All right, I have to admit that this topic is going to be deeply interesting only for a special subset of my readers: mamas-to-be/pregnant mamas, this is all for you and your unborn babes.
Pregnancy can be a wild roller coaster of hormones, emotions and cravings. It can be the most amazing, joyful and wonderful experience OR it can be the longest and most excruciating 9+ months of your life. Or somewhere in the middle, depending on the day.
I really hope the former situation is true for you. Did you know that what you eat can actually make a difference to your pregnancy experience? You often hear, “you are what you eat,” and when you consider that all of your baby’s (or babies’) tissues are made up of building blocks from the foods that you consume, it’s literally true!
Of course, please discuss ANY nutritional recommendations or strategies with your primary health care providers. These are just my personal top tips as a nutrition coach AND as a mom.
Knock down nausea
Oh yes, the dreaded morning sickness. Not just limited to the AM hours, though. Pregnancy-related nausea can strike at any time. “Early afternoon sickness,” anyone? Maybe “late evening sickness?” Or, if you’re one of the unfortunate ones, it might well be called “all-day sickness.”
If you DO have pregnancy-related nausea there are nutritional strategies that might help: Try eating smaller, more frequent meals. Avoid spicy or fatty meals. Get as much ginger in its natural form as you can. Try drinking sour/tart liquids like lemon water, and having salty foods in the morning.
In addition to nutrition tips, I also swore by those acupressure bracelet bands that apply pressure to your wrists, strategically to reduce nausea related to motion sickness OR morning sickness. It’s worth discussing with your primary health care provider!
Weird or wonderful (sometimes both), cravings are direct or indirect messages of what your body really needs to meet physical and/or psychological needs, during pregnancy AND the rest of the time, as well.
Growing a baby requires lots of nutrients, so it’s important to meet these cravings as best you can, with the best quality foods you can. Remember, as I said earlier, the foods you eat are literally becoming the building blocks to create your child’s cells, so you want the best building material possible!
Craving chocolate? Opt for organic, dark chocolate. Need something salty? Certain seafood and sea vegetables have great salty flavour and mineral content.
Twinkies or bust? Sometimes it’s about the sanity and mental satisfaction. All things in moderation (unless specifically ruled out by a pre-existing medical condition OR upon the advice of your primary health care provider).
Play up protein
Thought protein was just for body-builders? Guess what, whether you’re hitting the iron in the gym or not (and especially if you are), pumping iron or not (and especially if you are), YOU are building a body – your baby’s body! Everything you eat is becoming part of your baby-to-be.
In the second and third trimesters, aim to get an additional 25g of protein each day – that’s roughly a palm-sized serving (roughly the size of a deck of playing cards).
What to eat? Chicken, pork, beef, fish…if you’re struggling to eat more whole food sources and/or if you don’t eat meat, you might consider supplementing with one scoop of protein powder. You can mix it with water or milk (dairy or non-dairy), or stir it into yogurt to create a protein mousse or pudding.
Get fatty acids
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) – these are vital for building healthy baby brains. Get as many naturally-occurring whole food sources as you can, including hemp, chia, flax and cold water fish. You may need to scale back on the latter to avoid any risks of heavy metal contamination; discuss with your primary health care provider.
Consider broad-spectrum supplementation
Work with your primary health care provider to determine if you have any specific nutritional deficiencies to address to better support you and baby during your pregnancy.
Getting the right micronutrients in the right amounts can reduce cravings and other symptoms of pregnancy, as well as reduce the risk of certain complications and congenital health issues.
Building a baby or babies is a big demand on your body and your nutritional needs. Fuel accordingly!
Have a fit day!