BIGGEST CONTEST EVER! Colleen’s story.

This will be my last update on Colleen.  I met Colleen in July of last year when she was 12 weeks pregnant.  She won my ‘Biggest Contest Ever’, nutritional counseling throughout her pregnancy.  She is now blessed with a ten-week-old healthy baby girl.  I am happy to report that she and baby are doing fine.  She is exclusively breastfeeding and baby is sleeping well.  They are adjusting to their new life together wonderfully, with no issues at all.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Colleen for having trust in me and sharing her story with you.  It has been a great pleasure to get to know her and follow along her prenatal journey.  I wish her and her family the best of health and true happiness.  XO

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BIGGEST CONTEST EVER! Colleen’s story.

Colleen has had her baby!  If you haven’t been following Colleen’s story, or if you would like to read it again, click on “Colleen’s Story” in the blog tag cloud to the right.  This will bring up all blog posts about Colleen.

Colleen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl the first week of February 2014.  She went over her due date by a few days, but everything went fairly quickly once baby decided to make her appearance.  Weighing just over 7 lbs, Colleen’s baby was born perfectly healthy.  🙂

Colleen has been keeping me posted via e-mail, but we haven’t been able to schedule a full update yet to discuss any concerns or issues she may be having.  The week before baby was born Colleen was experiencing pelvic and back pain along with some acid reflux.  These are very common during the last weeks of pregnancy.  As of this moment, mother and baby are bonding and as happy as can be.

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A mother and baby (not Colleen)

BIGGEST CONTEST EVER! Colleen’s Story.

Colleen is now 29 weeks pregnant.  If you haven’t been following Colleen’s story, or if you would like to read it again, click on “Colleen’s Story” in the blog tag cloud to the right.  This will bring up all blog posts about Colleen.

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Colleen may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Colleen 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.

Colleen’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 me and Colleen is extensive and continual.

you-want-a-baby

Colleen has talked to her doctor about the importance of calcium, fish oil and supplementing.  They have decided that she will eat a balanced diet to provide the nutrients she needs.  I am happy about this!  I do believe that supplements are not necessary when proper food choices are made.  But, it’s important to be aware of what foods provide those essential nutrients.   It’s easy to say ‘I’ll get what I need from my diet’, and then eat all the wrong foods.  Some food sources of calcium are dairy, beans, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables.  Colleen should be eating plenty of these foods every day to maintain the much needed calcium for herself and her baby.

Colleen is feeling great and getting excited!  I can’t wait to hear the good news and introduce the newest member of her family to the world very soon!

 

BIGGEST CONTEST EVER! Colleen’s Story.

Colleen is now 26 weeks pregnant.  If you haven’t been following Colleen’s story, or if you would like to read it again, click on “Colleen’s Story” in the blog tag cloud to the right.  This will bring up all blog posts about Colleen.

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Colleen may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Colleen 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.

Colleen’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 me and Colleen is extensive and continual.

Colleen is not currently supplementing with fish oil or calcium/magnesium as I have recommended.  She did start taking calcium/magnesium, but recently read an article about a study which linked calcium supplements to an increase in cardiovascular disease.  Of course, I understand her caution and I have encouraged her to discuss this with her doctor.  The truth is, there is much conflicting information out there and sometimes it’s downright impossible to make an informed and confident decision when it comes to supplements.  I do feel that it’s most beneficial to acquire all of our nutrition from food sources.  I respect Colleen’s decision not to supplement and recommend she eat more calcium and magnesium rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.  To maintain a healthy pregnancy, she needs at least 1,000 mg of calcium and 360 mg of magnesium daily.  It’s important to mention that not all supplements are created equally.  I highly recommend that anyone who is supplementing do their research and buy their supplements from a trusted, qualified source.  Again, always discuss any supplements you are taking with your doctor.

Some of Colleen’s earlier pregnancy issues are no longer a concern!  She is rarely experiencing heartburn or headaches!  She has some back pain, and suspects that has to do with picking up and carrying her one year old son.  She has received one prenatal massage, which provided some temporary relief.  I recommend she book more massage appointments and also consult with a chiropractor.

Her diet is much better than it was in the first trimester.  She feels she is eating well, although her food intake is not high in vegetables.  On average she consumes about 1 ½ servings of vegetables per day.  I would like to see her double that, which she can do by eating one serving with each main meal.

She has been suffering from a cold for the past three weeks.  To boost her immune system I recommend she eat foods containing vitamin C (citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and leafy green vegetables) raw honey and garlic.

I’m excited for Colleen as she nears the third and final trimester of her pregnancy!  I hope she continues to feel good, providing her baby with all of the nutrients and the love that he or she needs.

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BIGGEST CONTEST EVER! Colleen’s Story.

Colleen is now 21 weeks pregnant.  If you haven’t been following Colleen’s story, or if you would like to read it again, click on “Colleen’s Story” in the blog tag cloud to the right.  This will bring up all blog posts about Colleen.

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Colleen may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Colleen 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.

rollerblading 1Colleen’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 me and Colleen is extensive and continual.

As a nutritionist, I always recommend food sources of nutrients before supplements.  In fact, with a balanced diet that includes all of the necessary calories, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, you wouldn’t need supplements at all.  However, realistically not many of us eat a perfect diet.  Sometimes we need to supplement in order to achieve optimal levels.  In Colleen’s case, I have recommended that she take fish oil and a calcium/magnesium blend.  She has not made this a priority and still has not purchased her supplements.  I feel it is important now to explain to her the reasoning for my recommendations, especially fish oil.  Remember, Colleen does not eat seafood.  At all.  Her diet is therefore lower in healthy fats like EPA and DHA, or omega-3’s.  These have both an anti-inflammatory and blood fat lowering effect.  They lower bad cholesterol (LDL), while raising good cholesterol (HDL).  Studies have found that supplementing with fish oil during pregnancy can increase hand-eye coordination and boost brain development in babies, as well as reduce the occurrence of allergies in infants.

I did not ask Colleen for a food log this time.  She feels that her appetite is back and she is eating enough food.  Rather than counting calories, I am encouraging Colleen to listen to her body.  Although it is beneficial to know if you are eating enough, it is also a good practice to learn your body’s signals.  Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.  We are born with this amazing ability to know exactly what we need.  Over time we lose this skill but when we are aware of it and stop to listen, we can re-learn this gift that nature has provided.

Leafy green vegetables are an important part of any diet.  They have a good amount of phytonutrients, which fight disease and promote good health.  They contain a wide range of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and many different vitamins.  They provide a source of chlorophyll, which not only alkalizes the body but detoxifies as well.  Everybody should eat some leafy green vegetables every day.  Good sources of leafy greens are lettuce, spinach, kale, bok choy, swiss chard and parsley.  Colleen has been having some trouble eating salads.  She has said that greens taste like ‘dirt’.  🙂   Ok, I understand prenatal food aversions, and now that the weather is getting colder, I don’t recommend that salads be a big part of any diet anyway.  Instead, she can try to sauté her greens, or add them to soups and stews, etc.  I have provided some recipes for her to try.

Other than some mild heartburn, she is feeling great!  Her headaches have not been an issue lately.  She has some mild hip and lower back pain.  For that she is going to see a massage therapist.  I hope she enjoys her massage!

BIGGEST CONTEST EVER! Colleen’s Story.

Remember Colleen? She is now 17 weeks pregnant. If you would like to read her introductory blog, you can find it here.

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs. The recommendations I make for Colleen may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences. The nutritional advice given to Colleen 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.

I should also add that Colleen’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 myself and Colleen is extensive and continual.

you-want-a-baby

Now, I understand as much as anybody else how difficult it is to make changes to your lifestyle. I expect some of my recommendations to be a challenge for Colleen. Unfortunately, Colleen has yet to buy her fish oil or calcium/magnesium. This wouldn’t be a concern if she ate more seafood, calcium and magnesium food sources such as beans, leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Unfortunately, none of these beneficial foods could be found in her recent food logs.

On a good note, she has started eating more food because her nausea has subsided. As we suspected, morning sickness has passed as she entered the second trimester. I am glad for her! However, new issues have taken it’s place. Now she is experiencing headaches and some mild heartburn. She feels her headaches may be associated with the weather. I have also heard recently that they can be related to the moon’s cycle. But, I have a strong suspicion that it’s due to a lack of protein, calcium and/or iron. According to her food logs, she is still not eating enough food. Her average calorie intake for two random days that I assessed was 1,532. This is not enough. The average woman who is pregnant needs between 2,400 – 2,800 calories per day. As for the heartburn, I recommend that she eat small meals frequently throughout the day. Do not drink large amounts of liquids with her meals, and eat slowly to increase digestion. Some foods which may relieve heartburn are yogurt, raw cashews or almonds or a baked potato.

Colleen is experiencing some hip, back and knee pain. For that I recommend she consult with a chiropractor or massage therapist.

Overall, Colleen is doing very well and her baby is most likely happy as can be. 🙂

 

BIGGEST CONTEST EVER! Colleen’s Story.

Meet Colleen.  She is the first winner of my Biggest Contest Ever!  She has won free nutrition and lifestyle coaching for the next 28 weeks, the remainder of her pregnancy.

*Every individual is unique and will have different nutritional needs.  The recommendations I make for Colleen may or may not benefit other women who have similar experiences.  The nutritional advice given to Colleen 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.

Colleen is currently 12 weeks pregnant.  Her due date is January 31, 2014.

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Colleen’s baby at 12 weeks.

 

Colleen is in her late 20’s, married with a one year old son.  She and her husband were fortunate enough to get pregnant on their first try.  Both times!  Many couples struggle with fertility issues and she is well aware, grateful for what they have.

Right now she is tired, as to be expected in her first trimester.  I can’t help but remember my own pregnancy and those early days.  The afternoon nap was not uncommon for me.  Colleen isn’t allowed this luxury as she is needed to care for her son.  It is important for her to rest as much as she can, when she can.  Pregnancy is hard work.

Her main complaint right now is morning sickness and not being able to eat.  This is a common problem for many women in their first trimester.  It is very important that she provide enough nutrients for her growing baby.  She should eat small meals frequently throughout the day as often as she can.  She needs an extra 300 – 400 calories per day, including an increase in protein to support her baby’s growth.  Sometimes nausea is caused by not getting enough nutrients.  Another reason to eat more.  Herbal teas such as peppermint and ginger may alleviate her nausea.  Fortunately, morning sickness is usually gone by the second trimester.  If this is true for Colleen, she must be celebrating right about now.

Some of the issues we discussed other than morning sickness were muscle cramps (oh, those charley horses!), ‘baby brain’ and nutritional deficiencies.  There are indications that Colleen may be deficient in calcium, which can contribute to muscle spasms.  She hasn’t experienced any yet with this pregnancy, but she did with her last one.  Of course, I am not a doctor and can’t determine for sure if she has a calcium deficiency or not.  I suggest that she discuss this with her doctor.  Calcium, as we all know is very important.  During pregnancy, if there is not enough calcium from our diet, our body will actually pull it out of our bones to give to the baby!  Prenatal vitamins provide some calcium, but in Colleen’s case I recommend she take extra calcium from both supplements and food sources.

Poor concentration or memory is another symptom Colleen is experiencing.  When I asked her if it were always like that, or only since she’s been pregnant, she couldn’t remember.   🙂

Essential fatty acids play an important part in brain health.  Colleen should eat a variety of EFA’s every day including nuts, seeds, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil and butter.  Yes, butter.  I can’t stress how much I love butter and how good it is for you.  Fish is another excellent source of EFA’s.  In fact, everybody should enjoy seafood as a regular part of our diet.  Unfortunately, Colleen can’t stomach the thought of fish or seafood.  For that reason, I feel a fish oil supplement for her is necessary.

Colleen has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  I truly believe that if she follows all of my recommendations, over time she can heal her thyroid.  However, this is a long process and one that takes patience and commitment.  I think she can do it!

I will be checking in with Colleen monthly as she continues her pregnancy.  Feel free to leave a comment if you would like to ask a question or just to say hi.