MS, RDN, CDN
Allison is a registered dietitian who holds a Master’s in Nutrition and Physical Fitness. She also loves helping families get creative with their wellness choices.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can be exhausting. It is hard work to grow a baby and then to nourish her. Sleep can be disrupted, and mom can be left feeling tired. Instead of looking for a quick boost from caffeine or sugar (which will be inevitably followed by an energy low), try some of these strategies. Make sure to eat three meals and two snacks throughout the day to get adequate nutrients and calories and to help keep your energy levels up. Going for long periods of time without eating or eating huge meals can leave you feeling tired.
Make sure to pay attention to the extra nutrients and
calories you need. In the first trimester, although you do not need extra
calories, you do need extra nutrients, so make sure you choose high quality
whole foods that provide vitamins and minerals and help keep your energy
throughout the day.
If you were at a healthy weight before pregnancy, you need
an extra 340 calories per day in the second trimester, an extra 450 calories
per day in the third trimester, and while breastfeeding, you need 450-500 extra
calories per day. Choosing healthy foods for your extra calories is critical to
supporting a healthy pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Make sure you are getting enough protein at each stage as it
is critical to your baby’s development. Choose lean sources of protein like
poultry, low mercury seafood (salmon, cod, shrimp), beans, and tofu.
Getting enough vitamin B6 among other B vitamins is also
important. B vitamins are involved in producing energy, so make sure to include
foods rich in B vitamins (whole grains, lean meats, fortified breakfast cereal,
Whole grains (which include the entire grain) contain fiber
and bran, which can help you feel satiated and energized longer as they help to
keep blood sugar stable.
Including healthy fats – such as olive and canola oils,
avocados, nuts, seeds, and low mercury fatty fish – can contribute to satiety.
Eating healthy unsaturated fats in place of sugar and refined carbohydrates can
improve lipid profiles and decrease risk of heart disease as well.
Finally, if your healthcare provider gives you the ‘okay’,
choosing pregnancy safe exercise can actually boost energy and leave you
Staying well-nourished while pregnant and breastfeeding is
vital because your body will prioritize the baby. This means that if you are
not taking in enough nutrients, your baby will use up what she needs and you,
momma, will be left depleted. So don’t be afraid to up your calorie count.
Increased caloric intake (as much as an additional mini meal of whole foods per
day) is key in maintaining your and your baby’s health and a healthy milk
supply for your little one when exclusively breastfeeding.
Selecting meals and snacks from the below listed options
will help you choose foods that will ensure you are getting enough to keep your
energy levels at their best, while fueling you and your baby.
*Pregnant women should eat no more than 6 ounces of high mercury fish per week
For more on this topic, check out the following articles:
Recipes & Meal Plans | Pregnant
Supplementing | Nutrition
Recipes & Meal Plans | Mama
Our Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook for Baby & Toddler is chock-full of yummy, easy-to-prepare meals your whole family will love.