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Nutrition During Pregnancy

First Trimester Nutrition 
As soon as conception occurs the body begins working on overtime.  Trying to establish a healthy diet right from the beginning or few months prior if you are planning the pregnancy is key to a healthy pregnancy and baby. 
70-85% of women experience morning sickness (it should be called all day sickness)
Therefore, it can make it difficult to make nutritionally sound decisions when everything  you smell and look at turns your stomach. 
Many women find vegetables and animal proteins repulsive during this trimester and find comfort in easy-to-digest carbohydrates.  Some evidence suggests this is due to a physiological instinct to protect the fetus from harmful bacteria that could be found on vegetables and in meat.

Best Foods to Help Reduce Morning Sickness
Millet rice cakes - (I kept these next to my bed and during weeks 7-10 I had some in the middle of the night when needed and first thing in the morning) Millet is very easy to digest and contains folic acid, which is a key nutrient for preventing birth defects. 
Whole grain toast  - Rye bread with sunflower seeds was my fav. It has a great texture (soft) but still contains fiber, folic acid and healthy fats. 
Avocados – Good source of B6 and healthy fats 
Whole grain crackers – when you feel you just can’t eat anything else then a cracker, reaching for a whole grain alternative is  higher in B vitamins and fiber. 
Square Snacks  - to have on you while out. Hunger comes on very fast throughout the pregnancy. These snacks contain nutrient dense whole foods in a convenient size.
Lemon in water – this was my go-to and still is! Not only does it satisfy the sour desire for food that many women have, but it is helpful for supporting the liver, which works harder during pregnancy. 
Don’t get overly worried if you don’t gain weight during this trimester, or if you lose weight in some cases.  You do not need to increase calories during this stage. In the first 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy, the nourishment of the fetus depends almost exclusively on the nutrients stored in the lining of the mother’s uterus. It is important to maintain hydration with 8-10 glasses of pure water. Other beverages can work towards this number, however be sure to minimize fruit juices and pop that can effect your blood sugar as this can make morning sickness worse. 
Mother's Intuition
One the most important elements to remember from day one is to trust your intuition and listen to your body.  Although proper nutrition is crucial during pregnancy once pregnant, a woman experiences strong desires for certain foods and aversions to others and if you interpret them properly you can help to maintain balance. I’ve met many vegetarian’s who became pregnant and just had to have meat. If there is a desire for non-foods (called Pica) be sure to speak with your health care provider as that can be a iron deficiency or some other nutrient deficiency. 
Second Trimester  
Moderately active women who start pregnancy at a healthy weight need about 2,400 calories a day. 
During the second trimester 300-350 extra nutrient-dense calories are required per day for a singular pregnancy. This isn’t a lot (2 apples) so it’s important to not overestimate your caloric allowance to maintain a healthy amount of weight gain. It’s also important not to be afraid of putting on weight either. Although it’s not true that you are eating for two, you have to make a commitment to eat enough to gain a healthy amount of weight. On average 25-35 pounds for the pregnancy. 
A pregnant women requires 50% more protein. Aim for 75 to 85 grams per day. 

Protein Source Amount of protein (grams) Serving Size
Most fish 22 3.5 oz
Roasted chicken 32 3/4 cup, diced
Chicken breast  30 3.5 oz
Lean flank steak 31 4 oz
Soybeans 21 3/4 cup
Lentils/beans 17 1 cup
Non-fat plain greek yogurt 15 6 oz
Quinoa 6 1/4 cup (dry)
Buckwheat  flour 15 1 cup
Sprouted mung beans 3.16 1 cup
Pumpkin seeds 19 1/4 cup


Due to surging hormones, digestion becomes slower and constipation often occurs. Reaching for adequate fiber and enough water is key for maintaining proper elimination.
Aim for 25-45grams/day

Food Amount Serving
Chia seeds 1 tbsp 5.5 grams
Steel Cut oats ¼ cup (cooked) 5 grams
Lentils 1 cup (cooked) 15 grams
Raspberries 1 cup  8 grams
Squash ½ cup 4.5 grams
Sweet Potatoes 1 small 4 grams
Third Trimester 
You will need 300-400 extra calories per day. You should gain one pound per week during this time. 
Aim to have 6-8 smaller meals. As your uterus pushes up on your stomach it makes it harder to eat a lot at one sitting. 
From the third trimester until the second year of life, a developing child needs a steady supply of DHA to form the brain, eyes and other parts of the nervous system. Developing infants cannot efficiently produce their own DHA and must obtain this through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk following birth. 
Pregnant and nursing women should consume 300mg of DHA daily. Current studies are suggesting that the average pregnant woman is only getting 80mg per day.  It’s not easy to get DHA through food sources during pregnancy if you are having a hard time consuming fish and other proteins below. Taking a DHA supplement is therefore important to ensure you are getting adequate amounts.
Food Sources of DHA
  • Algae – sea vegetables 
  • Fatty fish including anchovies, salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna and halibut 
  • Fish oil 
  • Small amounts are found in poultry and egg yolks. Reach for Omega 3 fortified eggs. 
A healthy recommendation for oily fish (low in mercury) is 3oz, two times per week.
Iron and calcium amounts are also increased in the third trimester. Aim for 1,000mg of calcium and 27mg of iron per day. Consuming more vitamin C rich foods with iron will help absorption. 
Food Sources of calcium:
  • 1 ounce (about 23 whole) almonds: 75 mg 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds: 88 mg 
  • 1/2 cup boiled turnip greens: 98 mg 
  • 1/2 cup boiled collard greens: 133 mg 
  • 1/2 cup cooked spinach: 136 mg 
  • 3 ounces canned pink salmon, with bones and liquid: 181 mg 
  • 1 ounce mozzarella cheese: 222 mg 
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu. (Look for Non-GMO) : 253 mg 
1 cup plain organic skim-milk yogurt: 488 mg 
The iron in animal protein (heme iron) is easier for the body to absorb, but you can also get iron in plant sources (non-heme). 

Heme Iron Sources:
  • 3 ounces roast turkey breast: 1.4 mg 
  • 3 ounces roast chicken, dark meat: 1.1 mg 
  • 3 ounces roast chicken breast: 1.1 mg 
Non-heme iron Sources:
  • 1 cup edamame (boiled soybeans): 8.8 mg 
  • 1 cup cooked lentils: 6.6 mg 
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans: 5.2 mg 
  • 1 cup chickpeas: 4.8 mg 
  • 1 cup lima beans: 4.5 mg 
  • 1 ounce roasted pumpkin seeds: 4.2 mg 
  • 1 cup cooked black or pinto beans: 3.6 mg 
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses: 3.5 mg 
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu: 3.4 mg 
  • 1/2 cup boiled spinach: 3.2 mg
Miranda Malisani, RNCP

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Mummy Tummy

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Tue 30 Marilyn’s Big Little Experts! 
Wed 31 The latest fitness trends