Pregnancy and Good Nutrition

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This goes out to all of my pregnant ladies! Over the next few week, I’m diving into the topic of pregnancy and what to do for proper baby growth and development. I’ve experienced pregnancy and remember sustaining on bagels in those early weeks; but knowing the benefits of good nutrition always wins. This week I highlight the significance of good nutrition in pregnancy with strategies for action.  

Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is foundational to your baby’s growth and development1. In order to get the nutrients you need for two, eat from a variety of food groups including vegetables and fruits, high quality organic protein and fat, and ferments.  

Vegetables and Fruits

Provide your baby with the minerals and nutrients required for cells to thrive. Beta carotene helps bone grow, vitamin E supports muscle growth, vitamin C a healthy immune system, and so on. Every meal you eat is an OPPORTUNITY to support that baby.  Eat a variety of colors each meal to include: red peppers, beets, oranges, carrots, banana, yellow squash, kale, spinach, blueberries, eggplant, grapes, cabbage, and more; EAT THE RAINBOW!

High-Quality, Grass Fed, Free range, Organic Proteins

Adequate protein is important in pregnancy. Rats that are protein deficient in pregnancy have small babies with small hearts, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure2.  Aim for roughly 70 grams of protein each day3.  Protein is particularly cool because it helps regulate your blood sugar; there is a close relationship between mama and baby’s blood sugar concentrations4.  STAY FED eating small meals every 2-3 hours.  Note that vegan and vegetarian’s are often deficient in vitamin B12, iron, DHA, and zinc so it’s wise to supplement.

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High Quality Fats and DHA

Omega-3 fatty acids have to be consumed in the diet because our body cannot make them.  These fatty acids are SO IMPORTANT to FETAL BRAIN and EYE development; in fact low DHA levels are linked to low brain serotonin levels5.  You are likely not getting enough omega 3’s in your diet6.  Get your hands on a good supplement and eat: flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, and herring.  Choose fats and proteins from grass fed, grain free animals because these foods have more omega 3’s as compared to conventionally raised animals.  Aim for 2 servings of fish per week and supplement with a high quality fish oil from a reputable manufacturer.  The American Pregnancy Association likes Nordic Naturals’ Prenatal DHA.  You can find this through my online pharmacy.  

Complex Carbohydrates

Avoid simple, white, nutrient poor carbohydrates like breads, pastas, and cereals.  Instead choose: whole oats, whole grains, legumes, and starchy veggies like plantains and sweet potatoes.

Eat Ferment

Stay tuned next week when I explain the microbiome’s influence on pregnancy and strategies for supporting a diverse and healthy microbial balance.

I love working with pregnant women in my practice, as a compliment to their conventional care. If you know anyone pregnant, pass this information on!


References:

  1. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/diet-during-pregnancy/

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5682869/

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235221/

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8379913

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846864/

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046737/