Sunday, 4 October 2015

6 Tips for Pregnant Moms

Hello all!

My name is Laura Adam and I am a Registered Dietitian and currently a Masters student studying maternal health at the University of Alberta. I was honoured when Kellie asked me to write a guest blog post about nutrition for this week. Since I work with pregnant mothers on a daily basis, I thought I would write about some top tips for pregnant mothers out there. All pregnant mothers just want to do all the right things to have a healthy baby. However, I realize the world of nutrition can be complex and confusing, thus here are 6 simple tips for living out a healthy lifestyle in pregnancy!

6 Tips for Pregnant Moms

1.    Eat twice as healthy, not twice as much!

You and your baby are going through a period of great growth. However, not as many extra calories are needed as you may think. In your first trimester, no extra calories are needed. In your second trimester, 350 additional calories are recommended, and in your third trimester, an additional 450 calories. You can think of this as an additional snack, say: 1 apple with 2 Tbsp peanut butter and 1 glass of milk. Or it could be ¾ cup of yogurt with fruit and granola on top. Click here for more snack ideas.

Do listen to your body when you are hungry. Some people find they have to eat more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day. Three square meals may not work now that you are pregnant, and you may find yourself hungry more often. Just do what works best for you. Remember to drink water throughout the day too.

This week: Pack yourself some healthy, balanced snacks for when you are on the go to be ready to snack healthy when you are hungry. Remember to listen to your body’s hunger cues; eat when you are truly hungry. 

2.    Fill your plate with colour!

It is important that your calories in pregnancy come from foods high in nutrients. (Unfortunately, this is not a chance to eat an extra 350 calories as candy every day.) By eating a variety of foods we will eat a variety of nutrients. Think about eating a variety of foods (dairy, nuts, whole grains, vegetables, legumes/beans, fruits, meats, fish, seeds etc.) to maximize your nutrient intake. Each nutrient has a different role to help with healthy growth of your baby’s bones, teeth, blood, skin and organs.

Eating a variety of foods will also increase your enjoyment with food (out with the same old boring meals!). How do you know if you are eating a variety of nutrients? Read on!

The color of fruits and vegetables are often a clue for what nutrients are abundant inside. Strive for a rainbow of 3 or more colors on ½ your plate of at lunch and dinner! Since Fall is upon us, a rainbow of foods that are in season may be:

    ·      Red- tomatoes, apples, beets
    ·      Orange- sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots
    ·      Yellow- yellow beans, squash, yellow beets
    ·      Green- zucchini, kale, green beens, swiss chard
    ·      Blue- ….not sure, have a glass of water?!
    ·      Indigo/Violet - eggplant, purple beans, purple carrots, purple cabbage, turnips, purple potatoes

The other ½ of your plate will include whole grains, protein and dairy; these foods are important to give you the remaining vitamins and minerals you need.

This week: Expand your cooking horizons and challenge yourself to try a new recipe that includes some of these colourful, in season, vegetables and fruits! Roasting root vegetables is a delicious side that you can make a large batch one day and add to your lunches and dinners for a few days. It is easy as cutting up a variety of vegetables above, adding 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, a shake of salt and pepper and any herbs of your choice. Roast these vegetables on a baking sheet in a 425°F oven for about 45 mins. Enjoy!

3.    Remember your prenatal vitamin every day

Having said all that, it is important to still take your prenatal vitamin every day. It is now October and the sun is not strong enough for our skin to make Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for the growth of your baby’s bones and teeth. You also need the multivitamin to ensure you have enough iron (blood), folic acid (prevent neural tube defects) and vitamin B12 (blood cells & nerves).

This week: Be sure to remember to take your prenatal vitamin every day.   

4.    Embrace cooked fish in your meals 2x per week

Some people love fish, some don’t. Fish is a rich source of healthy fats and protein. Thus, it is recommended that you eat cooked fish 2x per week. The healthy omega-3 fats (EPA & DHA) in fish help foster brain development in your baby. Some people shy away from fish due to the mercury content. There is no need to avoid all fish due to mercury content; instead choose safer options which include: salmon, trout, char, mackerel, halibut, cod, herring, sardines, pollock, and canned light tuna.

This week: Buy salmon and roast it along with some of the root vegetables that are abundant right now (potatoes, carrots, onions, sweet potato etc.).

5.    Move, move, move!

Continue to be active like you before you were pregnant. If you weren’t active, as long as your Doctor states it is safe for you, now is a good time to start. Just make sure you start slowly. It can be simple as taking the stairs at work or going for a walk at lunch or after dinner. Do something you love! Yes, even walking around the mall can count-just do it more briskly, move your arms!

This week: Bundle up with a cozy scarf and try raking leaves.

6.    Don’t overuse the word “yes”!

We all are guilty of trying to do too much at once. Remember, you are growing a new little bundle of joy within you and its important to leave time to recharge. Set aside time for you. Time to sleep, time to move daily, prep health meals and time to spend with your partner.

This week: Schedule some “me” time to do something relaxing.

I hope these simple tips help you have a healthy pregnancy and help you be your best self as you prepare for this new bundle of joy!


P.S. We are currently looking for interested women who are less than 20 weeks pregnant for a research study at the University of Alberta! You would have access to a Registered Dietitian for 2 study visits and 2 follow-up phone calls throughout pregnancy! Have a look at the advertisement to learn more. If you are interested or have questions, email Laura at or call 780-492-8157. I look forward to hearing from you! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for these useful tips! Me and my hubby are waiting for our second baby-girl:) Pregnancy is really wonderful, but I have almost all the simptoms mentioned here . They make me feel sick and tired. But the baby is definitly worth it!