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Benefits of Working with a Pregnancy Nutritionist

Pregnancy can be an exciting but overwhelming and stressful time. Here are some of the many benefits of working with a pregnancy nutritionist.

Discovering that you are pregnant can be one of the most exciting days of your life! But after initially processing this joyful news, it's easy for feelings of doubt and uncertainty to kick in. You might immediately begin evaluating your recent nutrition, lifestyle, and supplement choices. 

Using food to nourish your body is always important, but when you become pregnant, the significance of your food choices increases tenfold. Pregnancy is the one time in your life when your eating habits directly affect another person. Suddenly you are feeding not just one person but two. What used to be a reasonably mindless occurrence can now make you feel anxious and worried. 

A nutritious, well-balanced diet is one of the greatest gifts you can give your growing baby. In an ideal world, expectant mothers would already follow a healthy eating plan before conception. That said, it's never too late to start, even if you are only a few months away from your due date. Looking for the best person to help guide you through a healthy pregnancy? A pregnancy nutritionist is the ideal professional to help get that job done. 

The Bottom Line

  • What is a pregnancy nutritionist? A pregnancy nutritionist can support you through your pregnancy and ensure you are consuming the best foods in the right quantities for you and your baby.
  • What are the benefits of working with a pregnancy nutritionist? – A pregnancy nutritionist can help increase your energy levels, improve your sleep, avoid illnesses and pregnancy complications, and ensure that you are at a healthy weight. 

A pregnancy nutritionist is more than the calorie police

Whether you are experiencing morning sickness or trying to avoid excessive weight gain, many expecting women do not consume the proper nutrients they need for a healthy pregnancy. A pregnancy nutritionist's primary goal is to help you experience the healthiest pregnancy possible, which will involve some healthy weight gain. Here are some of the other benefits of working with a prenatal nutritionist.

More Energy

Even if you get a few extra hours of sleep every night, experiencing fatigue during the early stages of your pregnancy is difficult to avoid. It is common for the hormonal changes your body experiences to cause extreme fatigue. A pregnancy nutritionist will be able to walk you through healthy ways to give your body the extra boost of energy that it craves during this time. 

Sticking to a healthy diet and eating every 3-4 hours is one way to increase your energy levels. Incorporating more iron into your diet will also help sustain your increased blood volume and promote iron storage for your fetus. 

Fewer Complications

One common pregnancy myth is to give in to all food cravings. Pregnant women only crave the food their bodies need, right? Wrong. Pregnant women crave all sorts of food, which means that cravings should not be the sole indicator of nutritional needs. Fighting off unhealthy pregnancy cravings might be best for you and your baby in the long run. 

If you aren't eating a healthy diet, you are at risk of gestational diabetes, urinary tract infections, preeclampsia, and anemia. You might also be putting your baby at risk of being born with a congenital disability. Developing a healthy eating plan with a pregnancy nutritionist can help you avoid these complications during your pregnancy. Sticking to a healthy diet can also help make the labor and delivery process easier to manage, which is a bonus!

Better Sleep

To add to the growing list of ailments that expecting mothers deal with is lack of sleep. Pregnant women have trouble sleeping for numerous reasons, including nausea, late-night bathroom runs, and aches and pains. It can also be hard to get comfortable with your growing bump. 

A pregnancy nutritionist can advise you about strategies to improve your nightly experience. Eating full meals and limiting your caffeine intake will go a long way toward helping you get the rest that you need. A nutritionist can also advise you on the best vitamins and minerals to help improve sleep, including vitamin B, calcium, and iron.

Prevent Illnesses and Diseases

Pregnant women have a greater risk of catching various illnesses during their pregnancy, such as the flu. A pregnancy nutritionist can walk you through the preventative measures you can take to stop this from happening. Some basic steps include following a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep. 

While catching a cold will probably not impact your baby's health, dealing with any illness on top of your pregnancy symptoms is not appealing. Loading up on green vegetables, consuming vitamin D, practicing good hygiene, and getting enough rest and exercise are a few basic ways to prevent sickness during pregnancy. 

Help Maintain a Healthy Weight

Whether you like it or not, your body will gain weight during pregnancy. Weight gain is merely evidence that your body is nurturing your growing baby. After nine months of carrying your baby, your blood volume will have increased by 60%, your breasts will grow, your uterus will be full of amniotic fluid, and you will be carrying a baby. To nurture your body during the second and third trimesters, you should eat approximately 300 additional calories daily.

Expecting mothers who do not gain enough weight during pregnancy are at a greater risk of experiencing complications such as premature birth. A pregnancy nutritionist will help you develop a well-balanced eating plan that ensures that your body is at a healthy weight for both you and your baby. 

Take the first step towards a healthier pregnancy – get matched with a pregnancy nutritionist today!

How a pregnancy nutritionist or dietitian can help you create healthy lifestyle choices

There are many ways a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you do what's best for both your health and your baby's health. Here are some ways a "pregnancy nutritionist near me" can help you make healthy lifestyle choices. 

Provide You with Tailored Advice

Many resources, from pregnancy books to websites, provide information on what pregnant women can and can't eat. One of the downsides of these resources is that they can only provide you with generic information. These resources will tell you to cut alcohol and processed foods out of your diet and to hydrate more, but often that's where the advice ends. A pregnancy nutritionist can provide specific dietary advice tailored to your food likes and dislikes. 

Additionally, pregnant women don't all have the same dietary needs. For instance, some female athletes continue to train well into their pregnancies, while other pregnant women prefer to remain more sedentary during this time. A pregnant nutritionist can factor in other goals you might have during your pregnancy and create a diet plan that considers these priorities. 

Food Allergies and Sensitivities

If you have a severe food allergy or sensitivity, you may be concerned about how this will affect your diet during pregnancy. As your body goes through hormonal changes, it is not uncommon for allergic reactions and symptoms to change. While some women find that pregnancy reduces their symptoms, others find that allergy symptoms increase. A pregnancy nutritionist can focus on your food allergy or sensitivity and help you analyze how it might change during your gestation period.

Dietary Restrictions

Vegans and vegetarians can also greatly benefit from consulting with a pregnancy nutritionist. 

Plant-based diets are at risk of pregnancy nutrition deficiencies such as lack of protein, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, omega-3, and vitamin B12. 

However, there is evidence that if a vegetarian or vegan diet is well-planned, it can be considered safe during pregnancy and lactation. Vegans and vegetarians must ensure they consume a balance of critical nutrients. Whether you are pescatarian, vegan, vegetarian, or don't eat red meat, a pregnancy nutritionist can help you create a healthy eating plan that factors in your dietary restrictions. 

Avoid Overeating or Undereating

A nutritionist can help you figure out how much food you should eat during pregnancy. By factoring in your height, weight, age, and normal levels of physical activity, a pregnancy dietitian can create a plan that prevents you from undereating or overeating. For many reasons, finding the right balance of how much to eat during your pregnancy is essential. Eating too much or too little both have risks. Overeating can cause heartburn, discomfort, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes, while undereating can cause low birth weight and even infant mortality. 

Prevent Poor Pregnancy Outcomes

A nutritionist can help you create a diet plan that includes essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. Increasing your protein, folic acid, calcium, and iron intake during pregnancy is crucial for promoting your baby's healthy development. Each of these nutrients is essential for different areas of your baby's growth. For instance, folic acid helps strengthen a baby's spine and can help prevent your baby from developing spinal deformities in utero. 

Along with telling you what you should eat, a nutritionist will tell you what you shouldn't eat during pregnancy, such as raw fish, soft cheese, and alcohol. There are good reasons why you should stay away from certain foods during pregnancy. For instance, blue cheese and camembert might seem harmless, but these cheeses can contain listeria bacteria that cause listeriosis. This infection can have a life-threatening impact on your baby and lead to premature birth or even a miscarriage. 

What are the benefits of working with an online pregnancy nutritionist vs. going at it alone?

Aside from providing you with crucial dietary information, working with an online pregnancy nutritionist can be far more beneficial than going through your pregnancy alone. 

Peace of Mind

For many expectant mothers, having peace of mind alone can go a long way. Working with a pregnancy nutritionist takes the stress out of confirming what's safe and what's not, which is especially important for pregnant moms. Eating the right foods and limiting your exposure to stress are essential during pregnancy. Stress can lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy, which can cause preeclampsia, premature birth, and a low birth weight infant. 

Hold You Accountable

Knowing what foods you should eat during pregnancy is one thing. It's another to hold yourself accountable and stick to a healthy diet plan. On some days, the last thing you will want to do is go to your prenatal yoga class or fight the urge to drink a second cup of coffee in the morning. 

A pregnancy nutritionist is not just there as a resource for your physical health but your mental health, too. When you struggle to stick with your goals, your nutritionist can help you work through those hurdles and overcome them. 

Bust Common Pregnancy Myths

There are a lot of myths and old wives' tales surrounding pregnancy. "Now that you are pregnant, you should be eating for two," and "gaining less weight during pregnancy will make delivery easier" are two common pregnancy myths that are false. 

When you discover you are expecting, it's hard not to believe everything you read online. Rather than stress over conflicting answers on the internet, save yourself the headache and consult a nutritionist instead. Having access to accurate information from a reliable source will make your pregnancy happier and healthier. Plus, your nutritionist can debunk the pregnancy myths you may have read online. 

What to ask during your first free consultation with one of our pregnancy nutritionists

You can learn a lot from a pregnancy nutritionist during your first free consultation. Here are some basics you should go over during your first session. 

What to eat and avoid during pregnancy

Before asking about anything else, ensure your nutritionist teaches you the basics. What nutritious foods should you consume more of, and what foods should you remove from your diet?

Food substitutions

Your first consultation is an excellent time to address your food allergies, sensitivities, or dietary restrictions. If you are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, lactose intolerant, gluten-free, or have diabetes, take some time to discuss those dietary restrictions. Your nutritionist will likely be able to recommend substitutions and prenatal vitamins or supplements to help make up for the iron, protein, folic acid, or calcium that your body may lack as a result of dietary restrictions. 

Ideal weight

Discussing your optimal pregnancy weight is a good thing to cover in your first session. Your nutritionist can calculate this weight based on age, current weight, and height. Your daily exercise regime may also factor into this equation. Knowing the ideal weight range will be a valuable way to gauge whether you are undereating or overeating during pregnancy. 

Goals and priorities

Do you have any goals or priorities that you are working towards during your gestation period? For instance, even after conception, some female athletes still try to keep up with a particular exercise regime. Speaking openly with your nutritionist about your life goals will help you better understand what the next nine months will look like. Your nutritionist will help you work towards your goals or inform you that your current plan might not be possible during this time. If the latter is true, all hope is not lost! Your nutritionist can help you find realistic health and lifestyle goals for pregnancy. 

Other concerns

Now is the time to voice any other questions or concerns that worry you. Did you hear something concerning from another expectant mother? Did something on the internet trouble you? It might be helpful to write down a list of these worries before your session to ensure that your main questions are answered.

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About the author

Nicolette Star Maggiolo, RD, LDN
I'm a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with education from Boston University and clinical training from both Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I specialize in helping the military and non-military individuals embrace nutrition as a partner in both their mental and physical health.

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