Thoughts on - Real Food for Pregnancy, Lily Nichols

I was sent this book in April to read and give my opinion on. And sure, I have been busy since then - but I have also been putting off writing this review. Each time I look at the book I feel so woefully under prepared to be able to provide an opinion on nutrition in pregnancy and, honestly, I am worried I will say something wrong and silly. Something that will make it obvious that I do not have good food credentials, not environmentally friendly enough.

I think perhaps there is also a bit of me that does not want to find out how much better a mother I could have been to my unborn child - I am fully aware that those haribo did nothing for either my or my baby’s health, but I don’t think I am ready to face that just yet!

And finally - I felt a bit of pressure to write something good, not positive, but to write an intellectually substantial piece - because I had been asked to write about it.

So, excuses over, context set - instead of putting this off further, here is my simple review of the - what I have now discovered to be - excellent book by Lily Nichols.

This book is extremely well researched - 32 dense pages of references tell us that. I saw a post recently that said “evidence based and informed, not evidence restricted” and it really rang true with how I find myself practicing. I like a theory to have been thoroughly tested, and for there to be some evidence for correlation - but not everything has a double blind, cross cultural, randomised clinical trial to show us how well it works. Sometimes we know what worked for us, or for someone else and making suggestions allows someone to find out for themselves if it will work for them. I feel like this book, although referenced and footnoted to the hilt, also relies on common sense and sustainable lifestyle.

I feel very lucky now to have this book on my shelf - there is a wealth of knowledge and information about every stomach related pregnancy issue that I could name. Many common problems like nausea, heart burn, avoiding certain foods, back pain, pelvic floor dysfunction are mentioned and tackled with practical solutions, recipes and tools described.

A recurring question that I have been getting from clients is about how to prevent and manage gestational diabetes - this books holds answers and suggestions that I know I will find so useful for supporting families in the future.

I like Nichol’s take on looking after ourselves, promoting caring for and loving ourselves first. And she has a useful and informative and sensitive chunk on breastfeeding, which always goes down well with me.

If you support women in pregnancy, or are planning to be pregnant yourself I think you would find this a very useful resource.