Tracking Your Nutrition For a Healthier Pregnancy and Birth
I know what you’re thinking. Not another reminder to mind your diet in pregnancy. In this blog post, I offer you one of my favorite strategies for improving nutrition in pregnancy. It’s way better than it seems! Have you ever used a food journal?
(This blog post is part of a series called, “5 Totally Doable Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth.” I am hosting a FREE webinar (Jan 27th, 7pm) where I will talk more in depth on these ideas and give you in-depth knowledge to support your goal of a healthy pregnancy and birth. Check out the link below to sign up!)
A food journal is a fantastic tool to use to track your diet. Firstly, nutrition is one of the most important areas you can focus on to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases to prepare your body for the demands of growing and birthing your baby. Adequate nutrition supports your body’s ability to increase your blood volume.
Secondly, your body knows what it needs. BUT sometimes, when stressed, we fall into less than ideal routines and coping mechanisms. A food journal can help you identify areas in which you may need some support. Also, it’s a great way to connect how you FEEL with how you eat. This shapes your connection with your body and helps to sharpen your intuition.
Using a food journal helps you connect with your body and sharpen your intuition as you prepare for birth.
All pregnant people have different needs. Although there are different nutrition “goals” and numbers you can hit, this is very individual. A pregnant person who works at a sitting desk all day may need a different number of calories than a person who is very active, caring for other children all day, breastfeeding another child, etc.
How to Use a Food Journal
Does this sound scary to you? I totally get it. I remember the first time I was ever asked to use a food journal. My first experience using a food journal was during my first pregnancy. My childbirth education instructor asked all their students to complete an activity where they track their diet for a week. Then, we had to color in a picture of our baby using colors that corresponded to areas of our diet (green for green vegetables, etc.). That was a little unnecessarily scary, but eye opening nonetheless.
Here’s a better way.
Take one week and write down everything you eat each day. Consider the number of servings you eat of each item. YOU decide what is important to you to keep track. Everything we do here at Mindful Mama is about YOU being the center of your experience and YOU have the power. Do some of your own research and think about your body. You can choose items like green vegetables, protein, calcium, calories, or whatever else resonates with you. What feels important to focus on? (or not focus on??)
At the end of each day, take a look at your food journal notes and add up your numbers. Don’t try to do EVERYTHING! Use your intuition and focus on what feels right to you. You never have to share this with anyone.
Also, you don’t have to try to change your habits just because you’re writing them down (although this may naturally happen as you become aware!).
You can use a notebook, a piece of paper, post-it notes, or a template. Check out this awesome FREEBIE food journal template you can use! There are even fancy apps you can use, if that feels better to you.
A Note on Shame & Guilt
Food shame and guilt have no place in your pregnancy diet. This is NOT about eating perfectly, counting calories, controlling numbers or weight, or anything else like that. This is about deciding what is important to YOU and focusing on your own goals.
Eating should be an enjoyable and pleasurable experience. Also, it can help boost oxytocin levels. Eating food you love boosts good vibes and can boost mood and feelings of pleasure in our bodies. That supports your birth, folks!
If you start journaling and you feel these emotions rise up inside, then you may want to make a note of it and investigate. Where is this coming from? How can I work through these feelings?
If you want to learn more, I’m giving a FREE webinar called 5 Totally Doable Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth on January 27th at 7pm. In this webinar, I’m going to give you some totally doable tips to support your goal of a healthy pregnancy and birth. Learn nutrition hacks, how to support your microbiome, ways to incorporate natural movement, and relaxation strategies. Sign up and receive a FREE set of relaxation audio files!
Are you thinking…”tell me more!”?? Check out my ULTIMATE Holistic Birth Course.
In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to know in order to birth your baby in peace and power. I’m going to give you my expert insight based on years of experience as a doula, educator, and mother of four. You’ll receive expert level knowledge to help you radically transform your birth experience.
Along with your childbirth education, you’ll also receive AMAZING resources to help you achieve your goal of a calm and confident birth (A $579 value!).