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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What To Wear

Bemusings of a Baby Life:  What To Wear

– 26 weeks pregnant

There are plenty of little tid bits of information that skipped reaching my ears before I got pregnant.  One such thing is that it isn’t really until you are showing significantly that it is easy to dress.  I mean, around now I still fit into my regular clothes, I just look chubby instead of pregnant.  I have found a few numbers in my closet that I wear certain ways so I show off my belly.  I recently decided I’m going to have to be ok with my select few discoveries because the maternity clothes I am borrowing from my wonderful sister-in-law were clearly made for a lady with a bigger belly (and I’m sure that will come), everything else in my closet is either too baggy to showcase the belly (but not baggy enough to hide it), or is now a belly shirt.  Actually, are belly shirts back in style yet?  Just kidding.

Certainly my closet issues aren’t a big problem.  It’s not a terrible thing to feel frumpy every now and then.  I’m just so anxious to show off my little miracle!

Anyway, here are the tricks I’ve come up with along the way to stretch the clothes I already own far into pregnancy.

Tunics and loose form dresses.

Tie a belt just under your bust and vwaula!

T-shirts and long sleeve shirts.

Most of these simply won’t work, but those longer t’s you have in your collection will become your best friend!

Dresses.

My dresses have been my go to.  I have a handful that I simply cycle through because they are fitted just under my bust so they show the baby bump nicely while keeping me comfortable and loosy-goosy.  And since the majority of my pregnancy thus far has been in winter I can slide some leggings on underneath and I’m good to go.  The leggings can sit comfortably just under my bump but stay on just fine!

Pants.

I am still wearing my regular pants.  With low rise jeans I can still even zip and button them up all the way.  I usually steer clear even still though just for comfort purposes.  It’s way more comfortable wearing a dress with leggings than pants.

Bras.

This was unexpected.  Not that I didn’t expect to size up at all, but I thought that only came with breast feeding.  No, I had to upgrade only a few short weeks in.  Babies make a lady busty that’s for sure!  Fortunately I have a lovely friend who was able to lend me some bras in the next size up.  I am stubbornly not buying a bra because I won’t need it for very long!

I still have issues with getting dressed because I was born with long torso – a “long tank” on your average female is of normal length on me.  So, if anyone knows where this pregnant lady can find some seriously long tank tops I am all ears!

First Kicks

Bemusings of a Baby Life

– 28 weeks pregnant

I have to admit, I didn’t much enjoy baby’s movements until recently.  This little kiddo started wiggling very early and noticeably kicked Josh for the first time at 16 weeks.  I was excited at first of course, then the constant squirming in my belly felt more like a bad case of the butterflies or poorly processing bowel movements.  I started feeling a little bad about my feelings because I kept being told by other moms stuff like “isn’t that the best!” or “oh I miss feeling my baby like that.”  But a week or so ago I finally joined the ranks of moms who view baby’s movements fondly.

I had a wicked stomach bug a couple of weeks ago; with my already struggling digestion and a baby moving around constantly the addition of the vomitous mass threatening to explode at any moment and my diarrhea infested intestines I was miserable.  They all said getting sick when pregnant is the worst and they were right!  I have never had the flu for more than 48 hours and this bug lasted a week, caging me in my bed for 3 of those days.  Then, when my flu finally fled for good I found myself in love with feeling my baby move.

I love falling asleep with my hands on my belly feeling baby kick me here and head bump me there.  I love that I can tell where baby’s butt is and the difference between getting punched or kicked.  I have learned that this baby particularly likes the drums.  A couple of weeks back I sang with Josh at Central Christian Church.  Our friend Dustin would hammer the drums at different points in the set and every time the baby unleashed an unprecedented dance party.  That was very distracting but I loved it.   Actually, I grinned like a fool on that stage.  Sometimes I swear the baby is playing the surface of my belly like a piano or the drums.  Other times, I’m fairly certain the baby is trying to tickle me from the inside.

As Josh and I were watching a show the other night I was experiencing a particularly active session with baby.  As I held my baby through my belly I muttered “I love this baby.”  And I do.  Josh said, “And you were worried about not loving our baby.”  And I was.  I had heard stories about women who birthed their babies and when they saw them for the first time they didn’t feel anything.  I heard that, in some cases, it took the mom a few days to fall in love with their baby.  It was my understanding this was primarily due to the fact that these women expected their baby to look a different way.  Well, I have no clue what my baby looks like, but I do know I already love them wholly and completely.  I would do anything to keep them safe and show them love.  I even have dreams, ok nightmares, about getting attacked and all I’m thinking in these dreams now-a-days is how I could position myself to defend my baby against the assailant.  My instincts are to use my body to shield my baby belly from whatever may threaten to harm my little treasure.

I truly am looking forward to meeting this baby and experiencing love in a whole new way.  I’m excited to use what I learn about love from loving my baby to better love everyone else better too.

First Heart Beat

Bemusings of a Baby Life

– story takes place November 18, 2014 at 10 weeks.

The firsts of life fill the voids of dull days with excitement and anticipation. With a first pregnancy a whole new world of firsts opens before your eyes. Unlike experiencing your own firsts in childhood or all the firsts that come along with getting married, having a baby places you in the passenger seat of these first experiences. When your baby first kicks you it is your first experience feeling the kick but it is, in fact, the baby that dictated that moment, not you. I’m slowly realizing the only experience that puts a new mom in the driver’s seat, my only moment of remote control, in this process of growing life is the birth experience. Besides natural biology, it is your will that pushes your baby into the world – that baby doesn’t do a thing to help you. Then you get to watch your baby grow and experience the many firsts within their young life. Again you are in the passenger seat but, perhaps, more along the lines of a drivers ed teacher. So much of your child’s early life is dictated, inspired, and steered by your guidance and involvement but, ultimately, it is up to your baby to actually take those first steps and say those first words.

Dialing back into the world of pregnancy, I quickly discovered just how new my whole world would be. On top of carrying a new little life around with me everywhere I also started moving through a progression of pregnancy symptoms, my body started changing and I’ve been told it will never be the same again, and I suddenly have another person to factor in when making any decisions – short or long term. I feel like the moment I get a handle on taking care of one pregnancy symptom I suddenly graduate to the next pregnancy symptom. Going hand in hand with the symptoms is my sometimes visibly, sometimes not so visibly changing body. Early on in my pregnancy I remember my midwife telling me to pamper myself because my body was taking on enormous amounts of stress. I supposed she was right but didn’t remotely sense or understand how my tiny baby bump could cause such stress. Well, here I am a few months later and I completely get it. And then there’s the last puzzle piece, I don’t even have my baby in my arms and yet I have to plan my career out differently, I have to set travel plans considering my pregnant state, and I even have to look at my food and decide whether or not it’s a good choice for the baby.

All of these thoughts and concerns whizzed through my mind during the first trimester. My brain was a planet full of questions with no answers. Then I heard my baby’s heartbeat. I remember this moment in slow motion. I was lying on my back with my belly and too much of my lower territory exposed. The moment my midwife located the heart beat she handed the ear piece to me. I had a brief hold up before I accepted. In the back of my mind I had wanted Josh to hear the baby’s heartbeat first but in my stupor of excitement I couldn’t manage to decipher how to redirect this course of action so I simply took them and fumbled them onto my head. In the mere seconds I allowed myself to hear that precious beating before passing the ears over to Josh I felt my swelling mass of unknowns suddenly shrink into oblivion. The knowledge of the healthy little life within me was all I needed to mellow out. Suddenly and finally I had confirmation that my baby was safe and I was put at ease that if I didn’t do anything to harm our baby yet I could probably carry them safely through the rest of the pregnancy and into my eager arms.

Just as I was realizing my newfound peace I got to watch Josh’s face light up and hear him gasp in awe as he heard our baby’s heartbeat for the first time.

Things People Don’t Tell You About Being Pregnant

Bemusings of a Baby Life

– written February 11, 2013 at 22 weeks.

So there are a good number of things I was aware about when it comes to being pregnant.  There are normal “symptoms,” body changes, and anticipation.  Of course, experiencing the reality of pregnancy is different than hearing about it, but besides that there were a couple additional surprises that came my way after I got knocked-up.

  1. People don’t just parent your parenting style when you’re carting around a kiddo (because I’ve heard this is very common)… apparently that starts at pregnancy.

    I’ve gotten all sorts of private Facebook messages and otherwise unsolicited advice about how to be a good mom to your baby during pregnancy.  Unsolicited is the key word.  People tell you what you should and shouldn’t be eating, what you must buy, that you have to breast feed, that you have to use a doula, that you have to go to Le Le Leche meetings, that you have to take a birthing class… At first, I was livid.  Each time I received such doses of advice I would talk myself down from my boiling point by rationalizing that no one was actually trying to be rude or bossy (even though they were) and that they were probably just trying to help.  That works for me.  I have also found that the more selective I am with sharing my pregnancy via statuses the better.  Truth is, the more I thought about how much this bothered me the more I realized it was probably a matter of pride.  It always feels like a slap in the face to realize a matter of pride.  That being said, I have gotten much better about accepting advice, whether asked for or not.

  2. Suddenly you will feel old.

    I understood that there probably would be plenty of times during pregnancy when I wouldn’t feel sexy and I would feel uncomfortable.  What I didn’t expect was to be having to rise slowly out of a seated or lying down position even this early in the pregnancy.  My lower back and abdomen protest in ways I didn’t expect to experience until far later into the pregnancy.  I watch older folks get out of their seats and realize all over again that I look exactly like that now-a-days.

Now you know.  You’re welcome 😉