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.
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.
Comprehensive & Evidence-Based Childbirth Course from The Birth Hour
I’m so excited to announce The Birth Hour’s signature online childbirth course. Know Your Options is THE most comprehensive online childbirth course in existence! In this course, we will take you from the final weeks of pregnancy through postpartum and newborn care covering all of the evidence-based information for all types of birth, no matter what you are planning!
If you are worried about navigating today’s birth system have maybe had a bad birth experience where your power was taken away from you in the past, we want to help!
But, despite doing your research, you’re still feeling overwhelmed and unprepared and that’s OK. We have totally been there too. There is still time to prepare and we are confident that we can help you achieve an empowering birth. This is our expertise and passion!
IMAGINE WHAT YOUR BIRTH WOULD LOOK LIKE IF…
You didn’t have to choose between an unmedicated birth and a hospital birth.
You’re informed in every single decision you and your partner make.
You feel empowered to speak up when it comes to how you labor and birth your baby.
Because THAT is exactly what this course will do: It gives you options so you can choose where and how to give birth based on all of the most up-to-date evidence based information available coupled with learning to trust your instincts and make decisions based on what is right for YOU.
What exactly do we cover? 12 Incredible Evidence-Based Modules + Bi-Weekly Zoom Calls
Module 1: Pre-Labor
Intro to decision-making & advocacy in birth.
What is evidence-based care, intro into increasing your odds of getting family centered care.
Last Weeks of Pregnancy.
Cervical exams: what they are, what they do/don’t tell us, when they are useful and when they are not.
How to tell the difference between labor and false alarms.
Module 2: Planned Cesarean
Gentle or Family Centered Cesarean. What is it?
Questions to ask your doctor to make sure you’re on the same page (includes free download).
Video of Gentle Cesarean.
Module 3: Early Labor
Overview of labor, divided into stages and phases. Normal variations of length of each stage.
Early Labor Coping Strategies.
Spontaneous labor: When to call your provider
Module 4: Induction
Why might your labor be induced?
How is labor induced?
What are some risks of induction, and how can you improve your odds of your induction ending in a vaginal birth?
Risks of induction/cascade of intervention.
Module 5: Active Labor
How can you cope with active labor?
When should you leave for your birth location (or ask the midwife to come)?
What should you pack, whom should you invite to be there, and how will you make your wishes known in labor?
Typical interventions upon arrival at birth location.
Module 6: Transition
How will you cope with the most intense phase of labor?
What pain medication options do you have?
Why might you need a cesarean during labor, and how can you reduce your risk of needing one?
Module 7: Pushing
How can you reduce your risk of tearing?
What breathing techniques and positioning are helpful in pushing?
What happens if your baby needs help getting out?
How can you best advocate for your preferences during labor?
Module 8: Baby’s First Day
What interventions might be offered to your baby in the first hours of life?
Immediate newborn procedures.
Hep B & Circumcision.
What is going on with the birthing person before and after the birth of the placenta?
How can you get off to the best start with nursing?
Module 9: Postpartum Recovery
What are the signs that a parent may be experiencing mood & anxiety disorders?
What are the essentials to have on hand for recovery after birth?
How can you plan ahead and make those first few weeks after birth easier on yourself?
Giving yourself time to heal and knowing when to call for help.
Module 10: Establishing Nursing
How to establish a robust milk supply.
Positioning and latching theory.
What tips and tricks can you try to make nursing as comfortable as possible?
What signs can you look for to know when things are going well or when you need to call for help?
Module 11: Bottle Feeding
What if nursing doesn’t work, or you don’t want to do it at all?
Choosing a formula and Safe formula preparation.
What is the best way to bottle feed?
How do you choose which bottles to use?
How and how much to feed.
What is paced bottle feeding?
Module 12: Newborn Care Basics
Why might your baby cry, and how can you calm them?
How do you decide where your baby will sleep?
How do you get your baby to sleep?!?
Newborn hygiene: diapering, bathing, dressing, nail trimming, snot sucking, etc.
PLUS Bigger-than-a-Bonus: Beyond the Latch: pumping, bottle feeding, going back to paid work + keeping your baby fed
Then, we’ve got you covered when you’re going back to work with an additional six module Beyond the Latch Course that you will get completely free as part of enrollment in the Know Your Options Childbirth Course!
This is an additional 6 Module Course designed to take the guesswork, worry, and stress out of maintaining your nursing relationship with your baby when you return to paid work.
We will help you:
Identify specific strategies for pumping, storing, thawing, and feeding human milk.
Troubleshoot ways to boost milk production.
Guide you in making plans with your employer, your baby’s caregiver, and your family.
Get organized with sample schedules and checklists.
Lifetime Access + MORE Bonuses!
Oh, and you get lifetime access to everything! I’ve actually already had a few mamas who are still in the trying to conceive phase sign up because they wanted to be sure to get in on the course while they can!
You’ll also get a thirty page Course Planner and Note-Taking Guide that you can print out to keep you and your partner on track throughout the course. All of the key takeaways from each lesson are included with space to jot down any questions you have along the way and make note of any essential info you want to remember down the road!
More than a dozen bonus downloads to help save you time along the way and get organized before going into labor—with everything from a hospital bag checklist to printouts for your fridge of who/when to call when in labor! After baby arrives, you’ll have even more invaluable bonuses as you prepare to soak up the 4th trimester with your new baby.
You’ve found out you’re pregnant and after the initial excitement (and sometimes shock!) wears off you start to wonder about all of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of pregnancy. Some of those ‘don’ts’ like soft cheese, lunch meat, and caffeine may have you a little perplexed but one thing that most people know for sure is that you have to be very careful about alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
While giving up alcohol for nine months is a small price to pay to ensure a healthy start for your baby, it can be hard when you’re used to enjoying a glass of wine at the end of a long day or to mark a special occasion with friends.
We’ve tried quite a few non-alcoholic imitations here at The Birth Hour but have never felt confident recommending them because well, they just didn’t taste very good. This is where Surely comes in. Surely non-alcoholic wines actually taste like wine and they are delicious! Surely is made from natural ingredients and is low sugar and low calorie (30-45 calories per glass) which may be important to anyone who needs to monitor their blood glucose levels during pregnancy as well. Surely wines are also gluten-free and vegan friendly if those are important to you.
But the most standout feature of Surely is just how good it is and how much it tastes like real wine! It tastes like real wine because it is! Rather than bottle a poor wine imitation, Surely partnered with the finest winemakers in Northern California to make wine. Then, they use a dealcoholization process that removes the alcohol.
Surely spent nearly a year working with the best craft winemakers in California to make non-alcoholic wine that tastes amazing. They source grapes from premium California regions and carefully remove the alcohol to retain the natural aroma and flavor of the wine.
In addition to enjoying a glass of wine on the couch with your feet up at the end of the day, we especially love this option for special celebrations during your pregnancy. It would be so fun to have an assortment of Surely wines at your baby shower or take a bottle of sparkling rose on your babymoon to celebrate!
Birth Hour readers get 20% off + free shipping on all Surely products. Hurry, this is a limited-time deal that ends in 48 hours! Use code BIRTHHOUR at checkout to get your discount.
If you’re still skeptical, Surely offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all orders. If you don’t love it, they’ll refund you no questions asked. We can’t wait for you to try Surely wines and let us know what you think! Cheers!
Guest post written by Maria Sorrentino-Magnuson, BSN, RN (Labor and Delivery) – Clinical Lead at Wumblekin
There’s a lot to learn during a first pregnancy – and even in the second, third, fourth and so on with the rapid evolution of culture and technology. Here at Wumblekin, we are firm believers in the importance of education, but realize the seemingly endless stream of information (and ~helpful~ tips from everyone you meet) can feel a bit overwhelming. That’s why we recommend building your care team as early on as possible; medical professionals who can give you individualized care and guidance from first trimester through the fourth.
Who all is on/or can be part of a care team? Here’s a mini-breakdown of titles and roles:
OB/GYN is a little bit like a square and a rectangle. An OB (obstetrician) is always a GYN (gynecologist), but not all GYNs are OBs. An obstetrician is a physician who specializes in labor, delivery, and postpartum care. A gynecologist is a physician who treats the female reproductive systems including STIs, menstruation, and fertility.
Education/Credentials: Medical school; four years of residency in obstetrics and gynecology; board certification
Family Practice Doctor/Primary Care Physicians
A Family Practice or Primary Care Doctor provides general care for any person at any age – everything from rashes and sore throats to heart conditions – and refer out to specialists when indicated. Some Family Practice Doctors even deliver babies; they attend vaginal deliveries and call in an OB/GYN physician partner if a cesarean is necessary. Some are trained to use forceps or vacuums but many are not. If you’re planning to use a Family Practice Doctor for your delivery, it’s important to ask who they consult with if a labor turns high risk.
Education/Credentials: Medical school; three years residency in general medicine
Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist/Perinatologists
These specialists are trained to care for complex medical problems or complications in pregnancy, labor, or birth. If your medical history puts you in the realm of high-risk, this is the doctor you’ll want to have on hand.
Education/Credentials: Medical school; four years of OB/GYN residency; three years of a MFM fellowship
Most of us are fairly familiar with anesthesiologists – they’re the doctors who put you to sleep when you got your wisdom teeth out and made sure you didn’t feel a thing when it came time to part ways with your tonsils. In textbook terms, anesthetics are medications that block sensation (pain) or awareness. During labor & delivery, anesthesiologists provide epidural pain relief and help ensure the safety of mom and baby during cesareans or other surgeries.
Education/Credentials: Medical school; four years of residency; board certification
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist/CRNA
Instead of an anesthesiologist, you may have a nurse anesthetist to subdue any pain sensations. CRNAs are advanced practice RNs who are licensed to administer anesthesia. They can also treat and monitor surgical patients.
Education/Credentials: Minimum of a Master’s degree; extensive clinical training; board certification
If you are delivering at a teaching hospital you might find yourself in the care of Resident Doctors. These are doctors in the midst of their required years of – you guessed it – residency. First year residents are often called interns (see: Grey’s Anatomy). They diagnose and treat patients under the supervision of an attending physician and their level of independence and responsibility increases with time.
Education/Credentials: Medical school; in progress, residency
Medical Students are still completing their medical school requirements. They’re often in a more observational role. Typically, they use this time to practice interview and patient assessment skills.
Education/Credentials: In progress, medical school
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Not all midwives carry the same title – it varies based on education and credentials. Nurse Midwives have the most rigorous requirements (see below.) They primarily train and practice in hospital settings and partner with OB/GYNs for high-risk or C-section pregnancies. As specialized nurse practitioners, CNMs not only care for women during labor & delivery, they often see and treat patients from puberty through menopause.
Sometimes referred to as “direct-entry midwives”, Professional Midwives are only trained in out-of-hospital births. No college degree is required, but they must complete an apprenticeship to gain their credentials through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). CPMs are not legally recognized in all 50 states, so be sure to check your local legislation before finalizing your decision.
Education/Credentials: Apprenticeship (usually two years); NARM certification
Your nurse is likely to be the one you write about in your child’s baby book. The most hands-on part of the labor team, they are right by your side the whole time assessing and caring for both mom and baby, reporting any abnormal findings to the midwife or doctor – and occasionally performing the delivery if the doctor doesn’t make it on time. (Nurses are rock stars.)
Education/Credentials: Two or four-year undergraduate degree; state license
Labor Doula/Birth Coach
Derived from Ancient Greek, Doula translates as “someone who serves”. There to provide emotional and physical support and mitigate non-medical pain, Doula’s services range widely from one individual to the next, but include everything from warm baths, massage, and words of encouragement to placenta encapsulation, lactation support, and even birth photography – though their role stops short of clinical care.
Education/Credentials: No legal training requirement, most complete certification programs
Lactation Counselor and Lactation Consultants (IBCLC)
Breastfeeding is hard – if you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times (and you’ll probably find yourself saying it a million times more.) Lactation Counselors and Consultants can make it a whole lot easier providing support in the areas of latch, pumping, and supply. A Lactation Counselor, the highest breastfeeding credential, can also assist in more complicated challenges like NICU admission, oral/motor dysfunction, breast abscess, mastitis, and more.
Education/Credentials – Consultants: 45-hour training course/certification
An attentive care team personalized to your unique needs and wants makes a world of difference for both you and your baby. If you’re looking for guidance in establishing your own, follow us on Instagram @wumblekin and submit your questions to our weekly “Ask An L&D Nurse Anything” hosted by our team of Wumblekin Experts.
Wumblekin is a curated pregnancy, birth and postpartum box company that demystifies pregnancy with evidence-based education and expert-curated products for mom and baby. Pregnant women are busy and there’s lots of noise out there. We want to help women who feel overwhelmed with pregnancy, labor and birth go from panicked to prepared. Learn more at Wumblekin.com.