The best nutritional program available to pregnant women today was developed by Dr. Tom Brewer who was an Obstetrician (OB) wanting to know how to best feed the pregnant female. He did his research and put together a nutritional program that many OBs refer to simply as "the Brewer Diet". Unfortunately, most OBs don't tell a woman about this diet unless she is showing signs of toxemia (a.k.a. pre-eclampsia), hypertension or gestational diabetes - all conditions that might be avoided if she were eating a well-balanced diet made up of whole food sources.
This nutritional program was not based on much scientific evidence because, at the time, there wasn't much. To see the data Dr. Brewer pulled from when defining the right amount of protein to be eaten, click here.
The basics of the nutritional program is this:
To assess your nutrition during pregnancy, you may complete this Nutrition Profile. The pregnant woman should never go longer than 2 hours between meals and can feel good about grazing all day long - as long as her grazing is done on highly nutritious foods. What she eats DOES matter because it will either help or hinder the growth and development of her baby. Highly nutritious foods will grow her baby while adding few fat stores to her body BUT foods that contain little to no nutritional value will add a lot of fat stores to her body and little growth to her baby. To download a weekly nutrition & exercise tracking form, click here.
NOTE: Vitamin supplements are in routine use in prenatal care but they do not take the place of a sound, balanced diet of nutritious foods.
My personal recommendation is for everyone to feed their bodies the vital nutrients as they are found in whole food sources because these sources contain ALL the vital nutrients in precise amounts and work synergistically together. Synthetic replications have never been proven to be 100% beneficial nor without risk. I do, however, understand that some may feel better adding a vitamin/mineral supplement to the daily routine. If this is something you choose to do, please be very picky.
You may also want to search for supplements that are considered to be or that include Whole Food supplements. These supplements undergo a special process which leaves behind the phyto-nutrients of the plants. These phyto-nutrients provide whole food nutrition to every cell of the body just as if one had eaten the actual food item.
Omega 3 Oil – will provide your body much needed benefits contained in fish without the level of heavy metal poisons that may be found in the actual fish. Look for brands that can certify they are organic or that the oil is coming from mercury free sources. You may also want to search for a product whose gel capsule has been designed to stay in tact until it reaches the intestine. This will reduce the very undesirable fishy burps that cause so many people to stop taking this wonderful supplement. I do highly recommend the Omega Blue brand made by Young Living Essential Oils.
Vitamin C – around 3000mg daily will help increase the skins elasticity to reduce stretch marks as well as to reduce tearing the perineum during second stage. Vitamin C may also reduce blood pressure as well. Emergen-C is a great way of adding this vital nutrient to your daily routine. (If you experience diarrhea, reduce your intake as this indicates vitamin C toxicity.)
Vitamin D3 – it has been suggested that pregnant women take 5000mg daily and increase to 6400mg daily during lactation.
Probiotics – taken daily may help to reduce the likelihood of testing positive for group B Strep as well as many other infections that might be present in the vagina. Probiotics are found in yogurt with organic varieties being the best for you. Probiotics are also found in whole food supplements like JuicePlus+ and Nuriche and can be purchased by themselves at health food stores. Probiotics will be located on a shelf as well as in a refrigerated section. Not all probiotics are equal. Some may not make it past your acidic stomach others may contain bacteria strains that actually compete with each other. Do some research to determine which one will be best for you and your situation. You want a product that will increase the population of good bacteria found in your gut and throughout your entire body.
You might also think about cleansing the vaginal area. This can be done in the following way:
"an infusion of two tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide (once daily for one week) kills bacterial vaginosis (BV) and anaerobes, restores normal flora, and helps lactobacilli colonize. It cures even resistant BV! This treatment seems unlikely to be harmful during pregnancy."
Following this treatment with vaginal treatments of plain, organic yogurt or keifer may restore the healthy flora. The yogurt or keifer would be placed vaginally using a 10-ml syringe daily for 7-days just before going to bed - you may want to wear a sanitary napkin just in case.