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Super Foods and Villainous Eats… The battle between Good and Evil Pregnancy Food dos and don’ts

No Drinking, No Smoking! (obviously) No raw fish, no unpasteurized dairy.  Well I can see that…No undercooked meats or “freshly squeezed” juices from restaurants or farmers markets!? No raw cookie dough 😦 limited tuna?! Watch out for deli meats! Ceviche and smoked fish. No, no, no. Apparently, there are lots of bad bacteria out there. And no please dear god… cut back on caffeine!!!!! Nooooooo!
   
There are so many “no’s” when you are pregnant, so many “watch out” and “be careful of” moments, that it’s hard to remember them; then you have  to restrain yourself for at least 9 months (more if you are breast feeding).  It can be intense.  My mantra of “it’s for the baby, it’s for the baby” helps but I still want to cry when I’m out with friends and they want to go for sushi and drinks.

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The nice thing is when you take care of yourself during pregnancy, you feel better. And not just physically, there is an emotional pay off to that, too.  Also, there are so many “super foods” to combine and discover that it can actually be kind of fun to play around and branch out from your normal diet. I’ve gotten to experiment with combos I never thought of before and now they are some of my favorite meals.

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Here’s a list of some amazing foods for woman and their developing babies:

Leafy and super green veggies:

Broccoli, Kale, Spinach, etc–All really are great sources of foliate, fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A.  Also, they have stuff you’ve probably never heard of like lutein, zeaxanthin and carotenoids. You can stir-fry it, roast it, make salads, and sneak it into smoothies. Just eat it!

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Brightly colored fruits and berries:

Blueberries, mangos, kiwis, strawberries, plums, bananas, etc–all packed with good carbohydrates, an alphabet full of vitamins, potassium, foliate, fiber and phytonutrients. Eat them on their own or with yogurt, cereal or pancakes or make smoothies or fruit salads.

Nuts, beans and seeds:

Garbonzo (chickpeas), lentils, black beans, soybeans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc–These are full of protein, iron, fiber, foliate, zinc and calcium. These little wonders are good brain food and great for snacks, salads, soups, chili, pasta or hummus.

Dairy (pasteurized), eggs, salmon and lean beef:

Protein, Vitamins A, D, B6 and 12, niacin, zinc, iron, choline, omega-3’s to name a few and all help with baby’s development. Cheeses, yogurts, omelets, grilled or in a sandwich.

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These are just off the top of my head. All you need to do is Google “pregnancy super foods” and you’ll get list after list along with some amazing recipes too. And if you’re like me, you’ll go “pin” them all on Pintrest so you can decide later what to have for dinner. 🙂

The main thing is to just not stress. Take care of yourself and the baby will benefit from it, too. If you slip up, it’s ok; just try to get out of bad habits and routines. So much less will weigh on you when you just make a conscious effort to be healthier in what you eat. You’ll have more energy and clear peace of mind that you are doing what you cannot just for you, but for that dependent little life inside as well.

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What’s a placenta?… She did what with it?!

The placenta is an organ that grows inside a pregnant woman’s uterus to provide nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby. It also enables antibodies to pass from mother to child and removes waste from the baby’s blood. It’s attached to the wall of the uterus and is connected to the baby via the umbilical cord. Basically, it’s what keeps the little one going.

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The word Placenta comes from the Latin word for cake.  It really does look like a big purple pancake, full of all those good nutrients for the baby. It measures about 9 inches wide and 1 inch thick in the middle, weighing roughly 1 hefty pound at delivery. Delivering the placenta is called the third stage of labor and, unless there are complications, is probably the easiest part of it all. Most women forget after pushing out the kid that there’s just one more part to do before you get to lay back and rest.

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Although this super organ can cause issues during pregnancy, as well. The most common is Placenta Previa; when the placenta is low in the uterus and partial or totally covers the cervix (the outlet for the uterus), it can cause severe bleeding and a C-section may be required. Placental Abruption is when the placenta peels away from the uterine wall (partially or fully) and can cause bleeding, a lack of oxygen and nutrients to the baby, and early delivery may be needed. Placenta Accreta is almost the opposite. It’s when the placenta attaches too deeply into the uterus and fails to detach during labor. It can cause bleeding and severe blood loss after delivery and the mother may have to go through surgery afterwards to remove it and possibly her uterus along with it.

I think most readers are really curious about this next part: What is done with the placenta after birth?! Well, we here in the West tend to just incinerate it via the hospital. However, there have been growing beliefs and new findings that we have been wasting something important. Here are just some of the ways our placenta is now being used:

The first is to leave it alone! They aren’t cutting the cord at all. It’s called a Lotus Birth and basically you carry the baby and placenta around until the cord naturally falls off. (Between 1-2 weeks) Those who do this believe that it’s a much more natural and healthy way to slowly introduce their child to the “outside” world. There isn’t any scientific proof as of yet that this is helpful to the babies however there isn’t anything to say nay either….

The second is to encapsulate the placenta and have the mother take it as a supplement after birth. This is a rising trend that started in ancient Chinese medicine. The basis for this thought is that in the wild many mammals eat the placenta after the birth of their young and it seemed to give them rejuvenating properties. More and more woman are doing this as a much more appealing alternative to cooking or eating their own “murder-less meat”. Studies are showing that ingesting your own placenta may actually help rebalance your hormones, possible combating Postpartum Depression by making mothers less fatigued and overwhelmed and in a much cheerier disposition.

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Another take-home placenta idea is to bury it. This is probably one of the oldest human customs around the planet. Although it has no health properties this is more of a spiritual belief. I have a Wiccan friend who did this after the birth of her first born son. She planted it at the base of a 9 month old sapling (placentas actually do make wonderful fertilizer) and now the tree grows along with her son. Even if you hold no religious beliefs along these lines, I think it’s still a lovely gesture.

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The placenta really is an amazing thing and we are still learning about its benefits to both child and mother. The last time I delivered I donated mine to research. Maybe this time I’ll keep it. And who knows, maybe within the year I’ll be blogging about my own personal experience taking placenta supplements.

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