Guidelines for Nutrition and Exercise in Pregnancy

Guidelines for Nutrition and Exercise in Pregnancy
"Chop wood, Carry water, Hunt and Gather, Chase the Antelope”

There is growing wisdom that our Midwifery Guidelines for Nutrition and Exercise in Pregnancy make a difference in outcomes!

Nutrition is the single most important determinant of a healthy pregnancy. We cannot overemphasize how important it is for you to eat a diet rich in healthy foods and eliminate all junk foods during your pregnancy. We know that nutrition affects the outcome of pregnancy and that many serious complications of pregnancy can be avoided through good nutrition.

Every day, consume the following:
  • 10-12 glasses of fresh water
  • Fruits and veggies: 6-8 servings per day including two leafy greens, one yellow and one orange
  • Whole grains: 2-4 servings
  • Calcium rich foods: 2-4 servings per day
  • Protein foods: eggs, lean meat, fish, chicken, legumes: 2-4 servings per day
  • Flax seeds: 1-2 Tbs ground
  • Multivitamin: We really do not care if you take one because we think the best vitamins come from food. If you do take one, any will do. Look for 400-800 mcg folic acid. Don't take it if they make you sick or constipated: Talk with us about this.
Eliminate from your diet:
  • All refined sugar
  • All white foods: white bread, rice, flour, sugar, potatoes
  • No more than one glass of fruit juice, preferably orange, per day
  • Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Alcohol (An occasional drink is okay)
  • Caffeine: No more than 1 cup per day
  • Nicotine
We believe that you can get all the nutrients you need to have a healthy pregnancy by eating healthy food. Healthy food is food that your ancestors would recognize as food. Our dietary guidelines are designed to do very important things:
  1. Keep your blood sugar at an even level throughout the day. This will minimize your experience of nausea and dizziness so common in pregnancy. 
  2. Expand your blood volume properly so that you can circulate for both yourself and the baby. Not accomplishing these things can make you feel poorly during pregnancy and can lead to serious complications.
Following our guidelines will also help you grow a baby that is appropriately sized for your body and pelvis: consuming the processed and fast foods so readily available to us can contribute to the growth of a baby that is larger then your body can deliver. For your first visit, please write down all the food and liquids you eat for 24 hours, including supplements and bring it with you.

Here is a current research article about how nutritional interventions in pregnancy impact outcomes: Effects of interventions in pregnancy on maternal weight and obstetric outcomes

In addition to healthy foods, we suggest you consider using one herb -- red raspberry leaf -- during your pregnancy.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea has been used for centuries to promote fertility, relieve menstrual cramps, provide nourishment during pregnancy, and prepare for labor. It is full of calcium and acts to nourish and tone the uterus. It does not cause contractions; it helps the uterus grow beautifully and makes labor effective when it occurs. Its use is helpful in avoiding pitocin augmentation and postpartum hemorrhage. It can be started anytime bbut we encourage it in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy.

    1 oz red raspberry leaf (sold in the bulk herb section of YES Organic Market or online at Frontier Herbs)
    1 qt boiling water

    Pour boiling water over the leaves in a glass or ceramic pot. Let steep for 6 hours. Drink 2 glasses per day.
In addition to following these guidelines, we ask that you exercise in the fresh air everyday for at least 30-60 minutes. Brisk walking is ideal for building the strong legs you will need for an upright labor. We encourage all women to practice prenatal yoga and to do both squats and cat/cow exercises several times each day. Also, be sure you are sleeping as many hours as you need to feel rested. Nap when you are tired. Keep stress to a minimum. Love and laugh frequently, and avoid negative feelings.

Enjoy yourself and witness the miracle that is happening within you!