To some women, pregnancy can feel like a time when you have license to sit back, chill out and eat chocolate or cake! Why not? A bit of what you fancy can’t do your baby harm… or can it?
What you eat before, during and after pregnancy has an impact on both you and your baby’s health. Pregnant women are advised to eat a balanced range of foods in order to provide their developing baby with the correct nutritional support. If you eat a diet which is mainly carbohydrate and sugar based, you put yourself in danger of potential health problems and excessive weight gain in your baby.
The food you eat directly impacts your baby’s weight in the final trimester of pregnancy. Excess sugar in the mother’s blood due to consuming too many carbohydrates and sugary foods (or because of uncontrolled type 2 or gestational diabetes) can impact the growth of the baby. Extra sugar or glucose in the blood crosses the placenta and enters the baby, raising its blood sugar levels. This causes the baby to produce excessive insulin, which lowers blood glucose. The high sugar intake and extra insulin cause the baby to grow too large, a condition called macrosomia. A large baby makes delivery more complicated and can increase the risk of health and birth complications for both the mother and the baby during the delivery.
Exhaustion and the stress of expecting a baby can make you want to reach for the treats, but you can control your cravings by opting for healthier alternatives and implent some tactics. Choose a day of the week when you allow yourself a treat, instead of making everyday treat day. When grocery shopping, check the ingredients, if sugar falls within the first 5 ingredients, don’t touch it.
So what can you eat? Try to follow the safe list below and accompany these basics with great quality meats, fish and colourful vegetables, salads and plenty of water.
Safe starchy carbohydrates include:
– sweet potato,
– plain potato,
– wholegrain breads (careful: these can cause heartburn and bloating for some)
Dangerous carbohydrates and sugars include:
What about fruit? Fructose, the sugar in fruit, will be stored on your body as body fat. If you are already carrying too much body fat, then avoid fruit and replace with raw veg snacks which are equally healthy, but contain significantly less sugar. If you are a bit on the lean side, you probably should consider increasing your fruit intake so your body can begin to store fat in preparation for making breast milk.
You can read much more about Maternal Nutrition in chapter 2 of The FitMama Method book, which also has some brilliant healthy recipes by Nutritionalist, Barbara Bradbury. Perfect for pregnant mums and their bumps!
About the blogger:
Marie Behenna is the author of The FitMama Method, published by Souvenir Press 2012 and creator of the ChillMAMA Pregnancy Meditation
Marie teaches exercise and nutrition to pregnant and post partum mothers in North Hampshire, United Kingdom. www.fitmamastudio.com
American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy Nutrition
The Journal of Reproductive Medicine: Gestational Diabetes and Maternal Third Trimester Blood Count
The FitMama Method, Souvenir Press 2012