The days of nausea have mostly subsided and I find my appetite reappearing even if it is a bit finicky. In this second trimester, post-nausea and pre-too-big-to-move-around-normally, I am finding it a bit easier to focus on what I should be eating.

But what exactly does an ideal pregnancy diet look like?

One of the first places I turned was the Weston A Price Foundation. They have a lot of great detailed information about traditional foods and how people have nourished their families for thousands of years. Their diet for pregnant and nursing mothers looks much like you would think it might – lots of nutrient-dense animal products including plenty of good fats.

It’s Easy When It’s Easy

I have struggled with a fair amount of fatigue lately, even in this usually easier 2nd trimester. I believe it may be due to my efforts to try to find a normal hormone balance. Having to lay down several times per day just to be able to move around and function as a wife and mama has forced me to really listen to what my body needs rather than what I want to eat.

That fatigue has encouraged me to eat liver more often – once per week even, as the WAPF suggests. I don’t do well with carbs for breakfast so most mornings I find myself eating scrambled eggs along with a sliced tomato or fruit. And unless I eat grass-fed beef every day I feel extra weak and hungry, no matter how many calories I’ve consumed.

I also take a Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend supplement every day along with vitamin C + bioflavonoids recommended by my midwife for tissue growth.

I eat grass-fed butter, generously most days… with eggs, on steamed vegetables, or a with piece of sprouted bread. Coconut oil makes an appearance here and there, especially when I am making smoothies. And I try to drink a quart of herbal pregnancy tea every day.

It’s really easy to eat this way when it truly makes you feel better.

The Missing Recommendation

You’ll notice, though, that I didn’t mention drinking a quart of raw milk every day or eating seafood several times per week or counting how many tablespoons of butter I am eating. I like butter enough to not worry about tablespoons and my body would rather eat 1/2 lb of grass-fed hamburger than a pint of milk. That might have something to do with running slightly anemic.

I am also finding that I need to put more emphasis on vegetables – cooked and raw – than the recommendations suggest.

Don’t get me wrong, I think recommendations like these are helpful, but only if we listen to our individual bodies and take them as general guidelines rather than a set of rules to follow every day. It’s a bit like one of the many short comings of the public school system – everyone has individual needs.

So while I’m eating liver, beef, vegetables and lots of butter, you might be chugging down a big jar of "fresh milk", as our boys call it, every day.

And that’s okay.

What does your pregnancy diet look like and why?


24 Responses to My Pregnancy Diet (and why it doesn’t have to be yours)

  1. Anali says:

    Lots and lots of broth. My nausea has been horrible. I’m way better now, and I’m still ill feeling all the time haha.


  2. Meg says:

    Great thoughts, Shannon. I had so many people asking me (I’m a chapter leader for WAPF) what they should be eating while pregnant, and the sheer shock on their face when I outlined some of the WAPF recommendations was almost comical. “LIVER?!” ;-)

    We transitioned to the WAPF lifestyle after my second son was born, so I didn’t have to “do” any pregnancy diet before I was completely comfortable with cooking this way. When we became pregnant with our daughter, I had already been eating liver 1-2 times per week, drinking hefty amounts of raw milk, and munching on butter slathered, well, anything.

    I never had to suffer from hormone sickness at all with her – first time! :-) My biggest help in eating well, both thru the pregnancy + the nearly 18 months of nursing after was sticking that WAPF recommended guidelines magnet on my fridge, near the door handle. Every day I’d “run thru the checklist” and mark off with a dry-erase marker what I’d consumed. It kept me feeling in control of my diet, and also calmed my husband’s fears of “You’re not taking a prenatal, so what have you eaten today?!” ;-)

    I didn’t consume shellfish (for religious reasons), and by the time I was about 8 months pregnant, I couldn’t drink the 1/2 gallon of raw milk I had been. I also had to take some concessions because of going on bedrest (note: preg. women shouldn’t do heavy lifting! ;-) ) and ended up going “off” my diet for 6 weeks while others prepared and brought food for our family. It was definitely a wake-up call for how fixated I had become on the diet… nothing guarantees a healthy baby but God. :-) Not even a strictly followed diet. ;-)


    Kk Reply:

    Hi there! Where could I get my hands on one of those magnets? I would absolutely love to have one on my fridge! I’m a very visual person..and if I have a visual reminder every day in plain sight I believe it will help a ton!
    Thank you!


  3. Cutz says:

    Oh this gives me hope. Unfortunately, I’m still sort of in the carby-junk-whatever-doesn’t-make-me-feel-like-I’m-gonna-barf stage. Little by little it’s getting a bit better though.


  4. Melanie says:

    very interesting post! Its true that what works for one may not work for another. I’m currently working on my final project in school and I’m writing about Pre-conception health and nutrition during pregnancy. I’m using research based eveidence as well as the work of Weston A Price. I’ve been working on it all summer semester and will hopefully have it completed by september. All the nourishing foods you suggested I covered in detail and I think you are off to a great start in providing the best nutrition for you and your baby! :)


  5. Karen says:

    Shannon, thanks for the update on how you are doing. I love to hear what you are eating to give me ideas. The radishes do look ugly but I bet they are tasty.
    I always love reading your blog posts. Always encouraging to me. We have many of the same interests but I am quite a few years older than you. :) Lord bless you.


  6. carol says:

    If you happen to have a Kindle try checking out the free books on amazon for older cooking and canning books. There are a few I found from the 20′s and I am loving them. Like your book you see they used almost no white sugar like many do today. I am sure you know but if you don’t have a Kindle you could alway download the computer app for it and still read the books.


  7. Elisabeth says:

    Second trimester is SO much better! I’m just needing to eat LOTS more lately–well, as in, more often. I always lose weight first trimester because I can hardly bring myself to eat anything! So I’m okay with eating butter mostly unchecked, too :)

    I am definitely a raw milk drinker. With both this and my first pregnancy, I CRAVED dairy, and am so glad to have access to fresh yummy raw milk now! Organic cottage cheese in the morning (or not organic all the time if we can’t afford it), organic yogurt throughout the day, raw milk and other hard cheeses, and glasses of milk as often as I can!

    My son (from first pregnancy) turned out to be a milk kid, too–we try to make sure he gets water each day, but he’d rather have “milk cup” than almost anything (even food sometimes!). I just chuckle at the necessary FDA “warning label” on the side of the bottle… the pregnant lady and the toddler drink more raw milk than anyone else in the house–and it’s so good for us!

    Thanks for the post–wishing I had a way to be more WAPF-ish in my diet!


  8. Great post. I agree about recommendations–not just the WAPF pregnancy diet but any recommendations in general about diet and lifestyle: you have to adjust things for your body and your life. Recommendations are only as good to the extent that they serve your best interests, a great starting point but not always the end all be all.


  9. Frances says:

    I’ve been eating a lot of beans and kale and seasonal veggies, with a bowl of ice cream to top it off (I’m no match for cravings)! My labs are great nutritionally speaking but I’m still so tired. We eat meat occasionally but probably not often enough. We have a freezer full of grass fed I’ve just been too lazy to cook it! The best I can do with probiotics is yogurt for now. My midwife didn’t want me to start drinking raw milk while preg but if I had been drinking it before she said it would have been fine. We can’t afford a herd share anyway though. I can’t stand any oils/butter/or greasy food for some reason now. Cold fats are okay though. I haven’t been able to gain enough weight because a mystery allergy (not one of the usual suspects) is clearing me out periodically so I recently upped my calories with guacamole and peanut butter, which seems to be helping. I can’t find a good source of liver in our area and I’m kind of creeped out by what could be in non-organic organ meat. I also take an organic prenatal with probiotics in it and a cod liver oil supplement. So yeah…that’s my diet. Any suggestions would be appreciated! I need to gain some weight!


  10. Frances says:

    Oh btw, what’s in your herbal pregnancy tea?


    Shannon Reply:

    Frances – I’ll post a recipe soon!


  11. karyn says:

    Now that I’m moving into the second trimester as well, I’m working on cutting out the carbs I was eating just because nothing else sat well. I find that once I cut the carbs, I automatically eat the better, nutrient dense foods.

    Do you have a link to calm my raw milk fears during pregnancy? My last “alternative” OB was very much in favor of raw milk. Alas, for me, he is now working for Doctors Without Borders. My now conventional OB is not hip to raw milk or homebirths and so forth. I’m a worrywart by nature and worry about being proven wrong about this whole raw milk thing when it could effect my baby.

    Thanks for the reminder to get back to using that WAPF list!


  12. Justyn says:

    Wonderful post! I’m at 26 weeks and still can’t touch chicken, but other than that I’m doing pretty well. Things still smell a bit potent, but compared to weeks 6 through 20, it’s heaven! :-) I started WAPF in December and I’m certain that I have it to thank for finally getting pregnant after over two years of “unexplained infertility”. It also took nearly two years to get pregnant with my daughter, who is now 3 1/2. All that to say, I LOVE the WAPF foods! :-) …However, I get very bad morning sickness. With both pregnancies I lost over ten pounds by the time I hit 16 weeks and this time I have an 8.6 iron level (anemic starts at 10 or 10.5 and I we all should be between 12 and 14 when we give birth to keep from going into shock). I’m now able to eat a mostly WAPF diet, but not exactly the pregnancy recommended diet. I usually have scrambled eggs, bacon and sourdough bread (I let one of our wonderful local stores make my bread for me right now!) with lots of butter in the mornings. Mid-morning I make kefir smoothies for myself and my daughter (raw milk kefir, a banana, raw local honey, and then either frozen berries or a spoonful each of cocoa powder and peanutbutter). For lunch it’s often dinner leftovers or else we raid our garden for cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. and eat them with a homemade yogurt or kefir dip made with dill and celtic sea salt. Afternoon is whatever sounds good and easy, since I’m still pretty anemic and I have aching legs and breathlessness going on by then. A lot of the time that means a glass of homemade chocolate milk (raw milk, cocoa powder and a little rapadura). Dinner, now that I can cook again, is often a recipe from Nourishing Traditions or one of the wonderful real food blogs like this one! ;-) When I just can’t stand (literally!), either my husband will whip something delicious up from the real food ingredients we have on hand, or we’ll order food from one of the local restaurants that we know use mostly real food (that means lots of Mexican food!). I’ve also been trying to make some breads and muffins (soaked recipes), but I’m honestly struggling to keep up with dishes and laundry, so “extras” aren’t happening much. :-)
    For all you ladies who are feeling guilty about not eating what you “should”, please know that all you can do is the best you’re ABLE. For weeks 6-20 I was lucky to keep anything down, so if that meant kraft cheese sticks (normally wouldn’t touch ‘em with a ten-foot-pole!) or multi-grain cheerios (ditto with the pole!), that’s what I ate! I threw-up any water I drank, so I had to get creative. That meant sparkling water with a bit of grapefruit or cranberry juice. Not something I would normally drink. These were often the only things I consumed for days at a time. It was the very best I could do and I’m thankful to have been able to do that. The next step was the hospital and I’m really, really not crazy about that option! ;-)
    At this point, I can’t stand the smell of liver, so I’m taking dessicated liver tablets from pastured beef. I also now can take the fermented cod liver oil and high vit. butter oil (couldn’t do that for a LONG time) and I do feel noticeably better when I take them! I’m taking blackstrap molasses and yellow dock tincture to help with my iron and I’m trying to eat lots of iron rich foods.
    I know this has been a huge reply, but anything I can say to help somebody else is worth it! My favorite tip for morning sickness, especially if you’re dehydrated like I was, is to add a few slices of cucumber or fruit to your water. Sounds a little odd, but it was the only thing that kept me from having to go get an IV. For some reason I couldn’t keep water down, but if I added a little cucumber or strawberry slices I could drink it! :-)


  13. Mary Kathryn says:

    I am 31 weeks and am still struggling. I have actually gotten to a point where I am losing weight or at a stand still. There are a lot of things I need to up in my diet but it seems as though there isn’t enough time in the day or room in my stomach.

    Something I have recently been recommended to take is Chlorophyll- it has helped with my energy levels tremendously!!

    I have up’ed my raw milk intake by listening to what my body was telling me and it seems as if I can’t get enough of my farm fresh eggs.


    Shannon Reply:

    Mary – Not sure what to tell you about gaining weight – that has never been a problem for me :) . Are you eating any carbs – grains, starches, etc? That might help if you can still keep in the good animal foods as well.


  14. [...] Nourishing Days – My Pregnancy Diet (and why it doesn’t have to be yours) [...]

  15. Sarah says:

    I’m 6 wks and all the great stuff I’ve been eating up to this point grosses me out! I normally do a green smoothie, bone broth and nettles infusion everyday. I just can’t stomach any of that now. Forget about the FCLO, there’s NO WAY!! I just splurged and ordered the capsules. Right now I’m only wanting the one thing I really never eat, grains. I have managed to get in pastured eggs daily, coconut oil, raw grass fed butter and usually some avocado. I’m hoping my regular appetite comes back soon!


  16. [...] Nourishing Days – My Pregnancy Diet (and why it doesn’t have to be yours) [...]

  17. Vanessa says:

    Is it really safe to take bioflavanoids during pregnancy? I had been taking before I discovered I was pregnant and then started taking half of one just in case. The one I take is A bioflavonoid complex supplement plus hesperidin, rutin and bromelain:
    Serving Size : 1 Tablet Tablet
    Serving per Container : 60
    Amount Per Serving % Daily value*
    Calcium29.0mg 3.0
    Mixed Citrus Bioflavonoids1000.0mg
    Is this alright? Have your pregnancies been fine? I am so worried because no one wants to give me a straight answer. Thank you.


  18. My thoughts are similar to yours. While I take the WAPF recommendations as a guideline for pregnancy I ultimately eat intuitively and really listen to what my body needs. We eat the BEST quality food we can find and I tune into my body to determine *how much* of those foods I need to eat. I feel GREAT and have really been enjoying my pregnancy. I spent years preparing my body for it though so I’m definitely reaping the benefits!


  19. How are things this time around, Shannon? Anything new or changed? :)


  20. Gabrielle says:

    I have been eating this way mostly. Right now I can’t afford grass-fed beef everyday, liver, and cod liver oil (not the butter oil kind, which I want). And btw, I’m a huge advocate of this stuff. ALL my money goes to healthy foods to sustain my pregnancy, but I’m sad I haven’t been eating like I want too… But with a part-time job and rent to pay, there’s only so much I can do. :(


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