If you’re becoming a surrogate, nutrition will be a common topic. However, most of it will relate to what you need to be taking in to support the growth of a healthy baby, not necessarily what you can (and should) be doing just for you. Whole grains certainly fall into the “good for baby” category too, they’re especially good for you. Here’s why…
1) Whole Grains Keep You Regular
As a surrogate, you’ve already had a baby, which means you’re probably all too familiar with pregnancy constipation and maybe even hemorrhoids from excess straining. While many things lead to this problem, lack of fiber is a major contributor. In the US, many of the grains we take in are processed or refined, which reduces some of the nutrient value and bulk. Grains that are left intact are referred to as “whole grains,” and this is what you’ll want to look for when checking out nutrition labels and packaging. Whole grains typically have insoluble fiber, meaning it is not impacted by fluids and your body cannot break it down or digest it. That’s actually a good thing in this case, because it helps clean out your system and makes it easier to go number-two. If you’re getting a good amount of fiber (25-30 grams per day), you’ll have fewer digestive woes and be more comfortable. Examples of whole grains with insoluble fiber include whole wheat bread and brown rice.
2) Whole Grains May Help You Regulate Your Blood Sugar
Some whole grains, like oats, work a little differently. The fiber they possess is soluble, meaning they soak up some of the fluid and nutrients in your digestive system, but still are not digested. That’s incredibly helpful in some cases, as it will hold onto sugars a bit, so those get released more slowly into your system. This is one of the reasons why oatmeal is considered a good food for people with Type 2 Diabetes and can also be beneficial for women with gestational diabetes or who sit on the cusp. Equally, oatmeal has been linked to reduced cholesterol and improved cardiovascular health, so it’s a good food to have all around.
3) Whole Grains Can Beef Up Your Iron Stores
Pregnant women naturally develop greater blood stores—to the tune of a 20-30% increase. While this is essential for health, women who do not get enough iron fail to make enough hemoglobin to keep up with demand, which is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. This is the condition referred to as anemia. Some common symptoms of anemia include fatigue and difficulty concentrating, and it can really ramp up during the second and third trimesters. Anemia also poses risks to the baby, so it’s doubly important to make sure you’re getting enough iron. Your doctor will likely test you to see if supplementation is necessary. Supplementing on your own is not recommended by medical professionals, as excess iron can be toxic. It’s near impossible to get too much from food, but supplements are a whole different ball game. Ergo, keeping whole grains in your diet is a boon. Amaranth, wheat, and oats are your best bets, so long as you’re choosing the whole grain variety. On the flip side, many foods with refined grains are also enriched with iron, so your cereal may still have some benefit, even if it’s not made with whole grains.
Become a Surrogate with SPS
If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate, but aren’t yet working with an agency, SPS can help. We stand by our surrogates every step of the way and have firsthand knowledge on what it’s like to be a surrogate—our founder was one too! Please take a moment to review our guidelines for surrogates and let us know when you’re ready to help a family grow.