Ep 141: Prenatal Nutrition with Pregnancy Dietician Stephanie Lauri


Diet is a vital component of prenatal healthcare which can often be overlooked. Today educator and registered dietician Stephanie Lauri joins us to give this subject the attention it deserves. After realizing there was a need for more accessible and reliable information on prenatal nutrition, Stephanie dedicated herself to creating a resource for expectant mothers.

There are some surprising dos and don’ts in this episode. Stephanie lets us in on what exactly your body needs during pregnancy and where to find it. She also has some tricks and tips for getting proper nutrition during this time even if vegetables don’t sound appealing!

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What are the qualifications to become a dietician
  • What the difference is between a nutritionist and a dietician
  • Why it is important to begin focusing on nutrition even before becoming pregnant
  • How to choose the right prenatal vitamin for you
  • What are some powerhouse foods for pregnancy
  • Why you shouldn’t focus on weight
  • What are some recommendations for vegans and vegetarians

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Ep 141: Prenatal Nutrition with Pregnancy Dietician Stephanie Lauri

Nicole: You are going to learn all about prenatal nutrition in this episode with pregnancy dietician, Stephanie Lauri, Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 141. Thank you for being here with me today. In today's episode, we have Stephanie Lauri. Stephanie is a registered dietician, certified lactation educator, and a mom to two girls who are three and one. Throughout her first pregnancy, she was really surprised at the minimal focus there was on nutrition during this really important, critical stage of life. She also found that as a dietician, she was sought out a lot by her other pregnant friends for her guidance. It was because of this, that combination of being surprised at the lack of focus on her own pregnancy as well as her friends seeking her out, that that led her to know that she wanted to become a resource for pregnant women. And now she does so for pregnant women worldwide, to help them gain confidence in their food choices throughout their own pregnancy journey.

Nicole: She really helps women across the globe who struggled with anxiety and uncertainty around knowing what to eat and to help them feel confident and empowered in their food choices for both mom and baby and feel their absolute best throughout their pregnancy. She shares a lot of information on Instagram, where she has over 23,000 followers. She's there @pregnancy_nutritionist. And of course we'll link that in the show notes. So in this episode, we talk about the difference between a nutritionist and a dietician. I was surprised by that. We talk about choosing a prenatal vitamin, a couple of powerhouse foods for pregnancy that are really great. Why you should not focus on your weight during your pregnancy. Some recommendations for vegetarians, some recommendations for folks who have anemia and much, much more. So I know that you are going to learn a lot about how to have great nutrition and great diet during your pregnancy.

Nicole: Now at the time, this episode is airing. It is the day after I did my brand new live class, Make A Birth Plan The Right Way. And I created this class because, well, I decided to pull back the curtain on really going in and helping women have the experience they deserve by really speaking the truth about the system that they're giving birth in. The reality is that the U S maternity system is one that was founded in a system of patriarchy, taking away power from women over what happens in their bodies, and racism. Now we have come a long way and we've made lots of strides and progress, and it's not all bad. In fact, it is quite possible for you to have a lovely experience giving birth in a US hospital, but you need to be prepared. And a birth plan is a great way to help with that, but it needs to be done the right way and the right way doesn't involve a template form or checklist.

Nicole: It's really a process. And that's what I talk about in the class. So if you miss the class and you didn't register for it, you can actually catch the class on my IGTV or on my Facebook page. I'm on both of those @drnicolerankins and the recording of the class will be up until November 30th. It'll be up for a week, and then it's coming down after that. This class is going to become a paid class, actually. So just for this Black Friday week, it's being offered for free. I also share in the class, speaking of Black Friday, that the Birth Preparation Course is on sale for Black Friday. So go to drnicolerankins.com/blackfriday, where you can grab the Birth Preparation Course at 50% off. So do check that out there. All right, let's get into the episode with registered dietician, Steph Lauri. Thank you so much, Stephanie, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. I am so excited to be talking about this topic, and I know the listeners are going to be excited to hear about it too.

Stephanie: I am so happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

Nicole: Yeah. So why don't you tell us a bit about yourself and your work and your family, if you'd like?

Stephanie: Absolutely. So I'm a Southern California girl born and raised. And I actually, um, knew that I wanted to study nutrition from a young age. I was 15 because I, um, had gotten diagnosed with high cholesterol and started seeing a registered dietician to help improve my health through diet and nutrition. And, um, that was kind of the start of me being exposed to, you know, this whole world of nutrition and, and health. And, um, so yeah, starting college, I, you know, dove right in to the field of nutrition. Um, and yeah, now I live in, um, orange county with my family. I have two little girls, a one and a three year old. Um, and aside from, you know, working with pregnant women and having, um, this aspect of my business, I also do at work, um, at a children's hospital with pediatrics.

Nicole: Oh, nice. Nice. Love it. Love it. Um, and I have two girls too, and they are two years apart as well. So

Stephanie: How's girl, mom, life.

Nicole: It's good. It is good. And they are best of friends. So although they do argue, sometimes I will say for them, for the most part, they are best of friends. Oh, Alrighty. So what training did you go through to become, and you are a dietician, correct?

Stephanie: Yes. I'm a registered dietician. And, um, the training is, um, you need at least an undergrad. And like for me, my specific degree was food and nutritional sciences. Um, and, um, from there you go through an accredited dietetic internship program that is typically a year long, full time, um, where you get different experiences and exposures to all different areas of nutrition. So, um, you would have like a clinical rotation, most likely in a hospital setting where you practice medical nutrition therapy, um, you have a food service rotation, you, um, do rotations and other aspects of like the community. So potentially WIC, which is a women infants and children, or like working in a food, a school district with like education for young kids and the school district. So, um, lots of, of areas to get exposure to how you can practice as a dietician. Um, and then you have to go through a national board exam and, um, once you pass, you become a registered dietician and then you have, um, ongoing requirements for continuing education, um, to maintain, you know, up-to-date knowledge and research in the field.

Nicole: But it's important to know that this isn't just like, you know, something that folks take lightly. It requires training and then ongoing training to stay up to date.

Stephanie: Exactly.

Nicole: Yeah. So tell me what is the difference, because I don't know this and I feel like I should, but I don't know what is the difference between a dietician and a nutritionist?

Stephanie: That's a great question. Um, so like I mentioned to become a registered dietician there's, um, a lot of schooling and, um, clinical practice and, you know, taking a national exam to, um, you know, withhold your status or, you know, license as a registered dietician. So for a nutritionist, at least in the state of California, there is no, um, actual definition. So I think like if you can literally read a book on nutrition and refer to yourself as a nutritionist, so yeah. There's no classifying terminology for nutritionist.

Nicole: Got it. Learn something new every day. I'm glad I asked that question. So what made you decide to focus specifically on, um, and we'll talk about your, your Instagram, you have tons of great information there, guys we'll link that all up, but focus on specifically nutrition and pregnancy.

Stephanie: Yeah. So, um, it really wasn't until I went through my own pregnancy that I, um, had kind of thought so much about nutrition during pregnancy. Um, so of course when I became pregnant and nutrition during pregnancy was a really big research topic for me just being in the field and caring about it. Um, and so when I went through my own prenatal care, I was actually really surprised that nutrition really wasn't a big topic of discussion and there would be things that I would research myself and, you know, bring up, um, in my appointments or, um, I would just like be curious how, um, you know, my healthcare team was gonna approach a topic on nutrition during pregnancy, and it was just really lacking. And of course I get it because your appointment times are so limited. And of course the main focus is like the medical stuff.

Stephanie: And so being in the medical field, like I totally get and appreciate that. Like I had a very great, um, care when it came to, you know, my prenatal experience. Um, however, there just wasn't the time or really that like in depth, um, involvement in the fact of nutrition. And so I was actually pregnant around the same time as a lot of my friends. And so a lot of friends would ask me questions, just knowing that I was a dietician. And so it sort of just sparked this, um, like passion inside of me to really dive deeper into nutrition during pregnancy, which we know is like such a critical time for, um, not only like mom's health, but you're creating a life. And just knowing that how, um, your diet and nutrition plays a role during pregnancy can actually impact the DNA expression and your child's like health trajectory throughout their life. And so that just like blew my mind and, um, made me realize, like there wasn't enough of this out there. And I just wanted to kind of share that knowledge with, you know, other moms and moms to be, because if I wasn't receiving, you know, this type of education during my pregnancy experience, I'm sure many others weren't as well.

Nicole: Uh, so you are feeling filling a very big void and you're also Steph very nice because the reality is like doctors don't know nothing about nutrition in pregnancy. Sure. You were probably like, they don't know nothing because we don't get trained on it. We don't get a lot of information on it and we tend to rely on just like giving out a pamphlet or something, or, but the honest reality is that we just don't know a lot about it. And I'm sure you found that out through firsthand experience.

Stephanie: Yeah. Well, of course, like I know that in medical school, like nutrition is clearly not the hot topic, so, um, I get it, but

Nicole: No, it should be because like nutrition in a way is like medicine. Like what you put in your body is really important. So, but we just don't get a lot of it.

Stephanie: I know maybe, maybe eventually there will be a little more overlap, but no, what also surprised me was just like that there weren't regularly dieticians involved in, you know, many offices or, you know, like OB, like I just feel like there should be more presence of dietician support in, um, you know, the medical, like part of your medical care, especially in pregnancy

Nicole: A hundred percent. So speaking of that, when, when should someone consider seeing a dietician, should it be routine or are there any, um, typical circumstances where you like, you really need to see a dietician and then is it typically covered by insurance?

Stephanie: Yeah. Great question. So, um, I mean, I think really the, someone should start if someone has a family planning, that's when you should start seeing a dietician, because so much of your diet pre pregnancy can impact, um, your egg quality, you know, sperm quality. It can not only like help with fertility in general, but your nutrition for about three months actually impacts like the egg that is going to be implanted. And so, um, that's just really fascinating and cool, but also, um, it takes a little bit of time for your nutrition stores to build up. And so there are particular nutrients, especially in that early pregnancy that are really important for baby's development early on. And, um, you know, if you wait until you're pregnant to start focusing on nutrition, you could be missing out on, you know, critical nutrition to prevent some, um, you know, early disorders like neural tube defects, for example.

Stephanie: Right. Um, and so by the time a lot of people find out they're pregnant, you're four, six potentially even eight weeks. And at that point, like that's when your, um, like neural tube attaches. And so, um, you know, sometimes it's almost like a little too late at that point. So focusing on nutrition before pregnancy can help build up those nutrition stores that are required. And then also in that first trimester, a lot of people do have, you know, aversions or nausea and really just don't want to eat many nutritious foods. Like you can only survive on maybe crackers for example. And so by paying attention to nutrition before pregnancy, you can kind of already have those nutritional reserves, um, built up for your body to pull from, um, for baby. So before pregnancy is always a great time, but that's not always feasible. Um, typically you're only really referred to a dietician in pregnancy if you have gestational diabetes.

Stephanie: Um, and so that will be covered by insurance. Um, usually, and I think a lot of is changing with insurance coverage, but it has been that once you're diagnosed with something, that's when you'll get approval for, um, dietician visits, which is unfortunate because nutrition can really be a preventative. So we should really be preventing certain things as much as possible, um, through nutrition as opposed to waiting until you're already diagnosed with something. Um, but now it's actually really cool because with, um, health savings account HSA and FSA, um, we are able to, um, accept typically you just need a, um, physicians like prescription or physicians, like order that says it's approved to use FSA or HSA, but I've been able to work with clients using those accounts, which has been really cool.

Nicole: That is good. Now, are there some other things I know you said of gestational diabetes, what about weight? What if you're either underweight or overweight, will that qualify you for seeing a dietitian through insurance?

Stephanie: Yeah, so every insurance is different, so it's hard to say because it depends on what insurance you have, but typically with physician's orders, like if a physician was a worried about weight and said, like, I, you know, this is your prescription to go see a dietician. I think that definitely has more of an influence on insurance as opposed to just that individual wanting to go on their own.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. Okay. What about thyroid? That's the other thing that pops up in my mind? Anything like thyroid or, um, anemia? Will, anything like that, I'm just trying to give folks some options for how they can try and get any.

Stephanie: Yeah, I know. I wish I had more specific answers. I'm not really sure. Actually, if you know, insurance does cover specifically for, for thyroid or anemia, I w they should,

Nicole: It's something worth investigating to check out for sure

Stephanie: Yeah, exactly. And, and, you know, whatever insurance you do have, you can always call them and see, you know, what nutrition services they will cover, especially during pregnancy.

Nicole: Yeah. Y'all, it's impossible for us to know on our side, like how every insurance option works, because my God, there are a gazillion of them and they're all different. So definitely like give your insurance company a call and see, because it's, it's worth even before your pregnancy and see.

Stephanie: Absolutely. Yes. Yes.

Nicole: So let's get into some, some tips for a healthy eating during pregnancy. What are your top three tips that you'd like to share with folks for eating during pregnancy?

Stephanie: Yes. So one, one tip is if you're not necessarily feeling well or you're having aversions and like veggies just sound awful to you, smoothies are a great way to bulk up the nutrition in your, in your meal while also being like an easy way to get down and enjoy. Like cold is always good. Um, and so, yeah, I love smoothies just because there's, you can just really, really, um, make a big impact on your nutrition and that, and that one meal. Nice. Um, and then there is, um, fish. If, if you enjoy fish consuming, at least two servings a week can provide you with the omega three fatty acids, DHA and EPA, which are super critical for baby's brain development, um, that can meet your needs. Um,

Nicole: And what types of fish do you have an idea?

Stephanie: Yeah, so like salmon, um, is a good one. Even like cooked shrimp, um, tuna and with tuna, I would say, um, avoiding like, um, your albacore or big eye, because those are going to be higher in mercury, but, um, if you do like a canned tuna skip chalk or chunk tuna light, or are going to be your lower mercury options.

Nicole: Gotcha. And we go back, we have gone back and forth about fish, like 50,000 times, but fish is okay and safe to eat in pregnancy.

Stephanie: Yes, you do just want to be mindful of like the higher mercury fish. Um, so that's going to be like king mackerel, swordfish, um, shark. Um, so those you want to limit, um, or avoid just because of the mercury content, same with like the bigger tunas got big eye.

Nicole: And one more, what's another tip you have for eating healthy and pregnancy.

Stephanie: Yeah. So, um, another tip is also, eggs are a excellent form of, um, choline there's, iron there's B vitamins, um, protein. So eggs are just sort of one of those like powerhouse foods during pregnancy because of the nutrients that it contains it's specifically in the yolk. So, um, eggs are safe to eat every single day, if it's something that you like and can tolerate. And so that would be, um, that would be one of like my pregnancy quote unquote superfood recommendation.

Nicole: Nice. Nice, nice. Now, what are your thoughts about, cause I get this question so much. What are your thoughts about prenatal vitamins and supplements?

Stephanie: Yes. So I think that it can be doable to avoid them if you like really can't tolerate them or are really against supplements. But if that were the case, um, I would definitely recommend working with someone specifically because you have to be a lot more diligent on your daily, you know, diet and nutrition. So I am a big fan of prenatal vitamins. Um, they are really more of like an insurance policy. Um, they're not supposed to, or going to replace a, you know, overall healthy diet, but more to supplement what may be lacking in, in your particular diet. And what's challenging is there are like literally thousands of prenatal vitamin options, but they are not created equal. So, um, that's where the challenge is, but every person really is going to have slightly different needs based on what their particular diets are. Um, so there are, there are certain things to look for in a prenatal vitamin.

Nicole: I'm sure, like, like what are some things you recommend?

Stephanie: Yeah. So, um, choline is something that's not found in all prenatal vitamins and our needs are really high in pregnancy and lactation, um, and eggs. One of the reasons I love eggs so much is because um eating two eggs a day, meet half of your daily requirements for choline. And eggs and liver are pretty much your highest sources of choline. So that's something that is really challenging to meet your requirements in diet alone. And so something I really like to encourage people to be looking for in their prenatal vitamin.

Nicole: Got it. Got it. Anything else about prenatal vitamins?

Stephanie: Yeah. I'm looking for methylfollate versus folic acid just to help the others actually estimated about 60% of people have this MTHFR genetic variant where your body can't, um, utilize folic acid. And so the methylfolate would be, um, you know, better utilized by the body. So not everybody knows if they have this, this variant. And so, um, going for the methylfolate, just off the bat, you won't have to have to guess and know that your body is getting the, um, folate that it needs for prevention of neural tube defects.

Nicole: That's a bit of controversy, certainly for sure. Um, on our side where if physicians are still pretty much recommended folic acid, because that's the data that we, that we know. Um, so that one's a tricky one I'll say.

Stephanie: It is. And, you know, folic acid actually is like better absorbed by the body. Um, it's just for those people who potentially can't utilize it. And it seems that there, well, that's a whole discussion, but yes, you know, folic acid has been, um, you know, shown for years to, um, help prevent neural tube defects. It's, what's fortified in a lot of our foods like breakfast cereals, oatmeals and pasta and grains. And so, um, it is very helpful and prevention of neural tube defects.

Nicole: Yeah. So are there any supplements that you recommend in addition to prenatal vitamins?

Stephanie: So not usually unless it's like specific for a client based on their individual needs. So it definitely wouldn't be for like the masses. Um, also, you know, if you don't eat fish regularly, like at least two servings a week, um, omega three fatty acids are, um, your DHA supplement, EPA supplement are going to be, um, something to include in your prenatal regimen. Um, also vitamin D um, the current guidelines and recommendations for 600 units a day seems to be pretty low. Um, I always recommend my clients ask their physician to get a vitamin D level checked. So they know exactly where they are to supplement accordingly.

Nicole: Yeah. We all, a lot of us are more deficient in vitamin D than we realize, because a lot of it is, comes from being in the sun and we don't necessarily get out as much as possible. And especially although we're getting, you know, out more with the pandemic, but even that has affected things. So yeah, definitely need to make sure you have the right amount of vitamin D. Exactly. All right. So what are some misconceptions about eating during pregnancy other than the odd, of course there's the obvious one. You're not eating for two.

Stephanie: Yes, exactly. Um, you're, you're not getting for two, it's actually more like 1.2. Um, so you know, focusing more on the quality of your nutrition, not necessarily the quantity, um, another misconception is that you have to eat perfect every single day. Um, it's definitely, you know, not like that. I really like to look at it as more of like a week's average to make sure that you are meeting those requirements, but, you know, some days you might be feeling like dairy and getting, you know, a bunch of calcium in and then other days you're not. And, you know, ultimately, um, over like the course of, you know, a few days a week, it should average out, but this is kind of also where that prenatal vitamin comes into play as that insurance. Um, but it is not an expectation to eat quote unquote like perfectly, um, every single day to still have optimal nutrition.

Nicole: Yes, definitely. Don't put that pressure on yourself. Um, cause it's just impossible to meet, to meet the expectation that you're always going to be perfect with your eating. Exactly. What are your thoughts about, how about the use of tracking your weight during pregnancy? Like how much focus or emphasis do you put on that?

Stephanie: So I personally don't put any, um, I, through my own experiences and just from working with many, many pregnant women, people put on weight at different times throughout their pregnancies and put it on differently. Um, I know that, you know, also like being, you know, a dietician and focused in this field, I had this expectation that like, okay, I didn't need to gain any weight in that first trimester because that's what the books say. And then after that I should be gaining, you know, a pound of we, you know, like just based on what the books are and the guidelines. And that was just very far from what actually happened in reality. And so I think that my clients get, and just like the women that I talked to during pregnancy gets so focused on the specifics of like how much they're gaining each, you know, visit or when they're gaining like, oh my gosh, like I wasn't supposed to gain any weight during this time.

Stephanie: And I put on a few pounds and I'm nervous. This is going to set me up for, you know, excess weight gain throughout my whole pregnancy. And so that's something like I talk about a lot is just not putting that pressure because it really happens so differently for everyone. Um, and I think that gets a little bit challenging because my clients get overwhelmed and it, it is a big focus of conversation in a lot of prenatal visits. And so, um, that can be challenging and discouraging and, you know, for, for most people it does average out at the end. Um, people just put it on just so differently. Um, you know, you also want to consider too, like, you know, weight is like, it's not like a linear thing and can fluctuate like so much even, just day to day. So did you drink a bunch of water before you stepped on this scale?

Stephanie: Did you, um, you know, urinate before you stepped on the scale, did you go to the bathroom that day? Um, you know, those are just a few things that can really influence several pounds. So, um, you know, unless you are weighing yourself like consistently at your appointments, like with the same, like it's just, it's never going to really equal out to, so some of that may not be true weight gain, um, either. So I don't, I don't put a big focus on that. And my main focus is, um, really like, um, you know, pairing your foods while making sure you're feeling full and satisfied listening to your body and not, you know, um, an expectation or a number of that. You know, the books say that you should be, you know, eating per day because that could also influence, you know, there has been, um, in the recommendations it's like, you should be eating and extra X amount of calories per trimester, but again, this is completely variable person to person. And so if you are focusing on that number, you could be over or under fueling based on what your body needs.

Nicole: Uh, yeah. I agree with that 100%. I mean, I work as a hospitalist now so I only work in the hospital, but when I did prenatal care, it was like, you know, your weight is something we have to look at, but we're not going to obsess over it because after 15 years, I know that people gain weight differently. Just like you said, some people will, they gain at different rates. Some, there are some people you guys may not want to hear this, but honest to God, there's some people who are going to gain 50 pounds. It doesn't matter what they eat. They just, you know, during pregnancy, it just kind of happens. So focus on what you're eating, the things that you have control over, which is what you put in your body and do your best with that. And then the don't don't obsess over the scale. Cause it can be frustrating. Um, for sure.

Stephanie: Yeah, I love that. You said that like focus on what you can control and it's so true. Like I've seen people eat, you know, like just, you know, pay attention to their nutrition, like their whole pregnancy and you know, you still gain a certain amount and yeah. Certain bodies are just like designed to gain a certain amount to support carrying a baby. So,

Nicole: Yep. Yep, yep. Yep. So let's, um, as we're getting towards the end, I just wanted to touch on a couple of common conditions that come up. And if you have recommendations for folks who encounter these issues during pregnancy, so what are a couple of food choices for people who are vegetarians or vegans to help with nutrition during pregnancy?

Stephanie: Yeah. So, um, you know, I, I think if you, depending on your level of vegetarianism, I know that can be arranged for different people, but, um, for vegetarians and vegans, I really do especially vegans, recommend working with a professional who does, um, you know, focus on vegan pregnancies because your nutrition requirements are just so specific. And, um, you know, there's a lot of nutrients that can't be found, um, from plant-based foods. And so supplementation is just going to be, you know, more critical for you. Um, and then, you know, when it comes to vegetarian, you know, some foods that I would recommend if it's something in your diet like eggs and fish, um, I know that's questionable depending on, you know, some people who are classify themselves as vegetarian, do eat eggs and do eat fish, or, um, you know, there's such a range. So it's hard to say, but eggs and fish, if that's something you can tolerate, but I would recommend to be a regular part of your diet.

Nicole: Awesome. Awesome. And what about like, I guess beans like chickpeas beans in general, is that,

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. So that's a great source of protein and nutrients. Um, you know, they're not going to contain, you know, certain, certain, you know, like just having a variety in your diet because ultimately like you get different nutrients from different sources, right. So, um, you know, yeah, beans are going to be in beans and legumes and lentils. You know, those are going to be a great source of protein for you and, and B vitamins and, um, fiber. And then of course, a range of your fruits and vegetables and, um, you know, depending on if you do dairy or not, you can have your, your Greek yogurt as a great source of protein there too, and calcium. Um, so again, it's going to kind of depend on, on what your diet looks like there, but, um, a variety opt for, you know, colorful plate to get different nutrients and different antioxidants from all the, all the colors in your fruits and vegetables. So variety is key.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. And you know what, this random question popped up in my head when you said milk, what do you think about quote unquote, like not cow, not, not cow based milk, so like almond milk or soy milk or things like that. What are your thoughts on those?

Stephanie: Yeah. So, um, you know, for those who don't tolerate dairy, like it's, you know, obviously totally fine. Um, a milk that I actually really liked. That's a dairy free milk is called Gripple it's, um, pea protein. And so it actually has as much protein as cows milk and it is fortified with nutrients like vitamin B12 and, um, your calcium, your vitamin D. And so, um, like omen milk is very low in protein and oat milk is very low in protein. Soy milk is a bit better, um, protein wise, but you know, like, like cow's milk is a good source of protein. So if you are consuming it like a big part of, um, you know, what I practice is having well-balanced meals. So pairing your carbs with your protein and fat at all times, it's going to help for blood sugar stabilization. It can help with nausea, it'll help keeping you full and satisfied. And so every time you eat or, you know, have a meal or have a snack, I definitely recommend having your, you know, your carb and protein and fat. And so if you are having like that milk might as well get, you know, your protein and nutrition from it. And so, um, one that, that I really like is called riple. Okay.

Nicole: Okay. Nice. Nice. Now what about anemia during pregnancy that happens fairly common? What are, what are a couple of food recommendations to help with anemia or S uh, iron supplement that you think, you know, works particularly well or people supplement recommendations, I guess.

Stephanie: Yeah. So, um, your animal proteins, your meat sources are going to be the most via bioavailable iron source, meaning your body absorbs it most readily. Um, and so, you know, focusing on your meat, your meat proteins there, um, other ways to help absorb iron better is cooking in cast iron. And, um, if you are having like your plant-based sources of iron, like beans, um, is a good iron source. You want to pair it with something high in vitamin C to help absorption. So for an example, if you have like beans and broccoli broccoli, it's going to have like vitamin C or say, you make like chick pea pasta, because, you know, the chickpea pasta is kind of, um, you know, the rage right now. I love it. Um, you get your protein, your fiber, but it is made from chick pea, which is a bean and has iron.

Stephanie: And then you pair it with your tomato sauce, which has vitamin C that can help absorb that iron. Nice. Um, you want to try to avoid, um, drinking coffee or tea from having your high iron foods about an hour, because it can inhibit absorption there and same with, um, if you are like, if iron is in your prenatal, you want to avoid, um, having calcium with your supplement. So don't drink milk with your supplements, cause it can, um, decrease iron absorption because calcium and iron do compete. So that's another thing too, in your prenatal vitamin, make sure it doesn't have iron and calcium because they do compete for absorption choose one or the other

Nicole: Good to know. Good to know. So as we wrap up, what is one of the most frustrating parts of working with, with pregnant people and nutrition?

Stephanie: Um, I would probably say just the symptoms, like, um, you know, that women experience and, you know, there's so many tips and tricks that we can try to, um, make a difference through nutrition and diet and lifestyle to help relieve some of those symptoms. But sometimes it's just not feasible and these women just struggle. And I feel like that's just so hard because you want to help them so bad, but like when they can't tolerate anything and you know, and so I think just also just having, you know, being supportive during that time and, um, that that's just frustrating for me because, you know, you just like, feel like helpless.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I agree. I think we all get into this work because we ultimately want to help people. And when you see people struggle, it's hard. Yeah. Yeah. So what's the, on the flip side, what's the most rewarding part of your work?

Stephanie: The most rewarding is just like when your clients like have their babies and, you know, everybody is happy and healthy and it's just like such a, like a beautiful thing to be able to work with someone throughout their pregnancy, as they're like growing this human and, you know, they're just wanting to do everything they can that's, you know, in their power, in their control to, you know, have a healthy pregnancy, ultimately have a healthy baby. And then to see that all the way through is just like the best

Nicole: It's the best.

Stephanie: Yeah. I'm sure you can relate to that

Nicole: A hundred percent, a hundred percent. So what is your favorite piece of advice that you would give to expect that mamas?

Stephanie: So, and this can also play into like, once you have your baby too, but really everything is just a phase and, you know, remembering that because when you're living it, it feels like you're in this, you know, hardship forever, but it all passes and then you're onto the next thing, but just kind of like remembering that it's a phase. So if you're feeling uncomfortable or you're feeling like, you know, you have some nausea, like it will pass, you know, you will go on to the next, um, and that kind of plays into early motherhood too, or just motherhood forever. Um, it's always a phase good or bad.

Nicole: I love that. That is excellent. Yes. That is outstanding advice. And so, so true. It will definitely apply to parenting as well. Uh, all right. So thank you so much. This was a really informative conversation. Where can people connect with you? What other things do you offer that they can, they can do? Um, let us know where we can, where can people find you?

Stephanie: Absolutely. Um, you can find me on Instagram and the handle is @pregnancy_nutritionist. Um, and I am after months and months and months of work, I just launched what's called grow baby society. It's now a membership platform for moms and moms to be, to, um, you know, really gain confidence during their pregnancy learn. Um, you know, all the foundations of pregnancy nutrition, work with me, um, have a community and network of other moms and moms to be during this, you know, phase of life. So, you know, connecting with people who have the same goals as you and are pregnant and going through this journey together and then, um, you know, have the support when it comes to nutrition and health throughout their pregnancy journey. So I love that you can find me on Instagram.

Nicole: I love it. Well, definitely folks check that out. All right. Well, thank you so much again for agreeing to come onto the podcast. Super helpful information. I so appreciate chatting with you.

Stephanie: It was lovely today. Thank you so much for having me.

Nicole: Alright. Didn't you find that episode useful? I found it very helpful and I hope you have a couple of takeaways too, to help you feel better about your diet and the things that you're putting in your body to grow your pregnancy and have a healthy pregnancy. Now, you know, after every episode when I do, or when I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's Notes where I talk about my top three or four takeaways from the conversation. So here are my Nicole's Notes from my conversation with Steph. Number one, make sure whoever you are working with is trained and qualified, or at least, you know, where their training and qualifications are. So for example, I had no idea that anybody can really call themselves a nutritionist and that a dietician is a more rigorous training and certification and upkeep and things like that, and no shade to nutritionist, but you should know what you're getting into when you work with someone.

Nicole: So an area where this comes up within the birth space also is with doulas, because really anyone can call themselves a doula. It's not a regulated profession or field. So you really want to know that you have someone who has some training or qualifications, or you want to know what you're getting into. One of the things that I have inside the Birth Preparation Course is a nice checklist of questions you can ask. If you're considering a doula to help you understand what training and qualifications they have and what it will be like to work with them, um, helping to make sure it's a good fit. So you can, um, again, that's a part of the Birth Preparation Course, and you can grab the Birth Preparation Course right now for a Black Friday discount at 50% off. That's drnicolerankins.com/blackfriday. Okay.

Nicole: Number two, I'm going to reiterate that doctors do not know much about nutrition. It's just not something that's emphasized in our training. I know it doesn't make sense that it's not, but it's just not. So we get very little education on nutrition. Despite the fact that food in a way is kind of medicine. Like it can be in terms of your health, but it's just not something that's emphasized in a Western medical system. Some of that has changed, I think, with, um, more recent medical education that, that has gotten better, but still not a prominent part of medical education. So don't expect that your doctor is going to know a lot about nutrition. Most often. They're just going to give you a pamphlet and tell you to read up on it. So if you think you want to know more than explore your options for speaking with someone who is trained and can help you with your unique circumstances.

Nicole: Okay. And then the third thing that I'll say and emphasize is that supplements and vitamins are not a replacement for good food. Definitely focus on good food, um, is much natural. And when I say natural, like as close to the ground as possible, minimally processed, you can read the ingredients on the label. Um, nothing that's like super complicated and long. Sometimes I see folks wanting to use supplements and vitamins to, um, kind of on a layer of a poor diet. And that's not gonna not going to help. So I'm not saying you can't ever eat like anything, quote, unquote, bad, like cupcakes or cake. Like I have a weakness for sweets, but overall you want a good, healthy, balanced diet, and you don't want to use supplements and vitamins as a way to replace eating good food. All right. So there you have it. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you're listening to me right now.

Nicole: And I'd love it. If you leave an honest review on Apple Podcast in particular, I so appreciate what you think about the show. And speaking of what you think about the show, I'm collecting information, a kind of listener survey. I want to learn more specifics about who listens to the podcast. So you can go to drnicolerankins.com/survey, fill out a quick survey. And if you fill out that survey by November 30th, and then you will be entered to win one of four $50 Amazon gift card. So again, its drnicolerankins.com/survey. So that's it for this episode do come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the, All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast, head to my website, drnicolerankins.com to get even more great information, including free downloadable resources on how to manage pain and labor and warning signs to look out for after birth. You'll also find information on my free online class on how to make a birth plan that works as well as everything you need to know about my signature online childbirth education class, the Birth Preparation Course. Again, that's drnicolerankins.com and I will see you next week.

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