Clean Eating While Pregnant: Why It’s Important For Your Baby And You
We all know the extreme hormonal changes that expectant women experience and believe or not this plays an important role in their sense of taste and smell. Beside the excuse of “Pregnancy is hard, and you deserve a break!” there are plenty of reasons to not sum up to these temptations and keep yourself on a healthy diet as your baby’s eating habits and future health can be shaped by what you eat now. It’s worth stating the obvious, that junk food can not provide the nutrients necessary for your developing baby and his/her brain, bones, immune systems and organs. Why clean eating while pregnant is important? Well, in this post I will share with you some valid reasons why you should eat healthy during pregnancy based on recent studies. The health of your baby is built since he/she is in your womb.
Why Clean Eating During Pregnancy is Important for Your Baby
The Frontiers in Endocrinology, published in 2017, an experiment with rodents where scientists tracked the relationship between a mother’s eating habits during pregnancy and her baby’s weight. The result was that rats fed with fat food during gestation had heavier babies and strongly preferred junk food even after adulthood.
Another study published in Faseb Journal concluded that pregnant rats fed with junk food seems to program their offsprings to become addicted to a “high-fat, high-sugar diet”, which led their reward brain systems to be less sensitive during young ages to “feel-good hormones”, which possibly results in overeating. A research published on Telegraph Report reveals that children born to mothers who ate fatty food during pregnancy suffer from more immune diseases and allergies.
A bad diet has a negative effect on unborn babies and can make pregnancies more difficult. It increases the risk of fatigue, heartburn, stretch marks, gestational diabetes and other pregnancy related abnormalities such as pre-eclampsia. On the other side, the intake of healthy snacks and food can help your baby to have better health, better brain development, bones and immune systems.
As a Dietician Technician, I included in my daily meals more vegetables and fruits as soon I learned I was pregnant and tried to eat regularly at the same time of each day. Hamburgers, fried foods and processed foods are not part of my diet. It’s a popular saying “I am eating for two”, that many believe and use to rationalize the ingesting of unnecessary fat foods, but by following a healthy meal plan I gave birth to a strong and healthy 7.2lb baby.
A Healthy Diet Can Make Your Baby Stronger
Marie is 2.5 years old now and so far she’s been sick only once. I believe this is due to the diet that I was on during my pregnancy, which I’ve kept her on after almost three years since she was born. I gave birth to Marie when I was 38 weeks pregnant, which was an emergency c-section and if you have ever read my blog you know that I had a high risk pregnancy with two Fibroid tumors in my uterus and another big cyst in my ovary and this just reinforces my belief that she only had the strength to face this situation with enough strength to stay alive because of that. From the beginning of my pregnancy I was careful with my diet.
Benefits of Clean Eating While Pregnant / Do Not Trust in The Myth
I am 36 weeks pregnant with my next child and just as with my first pregnancy, so far I have no sign of swollen legs or stretch marks. It’s important to break the myth that you need to eat fat food throughout your pregnancy in order to make your baby gain weight. Remember that 85% of all you eat goes to your baby and you want to be sure that you are feeding him/her just right. You may be questioning how you would survive with only 15% of food and think that you must eat for two but, mother nature is miraculously smart and somehow you will survive your pregnancy with no problem.
I follow some simple rules in order to keep my craving under control that I want to share with you right here:
Crave for: potato chips, nachos, hamburgers
Reach for: baby carrots
Crave for: candy, cakes, etc
Reach for: bananas,grapes, strawberries mangos or any other fruit.
Crave for: ice cream
Reach for: Your favorite yogurt or fruit shakes. I highly recommend Neston Cerelac from Nestle that you can find at Wal-Mart in the hispanic section. It contains more than 10 vitamins and it really satisfies my hunger. You can mix it with any fruit you like and it makes a delicious shake. You do not need to add sugar.
Clean Eating & Weight Loss While Pregnant
Clean eating makes a huge difference when it comes to losing postpartum weight. In my first pregnancy, I was weighing 134lb when I gave birth to my baby and only two weeks later I was weighing 119 lb with no exercise. Typically, you will only need to consume an extra 300 calories a day on top of your recommended daily ingestion before pregnancy, which will depend on your height, age, gender, current weight and how active you are. So, how much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy? That depends on your body mass index (BMI) before you get pregnant. You can calculate it here.
Food Group – The More Colorful The Better
It is always important to eat a variety of foods throughout the day and make sure that you and your baby are getting the nutrients both of you need. Below, you can see a list of what I have included in my diet for some inspiration.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain many important nutrients for pregnancy, especially Vitamin C and Folic Acid. However, many doctors agree that the daily ingest of Vitamin-C during the first trimester should not exceed 2000/mg. Include in your diet fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, apples and watermelon, and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts.
Breads and Grains
Breads and Grains have an important role during pregnancy as they are a great source of carbohydrates, which means energy for you – much need during pregnancy.
During the first trimester, when you are not able to keep food down, it’s important to include in your main meals beef, as white meat are quickly digested, which will make you hungry sooner and therefore causing more nausea and vomiting. The U.S. RDA recommends a consumption of 27 mg of protein per day. Remember to follow the recommended consumption of fish, that is no more than 3 times per week as the mercury contained in it can be dangerous for your baby. Make sure to choose a fish that is low in mercury, such as salmon, tilapia, shrimp, tuna (canned-light), cod, and catfish. Also, include black beans in your meals as it’s rich in Iron and fills up your stomach for much longer than noodles that will make you hungry faster and as I mentioned above and therefore to induce nausea.
You must consume at least 1000 mg of calcium daily during your pregnancy. Calcium is essential for building teeth and bones, muscle and nerves. Once your developing baby requires a considerable amount of calcium, your body may take it from your bones and teeth, in case you do not consume enough through your diet which can lead to problems, such as osteoporosis.
I must finish this post by saying two important things:
First, I am not a doctor in any way, nor am I giving any sort of medical advice. I am just telling you about my own experience with clean eating while pregnant and what I include in my diet in order to make both of us, my baby and I to have the necessary source of nutrients for good health. That said, I am just sharing what I learned from reading and studying a lot and from my OB/GYN and his nurse advised me to do.
Second, everybody has their own unique metabolism and fat burning system, which means that you will lose your postpartum weight at your own pace, based on what you eat, age, gender and how active you are. Use this post only as an inspiration for you to reach the results you expect. It’s not easy but, it’s possible. You got this!
Also, take a look NOW on my recent post :”What to Pack In Your Hospital Bag – Free Hospital Bag Checklist
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