Truly nourishing the body is one of my greatest passions. We could even expand that to discuss nourishment in body and mind but, for tonight's purpose, we will keep the scope more localized. Real nutrition is the backbone to a healthy lifestyle and strong immune system (which could stem many more tangential topics - hopefully ones that I will address in later posts!). I hesitate to use the words "good" or "excellent" when discussing nutrition because it's not quite as clear as "good" and "bad." Nourishing the body really boils down to having a broad understanding of what the body needs to be fueled optimally and function at it's peak. It's not about deprivation or indulgence but about moderation and optimization.
Unfortunately, many OBs and midwives offer only a very generalized view of nutrition basics, if any at all. I will never forget when I asked a midwife during my first pregnancy if a recommendation she was making in regards to pregnancy could be applied to general nutrition and she told me she did not know. That was unacceptable to me. It may have been one of the first glimpses I had into the divide between holistic midwifery care and conventional "midwifery." How could someone giving advice about nutrition not be able to see things in the larger scheme? It only lent fuel to my fire of wanting to learn more, more, more about truly nourishing the body.
True nourishment follows a "diet" very similar to that which is recommended when diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Unfortunately, it is quite often only after this diagnosis is made that women are actually taking part in discussions with care providers about how they are caring for their bodies and their babies. Nutrition is rarely discussed in visits with hospital-based midwives and obstetricians and is only covered in bare bones with birth center midwives. In my mind, a one hour visit, focused solely on optimum nutrition throughout pregnancy, is crucial to gaining even just a minimal understanding of the basics of solid nourishment. Finding a guide or support person - doula, midwife, childbirth educator, prenatal nutritionist - who will spend this time with you in pregnancy can be paramount in supporting the informed and empowered birth you may desire.
Before opening up about some great nutrition resources, understand the research behind the diagnosis of GD. Check out here the research analyzed by medical analyst and birth advocate Henci Goer. This should not be the ultimate in decision making but can hopefully provide you with a bit more information and analysis to further your decision making. Also, check out this post, citing Anne Frye, Varney, and Hart. Both great reads.
I won't spend a whole post here talking about the ins and outs of nourishment in pregnancy (maybe I will do that in the future) but I'd love to share a few resources. Aviva Jill Romm's "The Natural Pregnancy Book" is a fantastic holistic resource for nutrition. Full of nutritional information, along with herbal and alternative recommendations, this book is a great guide to supporting the natural pregnancy. "The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook" is also great, whether vegetarian or not.
Recently, I had a momma in my birth class who was really committed to understanding GD and the changes in nourishment that could help support a healthy pregnancy. She became so passionate about what she was learning that she dedicated an entire blog to it. I highly recommend checking out her info, recipes, and insights at http://www.okthedietstartstomorrow.blogspot.com.
As is the basis for holistic nutrition in general, remember to eat the colors of the rainbow, explore seasonal local foods, eat what is as close to or in it's natural state as possible, and aim for foods that you could catch, hunt, or grow.
For more nutrition guidance or to set up a one-on-one prenatal nourishment workshop, contact Britt at firstname.lastname@example.org.