Eating During Pregnancy: A Labor for Dad

IMAGE My wife, Constance, gave birth last month to our first child. I'm happy to say, mother and baby are doing beautifully. I'm not doing badly myself, although the pregnancy was murder on my diet. I suspect a lot of fathers-to-be go through a nutritional dip, but there's no mention of it in What to Expect When You're Expecting. Even a slim guidebook called The Expectant Father doesn't cover the male partner's eating concerns, which is why this crucial aspect of pregnancy must finally be addressed.

The First Trimester

The first five weeks went fine, as I suppose they do for most men early in pregnancy. In fact, I never ate better than I did then. Constance was feeling pretty well and was determined to follow the best nutrition protocol possible. I benefited from her carefully prepared meals of brightly colored vegetables, small amounts of meat, and a variety of starches.Then, during week six, morning sickness set in, and all bets were off.Dietitian’s Note: It’s estimated that two-thirds of pregnant women experience morning sickness and that 50%-90% experience food aversions or cravings. It is often suggested that morning sickness and food aversions may be mother nature’s way of providing protection from food-borne illness and chemicals may harm the unborn baby. I tried to continue on the good-meals track, by cooking up my "famous" meatloaf, preparing pasta primavera, broiling chicken, and serving up salads and cooked vegetables every night after work. But as Constance's nausea got worse, my efforts—and my own meals—started going south. She couldn't come to the table to eat, and there seemed to be no point to preparing decent foods for myself. Dinners became a catch-as-catch-can affair—a turkey sandwich, boxed macaroni and cheese, a half pint of ice cream eaten right out of the container.One night I bought a jar of tomato sauce to throw over spaghetti, and Constance bolted up the stairs as I filled my plate. Her aversion to garlic—and pretty much anything that had a smell—had begun in earnest, and now my choices became more and more limited. Constance couldn't even stomach my eating the dill pickles left over from the beginning of the pregnancy, when she'd had sitcom-like cravings.

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