Denise’s Story.

Denise is currently 20 weeks pregnant.

She’s officially reached the half-way point!  She is smack in the middle of the famously comfortable second trimester.  And loving it!

It’s true.  The second trimester is when the nausea of the first trimester settles down, and before the discomfort of the third trimester begins.  It’s also commonly called ‘the honeymoon stage’.

I am truly ecstatic for Denise.  I know that pregnancy does not come easily for all of us.  Sometimes it doesn’t happen at all.  But, sometimes, we overcome our struggles and we are blessed with these tiny miracles that will forever change our lives.  This is what happened to Denise and her husband.  My heart is overflowed with joy.

If you haven’t read Denise’s complete story, you can find it here.

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Denise may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Denise is based on a specific, detailed health and lifestyle assessment. They will not apply to every pregnant woman. If you are interested in a personal assessment for yourself, please send an e-mail to karen@natureprenatal.com.

Denise’s assessments and recommendations are much more detailed than what is in this blog post. Here, I am sharing her most important issues and some random topics. The information that is shared between us is extensive and continual.

Denise is still on a meat-reduced diet and struggles to fit the required amount of protein into her daily diet.  She eats plenty of fish, which is good.  Fish is not only a source of protein, but also healthy fats, vital for her baby’s development.  But, caution must be taken when choosing seafood.  Toxins can be found in farmed fish, canned fish and fish caught from polluted waters.  Some seafood can be high in mercury, which is especially harmful to a growing fetus.  Denise is aware of these risks and chooses local, wild fish as often as she can.  Other sources of protein in her diet include hemp seeds, Greek yogurt and a plant-based protein powder.  I recommend she also eat more beans, lentils and whole grains such as quinoa.

About protein powders – I don’t want to pick and choose or recommend any one particular brand.  There are some good ones out there and some not so good.  I like to focus on obtaining nutrition from food first, and supplementing when and if it’s beneficial for an individual.  What’s important to consider is that some protein powders have added vitamins, minerals and herbs.  Some contain whey, some contain soy and others have plant-based proteins like hemp, pea or brown rice.  Not all of these are right for everyone.  The ingredients in your protein powder matter.  Know what you’re consuming.  Read labels.  Do your research.  A better idea is to talk to your doctor or nutritionist.

One item of concern for Denise is sodium consumption.  She has noticed some swelling when she eats salty foods.  Sodium can be harmful when high levels are consumed.  By eliminating or reducing processed foods, there is no real danger of too much sodium.  Denise uses an online food tracker that will add up her daily sodium content as well as other nutrients.  Sodium is actually beneficial for human health, especially during pregnancy.  I recommend Denise use sea salt to season her foods and include foods rich in potassium, to balance her sodium intake.  The AI (adequate intake) for sodium during pregnancy, according to Health Canada is 1,500 mg per day.

Mild swelling is considered normal and a sign that blood volume has expanded enough to meet the needs of pregnancy.  Some things she can do to reduce swelling are elevate her feet for 20 minutes, 3 – 4 times a day, and lie on her left side while sleeping.  If the swelling increases, I recommend she discuss it with her doctor to rule out possible complications. Pink and yellow flower website photo

Other than some minor swelling, Denise is feeling great!  She is exercising regularly with prenatal Pilates and cycling.  She is sleeping well at night with her Snoogle Total Body Pillow and above all else, thrilled about her recent doctor’s visit.  She is carrying a perfectly healthy baby boy!

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