In today’s world, consuming a healthy diet can be challenging enough; eating a healthy diet that will not only provide every thing a woman needs but also all the building blocks needed to make another human is overwhelming. Having a nutritional plan eases a mom’s mind that she is nourishing her growing baby with all the love and food one can get.
Why does what you eat during pregnancy matter?
Research continues to conclude that the first 1000 days of a child life, conception to 2 years, are critical for the health and wellness of the child throughout adulthood. This means that what mom eats effects the health of the baby well into the future. Baby depends on mom for their calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fluid. Including evidence-based strategies can help baby grow healthy organ systems, assist in brain development and mental health, and promote appropriate birth weight.
Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE paints a beautiful metaphor in her book Real Food for Pregnancy: “Anyone who has ever had a garden understands that when you plant a tomato seed, you can expect a tomato plant to grow (not a pea vine or a broccoli plant). The seed has the blueprints, and even if you’re not a very good gardener, that seed will grow given the bare essentials: some soil, water, and light. However, what separates a novice from a master gardener is their attention to optimal conditions. They have learned that amending the soil with nutrient-dense and microbe-rich compost will provide the plant with more of the raw materials for growth. They understand that there’s a sweet spot in the amount of water and light that helps a tomato plant not just survive, but thrive. Ultimately, they know that with a little TLC, they will have a healthier plant with vibrant green leaves and plentiful, delicious tomatoes. (Nichols, 2018).
To peak interest even further, one recent Oregon State University study found that when pregnant mice were fed the same phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower, the offspring had a significant decreased risk for certain cancers (Kaur, Shorey, Ho, Dashwood, & Williams, 2013). As a nutritionists, this study makes me want to jump for joy. It shows how much power food really has! As a mom, it makes me feel confident that I can actually have a little bit of control over the future health of my child.
What can improving nutritional intake do for you?
By implementing simple, evidence-based practices, you and your baby can ease through the first stage of life together. Mom can avoid or, at least, lessen the dredged symptoms of constipation, nausea, swelling, and heartburn. Baby can thrive on essential nutrients that will not only help them in the womb but out in the real word too. Food is a powerful medicine.
Kaur, P., Shorey, L., Ho, E., Dashwood, R., & Williams, D. (2013). The Epigenome as a Potential Mediator of Cancer Prevention by Dietary Phytochemicals: the Fetus as a Target. Nutrition Review, 441-457.
Nicholas, Lily. (2018). Real Food for Pregnancy. USA