Eating well during pregnancy can be challenging, for many reasons. You may be confused by conflicting information about what to eat, you may feel nauseous or have a protein aversion that limits what sounds good, or maybe you’re just too tired to cook.
The good news is that prenatal nutrition doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Needed is on a mission to empower women to be optimally nourished at every stage of the journey to motherhood. They offer nutrition products to complement a mama’s diet to promote optimal health, especially on days when it’s tough to get anything to stay down.
Let’s walk through a day in the life of a pregnant mama using optimally dosed supplements to help meet her nutrition needs.
First thing in the Morning Prenatal Nutrition:
The moment you wake up your body is craving hydration. You’ve just spent an extended period of time in a fasted state without consuming food or fluids, so it’s the perfect time to intentionally replete your body with what it needs to thrive.
And when you’re pregnant you need more than just water. Electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium maintain fluid balance, aid in blood flow and regulate blood pressure, and support bone health. As fluid needs increase in pregnancy and breastfeeding, so do electrolyte needs.
Mix 16 fl oz of filtered water with a packet of Needed’s Hydration Support. This delicious powder contains an optimal balance of refreshing electrolytes and trace minerals, and unlike most other electrolyte supplements available, it does not contain any sugar and is lightly sweetened and flavored with only real fruit.
We get it, whether you’re short on time, navigating getting yourself and your toddler ready for school or just not a big breakfast eater, it can be hard to sit down for a balanced breakfast. Smoothies are a fantastic way to pack in nutrient-dense foods like berries, nuts/seeds, and leafy greens in a convenient and easily digestible way.
Make sure to pair your smoothie with adequate protein and fat. Research shows that protein needs are 39% higher in early pregnancy and 73% higher in late pregnancy than previously thought. Aiming for closer to 80 grams in protein in early pregnancy and 100 grams in late pregnancy may be more optimal, yet 40-67% of pregnant women fall below this level. Needed’s Prenatal Collagen Protein is a clean, quick, and convenient way to meet your needs for this critical macronutrient. Better yet, your smoothie can double as your prenatal vitamin! Needed’s Prenatal Powder is a slightly sweet vanilla-flavored powder even nauseous mamas love. Simply blend the Prenatal Multi Powder in your morning smoothie and you’ve just started your day with 24 optimally dosed vitamins and minerals you and your baby need to thrive!
1 cup nut/seed milk of choice (we love the Three Trees, Joi, MALK, and Malibu Mylk brands if you can find them. Or, look for a nut/seed milk with no added fillers and gums)
1 scoop Needed Collagen powder
2 scoops of Needed Prenatal Multi
Optional: ¼ cup frozen cauliflower (for added creaminess and to get those veggies in!)
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk or water to thin out to your desired consistency. Using frozen ingredients will result in a thicker smoothie.
Mid-day Prenatal Nutrition
At lunch, take an Omega-3 supplement and a Pre/Probiotic to support what’s missing from your diet. You can certainly increase your levels of omega-3 through foods like low-mercury fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, sardines); however, research finds that up to 95% of moms do not meet their omega-3 needs despite very clear, clinically-proven benefits before before, during, and after pregnacy. Most moms aren’t eating fatty fish 3-4 times a week, so Needed’s Omega-3+ is an easy-to-take capsule that includes both EPA+DHA, Choline, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin to support baby’s optimal brain, nervous system, and eye development, mama’s mood and more.
And for microbiome support, foods like sauerkraut and kombucha just aren’t enough to support the specific microbiome needs of mamas. Mamas need specific strains that are designed to support the vaginal and gut microbiome. Needed’s Prenatal Pre/Probiotic was designed by a team of perinatal and microbiome experts to boost maternal and infant immune functions; balance mood; optimize digestion; and support healthy blood sugar and blood pressure.
Evening Prenatal Nutrition
While it can be convenient to take a prenatal vitamin that includes iron, there are some downsides to that convenience. First, you may not need additional iron and too much iron in your body has negative effects on your gut microbiome and it can generate oxidative stress. Additionally, most iron found in prenatal vitamins offer a less expensive version that tends to be tough on the gut.
In addition, iron can interact negatively with other nutrients and block absorption of certain nutrients like magnesium and zinc. By dosing iron separately from your prenatal, you can promote optimal absorption of important minerals and reduce the risk of taking too much supplemental iron.
Talk to your health practitioner about testing your iron status before, during, and after pregnancy, and supplement only if you are falling short. This chart can help you tailor your dosage to your needs. Needed’s Prenatal Iron is bound to glycine for better absorption and digestive comfort. Each small capsule contains 13.5mg or iron, so you can easily tailor your daily dosage to meet your needs.
Let It Be Easy
We are huge fans of Needed’s Complete Plan, which delivers unparalleled nourishment for every phase — whether you’re thinking, trying, pregnant, postpartum, or deeper into your mom years! Needed has simplified the routine down to the core 4 products you need (Prenatal, Omega-3, pregnancy-specific Pre/Probiotic, and ethically and sustainably-sourced Collagen), bundled together in such an easy and flexible monthly plan.
Needed’s Complete Plan truly meets all of your micronutrient, microbiome, and protein needs. Save 20% off your first order of Needed’s Complete Plan or any of their other perinatal nutrition products at thisisneeded.com with code BIRTHHOUR.
*This post is sponsored by Needed. The Birth Hour only promotes products that we have personally tried and would recommend to our audience.
Adjusting to a new baby always comes with its challenges. Whether it’s your first or your fifth, you’re dealing with lack of sleep, hormone shifts, putting the needs of this new human before your own AND figuring out what your relationship with your partner looks like now that there’s another person in the picture. These are some of our favorite recommendations for new parents to ensure that everyone is practicing some self care while caring for their new bundle of joy.
Sleep is obviously the biggest hurdle so let’s tackle this one first.
Hire a postpartum doula – this is an invaluable gift you can give to new parents that will help them get some extra zzz’s. Most cities have a doula group that you can work with to plan for this even before baby arrives.
Smart Nora – the last thing you need when you finally do get to lay your head down is to be woken up by your partner’s snoring. I’ve been truly AMAZED at how well the Smart Nora has worked to curb my husband’s snoring. It’s been priceless to not only get more sleep but also to not be annoyed at him for waking me up several times a night!
You can see in the picture below how it works, the box powers it and hides under the bed and then there’s a pillow insert that inflates when he starts snoring and it moves his head just enough to get him to stop.
The egg looking thing on our night stand is the sensor that detects the snores and activates the pillow.
Eye Masks – I was one of the first supporters when this mask launched on Kickstarter and I can’t say enough good things. It completely blacks out the room which is so great when you are trying to get your sleep in at odd times. They also recently added kid’s sleep masks that my 9 and 11 year olds are loving and a bluetooth sound sleep mask that is perfect for listening to an audio book or meditation to wind down when you can’t quite get to sleep.
Diffuser and essential oils (lavender, frankincense, roman chamomile and cedarwood are my faves).
Sleepy lotion with magnesium – great for sleep and restless legs during pregnancy as well!
Nourishing your body with good food when you’re new parents is almost as important as sleep. Some great gift ideas are.
Home cooked meals – easy meals that can be frozen and popped into an oven or crock pot are ideal.
Gift card to a meal prep service. Either one that makes complete meals or one that sends the ingredients and you make the meals like Blue Apron. My best friend’s husband loves to cook and got sick of eating meals people brought so this was a great option for them, especially when he was on paternity leave and had some extra time.
Grocery shopping – either offer to do this for them and stock them up with some staples or gift them with a credit to a grocery delivery service in their area. Instacart is one many people use and most grocery stores have delivery options now as well. Amazon Fresh is also a great option that can delivery food from Whole Foods as well. I love to order a few pre-made meals (and snacks for older siblings) from Costco to be delivered to new parents.
Nursing snack station – Fill a basket with healthy and quick snacks for the nursing mom (trail mix, granola bars, jerky, nuts, etc).
A great book that outlines specific meals that are nutritious and healing during the 4th trimester is this one!
Monthly subscription for healthy snacks or fresh fruit.
House cleaning service!!! (This is the #1 recommended by all parents I interviewed!).
Dog Walking Service or doggy day camp gift cards.
Take the older kids somewhere on the weekend and/or offer to do school drop off/pick-up for a week! A gift card to a local drop in childcare center you trust is a great option too.
Cloth diaper service (obviously check with them first on this one!)
Monthly subscription for flowers.
Here’s where you can have some fun and do some pampering for both parents. Almost all of these ideas came from new moms!
At home massage visit or spa gift card. There are massage therapists that specialize in postpartum.
Since they will be spending most of their time lounging around the house, a really nice robe or set of pj’s is a great gift especially since baby likely already has tons of sleepers, treat the parents instead! Obviously a gift card is great but they might not be up for shopping so take the guesswork out and choose something!
To speak with experience requires one having taken the journey. To speak with knowledge requires teachers. No one is a more experienced teacher of the joys and challenges of motherhood than mothers themselves!
There are endless experiences of motherhood: from tranquil peaceful moments, to peak triumphs, and tension-filled ordeals. As both a family doctor and perinatal psychotherapist, I have had the privilege of partnering with hundreds of women as they enter motherhood. Each has her own unique experience.
For over two decades I have treated women with postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum anxiety (PPA). These are experiences that I wish for no one to endure, yet 1 out of 7 moms develop PPD and 1 in 10 develop PPA. Unfortunately, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are common.
Women describe PPD as feeling overwhelmed, sad or numb, irritable, empty, exhausted, or feeling like a failure as a mother. PPD robs moms of their ability to take pleasure in sweet moments with their baby. It can even block your ability to bond with your baby.
Often PPD dramatically amplifies relationship distress in a couple. Maternal depression increases the risk of a partner developing PPD. (One in ten dads and adoptive moms get PPD too!) Many moms don’t even realize that the cause of what they’re feeling is depression. Instead, they withdraw from support and blame themselves or their partners, rather than the depression they are enduring.
Over the past 20 years our knowledge of treatments, including natural options, counseling, and medications, has improved dramatically. Perhaps even more importantly, multiple studies have proven that specific strategies can prevent perinatal depression. Contrary to popular belief, hormonal changes are not the sole cause of PPD. Instead there are many contributing factors responsible: prolonged sleep deprivation, stress, life changes, isolation, loss of one’s prior life, etc.
The good news is that because there are so many causes coming together to create it, we can make numerous interventions to treat PPD and prevent it. Let’s start with the basics. Getting adequate sleep is essential for wellness. That’s easier said than done! That’s why I teach over 20 different methods for improving your sleep quality and quantity. Some techniques are as simple as giving your baby a ‘dream feed’ each night. Just this one simple routine of waking a baby to feed last thing before you or your partner goes to bed at night, has been shown to increase parental sleep and reduce PPD.
There are numerous other techniques that can help, including getting twenty minutes of morning sunshine daily or developing a daily practice of gratitude. Even certain foods can reduce PPD: such as 1) Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil or chia seeds, 2) Vitamin D from milk, supplements or sunshine, or 3) Selenium – just one Brazil nut a day is all you need to get the recommended amount to boost your mood.
There are also many strategies that can reduce postpartum anxiety (PPA). Spending at least 30 minutes a day doing something you enjoy away from your baby (while a trusted person watches them), allows your maternal vigilance to rest. This is so important when you are otherwise responsible for your baby 24/7. When you give your protective ‘baby radar’ a break, you create space to be your ‘old self’. If separating from your baby feels difficult, start with ten minute breaks daily and gradually increase.
You can also reduce your stress by practicing self care. Specific self-care strategies, such as taking periodic 1-minute pauses to breathe, can reduce your stress level and improve your energy level.
In addition, there are techniques to increase teamwork in a couple. When your partner actively assists you to get more sleep and take things off your plate you feel more supported and understood.
Knowing what predictable pitfalls commonly trigger depression and how to side-step them, can make a huge difference in your entire family’s wellness and contentment. These preventative measures can be found in medical and psychology research journals, but every woman should have the tools to thrive through motherhood. In my masterclass I teach these strategies in bite-sized chunks for busy moms. Each of these techniques helps just a little bit, but when you put them all together in one simple program, you create a powerful force for wellbeing in motherhood. This is how you get off to a great start! That’s the purpose of the Motherhood Survival Manual Masterclass.
The Birth Hour team has been huge fans of Kindred Bravely for several years and have loved watching the brand grow and their clothing lines get better and better. Today, we are highlighting a few of our favorite items that we consider MUST HAVES to get you through pregnancy all the way to postpartum and breastfeeding!
If you are a listener of The Birth Hour then you’ve certainly heard our host, Bryn, talk about her love of the Simply Sublime line from Kindred Bravely. We love the original Simply Sublime bra, racerback bra, sports bra, and pumping bra BUT the tank top takes the cake for us when it comes to a clothing item you will live in during pregnancy and while nursing. It is so stretchy yet slightly compressive helping you feel comfortably hugged but never restricted when your body is changing by the day. The nursing clips are easy to use and the genius of the Simply Sublime built-in bra makes it flattering (no uni-boob here!) and functional for wearing around town but also comfortable to sleep in. Last but not least, the Simply Sublime® Maternity & Nursing Tank comes in Busty sizing making it the only tank we’ve tried that has an option that is truly designed for larger cup sizes. The Simply Sublime Nursing Bra comes in sizes for 30b-46i!
You may not immediately think of maternity and postpartum underwear being a necessity when it comes to your changing body (surely regular underwear will do the job right?). Well, while you may be able to make it work with your regular underwear, you will be SO MUCH more comfortable in Kindred Bravely’s Grow with Me Maternity & Postpartum Briefs. They are buttery soft and very stretchy so they will work throughout your pregnancy and postpartum phases. Although, we do recommend switching to the High-Waisted Postpartum Recovery Panties for a little more support after baby arrives.
If you’ve been pregnant before, you may have had that one maternity item that you just didn’t want to let go of even months after baby had arrived. Well, we are here to tell you that the Louisa Maternity & Postpartum Support Leggings will become that item for you! The most magically comfortable and soft leggings that offer the perfect amount of compression and have pockets (a must in our opinion!). We truly do not understand how Kindred Bravely has managed to create a legging that stretches over a 40-week belly, yet still holds its shape to provide support for a postpartum belly in the most flattering way right after baby makes their appearance. These leggings come in several colors and you will want them all once you try them! We recommend starting with the classic black and they will become a staple in your wardrobe. They also have capri, crop, and non-pocketed options—check them all out here.
Once you feel this bamboo fabric from Kindred Bravely you will want the entire collection. This is why we couldn’t choose just one item! Everyone will have the styles they prefer more whether it’s a nightgown, shorts set, tank top, joggers, or t-shirt. This fabric is buttery soft but also breathable (we all know that being hot and sweaty is a struggle while pregnant or postpartum!). Everything from this line is stretchy and almost all of the options can be worn not only as sleepwear but to run errands as well!
If you plan to do any pumping at all then this pumping and nursing bra will be your new BFF. It feels exactly like the Simply Sublime Nursing Bra when you wear it, it just has the added benefit of functioning as a pumping bra when you need it. AND IT COMES IN BUSTY SIZING!! Birth Hour host, Bryn, could never find a pumping bra that fit her larger chest with her first two babies and discovering Kindred Bravely’s Sublime® Hands-Free Pumping &Nursing Bra was a game changer for baby #3. This might not be as fun to shop for as comfy loungewear or cute leggings but it’s a functional item that you will be glad you have when the time comes!
You can see more of Bryn’s favorite items from Kindred Bravely on her Instagram highlights here. And be sure to use the coupon code BIRTHHOUR for 20% off your purchase at kindredbravely.com.
Yay, you’re pregnant! Now what? It is so exciting to get that positive pregnancy test, but it can feel a bit overwhelming to navigate all of the different to-dos and stages of pregnancy—that’s why we are so thankful for tools like the Ovia® Pregnancy app that make life a little easier.
The Ovia Pregnancy app (completely free!) is your all-in-one pregnancy tracker offering you peace of mind as you reach pregnancy milestones, navigate symptoms, and plan for baby’s arrival. With Ovia Pregnancy, you’ll find answers to all of your prenatal questions — read weekly updates, find symptom relief, learn what’s safe to eat, share bump pictures, and even use a baby name feature! Your pocket companion for each trimester (and beyond)!
Many apps have the option to see the size of your baby each week but Ovia takes it a step further and makes it so fun to track! When I was pregnant with my 3rd baby, I absolutely loved seeing how big my baby was week-by-week with Ovia’s fun and unique size comparisons (like fruits & veggies, weird but cute animals, Parisian baked goods, and fun and games). My older kids would ask me every week to show them how big the baby was and would giggle over their little sibling that was the size of a gameboy or a croissant!
Every day on your Ovia timeline, you’ll also see a true-to-size version of your baby’s tiny hand and foot right there on the screen which really helps you and your family visualize the little human growing inside of you! You can also find the perfect baby name with the ‘My Baby Names’ feature. You can sort options by gender and first letter and make a list of all your favorites!
Aside from fun tracking features and baby name help, Ovia offers helpful tips like what’s safe to eat, what medications you can take during pregnancy, and how to find symptom relief by using their easy to use lookup tool.
I actually first discovered Ovia by using the Ovia Fertility app and love that Ovia has an app for every stage of the way — from cycle tracking to pregnancy to parenthood. The Ovia apps offer health tracking, features, and tools to help you navigate fertility, pregnancy, postpartum, and baby health.
Many expecting parents are worried about the logistics of feeding their baby. Will there be enough milk? Is it going to hurt? How will I know if baby is getting enough milk? The questions and concerns are never-ending, especially for first timers. It’s not very often that those planning to nurse are thinking about what to do if they have TOO MUCH milk! But, believe it or not, this is a very real issue for many lactating moms and I was one of them.
When my baby arrived I experienced the initial slow flow days of colostrum and then when my milk came in, boy did it come! Many moms deal with engorgement which is painful but relatively short-lived. My oversupply of milk didn’t slow down after a week or even a month. I was soaking entire towels on one side while my baby nursed on the other. Aside from being a laundry nightmare, soaking hand towels wasn’t very practical for going out in public.
Surprisingly, in all of my research while pregnant, I never came across information on what to do if you have too much milk or were a heaver leaker. I wish someone had told me about this when I was preparing to nurse a newborn so I wouldn’t have been so lost in those first weeks. Instead of baking and freezing “milk maker” cookies (to boost supply) while pregnant, I would have been researching must-haves for dealing with oversupply.
The product that was such a game changer for me was the Milkies Milk Saver by Fairhaven Health. The Milk Saver allows you to save breast milk that is pouring out of the non-nursing side while your baby eats. Using a breast pump is not a good idea when you have oversupply (even though it might feel good when you’re engorged) because it just stimulates your breasts to make more milk so these are also a great way to start a freezer stash for future occasions when you want baby to take a bottle. Without ever pumping, I managed to store around 6 ounces of milk each day just using the Milk Saver. The best part about this product was that it allowed me to feed my baby without soaking through numerous breast pads and my clothes in the process.
I loved the Milkies Milk Saver so much that I brought it every where with me and then with my most recent baby I discovered their Milk-Saver On-the-go travel milk saver which was much easier to manage in situations like being in a restaurant or nursing in the car etc.
I’ve since been introduced to all of the Milkies line from Fairhaven health and also highly recommend their Milk Saver trays for storing 1 ounce frozen sticks of milk that make preparing the perfect amount of milk in a bottle so much easier. They also make milk storage bags, an organizer for your freezer and other products that support lactation like balm, pads, teas and supplements! Milkies is generously offering 15% off all Milkies products with the code BirthHour15 at www.fairhavenhealth.com.
Fairhaven Health is a sponsor of The Birth Hour. As always, all opinions and recommendations are our own.