I try my best to eat well while I am pregnant and when I’m breastfeeding 100% of the time so that baby and I both get the nutrition we need to stay healthy. Sometimes that can be a challenge while traveling, depending on where I am in the world.
Take your vitamins!
I always make sure I am taking good quality pre-natal vitamins (and DHA to help baby’s brain develop well) throughout pregnancy beginning a few months prior to becoming pregnant, and while beast-feeding. However, it sometimes is a challenge to get a wide variety of fresh produce and grains depending on where I am traveling, so I have taken calcium and B-12 supplements and calcium supplements at times when my food options have been more restricted during travel. It’s important to discuss with your midwife or doctor your diet and eating habits and potential supplements you may need when traveling or not.
Eat whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies!
I eat small, frequent, well-balanced meals with as much fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains, and proteins. I add in super-grains like quinoa, which is a complete protein, regularly. I am vegetarian, and continued my vegetarian diet during my first pregnancy. I was able to get plenty of protein in my diet through making things like lentils and quinoa main staples in my diet. Lentils seem to be readily available world-wide, but I sometimes bring things like quinoa along with me when I travel, which can be difficult to find in many places (with the exception of South America), or incredibly expensive.
Because Veda was born with a milk protein allergy, I cut out dairy after she was born and essentially became a vegan (since milk protein can be passed from mother to baby through breast milk). During my second pregnancy I was pregnant, breast-feeding, and vegan, and still felt great and was gaining healthy weight (just making sure I got protein, B-12, iron, and calcium from a variety of sources), and baby was growing well, despite his fatal chromosomal problem.
Sometimes when I am traveling, it can be challenging to find a wide variety of fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains. It can be equally challenging to stay creative and think of new and interesting things to eat. Depending on where you are, though, you might also be able to find plentiful and cheap super foods packed with vitamins and nutrition. I always have papaya readily available in India and South Africa, as well as avocados. However, fresh fruits and veggies in developing countries can be a mixed bag as they can also make you sick if you don’t handle and wash them properly, so be cautious depending on where you are, and if you have choices opt for fruits and veggies with skins that you peel off before eating.
I also drink lots of water, and really chug it down when I’m exercising frequently while pregnant. I always carry around a 20 oz sports bottle filled with water, and try to drink 2-3 bottles per day, more if I am exerting myself with exercise. When I’m traveling in places with water that isn’t safe to drink, I boil a large amount of water every day and refrigerate it so I that I always have plenty of water available to gulp down. It’s important to stay hydrated- it supports not only your body’s functions, but makes sure your placenta is working well and getting nutrition to baby, too.
Eat a healthy extra snack!
You don’t need to “eat for two”- you need approximately 300 additional calories daily during the second trimester, and another 450 extra calories during the third trimester (if you are a normal, healthy weight to begin with), and those calories should come from a healthy, nutritious source (add one healthy snack). You need to eat approximately 500 extra calories daily while breastfeeding. If you are exercising through pregnancy, eating a healthy diet, and plan on breastfeeding after birth, the pregnancy weight will quickly shed naturally.
I find these to be particularly good web resources on nutrition during pregnancy:
These are good books/ cookbooks for nutrition and eating during pregnancy:
For further reading on organic pregnancy: