Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy

Of course, only women can carry a baby and give birth to a baby. Therefore, pregnancy is an important topic for ladies' week! Even if you plan to never have a[nother] child, you probably know someone who is thinking about having/going to have/about to have a baby. In Ani Difranco's words, "To split yourself in two is just the most radical thing you can do" AND--if you choose to take that step, you must fight for your baby at all costs--even if it costs you that extra slice of pizza. Its the ultimate feminist movement, to have a baby, and it is the ultimate test of female strength! Kudos to all women who have taken this journey!!!

AND, as it turns out, "what you eat before and during your pregnancy," according to Miriam Erick, "could be one of the most important considerations for your health and happiness during those nine months" (xxxii). Erick says that normal pregnancy symptoms can drive a woman absolutely nuts while carrying her baby, such as "Fatigue, morning sickness, constipation, hemorhoids, varicose veins, tooth and gum problems, leg cramps, nosebleeds, skin problems, colds and infections, mild depression, and mood swings..." Even these are only "a few of the NUTRITIONALLY RELATED side effects of pregnancy that might be avoided or at least lessened by proper diet" (xxxii). I hear about these side effects ALL THE TIME from pregnant people. You will probably get one or two, I'm sure, but you can lessen them dramatically (or prevent them) by eating better and making sure you are getting enough vitamins/minerals that your body needs!

First, if you are in your childbearing years, you should consider stocking your body with a few beneficial vitamins: Iron and Folic Acid.

Of iron, you should consume 18mg of iron each day. You should make it even higher if you have heavy periods or use IUD. If you are iron deficient, get MORE IRON! You can get iron in wheat germ, spinach, beet greens, sunflower seeds, mangos, avocados, raisins, almonds, beans.

Of folic acid, get 400mcg daily! This can be the most important vitamin to prevent birth defects! You can get it in spinach, tomato juice, collards, asparagus, wheat germ, beans.

Now, WHILE YOU ARE PREGNANT, you must must must consider your eating habits. Erick's research tells us that despite popular belief, a growing baby gets most of its vitamins from WHAT YOU EAT AS YOU EAT IT! That means every bite you take is a choice for either helping your baby grow and develop, or just stuffing it full of twinky! EEP!

To get the minerals and vitamins you really need, you need to be eating at least eight servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (full of vitamin C such as citrus as well as leafy greens!)! You also need to make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin C.

Calcium Rich Foods:
Bok Choy
Collard Greens
Dandelion Greens
Mustard Greens
Orange juice
Rice Dream
Turnip Greens

Fantastic Veggies (* high in folic acid):
Bean Sprouts
Green Beans
Brussel Sprouts
Dandelion Greens*
Mustard Greens*
Pea pods
Green Peas*
Sweet Potato
Turnip Greens*

Fabulous Fruits:
Casaba Melon
Honeydew Melon
Mandarin Oranges

Erick's Nutrition: 1, 2, 3 table:

1. 2/3 or 3/4 of your plate should be heaped with a variety of whole grains, veggies, and fruits.
2. Include at least one whole grain and two fruits and/or veggies at every meal and one fruit or veggie at each snack.
3. Before you eat, always ask, "Is this good for me and my baby?" If so, eat. If not, find an alternative!

Raw Superfoods (awesome buzzword) for Pregnancy (mostly taken from Erick's book) are:

Spinach: One cup of cooked spinach supplies only 41 calories, yet boosts your zinc intake. It also has calcium, magnesium, iron, and folic acid.

Strawberries: 2 cups of strawberries are only 100 calories and ensure optimal iron intake while providing lots of fiber and Vitamin C!

Wheat Germ: 1/2 cup of wheat germ supplies more than half of your daily magnesium needs, as well as a ton of vitamins (100% of your daily folic acid and 50% vitamin E), Iron, Zinc, and other minerals!

Broccoli: High in folic acid, vitamin C, beta carotene, iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin B12, just about everything else!

Papaya: Supplies more than twice your day's need for vitamin C, more than your daily allotment of Vitamin A (as beta carotene), magnesium, calcium, potassium--and low in calories!


So, what about being raw? Does this change how/when/what I eat? Yes, it does. But not much. If you are already high raw, you are pretty much there. Your baby will be getting all kinds of super healthy foods and nutrients and vitamins into its developing little system. BUT, you should try to get a ton of whole grains, calcium rich foods, and protein. Make sure you are eating enough raw veggies/nuts/seeds to make up for these vitamins. You are looking for foods high in Vitamin D, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B12, and calcium.

I hope this helps/is interesting! I think its awesome. God really has provided us with all the tools we need for happy, healthy, well-developed babies/bodies! Its just what you make of it bite by bite.

1 comment:

JustineDell said...

Okay, good post. ;-) But, the picture with Barbie and the baby in her belly is kind of scaring me.


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