Nutritional Needs of Pregnancy
Your baby is what YOU eat!
What are the nutritional needs of pregnancy in order to grow and a healthy baby?
Pregancy nutrition is not overly complicated, and there is not one particular “super food” which every expectant mother should consume. The best rule to follow is to eat WHOLE, FRESH and REAL food whenever possible, as well as limiting refined and processed foods.
You body biochemically “knows” what to do with whole foods, that is what we were designed to eat. Whole, real foods provide macro and micro nutrients, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals which all work in synergy to support all organ function and baby development.
I know pregnancy cravings are strong; mine was for large chocolate chip cookies. But do your very best not to overdo it, and if you make an effort to balance your cravings with good quality whole foods, then your baby will be given the proper nutrients for development.
Moms-to-be need to consume quality lean protein, essential fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, wholesome fiber and minimally processed grains.
Keep these healthy foods prepared and on hand so it is easier to achieve the nutritional needs of pregnancy at every meal and snack.
Mama Meal Plans
Specific Nutritional Needs of Pregnancy:
A very common question as soon as you find out you are expecting is Would you like to see a comparison of two brands of prenatal vitamins? Both are available through physicians, which would you rather take?
“What is the best prenatal vitamin for me to achieve the nutritional needs of pregnancy and benefit my baby?”
Well, sadly not all prenatal vitamins are created alike, and when you lack nutrients, so will your baby.
Let’s sort out some of the problems with a large portion of prenatal vitamins and then we can discuss your best options to ensure good quality and adequate nutrition.
Quality – Many prenatal vitamins contain poor quality or synthetic forms of vitamins and minerals which are not as bio-available to your system. For example, calcium carbonate is a lot of time the chosen form of calcium because it is inexpensive. However calcium carbonate is merely chalk and cannot be used by your tissues or to build the skeleton of your baby. A better form of calcium is calcium citrate.
Essential Fatty Acids – many prenatal vitamins only contain the vitamins and minerals, especially if you are taking a “one a day” variety. These do not account for the essential fatty acids which are vital for the health and development of your developing baby's brain and nervous system.
Iron Overload – the CDC recommends 30mg of iron for pregnant women. Consider that iron is a metal and an oxidant. If you are taking too much iron it can cause constipation, fatigue, headaches, and free-radical damage which can lead to cardiovascular system compromise. Any additional iron should be taken in the natural form of iron-rich foods.
Missing Nutrients – Just like the missing essential fatty acids, there are many prenatals, even the once prescribed by our OB, which missing key nutrients. Some examples are probiotics, CoQ10 and choline. Research has now shown that children of women who took a probiotic during pregnancy and breastfeeding, have a substantial decrease in food allergies and sensitivities. Click here for more info on probiotics. CoQ10 is a potent antioxidants which help to protect the mothers cardiovascular system and can also increase energy. Choline helps the development of the babies brain and nervous system.
Additives – Some prenatal vitamins contain harmful additives such as dyes and chemical preservatives. There are even some brands which have been tested to contain lead and other heavy metals.
Third-party Testing – Supplement companies are not required to comply with the FDA regulations due to the DSHEA act. However a reputable company, many of which only distribute through physicians, will voluntarily comply with all FDA standards, as well as provide you with all tests and studies (completed by independent labs). These studies can verify supplement claims on nutrients, amounts, as well as test for purity.
Specific Nutritional Needs of Pregnancy: Prenatal Vitamin Comparison
Resources for Moms-to-Be
The Family Journey - Fort Collins
Doula Care for Child Birth
Training the Pelvic Floor with Kegals