The food you are eating before during and after pregnancy should be wholesome and contain plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Nutrition is an important part to fuel you on your Pre or Post Natal Journey.
This doesn’t mean fancy diets, or meal plans. It means eating wholesome food that makes you feel good and that you and all the family can enjoy.
Nourishing yourself daily doesn’t have to be complicated and trust me if you eat the same dinner for 5 nights in a row, that is definitely not a problem, trust me some weeks I do !
With many of my female clients I find society has engraved in their brains from a young age this inner voice that unfortunately says …
“Oh don’t eat too much”
“You must have a smaller serving than him…you are a female remember !”
“Never ask for extra food, that is rude.”
“Only fill half your plate.”
“Skipping lunch or breakfast is ok – my Mum does it”
Because of this….
Most women do not eat enough !
Oh and don’t worry, I completely understand if you have been feeling nauseous during pregnancy – eating anything during this time is challenging ! Here are some of my tips on overcome pregnancy nausea here. Or are you confused about what you can and can’t eat now that you are pregnant ? This might help.
There are a few other reasons why you might not be eating enough. Maybe you’re busy with children and work and literally *forget* to eat sometimes. It happens. Perhaps you have some slightly disordered eating issues, and that little voice in your head is telling you when, what and how you much you should be eating.
Or are you jumping on the scale and weighing yourself daily ? Please try not too. I don’t own a scale….it messes with your brain way too much. Listen to more how you feel energetically, how your clothes fit and how your mood is !
During and after pregnancy there are so many hormonal fluctuations that affect the fluid in your body and consequently your weight. So “that number” is not the best guidance. Also if your Medical Practitioner is weighing you at ever pre natal appointment, discuss this with them and request maybe they don’t weigh you unless there is a concern that you are over or underweight.
Whatever the reason is, let’s be super frank: The things that happen to your body when you don’t eat enough are not healthy !
Skipping out on foods mean missing the vitamins and nutrients that help our organs do their jobs. It also means losing out on amino acids, which leads to bone weakness. Plus it is important you are getting enough protein during and after pregnancy as that is one of the major building blocks for you baby’s growth.
When you are over that terrible nauseous stage (or if it is not departing please see a medical practitioner), it is important to understand that “eating enough” is essential for your physical and mental health during and after pregnancy.
What happens when you don’t eat enough …
You Over Eat
When we don’t eat or skip meals, our body gets confused. Eating throughout the day is a fantastic way to keep your energy levels up without overeating at the designated meal times. Not eating enough is no way to lose weight, because you’re more likely to overeat when you finally sit down to have a proper meal.
Researchers have also found that meal-skippers grab 31% more junk food at the grocery store when shopping hungry, compared with when they had a snack beforehand. Shoppers who hit the aisles during the high-hunger hours between 4 PM and 7 PM also selected a larger percentage of high-calorie options. All this suggests is that your body may crave crappier food if you skip meals.
Skipping out on fruits and veggies, or any food with fiber or carbs, will do a number on your digestive system. Your body will go either one of two ways: diarrhoea or constipation. Neither of those is great, so if you’re experiencing either on the regular, discuss your nutrition habits with your Doctor to see what you can do to fix it.
You get “Hangry”
Eating is all about making sure your body’s blood sugar levels are at just the right point. If you don’t eat is pretty simple you get hungry, cranky and angry !
You experience this ravenous hunger because inside your body, your blood sugar (glucose) level has crashed. Glucose is the brain’s preferred fuel source, so when your blood level drops too low, the supply to your brain can be compromised and this affects the way you think – and it can make your feel pretty lousy.
To prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping dangerously low (hypoglycaemia), your body releases adrenalin, which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response and signals to your body to release stored glucose. This is why you might find yourself feeling shaky.
Meanwhile, messages are created in your brain to increase your appetite, and this often translates into a desire for sugary foods or caffeine that will give your blood glucose levels a rapid boost.
This spike in your blood glucose levels will send them to the other end of the scale, so your body will then release insulin, a hormone that reduces blood glucose levels, setting you up to experience another crash. And the cycle repeats, triggering the release of more and more insulin, which also signals to the body to store fat.
In other words, by eating more nourishing fats and decreasing the amount of sugars you eat, you are less susceptible to that “hanger” that leads to out of control snacking.
When you don’t eat enough, your sugar levels go all over the place, which can lead to feeling fatigued. Many women assume that cutting all fats is a good thing, but that’s not true. Avoiding trans fats is ok however, removing healthy fats from your diet can make you feel less energetic, reduce brain function and lower your immune system. Health fats help to slow the sugar release into your blood stream, stabilizing your appetite and hunger levels. They are also essential for your baby’s brain and eye development.
If you want to learn more about what and how you can eat I can provide you with some nutrition guidelines. If you think your eating habits are affecting your health or you baby’s growth please contact your doctor, a nutritionist, or a mental health professional ASAP.
Dahlas Fletcher is one of Australia’s most respected and successful certified and experienced Pregnancy and Female Fitness Trainers. Her goal is to help you be the happiest, most fabulous version of yourself, inside and out.