Happy #BumpDay to all the mamas to be out there! In honor of this annual day that celebrates beautiful bumps and healthy pregnancies, I wanted to share the things that have gotten me through my first pregnancy thus far.
1. Garden of Life Prenatal Once Daily & Prenatal Multi Gummies
If there's ever a good time to start taking vitamins, it's when you're expecting. Getting essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy is incredibly important to baby's development.
My prenatal vitamin of choice is Garden of Life mykind Organics. They offer both a pill and a gummy form (I like both options), and both are made from certified organic, non-GMO whole foods. They also contain folate, as opposed to its more commonly found synthetic form, folic acid.
2. Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA
DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid known for its positive influence on brain development, is another key nutrient for a healthy pregnancy. I like Nordic Naturals because they offer a DHA supplement that's specifically formulated for moms to be.
3. Smoothies & Shakes
I was never much of a breakfast person before becoming pregnant, but I would often start my day with some coffee. However, while many sources say it's okay to have up to 200mg of caffeine per day while pregnant, I've decided to cut coffee all together since it's a diuretic and can interfere with one's ability to absorb iron--a key nutrient needed by pregnant women.
In order to replace my cuppa joe with something a bit more pregnancy-friendly, I've turned to making myself a smoothie or bellying up to the juice bar (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun) on work days. It's an easy way to start myself off with lots of different pregnancy-essential nutrients and a quick way to just get something in my stomach first thing in the morning.
I like to make something different every day to ensure I'm getting a wide range of nutrients, but I always include some greens and some sort of protein. I also try to be mindful of how much sugar I'm consuming. I never add additional sweeteners--I let the fruit do the heavy lifting there.
4. Woodstock Frozen Organic Spinach
Spinach is loaded with iron and other pregnancy-essential nutrients, so I've been adding about 1/2 cup of frozen organic spinach to most of my morning smoothies. It helps me get my greens without thinking about it, and it also cuts down on the overall sugar content of my smoothie since I'm not taking up that space in the blender with something sweet.
5. Dean's Fresh-Ground Organic Almond Butter
I also like to start my days with a spoonful of our freshly ground organic almond butter, which has no added sugar. Almond butter offers protein, fiber, healthy plant-based fat, and a host of pregnancy-friendly nutrients, making it a great choice to mamas to be. I typically enjoy mine on sprouted grain toast or add a spoonful to my morning smoothie.
6. Organic Spaghetti Squash
I've had some major cravings for pasta, and organic spaghetti squash has been a great stand-in for when I need a break from the carbs and want to sneak in some more veggies. I've tried it with marinara, buffalo sauce, and pesto -- all were tasty!
I stink at staying hydrated -- I'm not a huge fan of plain old water, and most other beverages, including teas, coffee, and sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited during pregnancy for one reason or another.
In order help me stay properly hydrated, I've been adding soup to my diet. Not only is it an alternative way to get some fluids, it can also be a great way to sneak in some extra veggies.
They key to enjoying soup while expecting is to avoid consuming too much sodium, which can lead to swelling during pregnancy. Many conventional pre-made soups are loaded with it, so I like to make my own healthy soups and freeze them in big batches, or when I'm short on time, I'll grab some soup off our hot bar.
8. Ginger Beer
I was extremely lucky in that my first trimester nausea was very mild for the most part. However, I did run into a couple situations where I needed something to provide a little relief. I also ran into a couple social situations where I wanted to sip on something a little more exciting than sparking water. Ginger beer to the rescue on both accounts!
I like Fever Tree because the bottles are only 8 oz., which helps me limit the amount of sugar I'm consuming--it is soda, after all. If I want to make the flavor last over a couple mocktails, I'll cut it with seltzer water and add lime juice and some fresh organic mint. This isn't something I enjoy all the time, but it's a nice occasional treat.
9. Dark Chocolate
In addition to being a much needed sweet treat, dark chocolate is also a great source of iron and antioxidants. I've found that if I eat a square when I start feeling dizzy (a common pregnancy symptom that is sometimes caused by needing iron), it makes me feel a little better. There have also been studies showing that consuming dark chocolate may reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous complication of pregnancy.
Dark chocolate does contain some sugar and a bit of caffeine, however, so I try to limit myself to one square.
My bar of choice has been Kaoka's Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries.
10. Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals
Many sources recommend switching to smaller, more frequent meals during pregnancy to combat common pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, heartburn, and dizziness. However, getting off the "three square meals a day" train can be a bit of a challenge. Adding intermittent snacks is easy (especially once the second trimester hunger pangs hit), but it also requires getting out of the habit of eating more around traditional meal times, which is a tougher habit to break.
On the days when I do this right, I always feel better. I've found the key is to plan ahead, avoid mindless eating and snacking, use smaller plates at meal times, and try to stick to a schedule. I also keep healthy snacks within close reach to make the decision to eat healthy an easy one.
These two things aren't specifically food or nutrition related, but they've been much welcome additions to my pregnancy journey:
- Prenatal Yoga: I started at 12 weeks, and wish I'd started sooner! It's a more gentle workout than I'm used to, but it's been great for my mind and body and is a great way to connect with other moms to be.
- The Pregnancy & 40 Weeks Podcasts: I have a long commute, so my car rides consist of lots of podcasts. I'm so happy to have discovered The Pregnancy Podcast and 40 Weeks. They've provided me with tons of helpful information, and I feel that the host is very thoughtful in her research.
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Over 800 women die every day from preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Help save a life by donating to the #BumpDay Cause today. Your donation can help ensure healthy beginnings and healthy futures.All material in this post is provided for information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this publication; instead readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information provided has not been approved the Food & Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease.