Hendricks Regional Health Blog

Nutrition and Pregnancy: What’s a Girl to Do?

Posted by: Laura Shumaker   |   Monday, January 23, 2012   |   Latest Articles   |   Back to Blog



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Fridge Size

 Wallet Size

The thought of what you should eat and drink while pregnant can be overwhelming, especially since your baby is depending on you.

That’s why I interviewed Lisa Maccaroni, a registered dietitian at Hendricks Regional Health.

First things first
“Think food first. Although prenatal vitamins are essential, they’re your body’s backup,” explains Lisa. “Nutritionally, nothing can beat whole foods for you and your baby.”

For queasy tummies
If you aren’t feeling great, focus on simple carbs like pretzels and crackers. Try small, frequent meals.

Suffering from morning sickness? Try saltine crackers. I had heard this, but Lisa gave me advice to make it work.

  • Before you go to sleep, put 5 saltine crackers next to your bed.
  • In the morning, eat your crackers before you even sit up.
  • Continue lying down for 15 minutes.

Table for one
There’s a misconception you’re eating for two. Only 300 extra calories a day are needed for your growing bambino.

Lisa’s tip is to add three 8 oz. servings of skim milk a day and you’ve got it covered (with a boost of protein)!

I’m not a fan of drinking cows milk. She recommended almond or soy milk.

Go team protein!
As it turns out, I don’t think I’m getting enough protein, which is key for baby’s development.

You need 2 portions of meat a day and 3 dairy servings. My goal should be 65-70 grams.

I struggle with dairy. We talked about adding almond milk to the mix, as well as cheese and yogurt. I prefer my yogurt in pineapple-banana smoothie form, which adds more fruit!

One potato, two potato
A pregnancy book I read said potatoes were great for pregnant women and counted as a veggie. What was Lisa’s take on this? 

Turns out, potatoes are a great source of fiber and potassium. Sweet potatoes have even more benefits to offer. They’re also an easy food to eat when nothing sounds good or you’re nauseous.

Potatoes need to be controlled in a diabetic diet, and as a high carb/starch food, they’ve gotten a bad wrap. But first and foremost, they’re a veggie!

Nutrition scorecard
I tried keeping track in my head, but it didn’t work well. Lisa said to write it down and that it’s easier to refer back to the four food groups.

  • Meats – 2 servings
  • Dairy – 3 servings
  • Fruits/Veggies – 5 servings
  • Breads/Cereal – 6 to 8 servings

Thinking 6–8 grain servings means you should pig out on noodles and cereal? You’d be surprised how much you are probably already getting. “Many people eat 3 to 4 grain servings in just one bowl of their morning cereal!” according to Lisa.

~Laura Shumaker

(Editors note: Laura talked with registered dietitian, Lisa Maccaroni, who is also a lactation expert. If you have nutrition-related questions, talk to your doctor to see if you could benefit from an appointment with a registered dietitian. This service is covered by many insurance plans. Call (317) 745-3768 for assistance getting a referral.)

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