Adjusting your IBD diet for baby
Good nutrition before and during pregnancy improves your chances of having a healthy baby. But getting all the nutrition you both need can be challenging with IBD. This is especially true with active IBD since bowel inflammation and diarrhea can prevent proper absorption or the loss of nutrients. It can also reduce your appetite and make certain foods harder to digest.
Potential IBD nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy
Folic acid (also known as "folate" or "vitamin b9") is very important to the growth of your baby, and deficiencies during pregnancy can lead to major neural tube birth defects. Certain IBD medications, such as methotrexate or sulfasalazine, can increase the risk of folic acid deficiency.
Many women require iron supplementation during pregnancy, and it is even more common for pregnant women with IBD. This is because pregnant women on average require twice the amount of daily iron as non-pregnant women do. And women with IBD may require even more due to iron loss through gastrointestinal bleeding.
Unfortunately, many women with IBD have difficulty with iron supplements as they can cause abdominal pain or constipation. If this is problematic during your pregnancy, you may want to talk to your doctor about a liquid form of iron, such as Spatone®, or intravenous iron.
What to eat during pregnancy
Pregnancy-approved nutrient sources
|Protein||Red meats, poultry, fish, tofu, eggs, lentils & quinoa|
|Iron||Red meat, poultry, fish, spinach, leafy greens & beans*
*Tip - Increase iron absorption by consuming iron with vitamin-C rich foods such as oranges or fruit juice. Also avoid consuming plant-based iron sources at the same time as dairy since calcium can inhibit iron absorption.
|Calcium||Milk, yogurt or cheese or calcium-fortified cereals & juices|
|Folate||Cereals, breads, legumes, leafy greens & citrus fruits|
Healthy weight during pregnancy
As an expecting mother, you'll need to eat more than you did before you became pregnant to make sure your baby gets all the nutrition he or she needs. However, the common saying, "eating for two" is not quite correct. Most women only need to increase caloric intake by 200-300 calories a day during the first two trimesters and by 500 calories during the third trimester.
What shouldn't I eat?
When expecting, you may be more susceptible to serious foodborne infections, including listeria and salmonella. Therefore, you should avoid the following foods throughout your pregnancy: