As I sit here on the cusp of my third trimester with my fourth baby, I’ve had a lot of time to think about my favorite subject, food. I have been thinking about what a nourished pregnancy looks like. When you look at a pregnant mother who is truly nourished, is she thin? Is she heavy? Glowing? Tired-looking?
I believe that every woman’s body handles pregnancy differently and in turn, looks different. Some women stay thin looking all over and gain the usual 30 lbs or so but have that healthy pregnancy glow. Others gain all over and may even go over the “recommended” weight gain but again, still have that glow. What I see when I look in the mirror is a mom who while gaining weight all over has maintained her pre-pregnancy clothes size, has beautiful skin, bright eyes, and looks very healthy.
With my youngest daughter, I gained just about 30 lbs. I am already almost at 30 lbs and I still have 12 weeks to go! I am not worried though because I am eating what I am supposed to be eating an exercising every day. My body knows what to do and how much it needs to gain. Am I a fan of weight gain? Well, no! Of course not! What woman is? However, it is temporary and it will come off beginning when I hold my beautiful baby in my arms.
So what does a nourished mother eat?
I think this will vary mother to mother. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, your nourishment will look different than a mother who follows a more traditional foods way of eating. For me, I try to be mindful of what it seems like my body needs. I loosely follow the Weston A. Price Foundation‘s recommendations for what to eat while pregnant but it tends to be too much food for me.
I drink raw milk every day. During my first trimester I drank well over a quart per day. I was nauseated all day every day and raw milk was the one thing I could drink and feel satisfied from. I eat a lot of vegetables, especially salads with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and dulse(seaweed) flakes. I belong to a CSA and get a box of vegetables weekly so I have been eating quite a few tomatoes and eggplants as of late.
I drink coconut water and pregnancy tea which I think is truly key in being nourished. I get so many vitamins and minerals from the pregnancy tea and feel so amazing when I drink it. *See recipe below. Because I have myself on a regular workout schedule, I feel that the coconut water really replenishes my electrolytes and gives me the potassium I need to avoid leg cramps.
I eat pastured eggs from a local farm every morning for breakfast. Eggs are the perfect food with many of the essential vitamins and minerals that mom and baby need to stay nourished. The yolks of my eggs are orange from the chickens being able to roam free and eat grass and bugs like they are meant to.
Some women don’t take pre-natal vitamins for a variety of reasons. Even many holistic foodies say they would rather get their vitamins from food than from a supplement. While I agree with that to some extent, I personally do take a pre-natal vitamin. I was introduced to Innate Response during this pregnancy and fell in love with them. I feel like my body needs them and I feel much better when taking them. They are a whole food vitamin and are especially helpful on days when nausea gets the better of you or you just couldn’t get everything food-wise that you really needed. They don’t smell so they are easy to take.
If you are not eating a good, whole food based diet, you do need some kind of whole food based supplementation or you will feel like the life is being drained out of you. What happens is that the baby will get his/her nutrients one way or another. If he/she can’t get them from what you are eating, you will start to lose vital nutrients that are stored in organs and bones. You may feel fatigued and be plagued with all sorts of pre-natal woes.
Nutrition is SO important, especially during pregnancy. If you don’t think what you are eating matters, you are doing both you and your baby a disservice. *I DO NOT recommend prescription pre-natals or over-the-counter pre-natals that use synthetic vitamins. These are not helpful at all. Always consult your midwife or healthcare provider before starting any supplementation.
My all-time favorite food-based supplement is Fermented Cod Liver Oil or FCLO. It gives you your vitamin A and vitamin D as well as your omega-3 fatty acids which are so incredibly crucial for your baby’s brain development. This is especially essential in your third trimester when the brain is doing the most development. You can get FCLO from Green Pasture. I also take probiotics (this brand) as well as drink milk kefir and water kefir. These are great sources of probiotics which are essential for gut health in mother and baby.
Overall, I have been able to stay 99% organic throughout this entire pregnancy. We have gone out to eat a couple of times and I have eaten at other people’s houses where they do not eat organic. At home though, I am very strict about what goes into my mouth. No white flour, no white sugar, no caffeine in coffee, no alcohol, no soda(which I don’t drink anyway), and minimal sweets…even “healthy” ones. I do occasionally have a cookie or some ice cream. I have a love for baking and happen to own an ice cream maker so I can make raw milk ice cream. Yum!
A nourished mama means a nourished baby. What you eat DOES matter. Be nourished.
Pregnancy Tea Recipe
(I put it in a quart jar and my herb amounts vary – I use TBS as my “part”)
*Adapted from a recipe by Aviva Jill Romm
2 parts red raspberry leaf
2 parts nettle
1/2 part oatstraw
1/2 part alfalfa
1/4 part red clover
1/4 part rose hips
1 part hibiscus flowers
1/4 part spearmint
Put herbs into a quart jar and cover with hot water. Let steep 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. Strain, sweeten with stevia if preferred and drink throughout the day.
For further reading on pregnancy nutrition, I like Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breast-feeding, and Baby’s First Foods by Kristen Michaelis.
Shared at Babies and Beyond.