Congratulations!! You have a bun in the oven!! The first thing you are probably asking yourself is, “okay, so what do I eat!??” If you are anything like I was when I first became pregnant, you are probably feeling very confused and left hearing a million different suggestions on how important it is to get your protein and take your prenatal or you’ve probably heard, “just eat what you’re craving!” The amount of advice coming your way can be quite overwhelming and can leave you feeling like you don’t even know where to start. I would like to help you weave through the overload of information and get back to the basics. My biggest piece of advice to you as a new mom is to do your own research. You are your child’s biggest advocate. What may work for one mom, may not work for you and just know that there is much more information out there than what is conventionally talked about.
There are two concepts of food that I’d like to talk about to help you have a healthy pregnancy. Primary foods and secondary foods. Primary foods are all the things that feed you such as your relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality. Secondary foods are the foods you can actually eat. Both play an important role in a healthy life and work together to help you have a healthy pregnancy.
Here are a few ways you can ensure that you are fueling your soul with primary and secondary foods throughout your pregnancy.
- Take care of yourself.
It can be difficult to tackle some of the obstacles that pregnancy brings such as morning sickness, retaining all the new information you are trying to learn, planning gender reveals or family parties, getting the nursery ready, packing your hospital bag, etc… Don’t forget to take some quality time for yourself and listen to your body. Your body will let you know what it needs, sometimes we just need to listen.
Try practicing self-care by indulging in a warm bath with epsom salt and your favorite essential oils, take a day off work, enjoy a night out with your girlfriends, plan a date night with bae, read a book, cozy up with a movie such as “Life as We Know It” (even if you’ve seen it before you’ll watch it in a whole new light now that you’re going to be a mom – TRUST ME).
- Talk about it.
Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns, let out your excitement, ask questions, or just completely rave about your pregnancy. This is YOUR time! It can be both exciting and scary and it is good to have someone to talk to about it. Your mind will be racing with a million thoughts and ideas and you don’t have to keep it all to yourself. Talk to your significant other, find a girlfriend, another mom, your doula, or another support system who is willing to listen and vent it out!
- Soak up some sun
Vitamin D is a very important nutrient for all occasions but especially during pregnancy. Some research shows that vitamin D deficiency may lead to a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight. Many people are deficient in vitamin D because sunscreen actually prevents our bodies from properly absorbing the ultraviolet B rays from the sun that help our bodies produce vitamin D. The best way to get vitamin D is to expose your bare skin to sunlight in the middle of the day when the sun is directly above. You don’t need to tan or burn in order to get adequate sunlight and you certainly don’t want to overdo it. If you are pregnant during the winter time or in an area that doesn’t get much sunlight and you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, you can talk to your doctor about taking a high quality vitamin D supplement.
Spending some time in the sun can also be a grounding experience for you and allow you some time with nature to just enjoy yourself and your baby bump during your pregnancy.
- Fit in some physical activity.
Physical activity has such a powerful impact on our mood and I believe it is so much more than just trying to stay fit and holding on to that pre-pregnancy body. Getting in that physical activity while you’re pregnant can improve your mood, improve your sleep, prevent heartburn, reduce stress, help reduce nausea, and so much more. Try going for a nice walk outdoors or take a prenatal yoga class!
- Take some time to meditate daily.
15 minutes is all you need! With all the chaos that may be going on around you, you’ll need some down time to gather your thoughts. Find a quiet spot, put on some headphones to drown out any distracting noises, and listen to a 15-minute guided meditation like this one. You don’t even need to know how to meditate, just focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your nose. You’ll notice a huge difference in your stress levels!
Sleep is probably one of the most important things you should make sure you are getting enough of during pregnancy. Of course, sleep can easily get more difficult with each trimester and as baby starts to wake up and start kicking as you try to fall asleep! Try to follow a nice, wind-down routine at the end of the day that will help set you up for a good night’s rest, maybe even giving your baby belly a warm coconut oil massage (which will also help with stretch marks). If you really struggle with restless leg syndrome during these sleepless nights, you might want to try getting more magnesium. You can do this by taking epsom salt baths, using a topical magnesium oil, taking magnesium supplements, or drinking more coconut water. When all else fails, try some of these tips from my YouTube video for how to get a good night’s sleep!
- Focus on eating real, clean, plant-based, whole foods.
The best thing you can do for you and your baby is to eat the highest quality, most nutritious foods you can get your hands on. You want to limit your exposure to toxins, toxic chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, and excess sugar. This can sound daunting for anyone who hasn’t delved through the world of nutrition yet. The food you eat can make all the difference in how you feel throughout pregnancy, labor, and having a healthy baby. Here are some simple tips for what to incorporate into your pregnancy diet:
– Eat as much organic, non-GMO that you can
– Choose foods from glass containers or BPA-free containers/cans
– Check ingredients, read labels! rule of thumb – if you don’t know an ingredient, don’t buy it and limit the items you buy to include 5 ingredients or less
– Drink lots of spring water of high quality filtered water!
– Eat lots of leafy greens
– Eat lots of healthy fats (avocado, flaxseeds, chia seeds, almonds, nut butters, coconut oil, etc…)
– Don’t stress about the protein! If you are eating a whole food, plant-based diet you are getting enough!
– Eat 3-4 medjool dates per day for an easier labor
– Drink raspberry leaf tea throughout your second and third trimester to soften your cervix, help prevent/ease contraction pains, and help strengthen your uterus and pelvic area.
– Ditch the table salt and use Himalayan salt or high quality sea salt to season your food to help maintain electrolyte balance. Insufficient salt intake can increase risks of preeclampsia and fetal death.
– Drink coconut water (I love ZICO brand – no sugar added) for minerals and to curb dehydration during common pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, constipation, and alleviate heartburn.
- Trust in the seeds you’ve planted.
Now it is time for you to sit back and embrace your journey. Being a mom is one of the most beautiful experiences a woman will ever go through. It is full of challenges, joyful moments, and a life long’s worth of learning. You won’t always make the right decisions but trust in yourself to always do what you believe is best for your baby. If there comes a time when you make the wrong decision, that’s okay… learn from it and the next time you will do better. Trust in the seeds you’ve planted and know that they will grow the way you nourish them.
My name is Alexandra Ponsica and I am a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach | Autism Mom | Blogger who posts about healthy habits, delicious recipes, and living a natural lifestyle ♥