Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fueling a Better Pregnancy & Brainstrong Prenatal

Even with two pregnancies under my belt, trying to eat the best diet possible for another growing person is my biggest concern. During my first pregnancy I didn't always make the best choices on food. I was working full time and often grabbed what was fast, convenient and could be stored in my desk.  Always hungry, I craved carbohydrates like potatoes, starchy foods and sweet treats. My weight just kept climbing and it was a tough pregnancy towards the end.

With my daughter, and second pregnancy, food was simpler, fresher and more balanced. My meat was balanced with other forms of protein like beans, nuts and soy. I felt better, gained less extra (unhealthy weight) and my blood pressure was better, too. The difference was all on my plate.

For me it was following the example my Grandpa gave me years before. He always encouraged us to eat a rainbow on our plates. Celebrating nature's orange, red, green and violet as a guide to eating well worked  for me.

This time around I feel like I can take  everything I learned from my past and eat to fuel a better pregnancy. 

A rainbow is made up of R-O-Y-G-B-I-V:

Red - like beets and tomatoes contain lycopene, great antioxidants. This time of year I am enjoying fresh tomatoes and watermelon straight off the vine, but during the colder months I will be eating it in homemade tomato sauces and soups.

Organge & Yellow - Carrots are the first that come to mind, but I also love cantaloupe. The orange and yellow coloring comes from beta carotene good for both skin and eyes.

Green - Love me some dark leafy greens! You can hold the iceberg lettuce, I have fallen head over heels in love with kale and spinach. I hold this group up high in importance because I usually have a slight iron deficiency during pregnancy. Iron rich foods are my friends. Many of these also contain folate or folic acid, so important for a baby's brain and spinal cord development.

Blue, Indigo, and Violet - There is more here than just the blueberries... though I love them so! Don't forget those plums (and cousins the prunes), black beans and dark grapes. These are all rich in flavonoids which are a great antioxidant for cell walls. Also the black beans pack in some iron and those prunes will help some of the less than fun issues associated with pregnancy.

Doesn't that all sound yummy... and pretty?

Well, in the even that I miss a color, or am still not getting everything I need to grow a strong and healthy baby, I can count on a good prenatal vitamin to fill in the gaps.

Brainstrong Prenatal contains the highest amount of folic acid and DHA on the market without a prescription. It is a complete prenatal multivitamin consisting of 2 pills, neither of which is abnormally large. Ever take one of those?  These are also from a vegetarian source and not fish, so rest assured there is no fear of potential contaminants.

So why is DHA so important? DHA helps with brain development in a developing fetus. A baby relys on the Mother to provide them with enough and many OB/GYNs urge expectant Moms to take a prenatal that contains DHA. Those tiny little budding brains take 70% of the energy supply during fetal development. Feed it right with the DHA they need.

During my first pregnancy I couldn't find a prenatal that included DHA and had to buy a different product to get that supplemented. I love that this time around one product is all I need. As for the cost? It is very reasonable and often less than most copays. We all want what is best for our growing baby, and this is a great way to assure you are doing everything you can to support a healthy pregnancy.

*Disclaimer - I received a sample of Brainstrong Prenatal and was compensated for this post, but all opinions expressed are my own. Your experiences may vary. Always consult your doctor if you have any medical questions.
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