Archive for the ‘Mama’s To Be’ Category
Pregnancy and food… whoever thought that you’d have such a fluid and ever changing relationship. Sometimes its worse than high school, one day you love each other, the next day you hate each other, the next day you’re friends with benefits. You’ll go from wanting to scarf down the entire refrigerator to wanting only one simple and completely unobtainable thing. You’ll crave things you’ve never thought of, you’ll hate things that you’ve loved for years, and sometimes even the thought of eating will make you want to run to the bathroom. Thankfully these strange and mystifying symptoms are often short-lived, and can be lessened if you know how to eat.
The old adage that you should eat for two is long gone. Most nutritionists and experts agree that a woman does not need to add any additional calories to her diet until the very last trimester, and then only a small amount, approximately 300. The perpetual image of a starving pregnant woman eating everything in the house at 1AM is entirely false, as most women are too sick in the first part of their pregnancy, and battle heartburn far too often in the last part, to eat like that. Weight gain should be very slight, between 25 to 35 pounds at the most for a healthy average sized woman, and very little to none at all for a woman who is overweight or obese. Remember that the more you gain, the more you have to lose, something that is not as easy as the Hollywood celebrity moms make it seem. It’s hard to lose weight when you aren’t sleeping, your life has been completely tossed around, and your stress levels are higher than normal.
Most doctors and nutritionists recommend six small meals a day, and for a multitude of very good reasons.
1) It helps to keep your metabolism moving at optimum levels, which will help you with energy levels and sleeping patterns when you are huge and exhausted in the third trimester.
2) Smaller meals are easier for your stomach to handle, and won’t fill you up when your nauseous. Little bites over longer periods of time also help prevent against heartburn and indigestions.
3) Six small meals allows you to introduce a wide range of flavors and vitamins to your diet. An apple here, whole wheat toast there, small bowl of soup for lunch, you can experiment with what you can and can not tolerate while remaining in control of your portion sizes.
4) Tiny meals also help your cravings, which usually stop as soon as they start. If you’re craving a giat bowl of ice cream and you have a lowfat chocolate popsicle the craving goes away, and you dont ruin your day with a giant helping of calories and sugar.
5) And while that six course breakfast, coffee and mimosas that your friends are indulging in while you are out at brunch might seem like a good idea, remember that your health equals your baby’s health, and that whatever you consume, be it caffeine, alcohol, sugars, starches, etc. your baby gets a taste of also.
Mom’s need to add a couple of different vitamins to their systems when they are pregnant, in order to optimize your babies development and keep you both healthy and happy. Adding a serving or two of leafy spinach, or any dark rich vegetable to your meals increases the amount of calcium, iron and folate that you must consume, folate is key in preventing a wide variety of birth defects, and calcium is great for building strong bones in both you and your baby. Iron is necessary for proper brain and heart development. The best way to make sure that you get the required amount of vitamins and minerals into your body while pregnant is to take a supplement like a prenatal vitamin. Asking your OB about the benefits of the different types is a great way to select one, and sometimes the doctors office can score you a free supply. Some prenatals may affect you in different ways, due to their chemical makeups, causing increases in your nausea or constipation levels, so it may take some time before you find one that your body tolerates well.
There is also a long list of substances that a mother needs to avoid if she wants to grow a healthy baby with little or no exposure to harsh substances or delayed development. Absolutely no alcohol should be consumed. Some say that a glass or two of wine o
r beer is OK, especially in the UK, but fetal alcohol syndrome is a very real and very scary disease. It’s better to allow your child to grow with absolutely no inhibitions, and alcohol will only serve to harm your baby. Caffeine is also another substance that moms-to-be should avoid. An increased heart rate and a host of other issues that go along with your daily six or seven cups of coffee can cause potential issues in your babies health, but if you can’t cut it out entirely, try switching to decaf, or limit yourself to one slowly sipped cup a day. Savor it, and think about the blessing you carry that forces this change in lifestyle. Avoid any unwashed vegetables, or pre packaged salads, due to the risk of contamination of e.coli, and stay away from heavily mercuric fish like tuna, mackerel, swordfish and shark. Do not eat raw or rare seafood or meats, as food poisoning can be bad for you and extremely dangerous for your unborn baby. No uncooked eggs for the same reason.
Make sure to watch your intake of vitamin A, too much of this nutrient (found in things like liver) can be harmful to your baby.
Be careful in your consideration of what you are about to eat. Make sure that it is as healthy and nutritious as possible, and if you still feel the urge to binge every now and again (which you definitely will) try limiting yourself, although no one has ever died from eating an entire cheesecake. When I was pregnant with my son I ate as well as I could, was vigilant about my vitamins, and did not drink a drop of alcohol. But on Fridays I needed a Whopper. I craved Whoppers from Burger King basically from the moment of conception to well, pretty much still to this day and my son is almost 5 months old. Something about that yummy glob of meat and cheese makes me all warm and fuzzy inside and thankfully my son’s father understood this. He and I went faithfully every Friday after cashing my paycheck to the same Burger King and ordered a #1 with cheese and no onions and a bucket sized vanilla milkshake. I allowed my self to enjoy every incredible bite of that meal, and then for the rest of the week I didn’t feel cheated or miserable about what I could and could not have.
I was lucky enough to not have serious morning sickness except in weeks 9-14, but I was able to calm those symptoms with wheat toast and butter. Every woman is different, and the hormones that produce cravings and morning sickness are going to change in levels and intensity. You will find a system that works for you, and if you still feel miserable, remember the blessing at the end and its only nine months of your life. You are going to miss it when its over, or at least a little bit of it.
Here are some recipes that are quick and easy and can help battle nausea by using ginger as a main ingredient.
And a wide variety of healthy and nutritious recipes for mommies to be can also be found at:
Happy cooking. Here’s one of me about 34 weeks prego.