There’s so much information out there for expecting mothers. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming with advice coming from every direction and you might not know where to begin or what to believe. A lot of this advice is related to pregnancy and nutrition – eat this, don’t eat that.
Eating healthy, whole foods leads to a healthy mama and a healthy baby. Remember, with pregnancy and nutrition, you are sharing your body. Everything that goes in your body, is shared with your baby. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping hydrated are ways to encourage a healthy pregnancy.
When it comes to pregnancy and nutrition, the Bradley Method recommends a well balanced daily diet of these 8 essential components:
- One quart (4 glasses) of dairy
- Two eggs
- Two servings of protein
- Two servings of dark greens
- Four servings of whole grains
- A piece of citrus fruit or juice
- Other fruits and vegetables
- Three servings of fats and healthy oils
Natural Birth and Baby Care also provides a lot of great information on pregnancy and nutrition.
4 servings of dairy may seem like a lot but you can diversify your diet with different dairy products, not just milk. An eight-ounce glass of milk is one serving.
Other ways to consume dairy: cheeses, yogurts and cottage cheese. For cheese, hard cheeses are best, cheddar or Swiss. Look for cheese that is good quality and pasteurized. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are great options, not just for dairy, but also for their high amounts of protein per serving.
Eggs are great sources of protein and iron, which are great for keeping you and your baby healthy and strong during your pregnancy. Don’t throw out the yolk – the yolk is packed with vitamins and minerals. Cook and eat them any way you like – the important thing is to eat them.
In addition to eggs and dairy being good sources of protein, the Bradley Method also recommends 2 servings of protein from meat, fish and other sources. All together you should have six servings of protein a day as protein is the biggest part of your prenatal nutrition and keeping your body strong. Those servings should equal 60-100 grams of protein daily.
Try to stick to grassfed meats including beef, lamb, bison, and pastured chickens and pork. Be careful with fish – avoid raw fish and shellfish and fish high in mercury. Wild-caught salmon, catfish, and trout are good fish choices and make sure you cook them thoroughly. Liver is also an excellent option to consider once a week or every now and then. Beans can be substituted for a serving of protein as well.
Dark leafy greens are packed with great vitamins and nutrients, and that of course makes them integral to your prenatal diet. Spinach, mustard, collard, turnip greens, lettuce, and cabbage are your best options. Adding a good fat (olive oil, avocado, or butter) to your salad or veggies help to absorb all the fat-soluble nutrients. One great benefit of the greens: they contain fiber to help keep you regular.
Whole grains contain B vitamins, minerals and folic acid, an essential nutrient for your baby. Whole wheat, oat, rice, corn, tortillas and other whole grains are all possibilities to include in your daily diet. Did you know you can soak grains to make them more digestible?
Get your day started with a citrus fruit or juice. Oranges, grapefruits and tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and available – have them whole or in juice.
Fruits and Vegetables
Throughout the day snack on fruits and vegetables. Good carbohydrates give you the energy you need to make it through the day. Potatoes, berries, and squash are fruits and veggies that are good sources of good carbs. Raisins can also count towards your daily total of fruit and veggie servings.
Fats & Oils
Don’t be scared of fats and oils. They help your body absorb essential nutrients from other foods, and they add flavor to your dishes. Butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, flaxseed, and chia seed are just some of the many examples of good fats and oils. During pregnancy they will help mom to stabilize her blood sugar, improve digestion, and regulate blood pressure.
Remember to eat the foods you like and prepared the way you like them, so getting in all these servings doesn’t seem like a chore. In regards to pregnancy and nutrition, any medical conditions or dietary restrictions may need to be addressed with an altered diet. The midwives at Birth Center Stone Oak have a wealth of knowledge on pregnancy and nutrition and are ready to answer any questions you have. We also have a variety of nutritional books available in our lending library for you to read at your leisure.
If you would like to learn more about your birth options, please fill out the form below and we will contact you to schedule a private session with a professional midwife at Birth Center Stone Oak.