Daphne Oz Dishes on Her Healthy Pregnancy (and Helping Other Moms-to-Be)
The Bump: Congratulations on your pregnancy! Can you tell us a little bit about White Ribbon Alliance and Star Showers, the causes you’ve partnered up with to help moms-to-be in need?
Daphne Oz: Sure! White Ribbon Alliance’s Star Showers works to bring everybody — from individual men and women, local organizations and also local and government authorities — together to create a really powerful voice that demands improvement to care before, during and after birth. Launched by a group of women-led organizations, White Ribbon Alliance, The MOMS, Kangu.org and Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group, the goal here really is to make sure that every mother everywhere has an opportunity for a safe, healthy and happy birth. Here in America, it’s not even necessarily a given that you can have a healthy safe birth. I have been very fortunate to have great maternal care and I feel like so many people that I know have been able to experience the best of what maternal care can be and it’s our responsibility to be able to ensure that right for mothers across the world.
TB: Wow, so amazing! Have any issues taken on a different meaning to you since you found out you were expecting?
DO: Hugely so. I didn’t realize how dangerous it was even in America to give birth. You watch the gift of life or whatever that movie is you see in sixth grade health class, so that’s your exposure to what birthing is like. As an expectant mom, I’ve made it my job to research every option out there for me, whether it’s birthing at home, water birthing, Hypnobirthing, birthing with midwife and birthing with an OB — and we are so fortunate to have access to that information to be able to choose what really makes sense for us and for our lifestyles.
But certainly as a woman, I’ve been aware of the problems that face women all over the world when it comes to giving birth and making sure that they are given sanitary and conscious conditions in which to do it. When you’re on that journey yourself, you just become so much more in tune to how unifying this experience is. It’s such a uniquely female and such a special time in a woman’s life if you’re given the gift to be able to have a child and give birth. It’s something that’s so bonding in that way and as a mother, you can’t help but want to know that all other mothers have the same, at the very least, healthy and safe experience you did.
TB: You’re also a healthy living expert, so what are your top tips for other moms-to-be?
DO: I am! And I’m one of those nerds who just feels better if I read all the information; so when I first found out I was pregnant, I didn’t plan to drink and I was planning to go off of caffeine and all that stuff, but then one of the first articles that I read was actually about caffeine, which was a much harder give up for me than my weekly glass of wine because we have to be at the studio at 6 AM! The article was written by a female economist who was also expecting (and an avid coffee drinker). She went through all the research that doctors were using to recommend that US women not drink a ton of caffeine while pregnant and she found that the data really showed that as long as you’re drinking significantly less than you were before you got pregnant and as long as you don’t have any increased risk of miscarriage or complications with your pregnancy, you’re fine. It got me thinking: I can’t imagine every French woman giving up her glass of red wine at dinner; every Japanese woman giving up her green tea.
After we told our parents that we were expecting, one of the first things my dad said to me was, “You can read everything you want — but you definitely want to talk to your doctor. Listen to what your OB-GYN says.” I took that advice to heart. I’m very fortunate that I have a ton of doctors in my immediate family, as well as alternative medical practitioners and homeopathic experts. So I talked to all of them to see what made sense for me, which is advice I’d recommend to every expectant woman. At the end of the day, the most dangerous thing for your baby is for you to be stressed out. So don’t spend a lot of time or energy on stress, being anxious and worrying that you’re not doing it right. In the end, there is no one right answer — your cravings are going to be different, your baby is going to be different, your body and your needs are going to be different. So, just really paying attention to what makes you feel good — that’s the most important tip I could give.
TB: That’s really wise advice! Have you made any changes to your routine?
DO: Well, I’ve always been pretty good about taking my vitamins and eating well, but I definitely got on the prenatal bandwagon right away. The most important addition to taking my prenatals was also taking a probiotic. You definitely want your gut in good health when you’re pregnant because you absorb nutrition better when your gut is functioning properly and you have a good balance of bacteria. And so having a probiotic (in addition to extra dairy), gives you tons more calcium and vitamin D. I also started taking a DHA supplement. It helps keep baby brain at bay and makes sure that you and baby are getting enough DHA (since babies need it to develop their nervous system).
TB: Have you had any weird or embarrassing pregnancy moments so far? Especially because you’re on TV for most of it?
DO: It’s a very interesting experience. I didn’t really know what to expect and — I hope that I’ve done somewhat of a good experience hiding it — but there have definitely been moments on TV where I feel like I’ve just completely left my mind. I’m talking to 3 million people and suddenly I just have to wing it! You know, you have this great idea cued up and it just evaporated! And this might be a little embarrassing, but everyone on the staff knows that if they can’t find me it’s because I’m peeing. Before I got pregnant, there were two things I prided myself on: The first was having an iron bladder, and the second was that I had the memory of an elephant. Now, both those things have just completely gone out the window!
TB: Are you nervous about becoming a first-time mom?
DO: It’s the first grandchild for my parents and my husband’s parents and it’s also the first great-grandchild on both sides of our families, so everyone is over the moon. This child is going to be so spoiled! I’m also the first of my friends to have a baby, so I didn’t really know much going into this about what to expect; you just know that you’re having a baby so things are going to be really different. I’m a little nervous because I’m 27, so I still feel like I’m in that post-college, not 100 percent adults stage; you know, not totally defined by Girls but in some ways, I still am. And I’m so lucky to have a great group of girlfriends and we make it a priority to see each other and spend time together, but I know that once baby arrives, things are going to change dramatically. It’s not so much that I’m scared — just so interested to see how capable I am of balancing everything.
It’s been so nice to go to prenatal classes and meet other moms-to-be in my area — they’re the best resources on the best parks to go to, where to buy baby supplies. I’m sort of the guinea pig for all my friends!
TB: Are you stressed about what your body after baby will look like?
DO: I struggled with my weight a large majority of my youth. I even wrote a book about it. In college, I dropped the weight and adopted a healthier lifestyle. I refuse to go back to being totally neurotic about getting my body back or going on a diet or anything like that because I just remember how unpleasant it was and how it stole my love of food. I love to eat and that’s how my family bonds. That’s not something I’m willing to give up just to drop a size in my jeans. That said, my postbaby plan has been to try and stay as healthy as possible during my pregnancy. I think it’s better for baby to stay healthy and it also makes my life easier afterwards. I’m looking forward to jumping back into real workouts because you do get a little nervous when you’re pregnant thinking you could hurt the baby, so I’m looking to get back to that without hurting anything (or anyone!). I try to follow an 80/20 rule: 80 percent healthy and 20 percent living for delicious food and great, worthwhile indulgences.
TB: That’s a great rule to follow! One last question, do you have a favorite healthy, go-to snack?
DO: Yogurt is amazing and lately, I’ve started carrying around baby carrots in addition to nuts. I also just discovered this Paleo granola. It’s so delicious, all nuts and seeds, no grains, and it even has a little maple syrup to sweeten it — but not too much. When I went for my first sonogram, I was at the hospital and you know, you have to have a full bladder so they can look at the baby. I showed up in the waiting room with about 30 other pregnant women and all of us had to pee really badly! But I noticed that all the women had snacks — and I didn’t! Ever since then, I always carry around snacks, something with a good amount of fat or protein so that I stay full. Sometimes I throw some cheese and honey in my bag with the apple to make it a little more decadent.