A healthy diet and good nutrition during pregnancy ensures that your baby gets the best start possible. After all, the food you eat is your baby’s main source of nutrition! Making good food choices is vital for baby’s growth and development throughout pregnancy and beyond. For those who don’t typically eat organic, pregnancy is often times a catalyst for women to turn towards organic foods and a commitment to a healthier diet and lifestyle choices. Whatever an expecting mom eats will cross the placenta and be shared with her baby in utero, as well as through her breast milk after delivery.
First, it may help to understand what organic actually means -- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a set of standards for foods labeled “organic”. These foods must be grown, handled, and processed without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, weed-killers, genetic modification, germ-killing radiation, hormones, or antibiotics. According to USDA Organic guidelines, foods labeled 100% organic must contain only organically produced raw or processed products. All foods labeled organic must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients. If you read labels that say “made with organic ingredients”, these foods contain 70% organic ingredients. For foods that contain less than 50% organic ingredients their main labels cannot use the word “organic”, but the side label featuring the ingredients can. Also, keep in mind that although organic produce have fewer - if any - pesticides than conventional produce, organic foods can still become contaminated with pesticides when chemicals drift over on the wind from nearby non-organic fields.
Additionally, organic foods can cost more than conventional foods, but it may be worth the extra cost during pregnancy, breastfeeding a newborn, or when making food for your baby or toddler. While going organic may be more expensive, you can be more selective on which products you buy organic. If you can’t switch to a complete organic diet, I would suggest starting with a few small changes.
Produce: Make the first switch by purchasing The Dirty Dozen, which are the most contaminated fruits and vegetables, from the organic aisle. Common produce like apples, strawberries, kale, potatoes and spinach have the highest levels of pesticide residue of all fruits and vegetables. Another precaution against pesticides is produce washes, which are used to rinse off lingering pesticides and can be found at most grocery stores. And lastly, you can peel off the outer layer of the produce’s skin where the pesticides are most concentrated.
Milk: Pregnant women need about 2,000 mg of calcium a day and a glass of 1% or fat free milk only has around 300 mg of calcium so you’re going to be drinking a lot of milk if you’re not taking a calcium supplement. Going organic on such a staple will help you cut down on ingesting antibiotics, artificial hormones, and pesticides.
Beef: Meat from grass-fed, organically raised cattle are generally leaner and have five times the omega 3s, which help in fetal brain development, than their conventional counterparts.
At Bundle Organics, we hope to make healthy eating during pregnancy easier and hope you’ll give us a try! Maintaining a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle is so important for expecting moms and their growing babies. Whether you choose to eat completely organic or not, try to eat cleaner where you can because while some exposure is unavoidable, if you can omit pesticides from your diet, you’ve made a step in the right direction.