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The Truth About Your Diet During Pregnancy

You might think that being pregnant gives you a "Get out of Jail Free" card when it comes to how much you can eat. Here is the truth!

One of the assumptions I made about pregnancy prior to becoming pregnant is I’d have a diet-related Get out of Jail Free card.  I knew that there are certain foods it’s best to avoid, but I thought at least I’d have a free pass to eat, well, not quite as much as I wanted, but to feel a bit more guilt-free about evening ice cream binges.

That turned out not to be the case at all.  First off, the whole “eating for two” thing isn’t true.  At most, you should eat for one and a quarter.  In addition to that, I’ve never had my health, including my diet, so scrutinized as it’s been since I got pregnant.  Part of that is just the plethora of doctor visits: one a month until 30 weeks, then once every two weeks, then once weekly as the due date approaches.  I’ve maintained a more or less low risk pregnancy the whole time, so my experiences are probably closer to the norm or average; women with higher risk pregnancies are sure to find their health and diets scrutinized even further.

There’s the glucose test.  There’s the frequent diagnosis of anemia (common because the baby is sucking out all of our iron in preparation for needing its own).  There are the weight-takings and stomach-measurings that take place at every appointment, and the not unheard of scoldings for gaining too much weight (something I’ve thankfully managed to avoid, so far).

Depending on your doctor/the type of pregnancy professionals with whom you’ve surrounded yourself, you might find this scrutiny on your weight and diet to be even stronger.  Because I’ve selected midwives and doulas, taken a yoga class taught by my doula, and taken a natural childbirth class, there’s been a strong emphasis on being in shape while being pregnant.

“Labor is like running a marathon” is a mantra I’ve heard several times.  Everyone around me is dedicated to trying to whip me into the best shape possible for labor.  Not because it’ll be impossible to do without it, but because the best chance I have of doing it without drugs is to be in good shape, to have upped my strength and endurance.

Diet plays a big role in that.  My doula teased me when I revealed my fast food cravings – something that lasted a good month or two but went away after that – to her.  “Brooke’s going to yell at you,” she said, something that ended up not happening, because generally I eat healthy.

But the third trimester has been tough.  After finding out I’m anemic, I heard all about red meats and leafy greens.  Then, despite passing my glucose test, I was told I was a “high positive” and needed to focus on protein and veggies.  Watching refined sugars: easy.  Cutting down on carbs: no big deal.  But fruit counting toward these sugar and carbs points?  It’s summer, and thus fresh fruit and pie season: stick a knife in my gut, why don’t you?

Lately all I’ve wanted to do is bake.  I don’t know if this is some bizarre form of nesting or what, but it’s been a struggle dealing with that and watching my diet.  All of my friends are being gifted with pies and other baked goods.

Is it all as bad as it seems sometimes, when all I ever want to do is bake pie?  No.  But my dreams of getting to indulge as much as I want while pregnant: chalk those up to another common pregnancy misconception.


*(The above image by adamr is from freedigitalphotos.net)..