Real food for Pregnancy is a MUST-READ for every pregnant person! It’s something to be kept at the bedside throughout your entire pregnancy and beyond.
It has well-researched information regarding dietary recommendations, nutrient needs and countless other tips that I haven’t found collected together anywhere else.
Most importantly, for me, it explains WHY all these recommendations are being made, and WHY we need certain nutrients during this time. This method of presentation improves my motivation to actually make and maintain dietary changes, because I now understand how important they are for fetal growth and maternal health.
It also has a very helpful section on postpartum recovery. The dietary tips all apply to maximizing fertility as well, so this book is all-encompassing regarding the many phases of childbearing.
The author, Lily Nichols, is a registered dietician who focuses on women’s health, particularly during pregnancy and postpartum. She is a realist, but she is not dogmatic and recognizes that research and evidence shift over time as we learn more. She gives the straight facts- backed by evidence- but delivers them in a way that is digestible and non-judgmental. I appreciate her writing and her approach.
Better than diving into the nuances of the topics, I want to let her words speak for themselves. BUY this book- It will change your pregnancy and improve the health of your baby (and your own as well!)
Below are the tidbits from this book that I found most helpful, or that stuck out to me the most (these are direct quotes unless otherwise specified). This is not exhaustive, though, so still buy the book!
Being careful and proactive during these early months, by allowing your body to heal on its own timeline, can prevent problems decades from now. p. 246
Engaging in high impact activity that puts excessive pressure on your pelvic floor too soon in your recovery is a recipe for incontinence or prolapse. p. 244
Cortisol crosses the placenta and women who are overly stressed tend to have high cortisol in their amniotic fluid… [this is] predictive of several infant outcomes, including low birthweight and both infant fear and distress at 3 months of age. p.211
Lack of nausea or morning sickness in the first trimester can be a sign of underactive thyroid and/ or iodine deficiency. p. 168
If you have a history of miscarriage, it’s very important to have your thyroid checked. p.167
Breastfeeding mothers need a minimum of 6,400 IU of vitamin D per day to provide adequate vitamin D for baby (if your baby is exclusively breastfed). p.165
A low salt diet is not a good idea while pregnant, and could be even worse for women who have preeclampsia. p.134
- Ice- iron
- Sushi- iodine or omega 3s
- Dairy- iodine
- Salt- minerals/electrolytes
One side effect of magnesium deficiency is nausea, and anecdotally some women have noticed less morning sickness when supplementing with magnesium or when eating more magnesium-rich foods. p.105
If you compare nutrient levels in grains to that of other Whole Foods, like seafood, meat, and vegetables, it becomes clear that grains are far less nutritious than we have been led to believe. p. 67
In Japan, consumption of raw fish is not only common during pregnancy, but encouraged for optimal fetal development. It is also condoned by the British National Health Service. p. 58
The most commonly discussed carotenoid, beta carotene, is up to 28 times less potent than retinol. p.35
Plant proteins contain zero vitamin B12. p.16
(Not a direct quote) Glycine is an amino acid that is conditionally essential during pregnancy, due to its vital function in healthy fetal growth. It is involved in formation of DNA, organs, connective tissue, bones, blood vessels, skin, joints, placenta, and uterine and skin support for mama. The sources of glycine are animal based. p. 13 (bone broth and slow cooked cuts are best).
Lily Nichols also wrote a book on Real Food for Gestational Diabetes