Intuitive Eating During Pregnancy – June 2017 Focus on Food

Picture of Miriam


This month’s edition will be for a specific population, but I thought it a necessary and valuable conversation for this tribe of miracle makers. The relationship with food is my passion topic, so let’s chat about this relating to pregnancy! Which I am. Currently 39 weeks. So this is about MY experience with pregnancy, sprinkled in with nutrition knowledge.




Diet Mentality:

Doesn’t belong throughout pregnancy or anytime, but why I wanted to bring this up is to discuss the problem with a honed dieting brain going in to pregnancy. As I mentioned many times, a strong dieting history leads to bingeing, fat gain, slower metabolic rate, eating disorders, preoccupation/anxiety with food, higher BMI, and lower self-worth and trust in YOU. Of course there are other mega problems with dieting, but I mentioned the main ones. Read more here.  So… if you have this foundation set going in to pregnancy with all the wild hormones and popular belief that you are now eating for two, this is a natural lead in to eating in excess (typically of empty calorie inflammatory foods). Can you see how so many women have been tripped up by this? All of a sudden it’s like go time and they want to eat the whole house. Diet Mentality to blame. If you were Intuitively Eating all along, you would not feel this compulsion. You would eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, letting your body be the thermostat to intake (not your head because of historical deprivation). I knew this scientifically before I was pregnant, and now I know for sure being pregnant. I have had a different appetite that varies more frequently and have been able to just roll with it, honoring what my body was telling me I needed. The weight gain then comes organically and healthfully. I know I am leaving out a certain segment of becoming super sick during portions, if not the whole duration, of pregnancy. That is certainly a different ballgame, and I’m so sorry for this discomfort.

Type of Food:

I have eaten really the same staple foods (plant based, wholesome, balanced) with some extra added sugar delights, such as chocolate chip cookies, gelato, and angel food cake. I did start buying entirely organic produce, which I see as much more important for your growing and vulnerable bean.

I’ve been asked so many times, “Any cravings?” I have had them and honored each and every one, even when it involved some of my scary ingredient foods (such as hydrogentated/trans fats). I know! My longest craving was peanut butter cookies with some of the “scary ingredients.” I tried to do an ingredient swap, but they didn’t taste the same and I laughed to myself “why do chemicals taste so dang good sometimes?” I let it go… I had the unhealthy ones and knew it would play itself out. It did after about 2 months. So in the scheme of things, it was worth it. Psychologically, if I didn’t have them, I would be left wanting, which means it would manifest elsewhere (i.e. eating more of other foods that wouldn’t cut that craving). When 80% of my food was functional, I was happy with 20% being “play food.” All in all, I haven’t had very many cravings for different foods because of my broad diet and the permission I give myself with food. Again, if you are in that group that suffers from moderate to severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, this does not apply to you. You’re just trying to survive and eat enough. If you want to know the target foods to be getting during pregnancy, here it is. An overview of nutrition and lifestyle during pregnancy is here.

Amount of Food:

I am sure you know this by now, but you aren’t actually eating for two people; and if you do, it will increase risk for a plethora of health complications for you and baby. Please be mindful of this. It will be so very worth it for the two of you. The calorie recommendations are: first trimester – same amount of calories if you can stand the nausea; second trimester – an additional 300-350kcals; third trimester – an additional 300-500kcals. This is all dependent on many variables of course. With intuitive eating, I naturally reached these ranges most of the time. First trimester I didn’t have bad nausea, so I ended up eating 200kcals more if I was hungrier. Something else to consider –  if your activity changes, you will need to adjust calories. I did find that tracking during pregnancy was helpful for me. I used My Fitness Pal loosely. 


I know this is such a sensitive topic, but there is some science behind the recommendations. Here are the most current recommendations. Take it with a grain of salt, especially if you are for real intuitively eating. Remember that your body has wisdom, and if you need more, eat more; if you need less, eat less. Of course this nixes the afflicted sick mamas that I alluded to before.

In my 3rd trimester, I was having some very full, tight, and even refluxy symptoms, so I had to be more strategic with my intake. I still had hunger, yet the space in my belly was compromised. I broke up my meals and added more snacks to accommodate. Throughout the whole pregnancy, I gained gradually and right on target until half way through 3rd trimester. Weight plateaued, even dropped, a couple lb’s after a stressful week, but was assured it was ok and perfectly normal per doctor. I added more calories while still listening to my wise body. Some days warrant more than other days. My hunger was/is my guide. If I woke up too hungry, I knew I needed to take in more. This is something you can get familiar with, pregnant or not. It’s a good measure!

Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements:

I am big on quality supplements, especially if you take them every day. First trimester I had mild nausea, and some other prenatals made this symptom worse. I tried several that made it worse until I landed on Rainbow Light brand. I also use their DHA and Iron. Very gentle on the tummy, quality, and without the harmful additives. I also added a smoothie to my breakfast routine, which had one scoop of Vega Protein Powder. This added some more vitamins and minerals to my current diet, along with 20grams of plant protein.


Overall, I have been very fortunate to have such a lovely pregnancy with manageable symptoms. I was extremely fatigued and moderately depressed first trimester, which was difficult, but I know it could’ve been worse. I learned early on to self-care like it was going out of style. I made it a priority to go every other week to a chiropractor and acupuncturist, go to therapy as needed, exercise daily, practice mindfulness and gratitude (check out insight timer app for guided meditations), and lean on people… a lot (my poor husband). Who knows how my next pregnancy (god willing) will play out, but I will be in touch and share. 😉

Miriam Turner

Studio SWEAT Dietitian