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Subject: misc.kids.pregnancy Pregnancy Nutrition FAQ

This article was archived around: 17 Mar 1997 23:14:26 -0800

All FAQs in Directory: misc-kids/pregnancy
All FAQs posted in: misc.kids.pregnancy, misc.kids.info, sci.med.midwifery
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Archive-name: misc-kids/pregnancy/nutrition Posting-Frequency: monthly Expires: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 00:00:00 GMT Last-Modified: 1996/06/26
Here are the daily requirements for pregnant women according to the following sources: California Department of Health (Nutrition During Pregnancy and Lactation); Robert Bradley, MD; Phyllis Williams (Nourishing Your Unborn Child); Gail & Tom Brewer (What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know); Helen Guthrie (Composition of Food, USDA). I will state this as clearly as I can: This is a guideline for the EASIEST way to get all the nutrients and calories you need in pregnancy, especially a high level of protein and the calories you need to use the protein as building blocks rather than for fuel. There are other ways to do it if you are vegetarian, vegan, eat low fat, or don't like/tolerate a particular food. Please see the books referenced at the end for more details on substituting foods! Every Day, you should have: (examples given are one serving) (Remember, each category is separate and you cannot fill two with one food - if you eat 3 oz of cheese, it can be a protein or a milk, but not both!) 1 Quart of Milk (4 8-oz Glasses) - in any form: milk, cheese, yogurt, even ice cream (although try to watch the fat!) 2 Eggs (cooked any way, in french toast, added to other foods...) 2 Servings of Protein Foods - 3 oz Meat or Fish, 1-1/2 Cup Beans, 3 oz Cheese, 1-1/2 Cup Tofu, etc. 2 Servings Green Vegetables, preferably leafy (1/4-1/2 Cup) 4 Servings of Grains, preferably whole (Whole Wheat Bread -1 slice, Tortilla - 1, Brown Rice - 1 Cup, Oatmeal - 1 Cup) 1 Vitamin C Source - Citrus Fruit/Juice, Tomato, Cantaloupe, etc. 3 Fat Servings - 1 tsp oil/butter/sour cream/mayonaise (some reduced fat products let you use 1 Tbsp instead...) 1 Serving Other Fruit 1 Serving Other Vegetables Each Week, try to include: 5 Servings Yellow or Orange Colored Fruit/Vegetables 1 Serving of Liver (if you like it - don't force yourself!) [Note: This is controversial as it is an organ meat with a potential for storing harmful substances, and because of the high levels of vitamin A it contains...] 3 Whole Baked Potatos Plenty of Water/other fluids Salt your food to taste for safe blood volume! If you substitute Proteins for Milk/Eggs, you must be sure your proteins are complete and that you get 80-100 grams of protein/day! You must also be sure to include all the elements of a well-balanced diet. While this plan is not the only way to get everything you need in pregnancy, it is one of the easiest ways! Some recent research (from the Journal of Nurse-Midwifery) suggests that eating too much protein can lead to low birth weight babies! The number to stay below for a singleton pregnancy is 150g/day. The recommended amount of protein for a twin pregnancy is 130g/day, so even moms with twins can eat the recommended amount without worry that they are getting too much! If you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet, please see the referenced books below for ways to substitute for meat/dairy/eggs on this diet. For more information, please read the following books: "What every pregnant woman should know" By Gail Brewer with Tom Brewer, MD "The Brewer Medical Diet for Normal and High Risk Pregnancy" by Gail Brewer with Tom Brewer, MD "Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet" by Michael Klapper Specific Diet Questions may be addressed to your local Bradley Teacher (call 1-800-4-A-BIRTH for a National Directory) or to the Brewer Prenatal Nutrition Hotline (603) 778-1476. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- What to Avoid Eating in Pregnancy: Here is a partial list of things that are not good for unborn babies (and often their mothers as well...) Soft Cheeses: Cheeses such as Feta and the soft Mexican cheeses should be avoided in pregnancy because they can carry the bacteria which causes Listeriosis - a serious infection that can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. Canned Fish: You should not eat canned fish more than 1-2 times a week because it can contain mercury and aluminum, which may harm the baby. Other Fish: You should pay careful attention to local warnings about fish in your area. I live in the San Fransisco Bay Area, and am always hearing that pregnant women should not eat fish caught in the Bay - due to pollution. Fish is a healthy food for pregnancy as long as it is not contaminated! Packaged/Junk Foods: These foods often have long lists of ingredients that the average person can't pronounce. We really don't know the effect that all those artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives might have on the unborn baby. Even if you aren't concerned about that, realize that the more "empty" calories you take in, the less room you have for foods with more nutritional value. If you must eat a candy bar, pick one with nuts for the protein! If you need a frozen sweet, pick frozen yogurt instead of a popcicle! (This is a very basic list that I will add to and others can send me things for!) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Iron: US RDA for pregnant women is 30-60mg/day Hematocrit: Should be upper 30s, and some say at least 40. 32-33 is definitely anemic! Iron suppliments can cause constipation or nausea, but taking them with meals can help. To build blood, enough protein, folic acid, and vitamin B12 are also needed. Iron is most easily absorbed when eaten with foods containing protein and vitamin C. Animal sources of iron are most easily absorbed - studies are unclear as to whether soy protein inhibits iron absorption. Take iron suppliments in several small doses, since one large dose is likely to be unabsorbed and unutilized! Iron gluconate is an organic source of iron - because it is not well absorbed, it is hard to overdose. Iron sulfate is man-made and better absorbed, so it is possible to take too much - this can be hard on the liver. One of the gentlest, most absorbable iron suppliments is Floradix liquid, available in most health food stores. It is expensive. A less expensive source of iron is Nettle Tea. Other options include spirulina and blue-green algae (chlorella). The chlorophyll molecule in plants is very similar to the heme molecule which carries iron in the blood. For more on this, see the posting below. The hematocrit naturally drops in pregnancy, particularly in the last months as the baby stores up iron to last it a few months in early infancy. During the first months of life, the baby receives very little iron from breastmilk, so the mechanism is a slow release of iron stored as a fetus. If your hematocrit is below 36 after birth, keep up any suppliments and iron rich foods for a few months to replenish your iron stores. From: Elizabeth Couch <kindredspirit@shop.medchem.purdue.edu> Subject: Re: Chlorophyll in Pregnancy??? >Just curious, why do you give chlorophyll in pregnancy? What is its >indication? This is the first time that I ever heard of this substance being >given to people to eat. I know that it is a substance found in plants and >algae and give them their green hue, but I didn't think that it was a >substance which promoted healthy pregnancy. > We use chlorophyll too. We use it prenatally to increase a low hemoglobin and promote the clotting factor. It is excellent for this purpose after a postpartum hemmorhage as well. We always tell clients that honestly we're not sure why it works. But chlorophyll has a similar chemical structure to that of hemoglobin. They are identical in chemical make-up except for the fact that chlorophyll has a molecule of magnesium at the center where hemoglobin has iron. As far as I know, no one knows why this substance helps a person build red blood cells. It seems that perhaps the body can easily convert it to hemoglobin. But when people take chlorophyll, their red blood count goes up. I haven't seen too many written references to the use of chlorophyll as an alternative to iron supplementation; however, Ina May Gaskin does mention it briefly in the newest edition of "Spiritual Midwifery." Anecdotally speaking I have a client right now who had two midtrimester miscarriages with her last two pregnancies after many term deliveries. She came to us for help, and upon checking her hemoglobin, found it to be around 8 (!!!) So we recommended 12 chlorophyll capsules, prenatal vitamins and additional folic acid, and liver once a week in addition to all the protein/dietary recommendations that have been discussed here lately. By her next visit her hemoglobin was close to 10 and has even increased a little throughout the process of expanding blood volume. I have been impressed with chlorophyll more than ever. Usually we recommend somewhere around 4-6 chlorophyll a day for a typical low hemoglobin. Some like to get on it toward the end of their pregnancy as a hemmorhage prevention, but we don't regularly recommend it for that purpose alone. My hemoglobin is OK (11.4 at 30 weeks), but I wouldn't mind it being a little higher, so I've been taking 2 a day. I have also heard of chlorophyll being used with very successful results for premenopausal women who are bleeding too heavily with their periods. I think the routine I heard discussed was taking 4-6 chlorophyll/day the week before an expected period; then 16, 12, 8, 4, 4, 4,... for each day of bleeding thereafter. My mother-in-law tried this after some some very discouraging times, hormonal treatments, etc. and was delighted to find that it worked. Why chlorophyll instead of iron? It seems to get better results and has the added benefit of being somewhat laxative instead of somewhat constipating. (Alfalfa is often used for this purpose as well.) If people think "iron supplement" they often buy ferrous sulfate which is poorly absorbed and very constipating. If you or your clients are taking chloropyll for the first time, you might be surprised by its other normal but kind of weird effect--it causes bright green stools. Chlorophyll is available as a liquid, in gel caps, or dried tablets. Liquid is probably best but some find the flavor and sight objectionable. (Some say drinking it in a cup with a lid helps.) Capsules seem to do just as good a job prenatally, but we carry the liquid in our birth bags for quick fluid replacement and clotting after a heavy bleed. Elizabeth Couch, Midwife