Prenatal Nutrition: Part 1

Doulas of PG County is thrilled to have Emily Woody, IBCLC and Registered Dietician on our team. Please enjoy this week's blog featuring her specialized knowledge on nutrition during pregnancy and also be on the look out for Prenatal Nutrition: (Part 2) coming soon!

Congratulations! Your pregnant, or maybe you’ve made the decision that you are planning on becoming pregnant. There is a lot of information out there to sort through. Most practitioners focus on the No’s of Pregnancy, but today I’m going to provide you with a Prenatal YES List. This Prenatal Nutrition guide will allow you to focus on the needs of you and that baby (or soon to be baby) growing inside you.

Prenatal YES List:

Protein: Protein is critical in the building of cells and therefore essential for the growth and development of your child. Lean sources of protein including chicken, turkey, salmon, and eggs can provide the essential nutrients needed to promote cell building. Vegetarian? Add a handful of chia seeds in your smoothie or add an extra serving of quinoa or a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread to your daily routine.

Beef: Red meat has a bad reputation in the nutrition world, but during pregnancy, beef can provide some essential nutrients including zinc, iron, vitamin B12 and B6. Adding a grass-fed beef burger or beef tenderloin to your weekly rotation will help satisfy these nutritional needs.

fruits and vegetables

Green Leafy Vegetables: Greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli are high in folate and calcium. Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that is naturally present in some foods. Folate functions in the synthesis of DNA and is protective against neural tube defect. Folate is considered one of the most important nutrients to increase during pregnancy.

Eggs: Eggs are the perfect source of protein during pregnancy due to the high levels of choline and B vitamins. Choline, found in high amounts in the yolks of eggs,  helps develop the baby's brain and spinal cord development and may protect against neural tube defects. Eggs are also gentle on the stomach allowing for some crucial nutrition during the infamous morning sickness and bloating that may occur during pregnancy.

Avocados: Avocados are a great nutrient dense food to include in your diet rotation during pregnancy. Avocados contain over 20 vitamins and minerals including polyunsaturated fat, protein, iron, vitamin K, folate, and copper. Whether your preference is avocado on toast, in smoothies, or scrambled in eggs, avocados are extremely versatile!

Oats: Oats contain more protein and fat than most other grains and are naturally gluten-free! Oats are high in fiber which helps decrease constipation and increase satiety. Oatmeal is great way to start your day during pregnancy- throw in a few berries and flaxseeds with your oats for a powerful, nutritious meal!

Salmon: Fish tends to be a sensitive topic during pregnancy due to the high levels of mercury found in certain fish. Salmon is high in the essential nutrient omega-3 fatty acid and low in mercury content. Salmon is high in the B Vitamins including Vitamin B6 and B12, making it a great choice for those low energy days. It’s recommended for pregnancy and breastfeeding women to avoid eating fish raw due to the susceptibility of foodborne illness, but cooked fish is recommended 2-3 times per week.

Bone Broth: Battling nausea and fatigue during your pregnancy? Then bone broth will be your best friend. Bone broth is packed with a variety of minerals and over 17 amino acids to help restore your energy levels but is light on your stomach. Some of the most prominent minerals in bone broth include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. The natural gelatin in bone broth heals the gut and reduces inflammation.  

Tell us: What is/was your favorite healthy food during pregnancy?

Emily Smith