When you’re pregnant, you’re not just “eating for two” — as the old adage goes - but exercising for two, relaxing for two, and even listening to music for two (or more, if it’s a multiple birth!). The food you eat helps feed your baby through the umbilical cord that runs from the placenta into its digestive system.
The intimate relationship between your health and your baby’s health makes it more essential than ever to strengthen your own body with proper nutrition and exercise. Focusing on food that’s rich in high-quality nutrients will help your baby grow strong and healthy.
More Calories, Better Calories
Doctors recommend that you consume an extra 300 calories per day during pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to load up on ice cream sundaes and potato chips! You need to find colorful, flavorful, whole foods that are nutrient dense and low in glycemia for an optimal nutritional punch.
But What About Morning Sickness?
Eating at all during the first trimester of pregnancy can be difficult due to increased nausea. Work with your doctor to find natural remedies, such as ginger, to control nausea and try to find bland but healthy foods that you can easily digest, such as boiled chicken and sweet potatoes, along with your physician’s recommended prenatal vitamins.
Add More Color to Your Life
Once you can tolerate regular meals, a great place to start improving your diet is just by adding more fruits and vegetables. Many of them are rich in Vitamins A and C, plus folate, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
Aim for four or more servings of vegetables daily. They can act as a side dish or add color, taste, and texture to your favorite foods. You can add them to smoothies for a morning treat, mix them into main dishes by blending or chopping them, and sautée or crisp them to act as toppings for meats, grains or low-glycemic carbohydrates.
You should also have at least two to four servings of fruit per day. Be careful not to over-indulge, though, because even whole, natural fruit is high in sugar.
Pack in Plenty of Protein
Protein helps to build muscles, hair, skin, and bones. Focus on healthy, whole meats that have been trimmed of excess fat, poultry, fish (see caveats below), eggs, and organ meats such as liver. Non-animal sources of protein can include grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Quinoa is a high-protein seed that can replace grains or animal protein.
Protein also helps to keep you full and to burn calories more efficiently, so don’t be afraid to get your two to four 1/4 to 1/2 lb servings per day.
Dairy … or Not
Dairy products are rich in calcium to help your baby build healthy bones and teeth. Doctors recommend about three cups of milk per day. However, many people cannot digest milk well. If that sounds like you, try fermented milk products, such as yogurt and kefir, which are easier to digest, or use a lactose-enzyme pill or lactose-free dairy products. You can also try alternate sources of calcium, such as canned sardines or salmon.
It’s more important than ever to avoid high-glycemic foods that can spike your blood sugar while pregnant, as this could lead to gestational diabetes — a serious condition. Look for whole grains in breads and pastas. You might also switch from white potatoes to sweet potatoes or yams — which have more fiber and vitamins and are digested more slowly, resulting in a gradual release of glucose.
Good Fats, Limited Sugar
Good-quality fats can fill you up and add nutrition to your meals. Think: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats.
Try to replace sugary foods with fresh fruit and other whole foods. Avoid beverages and treats made with high-fructose corn syrup, which causes blood-sugar spikes.
Drink Plenty of Water
The best beverage for you and your baby is plain or sparkling water or mineral water. Spice it up with a splash of fruit juice or a wedge of lemon, lime or ginger. Or have a cup of green tea. Avoid sugary drinks, diet sodas, and too much fruit juice. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses of fresh water per day.
Limit or Avoid…
Because your growing baby is extra sensitive, you should avoid:
Shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish
Raw fish (sushi)
Soft cheeses such as blue cheese, feta, Brie, Liederkranz, Camembert, and queso blanco
You obstetrician will prescribe you a prenatal vitamin that will ensure your baby gets key nutrients, such as folate, to prevent birth defects. Take it as prescribed, but don’t forget to eat healthy foods, too!
After Baby Arrives
After your baby is born, you can not only continue caring for it through optimum nutrition but by banking its stem-cell-rich umbilical cord lining for future medical use. Cord lining stem cells could not only help your baby, but other blood-related family members too.
When considering cord lining banking, make an informed choice. Select a cord banking service that is licensed to offer complete coverage for all stem cell therapies derived from your stored cord.
Umbilical cord lining tissue banked by non-licensed cord blood banks may not provide the stem cell yield or quality that CellResearch Corporation’s proprietary and patented protocols can provide — this may affect its suitability for future therapeutic use. In addition, these blood banks and medical institutions that offer CellResearch Corporation's patented protocols — which include ALL cord lining stem cell therapies — are at risk of patent infringement.
GlobalCord is operated by CellResearch Corporation and its partners. Cords banked through GlobalCord are covered by CellResearch Corporation’s patent licensure which extends to 41 territories around the world, including the U.S.A.