fish oil, olive oil, canola oil, hempseed oil, hemp seeds, flax seed oil, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sun flower seeds, buckwheat, almonds and nut butters, lentils, split peas, soy beans, soy products, wheat germ, salmon, cod, avocadoes, kale, spinach, collard greens and winter squash.

IRON – Iron is essential for hemoglobin (the protein in red blood that transports oxygen to other cells) a deficiency is called anemia, which is very common in pregnancy. Foods high in iron are: Liver, meat, poultry, dark meat turkey, fish, cook in cast – iron cook ware, brewers yeast, black strap molasses, soy, navy, lima, kidney, black and pinto beans, lentils, chic peas, sea vegetables, winter squash, dried apricots, prunes, prune juice, raisins, pumpkin seeds, oatmeal, millet, and whole wheat bead.

PROTEIN – Protein is the basic building blocks for all of our baby’s tissues and cells. The growth of the placenta and uterus, the extra blood supply, the making of breast milk, and the structure of the baby’s brain is largely dependent on the proteins we consume. Protein is found in – meats, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, soybeans, soy products, yogurt, spruilina, cottage cheese, cheese, kidney beans, beans , lentils, nuts and seeds.

SOMETHING TO PONDER FOR THE WEEK

Ask yourself :

How is this fueling me ?

How is this feeding my developing baby?

Is this the best choice : if no, then what can I eat that would benefit us both?

*This article was written by Lori Bregman, in participation with Naturally for Her

Tags: diet, doula, food, nutrition, pregnancy, prenatal

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These are good tips for pregnancy and beyond!

One note-- foods high in Vitamin A (such as LIVER) can actually be harmful during pregnancy and it may be easy to avoid them.
thanks so much !!!! will for sure let my clients know that about liver !! ( kind of gross anyway to eat) ... ;-)
Regular liver, yes, I have to agree. Foie gras, paté, and chopped liver, on the other hand-- much tastier! Those were some of the things I looked forward to the most after giving birth!
While overeating liver during pregnancy may be harmfull, eating 1-2 servings a week is an excellent way to boost iron, vitamins and folic acid. Liver is the richest food source of folic acid. There are no studies linking moderate liver consumption to any birth defects or pregnancy problems (while there are many linking the synthetic form of vitamin A to such).

Soy and all it's products, with the exception of fermented such as miso, natto and tempeh, is very very harmful to a human body and should certainly be avoided during pregnancy. Large amount of scientific evidence has accumulated on of the above claims regarding soy, and to date no benefits have been found in unfermented soy consumption (those interested check pubmed.gov for scientific citations).

Also, including foods that are artificially fortified with vitamins and minerals is absolutely no different than taking a pill form of a given supplement. Therefore, foods such as fortified cereals and fortified orange juice are of little nutritional value and are better substituted with nutritious foods like whole grains, dairy, and whole oranges.
In regards to liver, make sure you eat liver from an organic source. Since the liver filters all the toxins the animal ingests, it's important to make certain you aren't consuming all the pesticides, anti-biotics, growth hormones and etc., that our meat is normally subjected to. By eating organic you can avoid that.
I always remember the line in Spiritual Midwifery..."don't eat anything that isn't food." Ha! So simple!
yup !!! so true and so simple !!! love it !!!!
Thank you for this article. I myself do not eat a typical American diet, and I was especially careful while pregnant even avoiding chewing gum due to the dangers of artificial sweeteners. I am glad to have this resource to share with others.
thanks cindy !!! makes me happy to be able to inspire and raise awareness !!!!
Do you have some info similar to this about eating while nursing? I am having a hard time eating enough calories and I'm losing too much weight. My baby is still exclusively breastfed at 8 months so she eats quite a bit. My milk supply is great, it's just my body that seems the suffer.
I just helped a client with this last week ... but her milk supply was low .. it sounds like you need to up your calories . what exactly are you eating , when and how much ? and how much water are you drinking ? Are you sleeping and if so how much ? And what's your activity level from 1-10 ? stress level 1-10 ? if you want do a food journal ( also add sleep ,activity,stress and water to this) for the next few days and send it to me i can help tweak your diet to help you have more with energy. in the mean time .. listen to your body if its tired what can you do rest , recharge and rejuvenate ? Be gentle with your self !!! Being pregnant , birth and breast feeding takes a lot out of you .. it takes time to rebalance . X Lori
Thanks, Lori. I will do the journal and send it to you. That would be interesting to find out what I can change.

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