Growing a Healthy Baby
Sherry Bushnell, LM, CPM
A good rule to remember is: what you eat, baby eats too. Avoid Metabolic Syndrome, high blood pressure, HELLP syndrome (pre-eclampsia), gestational diabetes and other problems at the end of pregnancy, by eating well in the beginning. Over nourishing: Eating highly processed foods, white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and additives, deprives you and your baby of much needed nutrients. Make every mouth full count. Women who consistently eat well have less complications right after birth, such as hemorrhage and retained placenta. Exercise regularly. Keeping fit by walking helps you become ready for giving birth.
Every Day Eat
4 servings dairy – This means 1 quart of milk, or dairy in any form: milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt.
2 Eggs -Cooked in any way, in French toast, pancakes, pudding or added to other foods.
An additional protein – red meat, chicken, fish, or a complete protein combination such as beans, rice and cheese.
2 servings green – leafy lettuce (not head lettuce), green veggies ( ½ cup each serving)
3 servings grains (preferably whole wheat bread – 1 slice, pancakes -1, muffin-1, tortilla – 1 brown rice-1, oatmeal 1 cup etc…),
1-2 citrus fruits a day – citrus, tomato, cantaloupe, etc.. can also be a serving of juice.
3 fat servings a day – 1 tsp olive oil, butter, coconut oil, etc. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats and use only saturated animal fats for frying.
Eat a potato 3 times a week (French fries don’t count!)
Eat 3 servings of a yellow or orange vegetable
Plenty of water or other fluids
Salt to taste
During the early months of pregnancy, a mom’s weight gain is likely to be very gradual and her energy needs increase by only a small amount. However, as your baby gets bigger, moms can expect to show a steady weight gain due to the changes in her body. Gaining weight is a good sign that all is well.
The goal is to keep away from carbohydrates that will add unnecessary weight to you and your baby. Growing a healthy baby, does not necessarily mean a big baby. If you eat well and avoid empty calories (processed chips, sweet cake, ice cream, fudge, and so forth) and choose to eat well every day, you baby will be just the right size. Eating well doesn’t mean eating a lot. It means making sure all food and drink benefit baby.
What if I eat too much and my baby gets too big???
There is no exact healthy weight gain. Thin woman may need to gain more, overweight woman less. The important thing is that you are eating enough protein to give your baby just what he or she needs to be healthy. Eating good-for-you food, that is not high in carbohydrates, will not make your baby too big.
Remember, things like pop, sugar, white flour can just make bigger moms and babies, not healthy ones.
Ouch! My grocery bill!
Buying good food is not cheap, but neither is a stay at the hospital after you or your baby are not well. Eating good-for-you foods helps both you and your baby to be doing their very best after birth.
Basic Supplement Recommendations for a Healthy Baby and a Good Birth.
Vitamin K is used in the body to control blood clotting and is essential for synthesizing the liver protein that controls the clotting. Newborns whose mothers eat a good vitamin K enriched diet, have more clotting ability to avoid inter-cranial hemorrhages. In
pregnancy you might be in need of more Vitamin K. It is best to get it from natural sources. Vitamin K is found in leafy vegetables (especially spinach and celery), cheese and liver. It is also found in asparagus, coffee, bacon and green tea. Chlorophyll (below) is an
excellent, safe dietary source of vitamin K.
Extra vitamin E… until the last 4 weeks.
For pregnant women, insufficient dietary vitamin E (found in vegetable oils,
nuts, cereals and some leafy green vegetables) may lead to complications like pre-eclampsia and the baby being born small. Studies have found that the human placenta can deliver natural vitamin E to the fetus much better than synthetic vitamin E. (To identify the kind of vitamin E in a supplement, read the ingredients listed on the label. Natural vitamin E begins with “d,” as in “d-alpha-tocopherol. The synthetic version begins with “dl.”). Too much Vitamin E near the end of pregnancy may prevent easy delivery of the placenta.
Extra calcium/magnesium –
Calcium is important during pregnancy and throughout our lives as women. Lack of adequate calcium during pregnancy is associated with muscle cramps, backache, high blood pressure, intense labor and afterbirth pains, osteoporosis and pre-eclampsia. Take a supplement that is liquid and absorbable. Calcium assimilation is governed by exercise, stress, acidity during digestion, availability of vitamin C, A and especially D, and availability of magnesium and phosphorous in the body and the diet. The best food sources of calcium are fish and dairy products. Take calcium in the evening before bed for a nice relaxing sleep! Best calcium sources are calcium citrate or gluconate. Avoid calcium carbonate (as in Tums). It does not absorb well and creates a gritty placenta.
Alfalfa, Green Food, or other source of chlorophyll –
Chlorophyll is available as liquid, in gel caps, or dried tablets.
Liquid is best, but some moms have a hard time with the color. (Some say drinking it in a cup with a lid helps) Capsules do just as good a job, but may not be absorbed as fast. It also has the added benefit of actually having a slight laxative effect instead of constipation. Liquid chlorophyll is one of the best blood-builders being rich in easily digestible iron, avoiding constipation. It also provides a tonic effect, giving a bit of energy that is needed during pregnancy. Some people like to take it toward the end of pregnancy as a prevention for hemorrhage.
Don’t be surprised by its rather weird effect… it causes bright green pee and stools!
Some favorite kinds are: Barley Green, Moringa Tree, Better Than Greens.
Folic Acid –
Taking folic acid 400 mgs (up to 800 if you have a family history of any neurological birth defect such as spina bifida) helps your body have a good amount of folic acid to help baby form properly inside in the early weeks.
Vitamin D deficiency can occur anytime during your life. Vitamin D is a “backseat driver” for calcium and phosphorus absorption in the body. Lack of Vitamin D can produce: PPD – post partum depression, decreased brain development, low birth size,
increased incidence of osteoporosis later in life, Type I and II Diabetes Gestational Diabetes and Insulin Sensitivity, (Levels less than 12.5 had the highest), Asthma, Increased Pre-Eclampsia and Pregnancy Induced Hypertension PIH
Main Source: Sunlight UVB rays, best WITHOUT sunscreen. Get 10 – 15 minutes of direct sunlight at least 2 times a week to face, arms, hands or back. Food high in vitamin D: Milk fortified with Vitamin D, Fortified Cereals and orange juice, Oily Fish – Especially
wild fish ** Best Source** Fish oil supplements, Eggs. Worst: fried foods
Pregnant and Lactating Women: 5000 IU / day is the daily recommendation of Vitamin D3 to maintain normal D-25 serum levels at 40-80 ng.ml. Vitamin D3 is absorbed best. Vitamin D2, you may be able to locate in a health food store in lower levels, but not in higher
Good books to read:
Naturally Healthy Pregnancy
– By Shonda Parker
– By Sally Fallon (A good cook book that challenges politically correct nutrition and diets.)