Free Prenatal Nutrition Basics Class 8/25

I'll be teaching a free prenatal nutrition class at Natural Resources in SF on Saturday August 25 from 2:30-3:30p. Details below and on my Classes page. Please stop by and tell your friends!


AUGUST 25, 2012
Prenatal Basics
In this class, you will learn how your diet impacts your baby's lifelong health. We'll discuss choices you can make to prevent disease, minimize complications and enhance your baby's well-being. You'll also learn what you can eat to help prevent some common prenatal ailments & concerns. This introductory class is fun, educational and interactive - attendee participation is welcomed!
1367 Valencia St. (at 25th St.)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Cost: Free

Eat Omega-3s to Support Your Baby's Brain

You've probably heard of omega-3 fatty acids and know that they're good for you. These polyunsaturated fats, found in foods such as fish, flax, chia, and walnuts, are also called "essential" fatty acids (EFAs) because our body cannot synthesize them itself - we can only get them through our food. Omega-3s have powerful properties: they are cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory, support strong bones, prevent depression and lower menstrual pain. 

Omega-3s are also crucial to fetal development. They're so crucial, in fact, that it is common for fetuses to pull them from the mother's body and leave the mother deficient (welcome to motherhood!). Omega-3 metabolites play a role in the development of the baby's:
  • central nervous system
  • brain
  • eyes
  • immunity
Maternal omega-3 deficiencies can result in a baby with a low birth weight, shorter attention span, lower IQ, allergies, autoimmune diseases like eczema, and a poorly developed central nervous system. Proper maternal intake can reduce the incidence of premature delivery and preeclampsia, as well as support good moods and improve cognitive capacity in mothers.

New research suggests that adequate salmon consumption during pregnancy also increases the omega-3 concentration of breast milk, thereby increasing delivery to the newborn. Non-water matter in human breast milk is approximately 54% fat; omega-3s are an important part of that percentage.

If you're going to get your omega-3s from fish, it's imperative to select low-mercury choices. Mercury has severe effects on fetuses and small children, ranging from developmental delays to autism, cerebral palsy or mental retardation. Some excellent resources for selecting low-mercury fish:
Additional sources:
  1. Hudson, T. (2008). Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. New York: McGraw Hill.
  2. Jacobson, H. (2004). Mother Food: Food and herbs that promote milk production and a mother's health. Rosalind Press.

Preventing Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) occurs in 2-10% of pregnant women. However, in many cases it is preventable. A new study confirms that adherence to a healthy diet is crucial in order to avoid GDM. While prevention of GDM can be helpful in the short term, it is especially important because women with GDM have a high chance (35-60%) of developing diabetes in the future. In addition, their babies are more likely to be obese or develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Untreated GDM can even lead to fetal mortality.

What is a healthy diet? This study observed the alternate Mediterranean (aMED), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and alternate Healthy Eating Index (aHEI) dietary patterns and found significant benefits to all three. These diets all support the need for complex carbohydrates and healthy proteins and fats.

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