I hear alot of expectant mamas, new mamas, and even veteran mamas say, “I’ll do things different with the next pregnancy”.
They’ve realized that they may have either overindulged, or even underindulged in their first pregnancy and remember, the opposite of dysfunctional is dysfunctional. Too much weight gain or two little weight gain can be detrimental to your health and the baby’s.
Unfortunately, our society pushes this idea of “eating for two” when you’re expecting a baby, giving mom the green light to indulge every craving and eat all the junk food she’s been denying herself for years. Why is this a harmful way to approach your pregnancy?
Higher risk of gestational diabetes
Increased risk of hypertension and preeclampsia
Higher weight for the baby makes for a harder delivery (increased risk of forceps, vacuum, or c-section)
More difficult to return to pre-baby body and normal health
Harder pregnancy (increase in varicose veins, calf cramps, heartburn, hemorrhoids, and achy joints)
On the flip side, there are mothers who fear all of the above risks and find themselves on the opposite side of the spectrum and eat too little, which can also be detrimental. Why is this also a harmful approach?
Low birth weight in the baby
Lower APGAR score at birth
More difficult delivery for the mother
Of course, ALWAYS ask your doctor first about your weight gain and get his recommendations, but typically the rule of thumb is:
- 11-20lbs for OVERweight women
- 15-25 lbs for NORMAL or average women
- 25-35lbs for UNDERweight women
Instead of “eating for two” TRY eating “twice as healthy”! One of my favorite books for expectant mamas is The 100 Healthiest Foods to Eat During Pregnancy, by Tannis and Bowden. Here are the highlights, broken down by trimester:
- Almonds (folate, calcium, protein, fiber)
- Anchovies (omega3, EPA, DHA)
- Apples, bananas (vitamin c, potassium, fiber)
- Bone broth (calcium, gelatin, collagen, magnesium, phosphorus)
- Chives (vitamin K, folate, iron)
- Ginger (add it to smoothes or grate it over a salad)
- Lamb (B6, protein, iron)
- Leeks (A, C, iron, fiber, B vitamins, minerals)
- Lemons (help you absorb calcium)
- Oatmeal (protein, fiber)
- Almond butter, nut butters
- Sweet potatoes (B6, vitamin A, C, manganese)
- Tahini (omega6 fatty acids, protein)
- Watermelon & tomatoes (vitamin A, C, lycopenes, antioxidents)
How do I fit all those in? Make a smoothie with yogurt, applesauce (homemade), watermelon, and fresh ginger or make one with bananas, nut butter, and oatmeal. Make a salad with an anchovy dressing and chopped almonds. Squeeze a bunch of lemons into every glass of water, too.
- Avocado (folate, fiber, vitamin k, B6, niacin, riboflavin, copper, iron, calcium, etc. etc. etc.)
- Basil (vitamin A, C, K, B6, zinc, copper, manganese)
- Carrots (A, C, K, fiber)
- Chia seeds or hemp (Omega 3, minerals
- Cherries (melatonin to promote healthy sleep, antioxidents, iron, C, and collagen)
- Chickpeas (fiber, minerals, manganese)
- Coconut oil (benefits galore!)
- Figs (fiber, vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium)
- Kale (A, C, iron, folate, fiber, minerals, etc. SUPER food)
- Romaine lettuce (iron, folate, fiber, water, C, and A)
- Scallions (vitamins A, C, folate, manganese, and potassium)
- Tofu (protein, calcium)
- Tumeric (iron, vitamin c, minerals)
- Turkey (lean protein, healthy nutrients)
- Watercress (copper, protein, folate, magnesium, vitamin K, potassium, phosphorus)
How do I fit all these in? Use cocount oil as a skin conditioner and your body will absorb it’s benefits, plus you can avoid stretch marks! Make a kale & romaine salad topped with avocado, tomatoes, chia seeds, and scallions. Make a caprese salad with fresh basil, mozarella, tomatoes, and have lean turkey for your protein cooked with tumeric. Get creative and combine as many super foods as you can into meals.
- Black beans (fiber, folate, flavanoids)
- Salmon (protein, omega 3, DHA, EPA)
- Eggs (calcium, D, protein)
- Cromini mushrooms (folate, minerals, B vitamins, selenium, protein)
- Fish oil (buy a low mercury variety, DHA, EPA)
- Garlic (cardiovascular benefits, vitamin C, B6, manganese)
- Cranberries (fight UTIs, vitamin C, antioxidants)
- Peppermint (vitamins A, C, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, folate, riboflavin)
- Red raspberry leaf tea (betacarotene, vitamin A, E, promotes healthy labor)
- Sesame seeds (calcium, iron, fiber)
- Rhubarb (vitamins A, C, K, silica, fiber, manganese, magnesium, calcium)
- Swiss cheese (calcium reduces the risk of preeclampsia)
- Molasses (magnesium, helps with constipation)
- Nuts (protein, fiber, healthy fats, minerals)
- Papaya (vitamin C, A, folate, potassium)
- Parsley (all of your prenatal vitamin’s goodness in one super food!)
- Herring (DHA, EPA)
- Green peas (Vitamin C, thiamin, fiber)
- Celery (silica, fiber, water)
Okay, now how do I fit all of these in? Have eggs and a side of smoked salmon with capers and red onion at breakfast, a slice of swiss cheese and a handful of nuts as a snack or celery with nut butter. Drink red raspberry leaf tea in the evening with peppermint leaves dropped in and have cranberries as dessert each evening. Remember to get LOTS of protein and fluids, no matter what!
Also, these are just guidelines of the extra super foods to fit in to your diet based on the specific nutrients needed during each stage of pregnancy. You should always try to eat high protein, low sugar, and low processed foods (junk foods) and aim to “taste the rainbow” every day. In other words, get plenty of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple foods in your diet in addition to lean proteins.
So, the next time you turn down a doughnut and someone says, “You can have one! You’re eating for two, right?”, you can respond, “Nope, I’m eating twice as healthy!”
How did you approach eating during your pregnancies?
:: If you’re so inclined to share, how much weight did you gain during your pregnancy? ::