For me, the amount of food I had to eat in pregnancy was completely overwhelming.
And because I (like many modern Mothers) continued working throughout my pregnancy, I found myself using the majority of my time either working or preparing food for myself.
Prior to pregnancy, making food felt like a fun activity, an expression of art of sorts… but by the third trimester of my pregnancy, I didn’t even want to step foot in my kitchen.
Remember, every pregnant Mother is different, and every pregnancy is unique. Just when you thought it might get easier with baby number two, BAM you’ve got a whole new situation to figure out… how fun!
In my pregnancy, hunger came on super quickly, often without warning.
Especially towards the end of pregnancy, if I waited too long (more than 30 or 40 minutes without a snack) I would find myself barely able to speak, feeling a bit faint, and irritable enough to want to eat anyone who got in my way.
That’s where my beautiful partner Oren came in.
I expressed to him that I was struggling, and we worked a plan out together to make meals and snacks readily available so that I always had easy access when hunger came on, or preferably, before.
A general rule for working with pregnant mamas is…
Don’t ask if they’re hungry, just assume they are.
The best time to talk about food options and spend a lot of time deciding what to make is AFTER the Mother has been fed.
Have the pregnant mama write down the following:
- Three main meal options (preferably with protein + good fat to keep them sustained)
- Three snack options
- Three nourishing drink options
Every mama is different, but a pattern I’ve noticed with my clients is that during the first trimester, due to nausea and fatigue – snacking and grazing throughout the day is supportive, both for keeping mama nourished and as well as mitigating nausea.
In the second trimester, morning sickness may lessen (although for me, it didn’t – so it’s not a 100% sure thing!), which means full servings during meals may be an option.
Pregnancy takes a lot of life force to maintain, so be sure that you’re making enough food so the mama feels nourished. During the second trimester, this might look like three full meals + three snacks throughout the day.
In the third trimester, the physical space for digestion decreases. As the baby grows, the digestive organs shift to accommodate, which means less physical space in the stomach for food.
In this stage of pregnancy, switching back to constant snacking and grazing is important. The third trimester is the most energetically taxing on the Mother’s body, so it’s SO important that they get adequate nutrition during this time… and that often means eating every hour.
Getting this rhythm of eating down during pregnancy will set Mamas up for a rejuvenating postpartum and if Mama chooses, greater ease during breastfeeding.
By now you may have figured out, feeding yourself during pregnancy is a FULL TIME JOB… and that’s why Mothers can’t do it alone. They need help in the form of home cooked meals, take out, support in food prep, all the things.
If this feels like too much for you, consider where you can outsource and ask for help.
A few hacks to consider to spread the responsibility around:
- Do you have family that live nearby? If the answer is yes, see if they would be willing to support by cooking a meal a week and bringing it over. This is especially helpful in the third trimester, when the Mother may be tired and needs to eat more regularly.
- Do you have friends that live nearby? Same thing. Instead of a baby shower gift, consider asking for support in the form of home cooked meals.
- None of the above? No worries. Plan out one day of the week where you’re able to prep the food for the upcoming week. This could look like fully cooking the meals (this works best for soups and stews), or simply chopping vegetables and placing them in containers to cut down on prep time during cooking. Both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine highlight the importance of always eating freshly prepared food as it has a higher life force, and therefore more medicinal. With respect to these traditions, that would mean batching soups and stews would be off the table. However, the most important thing is that the pregnant mother is EATING – so whether that’s left over soups and stews or meals made from pre-cut, fresh veggies – the most important thing is again, that they eat!
And a word for the wise…
Pregnant mamas can be notoriously picky with food.
So even if they said they wanted something ten minutes earlier, don’t take it personally if they take one bite and push it away…
Really, I’m just writing this as an apology to my partner Oren, who had this happen to him a hundred times during my pregnancy.