Preparing for Pregnancy During COVID-19
Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing about Preparing for Pregnancy during COVID-19 in partnership with Central Coast Women’s Health OB-GYN.
2020 has definitely been a challenging year! The COVID-19 Pandemic affected the jobs, finances, and health of many individuals around the world. I know how difficult it was for our family dealing with these issues, but I can only imagine how rough it was on those who were pregnant or wanted to get pregnant. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Ginger Cochran, a Registered Dietitian who works here on the California Central Coast.
Ginger Cochran is from the Shell Beach and Pismo Beach area on the Central Coast and has been working in Women’s Healthy/Pregnancy for the past four years. She attended Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo for her undergraduate degree, as well as a Master’s in Exercise Physiology. She also had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru. During Graduate School, she interned at Hilton Head Health, a weight loss and healthy eating resort in South Carolina that had a whole body approach with goal setting. During her internship, she participated in the weight loss reality show, “Heavy.” She thought it was amazing to see the participants’ transformations and also to be able to stay in contact with them to see how they are currently doing. She also received training for Wellness Coaching through Wellness Coaches.
When talking with Ginger, I asked her what inspired her to become a Dietitian. She mentioned that growing up, both her dad and her older brother were sick. She saw how her dad was really intro nutrition and used a lot of preventative and holistic routines. The focus on healthy living and eating really interested her. In high school, she picked up a nutrition book and found that it was the first book that she actually didn’t want to put down. She was able to apply it to her situation growing up and she really enjoyed it.
As mentioned earlier, she attended Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo. When she applied to Cal Poly, they made her pick a degree. She had chosen Psychology and Nutrition, but found that she really enjoyed studying nutrition. In graduate school, she thought about being a Physical Therapist, but she always came back to nutrition.
I talked with Ginger about how someone could prepare themselves for pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that a whole body approach is super important – whether you are trying to get pregnant or even just get through the pandemic with a regular Women’s Health Exam. Here are some of the tips she gave:
1 – Pay attention to your dialogue. It’s especially important to pay attention to your dialogue at this time and catch yourself if you’re going into a negative spiral. Catching yourself and bringing awareness to it is a big component to helping decrease stress and helping you make good choices about food.
2 – Get enough sleep. Sleep plays a big factor in staying healthy, whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not. Anything less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep makes it more likely that you’ll eat more carbs. With too little sleep, your body is likely to produce the stress-response hormone, which causes a fight or flight response. When our cortisol levels go up, we crave carbs. This can happen whether you are stressed or lacking in sleep.
3 – Treat yourself as if you are already pregnant. Even if you’re not pregnant yet, treat your body like you already are. Watch your stress levels. Take note of the environment you’re in. Is it uplifting or negative?
4 – Eat healthy foods. Take processed foods and refined sugar out of your diet. Eggs are great and are really high in choline – they are a high-end superfood. When you are pregnant, you will have a much higher need for choline. Did you know that much of the population is deficient in choline? Choline helps everyone! Eat lots of greens – about 5 cups of veggies a day. Eat fatty fish and good quality protein (tempe, fish, eggs, lean chicken).
Ginger explained that eating healthy is not only important when you are preparing to get pregnant, but can be beneficial for everyone. A good diet helps with mood and can even help to reduce pain. It’s important to build up the nutrients in your diet. Fresh veggies are super important and it’s especially good to subscribe to CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes. We have a few of those on the California Central Coast and they have fresh veggies. She mentioned that veggies that are brought in from outside local areas can lose some of the nutrients during their transit.
I asked Ginger what foods make you feel better. She said that we should focus on our whole diet and then look closely at the following foods:
- Serotonin – 95% of Serotonin is made in your gut. There is a direct brain/gut connection. When we are sad and depressed, we crave more carbs. Eating these in moderation is ok, but eating too much causes an imbalance in the gut, thus causing us to make less serotonin.
- Fiber – Make sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet. Make sure the bread you eat has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. For every 100 calories, you should be eating at least 3 grams of fiber.
- Superfoods – Eggs, pomegranates, and avocados are all great examples of superfoods. A great way to start the day is with Avocado Toast and an egg.
- Red in your diet – Do you get enough red in your diet? This includes strawberries, tomatoes, radishes, red grapes pomegranates, and cherries.
- Purple in your diet – Are you getting enough purple in your diet? These purple foods can include grapes, eggplant, blueberries, cabbage, boysenberries, raspberries and red onions.
It was great talking with Ginger and I feel like she offered a lot of great advice when it came to nutrition and staying as healthy as possible during a particularly stressful time of life for many of us. I hope that we can all take her advice and strive to live as healthy as possible. This is especially beneficial for those who are considering becoming pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are you considering becoming pregnant? Check out these ideas from the Central Coast Women’s Health OB/GYN.
1 – Prenatal Care – Few things in life are as important as prenatal care for you and your unborn child. During your pregnancy, a combination of routine office visits to your obstetrician, and a well-crafted nutritional support plan, will help your baby grow stronger by the day and stay on track for optimal growth.
2 – Consultation – If you are planning a pregnancy, consult with your obstetrician three months prior to conception. Together, you will establish a comprehensive nutrition plan to include prenatal vitamins and possibly other supplements to help balance the complete spectrum of your nutritional needs.
3 – Healthy Diet – A diet rich in vitamins such as folate, folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, protein and iron can help prevent birth defects and decrease chances of a premature birth while fortifying your baby’s blossoming nervous, muscular and circulatory systems.
4 – Calories – As your baby grows, you should also add approximately 300 extra calories per day to a well-balanced diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, lean protein, fat-free or low-fat dairy and whole grains. Choosing a healthy lifestyle can go a long way to decrease the common occurrence of morning sickness, nausea and heartburn.
Whether you’re planning to get pregnant or just trying to survive this pandemic, be sure to focus on an overall whole-body approach. I would like to give a big thanks to Ginger Cochran and the Central Coast Women’s Health OB/GYN for their time and suggestions that I was able to share with you on Redhead Mom. Stay healthy and safe!
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