Today we are joined by the @prenatalnutritionist, Ryann Kipping! Ryann is a clinically trained Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Lactation Educator, and author of the Feel Good Pregnancy Cookbook. She is the founder of the @prenatalnutritionist, a private practice which focuses on preparing women for pregnancy and conquering nutrition during and after pregnancy. She is also the founder of the Prenatal Nutrition Library, an online community for evidenced based nutrition and information before and during pregnancy.
We first discuss how someone should shift their focus with regards to nutrition when they go from TTC to now being pregnant. Ryann explains working with professionals like Sophia and Caitlin can set you up for a great foundation prior to becoming pregnant. She discusses how the initial shock of being pregnant drives curiosity for whether or not there are certain foods that you were regularly eating before that are now safe or not. Ryann explains overall, nutrition for TTC and pregnancy are the same. You should be making sure you are still eating well-balanced, well-rounded meals.
We then jump into combating morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy. While normally you might be eating all the greens and eating all the protein prior to pregnancy, when nausea hits at 7 or 8 weeks into your third trimester, Ryann explains how to deal with this. She explains that the nutrition you fueled yourself with prior to becoming pregnant then becomes what your body relies on when you are pregnant and might not be able to stomach any food due to nausea. Ryann also explains some women can’t even get down their prenatal vitamins either, so she encourages women to do the best they can, and that “some calories are better than no calories.” So – if you can only eat plain noodles, that is better than not eating anything! If you know that every day at 3pm your nausea hits, then you can plan for it by maximizing your breakfast and lunch nutrition. When you are feeling bad around dinner time, you will know that you got in a lot of nutrients earlier in the day.
Ryann explains blood sugar management is also a major key in combating nausea. Having an empty stomach increases nausea, so it’s important to prevent huge blood sugar spikes throughout your day. Eating small frequent meals can help with this, as well as eating fat or protein with carbs. You can also try eating some carbs first to get your palette ready, and then try to stomach some protein after you get the carbs down. Caitlin shares that when she was pregnant and would wake up in the middle of the night, she would keep a small protein-rich snack on her nightstand to snack on for blood sugar balance. Sophia reminds listeners that this doesn’t have to be a super hearty protein-rich food; it can be peanut butter, string cheese, or cottage cheese. Ryann shares that one of her clients only wanted cereal for dinner, so she chose a healthier cereal option, used whole milk, and added a scoop of collagen to make it a more nutritious choice.
Ryann also explains that she recommends full fat dairy for pregnancy, even though eating low-fat dairy has often been engraved in our minds that it’s superior to full fat. In pregnancy, your need for fat soluble vitamins increases, so without enough of the fat, your body can’t absorb the vitamins (A, D, E, K). Sophia and Cailtin share that the patients with PCOS that they work with are caught in the middle because their doctors tell them to lose weight, yet now they are told they should be eating full fat dairy, and they ultimately end up worried that they will gain weight. Ryann debunks the myth that you will not suddenly gain more weight eating full fat dairy.
Ryann discusses common myths that often ruminate around what types of foods to avoid during pregnancy. One common myth is that you should avoid fish due to having too much mercury, when in fact, it’s so important to eat fish, specifically fatty fish, during pregnancy. She explains the benefits of eating fish far outweigh the risks, and the need for DHA is especially important during the third trimester. Ryann advises to avoid consuming shellfish raw. Her prescription of fish oil varies for clients; those who rarely eat fish could benefit from a DHA supplement whereas someone who might’ve grown up eating a lot of fish might not need it. Her favorite brands she recommends are Nordic Naturals and Carlson.
We also discuss ways for women who have had multiple miscarriages to have more insight on how to prevent future pregnancy trouble. Ryann explains it’s extremely important to make sure your thyroid is healthy, and getting your thyroid levels checked can be the first step to determine this.
The biggest component to getting through your first trimester, to Ryann, is prioritizing your mental health over any specific food. Her number one priority is to make sure her clients’ minds feel at ease about what they’re eating so that they can optimize the way they feel throughout their first trimester instead of worrying about specific foods to avoid. Speaking of foods to avoid – Ryann advises that raw shellfish and romaine lettuce are the two biggest foods to avoid during pregnancy. She emphasizes to wash your produce because produce in general often ends up on the foodborne outbreak list. News flash – if you are craving a sandwich… eat that deli meat, girl! You have such a less chance of getting sick from that pasteurized brie cheese and freshly sliced deli meat than you do eating something like raw shellfish or unwashed romaine lettuce. Ryann mentions veggie trays and fruit trays are also common foods you should avoid, since you have no idea how long they have been sitting out and/or what pathogens are growing on them.
So – your doctor prescribed you a certain prenatal, and your dietitian prescribed you a different one…now what? We emphasize that Ryann is a pregnancy nutrition EXPERT, and we are fertility nutrition EXPERTS, and doctors specialize in a different purpose than nutrition and vitamins. Just because a prenatal says “Check with your doctor before consuming,” doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Remember to listen to the experts in their field – we would never recommend you go to a dietitian for a C-section. Ryann explains you have to see past some companies’ brilliant marketing and make sure they are third party tested to ensure you’re getting a quality supplement.
Lastly, we discuss how to prevent ways to avoid gestational hypertension and/or preeclampsia. Although these are very complex topics, Ryann discusses the importance of including glycine, a conditionally-essential amino acid, in your diet (basically, increasing protein intake). She also talks about ways to lower inflammation by increasing Omega-3 fatty acids and decreasing intake of Omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. These two factors can help decrease your chances for developing gestational hypertension.
If you’d like to see more of Ryann, be sure to follow her on Instagram at @prenatalnutritionist or join her Prenatal Nutrition Library!