JHP Episode 7: What You Need to Know about Prenatal Nutrition

Pre-conception, during pregnancy, and post labor nutrition

Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist,

Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher,

and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition.

Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and

unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines.

She is the author of two bestselling books,

Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.

"I was interested in exploring the researching backing up what my textbooks were saying "



Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression

(active versus inactive genes) that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence — a change in phenotype without a change in genotype — which in turn affects how cells read the genes.

*The way we eat and the environment we provide during our pregnancy can affect the genes we pass down to our children

Pre-Pregnancy: Increase intake of nutrients of egg health and methylation



-vitamin b12


foods rich in these nutrients-

-eggs (including yolk)

-liver & other organ meats (an amazing source of nutrients!)

-Leafy Greens




-Sunflower Seeds


-Seafood/shellfish- omega 3 rich critical for brain development

*Get real about your intake of

added sugar and empty calories

Your body stores up these nutrients & will use them during your first trimester of pregnancy! Which is great if you do have food aversions or nausea and aren't eating normally.


Nausea? Here is how to help

-eat breakfast

-add in salt, iodine, magnesia

-avoid blood sugar spikes

-EAT PROTEIN! (even if its small!)

Is the nutrition different for each trimester?

The same nutrients are necessary for different reasons based on fetal development

Real food vs. Supplements?

Always try to get your nutrients from foods first and use supplements to..supplement!

A prenatal vitamin is like an insurance policy! But be an informed consumer on finding a GREAT prenatal vitamin.

What should I avoid during pregnancy?

Risk vs. benefit of nutrients if you do eat the food

Most items on these lists are misunderstood.

-Fish: you SHOULD eat up to 12 ounces of low mercury fish each week

-Eggs: raw or undercooked generally not recommended but only accounts for 2% of food outbreaks while fresh fruits and vegetables that accounts for 50% of outbreaks.

-only 1 in 83,000 get listeria from lunch meat but still given a bad reputation

-Raw fish consumption is eaten and encouraged in other countries

*Don't get caught up in with whats OKAY and whats BAD. Just express food safety with ALL fo your food! Focus on nutritionally dense foods, use food safety, and be aware where you are buying from

Way to reduce possibility of contamination:

-Buy Local

-Cook foods thoroughly

-Wash with diluted white vinegar

-Monitor outbreaks

-Avoid pre-prepared foods and restaurants

-Prepare fruits and vegetables from whole form at home (not pre-chopped)

Can I drink Caffeine?

- limited to 200-300mg a day

- a small 8oz cup of coffee

- tea and chocolate usually not a concern

What about Alcohol?

At high intakes linked to birth defects and disorders.

Researchers have looked for a threshold,

some countries drink 1 alcoholic beverage each day,

so it really is your call to be made

"Eating for two: more like eating for 1.1"

focus more on eating nutrient dense foods

I gave birth, I'm DONE! ...Not Quite


You just went through a HUGE physical challenge AND you might be breastfeeding, your body needs to be replenished.

- Eat more food (+300-500 calories each day)

- Eat enough protein

- Focus on getting nutrients

*Plan this by pre-preparing, have someone to cook for you, or meal delivery!

Take This With You:

-eat more protein

-eat breakfast (not only carbs)

*all the other nutritional specifics are secondary to these simple basic tasks

Find Lily on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/lilynicholsrdn/

Find Lily on her website: https://lilynicholsrdn.com/links/


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