A woman's body is designed to nurture and provide an environment in which a human being grows and develops until it is ready to move to the outsied world.  This process can be facilitated when the mom-to-be makes healthy choices in regard to nutrution, exercise, and healthcare.  Dr. Phelts sees many expecting mothers at his New York practice.  The following recommendations can help you acheive a healthier pregnancy.

Pregnancy Nutrition Essentials

The mom's body must nurture the baby, so as the baby develops and grows, the mom's nutritional requirements also grows.  Calories, vitamin, and mineral requirements all increase.  For most normal-weight pregnant women, the right amount of calories is about . . .

  • 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester.
  • 2,200 calories per day during the second trimester.
  • 2,400 calories per day during the third trimester.

If you are exercising regularly, you can add about 100-200 calories  (depending on the intensity of exercies) to the above recommendations on days that you exercise

These calories should be acquired from a variety of whole grains, fruits and veggies as well as eggs, lean cuts of meat and poultry, and low-mercury fish, such as tilapia or salmon. (Vegetarians and vegans will have dietary considerations to discuss with Dr. Phelts in order to ensure they meet their caloric and nutrient needs.) Chemicals added to foods can cross the placenta and affect the baby.  This make it important, when possible, to choose foods that are organic, verified non-GMO, and antibiotic-free.

Tips For Meeting Pregnancy Nutrient Requirements

Increase Protein. Pregnant women need 75 - 100 grams of protein daily, Great sources include: fully cooked eggs, fish, grass fed red meat, and poultry, and plain greek yogurt with added fresh fruit.   Good sources include: nuts, legumes (black beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.), , and tempeh. If you find it challenging to eat high-quality sources of protein, speak with Dr. Phelts about using protein powder to make smoothies (or to oatmeal).

Choose Healthy Fats. Consuming adequate fats is vital to baby's organ and brain development. Focus on healthy sources such as avocado, nuts and nut oils, olive oil, coconut, eggs.  Supplementing with high quality fish oil has been shown to enhance brain development.

Snack on Veggies and Fruits. Many pregnant women complain of fatigue.  Consuming a variety of  fruits and veggies can help boost energy, and provide fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Limit fruits to 2 servings/day.  The rest should be vegetables (as much as you desire).  Vegetables should be eaten slightly steamed.

Drink More Water. A woman's blood volume increases during pregnancy and her body has to supply fluid to replenish the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. Drinking water is important for hydration levels and may help with morning sickness and prevent constipation. The amount of water needed varies by activity level, climate, food consumption; an average rule of thumb is 1 quart per 50lbs of body weight, but no more than 3 quarts total.

Go for Whole Grains. The carbohydrates provided by whole grains are your body's primary source of energy. Grains also provide B vitamins and fiber. Ancient Grains (such as millet, flax, farro, oat, and quinoa) are an excellent source of whole grains. Choose fresh-baked breads from the bakery; opt for whole grain crackers, pasta, and brown rice.

Consume Fermented Foods. Fermented foods are a potent source of probiotics, which are essential to powering up the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract and producing antibodies to bad bacteria. Both are key to maintaining vibrant health for mom and baby. Dr. Phelts may recommend a probiotic in lieu of fermented foods.

Eat Smaller Meals. Many expecting mother find eating to be a challenge due to nausea.  In these cases, it is reocommneded tha you eat frequent small meals every 1.5 to 2 hours. 

Avoid Chemicals. Chemicals in processed foods, caffeine, and sugar can affect the development of the baby's brain and nervous system, as well as immunity and gut health. For your baby's health, try to avoid these foods.

Consider Supplements. A prenatal vitamin containing folate is beneficial to many women during pregnancy and Dr. Phelts  recommend starting it a minimum of three months preconception. A number of other supplements are considered important for mom and developing baby, based on individual needs. Consult your Dr. Phelts to determine what is safe and best for you.

The Integrity of the Womb

Many chemicals and medicines have unknown risks for the fetus, which can result in birth defects. To protect the integrity of the womb, it's important for a woman to avoid use of over-the-counter and prescription medicines that are not essential for a health condition. Recreational drugs, alcohol, and smoking are always to be avoided. Finally, herbs (botanical medicines) and essential oils should be cleared by your physician before use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

These tips skim the surface of making healthy choices during pregnancy. To address your unique needs, speak with Dr. Phelts, obstetrician or midwife about what is best for you and baby during pregnancy.  Dr. Phelts is always willing with your obstetrician or midwife to insure your best care.

-TheHolisticNutritionist.com "What to Eat During Pregnancy." Posted 4 May 2016. 

-http://www.theholisticnutritionist.com/pregnancy/whattoeatduringpregnancy/ American Pregnancy Association. Accessed 11 July 2019. _____ "Diet During Pregnancy."

-https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/diet-during-pregnancy/ _____ "Pregnancy Nutrition." https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/pregnancy-nutrition/ 

September 03, 2019