Should our diet be adjusted during pregnancy and planning for conception? In short, YES! The body’s entire chemistry is different during pregnancy and the nutrient load required for fetal development is substantial. There are also specific conditions that can occur, such as iron deficiency anemia or gestational diabetes, that respond well to dietary intervention.
Choline is an important micronutrient that helps the baby’s spinal cord and brain develop in early pregnancy. In pregnancy, the minimum requirement is 450mg / day (and 550mg/day during lactation). In one study, participants were given twice the daily minimum in 3rd trimester pregnancy and their infants had higher tested processing speeds which correlated with higher IQ and more cognitive benefits!
- Best animal sources of choline: grass fed beef, wild caught salmon, pasture raised egg yolks (each egg yolk = 126mg of choline), organic chicken and turkey, liver (plenty of B12/Folate too!)
- Best plant sources: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli
Iron rich foods
In pregnancy, the body’s blood volume increases by about 50% and its important that the body can make enough red blood cells to carry oxygen and nutrition. In mild anemia, you may have fatigue and tiredness (which is the last thing a pregnant mom needs!) but if severe can result in undesired effects like preterm labor or extended post delivery hospital stays.
- Best animal sources (offering 2-3 times more absorption than plant based): lean beef, oysters, chicken, turkey
- Best plant sources: beans, lentils, baked potatoes, cashews, spinach and other dark leafy greens, squash, black strap molasses
Proteins (preferably organic or grass fed)
Proteins as a food group generally help with tissue healing and repair. In pregnancy they’re especially beneficial for preventing nausea and sustaining energy!
- Best protein sources: Eggs, collagen powder, pea or rice based protein powder, lean animal meats, fish, beans
- Bone broth offers protein, calcium, iron, and other minerals!
We are here for you for your entire pregnancy journey — from conception to postpartum. Learn more about how we can help by scheduling an appointment!
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