Jan 282011

“Your weight looks great, good job! … But you should eat nothing but vegetables for the rest of the pregnancy.”  – Midwife to a mother at a 20 week prenatal appointment.

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 January 28, 2011  Fatness, Midwife, prenatal  Add comments

  40 Responses to “"…Eat Nothing But Vegetables For The Rest Of The Pregnancy."”

  1. Thank heaven the developing baby requires no protein or fat! By the way, do you have any articles about nutrition during pregnancy? Because I’d like to read them, and then I’d like YOU to read them.

    • both protein and fat can easily be obtained from vegetable sources. this is a pretty common misconception.

      Still, I am assuming the mother hadn’t eaten ‘only vegetables’ up to this point, if her weight is so perfect why advise her to change anything about the way she is eating? Its madness.

  2. You know it bloody scares me to think of all the women who wouldn’t question their care provider. I can just imagine a woman believing she must do this and making herself ill/hungry.

  3. Because THAT’s good for the baby. Who needs protein, fat, or carbohydrates anyway?

    • Vegetables actually are carbs, the best kind of carbs you can have, but babies are not made of carbs. Well, maybe if a potato had a baby, but not human babies.

      • It’s not accurate to say that vegetables are carbs, vegetables are made up of protein, carbs(sugars), fibre and fats in varying proportions. Just as meat is not made up entirely of protein. Potato is really the only veg that is made up of carb so predominantly that is should be considered a ‘carb (in the food group sense as opposed to marcomolecular sense) in the same way that bread, pasta, rice etc can be considered carbs.

        But no babies aren’t made of carbs, or protein or fats they are made of a mixture of all of these, just like fully grown humans are. The diets of healthy pregnant women could look very different from each other as the world offers us a multitude of food choices that we can combine to create a delicious, nutritious and energy sustaining diet.

        Again i say if the womans bloods and weight show her to be so perfectly healthy and on track why advise her to make changes? thats like saying to a painter “your painting is coming along beatifully but from now on you should only use cool colours”

  4. What was the context? maybe this was a tongue-in-cheek comment about how people stress out about weight gain during pregnancy?

    • Maybe this midwife was a blithering idiot who knew next to nothing about nutrition, was terrified that a diet with any fat or carbs would create *gasp* a LARGE BABY or *gasp* an OBESE MOTHER, and as a bonus, hoped that an all-vegetable diet would give the mother enough roughage that she’d be able to fart her baby out when the time came?

  5. Eh… Who needs protein? There’s such a better way to say this. How about “Good job! Keep it up with watching your diet!” Because obviously mom’s done a good job so far… If it ain’t broke…..

  6. Wait…. ah…. *what*??!
    I hope she qualified this VERY quickly with, “Just kidding, you’re eating well and gaining adequately. Don’t stress about weight right now, just make healthy choices for whole grains, healthy meats, safe cooked fish, and lots of fruits and veggies.”
    And then a handout listing which choices are healthy and which are not, and why.

  7. I wonder if this midwife is in the same practice as that nurse a while back that told a mom “don’t worry about fluids, just eat lots of carbohydrates! It’s got hydrate in it so you’ll stay hydrated!”

    • must be! love their logic!

    • LOL…it was an OB who made the “carbohydrates=hydration” comment to me…and he doesn’t like working with midwives (I guess they dilute that “doctors are gods” feeling he has about himself). But obviously the system that is turning out these “healthcare professionals” is doing a miserable job teaching them nutrition.

  8. Surely she was joking? I think that a lot when reading this site, though. The mother must not have taken it as a joke.
    Why can’t people be BALANCED? Women actually did grow babies and birth them before doctors told them what to eat and what not to eat. The only craving I really had during pregnancy was eggs. Yummy, runny eggs. I’m sure that my body knew that my baby needed those good fats and proteins, especially since I don’t eat a lot of meat.

  9. And we certainly wouldn’t want this baby to develop its brain, because then it might think for itself — something I’m trying to get you NOT to do.
    This just doesn’t sound like the midwives I know. Is she really a doctor in disguise?

    • I have a hard time with the notion that all midwives are awesome and all doctors are evil. Some midwives totally kick butt, and so do some doctors! Some midwives give really crappy advice, and so do some doctors!

      • Kelley, I agree that there are many good doctors (just look on Thoughtful Thursdays), but I guess I hold midwives to a slightly higher standard, in that I know they don’t go into midwifery for the money or the glory. So I really expect them to respect women and give advice that sounds at least somewhat reasonable.

        • Most doctors didn’t go to med school for the money and the glory – there are cheaper, easier and quicker ways to get that. And most doctors don’t go into OB for money and glory because there are other specialties with a lot more of that. Some midwives go into their profession for power and control. They like being able to put other women down. They’re the rare exception – and I think most of the crazy doctors we read about here are also an exception.

          • I think it’s the good doctors and midwifes that trust women to be active roles in their pregnancies, and births….

            I think the ‘horror stories’ are ‘the norm’ for most women. Not the exception.

          • There are good and bad of each, just like every other kind of person, its just that we expect MWs to be better at their jobs based on the context of what MW means compared to what OB means. Some people suck no matter what their job is, and some people rock even if they clean toilets for a living instead of having a high profile career.

            When you think these stories might be the exception instead of the norm, just remember that truth is stranger than fiction!

        • What bothers me is the implied, “Well, an OB gives bad advice, and a midwife gives good advice! Doctors are stupid, and midwives aren’t!” Doctors deserve to be held to just as high of a standard as a midwife. To me, one of the biggest issues in American birth today is a lack of respect on both “sides” of birth. Natural birth advocates can sometimes act like OB’s are all butchers who want nothing more than to give you a c-section so they can get onto their yacht, and the medical community can act like a midwife is a crazy woman who shows up at your house to help you birth your baby carrying nothing but a cat and a potato with her. I don’t think that it serves any of us to think in these generalizations. In the countries with the best maternal-fetal outcomes, midwives and OB’s work together respectfully, and I think that relationship begins with our attitudes as patients and advocates.

          • I get the potato, but what is the cat for?

            Two of my neighbors are nurse practitioners and both offered to “help” when I had my baby at home. They both got all surprised when I mentioned that my midwife carried a tacklebox full of herbs, a birthing stool, pitocin, hypodermic needles and an oxygen tank.

            I think they were expecting crystals and twinkle lights.

          • Oh, they were just the two most random things I could think of that would be of NO use in a birthing situation. Now I’m intrigued that I accidentally picked something useful with my “potato” suggestion!

            When talking about homebirth with people, I make sure to mention that the midwives I know come with oxygen and pitocin, as well as the skills to handle emergencies for Mom and Baby alike. My son (a 28-weeker) required the skills of a NICU, and I am intensely grateful every single day for them – but most people don’t know that good midwives come with the skills to handle “normal” emergencies just like they come with the skills to handle normal pregnancies.

          • actually cats are very traditional to include in a birthing room. they were considered to be good luck because they give birth while purring. also petting a cat can be a stress reliever while in labour. but what the heck would you use the potato for?

          • Do you realize that we posted our catty replies SIMULTANEOUSLY? Talk about herding cats…

          • Yes, but apparently you knew what the potato was for :) I do however have a somewhat related story. I was given a lovely blue earthenware jug, with a beautiful pregnant figure modelled on it, as a gift/talisman for birth. it’s a very small jug, and when it was given to me, it had a small tomato in it. it was handed to me upside down so that the tomato fell into my cupped hands. and I was told “may you birth so easily”. i have now replaced the tomato with a wooden egg. it seemed to work relatively well, as the 4 I have birthed since the gift have all come out relatively easily :) and the last one, which i laboured at home for all but the last 15 minutes, my cat stayed right by my side the WHOLE time.

          • A cat was kept in the birthing room because our European ancestors, not knowing that cats purr when they are in pain, thought that the extreme ease of a cat’s queening would rub off on the labouring mother.

            A potato looks like a nice small object to birth. Also, you can bake it in an oven, and I’m sure everyone is familiar with the idiomatic phrases associated with pregnancy as baking.

            Interesting use of sympathetic magic there. :)

          • Nine times out of ten (or what FEELS like it, anyway!) obstetricians are in it for the money, the control, or both; or are simply trained to see pregnancy and birth as a dangerous emergency situation needing all sorts of management to prevent Certain Disaster, and if you try to convince them otherwise with actual evidence, their minds are made up and they don’t want to be confused with facts from the Cochrane database.

            Unfortunately, the equal and opposite reaction to this is that some of the midwives who work outside of the system are extremely good at their profession, others are the sort who recommend bizarre diets and who bring a cat and a baked potato to a birthing. Which is great for submissions to sites like this one, not so great for their clients.

  10. Well crap. DH could tell if I hadn’t eaten enough protein because I was a first class Evil Pregnant Woman. Who knew that nothing but veggies would have solved that.

  11. Even if we put aside the absurd comment about only eating veggies. If her weight looks great then why would she change what she’s doing?

  12. Lots of you are saying that you can get enough protein if your eating just veggies… most veggies have lots of Protein in them. I know a lot of vegitarian mothers… This was a rude statement from a midwife… but there are other ways to get protein. Beans, Tofu, Lentils, and other Legumes
    Grains, including bread and pasta, Nuts and Seeds, Brussels sprouts, oats, rye, wheat, split peas, Broccoli.Vegetables average around 22% protein, beans 28%, and grains 13%.Every single whole plant food has more than 2.5% protein, and they all have more than 10% except for fruit. Protein is one of the easiest nutrients to get.They have every essential amino acid, in excess of what we need. It might not surprise you that beans are a complete protein by themselves, but even carrots are a complete protein. Tomatoes are a complete protein. Celery is a complete protein. Even iceberg lettuce is a complete protein. ( sorry for the long post)

    • This was my first thought also. True that the statement doesn’t explain why she was told not to eat meat. Maybe there were other health complications if weight wasn’t an issue. I can’t understand why the commenters flipping out because she’s not eating meat? Meat is not necessary for a healthy diet. Complete plant proteins are better for you, better absorbed by your body, and better for the planet.

      My grandmother learned in school that you needed meat for protein. That was the 1940′s. A vegan lifestyle can be far more healthy than a omnivorous lifestyle, even for a pregnant woman, if practiced properly.

      • No one once mentioned meat. None of this was ABOUT meat. It was about the fact that you need nuts and legumes to get proper protein intake in pregnancy and those are not technically ‘vegetables’. Speaking as someone with hypoglycemia-turned-GD in my first pregnancy, you also cannot get enough carbs to be healthy from just vegetables. You need grains and fruits to prevent hypoglycemia.

    • Ahh, but she said “nothing but vegetable” which means no legumes, nuts, grains, etc. when taken at what she said. It was an idiotic statement and no, you can’t live 100% on vegetables. On plants, yes, quite right, but not on veggies. There’s not enough protein without the nuts, grains and legumes in any vegetarian/vegan diet.

    • That’s just not true. A large carrot, for instance, has about 0.7g of protein, which is around 1%, NOT 10%. A non-pregnant adult would have to eat dozens of carrots to get enough protein. Iceberg has less than 1% protein, and you would have to eat several heads of it to get enough. Different parts of plants have different purposes, and most of them don’t have protein because that isn’t the purpose. Roots and fruits are primarily carbs. Leafy parts are primarily a source of fiber. Only seed-type parts (beans, corn kernels, etc) have a decent amount of protein, but most people wouldn’t think about beans and seeds if their doctor told them to eat vegetables.

      Vegetarian and vegan diets can certainly be healthy, even in pregnancy. But it sounds like this midwife is advocating eating like a rabbit, which is what people do when they crash-diet and is never a good idea.

      • It wasn’t my research it was someone else’s. I eat meat.
        I just was saying alot of people (previous posters) where saying she would need protein from meat. I was just stating you could get it from veggies as well.

        I too don’t recommend eating like a rabbit especially since rabbits eat their own feces to counteract all the cellulose in their diet..(Yum)

        Everyone should do research before they change their whole eating life style.

    • Different bodies have different needs. My nutritional needs are not the same as everyone else’s.

      While some individuals may be able to get enough protein *for their needs* from a vegan diet during pregnancy, I would become very ill, because that would not meet the needs of my body for protein and essential fatty acids.

      It’s very easy to slip into a one-size-fits-all way of speaking when we talk about our nutritional preferences, and forget that some people’s bodies really do thrive better when they include animal products in their diet. :)

      • I have been vegan for seven years and am currently 21 weeks pregnant, but i’m not chiming in to say everyone could be healthy and vegan but rather that kat makes a very important point.

        While there are certainly general guidelines as to what a balanced diet constitutes different bodies absorb and process certain vitamins at different level of efficiency. For this reason some people might need a lot more of certain vitamins than is averagely recommened some may need less. Even in terms of energy giving carbs, different matabolic rates will cause people to have different carb requirements from one another.

        Its also important to note that some nutrients contradict each other and some work in pairs. For example vitamin c helps your body absorb iron and vitamin d helps you absorb calcium. you could eat plenty of iron and still be defficient if you don’t eat enough vitamin c. Synthetic multivitamins are pretty inneffective in this way, especially if taken every day because balanced nutrition is achieved across alonger timeframe and taking everykind of vitamin at once every day will likely mean your body will not absorb all of them.

        Eating from diverse food sources and plenty of whole as opposed to processed foods across each week is the best way to achieve good health. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike (as well as people who have different dietary sensitivities and allergies) need to take care maintain diversity in their diets and to get to know their own body and what it needs.

  13. If the midwife is sooo impressed with mama’s weight, why suddenly restrict it? And why not have mama keep a food journal for a couple weeks to find out why she’s gaining so well? Good calories will still contribute to weight gain, even all those veggies she’s supposed to eat for 5 more months.

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