Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nutrition, Water, and Supplements during my pregnancy

I'll start by saying everyone is different and you should always talk to your care provider about choices you're making during pregnancy!  OK - now that is out of the way....a lot of you have FBed, texted, emailed, or stopped me to ask about how I've stayed "paleo" during pregnancy and about supplements.  First, I don't really like the term "Paleo" because it seems so extreme/limiting and quite possibly not the best choice for everyone!  So this is how I stayed on a "clean" diet during pregnancy and what supplements I took, etc.  I have been fortunate to have had (currently in week 37) a fairly easy pregnancy with the most annoying thing to talk about being heartburn.  BUT I hear that means I'll have a baby with a full head of hair and I'd LOVE that :) 

How I ate before vs how I've eaten the last 9 months:
Before pregnancy:  Jeremy and I joke about being boring when it comes to our food, cheats, etc.  We really just eat 90% clean  - no gluten - no dairy - little sugar/fruit.  Our treats are drinks, tortilla chips, nachos now and then and maybe a bite of something else but only rarely.  We're lucky enough to be surrounded by people who live/eat the same way and even our holidays are filled with healthy options (unhealthy too but only if you choose!!!). 
During pregnancy:
1st Trimester:  Well, I didn't know I was pregnant but I knew I only wanted eggs, craved fruit (something I usually had less than 1-2x a week) was tired!  Hindsight 20/20 I was also very nauseous and bloated but had an excuse for everything!  Once I found out I was pregnant (week 12) I stopped beating myself up, stopped Sparking to fight the fatigue and I allowed myself fruit, more Kombucha than normal, and settled on eating eggs for breakfast and dinner some days. 
2nd Trimester:  Once the nausea decreased, I still didn't want much of my "normal" diet and for about 3-4 weeks added a lot of fruit, oatmeal, rice cakes, trail mix, and peanut butter - just to put on a few pounds!  After about week 22, I could eat "normally" for the most part - except almost every cooked veggie gave me heartburn.  I added more fish and chicken and had less red meat (per the suggestion of my mid-wife).  I found that fresh salads and raw veggies (with Ranch or hummus) replaced my typically cooked kale, brussel sprouts, etc.  This is the OPPOSITE of what a lot of women experience.  In "pioneer days" raw fruits and veggies could be a danger/poison so a pregnant women's body usually rejects them to keep the baby safe.  I tried adding yogurt but found I didn't really like having dairy - I kept the "extra" fruit on my menu and overall found that I ate less protein than in my "training days".
3rd Trimester:  Much of the same until about week 34....that's when heartburn became a 24/7 deal and I didn't have much of an appetite for ANYTHING.  I've focused on getting protein and calories in whatever form works!  I added yogurt back in and this time it's been great - I mix it with Muscle Gain to make sure I get enough protein.  I also added oatmeal and rice cakes again but not as often as before.  Thanks to the help of my husband, Jeremy, I've also had ice cream and a few more treats than normal....he says this is my "grace time" - I am almost done and why not have a couple treats.  I agree KINDA - I mean in the end I don't feel great when I eat sugar, it's not the best nutrients for me or the baby, and I want any weight I put on to be "useful - not just "recreational". 
Take Home:
Give yourself a break and listen to your body.  Figure out what you can eat and make it work.  Don't stress over a little dairy - more fruit - or white rice etc if that is all you can eat!  Just be reasonable with portions and make best substitutions ie: PB&J on rice cake rather than white bread.  Figure out what works for you to get the protein and veggies you and your baby needs.  Clean/Paleo eating is possible to maintain during pregnancy.

My Personal Secret Weapons:
Water, Water, Water:  In my experience of keeping a food log and checking dozens of clients' food logs - I've found that a majority of binges, cravings, sweet tooth episodes can be linked to dehydration or fatigue.  That's right - it's my unprofessional finding that if you drink enough water and have enough rest you won't be hit with the cravings you're trying to avoid.  This was particularly true for me during pregnancy.  If I didn't have enough water (or rest) - I wanted sweets, sweets, sweets or just plain didn't want to eat anything healthy.  I felt awful - was never satisfied - constipated -and had low energy.  I immediately started logging water along with food (you know I am a food log dork)......I saw an immediate impact and huge difference in the days that I didn't get enough water.  For me - during pregnancy I needed between 100-150oz of water a day.  That's TWICE as much as I usually drink. That number will be different for everyone - just play around and see what you need - get a big water bottle and drink up.
Perfect Foods 2x a Day:  I've been drinking Garden of Life Perfect Food as a daily supplement for a few years.  While the taste takes some getting use to - the benefits are something I swear by.  It's a great way to get in all your veggies/nutrients even when you can't eat enough spinach, beets, kale, etc!  When my aversion to veggies started in the 2nd Trimester I added a 2nd serving of Perfect Food in the evening.  For me, this was a great way to get my greens, stay alkaline, and regular (TMI??...oh well!)

Supplements per my Mid-Wife's instruction:
Jeremy and I knew we found the right care provider for us when we spent the first hour and a half with our mid-wife listening to her talk about exercise: "if you were doing it - keep doing it unless it hurts" nutrition: "little or no wheat, dairy, sugar - lean meats and veggies"  philosophy: pregnancy is not an illness and we're made to do this - hence, it doesn't have to be awful and can be easily/safely kept out of our traditional health care system!  Along with a big dose of "live the way you've been living but respect the process of creating life" she sent us home with the following list of supplements to take during my pregnancy:
  • Vit E 400 IU - helps skin stretch, softens pelvic floor, aids in placental attachment
  • Vit C 1000mg - strengthens your and baby's immune system, helps iron absorption
  • Probiotic  - gut health
  • Omega 3 - helps baby's brain and nerve development, prevents cancer
  • Ultra Min (2-3 capsules) - bone health for you and baby, prevents leg cramps and soreness in later stages of pregnancy
  • B50  - prevents nausea, aids muscle and organ development in baby
  • Folic Acid 800mcg a day - aids in baby's liver and neural tube development of baby's spine and skull
  • Vit E 400 IU
  • Vit C 1000mg
  • Beta-Carotene - antioxidant, keeps cornea clear, aids in cell maturation and differentiation
  • Evening Primrose Oil 1000mg - keeps mother soft including lower uterine segment, cervix and birth canal *may increase dosage during 3rd trimester
  • Vit D3
The Calcium Question:
No dairy?  What about calcium?  I hear this from non-pregnant folks and even more from pregnant ladies.
This is directly from my care provider and falls in line with exactly what we/I believe.
"We (New Life Birth Center care providers) feel that dairy products are not a great source of calcium.  Dairy products contain no magnesium, which is necessary for our bodies to absorb calcium.  Macro molecules of calcium found in dairy foods may also be too large for our cells to absorb. Recent studies have suggested that these large molecules can deposit themselves in our joints, contributing to arthritis and other joint problems.  Cow's mils is for baby cows!  Moderation is key.  Get your major portion of calcium form other foods and supplements with an occasional dairy food."   Non-Dairy Calcium Sources


  1. Nutrition water plays a major role in pregnancy, because it protects you from symptoms and diseases

     Pregnancy Week by Week 

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