Last week, I was tired. Like, first trimester tired, only I was 17 weeks pregnant and thought I'd been out of those woods for 6 weeks already.
I happened to have a prenatal visit with one of my midwives that week, so I brought it up to her. She asked about a couple of things – whether I had been to many births recently, how my toddler, Poppy, was sleeping at night, and about the state of my diet. I immediately felt silly. Everything had been great – work had been quiet and my kiddo is sleeping like a champ since weaning, but I've been eating like total crap. I should've caught that on my own. Whoops.
We looked back at my labs from the first trimester bloodwork I’d had done and my iron levels were strong, so my midwife asked about my protein intake. She likes women to get a lot of protein during pregnancy and I was nowhere near an acceptable level. And I know better.
When I was pregnant with Poppy back in 2009, I was a vegetarian. I’d gone vegetarian in 2002 and had no intentions of eating meat again for the foreseeable future, but then I was asked to double my protein intake. And then I ran into a couple of small issues that my midwife thought more protein could help solve and I found myself physically ill at the thought of eating one more god forsaken bean or drinking one more whey protein shake. Before I knew it, my vegetarian husband had cooked me up a mean chicken stir fry and I was back among the omnivorous – and feeling great.
This isn’t to say that vegetarians can’t make it through a healthy pregnancy without succumbing to meat. Quite the contrary! I even know a couple of very healthy pregnant vegans at the moment, but giving up on it was what worked for me.
Once Poppy was born, I considered going back to vegetarianism, but opted to remain an omnivore for a variety of reasons not interesting enough to go into here, although my meat consumption remained very very low until this second pregnancy rolled around.
And now I eat bacon damn near every single day. And I love it. Oh, how far I’ve fallen.
The challenge this time around is that I’m now off of dairy while I try to work through some allergy issues so my old protein bombs like Greek yogurt are off limits. Instead, I find myself eating as many beans, nuts, and tofu as I can manage, choking down a soy-based protein shake every night (can anyone recommend a brand that doesn’t leave your cup of soy milk a clumpy disgusting mess?!), and relying a lot more on meat than I’d like… like my daily breakfast bagel with egg and bacon from the best bagel shop in Brooklyn.
But, hey, a pregnant lady’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. It’s for the baby after all.
Do/did you find your nutritional needs in pregnancy to be drastically different than usual? Were there things you knew you needed to improve on, but had a hard time incorporating into your diet properly? Do you love bacon as much as I do?