Well, we are back to posting after our class session. We are so excited to be teaching again after our summer break up in Payson, AZ.
Last night was our second class of the series, “Nutrition in Pregnancy”. We show the video of a visit Dr. Brewer made to one of Marjie & Jay Hathaway’s classes in CA. Although it’s dated as far as analogies and hairstyles, and some of the information has changed for our generation*, the majority of the information still rings true.
Through the information relayed in the video, literally half of our mother’s got the pleasant surprise that having salt when you are pregnant is okay! They were so happy to hear that their bodies actually need salt and relieved to know that their partners could stop worrying about their salt consumption.
What! Yes, you read that correctly. Dr. Brewer recommends that pregnant women should “salt to taste”. That doesn’t mean making it look like it snowed on your plate – let’s not get too crazy. It does mean that if your body is craving salt, then go ahead and use the saltshaker without guilt.
Cutting back on salt can cause a decrease in the amount of blood circulating through your body and placenta (hypovolemia). This in turn reduces the supply of nutrients passing to your baby.
“It is the sodium (ions) present in salt that the body requires in order to perform a variety of essential functions. Salt helps maintain the fluid in our blood cells and is used to transmit information in our nerves and muscles. It is also used in the uptake of certain nutrients from our small intestines. The body cannot make salt and so we are reliant on food to ensure that we get the required intake.” (Ref 1)
What are some indicators that you need to have some salt? Too little salt in the diet leads to leg cramps and fatigue. So, if you are experiencing either of those, try adding a little salt to your food or drinking water and see if you start to feel better.
Inadequate salt intake can also lead to swelling. As swelling can be a warning sign of problems developing in your pregnancy, it’s important to check in with your care provider. Swelling is an indicator for pre-eclampsia, which can lead to toxemia of late pregnancy causing mothers to have seizures or convulsions, and sometimes leads to death of mother and/or baby. Conversely, you may be experiencing normal swelling (edema) of pregnancy as the body naturally starts to increase your blood volume in preparation for labor and delivery. Therein lies the confusion: whether it’s the “good” or “bad” swelling, it looks exactly the same to you and your care provider.
If you prefer to err on the side of caution, have your care provider test your heart rate and your blood pressure to see how you are doing. If they are within your range of “normal”, then you can rest a little easier knowing that those indicators of pre-eclampsia are not off and you are probably experiencing normal edema.
Once you get the all clear from your care provider, try adding “salt to taste”. The easiest way for me to add a little salt to my diet is to put a smidge in my drinking water. Invariably, the swelling improves; just know that this is anecdotal and always check what is best for you with your “gut check” and your care provider.
I also want to add that not all salt is created equal. Check the label and see if there is any anti-caking chemical added to the salt. In the interest of keeping heavy metals out of your system, avoid a salt product that contains aluminum. You can also look into using kosher salt or sea salt as alternatives to regular table salt; again, read your labels and know what you are feeding your body and your baby.
For a look at all the components of Dr. Brewer’s Pregnancy Nutrition Program, visit http://bradleybirth.com/Diet.aspx
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
*For example, one of the components of his pregnancy eating plan is to have a quart of milk per day since it is a “complete” food: the only vitamin it is missing is Vitamin C and the only mineral it is missing is iron. With all the concern about the hormones and antibiotics present in milk, and along with many people who are dairy-free due to allergies, and the growing awareness that cow milk is made for cow babies, not human bodies, this is a potentially controversial recommendation. We encourage our students to eat four servings of “dairy products” per day, which includes things like yogurt and kefir that are easier on the human body; and we also provide a list of foods that are high in calcium if they cannot or do not want to consume dairy products. (Ref 2)
(2) Dairy alternatives list provided by Dr. Jessica Mitchell, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine