If you're newly pregnant or planning a pregnancy you might be wondering how working with a dietitian can help you have a feel-good, calm and empowered pregnancy journey or if it's even worth it.
Research shows that a better diet quality during pregnancy has positive effects on the health of your future child plus there are benefits for you to mama!
1st 1000 days of life
This is a period of time from pre-conception through to toddlerhood where research shows that diet and lifestyle can positively influence lifelong health.
However, on the other hand not eating enough or getting the right nutrients during this period of time can have lifelong consequences and can impact IQ and school performance, a child's capacity for learning and can increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and allergy later in life. If you want to give your baby the best possible start to life, nutrition can help.
Pregnancy is a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Hormones change the way you feel and think and pregnancy symptoms impact what you can stomach and how much you can eat. This can make it extremely difficult to meet your growing nutrient needs throughout pregnancy without the right combination of foods and supplements.
If you are experiencing nausea, fatigue, heartburn, headaches, leg cramps, bloating, constipation, and/or food aversion… nutrition can help you have a feel good and healthy pregnancy.
Peace of Mind
Up to 75% of pregnant mamas turn to Google for nutrition advice. Although Google is a wealth of information, it's not the right information that leaves you feeling empowered. Often it's a mix of the latest science, old science and opinion. Plus there are common references to needing animal foods to have a healthy pregnancy but that’s old science. Animal foods can be a great source of iron and protein (two nutrients needed during pregnancy) but they aren’t the only source.
Plantful Pregnancy is a judgment-free zone and I'm here to help you tick off the essential nutrients to grow a healthy baby with a flexible and tailored approach that suits your dietary preferences
Prevent Nutrient Deficiencies
This one is a biggie! Some of the nutrients you require during pregnancy double. This means that if you’re going into pregnancy with low levels or don’t know how your plant-based diet needs to change to meet your nutrient needs you could risk exacerbating a deficiency and impacting the development of your baby.
As a dietitian that has completed additional training and certification in fertility and pregnancy nutrition, I’m here to review your bloodwork and diet to determine what you’re doing well, where changes need to be made, and provide practical and bespoke advice that is achievable and considerate of your pregnancy goals and symptoms.
Improve Sleep Quality
Poor quality sleep during pregnancy is common but you don’t have to put up with it. Sleep is considered a keystone to overall health, and the same can be said during pregnancy. Not getting enough good quality sleep can increase the risk of gaining too much weight, and developing gestational diabetes; it can even increase the risk of preterm birth.
Despite sleep duration and quality expected to change throughout pregnancy, diet, and lifestyle changes during pregnancy can go a long way to boosting your sleep quality, helping you to feel your best and grow a healthy baby.
Preventing and treating complications (GDM, Preeclampsia)
With gestational diabetes and preeclampsia amongst the most common complications that can develop during pregnancy, having support and guidance on what to eat can help reduce the risk of these conditions developing during pregnancy as well as help manage symptoms and reduce adverse side effects such as low birth weight and preterm delivery.
If you know you are at risk of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, there are nutrition strategies we can implement that can delay diagnosis and even prevent it altogether.
Ready to meet your nutrient needs with confidence? Book a free 15minute discovery call today!
This is a common question many expecting plant-based Mamas ask me when they first find out they are expecting. Often a moment of joy and excitement is tainted by an unwavering uncertainty that their plant-based diet may not be enough to grow a healthy baby and have a viable pregnancy.
Truth is, a plant-based diet is safe and healthy as long as it's balanced, is ticking off all the essential nutrients and varied.
This means a plant-based diet generally, but especially during pregnancy needs to be colourful, include a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, nuts and seeds; and where needed cover any nutrient gaps with a high quality supplement.
Below, I discuss statements about choosing a plant-based pregnancy from Dietitians Australia and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the benefits and how pregnancy can make everything that little bit harder.
A simply Google search may give you anecdotal evidence about women that chose to stay plant-based during pregnancy and pros and cons, medical opinion and even a list of all the things that can go wrong if you don't eat animal foods during pregnancy but often what isn't so easy to find is these two statements from the two leading global nutrition bodies
First up is a statement from Dietitians Australia stating:
"A varied, well planned vegetarian diet can provide all the nutrients needed for good health. In fact, a plant-based diet may provide health benefits such as reduced chronic disease risk and more closely match recommended dietary guidelines to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains and to limit saturated fats and sugars..."
And in America, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Vegetarian position statement says:
"An appropriately planned vegetarian including vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adults and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable that diets rich in animal foods because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage."
Yes, choosing to stay plant-based in the lead up to and during pregnancy can benefit you as Mama and the health of you unborn baby.
We're talking science that shows few caesarean sections in vegan women, a lower incidence of postnatal depression (emerging research), a reduced risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes and even a potential decreased in the risk of your baby developing asthma, and eczema. BOOM!
But... yes, there is a 'but'. Choosing to stay plant-based during pregnancy doesn't come without risks because there are certain nutrients such as iron, iodine and vitamin B12 that are essential to growing a healthy baby.
If you choose to skimp on your grains, have a lack of variety in your diet or don't take a supplement to cover these gaps you could be putting you and your unborn baby at risk of poor and delayed development.
In a nutshell, the takeaway here is a plant-based diet during pregnancy is safe and healthy as long as it's balanced, varied and contains all the essential nutrients needed to support new life. With the right support, an easy to follow framework, creativity and guidance you can stay plant-based and growing a healthy baby.