Monday, January 11, 2010

Great Nutritional Advice ~ Print them now!

Whether you are expecting a baby OR are a maternal child health specialist (such as childbirth educator or doula) who educates about nutrition, I have found some valuable tools for you to add to your nutritional information arsenal! All are in a convenient PDF format, which means they will look great every time you print them!

The Pregnancy Food Guide was developed by a panel of experts (including former ICEA president Jane Hanrahan) organized by the Brigham and Women's Hospital (a Harvard teaching affiliate). The free PDF download is a colorful and informational guide to staying energized, eating small meals, and emphasizes the role of water in life. With sample meal and snack guides, plus estimated portion sizes, this Guide also includes logical and easy-to-follow tips for dining out and incorporating salt in a pregnant woman's diet. Salt had long been a controversial food additive. While not intended to be the sole source of nutritional information for expectant parents, this seven page Guide can become a great resource for any childbirth education class handout grouping or doula client folder!

The Mayo Clinic has a informational webpage that is titled "Pregnancy Nutrition: Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy". Included in the discussion are precautions for seafood that may contain mercury, raw and undercooked foods, unpasteurized foods, proper washing of fruits and vegetables, caffeine and alcohol.

From the Tennessee Department of Health is a one page PDF handout, Relief For Common Discomforts of Pregnancy, about the three common discomforts of pregnancy: morning sickness, heartburn and constipation. From the EPA, What You Need To Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish. And finally, from the Department of Health & Human Services (Office on Women's Health) is the Frequently Asked Questions about Folate (Folic Acid).

The Healing Foods Pyramid is a unique version, from the University of Michigan, of the FDA Food Guide Pyramid, although there is one now for moms-to-be! According to the creators of the Healing Foods Pyramid, the categories and their placement on the pyramid generally support their intent: to emphasize the foundational role of water in everyone's diet - whether pregnant or not. Following water is a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Grains for fiber, then legumes are excellent sources nutrition in this plant-based pyramid. Eggs and dairy includes foods low in fat yet rich in calcium and offer high quality protein . Lean meats are viewed as complements rather than have a major role with fish & seafood, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids encouraged often. Seasonings include herbs, onions, garlic, pepper, salt and others that add flavor while contributing healing benefits. Dark chocolate is a source of antioxidants. Tea is recommended as a healthful beverage choice. Tea is, however, also a natural diuretic which means it will cause a depletion of water stores. Use tea beverages in moderation.

If you know of other great pregnancy nutrition resources, email me at And don't forget the pregnancy nutrition articles available at!

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