Congratulations! This can be an exciting time for both new moms and experienced moms alike. It can also be a bit overwhelming, so hopefully I can share some great tips to get you started. Just remember, it’s not just diet that contributes to a healthy baby, but happiness and physical fitness as well. The mother and baby have a very special bond, and it is said that a happy mom creates a happy baby, which allows for proper growth and development. So stay happy mammas! And feed your baby right!
Oh, wonderful pregnancy… each one is different and may prove to have many challenges. My three pregnancies were all different. One gave me acne, the other morning sickness, and the third: bed rest. It can be a beautiful time, or a frustrating time. That’s why it is important to take all the right steps to help these next nine months run as smoothly as possible. Having a baby is truly a miracle and I wish that when I had my children, I had the incredible knowledge that I do now. There is so much information you can find on the internet, which can make it so much easier when you need to look up a quick question from a reliable source. But please remember, any serious concerns or questions need to be answered by your doctor or midwife. But since you are here, I’m going to supply you with basic nutrition so you and your baby can both stay healthy during these next nine months!
A nutrient diet is a must if you want a healthy baby. Not only do you want to nourish the baby, but also yourself. Mothers need to stay healthy too! The days and weeks following conception not only play a critical role in fetal growth, but also produce lifelong effects on the brain, kidney, and cardiovascular health of your baby.
Try to include the following foods in your diet each day:
Why: The amino acids found in protein are the building blocks of your baby’s body.
Source: Get the daily recommended amount of 75-90 grams from any four or five of the following servings: 1 egg, 3 ounces cooked meat, 8 ounces grass fed milk, 1 cup plain organic yogurt, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/4 cup shredded hard cheese, 2 tablespoons peanut butter or 1 cup beans, 1 cup quinoa, 1 scoop protein powder.
Why: Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains and certain vegetables, provide long-lasting energy and fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Avoid simple carbohydrates—found in white sugar, white flour and the foods that contain them (muffins, white bread)—because they are nutritionally empty and fattening.
Source: You’ll need six servings a day, which might come from: 1/2 cup cooked brown pasta, brown rice or quinoa, 1 medium potato or sweet potato, 1/2 cup oats, ½ cup black beans or chickpeas, ¾ cup lentils, 1 slice whole wheat bread, 1 whole wheat tortilla.
Why: Fats are an important source of energy, and they help you metabolize vitamins A, D, E, and K. Still, fats supply a lot of calories, so limit them to no more than one-third of your daily count.
Source: Have four of the following servings daily: 1/2 cup shredded hard cheese, 2 tablespoons nut butters, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 3 or 4 ounces lean meat, 1 egg or egg yolk, 1/2 avocado, 1 tablespoons butter daily, from grass fed cows, 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ½ cup coconut milk daily.
When cooking, stick to the more heat stable fats, including butter, coconut oil, or camellia oil.
Why: Calcium is critical in building your baby’s bones and teeth but it is also critical for the proper development and function of the heart and muscles. The fetus demands a huge supply of calcium during its development and if you don’t consume enough during pregnancy, the fetus will rob your calcium stores, putting you at risk for bone loss.
Source: To get the necessary 1,200 milligrams, consume at least four of the following servings: 8 ounces grass fed milk, 1 cup raw dark green leafy vegetables (salad greens, broccoli, spinach, kale), 3 to 4 ounces canned salmon or sardines, 3/4 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup plain organic yogurt or 1/4 cup shredded hard cheese.
Why: Iron is required to make hemoglobin, the red-blood-cell component that carries oxygen through the bloodstream. During pregnancy, more hemoglobin is required to supply your baby with oxygen. Iron is also important for growth, healing and building a strong immune system.
Source: Pregnant women need twice as much iron—about 30 -50 milligrams a day, so make sure you choose a prenatal vitamin that contains iron. You should also try to eat some of the following foods daily: dried apricots, lentils, spinach, black strap molasses, lean red meat, dried beans and pasta, whole-grain breads and other dark green leafy vegetables.
Why: This nutrient is essential because it helps in the manufacture of collagen, a protein that provides structure to your baby’s bones, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which means that it helps prevent disease and boost your immune system.
Source: Your body can’t store vitamin C, so it’s crucial that you try consume the at least 80-1000 milligrams daily. Get it by eating three or four of the following servings: 1 peach, 1 grapefruit, 1 medium orange, 1/2 cup cantaloupe, 1 cup lightly steamed broccoli, 1 cup cooked cauliflower, ½ raw red bell pepper, 1 cup strawberries, 8 brussels sprouts.
Why: It is an important vitamin that stimulates red blood cell formation and the production of the nervous system. This B vitamin is used to produce the extra blood you and your baby need and helps some enzymes function. Taken before conception and early in pregnancy, folate also helps prevent neural-tube defects (which occur when the brain, spinal cord, or their coverings do not form normally) and cleft lip or palate (a gap in the lip or roof of the mouth).
Source: Good sources of folate include leafy green vegetables (1 cup cooked spinach), 1 artichoke, 1 cup broccoli, asparagus (8 spears), 1 oranges, 1/2 cup lentils.
Why: This nutrient is vital to healthy skin, bones, blood, eyes and immunity. It also helps to create the cells that will make up your baby’s internal organs.
Source: You’ll get all you need each day (6,000-10,000 IU) with just four servings of the following: 1 medium carrot, 1 yam, 3/4 cup dark yellow vegetables, 1/2 cup cantaloupe, 1/2 cup bell peppers, 1 cup dark vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli).
Why: This is an important nutrient in your unborn baby’s development, it helps to build strong bones, teeth and is also necessary for tissue repair.
Source: Add these to your daily diet to get the necessary amount (450-1,000 mg). 1 cup green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale), 3 ounces of fish, 1/4 cup cashews or pumpkin seeds, 1 cup okra, 1/2 cup white beans, 3/4 cup brown rice, 1 banana.
Why: Vitamin D helps build bone, tissue, and teeth. It also enables your body to use calcium and phosphorus.
Source: Sunshine, which helps your skin manufacture it. Thirty minutes a day in the spring, summer & fall months and in the winter months supplement with 1500 IU – 5000 IU daily. Food sources: Cod liver oil per tsp. (500 IU), Trout per 3oz (645 IU), Portobello mushroom per cup, diced (384IU), and per egg (440 IU).
Why: This new addition to the must-have pregnancy and nursing diet has recently proved to aid fetal growth. The recommended dose for pregnant women is 20-40 mg per day and nursing mothers 25-40 mg per day.
Source: Check to make sure your multivitamin contains at least 7 mg of this mineral. Small amounts of zinc (6 mg) are contained in ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds, wheat germ & sesame seeds, 3oz grass fed beef contain (8.9 mg), 1 chicken leg (2.5 mg), 1/2 cup kidney beans (2 mg), 3/4 cup plain yogurt (2 mg)and ½ cup beans (1.7).
Why: Water is essential for developing new cells, maintaining blood volume and processing other nutrients and the main ingredient of mother’s milk. It also minimizes swelling, constipation and your risk of urinary tract infections.
Source: Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day, including water, lacto-fermented beverages, ginger tea, raspberry leaf tea (nourishes the uterus, balances hormones).
Yes you heard me right… eat for your nausea. It sounds like a contradiction, but it works. Most women will avoid eating because they think they will feel worse but trust me, you will need to eat.
Follow these suggestions if you have morning sickness.
1. Eat small meals often.
2. Eat only a small amounts of meat, nuts, and dairy if they are contributing to your nausea.
3. Avoid eating citrus fruit first thing in the morning.
4. Better choices for nausea may be whole wheat bread, crackers, oatmeal, fish and vegetables.
1. Whole food prenatal vitamin
2. 1-2 tsp fermented cod liver oil (vitamin A, D, E & K)
3. Liver capsules from grass fed cows (Vitamin A & iron)
4. Folate: 1mg active folate (5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate).
5. Acidophilus: Provides friendly bacteria and helps prevent candidiasis (yeast infection)
6. Magnesium: Take 3mg per body weight. If cramping, insomnia or irritability persist, take double the dosage.
7. Vitamin C: Camu camu berry, acerola berry, or another whole food vitamin C
8. VitaminB-6 (100-200 mg a day) and methionine only if food doesn’t clear up nausea. (poor nutrition and hormonal changes may produce deficiencies of vitamin B-6 which interfere with the activity of certain enzymes that regulate the function of the nausea in the brain.
9. Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle to help with lactation once the baby is born
Fish, 2 times per week (Essential fatty acids, EPA & DHA). Check Sea Choice (www.seachoice.org)
Bone broths used in soups, stews & sauces
4 or more servings of fresh vegetables, preferably organic
1-3 servings of fresh fruits, preferably organic
5-7 ounces of organic meat, beans and eggs (vitamin A, choline, protein)
1-3 cups grass fed dairy (milk, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese)
Good fats and oils, 3-5 servings per day (avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil)
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha or water kefir
High fructose corn syrup
Junk food (soft drinks)
Foods products that contain the sweetener aspartame
Trans fatty acids (hydrogenated oils)
Drugs (even prescription drugs)
Synthetic vitamins (in multi-vitamins for pregnant women)
Rare, undercooked or raw meet, poultry or fish
Because vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, it is important for the mother to eat enough vitamin K foods. Sufficient levels of vitamin K are crucial for your baby and you after birth. Vitamin K deficiency can lead to a condition that can increase the risk of bleeding. Although this is rare, it’s better to be safe and enjoy some of the high vitamin K foods below.
Foods that are rich in Vitamin K1 include:
• Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and swiss chard
• Beet greens
• Turnip greens
• Brussels sprouts
Always use caution when taking any herbs during pregnancy and nursing, especially the first twelve weeks, Consult with a qualified herbalist or doctor before taking any herbs during pregnancy!
If your doctor approves, some herbs can be very beneficial during pregnancy. My favourites are:
Red Raspberry Leaf
It is an all-around excellent herb to use for pregnancy. It is a uterine tonic, anti-abortive, and helps prevent infection. Aids in preventing cramps and anemia. Prevents excessive bleeding during and after labour and will facilitate the birth process by stimulating contractions.
After the first trimester, may be used to help digestion, soothe the stomach and overcome nausea. It is an all-over body strengthener and cleanser.
A good source of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting.
Best while pregnant:
The Nourished Traditions Book of Baby & Childcare
Best for preparing for childbirth:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Birth Without Violence
Best for the expecting dad:
The expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-be (3rd Edition)
Best for preparing for breast-feeding:
The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning
Best for important decisions to make after your baby arrives:
The Nourishing Traditions Guide to Baby and Childcare
The vaccine Book: Making the right decision for your child
A birth plan may be necessary if you have certain wishes or beliefs that you would like the hospital to be aware of and follow through with. Before you give birth give a copy to your doctor, the hospital and put another one in your hospital bag.
The following shake is high in calcium, protein, iron and vitamin C. Feel free to shake things up a bit and add different fruit or veggies. Enjoy!
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp almond butter (Vit E, magnesium, protein)
1 frozen banana (Vit B-6, potassium)
1/2 cup strawberries (folic acid)
3/4 cup plain yogurt (protein, calcium)
1 tbsp flaxseeds (omega-3, magnesium, fiber)
Pinch of sea salt (minerals)
1 tbsp protein powder (protein)
Calories 353 / Fat 13.9g / Carbs 43.4g / Fiber 6.5g / Protein 19.6g / Sugars 26g
Vitamin A 6% / Calcium 31% / Vitamin C 19% / Iron 15%
Recipes coming soon