For the next few posts I’d like to share with you some information written by my friend Meredith Sauer. She is the administrator of a Facebook group titled: Natural Childbirth and Breastfeeding. This is a great group for women seeking to become more informed about childbirth and nursing the natural way. It’s also a great resource for encouragement from other moms! Check it out and join!
The health of your pregnancy has a significant impact on your success in breastfeeding. The main reason being that the healthier you are, the longer you can grow your baby inside of you, which means the more developed they are, which leads to a more mature sucking reflex and digestive system.
Your diet has so much to do with how you feel in pregnancy, making it not as hard on your body, especially in the last couple of months when you are just ready to meet your baby and not be pregnant anymore.
What you eat and how much water you drink has a direct effect on blood pressure, swelling/fluid retention, and many more things. Also, what you eat, if it is poor, has a direct effect on your body. A recent study found that women that drink diet soda during pregnancy are more likely to deliver preterm. Here is a quote from the article.
”Researchers discovered that mothers who consumed even small amounts of diet drinks each day had an increased risk of preterm birth. Mothers who consumed one diet drink per day had a 38% higher chance of preterm birth than those who did not drink any. Those who consumed four diet drinks per day were roughly 80% more likely to have a preterm baby than the mothers who did not drink any diet beverages. The results were no different for women who were at their normal weight or over their ideal weight during pregnancy.”
The idea is to be pregnant as long as possible, and at least 41 weeks and 1 day (which is the normal gestational period for humans – not just 40 weeks).
Here is an example of what you should be eating everyday.
Protein – 60-80 grams of protein each day. If you have gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or pregnancy induced hypertension, you need more.
Foods high in protein are –
Dairy: milk, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs (dairy products are optional as some women do not choose to add dairy to their diet. It is recommended that you get 1-2 servings of some form of dairy each day. If you choose to eat yogurt choose one low in sugar but do not choose one with aspartame.
Meats: beef, poultry, pork
Seeds and Nuts: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, soy nuts
Legumes: pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, lentils
Tofu is a great protein replacement for meat. Fish should only be eaten 1-2 times a week
Complex Carbs – You need 240 grams of complex carbs a day. That means only 100% whole grains like Old Fashioned Oats, stone ground wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole sprouted grains, etc. No white flour, white rice, corn, cornmeal. Your carb intake should not exceed 240 grams a day. Not meal or snack should contain more than 25% of your total carb intake for the day.
Fruits – Pregnant women need to eat 2 servings of fruit to obtain vital minerals and vitamins contained within colorful fruits. It is strongly suggested that you choose fruits that give you the best nutritive value while remaining lower on the glycemic index. Examples are: cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, apricots, grapefruit, kiwi, peach and tangerine. A serving of fruit is one cup or 1 piece of the fruit. These are lower in sugar but higher in nutrients. Fruit juices are higher in sugar and should be limited to 4 ozs a day and should be considered a fruit serving.
Green leafy vegetables – 2 good sized salads per day with dark green leafy lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, turnip greens, collard greens and sea vegetables is recommended. Iceberg lettuce doesn’t count because it has no nutritional value. Look for the darkest greens you can find.
Vegetables – Vegetables are free foods. Eat LOTS of fresh or frozen vegetables every day. Include all the color you can. Make sure you get a good amount of red, yellow/orange, and green vegetables (tomatoes, red bell peppers, yellow/orange bell peppers, squash, pumpkin, broccoli, green beans, celery, asparagus, okra, avocado). Vegetables that should be eaten in great moderation are carrots, potatoes, peas, and corn. They are all high in natural sugars.
Fats – Fats should make up approximately 30% of your total caloric intake each day. This would be 83 grams of fat for a 2500 calorie diet. Fats are especially important for the proper development of the nervous system. Choose healthy fats such as: olive oil (14g per T), grape seed oil, canola oil (14g per T), and omega 3 fatty acids (flax seed oil (14g per T) fish oils). Of course dairy products, avocado (31g), meats and nuts (approx 15g per oz) are sources of fats. It is not recommended to eat a diet heavy in saturated fats.
Sodium – Pregnant women should salt food to taste. This means use table salt to satisfy your palate. Salts that are recommended are Vega Sal and sea salt. Foods that are abundant in natural sodium are celery, cucumber, kelp and dulce (seaweed) and fish. Processed foods are high in sodium but are also high in other additives like MSG and nitrites that will cause other problems. Please avoid these foods.
This sounds like a lot! But, the best thing to do is try to eat something small every 2 hours. This will help with reflux (from over eating) and also help maintain your blood sugar and reduce the feelings of nausea, fatigue, and indigestion.
WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER….!!!! – Hydration is vitally important during pregnancy. Dehydration is a major factor in the health of the mother and the baby. Many women are surprised at the amount of water required to support their needs during pregnancy. It is recommended that you drink half of your body weight in ounces PLUS an additional quart for your baby. The amount will slowly increase as your baby grows. Other drinks are not to be included in this amount. Dehydration can cause an irritable uterus, headaches, increased blood pressure (if this happens, drink a quart of water and rest), and preterm labor and birth.
Sugars and refined foods – white sugar, refined white flour, white rice, white pasta – these act as sugar when digested. Processed foods: box mixes, cold cereal, etc.
Fats digested as proteins – processed meats are associated with common pregnancy complaints and are full of saturated fats. So don’t be fooled into thinking you are getting enough protein when eating foods such as sausage or bacon.
Prenatal Vitamins – Make sure you are taking a good prenatal vitamin – one that is a natural botanical based prenatal. There are a number of brands you can choose from including: Melaleuca, Nature’s Way Completia, Rainbow Light (not the 1 a day), Now, NF Formula (Prenatal Forte).
Calcium – Take an additional calcium supplement each day, preferably at bedtime for maximum absorption. Calcium Citrate, any brand, up to 2000mg per day.
Iron – Liquid Chlorophyll is the most effective way to raise the hemoglobin so you may need to add this to your daily routine.
I also have a protein guide that will give you a list of proteins and their protein content per serving. I have a glycemic index guide, a “Sneaky Way to Increase Protein” guide, a “Good Food Sources” guide if you need help picking foods with certain nutrients, and a food diary chart. These can be copied, printed and mailed if anyone wants them.
I hope today’s topic was beneficial. Please let me know if you have any questions.