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Deep Dive into Real Food Prenatal Nutrition

Reading research studies is one of my favorite past times. That probably sounds like a lie, but just ask my husband. I can get sucked into the rabbit hole of Google Scholar searches for hours if I’m not careful (and I do, too often to admit).

As a specialist in prenatal nutrition as well as an outspoken advocate for sourcing your nutrients from real food (as much as possible), I pretty much have to keep my eyes on the ever-changing research on pregnancy nutrition.

There is no other option.

All of my textbooks are outdated, the “official” government guidelines are outdated, and most professional organizations make their recommendations based on the latter.

That means, in some cases, my recommendations for optimal prenatal nutrition are very different than what you’ve heard elsewhere. This can ruffle feathers and make people question their nutrition ideology, hence why I so diligently cite my books. If you want to see the data that helped form my recommendations, they’re right there at your fingertips—have at it!

For example, of all the posts I share on Instagram, some of the most popular (and controversial), are my “research briefs,” where I share the highlights from a recent study.

Here’s one where I shared about a research study on B vitamin supplementation and recurrent miscarriage in women with the MTHFR genetic variation. Here’s another one on magnesium supplementation in mothers with gestational diabetes and the beneficial effects seen in their babies. Follow my Instagram feed for the most recent ones (the vitamin B12 and brain development one has been especially polarizing).

Deep Dive into Real Food Prenatal Nutrition

Obviously, I like to take a deep dive into real food prenatal nutrition research and I like to write/talk about it. My favorite podcast interviews are where the host asks in-depth questions that allow me to share some of these important research studies with the masses.

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Emily Kiberd, host of the Muscle Medicine Podcast and founder of the Urban Wellness Clinic in NYC.

She’s not only a skilled chiropractor trained in the Webster technique, but she’s dedicated to giving her clients the best nutrition and lifestyle tips to support a healthy pregnancy. Her questions made it clear that she’s well-versed in prenatal nutrition already.

I was especially humbled to hear that she’s read my book twice and gives a copy of Real Food for Pregnancy to every pregnant client that visit her NYC office. Wow. I can’t think of a better compliment.

If you want to hear us nerd out about nutrition research (including hear me share about some recent research studies I haven’t talked about anywhere else), tune into Episode 30 of the Muscle Medicine Podcast.

Listen here or search iTunes for the Muscle Medicine Podcast (Episode 30).

Here’s an overview of our interview:

  • Why my approach to prenatal nutrition is so much different than much of what you’ve read (it’s not only about real food, but empowering you to make proactive food & lifestyle choices).
  • How nutrient-density tends to clash with conventional recommendations, particularly when it comes to foods to emphasize, macronutrient ratios, and foods to avoid
  • Why eggs are such a beneficial food to include in your prenatal diet (more on that in this post)
  • The necessity of balancing the risk:benefit of avoiding versus consuming certain foods (I cover some interesting factoids on eggs & the risk of Salmonella—plus why I don’t worry about eating eggs with runny yolks).
  • Which food I suggest avoiding based on the—actually backed by data—high risk of food poisoning/food borne illness (I talk about this in Ch 4 of Real Food for Pregnancy, but I’ve never covered this in an interview before).
  • The importance of vitamin D during pregnancy (more on the general benefits of vitamin D here & during breastfeeding here). Heads up to practitioners, I have a whole incredibly in-depth continuing education webinar on vitamin D & pregnancy research over at the Women’s Health Nutrition Academy.
  • How much vitamin D you actually need to maintain sufficient vitamin D levels for you (and baby) throughout pregnancy + how to check your vitamin D status.
  • Some interesting epigenetic research on choline and what we know from both human randomized controlled trials in pregnancy + rat studies.
  • How the thyroid is affected by pregnancy (more on that in this post).
  • Top tips for managing morning sickness or all-day sickness (how to adjust your nutrition mindset to get through the first trimester, why it’s both normal and A-ok to eat more carbs during this phase, and what supplements can help ease nausea).
  • How your metabolism shifts throughout pregnancy and how that affects what foods you want to and should eat more of during that phase.

To listen to our full interview, listen HERE or on iTunes (Muscle Medicine Podcast, Episode 30).

Isn’t that new research on choline fascinating?! And vitamin D?! And thyroid health?!

Obviously, I can nerd out and deep dive into real food prenatal nutrition research all day, every day. I hope you found some nuggets of wisdom in our interview that you can use to optimize your health—and your baby’s development—in your pregnancy.

Did you like this interview?

Tell me about it in the comments below! Also, feel free to share any burning questions you have about prenatal nutrition in the comments, so I can address them in future blog posts/interviews.

Until next week,

PS – Are you a healthcare practitioner who really likes to get into the nuances and nutrition research? You might like my continuing education webinar on the Basics of Real Food Prenatal Nutrition. Don’t let the title fool you. I call it “basics” because I cover so many topics in one 90+ minute webinar, but it’s truly a detailed look at the new data we have on prenatal nutrition for optimizing both maternal and fetal outcomes. From macronutrients, micronutrients, and many topics in between, it’ll have you deeply questioning what you’ve been taught from conventional prenatal nutrition guidelines.

Also, check out my in-depth continuing education webinar on Vitamin D & Pregnancy research over at the Women’s Health Nutrition Academy. I cover more than 70 research studies, including the latest randomized controlled trials on supplementation of vitamin D in pregnancy. To my knowledge, this is the most comprehensive training on vitamin D & pregnancy anywhere.

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.


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  1. Thanks for sharing this interview. I really enjoyed hearing all the evidence based research on prenatal nutrition that I hadn’t heard of before. Your work is so important! Keep writing and doing interviews!

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Dimitra!

  2. Great Podcast! I have both books and glad I have them! It has made a difference in my pregnancy treatment because it has helped give me a resource to create my care plan and birth plan.

    • So happy they’ve been helpful to you, Mary!

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