You’re pregnant! Hooray! And even better, you’ve gotten through the first trimester’s dreaded morning sickness period. Hopefully by now, your stomach is taking it easier on you and you’re starting to eat more normally, or even getting some cravings. Either way, I know you’ve heard the phrase “Eating for two.” It’s often misinterpreted as the ability to each twice as much during pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong – you DO need more calories every day through pregnancy. Roughly 300-500 calories per day depending on your pregnancy weight management. What I don’t like about this term is when it is stereotypically used, or as a joke because of pregnancy weight gain.
There can be a lot of feelings of guilt and shame for moms-to-be, especially plus size mamas. Whatever your body shape, I don’t want you to ever feel bad for eating. You need to eat for your well-being. So, let’s change the meaning behind “eating for two.”
What Eating for Two Means to Me
The phrase traditionally refers to the portion size aka amount of food. To me, eating for two means nourishing yourself and your baby. But, not in the manner of eating double the portions. Instead, you’re eating the nutrients and delicious meals you need to effectively create the building blocks of your baby’s life and support your own well-being. What you eat is also what your baby’s eating. I want you both to have the best of what you need. Quality over quantity.
Are you stress eating? Take my pregnancy stress quiz to uncover your stress levels and get a personalized plan for addressing stress.
Look, you don’t have to constantly eat a salad. That’s not what I’m saying here. It’s totally okay to enjoy that slice of pizza or some ice cream. You don’t need to deny yourself pleasures as long as they fit within the parameters of your pregnancy and your care provider hasn’t restricted your diet. But, the goal before occasionally indulging is to get the other foods you need for a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy.
What Do You Need to Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy?
Let’s break it down. First and foremost, you need protein, and there are lots of ways to get it even if you’re a vegetarian or are vegan. You need healthy, complex carbs from whole grains and multigrains. Simple carbs like white bread and those in a lot of products in the snack aisle are going to break down into extra sugar, while complex carbs will provide some protein, fiber, iron, and more! You need healthy fats, omega-3s and omega-6s, as well as more fiber (for that pregnancy constipation).
When you can get all these essential nutrients into your diet, you and your baby will feel nourished and supported.
Learn more about having a healthy pregnancy here.
Tensions about COVID-19, a type of coronavirus, are rising in the United States as the illness has been spreading. Travel is becoming restricted, people are working from home, schools are closing, and apparently toilet paper is now a hot commodity. Many are starting to panic. The symptoms of COVID-19 have mainly proven to be more serious in older patients and those with serious complications such as heart and lung disease, and diabetes. But what about pregnant women and new moms?
Are Pregnant Women More Susceptible to Getting COVID-19 or at Higher Risk of Serious Illness?
At this time, the CDC does not have conclusive information. However, the physiological changes women experience during pregnancy do tend to make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections. The CDC advises pregnant women to take standard precautions like washing their hands and avoiding other people who are sick.
Can COVID-19 be Transmitted to Babies During Pregnancy or Vaginal Birth?
The virus is currently thought to only be spread through respiratory droplets, meaning through fluids expelled by the mouth and nose during coughs, sneezes or intimate contact. It is unknown if the virus can be transmitted through the womb. However, the CDC said, “In limited recent case series of infants born to mothers with COVID-19 published in the peer-reviewed literature, none of the infants have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Additionally, virus was not detected in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.”
Can I Continue Breastfeeding?
So far, no evidence of the virus has been found in breast milk. La Leche League International (LLLI) advises women to continue breastfeeding unless a care provider deems it medically necessary to stop. Human milk provides important immunological antibodies produced in the mothers body to the baby.
LLLI says, “Those who become infected shortly before giving birth and then begin breastfeeding, and those who become infected while breastfeeding, will produce specific secretory IgA antibodies and many other critical immune factors in their milk to protect their nursing infants and enhance their infants’ own immune responses. At this time, these immunologic factors will aid their infants’ bodies to respond more effectively to exposure and infection. Following good hygiene practices will also help reduce transfer of the virus.”
For more information on pregnancy and birth in relation to COVID-19 (coronavirus), please visit the CDC here.
The nursery is ready, you’ve gotten everything on your baby registry, and your pregnancy is nearing full term. But do you know how to labor effectively and push baby out?
We tend to over prepare for our babies’ arrival in ways that help us when we’re past the finish line, in postpartum. That’s all well and good, but we need to get ready for those last few miles of pregnancy, too. I’m likening pregnancy and labor to a marathon because it is! Actually, it’s even harder. Don’t worry, though. You’re tougher than all of it.
If runners have to train, be knowledgeable about their bodies and have the right tools to finish their marathon, then so do you! It’s important to be educated about labor and birth so you can be more prepared. Just picture it – you’ve been in labor for quite a while. Then your care provider tells you it’s time to push. You’re mentally, emotionally and physically tired. You can see the finish line but it’s one mile uphill. You may be tempted to tell your care provider to go do something unsavory. But you won’t – because you will know exactly what you’ll need to do next.
Have you heard this phrase? You probably have A LOT lately. You’ll be ready to push when you reach 10 cm dilation and feel a lot of pressure on your vagina and rectum, almost like you really need to poop (I know, gross, but it’s true). It’s at this point that you’ll want to bear down (exert pressure) and push.
We’ve all seen “hee, hoo, hee, hoo” breathing in TV and movies during birth scenes. This type of restricted breathing was popularized by Lamaze. However, Lamaze stopped teaching it in the 1980s, so popular culture needs to quit it with this one.
Evidence shows us that the most effective way to breathe during labor and pushing is whatever is most comfortable for the mom. Diaphragmatic, or belly, breathing is usually a very pleasant breathing technique for women during labor. When you feel a contraction coming on during pushing, try to take in a breath and then try to slowly release it while you bear down. Do whatever works best for you!
Don’t run your marathon without getting ready. There’s so much more to learn about labor and birth. Get all the tools and knowledge you’ll need by taking a childbirth education course. You’re almost there! You’ll be in labor soon enough.