Do you need a prenatal dietitian?


Leading up to, during, and after pregnancy is the MOST important time in a woman’s life to eat nutrient dense foods, replenish micronutrients and minerals, and stay hydrated. However, it is also a time in a woman’s life where her nutrient needs are immensely increased, meaning her body needs multiple times more nutrients than it ever did before. And unfortunately, it can be the most difficult time to eat well.

It makes sense when you think about the fact that she is growing a whole human for goodness’ sake!



PSA: you can’t solely rely on a prenatal vitamin..

Most women during pregnancy are told to “take a prenatal vitamin” and then they are given a list of foods to avoid and sent on their way. This advice is not enough. Let’s start with the fact that a prenatal vitamin is a supplement. A supplement is defined as ‘something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.’ It is still very important but it is meant to only complement a nutrient dense diet and it is not meant to be a fix for lack of one.


One study found that women who thought they were following healthy diet, still weren’t meeting even the minimum requirements needed during pregnancy.


It’s no question that most women turn to the internet for nutritional advice. However, there is such a vast amount of information with conflicting views that it leaves most people confused and lacking confidence on what to actually put in their body. There was a study done to find out what pregnant women know about healthy eating and only 2% of women achieved scores over 80% (2). That means 98% of women may be lost when it comes to a nutritious diet.

Another study aimed to find out how women felt about their own knowledge and skills regarding nutrition during pregnancy. Although most women had a general understanding of nutritional recommendations, they felt overwhelmed when attempting to implement them into practice. They didn’t feel confident whether they were or were not meeting all the necessary nutrients to support them and their growing baby(1). Once again, even the women who thought they had a healthy diet,  ended up not meeting the minimum requirements needed during pregnancy.

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Okay, but is it that important to eat a healthy diet during pregnancy?

Well, let me introduce you to the term fetal programming. Fetal Programming is the concept that inadequate nutrition during pregnancy can have lifelong effects on your baby. Impaired development in utero can lead to permanent structural, physiological, and metabolic changes that have a negative impact on your baby’s health years and years after birth (3). The best way to set your child up for a healthy start right out of the gate is by eating real, whole foods with an emphasis on quality. That is where a prenatal dietitian can be so beneficial. We’ve done all the scientific based research, weeded out the pregnancy myths, and can educate in a simple, constructive way.

A prenatal dietitian can eliminate your worry and fear whether you’re meeting your own and baby’s needs. They can guide you throughout your pregnancy.  A prenatal dietitian will examine your lab results to specifically recommend the best prenatal supplement that meets your needs. And they can educate on specific foods to add and reduce in your daily diet. They’re main focus to to help you nourish yourself so baby can have optimal growth and development.


If you’re pregnant and maybe a bit overwhelmed or lost on where to find reliable information, I am here for you! I will help you decipher through the outdated information and provide you with the current research based recommendations for an optimal pregnancy journey. If you have any further questions, just shoot me a message. I’d be happy to talk with you.

Your dietitian,

Kaslyn


References

  1. Grenier, LN, Atkinson, SA, Mottola, MF, et al. Be Healthy in Pregnancy: Exploring factors that impact pregnant women’s nutrition and exercise behaviours. Matern Child Nutr. 2021; 17:e13068. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.13068
  2. Kwon EJ, Kim YJ. What is fetal programming?: a lifetime health is under the control of in utero health. Obstet Gynecol Sci. 2017;60(6):506-519. doi:10.5468/ogs.2017.60.6.506
  3. Lee A, Belski R, Radcliffe J, Newton M. What do Pregnant Women Know About the Healthy Eating Guidelines for Pregnancy? A Web-Based Questionnaire. Matern Child Health J. 2016 Oct;20(10):2179-88. doi: 10.1007/s10995-016-2071-4. PMID: 27395383
  4. Nichols, Lily. Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition. , 2018. Print.

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