Let’s talk food! I don’t know about you ladies but I love to eat in general. During pregnancy I pee on a stick and gain 10lbs, that’s just how my body has been. With my first, I gained A LOT cause I had a little too much fun being pregnant. This time around I am being much more cautious since I’m trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) and don’t want to hinder my chances in any way. My midwife says to not gain X amount so I will not gain X amount. I am no one to judge weight gain in pregnancy. We all go a little crazy and have those extra bites of dessert. I mean we can’t help our pregnant selves. That does not mean we still can’t make healthy choices so baby is getting the best nutrition possible. You hear so many things about food and restrictions in pregnancy. With morning sickness or even all day sickness, sometimes we’re lucky to even just eat and hold it down. These are simple guidelines to follow to make sure you and baby are getting proper nutrition for growth and development!
The biggest thing is to make sure you are getting enough macronutrients. Macronutrients are your carbohydrates, proteins and fats. This is what should be the majority of your meals. The amount of each that you need honestly depends on you and your body. Some days you may need more or less of each. They all play an important role in our body and we need all three to function.
For years everyone has been jumping on the carbs are “bad” and carb free diets bandwagon. I’m here to tell you it depends on the type of carbs you are eating that are “bad”. Someone says carb and you automatically think bread or pasta. These are what’s called your simple carbohydrates and turn into sugar/glucose in your body faster. These have been labeled as your “bad” carbs because they tend to cause more insulin spikes in your body. When you eat more simple carbs your insulin spikes and drops faster, which causes you to feel hungry or even more tired after meals. Our body loves burning carbs for energy and you actually burn carbs for the first 2 hours after you eat. This is why you want to eat complex carbohydrates because they provide a slower release of glucose to better supply you with energy. These are your vegetables/root vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes and squash. Fruits, especially your berries and sprouted grains, rice, legumes, quinoa and gluten free oats. Eat more of your complex carbs and you don’t have to worry about those terrible insulin drops after meals. This is especially important in pregnancy because we want stabilized blood sugar to prevent gestational diabetes. A plus would be eating your carbs that are good sources of folate as well like broccoli, spinach, leafy greens, asparagus, mangos, papaya, beets and lentils.
Proteins are a big one to take note of in pregnancy. You want to be getting at least 80-90 grams of protein a day during pregnancy. Having sufficient protein helps to again stabilize blood sugar, repair muscles, regulate hormones and red blood cells. Having healthy red blood cells are important because that’s what’s taking nutrients and oxygen to baby through the placenta. Our uterus is a muscle so you want to make sure it’s nice and strong come time for baby’s arrival. Also, in the third trimester is when baby’s brain is growing and developing the most. So we want to make sure to eat proteins high in omega 3s for healthy brain development. Proteins essentially help build every cell in the body so having the appropriate amount is vital in pregnancy. Also, if you’re dealing with morning sickness or all day sickness, it could be because you’re not getting enough protein. You can get sufficient protein from animal and plant sources so there’s no way to not get enough. Some days meat just does not sound good so those days I just increase my plant protein. Your animal sources are best from farm fresh pasture raised eggs, 3oz grass fed beef, 4oz non grain fed chicken and 4oz wild caught salmon and cod. Some good plant sources are a cup of almonds, chick peas, tofu, lentils and plant protein powder.
Fats are important in pregnancy because they also help to regulate hormone production. They help to absorb your fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E & K), regulate body temperature and it fuels your brain. You want to be eating good sources of fat with each meal. This comes from avocadoes which is also high in folate. Your extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee, fish, nuts and seeds. Even fats from beef and raw milk are good just in smaller quantities. Our body uses fats for energy as well so you want to make sure to get a balance of carbs, proteins and fats to keep our body satiated and happy. After a meal like I said earlier, our body is burning carbs for the first 2 hours and then it gets into fats for the next 2 hours for energy. After that our body goes into burning our own body fat for 2 hours and then you’re in a ketosis state. If we are eating a well balanced meal and drinking enough water, our body should be able to last 6 hours before we need to eat again. This is also good for our digestive system so it’s not constantly working to digest food. Now this is different in pregnancy because by all means if you’re hungry and need a snack between meals please eat! The whole point is to just have a balance between all 3 macronutrients and to listen to your body for what it needs.
As always, thank you for reading our blog and please feel free to email us with any questions! Keep a look out on our Facebook page for a video follow up of how I eat enough protein during pregnancy!