Joyous Blog

12 Powerfoods for a Healthy Pregnancy

Mar 20, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant or you already are pregnant, CONGRATS! This is a very exciting time in your life!! I loved being pregnant. It was such a joyous time because seeing my body change daily was truly a miracle.

You may find you are more concerned about what you are eating during pregnancy, and this is a good thing.

Healthy eating during pregnancy is one of the best things a mama-to-be can do for herself and her baby. The food you eat and the supplements you take are your baby's only source of nutrition. Good nutrition promotes your baby's growth and development.

There are no negative side effects to eating well :)

In this video, I share 12 pregnancy power foods that I recommend you eat regularly. Be sure to check out the summary of these foods below, because I've included plenty of recipe ideas for you too.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

  • Excellent sources of fiber. You need fiber for healthy digestion and easy bowel movements to reduce constipation and hemorrhoids.
  • Their phytonutrients support healthy estrogen metabolism by assisting liver detoxification (hormonal balance is key when trying to get pregnant and while pregnant).
  • Source of calcium, which is important for bone and tooth development.

Try my Curry Quinoa Cauliflower Stew or this Roasted Cauliflower Salad.

Chia Seeds

  • Excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and super high in fiber.
  • Great for "chia poops" by easing the passage of poop through your colon.
  • Rich in protein, which is a building block of your body’s cells and of your baby’s body as well. Eating adequate amounts of protein prevents you from turning into a carb monster, too!

Try my Chocolate Chia Granola or these Rosemary Buckwheat Chia Crackers.

Blueberries

  • Very rich in antioxidants, which are important during pregnancy because they reduce oxidative stress. Keeping stress low and eating antioxidant-rich foods positively affect baby's health later in life.
  • Blueberries are perfect to munch on when you are craving something sweet. Fruits like blueberries provide the body with a slow release of glucose because they contain fiber, unlike candies, cookies and pastries, which spike your blood sugar and make you crave MORE sweets.

Try my Blueberry Bliss Smoothie Bowl or these Gluten-free Vegan Blueberry Oat Pancakes.

Dates and Prunes

  • Both are very rich in fiber, which helps eliminate waste through the digestive system. A higher intake of fiber can help prevent the glucose intolerance that can lead to gestational diabetes.
  • Rich in minerals like potassium and magnesium. Potassium’s main role is maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in your body’s cells. Since your blood volume expands by up to 50% during pregnancy, you’ll need slightly more electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride, working together) to keep the extra fluid in the right chemical balance.

Try soaking some prunes in water to re-hydrate them and then pop them in your blender or food processor and then whip them into a puree.

Kale - Queen of the Greens!

  • All greens are a source of folate, which is a pregnancy power nutrient. It is essential for development of baby’s neural tube (which develops into the brain and spinal cord). It plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and may reduce the risk of pregnancy complications.
  • Rich source of digestive-friendly fiber.
  • Very high in antioxidants to help reduce the negative effects of stress on your body and your baby.

Try it chilled in my Chopped Kale & Beet Salad or warm and comforting in my Warm Beet & Kale Bowl or my Kale Salad with Creamy Dressing.

Avocado - a fruit!

  • A total superfood! Avocados are a fantastic source of good fat that keeps you satisfied and balances blood sugar.
  • Great source pregnancy power nutrients, including vitamin B5 – which is important for adrenal health (stress management) – folate, calcium and potassium.

Try my Key Lime Avocado Tart – a great way to smash a sweet craving!

Lentils

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein and rich in fiber.
  • Lentils are high in iron. Iron is a pregnancy power nutrient and you need about twice as much iron as you did before you were expecting because your body uses iron to make extra blood for your baby.

Try my Curry Lentil Quinoa Soup, it's an oldie but a goodie!

Oats

  • Very rich in fiber and very blood sugar balancing, good source of iron.
  • It's no secret that pregnancy can take a toll on your energy levels. Oats are a great food for energy because they are rich source of complex carbohydrates.

Try my Chewy Chocolate Chip Tahini cookies.

Pumpkin Seeds

  • A rich source of many pregnancy power nutrients, including B vitamins (especially folate), calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and more!
  • B vitamins are important for energy production. You need more energy than ever when you are pregnant, so having a handful of pumpkin seeds keeps energy levels up!
  • Good source of protein and healthy fat.

Try them in my Comforting Cranberry Ginger Granola.

Fermented Foods

  • Next to fatigue, the most common complaint of pregnant women is digestive problems. Even if you're not yet pregnant, fermented foods are beneficial for digestive health because they encourage a healthy microbiome.
  • They feed the good bacteria through their prebiotic action. A healthy gut flora is essential for a healthy immune system. This is important during pregnancy so you can avoid getting a cold or flu. Pregnancy can definitely take a toll on your immune system, so keep it strong and you will avoid any sickness

Check out more fermented foods here.

Last but certainly not least!

One of the most common questions I get asked as a mama and a nutritionist is what prenatal I'm taking? The answer is New Chapter's Perfect Prenatal. I love it because it doesn't bother my tummy and I get NO multi-vitamin-burps whatsoever.

Pregnant tummies are super sensitive because digestion is slowed down, so it only makes sense that your multi is easy on your tummy too. New Chapter's prenatal is fermented, which is why it is so easy to digest. This also means more nutrients are getting to where they need to go! Foods that are fermented are much easier to digest. Think of them almost like a predigested food where the nutrients are amplified. This prenatal is made with organic fruits, vegetables and herbs,  including many of the foods I mentioned in my video! It is important to choose more organic foods while pregnant or if you are considering becoming pregnant to avoid hormone-disrupting pesticides.

Wishing you a joyous pregnancy and beyond!

Ps. Check out my latest ebook: FEEL JOYOUS LOOK GREAT after pregnancy and beyond!

This post was created in partnership with New Chapter, however all opinions are always my own.

Read more about partnership ethos here.

Mar 20, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy
31 Comments
Earth Is Magical   •   March 21, 2016

Thank you for sharing this gift with us! I definitely agree that dates can be so beneficial during pregnancy! Have a truly happy day. :)

Reply
Heather Allen   •   March 21, 2016

Thank you so much for your kind words :) Have a wonderful day! Heather- Joyous Health Team


Joanna   •   March 21, 2016

The above multi contains gluten. Do you have a reco for those of us who are gluten free?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   March 21, 2016

Hi Joanna! It actually contains less than 20ppm which is considered Gluten-free by the GF association, however Health Canada changed its GF regulations which is why it does not state "gluten-free". In the U.S. it is labelled as gluten-free and it's the exact same formulation. That's the long answer, so the short answer is it is safe to take if you are avoiding gluten.


Mom-to-be   •   March 21, 2016

Great video! Is cacao powder safe to eat while pregnant (due to the caffeine it contains)?

Reply
Heather Allen   •   March 21, 2016

Hi Stephanie! Great question. I would recommend enjoying it in moderation unless you are really sensitive to caffeine, in which case, I would avoid it entirely. Alternatively, you could use Carob powder for a chocolatey flavour without the caffeine! Congratulations!!! Heather- The Joyous Health team


Monica   •   March 21, 2016

Hi Joh, I was wondering if the multi vitamin has folate or folic acid in it? I have been reading a lot about the difference between the two and want to be sure I am taking a vitamin with folate. What are your thoughts? Thanks:)

Reply
Heather Allen   •   March 23, 2016

Hi Monica! Great question.The prenatal does contain folate. The original ingredient is folic acid but the fermentation process biotransforms it into folate. Sounds strange but the fermentation process makes it a completely different molecule. I hope that helps! Heather- Joyous health Team


Kim   •   March 21, 2016

Hi joy soapy happy you are posting about mommyhood! I am 6 months pregnant with my second and feeling good. With the lead issues in the news these days clean water is on my mind. I use Brita but need to make the switch. There doesn't seem to be any consensus on "the best" filtration systems. I notice you had a Santevia pitcher on your counter. My ND also likes this brand. Does it bother you that it doesn't filter fluoride or that it sits in plastic? In the past I know you enjoyed cedar springs. I'm interested in both brands and would love to hear you talk about water. If there are any home testing kits you are aware of that would also be awesome to know. Thanks for your time in answering!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   March 22, 2016

Hi Kim! Good memory, I had Cedar Springs in my old office space because I did not trust that a water filter will get all the impurities out. The building I was in at the time was very very old so who knows what the water pipes were made of! I like the Santevia jug for now, but I am currently investigating a water filtration system to go under the sink in my home. I haven't found one that meets all my criteria yet and doesn't cost an arm and a leg! The Santevia jug is BPA free and we drink so much water that it barely sits in the plastic anyhow. Hope that helps!


Caitlin   •   March 22, 2016

This prenatal sounds great, however I have been taking Genestra's Pregna Vite and wondering if this is OK as well, or should I switch? Thanks for the info, I love your videos, they are so informative!

Reply
Heather Allen   •   March 22, 2016

Hi Caitlin! Genestra makes great products as well. We're a little partial to New Chapters Prenatal at Joyous health because it is sourced from whole foods (which if you can't already tell, we really we love food) and because it's fermented for optimal bioavailability. I hope that helps! Heather- Joyous Health Team


Melissa   •   March 30, 2016

I love the info you have provided :) thanks so much! I noticed that Wholemega recommends taking 4 capsules daily! Do I really need to take 4 every day ?

Reply
Heather Allen   •   April 1, 2016

Thanks for your kind words!Depending on your health status and diet, you could require more or less but this is their daily recommendation for the average person. I hope that helps :) Heather- Joyous Health Team


Eve   •   April 5, 2016

Thank you for this wonderful information! I can't get enough of this site! I was wandering if these power foods would assist in the conception stage of having a baby? I have a friend on IVF and I would like to forward her this list. Thank you!

Reply
Heather Allen   •   April 5, 2016

Absolutely! These foods would be wonderful to add to her diet. Thanks for your kind words :) Heather- Joyous Health Team


Valerie Belair   •   April 20, 2016

Hi Joy, What would you recommend for a breastfeeding mama? My baby is 1 year and 1 month and I breastfeed in the morning and 1 or twice in the afternoon and evening. I stopped taking my Usana multivitamin a month ago during my pre-wedding detox. I had been taking it for 2 years but It was making my urine bright yellow and I felt like my body wasn't absorbing well and like it was TOO much vitamins. I eat organic 90% of the time. I am also having alot of trouble putting muscle on. I used to weight 117 lbs before my pregnancy and I've been down to 105 lbs for a few months. I follow your recipes and eat clean but I am wondering if you have any advice for me. THANKS! :)

Reply
Valerie Belair   •   April 20, 2016

Could I simply take the Greens + O since it's gluten free and soy free? I am intolerant to the common allergens. Are the herbs ok while breastfeeding? Thanks again.

Heather Allen   •   April 20, 2016

Hi Valerie! The New Chapters Prenatal would be a good alternative to your multivitamin as the nutrients are coming from whole foods which are much more bio-available in the body. While breastfeeding, be sure that you are eating enough and getting adequate protein & healthy fats. You may want to increase your caloric intake slightly, but always listen to your body and don't eat more than you feel you need. Perhaps some snacks throughout the day would be a good place to start. Here's some snack inspiration for you: http://www.joyoushealth.com/blog/2016/02/01/best-ever-lactation-cookies/ I hope that helps and congrats on your little ones! Heather- Joyous Health team


hanna81   •   May 13, 2016

Hi Joy! where can I purchase New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal ? I am located in southern California

Reply
Heather Allen   •   May 13, 2016

Hi Hanna! Most health food stores will carry it (Whole Foods market does if that's available to you). You can also check out the store locator on New Chapter's website which may be helpful: http://www.newchapter.com/buy-now Heather- Joyous Health team


Mom-in-training   •   May 23, 2016

Hello, Do you recommend a DHA vitamin to take with New Chapter perfect prenatal? Thank you.

Reply
Heather Allen   •   May 24, 2016

We're a huge fan of the New Chapter Omega for Moms! You can check it out here: http://www.newchapter.com/content/wholemega%E2%84%A2-moms Heather- Joyous Health team


Danessa Martinez   •   July 7, 2016

is it safe to drink the genuine health vegan protein plus powder during pregnancy? and which flavor is ur favorite?

Reply
Heather Allen   •   July 8, 2016

Hey Danessa! The protein powder is safe! My favourite flavour is vanilla because it's so versatile :) Enjoy! Heather- Joyous Health Team


Jessica   •   August 8, 2016

Hi, I know this is an old post, but would you recommend continuing to use Genuine Health's Fermented Whole Body Nutrition with Greens+ while pregnant? I will ask my doctor, but saw your post about Greens+ O below and got concerned. Thanks! :)

Reply
Heather Allen   •   August 8, 2016

Hi Jessica! Because of the herbs in the Whole Body Nutrition products, it should be avoided while pregnant. The best option would be the Greens+ Kids because it still contains the greens but does not have any herbs added. Plus, it's delicious!!! All the best, Heather- Joyous Health Team


Blair   •   March 15, 2017

whens the next healthy pregnancy webinar?

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   March 16, 2017

Hey Blair! We don't have anything in the schedule at the moment but if you're signed up to Joy's newsletter, you'll be the first to know about her upcoming events and webinars :) You can sign up here: http://join.joyoushealth.com/salad-guide/ Rachel - Joyous Health Team


Kelsey   •   August 26, 2017

Joy what protein powders are safe when pregnant? Thanks!

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   August 28, 2017

Hey Kelsey, Joy used Genuine Health's Fermented Vegan Protein throughout her pregnancy, however I would encourage you to double check with your natural health care practitioner before making any changes during your pregnancy :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team


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