Pregnancy Nutrition, Supplement & Lifestyle Must-Haves, from a Dietitian

Pregnancy Nutrition, Supplement & Lifestyle Must-Haves, from a Dietitian

There is no shortage of nutrition and body changes that happen early on in pregnancy. At times it can feel overwhelming to navigate as just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of things, it all changes again. That’s why I put together a guide of some of the nutrition, supplements and self care things I am religiously using and loving lately. 



Paleo Bars and PaleoValley Superfood Bars

As I shared in my pregnancy announcement podcast episode, I dealt with pretty intense first trimester nausea, food aversions and hunger. I found that my typical four meals per day just wasn’t working anymore. Having something first thing in the morning (before I even left bed) was essential. I loved Paleo Bars and PaleoValley Superfood Bars for this as they have wonderful ingredients and did the trick in curbing my nausea for at least a couple of hours until I ate a full breakfast. Some weeks I also made my own muffins to have in place of these bars but I loved having these bars as a backup option for weeks I wasn’t able to bake.


Straus Parfaits

I am typically not a big dairy or fruit fan but both of those have been things my body has been craving all of pregnancy. I’m assuming this is nature’s way of helping me meet the increased needs of both iodine and calcium during pregnancy. In the early days, when I had so many food aversions, it felt like some days all I could eat was yogurt parfaits. Straus is one of my favorite brands because of the quality, flavor and consistency. I often would have a cup of Straus paired with some kiwis, citrus fruit or berries and topped with extra functional ingredients like bee pollen, pumpkin seeds, ceylon cinnamon and a dash of raw honey. I love these toppings for their extra pack of minerals and blood sugar support they provide.


Bone Broth and Glycine Rich Foods

Bone broth is such a superfood for pregnancy because of its high collagen and mineral content. Glycine and collagen needs become essential during the late stages of pregnancy in particular. The body is using it at a rapid rate for the baby’s development, the placenta and detoxification. It’s been found that the uterus contains 800% more collagen than it did prior to pregnancy. I’ve been trying to sneak it into chili and when cooking proteins. Glycine and collagen are also found in bone-in meats which I prioritize in our weekly protein rotation. Plus, I get a daily serving in my morning smoothie that contains a scoop of Functional FuelPRO


Sea Vegetables

Another food category that I’m being extra mindful to regularly incorporate is sea vegetables. Sea vegetables like kelp and seaweed are excellent natural sources of iodine. Iodine needs increase by over 50% during pregnancy. With that I’m also careful with my raw cruciferous vegetable consumption as research has shown that when iodine needs are inadequate, goitrogenic foods like cruciferous vegetables decrease iodine levels further. I try to add one sprinkle of these kelp granules to most meals. Dairy and eggs are also another good source of iodine. 


Ancestral Meat

If you follow me on Instagram you know that eating organ meats is a staple in our diet. They’re the best source of the active form of vitamin A, retinol, as well as other hard-to-find nutrients like choline. Many individuals have concerns about Vitamin A during pregnancy. The research has only shown Vitamin A to be problematic when consumed in excess through synthetic sources (supplements). The food sourced form of Vitamin A (retinol) is an essential nutrient for eye, skeletal and immune system development of the baby. Choline is an important nutrient for neural tube formation and brain development in the baby and can help prevent preeclampsia in the mom. It’s also great for helping prevent gallstone formation which can occur during pregnancy when estrogen levels dramatically increase. I buy all of our red meat from Force of Nature (save $15 when you use my link) because they practice regenerative agriculture. I purchase a big box of ancestral blend meat every couple of months and freeze it.



Minerals are another essential nutrient that increases in need during pregnancy. The mineral family includes things like calcium, iron, copper, selenium, zinc and magnesium. I mentioned earlier how my body naturally craved dairy. I believe this may have been an innate response to consume more iodine and calcium. I’ve also been more mindful to not pair dairy with any red meat source I am eating so that it does not impair iron absorption. I also only cook with my cast iron skillets which can increase the iron content of a meal by as much as 17%. Outside of calcium and iron, I am incorporating a few brazil nuts per day in my smoothie for selenium, as well as pumpkin seeds on top of my smoothie for minerals like magnesium and zinc. I’ve also been loving using these trace mineral drops in my water with LMNT each day to ensure I have a broad spectrum of all minerals. 


Herbal Teas

I love herbal teas as another way to incorporate minerals into my diet. I typically alternate between spearmint tea or stinging nettle infusions. However, I have recently started making NORA tea. NORA tea is a pregnancy tonic that includes nettle leaf, oatstraw, raspberry leaf and alfalfa. According to Bishop Babies, NORA tea supports optimal mineral balance, guards against anemias, and maximizes the health of the liver during pregnancy. All of which can help prevent pregnancy related complications. They report seeing benefits in their patients with contractibility of the uterus, preventing hemorrhage during birth, and in helping with milk production. I purchased the loose leaf herbs on Mountain Rose Herbs then mixed equal parts into a large 64 oz. mason jar. From there you can follow the below preparation instructions:

  • Mix ½ cup per 68 oz of water
  • Boil 8 cups of filtered water in a tea kettle
  • Pour boiling water over the herbs
  • Let brew for 8 hours on the counter top
  • Strain herbs with a colander
  • Transfer the tea to the fridge to chill


Meal Timing and Macronutrient Ratios

I have found that during pregnancy, I have to eat smaller, more frequent meals. I get hungry quickly and full easily and if I go too long between meals, I start to feel unwell. However, I am mindful to not graze and that when I do eat, it is balanced to support the healthiest blood sugar response. For me this has looked like a snack upon rising at 6 am, breakfast after my workout around 8 am, lunch around 12 – 1 pm, a snack around 4 pm and dinner around 7 pm. 

My macronutrient ratios haven’t changed much but I am more cognizant to meet my protein needs each day. Protein needs increase during pregnancy to support growth and development. I found that early on in pregnancy my body craved more carbohydrates. However, since entering the second trimester, this has shifted and now the main carbohydrates I am eating are from fruit and legume sources. This adjustment makes sense as insulin sensitivity is increased in the first trimester of pregnancy and then the body becomes naturally more insulin resistant around 20 weeks. As I quickly approach 20 weeks, I am cognizant to not overdo it on carbohydrates and to really focus on blood sugar balance to help in preventing gestational diabetes. I am not tracking my macronutrient or calorie intake. I am just being mindful that my meals are well balanced for blood sugar and to eat to hunger cues- all the things we teach and preach in all of our programs at Functional Fueling®



I am currently taking and plan to continue through pregnancy unless anything changes within my blood work or symptoms. I discuss the evidence based reasons for taking each of these in my pregnancy announcement podcast episode. 

  • Beef Organs
  • Choline and Inositol
  • Lactobacillus probiotic
  • Omega 3 DHA
  • Vitamin D with K2
  • Homocysteine Supreme (I finished taking this after the first trimester)
  • Trace Minerals Complex

Link to my full prenatal stack here.

Note: I am not taking a prenatal because I am very aware of my daily vitamin and mineral intake from my diet and know I am getting enough nutrients through food. However, I still do recommend most women take a prenatal during pregnancy to ensure all of your nutrient needs are being met. I recommend the brands Needed or FullWell (Needed is available on Fullscript with the link above).

Please consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any new dietary supplements. This information is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for professional medical advice.


Lifestyle and Self Care

Belly Serum

I started using this luxurious belly serum around week eight of pregnancy. I apply it every night on my belly to help prevent stretch marks. I love that it’s a much lighter feel than body lotion but also provides tons of hydration because of the Centella Asiatica and Triple-Weighted Hyaluronic Acid that have been clinically shown to prevent stretch marks. 


Red Light Therapy

I have been using my red light therapy lamp religiously prior to and during pregnancy. I use it over my uterus and neck areas. Red light therapy has been shown to support both implantation and mitochondrial function, both key aspects to pregnancy and fetal development. Research has also shown that use on the neck improved fertility in previously infertile women. I have continued to use it on my face since then. I only use it two to three times per week and always allow at least one day between uses. This is essential to support mitochondrial recovery. 


Blue Light Blockers

Blue light is one of the most harmful things to our body’s natural melatonin production. I found that my eyes became more sensitive to blue light in the last first trimester of pregnancy. I was getting regular headaches that could not be solved with any other solutions. I finally started wearing these blue light blockers while working and my headaches completely disappeared. I’ve continued to use them throughout the day, especially at night time. Research has shown that interruption of the circadian rhythm such as through blue light exposure can impair fetal growth. 



If there’s one thing that helped me get through the first trimester fatigue and nausea it was to stay moving. I’ll be honest, most days working out was the last thing I wanted to do. But once I started, I found my stomach settled and I mentally felt so much better. I’ve still been doing our Strength in Hormones workout program. These are the exact workouts I have followed for the last seven years to support my hormones. I’m currently doing two strength training, three aerobic conditioning workouts and sometimes one Lagree workout per week and hope to get back to three strength training sessions when my energy levels pick up. Research has shown that performing weight bearing exercise 3-5 days per week during pregnancy can help reduce lower back pain, improve fetal development and lead to an easier labor.


These are just some of my personal favorite things I’ve been loving these past few months. I have also been doing tons of research on baby products to ensure I can minimize endocrine disrupting chemical exposure to the baby while also ensuring optimal functionality. I plan to share that round-up post soon. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter and follow me on Instagram to be the first to know when I share new blog articles.

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