This is part 1 of 3 of my mini blog series, titled, “How To Become Healthy and Fit To Have An Empowered Birth”.

The nutritional choices we make during this vital time not only provide our baby with the essential nourishment needed to develop and grow but also provides us with the energy needed to stay active and healthy.

Gaining too much weight or too little may lead to health problems for you and your baby, while gaining a healthy amount of weight can help to alleviate some pregnancy complications and make delivery and postpartum weight loss easier.

The old saying…”eating for two”..is not logical at all, in that reality, we should only be consuming roughly 300-500 more calories daily while pregnant. We should think of it more as, what we eat nourishes our babies…eat mindfully.

Strive to get the majority of your food from nutrient dense food choices.

Choice foods that are high in protein while also high in other vital nutrients while pregnant such as chicken, eggs, peanut butter, lean beef, beans, salmon and yogurt.

An easy way to achieve proper nutrition is to eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups daily.

Some basic guidelines:

•A whole food prenatal vitamin that includes at least 600mg of folic acid is recommended according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Folate can be consumed through natural food sources as well, however hard to consume the recommended daily total.

•Eat 3-4 servings of protein daily.

•4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables.

•4-5 servings of whole grains.

•Foods high in calcium.

•25-35 mg of fiber daily.

•Fatty fish that contain EPA and DHA. Choose fish that are high in Omega 3’s, but low in mercury, such as salmon.

•Healthy fats

I know this can be extremely difficult during the first trimester with all the hormonal changes, exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, moodiness….and just plain sickness. Not sure why they call it morning sickness when the majority of women who experience these symptoms, it tends to run throughout the day.

It’s extremely important to stay hydrated, as many symptoms are exaggerated and can become worse if dehydrated. If your symptoms are severe, advise your physician.

Here are a few natural remedies for nausea:

Home remedies such as fresh ginger tea and hot lemon water work to ease your stomach and helpful to consume a couple times a day.

Peppermint essential oils are also good for nausea. Place a few drops on a washcloth or tissue and inhale during feelings of nausea, or use in a aromatherapy diffuser.

Vitamin B 6 is another great natural supplement that helps with nausea. You can take 25-50 mg of this vitamin twice a day.

Cravings?

If you are craving foods that are not so nutrient dense…because I’m almost certain you will especially during the first few months….it’s ok to give into this cravings. Just remember to utilize moderation. Otherwise, too much processed food or sugar will have you feeling even worse after you eat them.

Cravings are actually your bodies response to telling you that something is missing in your daily nutritional needs. An example of this is the craving for chocolate. Chocolate can be a sign of the body needing more magnesium. Which you can fulfill that need with a small piece of chocolate, however the real nutritional needs can be met with nuts, seeds, and avocados.

During my current pregnancy in the first trimester, there were many days where all I wanted was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or fast food. Not the best, right?! But I would follow it up with a yummy shake packed with protein, greens and fruit, ensuring my meals became more balanced. Don’t restrict certain foods as this can lead to a poor relationship with food now and after pregnancy. Just practice balance and moderation and ensure the majority of your food is hearty and healthy.

Pregnancy is a good time to establish new eating habits while remembering the goal is to add additional nutrients, not just adding calories. If you are reading this, you are probably pregnant so, CONGRATULATIONS my friend and please come back for part 2 and part 3 of my mini blog series on becoming healthy and fit to have an empowered birth!