There are a lot of dos and don’ts when it comes to pregnancy and food. To complicate things there are food cravings and food aversions. And then there are those of us (me included) who just can’t seem to keep anything down. Pregnancy and food are not easy.
As part of my work with Dr. P. Phillips Baby Place at Winter Park, I had the chance to speak with nutritionist Leigha Klebe about the most important things pregnant women should keep in mind when it comes to food. Of course, as with any pregnancy-related advice, you should always consult with a doctor before changing your own diet. But I hope these tips will help.
Morning Sickness Tips
I was one of those unlucky few to experience extreme morning sickness to the point of Hyperemesis Gravidarum with my second. I was sick with both kids, but nothing like with my second. So I know first-hand how hard it can be to eat anything. Leigha had these tips to suggest for those who are suffering from morning sickness.
Six Small Meals A Day – By breaking your meals up into six small meals a day you ward off two triggers of morning sickness 1) you never let yourself get hungry 2) you don’t overstuff yourself.
Stick To Easy-To-Digest Foods – Greasy, heavy, fatty foods are harder to digest and can trigger symptoms of morning sickness. If you are already prone, stick with lower fat foods. Try cold foods too as the odor from hot foods can be overpowering. Crackers, pretzels and even fruit are good ideas to snack on.
Drink Water, But Not With Your Meal – Of course it is very important to stay hydrated and drink as much water as you can, especially if you are throwing up. But you will get the most “bang for your buck” if you don’t drink you water with food. Water fills you up, so you won’t be able to eat as much food, which could lead to over stuffing and then feeling nauseous again quickly because you are hungry sooner. Instead drink water in between your meals.
Good Foods To Fill Up On
Iron, Calcium, Folate – While you should also be taking a prenatal vitamin, it is always a good idea to get as much of the good stuff as you can from your food as well. Eating foods that are rich in iron, calcium and folate should be your goal. Three cups of dairy, low-fat yogurt, cream cheese, etc. daily. Two-five cups of fruit and veggies — fresh, frozen, canned or dried — daily. Limit the fruit juices because it can be a heartburn trigger and because of the excess sugars.
Helpful Food Prep Tips
Want to help the foods you eat be even more beneficial to your body? (Me too.) Leigha offered a couple of unusual tips that are good to know long after you are pregnant.
Cast Iron Skillet – If sautéing, use a cast iron skillet. The iron from the skillet is absorbed by the food enriching your meal with extra iron.
Tomato Sauces – Add tomato sauce to your meat because tomatoes help your body absorb the iron from the meat.
Drink Your Morning OJ – Not only does OJ help you get in some fruit, but if you drink it with whole-wheat cereals, it will also help you to absorb the with cereal to absorb the iron and folic acid.
In addition to all of the good stuff you should eat, there are also foods that pregnant women should avoid all together.
Foods To Avoid:
- Excessive caffeine
- Herbal teas (and herbs)
- Anything raw or undercooked
- Processed meats – deli meats, hot dogs, bologna (because of possible Listeria contamination)
- Unpasteurized dairy
- Soft cheese like brie or gorgonzola
- Soft-serve yogurt (it is strained with bacteria to be helpful , but you don’t know how that might affect your baby)
Food Shopping Tips
When I was pregnant with my second, I was so sick I couldn’t even walk into a grocery store without throwing up. Leigha had a few tips to help making food shopping a little more bearable.
Go Early – By shopping early in the day you will have the most energy and you will avoid the crowds, which means you will prevent excessive standing. This way you can get in and get out. Plus perishable foods won’t have been sitting around as long early in the morning.
Bring Snacks – Keep your energy up and nausea at bay with a few well-planned snacks like a banana, apple, crackers, etc.
Enlist Help – Ok, this one is mine. When I couldn’t bare to go any more, my husband took over the grocery store chore. (Thanks sweetie!)
If you are expecting, be sure to also check out my post about how many diapers does a baby use in the first year to help you plan.
Catering To New Moms At The Baby Place At Winter Park Hospital
After a pregnancy full of food limitations — not to mention an exhausting delivery — many women find themselves hungry after delivery. At the Baby Place at Winter Park Central Florida moms have a variety of food options at their disposal which dispel any old notions of “hospital food.” I chatted with Vickie Smith, who heads up the Birth Experience Design Team at the Baby Place about all of the food options available, and I was left impressed and a bit hungry.
Mom has visitors? No problem, visitors can order companion meals for just $5 each. A great option for dad and siblings who want to stay for extended periods of time. Mom can even have her refrigerator stocked with her choice of snacks and beverages.
In addition to the hospital menu from which mom can choose her meal, she can also take advantage of the onsite concierge service to deliver from one of the local eateries. Craving a sub after nine months of avoiding lunch meats? The concierge will bring mom Subway.
For some fine dining to celebrate your new arrival, mom and dad can order a gourmet meal for two — provided by Ruth’s Chris! Yes! That Ruth’s Chris will deliver a meal from a special limited menu just for the new mom. Yum.
Outside of full meals, mom and her guests are invited to nosh at their convenience in the relaxation lounge where scones, hot (or iced) tea, fresh fruit and cookies are provided.
And my favorite feature is the daily smoothie delivery. Every day during the afternoon quite time smoothies are provided for mom and dad.
Finally, moms are treated to a nighttime turn-down service (just like a fancy hotel) complete with a lullaby card and a chocolate on her pillow. Ahhhh…
Customizable dinning options and special treats are just a few of the things that make a delivery at the Baby Place at Winter Park Hospital special and unique. Learn more about how the Birth Experience Design Team can make your delivery truly special and how Winter Park Hospital can help answer questions throughout your pregnancy.
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