Yes, You CAN Eat Green Chile When You’re Pregnant!
People who are pregnant with their first baby have a lot of questions. What can I eat? How will I know I’m actually in labor? Am I imagining it, or is my hair growing faster? Luckily, all families in New Mexico are eligible for FREE home visiting, which can help with those answers plus a lot more. Home visitors are experienced guides who come to your home (either in person or by video call) to support New Mexico families who are pregnant or have young children under 5.
Marcy Santa Maria has been a home visitor for more than 20 years in Silver City, New Mexico. Although there is no wrong time to sign up for home visiting, Marcy said during pregnancy is the best time to enroll. “If you’re able to get in prenatally it’s just the best, because you’ve already established that friendship,” Marcy said. “And once you have the baby, you feel comfortable with your home visitor.”
In the meantime, Marcy and her colleagues at Beginning Years have collected the Top Five questions that pregnant families in their program ask, and the expert guidance they offer:
1. What Can I Eat?
We have some really great news for you. Marcy said her pregnant clients sometimes think they can’t each chile when they’re pregnant. They worry, she said, that the delicious, spicy flavor will upset the baby. But no! Eating chile (either red or green) is perfectly safe for your baby. That said, Marcy said many women get heartburn when pregnant and you may want to keep an eye on your heartburn triggers. But as far as that baby is concerned? Go ahead and enjoy that tamale. Foods that are actually cause for concern include raw or undercooked meat, unpasteurized dairy, or fish that are known to be high in mercury (but, were you really eating a lot of swordfish in the desert in the first place?)
2. How Long Does “Morning Sickness” Last?
The hormones and changes that happen during pregnancy cause many people to feel nauseated and to throw up. Although commonly called “morning sickness,” Marcy said these symptoms can happen all day long. There's a wide variety in how far into your pregnancy they’ll last. “All pregnancies are different,” said Marcy, who has two kids. She said she was hardly sick at all during her first pregnancy, but then had severe nausea and vomiting for her entire second pregnancy. She advises her clients to speak to their doctors if the issues are serious, and to eat ginger or ginger candies as a safe way to ease nausea.
3. How Will I Know if I’m Really in Labor?
Families often aren’t sure they’ll know when labor is really starting. This can be especially important in rural parts of New Mexico where the nearest hospital or birthing clinic may be in a neighboring community. Marcy advises families on the differences between true contractions and Braxton Hicks contractions, which are a kind of “practice” contraction that your body does to get ready for labor. Marcy has some tips: Braxton Hicks contractions won’t happen in a repeated, regular rhythm. Also, they may go away if you shift positions or walk around. True labor contractions will happen no matter what position you’re in, and will happen in a regular rhythm that gets more frequent over time.
4. When Will My Breast Milk Come In?
Breastfeeding doesn’t start until after childbirth, but Marcy said her clients have lots of questions about when their bodies will start producing milk and how to prepare. Everyone is different, but in general, bodies start producing a full milk supply about two to five days after delivery. Before that, human breasts produce colostrum, which is dense with nutrients and is just right for the baby in those first few days before breastmilk is produced. Breastfeeding doesn’t come easily to everyone, and home visitors can help connect families to lactation specialists as needed to help support their feeding goals and needs.
5. What Exactly is Postpartum Depression?
Marcy said many families have heard the term “postpartum depression” but aren’t quite sure what it means or how they’ll know if they have it. Some sadness is normal after childbirth, she said, as new caregivers cope with sleeplessness and a new routine that revolves around the baby’s constant care. But postpartum depression is more than sadness, and can include feelings of hopelessness and not feeling interested in your new baby. When that happens, home visitors can help connect families with mental health supports in their communities. Check out our whole blog post on mental health resources for new parents and caregivers.
Have a question that’s not on this list?
Enroll in home visiting for FREE and ask a professional! You can learn more here, and search for a program in your area here. If you’d rather have some help from a person, call 1-800-691-9067 to speak to a knowledgeable New Mexican who can help you find a program in your community.