If you have been or are planning on becoming pregnant, you know that how you eat is important for a happy and healthy pregnancy. Nutrition is just as important for you, as it is for the baby you are carrying.
Kendra Aronson, founder of the newly launched Pregnant and Hungry, a subscription-based website with pregnancy-safe recipes, created a one-stop resource for everything you need to know about what to eat, and what not to eat, during your surrogacy journey. You can hear her in conversation with Nazca Fontes, CEO of ConceiveAbilities, here.
NF: How can women learn how to eat right for their individual pregnancy?
It’s a total breeze to filter through the site and find exactly what you need. We have organized our recipes by pregnancy specific ailments like morning sickness, constipation, heartburn, gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, or hydration. You can filter by dietary restrictions including dairy-free, gluten-free vegan and vegetarian. If you’re really craving something spicy, sour, salty, or sweet, you can filter the recipes by craving. Maybe you’re preparing for your fourth trimester and you want freezer-friendly recipes to store in your freezer for post delivery; we have that. We also have labor-inducing, lactating-inducing and energy-boosting recipes for delivery.
NF: Tell us about your Pregnant and Hungry Team
Our recipes are developed under the guidance of Tracy Chavoor, a registered dietician nutritionist and Megan Bochum, a licensed midwife in good standing with the California Medical Board and the North American Registry of Midwives. She is also certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. In addition to these two incredible women, we source from highly regarded worldwide health institutions. We link to those trusted sites, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Pregnancy Association, CDC, FDA, Mayo Clinic, and The National Institutes of Health.
I do want to brag about two of my recipe contributors. Alicia Simpson is a certified lactation consultant and registered dietician. She specializes in maternal and pediatric nutrition and is the founder of Peapod Nutrition, a nonprofit clinical lactation practice. She penned this wonderful book called Boost Your Breast Milk, which I absolutely love. Secondly, Janani Ram Narayan, who authored The Organic Baby Food Cookbook: 100 Yummy Recipes to Encourage a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. She loves whipping up super family-friendly, easy, veg-forward meals. Everything is backed by science, data and trusted resources. A reminder, this website is not intended to replace medical advice. You should consult a medical professional with all health questions related to your own pregnancy or postpartum journey.
NF: What is an ideal diet for a surrogate?
We have a Pregnancy 101 guide with all the nutrient-rich foods to benefit both you and the baby you’re carrying. This includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, seafood, legumes, herbs, seeds, dairy, and grains and combines all of that together in a very wholesome, holistic way. Megan, our consulting midwife on the project, likes to think of eating well in 72 hour chunks. So instead of beating yourself up about how you ate in one 24-hour period, think of it in 72-hour periods. Give yourself grace and three days to hit all of the important categories. Everything in moderation, including moderation. Most importantly, eat a well balanced diet where you can pronounce all the ingredients; no mystery preservatives or added things that should not be in food.
NF: You have three main buckets: foods to eat, foods to avoid, and prenatal vitamins. How can prenatal vitamins complement a pregnancy diet?
We believe in the power of wholesome eating. In addition to taking a daily prenatal vitamin, we encourage women to get their vitamins from natural, nutrient-rich ingredients. We did a deep dive on 27 different prenatal vitamins and looked at their ingredients and how they benefited pregnancy. We give a paragraph of nuggets of what each vitamin brings to the table so you know why it is important. We also break down the suggested daily intake for both pregnancy and lactation. What is calcium bringing to the table, for example? Calcium is responsible for healthy bone mineralization, muscle contractility and hormone functioning. When you’re pregnant, calcium requirements increase to support the formation of a new skeleton and the physiological functioning of that little body. It also brings additional benefits to the table. If you’re sufficient in calcium, you have more stable blood pressure, which decreases the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension and preterm birth.
NF: Our surrogates are very busy moms. How can your site help with meal planning?
The grocery store algorithm that we’ve built into our site allows you to create your grocery list from the recipes you have saved, organize it by where you find it in the grocery store like the produce, meat and seafood, or frozen section. When you have a subscription to Pregnant and Hungry, you log in and within your dashboard you can locate all the recipes that you’ve saved. You can then add your saved recipes to your meal plan and your grocery list is generated instantly off of those recipes. It does all of the math for you. If one recipe calls for two eggs and another recipe calls for three eggs, your grocery list tells you to buy five eggs. Surrogates have families of their own; they’re towing children and juggling life. This is a really efficient grocery list to get you in and out of the store quickly, organized by section and saves you countless hours.
NF: Intended parents want a surrogate who is going to be healthy and consume nutritious meals. Do you have any advice on how they can partner to create a plan?
The intended parent could gift their surrogate a Pregnant and Hungry subscription! All kidding aside, we have so many resources at their fingertips. Go to pregnantandhungry.com/freebies; then you can download all of the free content to help them with their planning. Intended parents could also be supportive by getting groceries delivered to make it all the more easy for their surrogate to eat healthy.
What better gift to give a pregnant woman than the gift of health and nutrition throughout her pregnancy? Subscribe today and get your first month subscription free for ConceiveAbilities’ surrogacy community. Use the code SURROGATE at checkout for your free trial.