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Nourishing Foods for Prenatal and Postpartum Health

Updated: Feb 23

By Renee Kleinsasser 

On the Nourishment of the pregnant and postpartum body Mother yourself as you mother your baby

Pregnancy and postpartum are stages in women’s health that demand a diet of nutrient replenishment due either to fetal development, or maternal healing.  Below is a basic breakdown of transformations your body is experiencing in this time. 


Prenatal Phase: fetal tissue development, fetal system generation, maternal nutrient-depletion, maternal blood volume increase


Postpartum Phase: maternal tissue repair, maternal system regeneration, maternal nutrient-loading, maternal blood-building and lactation


Where do I look?  What is considered a healthy diet for pregnancy and postpartum recovery?

Let’s look at the essential components of a fortifying and restorative diet during these chapters of life, with examples of their sources. While meals prepared at home are best, aim to incorporate at least one of these throughout your day.   Work up to including all of them at least once a week.  You’ll find that foods listed in a given category, are in fact high in multiple nutritive categories. 


To start, read over the list weekly or monthly.  Familiarizing yourself with these elements empowers you to make the best choices.  Food is medicine, use it as a tool for health, one nutrient-dense meal at a time.  Do what you can to start small.  Mother yourself, as you mother your baby.  And remember, this is not a comprehensive list, so do not be limited by it.


Protein- beef, pork, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, olive oil


Fat- a balanced diet of marbled meats, fatty fishes, dairy, avocado, olive oil, nut butters (peanut, almond, etc), dark chocolate


Calcium- salmon, dark leafy greens, dairy or calcium-fortified alternatives, sweet potato, okra, blackstrap molasses, almonds, oranges, broccoli, baked beans, corn or flour tortillas


Folic Acid- okra, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, avocado, beets, bell pepper, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, seeds, nuts, beans, peas, lentils, papaya, oranges, bananas


Iodine- fish, shellfish (shrimp, crawfish, crab), seaweeds, baked potato, turnip, dairy, eggs, butter beans, baked beans, garlic


Iron- grass-fed beef, chicken, fish, eggs, leafy greens, cereal, beans, peas, broccoli, citrus fruits, blackstrap molasses, dried fruit, dark chocolate


Magnesium- greens, dairy, almonds, quinoa, oats, seeds, fish, butter beans, beans, peanut butter, bananas, avocados, corn/maiz, dried fruit, dark chocolate


Omega 3- grass-fed beef, trout, fish, shellfish, dark leafy greens, avocado, olive oil, nuts, chia and flax seed, seeds, dried fruit, oats, peanut butter


DHA- grass-fed beef, salmon, sea bass, cod, tuna, trout, shellfish, walnuts, liver, avocado, blueberries, egg yolks, seaweeds, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kidney beans, chia and flax seeds, wild rice, non-gmo edamame


Vitamin C- bell peppers, hot peppers, mustard greens, papaya, strawberries, oranges, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, potato, sweet potato, persimmons, corn

Vitamin D- salmon, trout, fatty fishes, pork, shrimp, egg yolks, mushrooms, fortified dairy, fortified cereals, cashews


Vitamin E- almonds, salmon, sunflower seeds, avocado, peanut butter, pecans, nuts, butternut squash, greens, cold-pressed olive oil, salmon, trout, lobster, crawfish, corn

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