Folic Acid for Pregnancy:  Preconceive Nutritionist Jess Cording explains what it does and why you need it

Anyone who has seen an orange juice commercial knows that folic acid is great for women who are currently pregnant or trying to be. But what does folic acid actually do and where can you find it (other than your morning Tropicana)? We talked to our very own Preconceive nutritionist, Jess Cording, MS, RD, CDN to get the scoop on this essential little vitamin. Jess coaches people (pregnant or not) wrestling with familiar questions like, “Should I be eating this?” “Why should I be eating this?” “What else should I be eating that I am not?”

We’ve all heard of it, but what is folic acid and what benefits are associated with consuming folic acid before and during pregnancy?

“Folic acid is a B-vitamin that plays a role in the development of new cells. During pregnancy, it’s especially important for promoting healthy development of your baby, especially in the early days before many women even know they’re pregnant. Getting enough folic acid can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord and may protect against miscarriage. “

“How much of this stuff do I need?”

“Recommended intake: The U. S. Public Health Service and CDC recommend that women of childbearing age consume 0.4 mg (400 micrograms) of folic acid daily.” 

“Where can I find folic acid in foods I eat already?”

Good food sources of folic acid include:
-Leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, etc)
-Citrus fruits (oranges)
-Legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils, etc)
-Eggs
-Fortified grain products (bread, pasta, cereal, etc)

Pro Tip:

“Scope out labels to help you determine whether you’re meeting your needs.  Supplements are recommended before becoming pregnant and into the first trimester.”

About preconceive:

Motherhood is our full time job.  We help women navigate fertility, pregnancy and parenthood. We offer on demand consults and prenatal classes for the 21st century.  All consults and classes are led by certified experts in breastfeeding, sleep coaching, maternal mental heath, genetics, fertility nursing, perinatal fitness, adoption, nutrition, pediatric nursing, infant safety, and labor and delivery.  

Jess Cording is a nutrition coach on pre-conceive.com. She is available for one-on- one consults over the phone and teaches Preconceive prenatal nutrition classes.

References:

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/folicacid.html

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002408.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/recommendations.html

Published on the giggle blog June 2016

The Ultimate Go-Bag: Everything you need for your hospital stay

You’re in the home stretch and starting to think about plans for the big day! Don’t leave it up to your partner to scramble and pull together a hospital bag the moment before you run out the door. We asked labor and delivery nurse practitioner and certified midwife Bronwyn Fleming-Jones to give us an essentials list. Follow this guide and you’ll be extra-prepared and comfortable when it’s time to hit the road.

What to bring for you:
•    Your insurance card and identification
•    Lip balm and your favorite lotion: hospitals can be really dry.
•    Warm, fuzzy socks, a bathrobe, and slippers: hospitals can also be really cold.
•    Your preferred clothing for labor: if you don’t want to wear a hospital gown, bring something comfortable like a nightgown or a sports bra.
•    Hair ties, makeup, and skincare products for postpartum: you may be there for a few days depending on your delivery. Be ready for visitors and photo opps!
•    Toothbrush and toothpaste: the hospital will have these, but yours are probably nicer.
•    Birth comfort supplies: hot water bottles, birth ball, or a handheld massager.
•    Ipod/iphone with charger: if your labor is really long, it might be helpful to have some tunes.
•    Camera or video recorder (and charger or extra batteries): check with the hospital or birth center to see what they allow in the room.
•    Your own pillow or an extra-soft pillow case: really, it’s about anything that’ll make you feel more comfortable and at home. 
•    Nursing supplies: a nursing bra, nursing pillow, and lanolin ointment.
•    Comfortable clothes to go home in: think loose, soft, flowy.  
•    Resources: notes from your pre-conceive prepared childbirth course, birth books, or other resources you have found helpful.

What to bring for baby:
•    Diapers: the hospital will provide these at first, but you’ll want extras for your trip home.
•    Undershirts, onesies, and hats: a couple sets of each.
•    Receiving/swaddle blankets: the hospital will also have these, but you may want a couple of your own for the trip home (plus: yours will be cuter). 
•    Heavier blankets: depending on the outside temp, these may be good to have on hand.
•    Car Seat: it is really important to have your car seat installed properly ahead of time. This isn’t always the most intuitive process, so, fortunately there’s help. You can attend a car seat fitting demo sponsored by the Department of Transportation, or call 311 to schedule an appointment.

What your partner should bring:
•    Cell phone charger: for all of the updates to family and friends!
•    Granola bars, snacks, water bottle
•    Cash and credit card for vending machines and cafeteria
•    Comfortable clothes or pajamas for spending the night
•    Bathing suit: in case a quick swim seems like a good idea. Just kidding. This is optional, but helpful if you’re planning to utilize the shower or a birth tub 

Newborn Necessities: The Real Deal on the Must-Haves

What, the $10K registry total left you feeling a little overwhelmed? We’re right there with you.

Some of these lists can get a little extensive and extravagant (um, baby butt fans and poop alarms?!), so we’ve asked our resident baby whisperer, Jen Lovallo, MSN, APRN, CPNP, what should really make the cut. 

1. Unscented baby wipes: Fragrance can irritate your baby’s sensitive bum, and let’s be honest: lavender-scented poop does not make the moment any more pleasant.

2. New car seat: Hand-me-downs are great for a lot of (perhaps most) baby items, but the car seat is one thing you should purchase brand new. Besides the fact that the safety regulations change every few months, seats get banged up with the endless in-and-out, and car seats are notoriously hard to clean deep in the crevices. You really want to put your babe in a seat that has aged pea puree crusted in the buckle? 

3. Extra fitted crib sheets: Babies spit up a lot, and diapers have been known to leak. You’ll need a few of these puppies to get you through the week.

4. Never too many diapers: You’ve heard your newborn will go through about 6 diapers a day? Plan for 12. Don’t get caught in a sh*tstorm without a lifeboat! 

5. Breast pump: Not the most glamorous thing to include on your registry, but your boobs will be eternally thankful. Don’t question it.

6.  Baby thermometer: As a new mom, you’ll have anxiety about your baby’s health every day for at least the first year of his or her life. This will be a little gut check to keep you from calling baby’s provider every few hours.

7. Diaper cream: Ugly rashes be gone. Enough said.

8. Portable changing pad: Once you and your baby are mobile, you never know when you’ll need a pit stop. Ease your mind about those nasty public bathroom counters by keeping it in tow (disinfecting wet wipes are always a plus).

9. Receiving blankets: Perfect for swaddling and easy to clean, you’ll go through these faster than you can say “baby burrito (see burrito instructions here)”.

10. Soft washcloths/cloth diapers/burp cloths: Buy ‘em by the dozen. You’ll use/destroy/wash so many of these, you’ll be glad you have 78 backups. Believe us: you’ll be thankful your shoulder doesn’t look like a war zone.

5 Power Foods for Power Moms-to-Be

By Sarah Rueven, M.S. R.D.N.

You approach your pregnancy like you do everything else in your life—head on! Munch on the following nutrient-rich foods to power you through the next 9 months like the champ you are.

1. Salmon: Feeling a little gun-shy in the fish-consumption department? Fear not, salmon is totally safe for pregnancy. Salmon is known for its omega-3 fatty acids (which your future baby genius needs for eye and brain development), but it’s also plentiful in Vitamin D, crucial to fetal bone development. Keep tabs on how often you eat it, because the FDA recommends no more than 12 ounces per week (too much mercury isn’t good for anyone). 

2. Beans! Beans! That wonderful … food! Chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and pinto beans pack a ton of protein for the mom-to-be, with about 15 grams per cup. Beans also will help combat constipation… your favorite pregnancy symptom. Try roasting chickpeas in the oven with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt for a crunchy snack.  

3. Spinach and Dark Leafy Greens: Pack in a punch of nutrients for your power pregnancy with spinach. With tons of folate, iron, Vitamins A, C, K and calcium, it has almost everything your little bun in the oven needs. Throw greens in everything from your morning egg scramble to your favorite smoothie. 

4. Avocado: With more folate per ounce than any other fruit, avocados are especially helpful during your first trimester when your baby’s central nervous system is forming. This nutritional powerhouse also contains potassium, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C. Try them on toast, or add some to your morning smoothie for a natural sweetener.

5. DHA-fortified eggs: This on-the-go breakfast staple contains about 7g protein and omega-3 fatty acids (keep building that brain power for your baby genius). Studies have shown that women who get plenty of omega-3s may deliver infants with higher levels of intelligence, better vision and more mature central nervous system functioning than women who consume lower amounts of this essential nutrient. Never too early to start prepping for the SATs….

Your Body After Baby: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

After labor, the pain is over, right? Not so fast. Your body still has a lot of work to do to get back to its pre-baby state. Certified Nurse-Midwife Bronwyn Fleming-Jones gave us tips for getting through post partum aftermath (aside from breathing deeply).

1.    You will continue to have contractions as your belly shrinks.

The contractions are your body’s way of stopping the bleeding and reducing your uterus to its pre-baby size. These can feel pretty uncomfortable for a few hours and may last a few days. Your uterus is above the belly button before you give birth, and it goes down about a finger-width each day until it’s completely contracted down. 

What to do: Take ibuprofen like you would for menstrual cramps to alleviate the pain and try to pee often (any pressure on the uterus keeps it from contracting fully).

2.    You will have to endure a post-labor belly massage by a nurse or midwife.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this will be relaxing. It will hurt like hell and may lead to you involuntarily smack the medical attendant (nurses are used to this). This is done to help your uterus contract more quickly and reduce blood loss after your placenta detaches. 

What to do: Breathe and endure (sorry, there’s not much more on this one).

3.    You will sweat like never before.

All of the fluid from pregnancy has to exit your system, and it will feel like you are waking up in a sauna for the first few weeks. Your body temperature will be out of whack as well, so you may feel like you are having cold sweats at night, and urinating may burn when your vagina is recuperating (fun times).

What to do: For the sweats, just try to regulate your temperature to stay as comfortable as possible. For the painful urination, use a squeeze bottle of water to rinse yourself and then drip dry, rather than irritating the area even more with dry toilet paper.

4.    You may experience back door woes.

Your mom friends will probably warn you about this. All that pushing and force on the pelvis creates some fairly unpleasant results for the rear. Hemorrhoids are very common and can mean really uncomfortable irritation or pain in your rectal area. Constipation is also a usual suspect and can make the first week after labor  

What to do: For hemorrhoids try Tuck’s pads, which are infused with witch hazel to limit circulation to the area and relieve some of the swelling. Preparation-H is also good to have on hand. For constipation, take a stool softener to get things moving, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

5.    Get ready to surf the crimson wave.

There will probably be a good amount of bleeding for a few days after you give birth. This is caused by open blood vessels from the placenta detaching, and is called “lochia.” It will start like a heavy period with dark red blood and will fade to pink then to a reddish brown color. Ultimately it can be a few weeks before you completely stop bleeding, less for those who have a C-section. Breastfeeding can increase the flow.

What to do: Just wait it out and take home plenty of the giant pads they have at the hospital (stash them in your bag!). Don’t try to use tampons due to the risk of infection. As long as there is not a strong odor or strange color, which could mean an infection, you shouldn’t be concerned, and the bleeding will subside over a few weeks.