Pregnancy Food

Right after I found out I was pregnant I scoured books and online articles for information about what I should and should not eat.  After exhausting my research I turned to my midwife and doctor.  Here is my most helpful and well rounded list of things to eat and not to eat in pregnancy.

DO

Food

  1. Greens

    Try to sneak as many greens into your diet as possible.  I admit, this one is very hard for me!  I actually slack the majority of the time because greens happen to be the one thing I have had an aversion to since I was about 12 weeks pregnant.  In favor of not upsetting my gag reflex I often opt out of eating them.  However, on the days I’m feeling up to it I will sneak them into my eggs, pick up a green juice with kale or spinach in it, pop a handful of spinach into a smoothie, hide some kale in fried rice, or occasionally even braving a salad.  Who would have thought the world’s biggest veggie lover would have to force feed greens to herself!

  2. Protein

    Eat as much as you can.  As a vegetarian it was recommended I try and get some protein into every meal.  For a snack I’ll often grab a handful of nuts or a hardboiled egg (see Grab-N-Go Foods below).  I default to eggs often but I also have been going for greek yogurt, beans, and protein enriched smoothies.

Vitamins

  1. Multivitamin

    This is your insurance to cover gaps in your diet.  Even if you are a fruit and veggie fiend you simply don’t know how nutritious those whole foods are unless you grow them in your own composted, organic soil.  Take your prenatal with a meal in the first half of your day.  Here’s what to look for in your multivitamin:  400+ mcg of folic acid (folate), 150+ mcg of iodine, 2000- IU vitamin A acetate/palmitate.  I personally recommend a plant based multivitamin because you are more likely to save yourself from experiencing constipation.

  2. Vitamin D

    For women living in the midwest I recommend 5000 IU of D3 daily.  We do not get much sun in the winter and at our latitude any sun we get in the summer isn’t actually that helpful.  My doctor recommended Healthy Origins, 360 softgels.  If you shop on vitacost.com or iherb.com you will save yourself a chunk of change.  Vitamin D should be taken with a fatty meal or alongside your omega-3 supplement.  Low vitamin D levels have been linked to increased risk of preeclampsia and c-section.

  3. Omega-3’s

    My doctor is also a die hard vegetarian but even she gave into taking Omega-3’s because flax, chia, and hemp simply won’t make a dent.  What you want is at least 1000 mg of DHA + EPA.  DHA alone will not help you or your baby, the EPA is the component that will allow the supplement to reach across the placental barrier.  My doctor specifically recommended Carlson labs Fish oil, 16.8 oz (I got lemon flavor for taste).  You can also purchase this on vitacost.com or iherb.com to save yourself some money.  To be honest, I loathe this vitamin.  Whenever I can finally get around to polishing off what I have I plan on getting my fish oil in the form of a capsule.  It’s not the taste.  The stuff doesn’t carry any real flavor.  It’s the texture that gets me.  You try swallowing a spoonful of cold oil a day and tell me if you like it!

  4. Probiotics

    Research is showing that the types of bacteria your baby is exposed to at birth and shortly after may influence the development of their immunity system.  Exposure to lactobacillus and bifidobacteria has been shown to reduce the risk of skin allergy and possibly asthma later in life.  Studies also show that women who take probiotics in pregnancy reduce the risk of having a child with autism.  The best ways to help the baby get these bacteria is to deliver through the vagina, breast feed, and take probiotics.  My doctor specifically recommended a Wisconsin brand called Florajen3 but if you can’t find that brand be sure to take a probiotic that includes both the lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.

Grab-N-Go Foods

Since I was so hungry so frequently I spent some time brainstorming what I could carry around with me.  Both my midwife and my doctor recommended snacking on protein because it would last longer for me and I needed to pile as much protein into my body as I could for the baby and delivery.

  1. Hard boiled eggs
  2. Protein balls
  3. Nuts
  4. Protein bars
  5. Greek Yogurt
  6. Fruit (like apples and bananas)

Don’t

  1. Dyes

    They are totally hard to avoid but if you stay away from candy, soda, and other obviously bright colored things you are on the right track.  Dyes ultimately have been said to lead to all sorts of issues in your baby, some of which may include autism and ADD.

  2. Caffeine

    A cup a day won’t hurt but do yourself, and the baby, a favor and choose more sleep instead.  If you really have to have coffee go for decaf, but be aware that digestion in pregnancy gets a little hosed up and coffee is one of the first things they tell you to cut out – apparently coffee makes the esophagus lazy, caffeinated or not.

  3. Seafood and sushi

    A little won’t hurt anyone.  The key to eating habits in general is everything in moderation – particularly the “bad” stuff.  But, according to my reading, tuna and other fish are ok, swordfish and shark are a no-no, and shellfish and other bottom feeders are ok but should be consumed only rarely.

  4. Alcohol

    Apparently even a glass or two of wine is ok now-a-days.  Earlier in the pregnancy I would restrict myself to occasional sips of someone else’s beverage, but I have now cut it out completely.  Despite my findings I feel a lot more comfortable foregoing altogether.  I figure, if the stuff gets me a little bleary eyed so quick I can’t imagine what it would do to the baby.  But what do I know right?

  5. Refined sugar and flour

    This is a pretty broad category but ultimately you want to avoid carbonated beverages, packaged foods, and things like that.  Ideally it is best to stick to a whole foods diet and cooking meals yourself (and that goes for always too but particularly when pregnant).

  6. Deli meat

    My doctors didn’t specifically mention this but I’ve read it all over online.  I don’t eat it ever anyway but I sure am not going to start when pregnant.

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