BOOK REVIEW - EATING FOR PREGNANCY: YOUR ESSENTIAL MONTH-BY-MONTH NUTRITION GUIDE AND COOKBOOK
Eating for Pregnancy: Your Essential Month-by-Month Nutrition Guide and Cookbook is a pregnancy nutrition bible written by Catherine Jones and Rose Ann Hudson, RD, LD with Teresa Knight, MD, OB-GYN. It’s a really comprehensive guide to nutrition for pregnancy, split into monthly chapters to take you from preconception through to those first few months after birth. Complete with lots of recipes to whet your appetite. Once you’ve got over the morning sickness that is!
Disclosure: I gratefully received a free copy of this book to review. My views on it are very much my own!
I really like that this book is broken down by month, as I often get questions from pregnant women about what has changed nutritionally each month and what foods they should focus on for a healthy baby. It's great that the book combines what is happening developmentally in the book with an idea for what foods to be eating for pregnancy.
In reality, most of these nutritional changes are subtle and don’t occur at precise calendar dates.
We do need to be careful with this level of advice, as it can suggest that if you aren't eating exactly the 'right' thing each month, then your baby might not be getting what they need.
In fact we know that our bodies are far cleverer than that!
Having recipe ideas that are linked to each of those key nutrients for pregnancy is a great way to offer variety, encourage a healthy pregnancy diet and can add some helpful structure to planning meals.
The format of the book is super easy to navigate, and actually made it worthwhile to get even if you are later on in pregnancy. There is still so much information and recipe ideas to look through - often books focus on the early stages of pregnancy and then get repetitive towards the end. It was really great to see that the authors included information and support for the fourth trimester / postnatal period too - an equally critical time for mums health! Eating for pregnancy is important but the health of new mothers is often forgotten.
Read my tips for healthy postnatal recovery to see what I think you should be focusing on after your baby arrives
With it being a US-based book, there are a lot of elements that don't work for a UK audience. We have different guidelines around pregnancy supplements for example.
Not to mention that the maternity care is dramatically different (and in many respects better).
But having said that, the majority of information about nutritional needs is the same and the range of recipes would still make it helpful for a pregnant mum outside of the US.
What I dislike and find really unhelpful, although this is the case with many pregnancy nutrition books, is the discussion of ‘optimal’ pregnancy weight gain. It uses language that can be incredibly triggering for anyone with a history of disordered eating or struggles with body image.
And it’s just not something that necessarily goes hand in hand with a healthy pregnancy diet. Many areas of nutrition and health care are showing signs of moving away from weight-centric care, but this doesn’t seem to be the case in maternal health.
So is it a book I’d recommend to pregnant women looking for a healthy pregnancy diet?
Well it wouldn’t be my first choice for mums in the U.K., because of differences in advice. Unless of course they were also working with a pregnancy nutritionist or dietitian to support with personalising their care. Also the discussion of optimal weight gain isn’t something that I support or bring into my own practice.
But has so many recipe ideas to keep you enjoying food at every stage of your pregnancy, that it’s certainly not a bad choice if you’re looking for tasty meal ideas that are tailored to a healthy pregnancy.
Looking for more support in managing your own diet when eating for pregnancy?
I work with women at any stage of their pregnancy to feel good about the food choices they are making for themelves and their baby.
I would love to hear from you - you can send me a message here.