Top 5 Reasons to Work with a Prenatal Nutritionist

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Pregnant, or thinking about preparing for pregnancy? Congratulations! 

All of a sudden, eating can feel complicated. What cheese is allowed? And is deli turkey OK? What about coffee or vitamins? 

To help you figure out how best to meet your growing nutritional needs, a prenatal nutritionist is the #1 person to welcome to your care team.

Hi! I’m Jessica, Registered Dietitian, prenatal nutritionist, and mother to three amazing kids. In this blog post, I’ll explain what a prenatal nutritionist is and how they can help you to be your healthiest self throughout your pregnancy. 

Let’s start with what a prenatal nutritionist is.  

What is a Prenatal Nutritionist?

Now that you are eating for two (or more!), you may have some questions about what to eat during pregnancy. Unfortunately, your OB doesn’t usually talk about your diet: it’s not what they are trained to focus on. 

That’s where a prenatal nutritionist comes in: we’re the experts in all things nutrition!  

While anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, I recommend finding a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) who works with pregnant clients. An RDN has extensive training in medical nutrition therapy and can support you with practical, safe, and effective strategies to improve your diet. Working with an RDN, you can expect an initial appointment plus a few follow-up sessions as needed. Read on to see why you need a prenatal nutritionist!

#1: Expert Myth Buster

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are nutrition experts who can weigh in on current diet trends. They can answer your questions and provide evidence-based recommendations.  A prenatal nutritionist can also help separate myth from reality on social media.

Whether it is how much caffeine to drink, or what fish are safe to eat, they’ll be your best bet for clearing up the debate (no more relying on “Dr. Google”).

#2: Develop a Personal Plan

One way a prenatal nutritionist can help you is to develop a customized eating plan. 

If you have any dietary restrictions or specific food preferences, it can be difficult to always know what to eat in order to get all your nutrient needs met. And on top of that, the need for several nutrients increases during pregnancy (lookin’ at you, iron). 

During your nutrition session, you can discuss what a typical day of eating looks like for you, where you usually shop, and what (if any) food cravings or aversions you are currently experiencing. 

Based on this info, your prenatal nutritionist can create a personalized plan that gives you a daily structure of how to nourish your body well, based on what your usual habits are. Just think about how much more helpful this will be than a generic plan that you might see online, or someone else’s diet that they share on social media. 

#3: Advice on Prenatal Vitamins

A recent study found that NONE of the prenatal vitamins currently sold in the U.S. meet the recommendations for 6 of the main nutrients of concern during pregnancy (folate, vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fats). 

That’s right – NONE. ZERO. ZILCH. 

So if you are feeling overwhelmed trying to figure out which one to buy, you’re not alone! The good news is that this is another place where working with a prenatal nutritionist can be helpful. They can walk you through the different options and weigh in on which one makes sense for you. 

From one brand to another, the amount of nutrients varies as well as the specific form of the nutrient. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists know how to compare these to figure out which one is most appropriate to support your pregnancy.

#4: Guides You Throughout Pregnancy 

What a difference a week can make! (If you know, you know!) But seriously, things change quickly during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. 

Feeling sick early on is very common, but how to deal with this definitely varies from pregnancy to pregnancy. And once you get into the second and third trimester, then comes the heartburn, constipation, and thirst. 

Working with a prenatal nutritionist throughout your pregnancy gives you a resource to help navigate all of these changes and how to adjust your eating plan to keep you nourished and feeling good.

#5: Help with Infant Feeding

Did you know that most women decide whether to breastfeed or not while they are still pregnant? Infant formula companies know this, which is why you’ve likely received at least a sample or two of different formulas already. 

Ultimately, there are many factors that go into this choice about how to feed your baby. As you weigh this decision, talk it through with your prenatal nutritionist. Chances are, they can also be a great resource for you after your baby is born! And some are also credentialed as lactation counselors, which means they can provide you with even more in-depth support for breastfeeding. 

They can explain the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby, and give you a heads up about how your nutritional needs change postpartum if you are breastfeeding. If you are leaning towards formula feeding, they can provide an overview of the differences between the various types of formula. 

Bonus tip! Pregnancy Prep

Trying to get pregnant? Good luck! This is a great time to start thinking about a healthy diet. I’ll let you in on a secret – studies show that dietary intake can impact fertility (and not just for the ladies… what guys eat matters too!). To support your fertility and prep for a healthy pregnancy, a nutrition expert can walk you through the key nutrients to focus on that can improve your diet quality and the chances of getting pregnant.  

That’s a wrap

As you can see, a prenatal nutritionist, specifically a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is an incredibly valuable professional to support you before, during, and after your pregnancy. 

There are a lot of changes that happen in pregnancy and a lot of research to stay on top of them. Don’t go at it alone: feel supported and confident with the support that you (and your baby!) deserve. 

If you’re ready for expert nutrition support,  click the link below to schedule your initial session with me!

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