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If there is one thing that can be said about childbirth, it’s that it is intimately personal. There is no one way that works for everyone. Each of us has our own vision for the birth of our children and we must choose the method that is best suited to our individual birth plans and the type of birth we’d like to experience. Obviously the more positive your birth experience is, the easier it will be.
In researching this topic, we discovered that there are essentially two groups of pregnant women; those who’ve heard of Doulas and those who haven’t. With that in mind, today’s post highlights the role of a Doula and the benefits of having one in attendance on your delivery day.
We connected with busy doula Lisa White who took the time to answer all of our questions as her own little one slept peacefully on her lap (Thanks Lisa!). Below is a transcript of our interview with this amazing childbirth educator and Doula extraordinaire!
What is the primary role of a doula?
“Doula is Greek for servant, and this is basically our role. We are there to support not just Mom, but Dad too. We are there to coach both parents through the entire labor process.”
What is the difference between a Birth Doula and a Post-Birth Doula
“A birth Doula will meet with Mom prior to the birth, and be there to coach and support Mom and partner through the birth process. A post-birth Doula is able to tend to Mom and newborn in the days and weeks following delivery. They do everything from dishes to helping with siblings and basically ease the family through the transition phase that comes with a new baby.”
What is the biggest misconception about Doulas?
“The biggest misconception is that a doula takes the place of Mom’s partner and this isn’t true at all. We don’t aim to replace anyone and are there for both parents. We offer moral support and stress relief to Mom AND Dad.”
What are the benefits of having a Doula?
“Doulas improve the birth experience. The data is all there. Women who go through birth with a doula present have a reduced rate of cesarean births, decreased requirement for pain management, and an overall more positive perception of the entire birth process.”
What type of education or certification is required to become a doula?
“DONA is the certification recognized worldwide. In order to become DONA certified, a Doula must complete a DONA approved workshop of at least 16 hours of instruction combined with additional classes in childbirth and lactation / breastfeeding. Doula students follow to an extensive reading list, submit papers and essays, attend a minimum of three births and must submit positive reports from attending physicians/nurse practitioners as well as additional references.”
Aside from certification, what is the most important thing to look for in a Doula?
“Connection is key. It’s important to find someone you mesh well with.
A lot of people think that Doulas take the hard line when it comes to a having a natural birth. Is this true? I don’t believe Doula’s should force their own agendas. It should be about the wants and needs of Mom and her birth plan. This is something Doulas and Moms-To-Be should discuss in advance. I will usually ask a Mom what she wants me to do if she requests pain management interventions. Asking questions like “Do you want me to encourage you to keep going pushing through it”, or “how do you want me to respond to a situation like that?” Establishing a plan for these types of scenarios in advance helps to ensure that I am acting in accordance with what Mom wants.”
What are some little known Doula services?
“Doulas give great massages and help create a birth plan. Some of us offer child-birth education classes and we are on-call.”
How much time does a Doula typically spend with a client prior to her delivery date?
“There are typically a couple of initial visits before mom goes in to labor. Obviously we advise Mom to direct any medical inquiries to her primary care-giver, but we are essentially on-call and available to offer support to Mom whenever she needs it.”
Obviously a Doula will need to be present for the labor of each client. How does a Doula manage her schedule to accommodate more than one client?
“Ideally a Doula should schedule her time to accommodate an allowance of two weeks to one month between the due dates of her clients. “
What tools does a Doula use to make Mom comfortable?
“We are focused on whatever works for Mom. We use positive support, massage, essential oils, lotions, breathing techniques , tennis balls, fans, and hot and cold packs. We essentially help to create an environment that comforts and supports both parents throughout the birth process.”
How does a Doula involve Dad?
“We know that Dads are sometimes pretty nervous and don’t always know what to do so we provide them with instruction and guidance. We show them where to touch, provide gentle instruction with regards to what to do, and quite often it’s as simple as reminding them to look as the baby is being born so that they don’t miss anything.”
If you could change one thing about modern childbirth, what would it be and why?
“If I could change one thing, it would be the misconception that women cannot give birth without interventions. A woman is capable of natural childbirth – of giving birth on her own without pain management.”
Why did you become a Doula?
“I have given birth both with and without interventions. Complications with the birth of my second child lead me to think there has to be a better and safer way for women to give birth. I wanted to help women understand that there were alternatives and that they did have choices. I didn’t want other women railroaded in to the belief that interventions were a mandatory part of the birth process.”
What do you love most about being a Doula?
“Watching babies being born in to the world, but also the joy on the faces of Mom and Dad. That’s special. It is rewarding to know that you were able to help someone experience the birth they dreamed of having. “
Although Doulas are not medical professionals, they have an intricate understanding of the birth process as well as the emotional needs of a woman in labor. Studies suggest that Doula attended births have a decreased incidence of c-section and forceps deliveries, decreased use of pain medication, and result in an over-all easier labor process. A Doula is essentially your birth cheerleader. She knows how to comfort, guide, and encourage you through the birth of your baby, and will work with you to ensure that you have the birth you envisioned. Whether you choose to use a Doula or not, we at Promise Prenatal wish you a safe, happy and positive birth experience!
Ahhh, the Honeymoon. That first getaway together as a married couple. It’s beautiful, magical and filled with incredible memories that set the stage for a lifetime of happiness and marital bliss. Recent years however have seen the emergence of a new getaway for couples called the “Babymoon”.
Different from the Honeymoon, the Babymoon presents one last opportunity for you and your partner to experience some alone time before you transition from couple, to family. This isn’t to say that the two of you will never get away on your own again, but it will likely take some time before you’re comfortable being away from your baby so you should seize the opportunity while you still have it. Believe us when we tell you that when Junior arrives a few months from now, you’ll be thankful to have fond Babymoon memories to look back upon when feeding, diaper changes and sleepless nights take over.
In today’s post, we’ve pieced together some helpful Babymoon planning advice, and because pregnancy hormones can sometimes leave you with a case of “baby brain”, we’ve also compiled a check-list of the most important things to take with you.
Get Your Doctor’s Blessing
First and foremost, check with your healthcare provider or midwife before you book. This is especially important if you have unique circumstances or challenges with your pregnancy. Your doctor should always have the final say on whether or not you are medically fit to travel. If for some reason you are not permitted to fly, there are other Babymoon options available. You can always plan a small road trip with your honey to a bed and breakfast far enough from home to still feel like a vacation, yet close enough that air travel isn’t required. Traveling by train is another option for those who’d prefer to skip on the driving.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Before you book your Babymoon, it’s a good idea to review your health insurance to ensure that you will be properly covered while away. If you find that your coverage is lacking, you can purchase some additional travel insurance from another provider, but be sure to inform them that you are pregnant so that you’ll be adequately covered.
Review Airline Policies
Each carrier has different policies so you will need to check with individual airlines about their guidelines pertaining to traveling while pregnant prior to purchasing your tickets. If you are past 28 weeks, most airlines will require a letter from your physician that documents your due date and clears you to fly.
If this were any other time, you could travel to where ever your heart desired, but now that you’re pregnant, you should select your destination with the following in mind:
· Access to Quality Medical Care – There’s no need to panic because chances are that you’ll never need to visit a doctor or hospital while you’re away, but it will give you extra peace of mind to know that you’ll receive proper medical attention should you need it. Another important consideration is the proximity of the hospital to your hotel or resort. Quality medical care will be of little benefit if you have to travel by boat, chopper, or a take a two hour cab ride to access it.
· Climate – Your metabolic rate increases by 20% during pregnancy which can leave you feeling ready to melt in an instant, so it’s a better idea to visit somewhere warm as opposed to scorching. If it’s too hot, you’ll likely spend most of your time indoors where it’s air conditioned instead of outside enjoying your surroundings and taking in some of the sights. If you have your heart set on traveling to a hotter climate, remember that your skin is more sensitive when you’re pregnant so a good sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher is a must!
Food – Everyone knows how important food is to a pregnant woman! Make sure you check out the local cuisine as well as the menu of the hotel or resort you’ll be staying at to make sure it’s food that you’ll enjoy and won’t interfere with your picky pregnancy palate.
Relaxation over Adventure
Maybe your past vacations have included adventurous activities like hiking, mountain climbing, or surfing, but leave these off of your to-do list this time around as these are hardly “pregnancy-friendly” activities. Besides, this vacation is meant to provide you and your partner with some rest and relaxation before baby arrives and kicks things in to high gear.
After you’ve decided where to go, you’ll want to ensure that your journey there is as comfortable as possible. Plane, train or automobile, flat shoes and loose clothing will provide comfort while traveling. If flying, try to get up to stretch or walk around every couple of hours as this will minimize any swelling you may experience. Requesting an aisle seat will make this easier and will also prevent the need to climb over others for frequent trips to the bathroom. Because airplane food is less than gourmet, and a pregnant woman’s taste buds can often be fickle, packing snacks like granola, nuts, and even fruit will allow you to snack on healthy foods and keep your blood sugar up until you have access to food that appeals to you.
Aside from your clothing, some comfortable shoes, and a good book, there are a few items that need to make their way in to your suitcase and we’ve listed them below.
· Letter from Physician clearing you to fly
· Medical records
· Emergency contact numbers
· Any prescribed medications and your Prenatal Vitamins
· Travel Snacks
· Sunscreen (30 SPF or higher)
Planning a Babymoon may seem a little daunting with all of the other things you need to organize before you give birth, but it will be well worth it as you and your partner settle in to the relaxation of your pre-birth getaway, and create an even deeper bond as you await the arrival of your little one. Whether you escape for a week or a weekend, we at Promise Prenatal wish you a magical Babymoon filled with memories that last a lifetime.
Most of us are already familiar with the many benefits of breastfeeding. Those of you who’ve nursed before will likely remember some of the early frustrations you experienced as you established a nursing routine with your baby, but what many first-timers don’t realize is that breastfeeding doesn’t always come as naturally as we’d like.
Your body is designed to nurse your baby, and while there may be a few lucky women who dive right in without issue, there can sometimes be a hiccup or two along the way to breastfeeding bliss. We believe that knowledge is power, and with that in mind we’ve listed some of the things we think every new Mom should know before she starts nursing.
We don’t want to frighten you because the pain isn’t a permanent thing but this is a fact and it’s better to be prepared for some discomfort rather than to have it catch you completely off-guard. The pain that comes with breastfeeding is temporary so stick with it and don’t become discouraged. Newborns nurse every two to three hours, and until your nipples grow accustomed to this new routine, it is only natural that they will be tender. Lanolin cream is completely safe for baby and can help if your nipples become sore and cracked. You can also coat them with some of your breast milk and allow them to air dry as this will speed healing. As a general rule, you can expect to experience some discomfort for at least four weeks. Believe us when we say that it does get easier so if you can make past this point, it will be smooth sailing.
A poor latch will only cause you unnecessary discomfort and serve to frustrate both you and your baby so it’s important to ensure they have latched on to more than just your nipple. Your baby must also take in part of the areola as well and the best way to make sure this happens is to wait until his / her mouth is open nice and wide. You will know a good latch when you have one as the tip of your baby’s nose and their chin will both be touching your breast. Your nipple should be over your baby’s tongue, and their lips should be out as opposed to being sucked inwards. If you don’t get it right the first time, gently insert your finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth to break the latch and try again. Attempting to feed with a poor latch will leave your baby hungry and you with sore nipples. With a little practice, you’ll become a pro in no time.
Prepare To Be On-Call
Rather than trying to establish a schedule right away, allow your newborn to set the pace for his / her feedings. Rooting, little suckling noises, lip movements and of course crying are all ways your baby lets you know they are hungry. The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce so you should always nurse on-demand at first. Most newborns eat every two to three hours which may seem a little daunting at first, but the two of you will soon settle in to your routine. You should be prepared to breastfeed 8 – 12 times per day in the beginning. In order to keep up with your baby’s demanding feeding schedule, you should plan to rest when your baby does.
Try to Run on Empty
While you would never want to try it with your car, allowing your breast to run until its empty is a good thing. Your milk is constantly changing to meet the needs of your baby. The milk at the start of each feeding is foremilk. It is thinner and contains less protein, calories and fat than your hind milk which comes towards the end of the feeding. The hind milk is more nutritious and helps your baby gain weight. It keeps your baby full for longer periods and failing to allow him or her to drain the breast, will have them looking for food again that much sooner.
Variety Is the Spice of Life
Ok, maybe you really can’t offer your baby a variety of options in the beginning, but you should switch it up. Breastfeeding should always begin with the opposite breast from the last feeding. This ensures they are receiving both the foremilk and the hind milk every time. You may find yourself scratching your head as you struggle to remember which breast your baby fed from at your last session so it’s a good idea to use a tool of some kind to help you remember. A safety pin can be attached to your bra on the side your baby last fed from, or you can use a bracelet or even a rubber band that you switch from wrist to wrist at each feeding to help you remember.
Nutrition Is Still a Priority
Just as you were keenly aware of what you put in to your body while you were pregnant, breastfeeding is no different. Because your breast milk is the only source of nutrition for your baby, it is recommended that you continue to take a good prenatal vitamin for lactation throughout breastfeeding. This ensures that your baby receives the right vitamins and nutrients for their early development and also helps support your post-birth recovery.
According to the Institute of Medicine, breastfeeding mothers should take in 13 cups of water per day. That does seems like a lot of fluid but it is necessary as this helps with milk production. A good way to ensure that you are getting enough water is to drink as your baby is nursing. Keeping a cup of water close at hand as you breastfeed allows you to meet your fluid needs as your baby gets theirs.
Go Easy on Yourself
Our last piece of breastfeeding advice for new Mom’s is to go easy on yourself. As women, we tend to develop the Superwoman complex, and are most often our own worst critics when something isn’t going as planned. If you are stressed, your milk may not let down as easily creating additional frustration. It’s important to know that even something that seems as natural as breastfeeding can still be a challenge. If you are struggling, seek out the assistance of a lactation consultant, or speak to other nursing women for advice and guidance. If for some reason you cannot breastfeed your baby, don’t beat yourself up. The fact that you have even taken the time to read this is evidence that your baby has been blessed with a loving parent and in the end, love is the very best thing we can give to our children.
Everyone knows that good prenatal nutrition is essential to the growth and development of a healthy baby and this is what prompts most women to change their diet and sometimes initiate a complete lifestyle overhaul upon learning they’re pregnant.
In deciding to make the health of your baby a priority, it’s important to understand exactly what both of your needs are. Each trimester has unique nutritional requirements key to the specific stage of your baby’s development. We’ve briefly outlined some of the vitamins and minerals required through each trimester below, and have included charts with the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI’s- which replaced the Recommended Daily Allowances- RDA’s) for pregnancy and was updated by the National Institutes of Health in 2001.
The first trimester brings the early development of your baby’s eyes, ears, spine, digestive tract, heart and central nervous system. Zinc, calcium, and B vitamins are all essential building blocks to support this stage of development. By the end of the trimester all of the major organs are present and your baby’s bones are starting to develop. The most critical of all requirements in the first trimester though, is folate, or folic acid. Folate can reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly by up to 70%. These types of birth defects most commonly occur within the first 28 days of pregnancy so ideally a woman’s diet should be supplemented with folic acid before she even conceives.
Iron can often worsen morning sickness, but this should be tapering off by the second trimester which is a good thing since your iron needs increase. Your body is producing up to 50% more blood during your pregnancy and you’ll need extra iron to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells which carries oxygen to all of your tissues and cells. Fetal growth accelerates in the second trimester. Your baby’s lungs and nervous system are continuing to develop, and eyes and ears are shifting in to place. You’ll need extra vitamin C and more calcium to support collagen production, growth of connective tissues and skeletal development. Your baby’s immune system is also starting to form and at this point, he/she is beginning to store some of your antibodies.
The third trimester is the home stretch! By now most of your baby’s organs are fully formed and are simply maturing at this point, but your vitamin and nutrient intake are still a priority. Your baby’s brain experiences the most significant growth and development in the final two months of your pregnancy which makes Omega-3 fatty acids, or DHA an essential requirement. Both calcium and Vitamin D are necessary as your baby’s bones continue to strengthen. Calcium also helps to regulate Mom’s blood pressure and lower the risk of developing pre-eclampsia, while Vitamin D can prevent rickets in infants. Rickets is a softening of the bones which can lead to skeletal deformities. You will still need a good amount of iron to support your blood production and prevent anemia which most typically occurs in the late second/early third trimester, and can lead to fatigue, preterm birth, and low birth weight.
The below charts are based on years of research and list the DRI’s for each trimester. Knowing which nutrients are essential for each stage of your pregnancy will help you make dietary choices that benefit both you and your baby. Since it’s not always easy to eat the foods containing all of the vitamins and minerals listed below, we also recommend taking a daily prenatal vitamin.
* Please note the FDA published the new DRI’s in 2001, however are still in the process of requiring labels to reflect the new percentages. While the FDA recommends all food and drug companies to follow the new DRI’s they still require all labels to show RDA’s.
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Most expectant parents anticipate an impending change in sleep patterns, and swapping some sleep for a sweet smelling and adorable bundle of joy seems like more than a fair and reasonable trade off. What some of us don’t anticipate however, is that this lack of sleep can start long before the arrival of your baby, and that it can be just as difficult to get a good night’s sleep throughout your pregnancy as it is after your baby is born. While some suggest that this is nature’s way of preparing you for the impending sleep deprivation that comes with caring for a newborn, it is still a source of frustration for many an expectant mom, and can lead to fatigue, mood swings, and irritability; all of which can take away from the joys of pregnancy.
Expectant women can benefit from much of the same advice given to those who suffer from insomnia. Avoiding caffeinated beverages, refraining from exercise too close to bed time, sticking to a regular sleep routine, and relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation will all work to achieve a more restful nights’ sleep. All of these things will benefit anyone experiencing difficulty sleeping, but there are certain sleep interrupters that are specific to pregnant women. We’ve outlined the most common culprits below and offer up some solutions to help minimize their ability to stand between you and your much needed zzz’s.
Frequent Trips to the Bathroom – This is the number one complaint from pregnant women longing for a restful night’s sleep . The frequent urge to visit the restroom is common throughout pregnancy, but is more prevalent in the very early and late stages. As your uterus starts to expand, there is increased pressure on your bladder making it feel like it always needs to be emptied. The uterus will move up and out of your pelvis for a short while providing a bit of relief however as your baby starts to grow, this pressure on your bladder will start all over again. Not only does it have increased pressure placed on it, the bladder now has an increased volume of urine to contend with. Your body produces up to 50% more blood during pregnancy, and it is the job of the kidneys to filter it and remove waste products. All of the waste and excess fluids are sent to the bladder where they become urine. While it is important to stay hydrated during your pregnancy, try to take in most of your fluids during the day and limit them after 6 PM. You’re not likely to get away from night time trips to the bathroom altogether, but you may be able to reduce the number of times you need to go allowing you to get more sleep.
Heartburn – Close to 50% of women experience heartburn during their pregnancy. The condition can make the day time hours almost unbearable, but when it strikes at night it can be twice as frustrating as it robs you of precious sleep. The increased progesterone produced during pregnancy is meant to relax the uterine muscles, but in the process also relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This allows some of the stomach acid to splash back up in to the esophagus. Progesterone also affects the muscles in the digestive tract slowing the digestion process. Both lead to the unpleasant burning sensation known as heartburn. While you may not be able to rid yourself of it entirely, there are steps you can take to minimize it. Avoid triggers like spicy foods, carbonated drinks, high acid fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and citrus fruits. You should also eat smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to three larger ones, and try to allow yourself three hours to digest before turning in for the night. This should minimize heartburn’s ability to prevent you from falling asleep.
Nausea – We’ve been hoodwinked ladies! “Morning” sickness is a hoax. Those of us who have already experienced it know all too well that morning sickness can strike at any time of day, and can be particularly distressing when it keeps you from sleeping at night. Because morning sickness often feels worse on an empty stomach, it is recommended that you eat a light snack, or keep some crackers at our bedside. Sipping on ginger tea before bed can also help relieve nausea and provide additional relaxation allowing you to nod off more easily. You should also examine your prenatal vitamins as the increased iron may be contributing to your gastric upset. Look for a prenatal vitamin with micro-encapsulated iron which is more easily absorbed and less irritating to the digestive system. A prenatal vitamin with higher levels of B6 may also help alleviate nausea.
Leg Cramps – The first time a leg cramp wakes you in the middle of the night you’ll feel as though someone has reached in to your leg with the end goal of physically tearing the muscles from the tendons. These cramps can be excruciating and interfere with a good night’s sleep. Dehydration, compression of blood vessels and a shortage of calcium and magnesium are all thought to contribute. Drinking plenty of fluids and keeping your feet elevated as much as possible throughout your day could provide some relief, as can ensuring adequate intake of both calcium and magnesium. When a leg cramp sets in, flexing the foot by moving or rotating the ankle up and down may stop it in its tracks. To prevent cramps, it is recommended that you perform a quick stretch before lights out. Keeping your heels on the floor, stand approximately two feet from a wall, and place your palms against it. Lean forward and hold this stretch for ten seconds, and then relax for five. Repeat this stretch three times to five times to minimize the occurrence of late night cramping.
Sleep Position – Pregnancy poses a bit of a dilemma for those accustomed to sleeping on their stomachs. The farther along your pregnancy progresses, the more difficult this will become. Back sleeping isn’t recommended either as the uterus applies pressure to the vein responsible for returning blood from your lower extremities, back to the heart. Lying on your back can also interfere with blood flow and nutrient transfer to the placenta. In order to avoid discomfort and restless nights, you should try to get in to the habit of side-sleeping sooner rather than later as this will eventually become your only option. Using pillows to support your bump, or placing them between your legs can make side-sleeping much more comfortable.
While “sleeping like a baby” may be out of reach for the time being, the tips above should help to reduce the occurrence of some of the things responsible for keeping you up. In the end it will all be worthwhile, and as you hold your newborn for the first time, all of your restless nights leading up that first snuggle will soon be forgotten. For now, we wish you a healthy happy pregnancy, and the sweetest of dreams!
Biotegrity Corporation is a specialty pharmaceutical company dedicated to innovation in women’s healthcare, however we not only care about those who use our products, we care about all people. We are actively seeking solutions to relieve the suffering of those afflicted by poverty and malnutrition worldwide. Additionally, we are passionate about the fight for the rights of human trafficking victims. We raise our voices on behalf of the voiceless, and link arms with prevention and rescue organizations.
We would like to highlight a great organization that is making huge strides to help in the fight against human trafficking domestically as well as globally. Rescue Her was born out of the desire in founder Josie Carignan’s heart to do SOMETHING to help the helpless in the darkest places; victims of Human Trafficking. Josie is a wife and a mother of three wonderful children. Here is a bit about who they are and their amazing work.
Today, 27 million people are trapped in modern day slavery. Half of them are children. The things that are happening everyday in this holocaust we call Human Trafficking are hard to imagine. Little children as young as 3 years old being sold for sex, baby factories, cages and brothels. Every 30 seconds another child is captured, but we can do something about it.
Rescue Her is a non-profit charity that exists to fight human trafficking. We want to take a stand against injustice, be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves, and help rescue those that are held captive. We want to raise awareness about human trafficking, fight for justice, and be a place that allows those that want to take action to do so.
Our vision is to raise awareness, raise funds and to rescue, restore and prevent. We partner with SHE Rescue Home in Cambodia for restorative care as well as Jesus Way in India for prevention of Human Trafficking. We have created programs and services for at risk and trafficked girls in the Dallas Ft. Worth area as well as partnering with local ministries and government agencies to fight domestic trafficking. We are currently raising funds to build a safe home in India for at risk girls through a 5k Color Run in Grapevine, TX. We may not be able to save every person, but we can save one. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Together we can make a difference!
Find out more at www.rescueher.org
The Promise Give Campaign allows you, our valued customer, to become part of the solution in the fight for human rights. A portion of every purchase will be donated to a non-profit charity.
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We’ve all been guilty of reaching for unhealthy snacks when the mid afternoon hunger pangs kick in, but you’re growing a baby now so there is no time like the present to be more conscious of what you’re putting into your body.
Pregnancy typically brings the desire to lead a much healthier lifestyle. We give up smoking, refrain from drinking alcohol, and start taking prenatal vitamins all to ensure that we give our babies the healthiest possible start in life, and your dietary choices should also be a part of this plan.
Loading up on junk food means that you are eating less of the foods that contain the key nutrients your baby needs. There are some studies that suggest consuming too many unhealthy fats and sugars could predispose your baby to diabetes. This is not to say that you can’t indulge in the occasional guilty pleasure snack, but at this stage of the game it makes far more sense to snack on foods that are good for both you and your baby.
We’ve listed some healthy snack options below that will satisfy your cravings and support your baby’s healthy development.
- Fresh Hummus with chopped veggies – Low in fat and sodium while high in folate (folic acid), fiber and protein, chick pea hummus is probably the best bang for your buck when looking for a nutrient rich, healthy snack. One cup of chick peas contains close to 5 mg of iron, 2.5 mg of zinc, and 477 mg of potassium. Perhaps most beneficial to your developing baby are their high levels of folate. Folate is essential for the development of red blood cells and provides protection against certain birth defects. For home-made hummus, blend 1 tbsp. of lemon juice, 1 tbsp. of tahini, and 1 tbsp. of olive oil with 2 cloves of garlic and a large can of drained chick peas. Simply chop some of your favorite veggies and dip away.
- Frozen Banana’sicles – Potassium and calcium packed frozen goodness best describes these tasty treats! We’ve already covered the benefits of calcium, but potassium is also beneficial throughout your pregnancy. It is responsible for maintaining fluid balance in your cells, and helps your body release energy from proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Getting some extra potassium in to your diet can also help with the leg cramps that many women experience during pregnancy. To make this delicious treat, simply skewer your bananas on to popsicle sticks, dip them in low-fat yogurt, and roll them in crushed almonds. For those who want an extra sweet treat, you can add a little bit of cinnamon sugar or shaved chocolate to the crushed nuts. Place in the freezer for about 45 minutes to set, and keep them there until you’re ready to indulge.
- Portobello Mushroom Pizza – Delicious and healthy, Portobello mushrooms contain more than 20% of the recommended daily intake of niacin. Niacin is a B vitamin (B3) that contributes to your baby’s brain development and helps your body convert the calories from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in to energy. Portobello mushrooms are also a good source of potassium and selenium. It’s important to note your niacin needs will be covered by your diet and prenatal vitamins so there is no need for additional supplementation. These pizzas are remarkably easy to make. Simply wash the mushrooms, remove their stems and place them top-down on to a lightly greased baking tray. Scoop two table spoons of salsa in to each mushroom cap and sprinkle with the grated cheese of your choice. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes. Wrap them in foil or pop them in a container to take with you. These are easy to reheat, and are just as delicious when eaten cold.
- Papayas, mangoes, and peaches – Vitamin A is necessary for the development of your baby’s central nervous and respiratory systems, and also plays a key role in organ development. Papaya’s, mangoes, and peaches are all high in beta-carotene which is the form of vitamin A you’ll see in good prenatal vitamins. These tasty treats can be combined as a fruit salad, eaten with yogurt, or tossed in to the blender to make a delicious vitamin A packed smoothie.
- Low-fat yogurt with crushed almonds drizzled with honey – This calcium rich treat is the perfect healthy snack. Your baby requires calcium to build strong bones, and healthy teeth. If you don’t keep your stores of calcium high throughout your pregnancy, your body will draw it from your bones to support your baby’s needs which can lead to future health problems for you. Both Yogurt and almonds are high in calcium making this both nutritious and delicious.
- Roasted Chick Peas – Those of you who prefer a little crunch when it comes to your snacks will love roasted chick peas. These are a healthy and delicious alternative to high fat potato chips and are a nutritious snack choice for all of the same reasons as hummus. Drain and rinse a can of chick peas and allow them to dry on a paper towel. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the chick peas out. Bake at 375 for 45 – 60 minutes, or until they are crisp. The beauty of roasted chick peas is that you can season them however you like. As soon as you remove them from the oven, toss in a bit of olive oil and coat them with whatever tickles your taste buds. Garlic, parmesan and sea salt is one option while those with more of a sweet tooth may want to drizzle them with honey and dust them with some cinnamon sugar.
- Ice cube tray sushi – While we don’t recommend eating raw fish at any point throughout your pregnancy due to the risks associated with food-borne bacteria and potentially high mercury levels, vegetarian sushi is both healthy and nutritious. Cover your ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and press it down in to each hole. Spoon some sushi rice in to each of the compartments and press your finger in to the center of each to form a hole in the middle of the rice. Fill with finely chopped veggies like cucumber, carrots, tomatoes or avocado, and top off with more rice. Make a dressing with 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, 1 tsp of lime juice, and ¼ tsp of sesame oil. Remove your sushi cubes from the tray by gently lifting the plastic wrap, and drizzle with dressing. Store in the fridge or simply pop them in to a container to enjoy on the go.
One can only eat so much trail mix, and while it can be difficult to steer clear of traditional processed snack foods, hopefully some of the ideas above have shown you that healthy snacking can also be delicious! Remember, it’s ok to indulge in your favorite snacks as long as it’s in moderation. Instead of filling up on empty calories with no nutritional value, making healthier snack choices compliments the nutritional support you get from your prenatal vitamins, and provides your baby with the nutrients required for the healthiest start in life.
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