Tips for a Vibrantly Healthy Pregnancy
My name is Kate Matthew and I am a Holistic Nutritionist and Culinary Nutrition Expert with a focus on pre- and postnatal nutrition. I believe that a healthy world starts with healthy individuals, and that healthy individuals start before we are born, and actually, before we are conceived!
A mother’s health entering and during pregnancy can set the foundation for a lifetime of good health. It’s crucially important for a mom-to-be to pay attention to nutrition, and my passion is helping expectant mothers to nurture their babies from the inside-out, and new moms to nourish themselves while breastfeeding and beyond.
Speaking of foundations, let me ask you this: If you were planning to build a house, would you look for a property with solid ground? Would you dig and pour in a solid foundation? Would you frame the house with the best quality materials you could afford?
You can probably see where I’m going with this. ..
Your baby’s health works the same way. You yourself must be the solid ground for them. And you want to start building their health with a proper nutritional foundation so that by the end of your pregnancy, you’ve set the framework for them to grow into vibrantly healthy babies and individuals!
Some fundamental elements on prenatal nutrition include proper weight gain, the importance of variety in your diet, the top 5 nutrients you need to consume while pregnant, and the importance of eating a low-glycemic, nutrient dense diet through pregnancy and beyond. Here’s a little snippet:
Did you know it takes 70,000 calories to grow a healthy baby?! Weight gain is your indicator which tells you that your baby is receiving the nutrition he/she need in order to growth healthily. To put this into context, the majority of the weight you are gaining is not just extra love handles, it’s the weight of carrying:
- An extra 1 -2 litres of blood
- 500ml – 1 litre of amniotic fluid
- Breast enlargement and milk
- Enlargement of the uterus
- The weight of the placenta
- And of course, the weight of the actually baby
Yes, extra weight will show on your waist and hips but pound for pound, it’s primarily going directly to nourishing and supporting your baby. In fact, in a pregnancy where mom is starting out from a healthy BMI of between 18.5 – 25, extra body fat would only account for about 7 pounds with a 30 pound total weight gain.
So if growing a baby takes 70,000 calories, that roughly breaks down to about 275 extra calories per day. When you can use 250 – 300 calories per day as a guideline, you can then use your weight gain as an indicator as to whether you’re getting enough calories. If you’re gaining to too quickly or slowly, you can then adjust your calorie consumption accordingly.
My recommendation is that you gain these extra 300 Calories by including more legumes into your diet. All you’ll learn throughout the talk, legumes are a source of many of the key nutrients needed throughout pregnancy, and they are also a great source of fiber to help avoid constipation which can be a problem when pregnant.
So for example, 1 cup of chickpea is 286 calories, provides 282 mcg of folic acid (400mcg being the minimum, and I recommend at least 1mg), 4.7mg iron (27 mg needed), and 11 grams of fiber. So a ½ cup on salad at lunch, and a ½ cup on your salad with dinner, and you’re met you’re extra calories requirements for the day. No Big Macs required!
Kate Matthew is Holistic Nutritionist and Culinary Nutrition Expert. She is the host of a Thursday Evening Lecture May 7, 2015
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