Jewish Nutrition

The Jewish site for Kosher Food and Healthy Eating

Preparing for Pregnancy

The most important thing to remember when preparing your body for pregnancy is to make every bite count.  During your pregnancy you will have a greatly increased need for calories, protein, and many vitamins and minerals, especially Calcium, Magnesium and Iron.  This is period that will make demands on your body, with preference given to the baby rather than to you. For now you have no special need for extra calories so you should  find ways of getting all the nutrients you need in a compact way.  Here's how.. 

  • Avoid white sugar and white flour.  These are actually 'negative calories'.  They use up nutrients in the process of assimilating the food without giving any back.
  • Get adequate protein, focusing on fish, eggs and some meat and poultry.  Legumes combined with wholegrains can also be a source.
  • Eat wholegrains and plenty of vegetables
  • Eat at least one serving of a green leafy vegetable and one of an orange vegetable each day.
  • Avoid refined oils and margerine (these can be hidden in other foods), instead use olive oil or butter
  • Use soy products with caution.  They mimick estrogen.
  • Don't yoyo diet
  • Supplement your diet with a good quality multi vitamin and mineral (this should include folic acid), extra calcium and magnesium and omega 3 fish oil.

It is also most important (and much easier) to address any health issues or concerns now - however big or small.  This is not only because you will have more constraints later on, but doing this can save you from many of the 'symptoms' normally associated with pregnancy.  Now is the ideal time to make positive changes.  

Pregnancy and Beyond

The key to a healthy pregnancy for both mother and child is to eat well.  You will need about 3-400 extra calories a day during pregnancy and another 2-500 during lactation. This is not the time for dieting nor any vigorous cleansing.  Eating high quality food and nursing your baby will support the health of your child throughout their life.  Follow the advice given in the previous article for preparing for pregnancy.  Focus on getting calcium and magnesium, iron, zinc, folic acid, omega 3 fatty acids and enough protein.  The following are a list of nutrient-rich foods to include in your diet:

Eggs, fish, poultry, organ meats (in small amounts), goat's milk and yoghurt, yoghurt, red meats, nuts and seeds, wholegrains, leafy green vegetables, orange/red/yellow vegetables, seaweeds, techina, molasses.

 I can not stress enough the importance of nursing your baby, especially as there are really no healthy alternatives unless you make your own formula.  Formula based on cows milk has been linked to juvenille diabetes and babies fed soy-based formula have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood than babies fed milk-based formula.  As a plus nursing will help you to get your figure back after the birth.  Use the services of a lactation consultant to avoid complications.  Nursing is not always easy but it is always worth it.