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Expecting mothers

Oh Mama! Bars provide convenience, nutrition for expectant mothers

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 by: Jessica Fraser
Tags: expecting mothers, expectant mothers, nutrition

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If you're ever shopping for maternity wear for a friend or family member, pay attention to the growing selection of clothing. You might notice that they make business suits for expecting women -- even for those late in their pregnancy. Women, in fact, are working later and later into their pregnancies, and many have to return to work soon after. Gone are the days when expecting women were allowed to take it easy and let other family members take care of their needs while they only took care of the needs of their baby.

Oh Mama! Bars were created for modern women -- women who are looking for a fast, convenient way to grab a snack while still supporting the health of their baby. The bars are also recommended for new moms who are breastfeeding. They contain many of the vitamins and nutrients expecting women need, while also boasting ingredients like omega-3 oils, which contribute to brain and nervous system development. Not surprisingly, Beth Vincent, the creator of Oh Mama! Bars, has a background in public health and child nutrition. But it's her experience as a mother of three that really helped in coming up with the bars.

"Throughout all my pregnancies there were times -- I have three kids -- when I got so frustrated, because I really needed something that was going to be convenient, first of all, and that would taste good and that was healthy. I often found that was difficult to find," she said of trying to find convenient meals during her pregnancies. "Often I would be running around, you know, going to meetings, or going from appointment to appointment, and I would find myself suddenly very, very hungry, and pretty much at the mercy of whatever was around. You know, getting off the Metro, and you look up and all you see is McDonalds, and you've got five minutes -- then youíre kind of stuck. It was not an optimal solution.Ē

Oh Mama! Bars contain a range of nutrients that greatly benefit pregnant women. In fact, for expecting women, the recommended allowances of certain vitamins and minerals can change, women can be asked to get more of some, or watch their intake of others. The bars contain folate, iron, iodine, thiamin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin K.

They also contain DHA, which is exciting for several reasons. First, there's overwhelming research on the positive effects of DHA on brain health and overall health. Fish are considered one of the best sources of DHA, but unfortunately, the EPA warns that pregnant women must watch their fish consumption because many fish contain harmful levels of mercury. Also, research shows that DHA can help improve mood and fight depression. So Oh Mama! Bars offer a safe way for pregnant women to get DHA, as well as combat the depression that often accompanies pregnancies.

"They now fortify baby formula with [DHA], but when you're pregnant, it's crucial that you get it, because it's so important for the development of these three systems. In this country in particular women don't get nearly enough DHA in their diet. The typical western diet is very low in DHA," she said. Vincent also understands the difficulty in trying to get enough DHA: "You're told to increase your DHA intake, however, you're told to cut out a lot of fish (because of mercury), and there aren't a whole lot of people who like to eat animal organ meat, one of the other big sources of DHA in this country. It really puts women in a difficult position," she said.

The bars come in three flavors: Chocolate peanut butter, frosted white raspberry and yogurt honey. Vincent said that all three flavors sell equally well, and that she has plans to develop new products and flavors in the future. Vincent started the company with her husband, and they have been able to find distribution for Oh Mama! Bars through upscale maternity stores like Motherhood Maternity and Buy Buy Baby.

Though Vincent Foods has seen rapid success, Vincent herself doesn't seem to be losing perspective on why she and her husband started the company in the first place: Helping women who worry that their lives may get in the way of good nutrition for their babies. "You physically feel great afterwards, but you also feel good mentally, because you know you are giving your baby stuff they really, really need. So you win all the way around," she said. "A lot of women are saying they just stick it in their glove boxes, or their briefcases or their drawers at work, and, you know, itís just like you can check that off your list of something you don't need to worry about, and you can actually feel like you've done a good job preparing for when you'll need it."

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