I was so blown away by all the feedback on my first pregnancy post! I have so much gratitude for all the encouragement, shared experiences, and general positivity that was offered.*
This week I want to share about FOOD and Pregnancy! Now that I’m past the point where I’m completely turned off by the thought of a meal, I figured it would be a good time to start talking and blogging about one of my favorite things!
Food, Pregnancy, and Expectations
Like most health-minded women, I held the expectation that I would eat incredibly clean while pregnant. I mean, why not?! I’m growing a HUMAN BEING. It seems like the world’s most immense responsibility and I could only hope that my pregnancy nutrition was approached with the utmost care. What other option do you have?!
Oh, I don’t know. The option where the thought of food is so displeasing that feeding, let alone COOKING for yourself falls to the bottom of your priority list.
Needless to say, there were some major adjustments made to my diet expectations when:
- I found out I was pregnant.
- I became constantly nauseous.
- I began to discover what foods made me feel good and which ones were VERY VERY BAD.
- I moved past the constant nausea but have maintained greater sensitivity to the things I consume.
Under the umbrella of nutrition I also wanted to share what I’ve been using for supplementation. This will hopefully serve as general information for anyone who is interested and less of a prescription for all the other mama’s out there. We all know how individual this process can be, so I would like to reiterate my desire to share my personal experience only and avoid telling others what they should be doing with their own bodies.
Let’s start at the (literal) beginning!
1. Food after Conception
When I found out I was pregnant, there was a very subtle shift in the way I approached food. I found myself eating a little bit more. I wasn’t more hungry or emotional, but I thought since I’m growing a human I SHOULD be eating more calories. I quickly caught myself in that false cycle of thinking. It’s this same cycle that tells me when I’m consistently working out in the gym, I need to double my portion sizes. NOPE. Not true. Our bodies are great at telling us how much we need to eat. By forcing myself to eat more than I needed I was putting the demands of my head above the needs of my body. If I needed to eat more, my body would tell me… in the form of hunger.
Diet and Supplements
During this time, before the nausea hit, I continued to eat my usual grain-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar free diet and began taking Thorne Basic Pre-Natal Vitamin. I also supplement everyday with digestive enzymes at most meals and a high-potency probiotic VSL-3. I also began to get more serious about taking Fish Oil to help brain development of the baby and decrease any inflammation I was experiencing in my body.
2. Food and Nausea.
Ugh. This was THE WORST… for me anyways. From Week 6 till Week 11 I was constantly nauseous. I wore those acupressure “sea-bands” for 6 weeks straight. The hardest part of this season was thinking about food. Premeditating on food made it really difficult to meal plan or prep. I would also get full really quickly and need to eat more often in a day.
Diet and Supplements
My meals were based solely on convenience. Lots of scrambled eggs. Lots of trips to Whole Foods for something already prepared. I also started consuming more grains in the form of gluten-free cereal, bread, and brown rice pasta. My nausea persisted in spite of it all. I continued with the supplements listed above but would sometimes skip a day because I’m horrible at remembering those things.
3. Good Foods and Bad Foods
In the beginning, the only foods that sounded tolerable and low maintenance were gluten-free cereal, eggs, toast, and smoothies. As I mentioned in my last post, this was not a optimal solution. My body wanted protein. After a carb-y meal, I would usually feel even more sick. Oftentimes I would get nauseous after eating only an apple or banana. This was fascinating to me since many women report the opposite. They crave carbohydrate and it’s about the only thing they can stomach. I can’t explain my different experience but it’s been a pretty interesting experiment trying to make sure I’m not eating sugar-laden foods by themselves.
Diet and Supplements
The best choices for me during this time were eggs, burgers, tuna salad, vegetables, even something like my Paleo Eggplant Lasagna was great! The problem was, I didn’t want to cook any of it. So I ended up eating out a lot, just to avoid the issue. Same supplements with the addition of Vitamin C. A lot of friends are getting sick right now so I decided to give an extra boost to my immune system to lessen the odds of getting me and baby sick!
4. Finding Balance, for Now.
After 12 weeks, I was finally able to scrap the sea bands and live a bit more normally (and enjoyably) around food. No longer beholden to my constant queasiness, I found it easier to prepare food for myself again. I am more aware of what makes me feel good and what is not a smart choice. I will say that some sensitivities still persist and I am much more aware of how certain foods will make me feel. I have to constantly be on guard against encouraging nausea through poor food choices.
Diet and Supplements
I am less strict about the grain-free, dairy-free rules that I began with but more on track with a typical paleo diet than I was during my nauseous phase. Sometimes toast and butter with eggs sounds really great… so I eat that! While I’ve tried to mentally shun sweet things, sometimes I still end up eating chocolate or a homemade brownie or gluten-free muffin, only to be annoyed to find my nausea returning. In order to avoid this pitfall, I’ve decided to do a little sugar detox for 40 days. I’ve done this in the past and it’s really helpful in eradicating sugar cravings. My experience is that over the course of the 40 days, I lose the taste for sugar and no longer feel tempted by the ever-present “treat”. I’m hoping that by removing my desire for that sweet taste I will help myself avoid choosing foods that will put me back in that unpleasant, nauseous condition. This does NOT mean I’m avoiding carbohydrates. I tolerate them just fine when consumed with protein and fat. I’m still supplementing with all the aforementioned items.
*I also appreciated the general lack of advice. As any pregnant woman has discovered, people love to tell you what to do/not do, read/not read, eat/not eat as soon as they discover your conception. It’s not that advice can’t be helpful, but as I talked about in my first post, pregnancy is a very individual experience and while certain symptoms and feelings are common and normal, not all are “helped” by blanket recommendations or even someone else’s very personal recommendations. I am so thankful to have a community of mothers, online and in person, to consult when I have a question. I’m sure this feeling is different for everyone, but I wanted to publicly thank you for being so positive and celebratory of this new season and our baby!