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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The Hungry Hungry Pregnant Lady

Bemusings of a Baby Life

9 weeks pregnant

I’m pregnant. I don’t get sick.  I don’t get unreasonably tired unless it’s past 9pm.  No, but the minute I get hungry and food is not around look out!

I have never felt so desperate to get food in my entire life as I did the night of Turkey Supper at The Connecting Church.

Please note, I started this evening hungry even before I left work at 4:00pm.

First we had a meeting to talk about putting an offer on a house.  We couldn’t find the realtor when we got there so we left and went to the church.  I was stoked thinking I would soon be fed.  A couple of minutes later I heard back from the realtor with an updated location.  We left the church for our new destination.  Our meeting there lasted about 45 minutes.  We walked back over to the church.  We waited for a freight train to let us pass.  We finally arrived at the church.  We talked to some church friends for a long time.  I started dropping hints that I was starving.  Then I started trying to pull Josh away.  Finally I succeeded.  Then we got stopped again for more conversation.  I eventually managed to pull Josh away.  Finally we were in the dining hall and seated.  But there was no food.  I leaned over and asked Josh, “how do I get food?” He angry whispered in my ear, “they bring it around.” Apparently, I was supposed to know that.  Finally the food came. By then it was 6:30pm.  I shoveled turkey into my mouth like I was never going to see food again.  I am a vegetarian.  It tasted incredible.

That night I learned something about my pregnant self, the longer I withhold food, the more I progress through a series of events: my stomach growls incessantly, I become lightheaded and dizzy, I start seeing stars, and then I get desperate.  For any of you that get cranky when your hungry, multiply that by 10 and you have what I feel at that point in my hunger process.

Now, to give Josh some credit, I had only told him about my hunger issues over the phone so far.  Yes, he had been gone for most of my pregnancy up to that point.  So, on this night of severe hunger he wasn’t quite getting it.  Yes, I was growing visibly and verbally impatient.  He wasn’t liking my behavior.  However, he certainly wasn’t getting that I was using every ounce of self restraint not to simply disregard all formalities and hunt the food down for myself.  The next day, after a long discussion,  he got it and we haven’t had another debacle since.  Getting food to pregnant Kaia is priority one in the Calhoun household.

– Written November 19

Beginnings

– Written October 9, 2013 (5 weeks)

Beginnings foster surreal excitement.  They are moments when the whole world feels like it is within your grasp.

The moment Josh and I decided to “pull the goalie” I was flush with the kind of excitement that is rarely experienced.  It’s the kind of excitement that you don’t realize you are experiencing until your mom catches you blushing and grinning at a text message from your boyfriend or girlfriend. It also feels like Christmas morning when you anticipate opening the gifts under the tree.  Anyway, my cheeks constantly held a lively shade of scarlet and I couldn’t keep a grin off my face.

I started looking up my symptoms. Every new bodily experience of mine brought up pregnancy links first.  In these links “I knew” became a broken record – women just seemed to sense when they were pregnant even before missing their period or taking a test.  I grew more fearful that I wouldn’t “know” like these women did.  I wanted to have this seemingly divine experience with my baby and know it was there before a test told me so.  Almost right away I had inklings of knowing but I told myself it was probably unlikely just so I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Then there was simply no denying it.  I remember telling Josh I would be  concerned about my aching breasts and surprised if I wasn’t pregnant.  Finally, I was so confident I even started praying for our little baby before I even took the test.

Josh and I decided we wanted to find out together rather than have me surprise him with the news.  I was 5 days late for my period when he got home from tour so almost right after I got home from work we both went into the bathroom to take the test.  Ordinarily I am a pee-in-a-cup pro, but this time I totally botched it up.  To my relief, Josh appeared engrossed in other things and missed my moment of shame.  I didn’t want to sneak glances at the little dipstick because I really wanted Josh to discover the answer first.  So I left the bathroom but when I came back to grab something I could see “pregnant” in my periphery.  I gasped, picked it up for closer examination, then turned it to Josh.  We stared, wide-eyed at each other for a fraction of a second then I fell into his arms with tears in my eyes.  For good measure, we left the test out on the counter until the battery died – I couldn’t help but think the test just might change its mind.

I already love where this new journey is taking me and Josh.  He’s already so sweet, offering to cook me food, packing my lunch, and seeking to meet my every whim.  I will not be demanding.  In fact, so far I beat him to the punch on these things and often reply, “oh, I already packed my lunch” or “oh, I already did that.”  But it is awesome knowing he wants to be so present and helpful.  I know he’s anxiously awaiting the advent of my cravings.  I just hope he’s not too disappointed if what I want is something like broccoli instead of pizza or Oreos.

And now, as I write this, I am keeping the biggest secret of my life when all I want to do is tell the whole world!  Today I was asked by one of my new co-workers if Josh and I had children.  I wanted to say yes, but paused for a fraction of a second before I answered with, “no, but we have two dogs.”  I feel like I’m lying.  But, I suppose, to a lot of people, the eye-of-a-needle sized person I’m carrying with me is not a life yet.  But to me, this is my child and I am already fiercely protective.  I can only pray and hope that my body is so kind and nurturing to this little cutie and anticipate the day when I can protect them with my own arms.

The best part of all of this though, is the love I feel from my Father.  I didn’t expect to get pregnant right away.  I set these expectations because I am aware it is often times takes several months for even the healthiest of couples to conceive.  When I saw our positive pregnancy test I was overtaken by a feeling or warmth and love – like God was giving me a long congratulatory hug and whispering “I love you” the whole time.  I feel so blessed to have conceived right away.

For more baby making storytelling CLICK HERE.

A Photo A Day | June 3 – 9

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MONDAY just grass

TUESDAY baby ducks (blog story and photo post coming soon)

WEDNESDAY engagement shoot in small town, historic downtown Buffalo, MN with Michaela and Cole (full photo post coming soon)

THURSDAY newborn shoot of my high school best friend, her first little boy, and her hubs… I am such a proud Auntie! (full photo post coming soon)

FRIDAY more baby ducks 🙂

SATURDAY a church community gathering with food and art – Section 106B Creative of Willow Creek, my church family

SUNDAY 9MO maternity shoot with Becky (full photo post coming soon)

see more “A Photo A Day” blog posts HERE

a Photo a Day | May 20 – 26

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MONDAY  Outside picture fun with the hubs.

TUESDAY After” picture of my hair for Tracey (that means I also took a before)… CLICK HERE to check Tracey out!  You will never go to a different hair stylist again!

WEDNESDAY Portrait Study – Day 6

THURSDAY Philpot Family.  Erin and Ian won my MINI session door prize from my Studio Grand Opening Party several weeks back and we decided it was warm enough to go out and take those pictures!  (full blog post coming soon!)

FRIDAY Newborn Studio Session (full blog post coming soon)

SATURDAY Amy & Kyle got married!  (full blog post coming soon)

SUNDAY lunch at Pizza Rustica with the hubs and mom-in-law!  Everyone has to make a trip here!  SOOOOO yummy and awesome service!

To see more “a Photo a Day” CLICK HERE