If you are planning to have a baby, or are already pregnant, give your baby the best possible start. Miraculously, many women have an apparently health pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby without any thought at all. However, many are not so lucky and sometimes that perfectly healthy baby has health issues early on such as rashes, allergies, ear infections etc. As an obstetrics nurse with 40 years experience in childbirth and prenatal education, I would like to encourage you not to leave the health of your pregnancy and baby to chance. Take steps now to be healthier.
Start with a good physical from your midwife or MD. Ask your practitioner about a thyroid panel and Vitamin D level. Make sure your iron stores are good. If you are vegetarian, ask your health care provider about B12 supplementation. Start on your prenatal vitamins and minerals and of course, if you haven’t quit smoking do it now. The effects of 1 cigarette a day after the 4th month of pregnancy are still measurable at age 10.
Take a good look at your diet. Write down everything you eat for 3 days and then check it off by the following list.
1: 7 colors daily: Blue – blue berries, elderberries;
Purple – plums, grapes, purple cabbage;
Red – tomatoes, radishes, cherries, red peppers, red onions;
Yellow – lemon, mango, lemon, grapefruit, yellow tomatoes, grapefruit;
White – cauliflower, onions, garlic;
Orange – oranges, tangerines, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and yams;
Green – lettuce (not ice burg), celery, cilantro, parsley, cabbage, napa cabbage, kale, organic spinach, swiss chard, bok choy.
2: 7-9 Servings of fruits and vegetables
3: Complete protein at every meal (pregnancy, nursing and children) *
4: Good fats – Olive Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Omega 3 fatty Acids. raw seeds and nuts
5. Whole Grains 3 to 4 servings for pregnant women
6. Get rid of calories without food value-pop, chips, candy etc.
7. Limit or eliminate the white – white flour, white rice, and sugars of all forms.
This may seem overwhelming. Don’t let it be. Just start educating yourself and move towards making this list the basis for your food intake.
Last but not least, schedule your first prenatal as soon as you have conceived. Information gathered in your first trimester is used for treating any pregnancy complications that should arise.
Please start a list of questions for your care provider, so you can get all of your questions answered. This information is not intended as medical advice, but as information to discuss with your midwife or doctor.
* Complete proteins come from combining various protein sources. As a general rule meat, fish, poultry and milk have a more complete protein balance. Egg whites are the best. Quinoa and soy beans are the top of the plant proteins. It is good to vary the protein sources in your diet and eat combinations of plant proteins.