by Wei Perng, PhD

Pregnancy causes remarkable changes in a women's body. Hormones surge, and circulation and metabolism change. A growing body of research suggests that a woman's physiological response to the cardiovascular and metabolic demands of pregnancy may provide a looking glass into her future health. Researchers are becoming more and more convinced that pregnancy serves as a “stress test” that unmasks risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life.


by Karen Switkowski, MS, MPH

As a graduate student in nutrition with a particular interest in prenatal diet, I was confident that if I ever became pregnant I would follow a perfect diet. Then I got about six weeks into my first pregnancy. There was no way I was eating fish most days, and vegetables were a struggle. Instead, there were three things that I could reliably eat during my first trimester: pineapple, waffles, and peanut butter.

Pineapple is pretty non-controversial, and my doctor said it was perfectly fine to regularly make waffles for dinner (my husband disagreed). However, there seems to be a widespread perception that nut products should be avoided during pregnancy, or at least eaten in moderation. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised that “no maternal dietary restrictions during pregnancy are necessary with the possible exception of excluding peanuts."