Fresh Focus #9: Pregnancy Nutrition

Basic pregnancy nutrition is important to keep you and baby healthy. Right from the beginning, hormones can cause some unpleasant side effects. The most common being morning sickness. During this episode, Dietitian Loran Morris shares her pregnancy experiences. She dives into tips on morning sickness, weight gain, and assessing mealtime intake.
Basic pregnancy nutrition is important to keep you and baby healthy. When you get that positive pregnancy test, your body is already undergoing many changes. Right from the beginning, hormones can cause some unpleasant side effects. The most common being morning sickness. 
Morning sickness can be different for everyone and can happen during any time of day. The most important thing is to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition. Ideally you want to be getting good sources of folic acid, calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and omega 3 fatty acids, but if morning sickness is a problem, getting these nutrients might be the last thing on your mind. Always take a prenatal multivitamin to cover all your basic micronutrition needs. 
If you are unable to keep anything down due to ongoing morning sickness, try these 5 tips:
  1. Avoid an empty stomach by having small meals or snacks frequently.
  2. Use herbs and spices that combat nausea such as ginger, peppermint, and lemon.
  3. Focus on easy to digest foods that you know you are able to stomach.
  4. Drink at minimum 64 oz of water or non-sugary beverages daily. 
  5. Give yourself some slack. Although you may not be getting well-rounded meals at this point, you will be getting the calories you need to avoid unintentional weight loss.
As you are assessing your food intake, remember that some foods need to be completely avoided during the pregnancy. Meat, poultry, eggs or seafood that are raw or undercooked should not be included in your diet. Avoid any unpasteurized soft cheese. Lastly, if choosing deli meats, make sure you heat them until they are steaming hot. 
Weight can be a tricky topic during pregnancy.  Some women have difficulty gaining weight, others seem to gain too quickly and some have no difficulty at all following the guidelines. Try not to get discouraged if you have gained a little more or a little less than you are supposed to. The important thing is that you are eating balanced meals packed with nutritious foods. Now is NOT the time to start restrictive eating or binge eating to try and match weight gain goals perfectly.  Listen to your body- it knows what to do. 
As you near the end of pregnancy, swelling and fluid retention can be  noticeable in the feet, hands, and face. Tips to help reduce swelling include resting with feet elevated, staying cool during hot weather, drinking plenty of fluids, wearing loose, comfortable clothes, staying active to help circulation and lastly, monitoring your sodium and potassium intake. Excessive or rapid swelling may also be a sign of an underlying issue, especially if paired with high blood pressure. Keep an eye on rapid weight gains you may have and report them to the doctor to rule out any serious conditions like pre-eclampsia. 
As you near birth, remember to continue a balanced diet and staying active. Pregnancy is such an amazing experience and a life changing event. Embrace every moment as it truly is grand!

Host Bio: Loran Morris, MS, RDN, LDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serving Veterans within in the Marion VA Healthcare System. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics and Master’s Degree in Food and Nutrition at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She started her career with the Marion VA Healthcare System as a Dietetic Intern in January 2014 and transitioned into a PACT Dietitian later that year. She is passionate about meeting each Veteran’s healthcare needs through counseling, education, and support.