Growing another human being takes quite a bit of work! Of course we’ve all heard that it’s a totally natural thing to do and women have been doing it for centuries, this is a time to take extra care of yourself.
One of the best gifts you can give to your children is the gift of good health and by making sure you are getting the best nutrition you can pre, during and post pregnancy, you are doing just that.
Looking after yourself during pregnancy can be tough when you feel sick or exhausted, but having a plan in place can help to minimise the discomforts pregnancy can bring and also nourishes your body so that once your Bub arrives, you have the energy you need to take care of them.
So what do you need to make sure you’re getting during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Water – ok, so not a food, but very important. A woman’s blood volume increases during pregnancy and your body has to supply fluid to replenish the amniotic fluid, it also supports the increase of blood plasma volume and aids in the production of breast milk. Drinking enough water can also help to alleviate constipation and bloating during pregnancy and can even help to reduce physical stress on your body.
Aim to drink about 3 litres of water per day – you can also drink herbal teas to increase your water. Steer clear of caffeine and for every cup of tea or coffee you drink, add another glass of water to stay hydrated.
Protein – Protein is needed for the growth and development of your baby, the placenta and maternal tissues. To meet this demand, your protein intake needs to be about 1gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is especially important during your second semester when your baby is in a period of rapid growth.
Eating protein regularly throughout the day can also help prevent morning sickness and stabilise blood sugars.
Good quality sources of protein include eggs, lean red meat, chicken, nuts & seeds, oats, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, quinoa and lentils.
Fat – Good quality fats are essential for a healthy pregnancy as they help to develop your baby’s brain, improve the quality of your breastmilk and assist in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E & K.
Good quality sources of fat include avocados, full fat dairy (if tolerated), olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, oily fish, butter and eggs.
Fruits & Veggies – Fruits and veggies are full of essential vitamins and minerals that you need during pregnancy such as vitamin C, folate, iodine, B6, vitamin K, calcium and magnesium. These are also a great source of complex carbohydrates.
Fruits and vegetables in their whole food state are also high in fibre which can help to stabilise blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of high blood pressure and help to keep bowel movements regular.
Fermented vegetables are also a great source of probiotics.
Recipes for Pregnancy, labour and lactation
I’ve gathered some recipes that are perfect during pregnancy, labour and lactation.
Roast Veggies with Tahini, Honey and Dukkah from Jules Galloway – Naturopath.
Paleo Salmon Cakes from The MerryMaker Sisters.
Chicken Larb Salad with Red Cabbage from Eat Drink Paleo.
Nourishing Pregnancy Smoothie from Nourishing Hub.
Sweet Potato Blondies from My Food Religion.
Choc Peanut Butter Bites from Healthy Natural Changes.
Peanut Butter & Banana Porridge Bake from Stacey Clare.