Reader’s Request: Pre-pregnancy Nutrition

Hey everyone! Hope your humpday is going well 😀

I got a couple of questions about what types of foods to eat before trying to conceive. As you guys know, the only babies I have are of the “fur” variety, but I have trained and counseled quite a few mamas-to-be.

healthy-pregnant-woman  (Source)

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the following nutrients and tips are especially important 3 months to a year before trying to conceive (anything I’m adding to their suggestions is in purple): ****Disclaimer: please talk to a doc regarding your specific needs before putting a whole-grain bun in the oven

Folic Acid: The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that women of childbearing age obtain 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folate or folic acid each day. This B vitamin helps reduce a baby’s risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. If your family has a history of neural tube defects, your doctor may increase your daily intake. Folic acid may be obtained naturally through dark green leafy vegetables (i.e. spinach), citrus fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals. These foods can be supplemented with a prenatal vitamin which usually contains 800mcg of folic acid. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin allowing your body to flush out excess amounts.

folic-acid-foods  (Source)

Calcium: It is recommended that women get at least 1,000 mgs (three 8 oz glasses of skim milk) of calcium a day if they are considering getting pregnant. Calcium may be obtained from natural sources such as cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, canned salmon, sardines, rice, and cheese. Vegan calcium-rich sources include tofu (processed with calcium sulfate pr nigari), dark leafy greens (like turnip and collard greens, kale, bok choy) and green veggies (broccoli and okra), tempeh, tahini and almonds.

Calcium-Foods (Source)

Supplements & Vitamins: In addition to a healthy diet, many healthcare providers will encourage supplements to increase the probability that you get all the nutrients you need. Pre-natal vitamins are a necessity and I also recommend spirulina and maca. Spirulina is a highly bio-available (meaning it’s quickly absorbed into the bloodstream) source of nutrients and antioxidants. Maca can help our bodies perform at an optimal level and is also known to improve reproductive function and boost fertility.

Maca_Natural_Herbs (Source)

Healthy fats: These are essential to support a growing baby’s eye and brain development, and also help the placenta and other tissues grow. Go for a diet in moderate healthy fats: Monounsaturated fats including olive and canola oil, and avocados, olives, nuts and nut butters as well as Polyunsaturated fats, which include DHA and ALA, which are necessary for a healthy, growing baby. Sources of Polyunsaturated fats include chia seeds, flax seeds, canola and soybean oil. Fats to avoid are saturated fats (not including coconuts, which are high in saturated fats but the fat is utilized differently by the body, and are fabulous in moderation) and hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated fats aka TRANS FAT. Artery clogging beasts.

image5  Drill sergeant Gina says: STAY AWAY FROM TRANS FAT 😀 

Caffeine: It is important to wean yourself off of caffeine (including chocolate- this is where I cry a little), because research has shown that more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day may reduce fertility by 27 percent. Caffeine also impedes upon the body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium. Since you won’t be able to drink it while pregnant, might as well start getting used to life without it. I gave up coffee a little over a year ago, but the chocolate… wahhhhhh…..


Remove: Artificial sweeteners, alcohol, recreational drugs, and cigarettes all have the potential of harming your soon to be conceived baby. Also, eliminate as many processed foods as possible and aim to buy organic meat, dairy and produce. Fetal and childhood exposure to chemicals is far more dangerous than exposure later in life. Organic is expensive, but save some dinero by printing out coupons online and buying frozen organic meats, fruits and veggies. If you can’t afford organic, make sure to wash fruits and veggies extremely well.



Choose whole-grain bread products over white, and brown rice instead of white

-If you can, go organic

-Double-check ingredients. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, put it back on the shelf

-Avoid super salty foods, as these can lead to high blood pressure and potential pregnancy complications

-As far as fish goes, mercury levels can be, well, fishy 😉 Opt for wild caught salmon or halibut, or farmed trout and catfish. Vegans can get their Omega 3s from flaxseed, hempseeds, nuts and chia seeds.

-Make juice at home. It’s an easy way to get in TONS of nutrients quickly and deliciously 😀

Get healthy and feeling amazing! Work out (make sure that your body fat percentage and weight is in a safe range to carry a healthy baby), add in some yoga, walking, or whatever exercise makes you feel good 😀

These are just some tips to store in the back of your brain for if/when the pre-pregnancy time comes around. I had a lot of fun with this reader’s request post- please send your requests my way: fitnessista at gmail dot com

Have a wonderful day <3



Something to talk about: All the madres in the bloggy house, what are your favorite pre-pregnancy or pregnancy tips? If you only have fur babies, like me, any idea of when you’ll be adding a human baby to the mix?

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  1. Jessica @ How Sweet on March 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I don’t know if could give up chocolate!! No babies yet, but thinking of adding one soon … 😉

  2. Heather (Heather's Dish) on March 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    i only have fur babies, but i’m excited about adding some real ones to the mix in a couple years! i just think it’s going to be so cool…such a miracle! i mean, you have someone else’s EYEBALLS in your tummy…how crazy is that?!?! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm

      it is pretty crazy to think about!

    • Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle on March 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      hahaha Heather, that was NOT an image I ever wanted: someone’s eyeballs?!!

      • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm

        bahahah gross, huh?

  3. Kate on March 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    3 things i wish someone told me when i was pregnant::

    1.EXERCISE during pregnancy, i wish i would have done it more i was a lazy bum and slept and layed on the couch most of my pregnancy because i was exhausted!!
    2.wear coconut oil and moisturize all the time so you don’t get stretch marks and saggy looking skin!!
    3.always remember “what you eat the baby eats as well”! so choose nutrious foods.

  4. Lauren @ Eater not a runner on March 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Since I’m definitely not looking for real babies any time soon, I’ll stick with the chocolate!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm

      bahahaha. i love wine more than babies right now. is that bad??

      • Catherine on March 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm

        Haha I’m right there with you!

  5. Carrie on March 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Having gone through it already, my advice is…. ENJOY IT! Don’t stress about everything, be healthy, exercise and enjoy the entire time. It is such a wonderful experience!

  6. RhodeyGirl on March 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    THANKS GINA!!!!!

  7. whitney @ whitinspired on March 3, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Only “fur” babies right now…I don’t forsee real ones for a loooooooooooong time!

  8. Mama Laughlin on March 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I had my son on 09.09.09 and I was 217 lbs on the day of delivery!
    I was MASSIVE! (overweight BEFORE I got pregnant= one fat pregnant lady!)
    But I found it helpful to walk a mile 3-4 times a week during the last trimester of my pregnancy. I ended up having Restless Leg Syndrome towards the end and a good nightly walk always helped relax my muscles and let me sleep better!
    Since having my son I’ve lost a total of 35 lbs and am working on the last 30 before I start thinking about baby number 2!
    The things we women go through!!!

  9. Bree on March 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks Gina, perfectly timed post as we are currently trying to create an addition!

  10. sarah on March 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Good to know! We are planning to start “baking” in the next year, so it’s almost time to start preppin’ the oven!

    Have you — or any other bloggies! — thought about whether you’re interested in natural childbirth/homebirth vs hospital? I used to be one of the “pencil me in for the epidural 2 months ahead of time” school, but the more I learn, the more I want to do a home birth with a midwife, perhaps even a water birth if it seems right at the time.

    Also… no chocolate = sad Sarah. Meh.

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      we want to do a birthing center.. you can do it naturally in a cottage homey type atmosphere, but it’s on hospital property in case anything happens
      check out my friend kristen’s blog: she’s doing a home water birth.

    • stacey on March 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm

      Yeah, I was 100% for natural childbirth….until I was 12 hours in and I caved. Some people can do it, but I would definitely leave the option open bc you have NO IDEA (and I can’t stress that enough). I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and I thought I was going to die, I’m not being dramatic.

      And then I had two more : )

  11. Shelly on March 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    The one I would like to mention (and work on myself because I am SO guilty of it) is not to freeze or microwave your food in plastic containers. I read TWO articles last week connecting phthalates mothers ingested in the first 3 months of being pregnant with two different problems- Autism in the New York Times, and genital malformation in Slate. Eek!
    Phthalates are also common in fragrance, shampoo, nail polish, and makeup.
    So when I start trying to conceive, I am tossing my tupperware (or at least bringing a plate to work to microwave my lunch on) and am going to be paying a lot more attention to what’s in my beauty products.

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      gahhhh! good to know!
      i used mostly organic skincare, but will need to get rid of the other stuff when the time comes

      • Shelly on March 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm

        Yeah I think I have a random phthalate free nail polish from Whole Foods that I like, but my bathroom cabinet will be undergoing a serious revamp when the time comes!

    • Queen of Fitness on March 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm

      shelly—i have been doing this for the past 5 years!! not thinking of adding any whole wheat buns to my bread basket anytime soon, but i use small pyrex dishes for all of my lunch items that will be microwaved. i take the lid off and then cover the top with a paper towel to shield from splatters. i pack every day. i only use the plastic stuff for dips, almonds, fiber 1 cereal, and other items that are condiments or will be added to stuff, but don’t need microwaved. i feel so much better knowing i am eating from glass. i also bring my own water in a stainless steel bottle. it really DOES taste so much better. …and yes my coworkers stare at my multiple containers and the “weird” food i eat. i always tell them, my food is REAL food not processed science projects.

      • Jen on March 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

        My coworkers look at me funny too and everyone always talks about what “weird” food I will have for lunch today! I just sit back and laugh at them as they are microwaving their lean cuisine dishes that they eat EVERY SINGLE DAY! They think i’m the weird one?!

      • Shelly on March 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm

        Yeah I just need to get some pyrex. My coworkers already think all my Tupperware containers are pretty weird so it won’t be anything new for them to think my eating habits are bizarre! 🙂

    • Amy on March 4, 2010 at 8:00 am

      Sorry if this is a stupid question, but what about tin foil? I take my lunch wraps to work in that. Thanks!

      • Fitnessista on March 4, 2010 at 8:49 am

        not a stupid question at all.
        aluminum foil exposes us to aluminum, which is toxic and has been linked to alzheimers. i still use it though :/ i’m not even sure what a good alternative would be

  12. Brooke on March 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Great post. I am hoping to try and concieve again very soon. I was so good about no caffiene before, during and after my last pregnancy. I breastfed my daughter for her first year and kept it out of my diet. Too bad I started drinking it again about 6 months ago when I was temperarily living with my parents and my dad always had a pot of 1/2 caf. 1/2 decaff on. I need to cut it back out, thanks for the reminder.
    What is your take on things like Stevia and Truvia during pregnancy?
    My advice during pregnancy is Lots of moisurizing the baby bump and enjoy the pregnancy!!! I can not wait to feel another little life kicking away at my insides 🙂

  13. kalli@fitandfortysomething on March 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    really comprehensive info! i totally agree with it and it is good advice to follow just to be healthy……well except for coffee, chocolate, and WINE!

  14. rachael on March 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I am a mama but I didn’t do much pre-conception planning. I did had a great pregnancy, which I attribute partially to luck and partially to eating healthy and staying active. My biggest pregnancy tip: coconut oil is not only good for consumption, but is also a great all-natural topical for preventing stretch marks.

    I do want to point out that spirulina can be high in lead so you want to look for a product that meets proposition 65:)

  15. Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg on March 3, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Great post!!! We aren’t ready for that baking session quite yet…but hopefully in the next few years!

  16. Krista on March 3, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I will never forget my doctor telling me; ” No aspartame, NO chicken skin, NO caffiene”!! LOL! Now, my kids are 10 & 8 and I’m sure things have changed. Aside from listening to my doc, taking my folic acid and pre natal vitamins, I pretty much ate what I wanted to. Looking back now I have some mixed feelings about that. On one hand, I wish I was wiser in the ways of nutrition so I could have made (some) healthier choices. On the other hand, I’m kinda glad I was dense about it because I truely ate exactly what I wanted with no regrets. I think focusing on lots of this, not too much of that would’ve taken away from the whole “being pregnant” experience. I gained a healthy amount of weight each time (approx 23-25lbs) and had no trouble getting back into my clothes soon after the babes were born. A tip from me? Embrace being pregnant. I’ve NEVER felt more confident, sexy and beautiful than in my last trimester of each pregnancy.

  17. Andrea of Care to Eat on March 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Ah hell. I’ve been using maca lately and increased fertility is not something I want at the moment! Hopefully I’m practicing FAM correctly!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      bahaha that’s not the only thing it does- it’s also great for athletic performance, energy, etc 🙂

  18. Dee on March 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Question about maca- I tried it and kind of liked it- I was amazingly energetic and productive all day. But then I had a couple of people say, Don’t use Maca! And when I asked why, they had nothing to say!

    Are they being lame, or are there some disadvantages that you know of to using maca that I should be aware of? I googled, but can find nothing negative. Unfortunately, the only positive is from people selling it. I would love to get a balanced and informed opinion on it- yours!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      i haven’t heard anything bad about maca.
      we learned a lot about it in school and i think that like anything, in moderation, is totally fine. i could see how it would be an issue to sprinkle maca on everything but 1/2 T every now and again shouldn’t do any harm

  19. JLM on March 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    FYI- For those of you unaware, this month is National Nutrition Month and a time to recognize the IMPORTANCE of getting sound nutrition advice from nutrition experts ( That is, registered dietitians. Seek an RD when looking for nutrition counseling (as RDs are the only professionals licensed to do so), especially when making a baby!! Just sayin’

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm

      that is why i included the disclaimer before the info. always check with a doc regarding specific eating plans catered to your needs.
      i’m not an rd, but i am certified to counsel in nutrition

      • JLM on March 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm

        What certification is that?

        • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm

          certified sports nutritionist

          • JLM on March 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm

            Is that a CSSD? or what organization?

          • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm

            i don’t discuss the organization names for privacy reasons on the blog, and am not a huge fan of the organization i was certified through. that being said, i fully believe that having one certification over another doesn’t make someone better at what they do. yes, i’m fully certified (or i wouldn’t be employed in this field with the positions i currently have) and almost all of my knowledge is self taught. i’m a learning and researching machine.
            i understand my responsibility to my readers to provide credible and valid information. this blog is for information sharing purposes and i always encourage readers to seek out professional help for their specific situations. there are quite a few bloggers running around and spitting out information without the credentials to back them up. that’s not how i roll.

          • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness on March 3, 2010 at 3:26 pm

            Amen Sista!!! Your blog posts are SO informative. And I think the best thing they do is inform people of general knowledge & your areas of specialty, and encourage people to research MORE if there is any situation that fits them specifically.
            I love this post because babies are in my not-quite-yet-but-not-so-distant-we’re-talking-months-not-years future. LOL!

          • Lauren @ BIOCHEMISTA on March 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm

            Lay up a little, JLM. In her blog she states her credientals (and a disclaimer). The point of a BLOG is to express an OPINION. And FYI, as a biochemist, I can tell you her claims are research based.

          • HannahMarie on March 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm

            Registered dieticians may be the only professionals licensed to offer nutritional advice, but they are not the only people capable of being educated on nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Gina is not discrediting any of the nutritional advice that is offered by the American Pregnancy Association- she is simply expanding upon it by adding information that is pertinent to a less-traditional diet. She also clearly separated her contribution, and added a disclaimer urging those who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant to see an R.D. or M.D. regardless of reading her blog. While I can understand JLM’s advice on seeking the advice of an R.D., it’s unnecessary to be such an A-hole.

            P.S. To second Lauren- as a former molecular biochemist (aka I understand research-based data and metabolic processes) and almost nurse practitioner, Gina is using reliable scientific sources.

          • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 8:39 pm

            thank you <3

    • SM Girl on March 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm

      I would normally agree with seeking an RD, but I asked an RD about prepregnancy diet and all she told me was no caffeine, alcohol, or trans fats. I asked about prenatal vitamins and was told DEFINITELY to take them, yet the RD (and my primary physician for that matter) didn’t even mention them until I asked. I eat a generally healthy diet but would like to eat even better during this time, and neither my physician nor the RD I spoke to had any specific advice regarding that.

      I appreciate having information on a pre-pregnancy diet from someone, like Gina, who I know has done her research in that regard. To me it is like asking my running friend for advice on making it through a particularly long run. I am not looking for the “absolute truth”, I am looking for an educated reply from someone with experience who runs daily and has done many runs.. or in Gina’s case, someone who eats well on a daily basis and has researched the topic (and has a certification to boot).

      Anyway, not trying to get into a debate here or anything, but I just wanted to mention that I am thankful to have a resource outside of RDs to answer these questions, much like I was thankful to have friends to answer wedding planning questions and business owners to ask about starting my own business.

      • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 3:32 pm


    • Molly @fuelherup on March 3, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      I think your advice on seeking advice from someone qualified is 100% valid, but then it seems like all the sudden you were attacking Gina. Maybe that wasn’t your intention, but it certainly came off that way.
      And if you don’t think the Fitnessista’s ideas are valid, why are you reading the blog?

  20. BethT on March 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Re: artificial sweeteners – even stevia and agave are questionable in pregnancy (i.e. they haven’t been deemed safe). Sugar it is, I suppose…

  21. Mellissa on March 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Very interesting to read all of these things, not planning on babies anytime soon but if we do decide to have kiddos I will try to be healthy but not go so extreme as to do nothing but sit home.

  22. Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) on March 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Great post, Gina! I recently too a University course on prenatal nutrition and you hit the nail on the head.

    No babies for me, only the fur variety =D


  23. Erin Alexandria on March 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Really good post!

  24. Alison on March 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Great info. It’s imperative that anyone looking to have children in the near future start taking folic acid before hand. If I’m not mistaken, the spinal cord develops before you even know you’re pregnant, so once you find out you’re expecting, it’s too late to start with the extra folic acid.
    I had a really healthy pregnancy, I exercised regularly and had an easy birth. I was in and out of the hospital in under 24 hours. I only gained 20 lbs, but as my doctor so delicately put it, I was “well padded” to begin with. Thankfully breastfeeding was the ultimate weight loss tool for me and I lost the extra “padding.”

  25. Sarah on March 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you for including some vegan info too! I really need to get started on that caffeine reduction/elimination…oy.

  26. Kelly Michelle on March 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Great info as always. Seeing as how I’ve been babysitting pretty much nonstop for the past 10 years I am in NO hurry at all for kids- I have been raising everyone elses children for 20-60hrs a week! I have many more cocktails and 4am nights that don’t involve vomiting young ones before I’m ready.

    With that being said- Mom’s if you don’t want your teenage daughters having babies before they are ready make them babysit all ages and often (plus it pays well) you really learn what it takes. I’ve been babysitting since I was 13 and while I probably have far more experience than most new moms I also know enough to know that I don’t want one now!

  27. christin on March 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Your picture with the helmet made me laugh out loud. At work. Lots of staring…but it was worth it.

    May I also say that you handle criticism with much more poise than I could ever manage to muster up. Good for you!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      thanks girl! glad i could give ya a chuckle 🙂

  28. ered on March 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    A little side note: I’m going to make my baby a onesie out of this t-shirt:

    My baby just turned 4 months old. The first tip I have (and I haven’t read all the tips above because, well, I have a 4 month old who sleeps for about 15 minutes at a time. I’ll be lucky to bang this comment out) is avoid the soft cheeses and the deli meats. You may say, “YE GODS DELI MEATS??!!” but you will be surprised the things a girl can crave while pregnant. Actually, they’re “fine” if you heat them through but the soft cheeses still a caution because of some kind of bacteria thing. I read about a million baby books and googled everything in the world so if anybody reading this is wondering about anything or currently pregnant and having worries, feel free to email me for some reassurance 🙂 We also went for the birth center inside the hospital route and it turned out to be a really good thing we did. So…other tips include walk walk walk especially early on, put on the cocoa butter cream as soon as you find out you’re carrying a baby (or even before:) )–some people say it doesn’t work but let me tell you I am prone to stretch marks, and I did this and didn’t get any from the pregnancy. Except for my boobs. Don’t forget to lotion the boobs.
    EAT YOUR PROTEIN. I can’t tell you what a difference this made. And if you have to, have some chocolate. It beats biting your husbands head off! Peppermint and ginger for the morning sickness…I just tried to consider that everything I ate I was practically feeding to my baby. And I developed a renewed love of the brussel sprout! Pregnancy is a very centering time, if you can let it be, in my experience.

  29. Tyler Ramey on March 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    bwahahahahahahaha. Gina + Drill Sergeant = high-larious.

  30. Emily N on March 3, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Thinking of adding one…in possibly 8 years from now!
    I do love babies, though! Just nowhere near ready.
    And giving up coffee and chocolate will be the worst.

  31. Carrie on March 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Hey Gina,

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I was just wondering how your whole going off the BC was working out for you? I’ve been on BC for over 5 years and plan to quit (for other reasons that don’t include getting pregnant)and I’m a little nervous about side effects. (Random internet message boards about the subject aren’t doing much to alleviate my concerns either!)

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm

      hey carrie,
      everything is going very well! i was exhausted for a while at first, but am starting to feel much better (juicing has helped a lot). other than that, no probs whatsoever *knock on wood* the message boards terrified me too, but am happy to say that nothing horrible happened- i feel great and am so glad i went off

      • Jen on March 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

        hey gina,

        I am so glad that you said you felt tired when you first went of BC. This is my first month off of it (2nd week) and I am completely exhausted. I am a big runner, but my running has been so much worse these past 2 weeks because I am so tired! I thought I just wasn’t getting enough sleep, but maybe it’s the BC??

    • stacey on March 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      I’m in my sixth week of being off and the exhaustion didn’t hit me until about week 4. As did the irritablity and slight depression. I’m hoping this is just my hormones trying to rebalance, but feeling like this makes me want to get back on them. I’m holding out for now, but not knowing how much longer these effects are going to last is a little scary

  32. Nicole @ Making Good Choices on March 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Gina, thank you for a very informative post! As always you gave great information without forcing your views on us. I enjoy reading your posts and what you have to say!

  33. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman on March 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I don’t have any babies yet (and I’m not trying for them) but when I do my goal is to live as healthfully as possible—organics, all-natural skin care products, lots of fruits, veggies and other foods that help babies grow. That said, I’ve seen women with pregnancy cravings and it seems like your mind might be saying Apple but your hormones are saying Big Mac—NOW!

  34. JLM on March 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I agree with what you said fitnessista in your post- everything was evidence-based – I just wanted to bring light to the fact that there is a whole group of registered and licensed nutrition professionals out there that are available to offer guidance during pregnancy. Obviously, a person may not always see eye to eye with their MD or even RD. That’s why it’s important to shop around and find someone you click with. We do this with contractors doing work on our house, why don’t we do it with the people who care for our bodies?

    And I was curious about your certification. Not meant to stir controversy. Sheesh!

    • brittney on March 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm

      JLM, you may have meant well, but your tone in the comments wasn’t very nice.

      Fitnessista is a place of positivity. If all you were was curious, you could have added a modicum of kindness into your seemingly snide comments.

      Just sayin’! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm

      thanks for clarifying.. that sounded much more friendly and nice than the first comment 🙂

  35. Allison on March 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I have two kids and I think that Gina’s tips are fabulous, but I wanted to say that having a little chocolate now and again when you are pregnant is fine. When I was pregnant and nursing, I stayed away from all caffinated beverages and artifical sweeteners (artificial anything really). If you are addicted to caffine then so is your baby. But having a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie now and again is totally fine.

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      good to know for the future. i think i love chocolate WAY too much to give it up completely 🙂

  36. Lauren on March 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Geez, people are so rough.. glad they don’t come over to my blog. I had a pre-baby blog up recently. I agree with all your statements, well said! Good luck with the baby making!!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      thanks! no baby making over here, yet 🙂

  37. Jean on March 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for this great post, Gina! My husband and I have been married for 4 years and while we have seriously enjoyed the past few years as just us, we are very excited to have a baby and have started trying! 😉
    I loved your tips that you gave and agree with them, especially eating organic and watching out for chemical exposure. I’ve already started doing many of your tips and plan to incorporate some of the others as well…want to have the “oven” properly prepped! 🙂
    Thanks for posting this Gina!

  38. Rebecca Kenefic on March 3, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Gina, i am about to become an RD in prenatal and infant nutrition and i think you DID GREAT! you got a lot of the basics down, which are some of the hardest for a mom to be to deal with!

    some of my favorite tips are starting 6 months prior to wanting to even START to try to have a baby! and make sure not to lay on the back or belly after 4 months, and stay active unless there is a problem with high blood pressure, in that case exercise can possibly make it worse!

    thank you girl, you are truly an amazing woman, as usual!

  39. daintyvegan on March 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    That was great! I’m not planning on a baby for another 9-10 years but I still love to read stuff like this. 😀 But.. no chocolate? I adore chocolate. <3 To be honest, chocolate is really my only vice so maybe it wouldn't be too bad.. there's me being hopeful.

    Speaking of Maca, I've been thinking about adding it to my diet soon. I appear to have messed up hormones and apparently it can help with that? Regardless, I would like to try it even if all it does is give me an energy boost!

  40. Lyndsey on March 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Great info! I am about 7 1/2 weeks pregnant. I have led a pretty healthy lifestyle up until this point…now I am so nauseas I can hardly get unhealthy food down! I am staying away from caffeine and taking my prenatal vitamins so keep telling myself…this too shall pass! LOL. My energy is ZAPPED as well, so hoping I can jump back in my exercise routine soon.

  41. Catherine on March 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you for this post!! I actually copied and pasted your info to a word document so I can keep it handy. Although I am not looking to make any babies just yet, I’m definitely shooting for one in the next few years, so I want to be all ready and good to go ahead of time! Also, my older sis has started seeing a baby Dr and is taking her pre-natal pills, etc so I’m certainly going to relay this info over to her. I oddly am very ok with giving up chocolate since I rarely eat it as is (not a huge fan), but my beloved soy lattes & wine?? Say it aint so!

    Quick question – what are your thoughts on a small pour of wine now and then during pregnancy or the European idea that soft cheeses, etc in moderation if fine during pregnancy? Just curious because my mom is Spanish and kind of stuck to that mindset while she was pregnant with me and my 2 siblings. She was however, uber healthy (we never even had flavored yogurt in our house growing up – just plain yogurt and carob or fruit to mix in) and actually swam laps the day I was born and was in the middle of gardening when her water broke!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm

      the wine thing is what gets me, too!
      i have no idea about the small amount of wine and soft cheese during pregnancy since i’ve never been there. i probably won’t because i’m a little on the paranoid side but know that it’s pretty common in european countries.

  42. Lauren on March 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Really good post! I’m 8 weeks pregnant and had my first doctor’s visit last week. She gave me some information about supplements and what not to eat but a lot of it is individual research. Breaking everything down like this is great especially when you’re just starting to look for info.

    I don’t miss coffee and I can’t even think about chocolate (two things I used to enjoy regularly) so giving it up might be easier than you think!

  43. kristin on March 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    these are amazing tips!! no babies for us anytime soon – but i love to read these posts, and keep them saved for when the time comes. Please keep these reader requests coming – they are really so helpful!

    Each and every blog post of yours is informative, and they always push me to do more research when its a topic that pertains to me. THANK YOU1!!!!

  44. StephN on March 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    The picture of you with the helmet cracks me up – Awesome!

    I loved your post! So far I only have fur babies from bunnies to dog to horse :). I had a miscarriage a year and a half ago and while the doctor said that it has nothing to do with what i did or didn’t do, it freaked me out. It was very tough emotionally, even though I wasn’t that far along (9th week). But it scared me and now whenever the thought of trying again comes to my mind, I remember that whole time and think hmmm, no. I mean I was so careful with everything, did all the things they say and still lost the baby. So I don’t even know what I would do during another pregnancy…I would probably be so scared I wouldn’t move or eat at all. They told me I shouldn’t do workouts where the heartbeat goes over 120 beats per minute…they also said I shouldn’t do any horseriding anymore. Of course i did all those things in the early stages when I didn’t know i was pregnant…so even though i know that the doctor said it wasn’t anything I did – I still wonder whether that Step Class did it, or something I ate, or the horseriding…And it’s hard to overcome those fears…

    So who knows….maybe I will stick to fur babies.

  45. susan (stepping off the coaster) on March 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    i literally spit water on my computer screen when the drill sergeant photo popped up… Love it!!! hahhahahaha

    i only have fur babies, and if/when i want kids i plan to adopt. i’ve never had the desire to be pregnant, and have never felt the need to “have a baby of my own”…

    so i’m weird… oh well!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      hahahah glad it made you laugh 😉
      not weird.. just do what’s best for you!

  46. Lauren @ BIOCHEMISTA on March 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Just a random thought…

    As a biochemist (and doing my thesis research in immunology), I am always thinking of how what we put in our bodies affects our immune system, specifically how it alters our immune system’s ability to fight pathogens, viruses, etc. I think most people would agree that the more natural and organic we eat, the better off we are.

    But think about this, the primary function of our immune system is to recognize foreign entities (ex: a particular virus strain), attack it, then secrete antibodies (that are specific for that virus) so that if we are ever infected in the future, we will have immunity against the virus (i.e. the principle of how vaccines work).

    Now if during pregnancy, one is to eat 100% organic (or nearly organic), the fetus’ immune system develops essentially on these foods. But when the child is old enough to eat “real” food (at school, friend’s houses, etc.) he/she will inevitably encounter artificial food, pesticides, etc. that he/she was not exposed to when a fetus. I wonder if having 0% artificial ingredients, the baby could developed a weekend immune system in one way or another.

    I am not posting this to ask for an absolute answer, because this is still debate among immunologists, but *maybe* cheating with regular food every now and then is actually beneficial for pregnancy.

    Just a thought….I find it interesting…Sorry if it’s too much science talk 😉

  47. Amy on March 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Gina, thank you so much for this post!!! I am 31 and am hoping to start a family at the end of the year. I started taking prenatal vitamins a month ago. Good nutrition is very important to me, especially when I get pregnant. One question about artificial sweetners while pregnant. Is Truvia safe to use? Thanks again for this post! It’s going to be very useful.

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      i’m so glad you liked it- thank you!
      i’d try to go easy on the truvia.. maybe try to cut it out now slowly, so you don’t need it anymore. as soon as i got off splenda a couple of years ago, it was amazing how good food tasted without it

  48. April on March 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Gina!
    I am coming out of lurkdom to say ‘hi’ and to say i enjoy reading your blog EVERY DAY. My job has suffered a bit because of it though, ha ha.

    Seriously, your posts always strike a familiar cord with me…i am trying for a bun in the oven (love the saying), so this was great info. Funny, just yesterday i read maca is good for fertility and because of you, i already have it.

    And thanks to the ladies for the pre-preggo tips, very helpful!

  49. jewels on March 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    thanks for the tips!! its really so nice that you take the time to share your knowledge-your helping a lot of people:)

  50. Sarah Ikegami on March 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Great post. It seems we could ALL benefit from following these guidelines. No babies for me just yet but I still want to take care of myself for when that day comes…and even if it doesn’t come, I want to be healthy for me, too!
    Thanks, girl!

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