Nutrition Information for All Trimesters and Your Postpartum Time
General health and well-being:
We encourage you to take one of the online workshops and review the multiple recipes created by nutritionista, Meghan Telpner. Meghan and her crew run a blog called Making Love in the Kitchen, which focuses on healing foods, meal prep and nutrition.
For a personalized nutrition plan, we recommend the local services of CentreSpringMD.
Pre-pregnancy and the first two trimesters:
Folate, a water-soluble B vitamin, helps your body build healthy cells. Proper nutrition and meals consisting mostly of vegetables and fruit, both raw and cooked, is the best way to be sure you are getting adequate amounts.
Studies have shown that for women of childbearing age, ingesting 400 micrograms of folate every day can reduce the risk of having a birth affected by a Neural Tube Defect, such as Spina Bifida, by up to 70%.
There are warnings about folic acid and Vitamin A & D supplements so please do your research. Dr. Furhman offers a good website to get you started, chock full of articles about general nutrition for you during pregnancy.
If you are considering taking a supplement of folic acid or a prenatal vitamin, please talk to your maternity care provider first.
During pregnancy, there are certain foods to avoid but generally food is safe for most healthy, soon to-be-mamas. Also, at AskDrSears.com many recipes and ideas are listed along with tips and guidelines for pregnancy nutrition.
Postnatal / Breastfeeding:
Eat and drink to satisfy your thirst and appetite, but aim to take in about 500 additional calories per day, for a total of about 2,700 calories daily (discuss your personal nutritional needs with your doctor). Your body stores up fat during your pregnancy to provide the extra calories needed for milk production so factor in the weight of your breasts (about 3 pounds) when setting your postpartum weight loss goals. There's no need to go on a special diet while breastfeeding your baby - your extra weight will shed. Focus on making healthy choices to help fuel your milk production by eating a variety of whole grains, as well as organic fruits and vegetables.
Cow's milk is the food that causes most problems with sensitivity and allergies for babies (and mothers). Dairy was made for calves, not for human babies, and many infants are sensitive to it. Cow’s milk is the first food you should work on eliminating - it may take up to 2 weeks to remove the milk's protein (casein) from your diet to end the fussy behavior.
- Try lactation cookie bars to increase milk production. Yummy!
- Not eating organically? Wash your fruits and vegetables to reduce exposure to pesticide residue. A recipe is posted here complete with a video tutorial.
- Special considerations for edema (swelling), diabetes, and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure).
Suggested reading: Skin Elasticity During Pregnancy And Beyond
Did you know MamaFare offers in-home personal culinary services for the immediate postpartum time? MamaFare meals are designed with the nutrition of the post-natal and nursing parent in mind.
Eating and Drinking During Labor and Birth
In the 1940's, Dr. Mendelson reported that during general anesthesia, there was an increased risk of the stomach contents entering the lungs and potentially could lead to severe lung disease or death. Since then, obstetrical anesthesia has changed considerably, with better general anesthetic techniques and a greater use of regional anesthesia and hospital policies need to be rewritten to be in line with current evidence.
Other countries have started encouraging people to eat and drink as desired during labor, and in the U.S., obstetric practice guidelines were updated in 2009 to allow clear liquids. Cochrane reviewed 3,130 women during labor in 5 studies and determined women should be free to eat and drink in labour, or not, as they wish. Read more here.
There is no evidence from randomized trials of high-risk birthing persons. More research needs to be done to better define risk factors for aspiration, but it appears that some people – those with a difficult to manage airway, eclampsia, pre-eclampsia, a body mass index of 40 or greater, and who receive intravenous (IV) opioid medications during labor – may lower their risk of aspiration by fasting during labor. Read more about eating and drinking in labor here.