Part 6 // Nutrition Wrap Up--Recommended Resources

Welcome to our final blog in our series on nutrition throughout pregnancy!

To wrap up our six part series, we have some highly recommended resources that are sure to pique your interest! Whether you’re a book lover, a movie lover, or are a tech-savvy mom, there are a ton of resources out there. We are excited to highlight some resources to help you feel confident in this journey.

Book Recommendations For Our Mommy Readers:

* What to Eat When You’re Pregnant: A Week-by-Week Guide to Support Your Health and Your Baby’s Development by Nicole Avena- recommended by Allison C.

  • This goes into greater detail about what to eat, when to eat it, and how much! It covers all of those essential nutrients you need during your pregnancy and the best ways to obtain them in your diet so that you can have a healthy and happy pregnancy.

* What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Murkoff and Mazel - recommended by Chris M.

  • Chances are you’ve probably already read this one, or at least heard of it (or maybe you’ve seen the comedic movie with Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz!). This is a very realistic guide to help walk you through each step of the way and prepare for delivery.

* The Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon, and The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy by Shonda Parker - recommended by Hannah D.  

  • The Bradley Way  focuses on unmedicated childbirth (drug and surgery-free) and prepares you with the tools to navigate evidence-based care.

* The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy answers all of your questions about a natural diet and herbal medicine for your pregnancy. This book starts with God’s design for health and nutrition, which herbs are safe and which are dangerous during pregnancy, and how to alleviate nausea and discomfort with traditional medicine.

* Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth - recommended by Rachel D.

  • Ina May, one the nation’s leading midwives, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth with the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care. This resource is packed with inspiring birth stories, practical advice, and invaluable advice for a natural birth. This book is so highly recommended because it “aims to restore women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.”

Our Recommendations:

* The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou

  • In this book, the focus is on YOU! As we have mentioned in the last blog on postpartum and breastfeeding nutrition, the first forty days following birth are vital to recovery and rest. This book is helpful for helping you take loving care of yourself after birth, as well as a family member or friend during these first forty days.

* Real Food For Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition by Lily Nichols

  • This little book of gold contains incredible information on the how and why behind eating a diet that will benefit both you and your growing baby.

Website Recommendation For Our Tech-Savvy Mommies :

  • What’s amazing about this website is that you have direct access to medical recommendations about nutrition during pregnancy as well as the ability to create your own healthy diet plan through their MyPlate plan feature.

Apps include:

Wonder Weeks, Ovia Pregnancy Tracker, and Sprout Baby Tracker.

Documentaries For Our Movie-Loving Mommies:

The Business of Being Born

  • This documentary explores the ins and outs of America’s healthcare system through testimonies of hospital births. The findings of this documentary will compel you to advocate for the birth you want! We love this film because it helps women to understand why we do what we do at Behold Birth.


  • The focus of this documentary is the age-old debate of breastfeeding vs. infant formula. This film does a phenomenal job at offering a universal perspective to the commercialization and politics surrounding infant feeding. It follows women from different countries and provides an interesting insight to how we feed our babies around the world.

* this is free on Amazon prime- follow the title link to watch!


  • This film is so unique in how it follow the lives for four babies from across the globe through their first year of life.

* this is also free on their website- follow the title link to check it out!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog series and we hope that you learned something new about pregnancy nutrition. Most importantly, we hope you feel encouraged and empowered to make diet decisions that promote a healthy and happy pregnancy! As always, we welcome any questions you may have, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

* If you are interested in nutrition counseling for pregnancy or just discussing any questions you have, I (Lauren) am currently offering a free consultation through Behold Birth, and would love to meet you and talk!



Part 5 // Postpartum and Breastfeeding Nutrition

Welcome back!

Today we are picking up right where we left off with educational nutrition series and focusing on the importance of nutrition postpartum and during breastfeeding. Even though we live in a very fast-paced, go-go-go society, the period after birth is a sacred time meant for physical, emotional, and spiritual rest, as well as recovery from labor.  

The First Forty Days

One of the most important time periods of your pregnancy will actually occur once your baby has already entered the world- your postpartum period. That being said, the first forty days after birth is an essential time of deep rest and physical recovery. In the past nine months your focus was on making sure you got the right nutrients and right amounts to support the growth and development of your baby. Now the focus is on making sure you are eating in a way that nourishes your own body.

Recent research has found that there is a distinct connection between nutrient depletion and a decreased production of key mood-regulating neurotransmitters, like serotonin. Low levels of folate, vitamin D, iron, zinc, fats (discussed in blog 3!) during pregnancy and following birth have all been associated with a higher risk of postpartum depression.

Can my diet go back to normal now?

Just like during pregnancy, your diet will need to be structured with nutrient-dense foods before you bounce back completely to your diet before pregnancy. During breastfeeding you will need extra calories to compensate for your own recovery and for feeding your baby. If you’re breastfeeding you’ll burn through an extra 500 calories per day. It is recommended that you aim for at least 300 - 500 extra calories a day during this time. Protein is a huge component of these extra calories- you’ll need an extra 25 grams, which looks like a total of 70 to 80 grams per day. Protein is essential for your postpartum recovery and the growth and repair of your cells. In addition, your baby needs protein for cell growth and developing immune functions. Another nutrient to focus on is calcium. Your baby needs enough calcium for their growing bones and your low estrogen levels during nursing can put your bones at risk for osteoporosis.

Another common worry when breastfeeding is that babies may develop allergies when feeding. The truth is that allergies in babies are less common than you might think. Just because your baby is fussy during or after feeding does not necessary mean they have a food insensitivity. Most often they are fussy because their gastrointestinal system is not quite mature yet. Consult your pediatrician if there are any symptoms of excessive spitting up, reflux or bloody stools. If you need to cut dairy or other key nutrients from your diet, make sure to stock up on other calcium-rich foods or take a recommended supplement to balance.

Certain foods and substances were off the table during pregnancy, so are they back on for breastfeeding? One topic that is questioned often is alcohol consumption during breastfeeding. The recommendation is to drink in small amounts and in moderation, according to research. Alcohol can enter your breastmilk in small amounts, so it is recommended to wait about two to three hours after a drink to breastfeed or before you enjoy that glass of wine. A good rule of thumb is: if you’re safe to drive, you’re safe to breastfeed!


Stay hydrated!

  • Just as we mentioned in the last blog, staying hydrated is SO SO important!

  • Water helps support the rebuilding your tissues are doing and promotes recovery of your muscles and proper organ functioning.

  • Not only is it important to your own physical recovery, but it is vital for producing breast milk.

  • At least 10 to 15 glasses a day are required to quench your own thirst and produce enough breast milk.

Structure your diet with nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods

  • Focus on colorful produce, healthy proteins, fats and whole grains to prevent inflammation

  • New research from John Hopkins concluded that inflammation can be linked to depression symptoms- doctors believe this is due to the role the enteric nervous system (ENS) plays in controlling your digestion and communicating with the brain, which may trigger emotional shifts when your gut just doesn’t feel right.

  • Consider adding anti-inflammatory foods like darky leafy greens, melons and berries, iron-rich proteins like grass-fed beef, healthy fats like coconut oil or avocado oil.

Eat collagen-rich foods

  • Collagen is a superfood that works to help rebuild your tissues.

  • Some moms even say collagen helps with postpartum hair loss!

  • You can find collagen in dark leafy greens like spinach or kale, in omega-3 rich fish like mackerel, salmon or tuna, and in a variety of antioxidant berries and even in garlic!

Take advantage of easy, warm, and nutritious meals

  • This means all of those yummy soups, stews and easy crockpot/ instapot meals you love!

  • Reach out to family and friends if you are too tired and could use some help in the meal department! (others have been there too, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!)

Thanks again for tuning in this week to discuss postpartum and breastfeeding nutrition! We welcome you to ask any question you may have from this series- we’re here for you! Join us next week as we wrap up this blog series!



Part 4 // Nutrition During Pregnancy: Testimonies and Advice

After a short break, we warmly welcome you back to our blog today on pregnancy testimonies from fellow mothers who have been there and those that are currently riding the waves of their cravings and various experiences. So instead of providing you with more nutrients to remember and daily recommended intakes, today you will hear personal testimonies of women just like you.


  • “With my first pregnancy having my daughter, I found that I craved fruit, but I was nauseated at the thought of any meat. However, when I had my son, I felt the opposite- I craved every type of meat and couldn’t get enough of the sweets!” -Amy L.

  • “To be entirely honest, I did eat a lot of junk food. I enjoyed fried food especially potatoes. But that’s not too outside my regular cravings!” -Allison C.

  • “I didn’t have strong cravings throughout my pregnancies, but I do remember craving oranges during my last trimester with my first child.” -Chris M.

  • “While I was picky with my food choices during my first pregnancy, in my second pregnancy I often had this huge craving for burgers!” -Carly E.

  • “I never had crazy cravings- with my first daughter, though, I really loved mustard! With my second daughter I didn’t have much of an appetite, not that I was constantly nauseous, I just had to remind myself to eat.” -Rachel D.

  • “My cravings were entirely different between having my boy and my girl. With my son I craved ice cream all the time and couldn’t stand the sight or smell of chicken. I didn’t seem to have particular cravings or aversions when I had my daughter next, it was just a normal, balanced diet.” -Tammie R.

  • “As crazy as this sounds, I found that I craved pickles and chocolate milk...together! I know, it’s pretty weird but it’s what gave me so much joy during my pregnancy!” -Shelley A.


  • “As a teacher, I was constantly on my feet, teaching my kiddos all the way up until my due date. I took walks a few times a week, but that was the only exercise I really did. My weight gain was about the same for both pregnancies- about 26 pounds with my first child and 29-30 pounds for my second.” -Chris M.

  • “In the first three months is when I usually felt some morning sickness, but as I entered the second trimester that left and I usually felt pretty good.” -Mary D.

  • “In my first pregnancy, I had gestational diabetes and was put on bed rest for all of my last trimester, so that seemed to impact my diet and ability to prepare healthy meals. I am thankful to have the support from my spouse and family in helping me get the nutrition I needed. With my second pregnancy I didn’t have gestational diabetes and I was better at monitoring what I ate.” -Tammie R.

Unexpected Changes:

  • “I found that I was more emotional having my daughter than my son.” -Amy L.

  • “When I had my daughter, my hair and skin seemed to be flawless, but with my son my face broke out often in response to the surge of hormones packed in my body” -Carly E.

  • “Even though I expected to be on bed rest like my mother was when she had be, I was able to still maintain an active lifestyle throughout my pregnancy.” -Allison C.

Their Thoughts:

  • “You often hear ‘you’re eating for two,’ but I was advised to eat for 1.1, and I found that I was always full, satisfied, and never stuffing myself” -Shelley A.

  • “I think nutrition and choosing healthy foods while pregnant is important. It effect our little ones probably more than we know! I have a friend who has celiacs and her children have a lot of allergies and eczema. While she was pregnant with one of their girls she ate a pretty strict diet, eliminating the 7 top allergens...that daughter has the least issues of all their kiddos.” -Hannah D.

  • “Health in pregnancy is huge, but it can also be a hard thing to maintain when all you crave is junk food! (which I did for most of them)“ -Rachel D.

Our Thoughts:

While your body is experiencing a major change, your diet can stay relatively the same with a focus on a healthy and balanced meal plan. There is no need to drastically change your diet in order to try to have the “perfect pregnancy diet” that you may see all over social media. On the flip side, it is okay to indulge in your cravings in every once and awhile in moderation. You know your body and your normal. You may crave foods you never touched prior to pregnancy or you may even have an aversion to your all time favorite food. It’s important to understand the craving and know that you don’t have to completely indulge in order to satisfy that taste. Sometimes when we feel famished, our bodies may actually be saying “I’m thirsty!” Before you give in to any cravings or endless snacking, drink a big glass of water (because you need it!) and check-in with yourself again.

One important piece of advice we want to emphasize is that you should make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. And by plenty we mean more than you think you actually need! Water is an essential component of a healthy diet and active lifestyle prior to pregnancy, and as a mommy-to-be it is more important now than ever. Water is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to our cells, tissues, and organs. Staying hydrated ensures that your baby is getting the nutrients it needs to grow and develop. When your tissues are hydrated, you promote elasticity, which results in healthy skin that can stretch easily and protect against tearing. Proper hydration during pregnancy is also a key element to maintaining an adequate level of amniotic fluid. Drinking enough water is extremely important during the third trimester because dehydration can potentially trigger contractions that lead to preterm labor. Water intake is not only important during pregnancy- it is one of the main components for the production of breast milk after birth.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends that you drink at least 10 glasses of water daily. One easy way to make sure you stay hydrated is to make it a habit now of carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go, so that it is easily accessible. If you are a to-do lister, it might even be helpful for you track your water intake by checking each full glass/bottle off your list.

We hope you enjoyed hearing from other women just like you, and we hope you’ll tune in for our blog next week on postpartum and breastfeeding nutrition!



Part 3 // Nutrition During Pregnancy: Key Nutrients

Welcome back to part three of our nutrition series! Today we will be discussing why you need specific prenatal vitamins and nutrients and how to obtain them in your diet. Vitamins and nutrients play important roles in all of your body functions. The lucky 7 nutrients that deserve some attention are calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, DHA, folic acid, and protein.  

  1. Calcium

You may already know that calcium is important for building bones and teeth. This means that calcium is especially important for your baby’s bones, teeth, muscles, heart and nerve function. It can also reduce risk of pregnancy-related complications, like hypertension or preeclampsia.

The daily recommended intake during pregnancy = 1,000 - 1,300 mg/day

Where can I find it?

  • Dairy: milk, eggs, yogurt

  • Dark leafy greens: broccoli, kale, spinach

2.  Iron

This is an important nutrient that works to maintain iron levels in the blood. Iron makes hemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells- its main job is to bring oxygen to your tissues. It works with sodium, potassium, and water to increase blood flow. The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, so iron helps your body produce more blood to supply oxygen to your baby. Iron is also important in helping prevent anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells and hemoglobin, during pregnancy.

Iron is also super important during the postpartum period. A woman who is iron deficient during pregnancy can be at a higher risk for hemorrhage during birth. In addition, it also has a huge effect on PPD (postpartum depression). This is one of the reasons for encapsulating one’s placenta.

The daily recommended intake during pregnancy = 27 mg/day

Where can I find it?

  • Lean meat

  • Beans/ nuts

  • Beaf

  • Cereal

  • Leafy greens

  • Eggs

  • Dried fruits

3.  Zinc

This nutrient is especially important for the immune system, healing, and DNA synthesis. Zinc also plays a role in the development of the placenta, which makes it an essential micronutrient in pregnancy. Zinc deficiency can impact fetal growth and placenta formation.

The daily recommended intake during pregnancy = 11 - 13 mg/day

Where can I find it?

  • Red meats

  • Seeds (squash, pumpkin, sunflower)

  • Beans/ nuts

  • Cereals fortified with zinc

  • Whole grains

  • Eggs

4. Fiber

Fiber helps to fight pregnancy constipation and ease stomach cramping. Fiber-rich foods typically have the added bonus of being nutrient-dense, meaning they make you full without a ton of calories. It is important to also make sure that you drink plenty of water with your fiber intake to support a healthy digestive system.

The daily recommended intake during pregnancy = 25 - 30 g/day

Where can I find it?

  • Beans

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Broccoli

  • Berries

  • Rice and quinoa

5.  DHA

This is an acronym for the nutrient docosahexaenoic acid, which is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is needed for your baby’s brain development and growth. Your baby’s brain and eyes utilize DHA during the second trimester and continuing until age two. That being said, this nutrient is needed during breastfeeding as well.  DHA intake during pregnancy has been found through scientific research to reduce the risk of preterm labor and birth.

The daily recommended intake during pregnancy = 200 mg/day

Where can I find it?

  • Fatty fish (herring, salmon, trout)

  • DHA fortified orange juice

  • Milk

  • Eggs

  • Prenatal supplement with at least 200 mg of DHA

(Take during the second and third trimesters)

6.  Folic Acid

This nutrient plays a very important role in the development and growth of your baby’s brain and spine. It works to prevent neural tube birth defects like spina bifida (incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord, or their coverings). Just like iron, folic acid helps make blood during pregnancy.

The daily recommended intake during pregnancy = 60 mcg/day

(70% of all neural tube defects can be avoided with the recommended intake of folic acid)

Where can I find it?

  • Naturally in whole grain breads, dark leafy greens, avocados, citrus…..but this is one nutrient that can be better maintained by a supplement. Contact your doctor if you have questions about doses or need a recommendation for a folic acid vitamin.

    7.  Protein

Perhaps one of the most important essential nutrients during pregnancy is protein. Protein’s role in the body is to help grow, maintain, and repair cells, all which are important for your baby’s development. This is important to increasing a woman’s blood supply (which allows more blood to be sent to your baby!) and can even help to reduce the risk of pregnancy-related diseases like preeclampsia. Another benefit of protein for the mother is the role it plays in breast and uterine tissue growth during pregnancy.

The daily recommended intake during pregnancy = 75 - 100 g/day

Where can I find it?

  • Lean meat and fish

  • Eggs

  • Dairy products

  • legumes/ nuts/ seeds

How do I make sure I get all of these vitamins?

  • A prenatal vitamin supplement in conjunction with a well-rounded diet can provide all of the vitamins and nutrients you need during pregnancy. Some medical professionals even recommend women take prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding to make sure babies get the essential nutrients they need.

I hope you learned something new today and feel encouraged to make decisions that allow you to maintain a healthy and happy diet during pregnancy! Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next week!



Part 2 // Nutrition During Pregnancy: More To Love

Happy (day after) Valentine’s Day to each and every one of you lovely ladies!

Around these parts we like to turn holidays into multi day celebrations ;) Since yesterday was a day of love, today we’re going to talk about how you can love your body and love your baby during pregnancy by eating well and taking the time to do what makes you feel most loved. We’re going to be talking about how to take control of cravings, deal with morning sickness, and offer you some delicious and easy meal options to help you get the nutrients you need to love your body and baby well.

Loving your body through cravings:

The truth is… most women will have food cravings or aversions at some point during their pregnancy. The specific cause of these cravings is not necessarily known, but research suggests they may be related to hormone levels during pregnancy. The surge of hormones you feel in each trimester may cause you to be more sensitive to certain smells or tastes. This can lead to new cravings or a distaste for food you enjoyed prior to pregnancy. While some expecting mothers may crave sweets or salty foods, some experience pica during pregnancy. Pica is an eating disorder that can occur during pregnancy when one craves substances such as dirt, coffee grounds, chalk, laundry detergent, etc. These bizarre cravings can be a sign that your body isn’t getting enough iron or calcium, so if you experience these cravings we recommend you should talk to your doctor immediately.

How can I control my cravings?

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How can I control my food aversions?

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Loving your body through morning sickness and heartburn:

You have probably already been warned about morning sickness or you may have experienced it first-hand. Morning sickness is most common during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and is accompanied by feelings of nausea and often vomiting. This is due to the increased levels of hormones running through your body during pregnancy. Even though you might feel so nauseated that you don’t want to eat, it is important that you still get the nutrients you need so that you can support your health and your baby’s growth and development.

Here are some tips to help combat morning sickness and make sure you get enough nutrients in your diet:

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Heartburn is another uncomfortable condition that can occur during your pregnancy. This is caused by the hormone progesterone, which can cause the valve between your stomach and esophagus to relax, letting stomach acid reach your esophagus, which results in that awful sensation you feel. This is most common during the third trimester because the uterus is putting pressure on your intestines and stomach during this period. While this feeling of heartburn and discomfort may make you not want to eat, remember it is still important to make sure you are eating nutritious foods to support your baby. Here are a few tips to help you try to control heartburn naturally through your diet:

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Finally we offer you 5 delicious and nutritious fun meals for you to make that your taste buds and your body will LOVE!

  1. Mexican Breakfast Burrito - a great (and tasty!) way to pack in good protein and veggies to start your morning

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2. Watermelon, Arugula, Feta, and Mint Salad - for a fresh take on a salad that helps with feelings of nausea and bloating and tastes great too!

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3. Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Barley and Dried Apricots - grilled pork tenderloin is a great source of lean protein with a nutrient- rich side containing vitamins and fiber for your diet.

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4. Crockpot Chicken Veggie Quinoa Soup - just throw it in the crockpot and kick your feet up! You deserve the rest and yummy food! And just look at the rainbow of veggies here!

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5. No-Churn Blueberry and Lemon Ice Cream - a sweet treat that is low in calories, requires little work, and is packed with antioxidants from the berries!

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We hope you enjoyed this blog and hope you’ll tune in next week as we dive deeper into essential nutrients to help you have a happy and healthy diet during your pregnancy.



Part 1 // Nutrition During Pregnancy: Uncovering the Truth About The Food You Are Eating

When Lauren told me she was passionate about nutrition, I was thrilled. Nutrition is such a large part of the human experience—especially as it relates to getting pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, and entering into the postpartum period. I am so grateful for her willingness to put together this series for all of you. Thanks Lauren!


For the next six weeks we will be talking about….drum roll please….NUTRITION!! Since you probably already know the major keys to a healthy diet and lifestyle (eat your fruits and veggies, drink tons of water!) and the major no-no’s (no alcohol, smoking, or raw meat/fish), we are going to focus on specific nutrients and tips to help you have a healthy and happy pregnancy. To kick off our series we will be discussing some common myths and misconceptions about nutrition during pregnancy. Today we are going to pose three questions many women, maybe even you, have asked about a healthy diet during pregnancy. Let’s get started!

Question # 1: Is it okay to drink coffee during pregnancy?

Yes!...Well, kind of. Let’s explain: while there are many misconceptions about caffeine consumption, most experts say that you can actually safely consume caffeine in limited amounts without it negatively affecting the baby.

What have high intake levels of caffeine been accused of? Some think that high levels of caffeine consumption may interfere with conception and cause birth defects, a low birth weight, or a low IQ. Caffeine has also been suspected of being a risk factor for miscarriage since the 1980’s

The facts:

  • Low birth weight: One large study conducted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist found that mothers who consumed more than 300 mg of caffeine a day were more likely to give birth to babies that had a lower birth weight for their gestational age.

  • Transference across the placenta: As your pregnancy progresses, your body becomes increasingly less efficient at breaking down caffeine, meaning that it takes longer to clear from your system. Unfortunately this can mean that caffeine can cross the placenta and reach your baby more quickly.

  • Iron absorption inhibition: Beverages like coffee and tea contain compounds that can inhibit iron absorption. As we will discuss later, iron levels are very important due to the role that it plays in blood and hemoglobin (a blood protein) production and delivery of oxygen to your baby.

  • Decreased blood flow: another caution is that caffeine can have similar metabolic effects as the stress hormone adrenaline (if you’ve ever felt those coffee jitters, you know what I’m talking about!). This could potentially reduce blood flow to the uterus.

  • Caffeine naturally has a diuretic effect; therefore, a high caffeine consumption would increase the frequency of urination, potentially leading to dehydration.

The recommendation from most doctors and health professionals is that you consume less than 200mg of caffeine a day- that’s about one 12 ounce cup of coffee a day. Here are some other common examples of caffeine amounts to help you monitor your caffeine intake:

  • 1 cup Coffee- 95-165 mg

  • Avg. soda- 37 mg

  • Excedrin- 65 mg

  • Candy- 30 mg

Question # 2: Should I stay away from eating fish?

Not necessarily- fish can be a very beneficial part of your diet, but some fish can be harmful to consume during pregnancy.

Many fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in your baby’s brain development before and after birth. Fish can also be a great source of protein and healthy fats.

Some types of fish have higher levels of mercury than others. The danger with mercury during pregnancy is that it has been linked to birth defects. Specifically, methylmercury, which is found in fish and shellfish, can cause brain damage and hearing or vision problems to your baby during pregnancy.

How can I make sure to stay clear of mercury? You can be exposed to elemental mercury by touching it, by breathing it in the air, and eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated with mercury. That being said, you can protect against mercury ingestion in very simple ways by avoiding fish with high amounts of mercury or asking for help from a non-pregnant adult to help clean a broken thermostat or fluorescent light bulb.

Okay, so what are the “good” fish and what are the “bad” fish to eat during pregnancy?

GOOD: Choose fish and shellfish such as shrimp, salmon, catfish, or pollock- these have little to no mercury at all

BAD: Avoid swordfish, marin, shark, and mackerel because these large fish have very high levels of methylmercury.

Question # 3: Ever heard the phrase “you’re eating for 2?” Does this mean I can eat what I want?

The truth is: yes and no. Just like before pregnancy, diet is a beautiful balance of eating right, drinking enough water, and getting some light exercise.

In reality, there is no need for excess calories during the first trimester, but during the second and third trimesters mothers can expect to increase their caloric intake due to the baby’s rapid growth. For example, a pregnant woman of normal weight should aim to eat about:

  • 1,800 calories/day during the first trimester

  • 2,200 calories/day during the second trimester

  • 2,400 calories/day during the third trimester

These calories are typically in correlation with a weight gain of about 1-4.5 pounds during the first trimester and 1-2 pounds per week during both the second and third trimesters.

Weight gain during pregnancy is not solely attributed to diet, however. To help you better understand the distribution of weight gain, here are the averages for pregnancy weight gain provided by the American Pregnancy Association: (assuming a gain of 30 pounds)

  • The average baby weighs about 7 ½ pounds at the end of pregnancy

  • The placenta actually weighs about 1 ½ pounds

  • Increased fluid volume measures out to about 4 pounds

  • The uterus weighs around 2 pounds

  • Breast tissue can weigh around 2 pounds as well

  • Increased blood volume rounds out to about 4 pounds

  • 7 pounds of weight gain normally results from maternal stores of protein, fat and other nutrients

  • The amniotic fluid can weigh about 2 pounds

While you may hear a plethora of suggestions to “eat this” or “don’t eat that,” your body is going to tell you when something is right and when something is wrong. Know that there’s freedom to eat what makes you feel good or strong and to indulge in a craving every once in a while (speaking to all of my fellow chocolate lovers!). Cravings during pregnancy are very normal and may even be your body telling you there is a specific need or deficiency in your diet.

How can I make sure I’m eating healthy for myself and my baby? One tool that is especially helpful for expecting mothers is a diet log that can help you monitor caloric and nutrient intake. During this blog series we will get into the specifics of important vitamins and nutrients, but here are a few brief guidelines to help you get started:

  • More protein is needed than you think! About 71 g/ day to promote your baby’s growth throughout pregnancy

  • About 1,000 mg of calcium is needed to support strong bones and teeth for you and your baby

  • Folate (folic acid) is a B vitamin that is essential during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects- 400-800 micrograms a day is essential to obtain from your diet or via a supplement

  • During pregnancy you will need double the amount of iron to make more blood to supply oxygen to your baby- 27 mg to be exact

Thank you for joining us as we continue this journey of supporting healthy mamas and healthy babies. We look forward to hearing from you and learning alongside you as we dive into this series on nutrition throughout pregnancy!



Meet Behold's Intern // Lauren Luckey


Hello! My name is Lauren and I’m an intern here at Behold Birth. I was born and raised in the Classic City of Athens and have a big heart for this vibrant community that I am lucky enough to call home. I’m a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences and minoring in Public Health.

My passion for birth work began in high school when I volunteered in the labor and delivery department at my local hospital. This experience lifted my heart for birth work in a way that I hadn’t felt before. I was in awe of the birth workers who encourage and empower women so well during the process. My studies in college have allowed me to explore my passion for prenatal and infant development and help assess the needs of different populations through public health. Human development naturally led me to discover the career of a midwife. When I met with midwives in the Athens community I instantly knew this was a career that would allow me to serve women the best way I can and to encourage and support them during pregnancy and birth.

Pregnancy and birth have such a tender place in my heart. I believe the miracle of birth is one of the most beautiful things offered in this life. I am most excited to intern with Behold Birth to help educate and support mothers and their families during their pregnancies. Women are so good at encouraging one another and building each other up, and I think pregnancy is such a special time to use those gifts. To be a part of the process-- to encourage, empower, and support mothers and their families is such a true blessing.

Why Doula?

I wrote this post several months ago and first published it on my personal blog. At the time, I was pregnant--I have now given birth to that sweet baby boy, but the truth here still remains. I am so excited to continue on this journey of supporting women during such a special time of life.

A little over a year ago marks the beginning of my conscious journey of stepping into an area of life I am so passionate about, an area that intrigues and captivates me. It seems strange to say, but from a young age I can recall being fascinated with pregnancy and birth. More so than most females my age. It didn’t weird or gross me out, and I still don’t know how to explain it, other than my spirit engaged and continues to engage in such a way that sometimes catches me off guard.

 Before having our first son, it was not something that I talked about or really gave much thought to. It seemed a strange thing to be so inspired by without actually ever having been pregnant or given birth. Being pregnant and having our first son though, gave me the permission I felt like I needed to start talking about the way birth moved me and brought my soul satisfaction. It seems silly now–I know plenty of birth advocates that have never had children and their passion and expertise is just as real as mine after having one child and being in my third pregnancy. I figured that my deep sense of connection to pregnancy and birth and women was the fact that I was a woman—I assumed that every woman must feel the same way. And while most women are convinced of the beauty and wonder of birth, not all feel the deep sense of desire to come along side other women and walk through their pregnancies and birth with them.

 So after exactly a year of praying and a series of God events and doors opening (as all life is), I attended my training to become a CLD (certified Labor Doula). The why is simple: I want to serve women during one of the most vulnerable, emotional, beautifully sacred times they will walk through. I have experienced both the joy of childbirth and the sorrow of pregnancy loss, and both have only increased my desire to support women during this season of their lives.

We become parents the day those tiny lives are conceived in us. The parenting process and parenting heart starts long before the physical babies are born. No matter how long we are blessed to physically parent a child, we steward those tiny souls. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).

And that is why I am now a walking cliche. A pregnant doula in training. A pregnant lover of pregnancy and birth.

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3