Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bradley Birth: Nutrition

Another thing Bradley Classes emphasize is good nutrition. They really push Dr.Tom Brewer's pregnancy diet, which promotes a well-balanced, high-quality diet that includes 80 to 100 grams of protein a day, adequate salt (to taste), and water (to thirst), as well as calories from all of the food groups. "During pregnancy a woman's blood volume increases as much as 40 to 60 percent, and in order to reach this necessary level and maintain it, a woman's body needs adequate protein, alit, calcium, potassium and water from her diet" (Amy Haas, "Nutrition during Pregnancy"). 

A quick google search will provide you with the food plan that Bradley Classes suggest, so I wont waste time typing it all. Instead I will focus on the few things that they really emphasize and why. (Each week we are given a pink sheet to record all of our food on one side and our exercises on the other... guess I didnt get too far from WW huh?)

Recommendation- 2 servings per day
Provides amino acids which are the building blocks of the body. Important for healthy bones, teeth, muscles, brain, everything. Inadequate protein intake can lead to fatigue, swelling, and lack of appetite. 

Recommendation- salt your food to taste
Cutting back on salt can cause a decrease in the amount of blood circulating through your body and placenta (hypovolemia), thus reducing the supply of nutrients passing to your baby. Too little salt in the diet leads to leg cramps and fatigue. It can also cause swelling and preeclampsia. 
** I was really surprised to be encouraged to eat salt during pregnancy. I thought that was a no no. But it makes sense, your body has to make a lot more blood- and it uses protein, salt and water to do this. So don't skimp out on the salt people!

Milk Products:
Recommendation- 4 servings per day
Provide protein, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Important for bones, muscle growth, muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Essential for healthy blood, eases insomnia, and helps regulate the heartbeat. 

Recommendation- 2 a day
Provide protein, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, the anti-infection vitamin. 
**They really push having 2 eggs a day. Its a cheap protein and has tons of good benefits for you. 

Recommendation- 2 servings per day
Rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly A and B complex, which are necessary to help your body use the protein in other foods. These are also high in folic acid, which you need for good growth. And they play a roll in the formation of red blood cells. Best if raw and dark green. 

Citrus (and other High Vit C foods):
Recommendation- 1-2 servings per day
Vitamin C is important for the body's manufacture of collagen, the substance that holds tissue together. Without adequate vitamin C, your uterus is not as strong and may not perform well in labor. Vitamin C is crucial in the body's defense system against infection and in improving iron absorption. 
** It helps me absorb iron, and helps my uterus work well in labor? Sign me up!

They also recommend grains, fats and oils, yellow and orange colored fruits and vegetables, and water. 

That was a lot of info I know. The main point is that we need to be very aware of what we are feeding our bodies during pregnancy (all the time really). Eating healthy during pregnancy really helps you have a more comfortable pregnancy and more efficient labor. Any questions??? 

--All info from these two sources:
The Bradley Method Student Workbook, written by Marjie, Jay & James Hathaway (2010 AAHCC)
Nutrition During Pregnancy, by Amy V. Haas (2002 Midwifery Today)

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