Pregnancy + Parenthood

A 3-Step Approach to Supporting Nutrition During Pregnancy

3 min read
We're unpacking the a 3-step approach to eating and supplementing appropriately during pregnancy.
We're unpacking the a 3-step approach to eating and supplementing appropriately during pregnancy.

Article Content

It kind of goes without saying that during pregnancy, the body goes through a lot of changes—and that means that our nutritional demands are evolving during this time, too. It’s why doctors and other maternal health experts tend to recommend that you not only adopt healthy eating habits during pregnancy, but supplement appropriately to help support gaps.

But what does that actually look like in practice? Let’s take some of the guesswork out of supporting pregnancy nutrition.

1. Start with a balanced diet.

“Diet becomes really important during pregnancy,” says Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, and Ritual’s VP of Scientific Affairs. “Whatever is happening to you right now isn’t just impacting you.”

The good news? Aside from cutting out a few no-nos (alcohol, caffeine, unpasteurized dairy products, and raw fish, for example), eating well while you’re expecting doesn’t have to be overcomplicated. Focusing on a balanced diet of different macronutrients (protein, carbs, healthy fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is a great start, and prioritizing fresh produce and whole foods is never a bad idea. That’s part of Ritual’s “food first” approach, after all: To start with a balanced diet, and supplement to help fill common gaps. Which brings us to our next point…

2. Take a quality prenatal multivitamin.

Prenatal multivitamins are specifically formulated to lend nutritional support during pregnancy—and that’s true no matter how well we’re eating. Ritual’s Essential Prenatal is a bestselling option for a reason: It’s formulated with 12 nutrients to support the nutritional demands of pregnancy, including vegan omega-3 DHA and methylated folate. (Up to one-third of women have a genetic variation that makes it difficult to efficiently utilize folic acid, the synthetic form of folate commonly found in prenatal multivitamins.)*

Plus, its 2-in-1 nested capsule formulation and lemony essence help make Essential Prenatal a breeze to take every day. Pro tip: We recommend aiming to take a prenatal multivitamin at least three months ahead of pregnancy, so you might consider making the switch when you’re already thinking or trying.*

3. Consider supplementing with protein.

While a prenatal multivitamin can help support micronutrient needs throughout pregnancy, it’s important to mind your macronutrients as well—and that brings us to protein. Women need more protein during pregnancy and lactation to help support the increased nutrient demands that occur during these life stages. In fact, the amount of protein deposited in maternal and fetal tissue increases over the course of pregnancy.* (1,2,3,4)

It’s a big reason why we developed a protein shake specifically for this life stage. Essential Protein: Daily Shake for Pregnancy & Postpartum is formulated with pea protein and the amino acid l-methionine to offer a complete amino acid profile, plus it’s fortified with choline—a key nutrient for pregnancy that also happens to be an l-methionine helper ingredient.* (That’s not even to mention the hand-crafted vanilla flavor and creamy, non-gritty texture.)

Better together: Try the Essential Duo. Support your nutrient needs for pregnancy by bundling Ritual’s Essential Prenatal and Essential Protein Daily Shake for Pregnancy & Postpartum. A bonus? You’ll get $10 off your first month when you sign up for the Essential Duo.

References

  1. Elango R, Ball RO. Protein and Amino Acid Requirements during Pregnancy. Adv Nutr. 2016 Jul 15;7(4):839S-44S
  2. Hanson MA, et al. The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) recommendations on adolescent, preconception, and maternal nutrition: “Think Nutrition First” Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2015;131(Suppl 4):S213–53.
  3. National Academy of Medicine: Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients). 2005.
  4. World Health Organization (WHO). Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition. Report of a Joint WHO/FAO/UNU Expert Consultation. WHO Technical Report Series No 935. 2007.

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Meet Our Experts

This article features advice and has been reviewed by members of our Science Team.

Science Thumb — Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

Science Thumb — Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

Science Thumb — Arianne

Arianne Vance, MPH, Research Scientist

Arianne Vance is a Research Scientist at Ritual. She earned her MPH in Epidemiology from UCLA. Her graduate research focused on maternal and child health, with an emphasis on breastfeeding and maternal mental health. She is passionate about sharing her love of science by presenting cutting-edge research in an accessible and engaging way.

Science Thumb — Arianne

Arianne Vance, MPH, Research Scientist

Arianne Vance is a Research Scientist at Ritual. She earned her MPH in Epidemiology from UCLA. Her graduate research focused on maternal and child health, with an emphasis on breastfeeding and maternal mental health. She is passionate about sharing her love of science by presenting cutting-edge research in an accessible and engaging way.

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