A. Why is protein so important? Protein is important because tissue growth and repair depend on its presence.
B. Does it realty matter what I eat if I take my vitamins? Yes. Vitamins are intended to be supplementary sources of nutrients and many of these nutrients are wasted if your diet is inadequate. For example, a fat soluble vitamin will be unable to be used by your body if there is a lack of fat in the diet. Additionally, vitamin pills contain only some of the nutrients that are needed each day and a rounded diet will contain most to all from a variety of easily assimilated sources. The best sources of nutrients come from a diet that is composed of many different kinds of nutritious foods mainly whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
C. Why do I need more protein just because I am pregnant? To grow a healthy baby. The additional caloric requirements per day for a pregnant woman are about 300 calories. This translates into an increased protein need of about 30 grams per day. Since the non-pregnant woman needs about 46 grams of protein per day, the pregnant woman needs 76 or more grams of protein each day.
D. What can I do about heartburn and indigestion? Do not take Turns or other antacids. Instead eat small meals frequently, chew your food a lot, do not drink with meals, avoid foods which bring on the problem, avoid coffee, Stay upright after eating, drink anise or fennel seed tea after meals, chew on organic orange peel or papaya after meals, sip yogurt, cream or milk, sit tailor-style on the floor and raise and lower your arms up over your head and to your back, chew raw almonds slowly, take Slippery Elm lozenges.
E. What can I do about morning sickness ?
Keep your blood sugar high by eating small meals frequently and snacking on protein foods; get exercise; increase your iron and vitamin B complex (B-1 through B-6 are most critical) — sometimes taking supplements of 10-20 mg each day will eliminate nausea; eat before getting out of bed, avoid spicey/greasy foods; move slowly in the morning; drink anise or fennel seed tea upon rising; drink a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water in the morning. Go outside; drink raspberry leaf tea; try Ipecac 30x, Nux vomica 6x, Cannabis 30x; sip peppermint or spearmint infusion in the morning; take Ginger root tea or capsules; take sips of Wild Yam root infusion throughout the day.
F. How much weight should I gain? Neeson says 25-30 pounds for all pregnant women regardless of their prior weight. Many other sources, such as Brewer, however, are more generous and suggest that good nutrition is more important than specific weight gains. Anne Frye believes that each woman needs to gain whatever is right for her and that as long as she follows a nutritious diet she will gain only what she needs. This is especially true for a woman who is overweight to start. If her diet improves (out with the junk food, in with good food) she may even lose weight as she ceases intake of nutrition-empty high calorie foods.
G. Does it really matter if I eat well during the week as long as I make up for it on the weekend?
It does matter how you eat each day as the baby is growing even during the week and cannot wait for weekends. Additionally, your own body has daily dietary needs which need to be met or your body is at risk of becoming unhealthy and then putting your baby at risk. Dr. Thomas Brewer has shown through repeated studies that women who maintain optimal nutrition during pregnancy (adequate protein intake, etc.) have almost no chance of developing metabolic toxemia of late pregnancy, a life-threatening disease for mom and baby.
H. If I don't have time for breakfast and just grab a quick lunch, can I make up for it with a good dinner? No. Your body and your baby's need constant sources of energy and ignoring this need is to put yourself and your baby at risk of nutrition-related problems. A better solution is to prepare a breakfast the night before so it is ready for your in the morning. Ditto the lunch. Then eat that nutritious dinner too! When you let your stomach go empty overnight until nearly dinner the next day, you make your body break down your protein reserves to give energy to the cells. This process stresses the kidneys, liver and other organs and deprives your baby of the best nutrition.
I. / am afraid I will swell up if I eat salt; how much is enough? According to Dr. Brewer, pregnant women should drink to thirst and salt to taste. Unless you are a heavy-handed satter, use that as your guide. Women who do not consume enough salt are more likely to swell than those who salt to taste. This occurs because if the body has a salt deficiency, the body tries to compensate by extracting as much salt as possible from the circulating blood. Water that should be in the blood leaks into surrounding tissues causing edema. Better to salt your food to taste, avoid chips and other high salt junk foods, and drink plenty of fluids. Too little salt will produce devastating effects, but too much salt will readily be excreted by the kidneys into the urine.
J. What is the WIC program?
WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children and is a federal food program for pregnant women and children under the age of 5. WIC uses low income as well as nutritional risk as criterion in determining eligibility. In my county, in order to participate in WIC, a woman must also 1) apply for and maintain a good standing with Illinois Public Aid Medicaid Program, 2) attend 6 prenatal classes provided by the health department, 3) keep ALL appointments with the assigned doctor, and 4) attend all food education classes provided by WIC to get the food coupons. The program will pay for doctor care and any testing that is needed. They offer free birthing classes, prenatal vitamins and home visits before and after the birth. The coupons WIC provides to mothers lets them trade for various products, such as cheese, milk, juice, cereal and baby formula. The program tests children for lead levels.
K. Do / have to drink milk?
NO. Many women cannot drink milk due to allergy or intolerance and others simply have eliminated it from their diet. What is important is to supplement your diet with the nutritional equivalent of the daily milk allowance. This may mean eating more yogurt, cheese or soybean products as well as dark leafy greens for their calcium and protein. All the pregnant women who lived at The Farm were strict vegetarians who never drank milk. They substituted soybean products.
L. What is wrong with white bread?
White bread is made from wheat that has had the outer layer removed. This outer layer contains the most nutritious part of the wheat. The wheat is then bleached and nutrients added to approximate what was removed. Unfortunately, not all the nutrition that was removed is added. White bread is a poor approximation of the whole wheat bread it could have been. Pregnant women need to make every calorie count and whole grain bread is a better nutritional product.
M Is it true that you should not eat potatoes while pregnant because of blight? The myth began at the turn of the century with the Irish potato famine when people were eating potatoes that were toxic because they were infected with blight. I believe it caused deaths in Ireland. This is unlikely to occur today because the vast majority of our produce is mass produced, inspected and sold through retailers. However, do not eat sprouted potatoes that are green from exposure to light or potatoes frost-bitten ones that are watery and have a black ring under the skin—these are poisonous. Potatoes are great sources of potassium, B, C and G vitamins and other minerals as well as protein.
N. My Doctor told me never to eat pork while pregnant; what do you think?
I think that if he has a religious objection to eating pork and thought you shared that belief it was an appropriate comment to make. If not, it was inappropriate. What you need to know is that pork needs to be well cooked before being eaten to kill off parasites (trichinosis) and bacteria that could infect you. To cook pork thoroughly cook till the inside temperature is at least 137 degrees. Most recipes will suggest an internal temperature of 170-185 degrees. Slow cooking is preferred, about 30 to 45 minutes per pound. There must not be even a hint of pink in the meat and the juices should run clear. Never taste any raw pork including bacon or ham. After touching raw pork, wash your hands carefully and clean the tools and surfaces it may have touched.
O. How much coffee and tea can I drink safely? Since no drug has been proven safe in any dosage for the unborn baby, the safest course of action is to completely eliminate these beverages from the diet when planning a pregnancy. Studies, however, have shown that consumption of moderate amounts of caffeine do not produce any difference in fetal growth retardation or small head size than those infants born to mothers who abstain. Moderate caffeine intake was given as less than 126 mg per day and another study said miscarriage rate was not affected by women who drank three cups or less of caffeine/coffee per day.
Yvonne Cryns graduated law school and
passed the bar exam in Illinois but she is not officially a lawyer. Yvonne
is a researcher and writer. Contact Yvonne for her professional research
and writing services at [email protected]
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