While it’s important to eat healthfully ALL the time, a woman who is expecting has extra motivation since her diet will also impact the health of her unborn child. And, it’s not as easy as it sounds to ensure you eat the right foods while pregnant–morning sickness and pregnancy cravings can really wreak havoc on a healthy diet. So what’s an expecting mom to do??
Since I don’t have any first hand knowledge on this front, I tapped into my friend Azlen who has two beautiful girls and is currently expecting her third child this month! After having her second daughter, she showed up to my wedding barely a month later looking fabulous and I’ve convinced her to share her secrets with us.
Azlen, like most pregnant women, experienced morning sickness with all three of her pregnancies. Every person is different, but for Azlen it hits around the ninth week and lasts until week 15. The effects can range from a loss of appetite to nausea and/or vomiting throughout the day. In order to minimize these effects, Azlen tries to keep something in her stomach, like crackers. She also suggests sticking to bland foods and supplementing your diet with nutrition drinks like Boost or Ensure.
When she finally has her appetite back is when the food cravings hit. Typically pregnant women crave either sweet or salty foods (think pickles!). It’s really easy to let yourself give in to temptation, but be careful–indulging in too many of those cravings could leave you with a lot of extra weight that will be hard to lose after you have the baby. Try to incorporate healthy alternatives into your choices so that you’re not only satisfying the craving, but also eating something that’s nutritious for both you and your baby. For her sweet cravings, Azlen likes to mix a cup of nonfat Greek yogurt (lots of protein and low in sugar) with some fresh or frozen berries, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and a little orange or apple juice. Blend it all together and you’ll think you’re eating sorbet! Salty cravings are satisfied by having some air popped popcorn or rice cakes.
Throughout her pregnancy, Alzen is careful to make the most of what she eats. Sandwiches are made with high fiber bread and when eating pasta she enjoys either whole wheat brands or those with added fiber, calcium and protein. Adding veggies to her meals also ensures she’s getting many of the vitamins and minerals her growing baby needs. And, she is always sure to drink lots of water to keep hydrated.
Finally, moderate exercise helps to keep Azlen feeling great. Cardio activities like walking on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike or using an elliptical machine all help her keep her weight gain within the normal range of 25-35 pounds.
Check out a recent About the Buzz article featured on our web site. It highlights some of the risks associated with obesity during pregnancy and provides some tips on making your pregnancy a healthy one.