I am very excited to let you all know that….I’m having a baby! For those of you who don’t know me, this will be baby #2 for me. So while I’m no longer a novice at the whole “what to expect” thing, I’m still just as nervous/excited/obsessed as the first time around.
For the next 35 weeks or so, I’ll post a weekly column on Smart Eating for Kids about my experience as a mom-to-be, through the lens of nutrition and fitness. I hope you’ll join me on this journey and that the information I share will help you through to your due date and beyond.
Before I dive in to first post of the series, I want to take a moment to say that whether you are reading books or blogs or listening to podcasts or the wise women of the world…every pregnancy is different. No two women are going to have identical pregnancies, so although freaking out is one of the things that we mothers do best, please try to not let the things you read or hear stress you out. Your care provider is there to help guide you through this process, so give them a ring if you are truly concerned (and try not to call the after hours number unless it is a true emergency). Don’t send yourself into panic-mode over your latest Google diagnosis – nothing productive will come from that!
So, moving on…congratulations to you too! You probably just found out you are pregnant and, particularly if this is your first baby, you’ve got a million things swirling around in your head. My most basic advice is to take care of yourself and give yourself some slack – especially in this first trimester. You may feel sick.as.a.dog and you may be exhausted and it certainly isn’t a time to give yourself grief over having a perfect nutrition and exercise regime. When it comes to nutrition, I suggest you focus on three things for now:
1. Folic Acid: Folic acid is an essential nutrient in the development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Ideally you’ve been taking a multivitamin with folic acid already, but if not, it’s never too late to start. You need 400 mcg of folic acid daily which you can get from a prenatal multivitamin as well as foods such as leafy dark greens, citrus foods, nuts and beans. Stay tuned next week for additional information about picking a prenatal.
2. Hydration: If your pregnancy is anything like mine, you may find yourself parched all.the.time! Listen to your body – at this stage in your pregnancy you need extra hydration to increase your blood volume, transport nutrients and help prevent cramping. Aim for at least 8 large glasses of water per day.
3. Diet Modifications: (Don’t call me a liar because you are probably going to look at this list and think “that is way more than 3 things, Kate.” I know, I know…sorry! In later posts we’ll explore some of these in more detail since some of them are constant topics of controversy.)
- Stop drinking alcohol: This may be the one diet modification that comes with the most controversy. I’ll explore this in detail in a future post, but at this stage in your pregnancy when some of the most crucial developmental things are happening with your baby, my advice is to not consume alcohol.
- Cook hot dogs and deli meats to steaming hot: If you choose to eat these foods, heat them to steaming before consumption. These types of foods can harbor a dangerous food bacteria known as Listeria.
- Avoid raw, undercooked and unpasteurized foods: Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to food borne illnesses and raw or undercooked foods are likely carriers of those nasty bugs. This includes undercooked seafood (sushi), meats, eggs, soft cheeses and raw milk.
What questions do you have? I’d love to answer your questions in future posts, so please don’t hesitate to ask. Until next week!