Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nutrition in Pregnancy: Part 1

"Nothing more clearly illustrates the continuity between the new life within the womb and the adult he or she will become
than the fact that the quality of nutrition during these nine months produces lifelong effects on the brain, kidneys, and the cardiovascular system;
determines the risk of degenerative disease; and profoundly influences the quality of life that persists through adulthood and into old age."

Ah, pregnancy. I love being pregnant. It's such a miracle to know that a life is growing inside of you, waiting for "the" day- the day that God ordained before the foundations of the world, to bring it into existence on this beautiful earth. Having a baby is truly a glorious event. And so much takes place- in a mere 9 months God creates a completely new human life within a woman's womb. In fact, someone I spoke with told me that the Bible explains how the Holy Spirit is brooding over a pregnant woman in a special way, as He fashions and forms the precious life inside her body. She has a double portion of the Holy Spirit, so to speak, during this sacred time. But that's another post for a different time! In this post I want to talk about the incredible importance of a mother's nutrition for optimal health of her baby.

When I got pregnant with our first child, Nathaniel David, (now 2) I was just on the heels of recovery from my stomach problems. At that point I still had stomach pain every day, although it was significantly better than when I first started the Maker's Diet. Because of that I couldn't eat very much. I weighed 100 lbs and wore size 0 jeans. I kept losing weight and actually got pretty close to being technically underweight for a few months. That all changed when I got pregnant. I was STARVING. I mean STARVING. It makes sense. As soon as I got pregnant my stomach problems completely disappeared. And my body needed food, much more than I had been eating before, to grow this new life inside me.

I gained weight really quickly. Big surprise, I was eating, eating, eating! My doctor was awful about it. She expected my 100 lb self to gain 20 lbs in the pregnancy. She told me what an awful delivery I would have if I gained "too much" weight. (She was wrong- 4 hrs 45 min of active labor) Every visit for months she spent most of our 7 minute visit berating me for gaining what she thought was too much. For a while I would leave the appointments and cry and cry. I couldn't help it, I was SO hungry! And it's not like I was heading to McDonald's and eating Bryer's every night. Finally I decided I was not going to spend my entire first pregnancy worried about gaining weight!

We women in America are way too obsessed with gaining weight and potentially being, *gasp* fat. We hate to even say the word. And we especially hate going to a doctor's office every month for 9 months and being weighed! But you know what, we need to get over it when we're pregnant. And we need to eat the right foods to nourish our babies optimally. Actually, I take that back. We need to get over it permanently and focus more on being healthy. Otherwise these beautiful children we bring into the world will spend their lives just as unhealthily obsessed with their bodies as we are, and with just as low self esteem. Tell me, when you look in the mirror, is all you can see what you don't like and is all you can think about what you want to change? One preacher I heard recently said that means you have created an idol in your very own bathroom, and that you agree with demonic spirits each time you look in the mirror. Sounds hard core, but it's true. He went on to say,

"Why are you spending your life trying to look like some 5'10 supermodel who shoots heroine every day and wishes she were dead?"

There has to be more than this. And that's when you're not pregnant. When you are pregnant, if you want your child to be optimally nourished, you have got to lay down the idol in your mirror and focus on growing your unborn child. In my next article I'll show you how.