Nutrition

Watermelon Lemonade Mocktail | Non-Alcoholic Summer Drink Recipe

Hot summers can be rough in pregnancy! Cool off with this yummy Watermelon Lemonade Mocktail. 

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Ingredients 

  • 3 Cups of diced watermelon
  • 1  Cup of lemonade (homemade is best!)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1-2 Cups of ice

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender, starting with the watermelon. Add the ice in 1 cup at a time.
  • Blend until combined.
  • Serve immediately.

Top 10 Ways to Prepare for a Natural Childbirth

Photo Credit: Kadi Tiede

Photo Credit: Kadi Tiede

Entering into your pregnancy journey is fun and exhilarating for most mamas and their partners. Once you get past the initial excitement, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all of the decisions that come with pregnancy, labor, birth and after. One of these decisions for you, may be deciding to have a natural childbirth. Whether you choose to be in the hospital, a birth center or at home, there are many ways to help prepare for a natural birth. Here are the top 10 ways to prepare for a natural birth:

Childbirth Education Classes: It is very important to educate yourself and your partner. A great way to do this is taking a Childbirth Education Class. If you are planning to deliver in a hospital, it is a good idea to find a class outside of the hospital to help you prepare better. At Health Foundations Birth Center we have childbirth education for families delivering with us that is tailored to delivering at the birth center. 

Hire a Doula:  Having a doula by your side during labor is not only comforting but also it proven to help reduce interventions including cesareans. Typically doulas also provide education during prenatal meetings. Interview 2-3 to make sure you find one that is a good fit. You can find a doula through friends that have used one or via the Internet.

Choosing a Provider and Facility: Once you find out you are pregnant, take your time over a few weeks to put research into finding a provider that fits your desires and needs.  If you are choosing a hospital, take a tour of a couple of different ones. You have the option of choosing hospital midwives (usually) or an OB.  Out of hospital options are wonderful for women who would like a natural birth. If you find that your and your provider aren’t meshing well, keep in mind that you can always transfer to a different provider. Current research shows your chance of having a c-section can be directly linked to the provider and / or hospital you choose. 

Nutrition and Exercise Keeping up with nutrition and exercise are one of the keys to staying healthy in pregnancy, which helps during labor.  Although we sometimes think it is a time to indulge, it is quite the opposite! Be sure to fill your diet with good proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try and limit sugar as much as possible. If you had an exercise routine before pregnancy, usually you can continue with that. Walking, swimming and yoga are wonderful options for staying active in pregnancy. Always check with your provider before you start an exercise routine in pregnancy.

Self-Care: As your body changes, remember to allow time for self-care. Take time to rest, go on more dates with your partner, get a massage, spend time with friends, read a book in a quiet space, take warm baths in the evening. All of these things help to alleviate stress, which is good for you and your baby.

Supplements: Along with a healthy diet, there are some great supplements that help prepare your body for a health, low-risk labor and birth. Try and choose a food-based prenatal vitamin such as Rainbow Light Prenatal Vitamins. Click here for more information on choosing supplements. Always check with your provider before choosing a new supplement to add to your diet.

Reading: Find reading material that is not only educational but also positive. One of our favorites is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Not only is it very informative but also has wonderful birth stories to read. For your partner, a great read is The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin.

Baby Positioning: Trying to get your baby into an optimal position is more important that you would think! There are many ways to do this during the last weeks in pregnancy especially. Posture is an easy way to help get your baby in to stay in an optimal position. You want your baby to be in an anterior position rather than posterior. This will help your labor and birth to be much less uncomfortable. Seeing a chiropractor in pregnancy has been proven to help significantly with this. Be sure to look for a chiropractor that specializes in pregnancy. Another good resource is www.spinningbabies.com.

Birth Plan: Take time to prepare a birth plan with your partner. A doula can help with this as well. Keep your birth plan simple and to the point. Be sure to communicate your labor and birth desires to your provider. Give a copy of your birth plan to your provider and bring a copy with you in your birth bag.

Find Your Tribe: Now is the time to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Sometimes they may find it challenging to accept your labor and birth decisions. Remember to set healthy boundaries. People love telling scary stories about birth. While it is important for them to process these feelings personally, it is not the time to do it when you are pregnant. Gently remind them to save those stories for later. Find a good support system whether it be your family, friends, or an outside group.

At Health Foundations Birth Center your choices matter to us. We are here as a community of women to support you during pregnancy, birth and beyond. Call us today for a consultation or tour, 651-895-2520 or visit us at www.health-foundations.com

Spinach and Banana Muffins for Toddlers

Spinach & Banana Muffins for Toddlers

If you have a toddler, you know that getting them to eat their vegetables can sometimes be a challenge. Moms and dads often have to get creative to ensure that their little ones are getting all their essential vitamins and nutrients. One great way to do this is by disguising veggies in a yummy treat. Try this low-sugar, high nutrient recipe for Spinach and Banana Muffins that is sure to have your toddler asking for more!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of fresh organic spinach (uncooked)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup of organic pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put first seven ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend.
  3. Combine remaining dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Add spinach mixture from blender to the dry ingredients.
  5. Slowly mix dry ingredients into spinach mixture until combined using a spoon or spatula. (If too dense, add a splash of milk. Should resemble pancake dough.)
  6. Scoop batter into greased muffin tins.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes for mini-muffins or 17 minutes for regular-sized muffins.
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: The Tribe Magazine

Tofu and Spinach in Garlic Sauce

Tofu & Spinach in Garlic Sauce

Nothing says pregnancy nutrient quite like folate! And to meet your minimum daily need of 500-micrograms, folate rich vegetables and beans become an easy answer. Try this highly nutritious tofu and spinach recipe for not only folate but protein also.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • ½ cup of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 pound of firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, sliced into coins
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bunch of spinach, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk corn starch with 1 tablespoon of chicken stock and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine with remaining stock, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar.
  3. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat and add vegetable oil.
  4. Add shallot and tofu and stir-fry until the shallot is translucent. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry for an additional minute.
  5. Add spinach and toss until wilted then add soy sauce mixture. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir cornstarch mixture well and scrape into stir-fry. Simmer and stir until sauce thickens, approximately 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add soy sauce to taste and serve over brown rice.

Recipe transcribed from: fitPREGNANCY

Homemade Baby Food for Beginners

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Making your own baby food is a great way to provide your baby with nutritious meal options and save your family money as well. While store bought foods may contain unnecessary additives, when you make your own, you can buy organic fruits and veggies and know exactly what ingredients are going into baby’s precious tummy. It’s also a great way to expose baby to different tastes and textures and get them used to eating what you and the rest of your family enjoy. Here’s some basic info on how to get started making your own baby food when it’s time to start solids.

What You Will Need:

There are several options that can be easily used to make pureed baby food including:

  • A blender or food processor: Works great for large batches of food and you probably already have one in your home. It’s easy, quick and not too difficult to clean.
  • A hand blender: A quick, easy and an efficient way to blend foods to create smooth purees.
  • A baby food grinder: A non-electric, portable baby food maker that is inexpensive. The downside is that it will only make one texture.
  • Hand-turned food mill: A non-electric option that allows for different blades to be used to create different food textures.
  • All-in-one baby food maker: May be more expensive, but will steam, cook and then puree your food.  
  • A fork: Many foods that are already soft like avocado or banana can be easily mashed regular fork. 

Other supplies you will need for making your own baby food include:

  • Storage containers for freezing/refrigerating: Ice trays with a cover make a great makeshift baby food storage container. You can also buy special containers specifically for storing baby food in the freezer. Be sure to choose a container with baby-safe plastic. Check out this article on eco-friendly parenting to learn more about safe plastic.

What Foods to Introduce:

A great place to start when making baby food is with organic fruits and vegetables. Try introducing one food at a time if your baby hasn’t already had it before to prevent any confusion should an allergic reaction occur. The below foods are typically great, safe first food options to give to new eaters.

Veggies: Avocados, carrots, peas, squash, sweet potato, asparagus and sweet peppers

Fruits: Bananas, pears, mangoes, blueberries, prunes, apricots, apples and peaches

Steps to Getting Started:

  1. Wash the fruit or vegetable thoroughly.
  2. Peel or pit the fruit or vegetable when necessary and remove any seeds.
  3. Boil or steam veggies if necessary to soften before pureeing. 
  4. Place vegetables or fruit in blender or food processor.  
  5. Add liquid if desired to achieve a creamier texture. You can use breastmilk, water or formula.
  6. Blend until you have reached desired smooth texture. 
  7. Serve food to baby no higher than body temperature.
  8. Store remaining food in storage containers to be frozen and thawed for later meals.

Tips for Homemade Baby Food:

  • Don’t add sweeteners to food like sugar or honey. Honey can cause a potentially deadly food poisoning called botulism when given to babies.
  • Do experiment with different spices and textures to expose your baby to a wide variety of tastes. This is a great way to broaden your baby’s palate and create a child who enjoys trying new foods.
  • Only serve baby a portion that you think he will eat. Once his saliva from the spoon has touched the food, bacteria can grow and the food should not be saved.
  • Use refrigerated leftovers within two days.
  • Frozen fruits and veggies can be stored and used for up to 6 months. When you introduce meats in a puree, frozen leftovers should only be stored for 1-2 months. 

Making your own baby food at home is not only healthy and economical but simple and efficient. It will save you trips to the store, reduce your spending, and lessen your waste output as well. Best of all, you can know with certainty the quality of the produce and exactly what ingredients your baby is eating because it was made by you with love. For questions regarding infant care or all topics related to pregnancy and natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

15 Natural Ways to Boost Your Fertility

Natural Ways to Boost Fertility

When you decide you want to have a baby, often any amount of waiting feels like too long. Women in their twenties have approximately a 20-25 percent chance of getting pregnant each cycle. Once you turn thirty, this number drops to about 15 percent and at 35 declines even more drastically to a less than 10 percent chance. Fortunately, there are natural ways and simple changes to your lifestyle that can increase your odds of conceiving and ensure that your body is primed for baby. Here are 15 natural ways to increase your odds of getting pregnant.

1) Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in protein, vitamins C and D, iron and zinc help can help keep your menstrual cycle consistent and consequently keep you ovulating regularly. Consider taking a prenatal vitamin even before you conceive as many of baby’s most vital organs begin developing in the first weeks of pregnancy. 

2) Maintain a healthy body weight: Having too little body fat prohibits the body from producing enough hormones necessary for ovulation and to sustain a pregnancy. Having too much body fat can also interfere with ovulation by causing excess production of hormones and consequently less frequent ovulation. A normal BMI ranges between 18.5 and 24.9.

3) Get to know your cycle: Having an understanding of your monthly menstrual cycle and knowing how long it typically lasts can help you determine which days are your most fertile. A normal cycle can range from 21-35 days and although the average time for ovulation is day 14, it can happen as early as day 6 or as late as day 21. You can predict your ovulation more accurately by charting your basal body temperature or using an ovulation prediction kit. There are great apps that allow you to take control of your reproductive health. Track your sexual health and period cycles, pinpoint your ovulation day and maximize your chance for pregnancy.

Glow App

4) Cut back on alcohol: Regular alcohol consumption may alter your estrogen levels which can ultimately interfere with the implantation process. If you are trying to conceive, it is a good time to start practicing the healthy lifestyle habits you will need to adopt once you become pregnant.

5) Quit smoking: Wanting to get pregnant is just one of the many reasons you should quit smoking now. Cigarette toxins can damage your eggs, cause premature aging of your ovaries and interfere with the implantation process. Although smoking can cause permanent damage to your fertility, you will recover some of your ovarian function upon quitting.

6) Get enough rest: Try to get a full 7-8 hours of sleep per night if you are trying to conceive. Sleep is associated with the production of the hormone Leptin which is necessary for ovulation to occur. Sleep also affects the production of fertility hormones such as estrogen, luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

7) Have sex: Having sex every 1-2 days during your fertile period can significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant. Some research suggests that women who have intercourse regularly are more likely to have consistent menstrual cycles making it easier for them to identify their most fertile days. Weekly sex is also associated with higher levels of estrogen production.

8) Curb your caffeine intake: Excess caffeine may also interfere with fertility hormones and make it more difficult for you to conceive. Start limiting your intake to 200 milligrams daily or 1 to 2 caffeinated beverages. 

9) Keep up on your dental health: Brush twice daily, floss before bed and stay current on your dental check-ups. Gum disease has been shown to add an extra two months to the amount of time it takes to get pregnant. It’s best to see your dentist and get any necessary work completed before you start trying to conceive. 

10) Protect yourself from workplace hazards: If you work in a setting where you are exposed to radiation, industrial chemicals, nitrous oxide or jet fuel, take precautions to wear all the necessary protective gear to shield your body from these harmful agents.  Exposure to toxins like these has been shown to decrease fertility and interfere with a woman’s regular menstrual cycle.

11) Avoid contact with pesticides and herbicides: Similarly, chemicals used to kill insects and weeds can also be detrimental to fertility by disrupting ovarian function and interfering with a woman’s monthly cycle. Be sure to wash fruit and vegetables carefully before eating and consider choosing organic options to avoid exposure to residue from these chemicals.

12) Exercise moderately: While it’s a good idea to make sure you are getting regular exercise, if you are trying to conceive don’t push yourself too hard. A research study found that women who engage in five or more hours of vigorous exercise per week were 42 percent less likely to get pregnant than women who did not exercise at all. This is because intense exercise can negatively impact ovulation thus disrupting a woman’s natural cycle.

13) Choose lubrication wisely: Using lubrication during intercourse can actually interfere with the process of the sperm reaching the egg. Even natural lubricants like saliva can have a negative impact on your chances of conception. Safer choices include mineral oils, canola oil, vegetable oil and Preseed, a lubricant specially designed for trying to conceive. 

14) Reduce your stress level: Reducing your stress level and eliminating unnecessary obligations from your plate can have a positive impact on your fertility. Stress may cause changes to your body’s hormone production making your menstrual cycle unpredictable and consequently making it harder to conceive. 

15) Don’t underestimate the importance of your partner’s role: Just like women, men who are trying to conceive should also focus on getting healthy. Being a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet,  limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking and taking daily vitamins are all ways that your partner can help ensure his sperm are healthy and ready to fertilize your egg. 

Specifically, vitamins E & C and the mineral selenium are thought to improve sperm quality and can be taken in addition to a daily multivitamin. Trying to conceive can be an enjoyable and a stressful time period all in one. Make sure to take the necessary steps to take care of your own health so that your body will be ready to provide a temporary home for baby. If you have questions about getting pregnant or are interested in learning more about having a natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our beautiful Birth Center.

Recipe ~ Freezer Meal Eggplant Parmesan

One of the best ways to prepare for those first weeks at home with baby is to have a stash of premade freezer meals that can be easily heated and served. You won’t likely have the time or the energy to cook as you and your partner navigate your new life with your little one. Prepare this delicious and healthy eggplant parmesan recipe before your due date and pop it in the freezer to be saved for a dinnertime that is right around the corner. You will thank yourself later that you took the time to prepare ahead!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 large eggplants , sliced across into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup of plain dried breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound of whole fresh mozzarella, cut into large chunks

Directions:

1. Puree tomatoes in a food processor and transfer to a medium sauce pan. Stir in olive oil. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until thickened for approximately 30 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

2. In a colander, toss eggplant with 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Press slices of eggplant between a double layer of paper towels to dry. Dip eggplant slices in flour, allowing excess to fall, and then dip in eggs mix. Sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs.  

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Heat oil over skillet until sizzling.  

4. In batches, fry the eggplant slices until golden. (Approximately 2-3 minutes per side) Transfer to rack and drain.

5. Spread one cup of tomato sauce in a 9 by 13 baking dish. Layer half the eggplant over sauce and sprinkle with ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Top with 1 ½ cups of tomato sauce and then remaining eggplant. Finish with remaining sauce and place mozzarella slices on top. Add another ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.  

6. *** IF FREEZING FOR LATER USE: Do not bake. Wrap dish tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

7. When you decide to cook meal, remove from freezer, remove foil and bake for 40-45 minutes until browned and bubbling.  

8. Enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from:

http://www.marthastewart.com/336836/eggplant-parmesan

Decoding Baby Poop: Everything You Need to Know

Baby Poop

Decoding diaper contents is often one of the most perplexing challenges to new parents. Is it supposed to be that color? Is there supposed to be that much? And, how do I know if my baby is eating enough? These are all questions you may be asking yourself in those early days with your new little one. Color, consistency and frequency are all factors to consider when assessing if your baby is having normal bowel movements. Let’s take a closer look at some of the variables that will help you decode your baby’s diaper.

Normal Colors:  

Black: During the first days of life, your baby’s poop may appear black, tar like and sticky. This is perfectly normal. These initial bowel movements are called meconium and consist of amniotic fluid, skin cells, mucus and other material that baby has ingested in the uterus. This color and consistency may last for several days following birth until baby begins to receive milk and the meconium is cleared out of his system. 

Yellow: Yellow is a normal color for stool of a baby who is breastfed or formula fed. The color yellow indicates that that the milk is moving through the digestive process quickly which is typical for newborns.  

Green: The color green is another common appearance for infant poop, particularly for breastfed babies. Green indicates that the milk is moving more slowly through the digestive process. A green bowel movement may necessitate a call to the doctor if it is particularly watery or is accompanied by mucus or a fever. This may suggest that baby has a virus or other illness. 

Once baby has started eating solid foods, vegetables are most likely the culprit for poop that appears green.

Brown: Brown feces are another indication that the milk is moving more slowly through the digestive tract. This color is more common with formula fed babies and for babies who have started eating solids.

Concerning Colors:

Although the color of your baby’s poop is most often just a reflection of the transit time of the food and bile formation, there are a few colors that may be cause for concern.

White: A white bowel movement can be a sign of infection or a problem with the production of bile by the liver. 

Black: Black poop beyond the first week can be a sign of digested blood. While this may be a consequence of nursing when mom has cracked nipples, it’s best to call the doctor to be sure.  

Red: Red blood in your baby’s diaper may indicate fresh blood from the rectum or colon. 

Call your pediatrician right away if you see any of the above concerns. 

Normal Consistency:

Before the age of six months and the start of solids, your baby’s stool should be loose, soft and liquid. Breastfed babies tend to have more liquid than formula fed babies but both will typically appear mustard like with seeds or curds. Formula fed babies may have stools that are more paste like and odorous than breastfed babies.

Once your baby starts eating solids, both the color and the consistency of his bowel movements will change. They will likely appear firmer and can often change in appearance based on what he has eaten. You may even see undigested chunks of food in the diaper. This is all normal.

Concerning Consistency:

Diarrhea: It can be difficult to know how to identify diarrhea when loose stools are the norm. Diarrhea will appear more watery than normal fecal matter and will be green, yellow or brown in color. It may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or irritability. Contact your pediatrician if diarrhea persists as it may be a sign of infection or an allergy. 

Hard Stools: Stools that are firm or pebble like may be indicative of dehydration. Other signs of dehydration to look for include a sunken look in baby’s eyes or soft spot, lack of saliva and a reduction in tears. Another reason your baby may have hard stools is a sensitivity to milk, soy or other foods during the introduction to solids or via breastfeeding. If you think your baby is dehydrated or may be experiencing a food sensitivity, contact your pediatrician to be seen.

Often parents wonder if their baby is constipated because they looked strained or in pain while passing a bowel movement. Usually however, this is not the case and baby’s expression is just reflecting that he is learning to contract his abdominal muscles and to push.  

Normal Frequency: 

The amount of times a baby poops in a day can vary greatly. In the early days, your newborn may go every time you feed him or as many as 6 to 10 times per day. Between 2 to 5 bowel movements per day during this time is average. This number will likely decrease several weeks after birth in breastfed babies when mom’s colostrum, which contains laxative like properties, is eliminated. Some babies will continue to poop multiple times per day while others may only go once per week. If your baby is a less frequent pooper, the content of the diaper should be more abundant for each bowel movement than that of those who poop multiple times per day. 

The start of solids as with color and consistency, can impact how frequently your baby soils his diaper. Some babies will begin to go more frequently with the introduction of fibrous vegetables and other foods while others may decrease in frequency. This is an important time to be aware of signs of constipation or diarrhea as this may indicate a sensitivity or allergy to a new food that was introduced.

Overall, as long as your baby is gaining weight and does not seem uncomfortable, there is no need to be concerned about how frequently he poops. You probably didn’t think it was possible to have so many variables affecting what you find in baby’s diaper. But as with all aspects of being a new parent, you will learn what is normal and what is not with time and practice. It is important to remember that there is a wide spectrum representing ‘the norm’ for bowel movements and no two babies will be exactly the same. As long as your little one does not seem uncomfortable and you are not seeing any of the concerning colors, chances are, everything is normal.

Macaroni with Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sausage for Nursing Moms

Macaroni w/ Gooat Cheese

Looking for a nutrient-rich, yummy recipe for that hearty nursing appetite you have? Try this delicious macaroni dish that is chock full of calcium, folates and protein-all things that breastfeeding moms need in order to nourish their own bodies while providing nutrition for baby.  

Ingredients:

¾ pound whole wheat macaroni pasta

1-2 cooked and cubed sausages

1 bunch of rinsed and dried spinach, chopped

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

½ small red onion, diced

2-4 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt to taste

Directions:

1) Bring a large pot of water with a dash of salt to a boil.

2) Over medium-high heat, warm the oil in a skillet and add sausage, stirring regularly for 5 minutes.

3) Add onion to the sausage and oil and stir for 3 minutes. Then stir in spinach until wilted.

4) Once the water has boiled, cook the whole wheat pasta until al dente.

5) Drain pasta, saving one cup of water from the pot.  

6) Add pasta and ½ cup of pasta cooking water to the skillet and stir over medium heat until liquid is absorbed.

7) Add goat cheese and stir until creamy.  Use the remaining ½ cup of pasta cooking water if necessary to achieve desired creaminess.  

8) Stir and serve immediately. 

*Note* This recipe is not intended for pregnant moms as it contains goat cheese which is considered a soft cheese.  However, even if you’re not pregnant, it’s always a good idea to check the ingredients to ensure your cheeses are made from pasteurized milk.  To learn more about what foods are not safe during pregnancy, click here.

This recipe was transcribed from:

http://www.fitpregnancy.com/nutrition/recipes/macaroni-goat-cheese-spinach-optional-sausage

Postpartum nutrition

postpartum nutrition We talk a lot about nutrition in pregnancy, but eating well is also incredibly important in the postpartum as we heal, undergo many physical and emotional changes, and begin breastfeeding.  It is so important to take care of ourselves at this time.  It is also one of the more challenging times to practice self care, as we are busy caring for our newborns and juggling a whole new set of demands.

For many women, postpartum eating needs to be as simple and quick as possible.  Women are greatly helped in the postpartum when others are able to spend more time preparing and offering her healthy meals and snacks regularly throughout the day.  Preparing meals ahead of time to freeze and make later is a good idea, although we want to take care to choose foods that are going to serve the body best.  Loved ones may also offer to make healthy meals, which can be organized by a close friend or family member or with the help of online services such as Meal Baby, Take them a Meal, Food Tidings, and others you can find via a search for “meal registries.” Check out our post on preparing for the postpartum.

Here are some principles of optimal nutrition for the postpartum.  Our midwives can also talk with you about postpartum nutrition in greater detail during a prenatal or postnatal appointment.

Caloric Intake

During the later months of pregnancy, women need to consume about 200 to 300 more calories than their pre-pregnancy requirements, as a general rule.  Breastfeeding women need even more than this. Women generally need about 500 extra calories to make enough milk to feed baby and to get the nutrients they need.  As we mentioned in a previous post, consuming less than this does not help mamas lose weight, but actually encourages the body to hold on to fat reserves.

Drink lots of water

Most women need 2 to 3 liters of water a day in the postpartum to heal and to make milk.  A new mama’s support team should be aware of her need to stay well hydrated and ensure she has access to water at all times.  Make sure glasses or bottles of water are stashed anywhere in the house where mama and baby spend time throughout the day and night.  New mamas typically get an intense feeling of thirst each time they begin to breastfeed, a cue from our bodies that we really need to drink lots of water during this time.

Snack

To get the recommended additional calories in the postpartum and to avoid hunger, it can be helpful to have little snack stations wherever you plan to breastfeed throughout the day, or bring a basket of snacks around the house with you.  These stations or baskets should include water and easy nutritious foods such as trail mix, dried or fresh fruit, high-quality bars (such as Pure bars), or the like.  (You may also want to include in your stash a book to read and/or your phone…nursing takes time!)

Iron

For many postpartum mamas, getting enough iron is huge.  Pregnancy often depletes a woman’s iron stores and bleeding during and after birth can further deplete her stores, so replenishing iron is important to healing in the postpartum and to preventing anemia.  Ways to increase iron include:

  • Eating red meat, eggs, blackstrap molasses and other good sources of iron
  • Increase vitamin C to help absorb more iron from your food.  Take C with your meals and don’t exceed 3000mg a day, or as directed by your care provider.
  • Avoid black tea, as the tannins in tea decrease iron absorption
  • Cook using cast iron pans and pots, iron from the cookware actually gets into the food you eat while cooking.

Keep taking your prenatal vitamins

Women are encouraged to continue taking their prenatal vitamins until they are done nursing.  This extra nutritional support helps mama and baby.  Extra B vitamins can give you a boost in energy and stamina.

It is also a good idea to regularly eat low-mercury fish (the most bioavailable forms of DHA are found in coldwater fish and algae) and/or take an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement with a higher DHA to EPA ratio (taking a supplement is a reliable way to make sure you are getting enough).  Studies have found that infants benefit neurologically when moms supplement during pregnancy and throughout the breastfeeding relationship.  These healthy fats also benefit mamas by helping them heal and by replenishing the nervous and reproductive systems.

Ideal foods

In general, whole, organic, protein-rich, nutrient-dense, warm and nourishing foods are ideal in the postpartum.  It is best to avoid cold, processed and high-sugar foods as well as dairy, and peanut butter (at least for the first few days as these latter two are hard to digest).  You may also want to avoid foods two which babies can be sensitive (a topic for another post!

Good postpartum foods include:

  • Warm soups
  • Warm/Hot foods (avoid cold)
  • Soups, stews and braised dishes (can be made ahead and frozen or prepared in a crock pot)
  • Ginger
  • Whole grains
  • Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. These foods promote “good” gut flora in mama and baby and may help prevent colic and the development of allergies in babies.
  • Beans, such as kidney beans, black beans, black soya bean
  • Meats, such as beef, lamb, offal
  • Nuts, such as walnut and almond
  • Eggs
  • Fruits, especially black grapes, plums, cherries, cooked raisins
  • Veggies such as tomatoes, beets, yams, spinach, sweet potatoes, winter squash, leafy greens, avocado
  • Plain Greek yogurt with honey, nuts, fruit, and/or seeds
  • Milk supply supporting foods

Optimal Nutrition in Pregnancy: A Primer

At Health Foundations, we know that nutrition during pregnancy is paramount.  Overwhelming scientific and anecdotal evidence shows that excellent maternal nutrition almost always results in healthy moms and healthy babies, while poor nutrition leads to complications. Nutrition Primer PostThe pressure of busy lifestyles and weight ideals, plus lack of knowledge about nutrition are major obstacles to optimal health for many women—add to these feelings like nausea, fatigue, and other physical stresses of pregnancy and it can be extra challenging to eat right in pregnancy.  But by educating yourself about nutrition in pregnancy, taking this time to really honor and nurture your body and your baby, and listening to your intuition; you can achieve excellent nutrition during pregnancy—when its more important than ever.

There is much to be said about nutrition during pregnancy—too much for one blog post.  In future posts we’ll explore in greater detail the fundamentals of optimal pregnancy nutrition with special focus on:

  • the essential nutrients (i.e. protein, iron, calcium, vitamins A, D, C, E, and Bs, etc),
  • optimal foods in pregnancy, and
  • the use of supplements.

For this introductory post, we wanted to share some of the top advice we give to pregnant mamas in our practice about pregnancy and nutrition.

1  Don’t “Eat for two”—Eat for optimal health.  While you should listen to your body for what it tells you it needs, it’s important not to give into frequent cravings for junk or processed foods, sweet foods, and other calorie-packed treats.

Strive to eat a wide variety of minimally processed, whole foods.  Limit simple carbohydrates such as dairy and sweets and opt for veggies, meats (or other sources of protein) and a small amount of fruits. Eat organic whenever possible and avoid high mercury fish (such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, walleye or tilefish).  Read more about fish here.

2  In terms of serving sizes and overall caloric intake, pregnant women only need about 200-300 more calories a day in the second and third trimesters—which is the equivalent to an extra small snack a day.

3  Protein, protein, protein.  Protein is so, SO important in pregnancy, and women need a lot of it during this period.  In fact, women should aim to consume about 4-6 servings totaling 80 grams of protein every day.  Women should strive to incorporate some protein into every meal and every snack throughout the day.

4  Frequent meals and snacks will help maintain a healthy blood sugar, which is important in pregnancy.  It can also reduce unpleasant conditions like nausea and fatigue.  Women should strive to eat every few hours, keeping meals smaller and snacks frequent throughout the day.

5  In terms of beverages, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking at least 6-8 cups of water every day.  Pregnant women should limit fruit juices and milk, which are packed with sugar, and reduce or eliminate caffeine.  Besides water, good liquids to consume in pregnancy include nutritive herbal teas (tisanes) such as nettle, raspberry leaf, and chamomile; EmergenC; and POM juice mixed with a little sparkling water.

6  No ice cream!  We know some of our mamas hate this one, especially during a Minnesota summer.  But we say this with good reason (and not to be mean!).  Ice cream is too highly concentrated with fat, sugar, and calories to eat safely on a regular basis during pregnancy.  Truly, we have seen the effects of frequent ice cream consumption on many women in our practice: they often have bigger babies and remarkably more difficult deliveries.    We strongly recommend that women avoid ice cream or strictly limit it to no more than a small serving once a week at the most.

7  While food aversions may keep you away from some foods (including vegetables), do your best to eat healthy despite these limitations.  We can work with you to come up with healthy choices that don’t make you gag at the sound of them.

8  Listen to your body and be kind to yourself.  Your body intuitively knows how to nurture its creations (i.e. your baby)—pay attention to how foods make you feel and to which foods you are drawn.  Practice kindness toward yourself during this time by nourishing your body not only with good foods, but with adequate rest, movement, and relaxation.

9  Enlist support.  Seek help from your partner or other close family/friends in meeting your nutritional needs (i.e. shopping for and making healthy foods).

10   Seek help from your midwives if you have any questions or concerns about healthy eating in pregnancy.

Stay tuned for more articles about nutrition in pregnancy.