Q & A: Pregnancy Care

My expanding tummy (about 38 weeks) with my daughter Elena.

I recently received the following question from a lady we will call, Tory.

“I just found out I’m pregnant with my third child. I would feel elated, and do, if I weren’t carry 70 extra pounds and am at the heaviest of my life. I feel a little drained and a little toxic, and need to treat myself and this child with a lot of love and care, especially in how I nourish us over the next 34 weeks. I was hoping you could help. If you had any recipes, food ideas, etc, that I could try to help my body sustain this pregnancy so that I could be as strong, healthy and vital as possible, I would surely appreciate it. “

Thanks so much for the question, first of all, Tory, because I believe that it is such an important one. And congratulations on your pregnancy! Pregnancy is such a special time, but I know from experience that it can be a draining time as well. Your body is doing an incredible work, so it’s no wonder that it needs a little special care.

As I have considered what advice I have to offer, I have thought of several things that I hope will be helpful for you. And everyone else, the comment section is open for sharing advice too!

Eliminate Stress

My first piece of advice is to watch your stress levels. You have two little ones (whom you love, but who have many needs), you are pregnant, and you are frustrated with your weight, all things that could lead to making you feel stressed out. Sometimes trying to eat as nourishing as possible can cause more stress as you worry about whether you are doing it right.

Stress uses important B vitamins (needed not only for you, but for your baby as well), it’s hard on your adrenals, which are already working hard during pregnancy, and leaves you without joy. Stress also makes you hold on to weight.

All to say, eliminating stress is the first step to having a nourished body. Here are three tips that may help you feel more peaceful.

Determine to do your very best, and not stress over what you can’t do. We all have limitations, we all can’t do everything. Do your best, but don’t stress about what you can’t do.

Take 20 minutes everyday to do something that rests you, whether it is taking a nap, reading a book, drinking a cup of tea, or taking a walk. If possible try to have those 20 minutes be “alone time”. If we live in a constant state of busyness, we will get fatigued and tired out. Take 20 minutes to relax. This isn’t a selfish act, because it helps us be better mothers if we have a little time to regroup ourselves.

And finally get your rest. Nothing makes me feel more tense than feeling over tired. And, besides, sleep is very important for you to get as a pregnant woman anyway.

Eat Nutrient Rich Food (eliminate nutrient light weights)

This is the step that will not only nourish you and your growing baby, but also make sure that any pregnancy weight you gain is healthy weight.
Examples of Nutrient Rich Food: bone broths (chicken,beef, fish), raw whole milk, raw cheeses,
dark green veggies, soaked and cooked legumes, nuts and seeds (soaked and dehydrated), high nutrient grains, like quinoa, grass fed butter (read my post on a few brands I like), and other healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, and tallow, and eggs, liver, grass fed beef and lamb, and cultured drinks and vegetables.

Examples of Nutritional Light Weights: All refined food, and an excessive amount of carbohydrates and sweeteners.

As a pregnant women you should make sure that you eat plenty of protein, and get plenty of healthy fats (which are crucial for the formation of your babies brain and for the absorption of vital nutrients). Coconut oil is an excellent fat that provides many benefits, while not making one gain weight.Butter is so important too. Nuts and olive oils should be consumed in moderation, if you are watching your weight, though they have many important advantages as well. Pumpkin seeds are a “superfood” which provide many needed nutrients and protein without a fattening effect (we love them once they are soaked and dehydrated, but find them not as tasty when raw). I find this guideline for pregnant and nursing mother’s very helpful. No, I have never come close to eating all of the “daily” food they recommend, but reading this guideline helped me set my goals a little higher.

Plan To Simplify Your Menu

My biggest suggestion for menu planning is to plan things simply. Let’s just say that how I was cooking for Joel and I when I was pregnant wouldn’t have supported a food blog. :-) I was also trying to concentrate on healing, nourishing food, so I found recipes what were simple to make, but nourishing as well and rotated them.

What My Dinner Menu Looked Like

First Meal: Roasted Chicken, with Carrot Salad, a green salad, and rice (with gravy from the chicken).

Second Meal: I would throw the bones of the roasted chicken in a pot with several raw chicken legs, carrots, celery, and onions, and a bit of apple cider vinegar and let it simmer for 24 hours. This broth would form the base of nourishing soup (served with bread or muffins and a green salad) for another meal.

Third Meal: A simple Italian Rice salad would be the main dish on another night, using rice, peas, grated carrots, scrambled eggs, and leftover chicken tossed with a dressing like my everyday salad dressing.

Fourth Meal: Another night would be a beef night. I would use high quality ground beef, and cook it up with either curry powder and onions, or rosemary and garlic, and eat it over rice (sometimes with soy sauce ) and veggies on the side. Other times I would make a simple beef stew.

The other nights were a little less consistent, but I wish I had included a fish night, as fish is so important for pregnant women (just make sure you use low mercury fish). A meal with chicken liver would have also been a wonderful addition, though my morning sickness would have prevented that from happening the first part of my pregnancy (I am still not serving it once a week, more like once a month!). I think we also had a pasta night using brown rice pasta (Trader Jo’s has the cheapest price I have found). My marinara sauce is very easy to make too (and I made it a lot!). Eggs and toast make a simple dinner when life is hectic. Crockpot Quinoa and Chicken is a cinch to make, as is Chicken Soba Noodle Soup.

For breakfast, Crockpot Breakfast Grains, is quite easy, as is this cream of wheat recipe. We also did a lot of smoothies, which you can easily make very nutrient dense. And eggs are always wonderful.

So that’s what worked for me during that time, but I am sure you will find recipes that please your own family as well.

Two more thoughts. If you have the freezer space, try to double up your recipes so you can freeze half of it for another night. You can also do this with baked goods. It’s only slightly harder to double a recipe, and you get twice the amount of food out of it. Oh, and if anyone ever offers to help with the cooking (friends, family, husband) take them up on it, and have them help you cook up a few freezer meals, or put together some pots of bone broth.

Another mom I know of will make large pots of soaked grains, and use it in a variety of ways throughout the week. This not only helps her save money (using the same grain helps her keep things simple), but time and energy as well.

In the end, don’t feel bad about keeping it simple, just try to find kid friendly food that is simple yet nourishing to make, and rotate them as needed.

Closing Thoughts

Get fresh air whenever possible (if the sun’s out try to get your vitamin D from it), take short walks (with your children in the stroller if need be), but don’t over do it. When I was pregnant, I took whole food supplements (which were more expensive, but you get what you pay for). Radiant Life is also selling a new vitamin B product that looks wonderful. You could ask your doctor or midwife about it.

Finally, enjoy this special time with your two other children, because, as you know, life will be even busier with another newborn in the house. Blessings on you, and your family and your newest one!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. FoodRenegade says

    This is all great advice. I would only add a gentle reminder that you’re not “eating for two,” particularly if you’re already carrying extra weight.

    If you find that you’re hungry and tired all the time,the key isn’t to eat *more* food, but to eat *wise* foods. Eating more “light-weight” foods only leads to unproductive weight gain that you’ll have to fight to get off.

    Blessings,
    KristenM

  2. Anonymous says

    Hi! I thought I would share a few thoughts on this too….
    I have 6 children ages 9 years – 6 months….and have had 2 miscarriages in there….I have learned a few things along the way…..it is so important to take good care of yourself and your unborn baby…
    I agree with everything Kimi said on her blog entry…..from the good vitamins/supplements, to the relaxing, to the healthy yet simple meals…..all of that is so very important…I would say the freezer meals are so helpful too….just to be able to pull out a healthy freezer meal and throw a salad together after a long day can be such a rich blessing…..I would also say stay away from sugars as much as you can during the pregnancy…One since you don’t want to gain extra weight but two b/c it will also make you more tired and it is overall not good for the baby…..
    Kimi has so many great recipes on her blog that you could use…that would be so great for you and baby……
    If you eat good foods you will gain what your body needs to gain each pregnancy. Of course one will gain more if they eat the wrong foods…..so just eat good and you will gain what you need to and when the pregnancy is over you can keep eating good foods and will loose the weight in the proper time….
    If healthy eating is new to you….I really recommend doing a search through Kimi's blog when time allows and read all the great info she had on there….a person can learn so much from everything on there..Kimi pours it out so great…..another great place is the book Nourishing Traditons that Kimi refers to so often….and the other book I would say is so great to learn from is “Real Foods” the only thing I don’t like about the book is the lady believes evolution things and I believe in creation…but other than that the book is so great….
    Above all enjoy this time of a sweet blessing from God growing in your belly….the time goes by so fast…..& is such a blessing from God….
    Blessings to you…
    Jessica O.

  3. Carrie T says

    Great tips, Kimi!

    I hope more pregnant women stumble upon your advice!

    The differences between my pre-NT and ana-NT pregnancies were remarkable. I can totally vouch for how amazingly different a pregancy can be when you do adapt the principles outlined here. It won’t guarentee a problem-free pregnancy, but can sure eliminate a lot of unnecessary weight gain and a host of other problems after the birth!

    Thanks for this post. Oh, BTW, for my next pregnancy I plan to buy some liverwurst from US Wellness meats and eat it when I can’t stomach liver in it’s unabridged form.

    I also made a delicious giblet gravy from my Thanksgiving Turkey and my kids and I eat that over veggies or meat and it’s amazing how much they love it. And it’s full of liver, heart, and broth!

    I’ll post how I did it soon on my blog.

    Thanks again!

  4. Kimi Harris says

    Kristen,

    Thanks for the comment. :-)

    It’s true that the saying “eating for two” can be misleading. I think that we need to think of eating more nutrient dense food (since we do have more nutritional needs) instead of eating more french bread (not that I would ever do that *ahem*). We only need around 300 more calories a day when pregnant, but our nutritional needs do increase, so it can be hard to get adequate nutrition while not adding in all the extra calories!

    Probably part of the reason that’s hard is because our food supply has been so weakened. :-(

    Jessica,

    Thanks for recommending NT and Real Food, I meant to and forgot too. Thanks. :-)

    Carrie,

    Great to hear from you! :-) And that’s a wonderful suggestion (buying the liverwurst). I will definitely be trying that myself. I will be watching for your post about the giblet gravy, I’ve always thought it was a good idea, but never got around to trying it myself, so I am thrilled that you had good success with it!

  5. Lisa says

    This post was a great read for me tonight. I’m 26 weeks pregnant and have been so depressed and am gaining WAY too much weight. I’m easily over 30 lbs already. I feel like I’m eating fairly well and just don’t understand why I’m gaining 2 lbs a week! I just wish someone would offer to cook for me – what a blessing that would be! Anyhow, I’m going to look into the cod liver oil at least – I started this pregnancy breastfeeding and have since weaned, but I’m sure I could use it. Thanks :)

  6. Mark'sMeg says

    I’ve been trying to take cod liver oil (I’m 33 weeks pregnant) and I wondered if it was ok to put it in my hot tea in the morning. Mine is lemon flavored, which is good in the tea, but I wasn’t sure if I would lose any vitamins since the tea is so hot.
    Thanks,
    Meg

  7. Kimi Harris says

    Lisa,

    If it’s any comfort, I gained over 40 pounds with my first pregnancy, but was able to successfully lose the majority of it afterwards (I was pretty underweight before I got pregnant, so we didn’t want me to get so skinny again. :-)).

    Sometimes, those who gain weight easily during pregnancy do lose it easily afterwards (obviously not always true, but has been for some of us).

    But I wish I could have a cook for me too, when pregnant. LOL.

  8. Kimi Harris says

    Meg,
    I am pretty sure that most all cod liver oil is heat treated at some point anyway, so it should be pretty safe to do, especially if you add it after the tea has been seeping (and cooling) for a few minutes :-)

  9. Spencer Andersen says

    Wow, nothing brings warmth to my heart like the nurturing capacities of a woman! I may be out of place in this blog but I too researched this as my son and daughter were in conception, unfortunatly there mother dosen't beilive in much other than standard western ideas and became impatint with my thinking "outside the box" So I supported best I could, you have to chose your battles right. I have great respect for you special women who read between the lines.
    That aside, Sapoty Brook has something called th CaPNaK chart which gives the mineral breakdown IN THE BLOOD of many foods. Calcium balances against phosphorous, sodium against potasium. Bone and teeth are composed of calcium phosphate a living compound resembling diamond in structure. You need a 1:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorous to produce this, additionally to absorb cacium properly magnesium and manganese are needed. Spinach is the best source for all three of these minerals. A healthy body full of good bacteria can transmutate silicon into calcium as weel.
    Meat nuts and grains are phosphorous dominant foods, when over consumed they leach calcium from the body, hence the advent of the dairy industry for western high meat/grain consumption, pasturized dairy is toxic and a bad souce of calcium though. Raw cheese is yumi good;) I don't really think anyone in the us can not get enough phosphorus from their diet so here are some potent calcium souces I haven't mentioned-sea veggies-dandelion green-beet green-wetercress-raw olive-collard-sum choy-parsely-lettuce-mustard green-orange(seeded) is highest of fruits other than olives. Wheew! Still with me?
    Protien misconceptions-Imagine a newborn doubling its size in a few months on breast milk, that milk is only on average 2% protein! It's a fat dominent food!
    Protein theory states you need flesh protein to build flesh protein, but a gorilla eats 80% greens and sustains 400+ pound muscular body with a similar diegestive system to ours. Meats are very acid forming and hard to digest so be sure to eat greens/cultured veggies with meats to balance acidity and help convert amino acids.
    Some good protein sources(other than meat) Hemp seed(only seed free of enzyme inhibitors, contains edestin mabey most bio- available form of protein. also contains youthening sulfur bearing amino acids and unique array of minerals) Spirulina (contains complete amino acids-highest concentration of protein on earth-100 gams of spirulina has 60 grams of protein! Many others(sorry running out of steam!)
    Minerals are essential for burning fat, without enough minerals your body stores fat instead of burning it for energy. Best source of minerals are raw greens and sea veggies though sprouted grains are great too, but acid forming.
    Wow! I'm really rambling:) I guess all I could have really added to what KImi said is juice 2lbs of greens a day and eat lots of sea veggies such os kelp(kombu), dulse ect. I cook sea veggies into my sprouted grains to boost the minerals already there.
    Berries are soo awesome too! They can be used to treat depression and boost mood and energy. Make some of Kimi's smoothies!
    I highly reccommend David Wolfe's sunfoods success system, don't be turned off by the fact he is raw vegan as that is not a lifesyle for everyone, but the info he's compiled is substantial and he's done his homework.
    Hope I added something good to another great post by Kimi!
    And thanks to all the dedicated mothers out their, your patience and determination shapes the world in ways men only strive for.
    Without your soothing waters the fire of men would burn the world up! Much respect<3

  10. annie says

    Thank you for this! I am almost 20 weeks along with our second child and our family is just beginning to not only re-evaluate our eating habits and intake but to actually change them. We haven’t gotten very far along but we are making some progress. :) I so appreciate your blog and posts like this with practical help and insights.

    I had a quick question about the coconut oil. We’ve been contemplating ordering some but haven’t made the investment yet. I read somewhere (maybe here?) that if you aren’t used to it, coconut oil can cause your body to go into a sort of detox. Since I’m pregnant, that’s not so good. How would I work the oil into our diet wthout overdoing it? It seems the smallest trace of something new has big effects on my pregnant body.

    Thanks!

  11. Kimi Harris says

    Hey Spencer,

    What GREAT info. Thank you for so graciously giving your input, as I think that it was very helpful. It was so nicely said, too. :-)

    I would love to hear some more ideas about how to eat sea vegetables, because I am trying to add more in to my diet. Any more ideas for me?

    Hey Annie,

    Thanks for the comment! It is definitely a process changing to more nourishing ways of living, so it’s okay to take it step by step (that’s how I did it! And I was pregnant for a lot of it too.).

    That’s a great question about the coconut oil. It is true that it could make you detox if you take too much, it doesn’t usually happen ( it didn’t to anyone in my family or any of my friends), but I do know of a few people (from online friends) who started feeling the effects of detoxing after adding it in. I would just start really small, 1/2-1 teaspoon per day to get your body used to it. My feeling is that you should be fine, as long as you don’t suddenly add a large amount in. :-)

  12. Caitlin says

    Hi Kimi,

    I have read in Nourishing Traditions that prenatal vitamins arent highly recommended due to synthetic vitamin A found in most prenatal vitamins. I however would still like to take one for the folic acid, iron and other vitamins that I usually lack after looking at blood test. I was wondering if you used one while pregnant and if you had any brand recommendations for one. Thanks so much!

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