When I was pregnant in 2012, I was overwhelmed by the conflicting “Do not eat!” lists for pregnancy. One would advise against chamomile tea, another wouldn’t say anything about tea but would list lunch meat, seafood, and common allergens to avoid exposing baby to, etc. I just wanted to eat well for my baby and hopefully not throw it up. At my first OB-Gyn appointment I asked my doctor about the lists, and what I should be eating. His only answer was to avoid fish with mercury.
That was it.
Luckily, I had some knowledge of general nutrition, but everything made me sick. Later in the pregnancy, I had viscous heart burn. It was years until I could even look at orange juice. It would have been nice to have advice beyond the typical old wives tales.
I had hoped over the years to find a good resource on nutrition. I was asked to review Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols RDN, CDE.
It did not disappoint.
Heavily researched and evidence based, this book is the most definitive guide on what to eat during pregnancy and postpartum that I have come across. The book is broken down into macronutrients, pregnancy expectations and complaints, lab testing, and postpartum.
Having an outline of the nutrients to focus on and encouragement to reach for whole foods, is what helps to decrease the pregnancy complaints of nausea, heart burn, and serious complications of hypertension and gestational diabetes. By starting with exercise and proper nutrition, we can feel better and build a healthier pregnancy. I feel like this is lacking in our health care system.
The information on lab testing was so informative, and is a must read for those planning to get pregnant. Nichols breaks down hormone testing, thyroid, A1c, glucose, and nutrient testing. Each one has its benefits and resulting effects on pregnancy and postpartum health for mom and baby. For example, an elevated A1c in early pregnancy results in 98.4% of cases being diagnosed with gestational diabetes (Nichols p. 171). Doing this test in early pregnancy can allow mothers to make necessary dietary changes from the get go, instead of waiting for the glucose tolerance test at 26 weeks. Nichols gives the pros and cons of the glucola testing and alternatives that may be beneficial to some patients. The rate of false positives or ways to, “beat” the test may not give a real picture of a patients health picture.
What I find nice about all of this information, is that it is not often offered by care providers. Knowing your full options is the beginning of true informed consent.
Grab a copy of Real Food for Pregnancy here, and gift an extra copy to your care provider.
What nutrition advice did you receive during your pregnancy? Share in the comments below.