When you are pregnant, you are likely to have one of these two perspectives about food- you either love it or you hate it. Sometimes these feelings could alternate right after each other or even happen simultaneously. If you are married to a pregnant woman, you probably know how intense expectant mothers can get about food. It may be a weird caving that forces you out on a while goose supermarket chase late at night, or the fact that you are banned from having your favourite food in the same building as her or else she will be utterly sick- food and pregnancy are certainly a phenomenon! Can we get a witness?!
It is funny how even the healthiest eater pre-pregnancy can find her food world turned upside down. Simple foods like tomatoes can trigger painful heartburn and acid reflux and your craving of jug loads of orange juice can produce nightlong indigestion 12 hours later. The first trimester is the most notorious where food is concerned as horrible morning sickness may eliminate lots of food choices, relegating a normally balanced eater to dry cereal and crackers as the only things that will stay down. We ourselves bought fresh ginger root by the kilo and Lij was amazed that I had to add it to almost everything! However, once, the threshold is past into the second semester, symptoms are likely to ease up and if they do, that it the time to really jump on feeding your body and growing foetus the nutrition they need. Here are a few tips.
Eat small meals and eat often
This will help if you are suffering from indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux. Since digestion slows down during pregnancy, and a growing baby puts pressure on the stomach, it will also help you to digest meals quicker since you are having smaller portions at a time. Aim for breaking 3 meals into 5 or 6 or 3 main meals (but smaller portions) and 2 small snacks consisting of fruit and vegetables and a little protein like plain yogurt or pasteurized cheese. Yogurt with prebiotics with a little honey help to soothe the performance of the fire thrower in your stomach when you are suffering from heartburn.
If you have problems with indigestion, stay away from spicy, heat inducing foods and acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, vinegar and pickles. Try to evaluate which foods cause you distress as it may surprise you. Fried foods and sugary items can also be major culprits. Ask your doctor for a safe medicine like Gauviscon or Tums to cool down the heat when it happens.
Cravings and aversions
Be prepared for weird food cravings and aversions. Things you hated or combinations that would normally make you gag may make you smile like a kid in a candy store and things you loved may no longer appeal to you. The weirdest thing I have had so far (apart from ginger in almost everything) has been ketchup. Go figure.
Pack your snack
Keep snacks in your bag always. Raw almonds and wholegrain crackers make healthy treats when you are faced with sudden hunger in between meals on the road.
This is the time when the vast majority of your meals should be made at home. This way you truly have control over your nutrition. Get help with market shopping so you do not have to carry heavy bags but buy fresh foods, local and organic where possible. Try to buy different combinations of vegetables and fruits weekly to really benefit from nutritional diversity. Cook in large batches and freeze in single servings for a quick and healthy alternative to junk food when you are hungry and don’t feel like cooking, which could be pretty often.
When eating at a restaurant, inform your server that you are pregnant to ensure that the chefs will know to only use ingredients that are safe to use in pregnancy and will cook your dishes to safe temperatures. Inquire about what is included in every dish ou have ordered to make certain it is appropriate for you. Also stay away from cheeses that are not pasteurized. If the server does not know if the ingredient is pasteurized, ask him/her to run it by the chef. If there isn’t absolute certainty, order something else to be on the safe side.
Avoid excess Vitamin A
Since too much Vitamin A (except that which is derived from beta-carotene like carrots) can cause problems for your foetus, stay away from foods that have a high concentration like organ meats. Also avoid foods that have been enriched with the vitamin so you have to read your labels carefully.
Avoid your allergy triggers
If you are allergic or intolerant to any food, stay away from it during pregnancy. It doesn’t matter how much you read or hear that nuts are good for the growing baby, if it causes you harm, it is likely to trigger intolerance and allergy in your baby. Not worth it.
Nutrient rich foods
Try to eat a wide variety of vegetables, of all colours, which generally provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Go for whole grains, which are rich with nutrients instead of bleached and denatured ones, that have manmade fortification.
If you find yourself severely limited where food is concerned during your pregnancy, simply make the best choices possible. Things change from week to week and day to day and you just have to roll with the punches. Just remember to take your prenatals. Whatever you do, try to enjoy our pregnancy and just do the best you can!