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July 15th, 2020

Following F-Factor While Pregnant – Our Team of RDs Share Their Personal Experiences

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There must be something in the water here at F-Factor because 3 of our Registered Dietitians are pregnant at the same time! We’ve received tons of questions about their pregnancies – from what foods they’re eating and workouts they’re doing, to how they’re handling cravings, quarantine, and common stresses during this time. So, they’re answering your top 10 questions on what to expect when you’re expecting while living the F-Factor lifestyle.

Disclaimer: The following answers are general guidelines from our clinically trained Registered Dietitians. However, everyone’s pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and post-pregnancy experience is different. Please speak with your doctor/OGBYN before starting anything for specific and personalized recommendations. 

(1) Can you follow F-Factor while pregnant?

Our newly pregnant Director of Nutrition, Amanda Karp, MS, RD, CDN, says, “Absolutely! F-Factor is NOT one size fits all, so it’s easy to modify during pregnancy. F-Factor focuses on incorporating fiber for optimal health and is not only about weight loss. Following F-Factor during pregnancy is a step 2 plan that focuses on healthy fats, lean proteins, fruit & other fiber-rich carbs, and hydration. While weight gain is integral to a healthy pregnancy, following F-Factor can help you gain an appropriate amount and educate you on which nutrients to focus on.”

(2) What are some changes you’ve made to your diet during pregnancy?

F-Factor RD, Samantha Hass, MS, RD, who is currently in her third trimester, says “It is recommended to add an extra 450 calories per day, but rather than obsess over counting calories, I just listen to my body and what it needs. As long as I am gaining a healthy amount of weight (25-35 lbs.) and eating a well-rounded diet, I am confident that my baby is getting appropriate nutrition. Some days I’m super hungry and others I feel super uncomfortable while trying to manage acid reflux symptoms. The biggest change I’ve made is eating 3-4 additional 15g servings of carbohydrates per day (i.e. fruit, grains, milk, starchy vegetables).”

(3) What are some key nutrients you’re ensuring to get more of, and what foods provide those?

F-Factor RD, Julia Tishman, MS, RD, CDN, who is pregnant with her 2nd baby says, “It’s important to talk to your doctor to see which nutrients you personally need to focus on, but in general, pregnant women should ensure they’re getting enough of the following nutrients:

  • Folate – found in broccoli, kale, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, and whole wheat bread
  • Zinc – found in meat, shellfish, legumes, fortified cereals, and whole grains
  • Choline – found in eggs, milk, wheat germ, and yogurt
  • Calcium – found in milk, cheese, yogurt, Bok choy, chia seeds, and sesame seeds
  • B12 – found in meat and shellfish
  • Vitamin D – found in fatty fish like salmon, fortified milk and plant-based milk, fortified cereals, and SUNLIGHT!
  • Iron – found in beans, beef, tofu, and sesame seeds
For more information on what to eat when you’re pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, click here.

(4) Other than the obvious (alcohol, raw fish/meat), is there anything else that should be avoided/limited in my diet during this time?

“When it comes to pregnancy and diet, it’s important to honor your own personal preferences and also discuss your diet with your doctor. However, in general, raw or undercooked meat, raw fish, and alcohol are typically off-limits, though some doctors may OK smoked salmon and deli meat, especially when sourced well and reheated. There’s also a lot of misinformation out there; I thought I should be limiting sodium in an effort to avoid swelling, but my doctor actually told me to increase my intake because my blood pressure is low! Additionally, it’s a myth that you can’t have caffeine during pregnancy, though it should be limited to 200-300mg a day depending on your doctor or source of information” – Karp, MS, RD, CDN.

(5) How has eating the F-Factor Way affected your pregnancy?

“F-Factor helped me maintain an optimal weight when I decided I wanted to get pregnant and has made it easier to gain a healthy amount of weight. Eating this way has also kept my digestion as normal as possible when pregnancy hormones and abdominal pressure can wreak havoc on your GI function. TMI – but pregnancy constipation, especially in the first trimester, is SO real and I already had GI issues to begin with! Consuming a ton of fiber and has helped immensely to improve this in my second trimester” – AK.

Speaking of the ladies room… “Not to brag, but my bowel movements have been super regular. For many women, constipation is an unfortunate side effect of being pregnant. Thanks to all the fiber I eat and water I drink I have not experienced this” – SH.

On a more serious note… “Eating the F-Factor way has helped my pregnancy tremendously. I have (for the 2nd time) a condition called gestational diabetes, which essentially means I have type 2 diabetes during pregnancy. I had it in my first pregnancy, and my mom had it with me and all of my siblings, so it is highly likely I inherited this from her. For this reason, I really have to monitor the amount and type of carbs I eat, and to make sure I am getting sufficient fiber to support healthy blood sugar levels. The fiber really helps to regulate my appetite, keeps me full between meals, and provides enough energy to work full time and take care of a wild toddler while pregnant!” – JT.

(6) What are your tips for making healthy food choices during the first-trimester nausea, when bread and bagels are about all your stomach can handle?

“I very much relate to this question, since I suffered from pretty bad morning sickness. My first tip is to keep your blood sugar regular. You might want to turn to bagels and ginger ale when feeling nauseous but having a high carbohydrate/sugar meal will spike your blood sugar and cause more nausea. Similarly, being irregular and/or having an empty stomach will produce the same affect. Combining carbs and protein at every meal will help stabilize your blood sugars, keep your stomach full, and promote regularity. It’s important to note that I did not force any foods that didn’t sit well with me, such as chicken or cooked vegetables, even though these were staples in my diet prior to getting pregnant. Some foods that help me feel better are bananas, GG Fiber Pumpkin Seed Crackers, Fiber One Cereal, Explore Cuisine Edamame Pasta, and Whole Wheat Pizza” – SH.

(7) What kind of exercise are you doing right now and throughout each trimester?

“I won’t lie, it was difficult to work out for the majority of my first trimester. You really don’t realize just how exhausted you are; unloading the dishwasher had me huffing and puffing that I’d have to lay down for the next 2 hours. Between that and the nausea, it was impossible. I gave myself the room to just rest, and at around 10-11 weeks I started working out again. I’ve been doing Zoom sessions with my boxing trainer, but we’ve modified the workouts (split my usual hour workout into 2 half-hour ones) to make it more manageable. I’ve also been loving prenatal sculpt and circuit workouts (I use Obé Fitness) because I know that all the moves are pregnancy friendly but are still HARD. And lastly, I’ve been going for hour long walks” – AK.

Never underestimate the power of walking… “I’ve been loving Peloton rides and Melissa Wood Health’s low impact workouts. Lately, I have been swimming laps for exercise since it doesn’t put any pressure on my foot, which I broke recently. I can’t wait until I can go for a nice walk again! – JT.

Low impact has more impact than you think… “I’ve been biking for ~40 minutes almost every day since I was 16 weeks pregnant. It’s low impact and provides a nice breeze on these hot summer days. Swimming is also a great low impact workout for pregnant women.  You feel lighter and more flexible in the pool. I also try and do strength training workouts 2-3x/week, either Melissa Wood Health or @toned_by_ari on IG” – SH.

(8) How do you deal with pregnancy cravings? Are you indulging more?

“Pregnancy cravings are interesting; it’s never what it seems like in the movies – women frantically eating pints of ice cream and racing to the store for a jar of pickles. For me, it’s more of a generalized increased appetite, but the one thing I’m craving more than usual is red meat. Some say this is because your iron needs increase greatly during pregnancy, and I happen to be deficient in iron. So right now, nothing satisfies me more than a good steak!” – JT.

(9) Are F-Factor 20/20 FIBER/PROTEIN Powders and Bars safe for pregnancy?

“F-Factor products are all 100% safe for pregnancy. Stevia and monk fruit, the two natural, calorie-free sweeteners used in our products, are recognized as safe by the FDA. The fiber in the products can help to support normal digestion and is so filling, which is helpful with pregnancy hormones causing hunger every 5 minutes!

If your preference during pregnancy is to completely eliminate calorie-free sweeteners, the Unflavored 20/20 Fiber Protein Powder is the perfect option. It does not contain any sweetener, so you can add the one of your choice or simply use it with fruit to naturally sweeten a smoothie or baked good, while still getting essential nutrients like protein and fiber” – AK.

(10) What’s one food/meal you’re loving right now?

Thirsty much? “Summer fruit! I’m currently in the suburbs and have been doing most of my produce shopping at local farm stands. A few weeks ago, blackberries were in season and they were sweet and amazing. Now, it’s peach and plum season out here and they are so delicious. Plus, in pregnancy I am ALWAYS thirsty, so cold fruit is one of the most satisfying and hydrating things to eat…I can’t get enough!” – JT.

Cheesy lover? “Anything with cheese! Fiber gourmet pasta with cheese, kale, and sundried tomatoes have been a favorite lunch and/or dinner. GG’s with melted cheese and tomato is a regular snack for me” – SH.

Sweet tooth? “Dessert has been a MAJOR craving for me recently. My aversions to protein have come back the last few weeks, so chicken, meat, and fish have just not been doing it for me. I jokingly said to my husband the other day that I could eat dessert for dinner and be happy! I indulged in a salted brownie the other day that was probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten. On a weekly basis, F-Factor smoothies and little bits of dark chocolate here and there have been a savior because they hit the sweet spot” – AK.