A baby bump…

No not me, no baby bumps here, but it does seem everywhere I turn, there is a baby bump to follow. My sister, my sister-in-law (to-be), my fellow foodie blogger friend Lindsey M., my esthetician, and right now as I write this post the woman sitting to my left at Muddy’s Coffee House, all carry the bump. I’m haunted by it. So rather than running and hiding – with my legs tightly shut now that the pill and I have parted ways – I’ve decided to devote today’s post to the special ladies in my life, their health, and the blessing that resides within the bump.

Pregnancy, although its many joys, can be a difficult time for many women. The changing hormones and body shape, the constant nausea, the anxiety, and the weight gain can all be a lot to handle, especially for first time mothers whose pregnancy is not ideal. But through it all, they fight through the hardships knowing what awaits them after 9 months. Today I will focus on nutrition and exercise for a healthy pregnancy in hopes to make the 9 months as joyous as can be.

In the first trimester, nothing really should change for your diet as far as amount goes. The mistake so many women (and some doctors) of “eating for two” can cause undue stress on not only the mother, but the growing baby as well. The truth is pregnant woman need to provide the best possible nutrients for two individuals. This doesn’t necessarily mean increasing the amount of food to provide more for the baby, it means eating the right amount and the right kinds. After all, baby gets all its nutrients from mommy, so a properly balanced diet is essential.

The average female needs 2100 calories per day. A pregnant woman needs an average of 2500 calories per day.  Only 100 more calories per day should be added during the first trimester. This is followed by roughly 300 calories more per day during the second and third trimester.  And weight gain will vary for each woman, but on average 25 lbs is a healthy amount gained during the entire pregnancy.

Pregnant woman should focus on consuming:

  • 4 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day – compared to the 3 – 5 servings
  • 6 – 11 servings of whole grains
  • 3 – 4 serving of  healthy fats – compared to the 1 – 3 servings
  • 3 or more servings of healthy proteins – compared to the 2 – 3 servings
  • plenty of water – it is recommended to drink your weight in ounces

*I need to note, a woman can have a very healthy pregnancy on a vegan diet. It may require a little more work and creativity, but it very possibly can be done.

As I previously stated, during pregnancy more important than how much you eat, is what you eat. Now more than ever a woman needs to intake vitamins and minerals, protein and healthy fats. Most importantly:

  • Folate and Iron intake to prevent anemia, neural tube defects, and other congenital malformations  – best food sources are dark leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits and fruit juices, dried beans and peas, poultry, grain products and Blackstrap molasses
  • Calcium and Vitamin D intake to support proper growth of the embryo – dark leafy green vegetables, oranges, sun light exposure, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds, rice and soy are all excellent sources.

Of course all vitamins and mineral are important, but these few are particularly significant for a healthy pregnancy.

There are a few things that should be avoided during pregnancy. The first obvious one is of course alcohol and smoking. The next few not so obvious are some teas due to the herbs and level of caffeine may be unsafe. Citrus, lemon peel, ginger, and orange peel are safe but chamomile and some other are not. Avoid fish and seafood during pregnancy due to possible levels of mercury and other harmful residue that may be in it. And on that should be obvious but is not because it is unsafe for anyone, pregnant or not, is artificial sweeteners – yes, even Splenda. There is nothing natural about something artificial. It is better to eat a small amount of real organic turbinado sugar than some factor made synthetic concoction.

As far as exercise for a healthy pregnancy, now it not the time to start training for that half marathon you have always wanted to do, or even start-up running if you never had before. It is a great time to be physically active and be a running, bicyclist, yogi, etc., if you were one before pregnancy. But by chance you were not a frequent gym visitor, speak with your OB/GYN before starting anything new, but do know it is perfectly safe to exercise during pregnancy so long you are maintaining a healthy balance of calories in and calories out.

For now, I’ll just be the one to do the research and reporting to those who carry the bump. But for those of you mothers and mothers-to-be, if you have any suggestions or advice for others bumps out there please leave a little comment for us all to learn from.

AND – A special Congratulations to Kayla for being the first winner of the first Soul Searching Vegan Give-Away! Kayla wrote:

So I had never tried yoga until I started reading your blog. I would do Pilates, but just had never tried yoga. I found a free podcast for beginners and have been doing it every day for the past 2 1/2 weeks. I LOVE it! I am not very good at it yet, but I already feel a peace and a connection between mind and body. It is AMAZING! Thank you so much for inspiring me! Oh and my favorite pose as of right now is the sun salutation. .

**I made the green goddess drink yesterday and it was so good! I was a little worried since I have never tried kale, but I loved it!

Kayla, email me with your T-shirt size and color preference at chelsea@soulsearchingvegan.com and I’ll get your goodies out to you in the mail as soon as possible. You’re an inspiration to us all, keep it up! 🙂

– Thank you everyone for such great responses to yesterday’s post yoga! I loved reading all of your comments!



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