Pregnancy Nutrition FAQs

Nutrition is the foundation for good health, and the single most important physical factor in determining the outcome of pregnancy. There is not a single problem during pregnancy that cannot, in some way, be improved or helped by better nutrition. Studies have demonstrated the clear and common-sense link between good nutrition, and good outcomes. Of course, just because someone eats a good diet does not guarantee a good outcome for them—life is not that certain. However, this premise still makes sense—you cannot grow a truly healthy baby with inferior fuel. No amount of prenatal supplements or other supplements, can make up for a poor diet.

A “good diet” or “good nutrition” implies that all the essential nutrients the body needs— these include water, protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes—are being supplied in sufficient quantities and are being properly utilized, for the body to function optimally. God’s intent was for us to get all the nutrition we needed from food. Food supplies what our body needs, complete with the so-called “passive substances” that many supplements lack because they are seen as unimportant, not having the same noticeable effect on the body as the active substances. Research has, on the whole, neglected to study the passive substances, so we know very little about their possible role in balancing and supporting the active substances. Although we may not yet understand why God put the passive substances in plants, there certainly is a reason for their presence. Eating foods as close to their created form as possible has clear benefits, not only because all active and passive substances are present, but also because all forms of processing food cause the loss or destruction of nutrition and enzymes.

As you read the following information, it may be easy to get overwhelmed if you aren’t currently eating well. Don’t get discouraged! Start small, adding healthy foods to your diet. Focus on adding good foods and there will be less room for the unhealthy foods in your diet. Don’t keep unhealthy snacks in your home; instead, have healthy things to snack on, so there is something that will satisfy your hunger and your body’s need for nourishment when you feel that urge to munch on something!

Frequently Asked Questions: Pregnancy Health and Nutrition

What about protein? Mothers who are pregnant need about 60-80 grams of protein per day. The most commonly recommended sources of protein are animal sources: meat, eggs, cheese, milk. Nuts, sprouts, spirulina, chlorella, and quinoa are also all high in proteins (amino acids). Your body really needs amino acids, which it uses to create unique human proteins. When you eat animal protein, your body takes those animal proteins, breaks them down into amino acids, and forms them into human protein (using it as building blocks for the baby and for the increased blood supply needed to support a healthy pregnancy). It isn’t necessary to eat large quantities of meat or dairy to get sufficient amino acids—but it is necessary to eat a healthy variety of foods.

What about fats? Contrary to popular opinion, fats are good for you—as long as you eat the right ones! Butter is not bad for you (especially if it is from cows that aren’t given bovine growth hormone). Coconut oil is fantastic with wonderful health benefits, and is the most stable at high heats of all the healthy oils, so if you’re going to use oil in cooking, this one is idea. Extra virgin olive oil is another wonderful good fat, and is delicious in simple homemade salad dressing (oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt); it is best used raw, as high heats damage it. And your grandmother was right—Cod liver oil is another health-producing oil. Don’t forget the other fats in nuts and nut butters (best eaten raw, not roasted). Avocado is one of my favorite fats; I eat it several times a week! God created these fats in our foods for a reason—because we need them! Avoid trans fats (partially hydrogenated), margarine, highly refined vegetable oils blends, and canola, corn and soybean oils.

What about sodium? Mothers are often given conflicting information about salt intake during pregnancy. The body needs sodium all the time, but especially during pregnancy. I recommend my mothers use pink salt from Premier Research Labs, or Celtic sea salt to taste. I don’t recommend table salt, especially table salt with chloride or iodine. Chloride in salt can worsen high blood pressure issues, and iodine in salt is toxic to the body because it is an inorganic source. Celery is also a healthy source of sodium.

What about water? Most Americans are chronically dehydrated. Your body needs a minimum of half your weight in ounces daily, of pure water. Water from the tap is usually laden with chlorine, chemicals, and heavy metals. Water that is purified through reverse osmosis is a healthy alternative.

If you eat or drink things that are toxic to your body, such as soda, highly-processed white sugar, caffeine, or artificial/chemical anything, your body will need extra water to dilute and eliminate those toxins. If you eat mostly whole, fresh, raw foods, with their relatively high fiber and water content, and with (hopefully) few or no toxins tagging along, your body won’t need as much water. The time of year can also cause your body’s water needs to vary—if you’re pregnant in the middle of a hot Texas summer, you will probably need much more water than in the middle of winter!

What about weight gain? I am more concerned with the kinds of foods my mothers are eating than how much or little weight they gain during their pregnancy. If you are eating healthy, nutrient-rich foods and listening to your body’s healthy hunger signals, you will gain a healthy amount of weight. Sometimes mothers are not getting sufficient nutrients from the foods they are eating, so they feel constantly hungry and end up eating large quantities without feeling satisfied, and gaining more weight than they desire, or is healthy.

What about herbs during pregnancy? Herbs are, for the most part, natural plants with health-building properties—i.e. nutrition-rich foods. However, many plant- or food-based supplements and herbs available today also have toxic preservatives, fillers, or flow agents (designed to enable the companies to capsule the herbs more quickly). For this reason, some herbs or supplements, although marketed as “safe” and “natural”, may offer some help benefits, while putting a load on the detox organs (liver, kidneys, etc). Additionally, some herbs are too strong for use during pregnancy, or are best to avoid during pregnancy for some other reason. It is wise to double-check with your midwife before using herbs during pregnancy, unless you are certain they are safe, and free of toxic tag-along substances. I highly recommend the herbs and supplements from Premier Research Labs, and a couple other companies, because of their commitment to producing and selling only products that strengthen and build health (no toxic preservatives or tag-along ingredients). They get many of their ingredients from other countries in order to have a higher level of nutrients and purity in the plants and foods they use in their products.

What about prescription/over-the-counter medications during pregnancy? Drugs and medications are chemical in nature, usually very toxic, and always harmful in some way to the body. Therefore, they should only be used in rare situations, and always with great caution. Medications never “fix” the cause of problems, they only cover up symptoms and cause stress to the organs in the body that eliminate toxins (liver, kidneys) so they are not a good short- or long-term solution. A much better plan is to determine the cause of illness or other weaknesses in the body, and fix them through nourishing the body through diet and temporary supplementation, as needed, so that it is enabled to heal and repair the damage, and return to a state of health and wellness.

What prenatal vitamins do you recommend?

As mentioned in the above question regarding herbs during pregnancy, many supplements, even most so-called “natural” or “food-based” supplements also have toxic preservatives, fillers, or toxic flow agents. Often, prenatal vitamins also have a combination of plant- and food-based sources for certain vitamins, mineral, or nutrient, but also contain the synthetic version of that substance, which the body doesn’t recognize as that substance at all. The body views synthetic versions of anything as toxic, and it can require considerable energy for your body to process these toxins out—putting a greater load on your detox organs, which already have a greater than usual load during pregnancy. Having a stressed and overloaded liver (one of your major detox organs) can contribute to toxemia or pre-eclampia—a serious disease of pregnancy. After much searching, I finally found the Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatals, which I can heartily recommend because the quality is excellent, and the price is very reasonable.

What about fish/shellfish? Certain fish can contain high levels of mercury, which is dangerous to the baby’s developing nervous system, and brain. Avoid swordfish, marlin, and shark. Limit your intake of tuna or salmon to two medium-sized cans of salmon or light tuna, one medium-size can of albacore tuna, or one fresh tuna steak per week. Avoid raw (e.g. sushi) or undercooked shellfish such as oysters, mussels, prawns (shrimp), and crab. These may cause severe food poisoning if contaminated by bacteria.

What about prepared foods? Avoid ready-to-eat meats such as deli meats, patés, and hot dogs. Also avoid ready-to-eat dressed salads (e.g., potato salad or coleslaw) and packaged salads. These foods may contain listeria, a deadly bacteria, and they also are typically high in preservatives, which are toxic, and a stress on your liver. Monosodium glutamate, (MSG) used to season deli foods and nearly all packaged foods is a known neurotoxin.

Become an avid label reader. Know what you are eating, and protect yourself, and your children! Most of the time, if you don’t know what an ingredient is, or can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t put it in your body.

What about alcohol? Alcohol crosses the placental barrier and can cause fetal alcohol syndrome and permanent birth defects, especially if consumed in high quantities. Most organ development is completed a few weeks after the first trimester, while brain development continues throughout pregnancy and beyond. Therefore, alcohol exposure during any part of the pregnancy can affect the baby’s brain. There is no known amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy without risk to the baby, therefore I recommend that mothers avoid all alcohol while pregnant or trying to conceive.

What about nicotine? Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of a baby being born prematurely and underweight. It also reduces the oxygen supply getting to you and your baby. Stop smoking if you are trying to conceive, or thinking about it, and do not smoke if you are pregnant. Even if you don’t smoke, avoid smoky environments because of the increased health risks associated with second-hand smoke.

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