I love that pregnancy is a time of heightened awareness around the importance of good nutrition, which is why it is so fun to work with this patient population.
We now know that good nutrition is important — not only for the immediate health of the developing baby, but also for the baby’s future health as she grows into adulthood.
With this in mind, I set out to create a blueprint for healthy eating in pregnancy that reflected current science-based information that pregnant women could use to get the best possible nutrition during this important time.
The result of this effort is “My Pregnancy Plate,” which focuses on dietary patterns and is designed to guide people toward a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet (“My Pregnancy Plate,” Spanish version”).
As a dietitian, I like to talk to people about their “eating style” because it’s a positive way to discuss nutrition and reinforces the goal of long-term healthy living. So, although it’s titled “My Pregnancy Plate, this blueprint, or tool, is a healthy way to eat before and after pregnancy, as well.
In pregnancy, mom’s additional need for energy is not very high, but her need for more micronutrients increases dramatically. Consequently, as the My Pregnancy Plate illustrates, a well-balanced pregnancy diet would include an abundant and varied amount of plant-based foods.
Moderate amounts of animal-based foods should be eaten, preferably non-fat/low-fat dairy, lean meats and oily fish. Small amounts of healthy fats in the diet should also be included.
There is a saying that sensibly emphasizes the concept of “thinking for two, but not eating for two.” Because foods or beverages containing a lot of sugar and/or saturated fat are high in calories and low in nutrients, these should be included on a very limited basis. Thanks to our graphic designer, the My Pregnancy Plate is a feast for the eyes, which brings me to my last point: healthy eating reflects balance, variety, moderation and enjoyment!
Christie Naze, R.D., C.D.E.
OHSU Center for Women’s Health
Editor’s note: Amy Wang with The Oregonian’s Omamas blog recently interviewed Christie about My Pregnancy Plate. You can read the article here.