Oh the joys in pregnancy! It’s such a miraculous and beautiful time, isn’t it? At least it can be! It’s not always full of butterflies and the journey isn’t always a smooth one. That’s okay. We’re all different and we all have our stories! One thing I think we can all agree on is being healthy in our pregnancies, as we are growing a fetus! Your fetus is quite strong and resilient, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve and need healthy and nutritious foods to thrive on! Your baby is rapidly growing and needs key vitamins and minerals to do well. “Eating double” is not a thing, but eating well is always in style.
I vividly remember how much I loved bagels in my first pregnancy. I just couldn’t get enough of them! Occasionally when I was feeling extra, I would hit up Kettleman’s Bagels and indulge. Especially if I had just finished a set of four 12 hour shifts at the hospital. Or one shift. Whatever – I’m worth it! I deserve it and I am hungry! And while I was at work, I would frequent Tim Horton’s and get my carb fix to get through my shift. I was totally expecting to get some huge chocolate or pickle cravings in my pregnancies but it was all about the carbs.
With my second, I craved sweets from time to time but breads and pastas were definitely still the winners. I listened to my body, but also didn’t overdo it. That’s what it’s all about mamas – balance is key (I overdid it sometimes, oops).
In your first trimester, you generally just need to continue eating a healthy and well balanced diet.Check out Canada’s Food Guide to help you stay on track here.
Your baby needs A LOT, I know, but try and keep it simple! Speak to your care provider about taking a vitamin supplement that has folic acid. This can really aid in your baby’s development and prevent neural tube defects. That being said, a supplement does not mean that you don’t need to eat well. It’s a supplement, not a replacement!
2nd and 3rd Trimester
It’s not until your second and third trimesters that you’ll want to add calories to each day. You’re looking at about 300-500 extra calories (the higher value applies to the end of pregnancy). It’s not a ton! Your weight before you got pregnant will determine how much extra you should be eating and how much weight you should be gaining. Have an open and honest discussion with your obstetrician, midwife, or family doctor regarding this. It can be risky and cause complications for you and your growing baby if you’re either not gaining enough or gaining too much.
Rules and Tips to Remember
Be in tune with your body- it will let you know what it needs! Stay well hydrated and stick to healthy and raw snacks that are readily available as much as possible. Almonds and other nuts, dried fruits, yogurts, etc. Iron is paramount when you’re pregnant as your blood volume greatly increases to support the needs of your baby. It will help move oxygen into your body as well as your baby’s. Some great sources of iron are found in greens (spinach, lettuce), lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, and grains. AND, do you know what helps with the absorption of iron? Vitamin C! Ensure you get lots of broccoli, potatoes, and oranges in your diet. Basically, eat a rainbow of foods!
Things to avoid/limit in pregnancy are raw meats, raw fish, raw eggs, fish high in mercury (ie. albacore tuna), sodas, alcohol and caffeine. You can have caffeine, just ensure that you consume in moderation. The SOGC guidelines state 150mg-200mg of caffeine daily is safe in pregnancy. That is about 1-2 cups of coffee. I just adore coffee, and I definitely had a cup daily throughout both my pregnancies. Do what feels right to you with the information that’s shared with you. When you really look at the big picture, it ain’t so bad! You’re not “missing out” on that much when it comes to food; you just want to amp it up a notch with the healthiness factor. Indulge every so often; there is nothing wrong with that. Stay safe and keep it simple. If you need any guidance along the way, we’re here to help. There’s no judgement here and remember, you got this mama!