Taking Proper Care of your Body While Pregnant

March 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Pregnancy Nutrition

All through life, a healthy lifestyle is important but when pregnant, it can mean the health of you and your baby. To ensure you are doing everything possible for you and your unborn child, it is important to understand what it takes.

Unfortunately, many pregnant women do not get good prenatal care, something you need to make sure you get. This would include regular visits with your doctor to ensure everything is going according to plan. Your first doctor’s visit while pregnant will be around six to eight weeks. At that time, the doctor will check your health, making sure there are no risks and checking your week by week pregnancy progress. The doctor would also confirm your pregnancy due date. From that time forward, you would have once a month visits until you reach the 28 weeks, switching to bi-weekly appointments until week 36. Then, you would visit your doctor weekly until the baby arrives.

Proper Nutrition

It is critical that you get proper nutrition during pregnancy. The foods you eat should be high in vitamins and minerals and there are even some foods to avoid. Eating right will help you feel better, have more energy, and deliver a healthy baby. The calories that go into your body should be good calories, not from foods with no nutritional value. Keep in mind, because you are feeding two, your caloric intake will increase. After all, the baby is going to use a lot of nourishment during the pregnancy so you need to make sure you and the baby are getting everything needed.

Each pregnant woman will have different calorie needs. For thin women or those having a multiple birth, the number of calories being consumed would obviously be greater than someone of average weight and carrying only one child. On the other hand, if you are overweight, you still need more calories than usual but you will need to be careful not to gain too much weight during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor so a good nutritional plan can be devised.

The growth and development of your baby will be impacted by what you eat. Therefore, be sure your diet is well balanced, including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.

A misconception is that good food tastes bad. The truth is that good food can taste delicious, it is easy to make, and even easier to incorporate into your pregnancy. Of course, while proper diet is very important for pregnant women, particularly for breastfeeding this is something every person should consider. As mentioned, stick with lean meats, whole grains, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and only low fat dairy. These foods are high in nutrients that will keep you healthy while pregnant and benefit the baby.

Additionally, with pregnancy, you need certain foods that will provide high levels of calcium, iron, and folic acids. These essential nutrients are essential for the pregnancy and to ensure you get the level needed, your doctor will get you started on prenatal vitamins and in some cases, may prescribe additional supplements.

One of the most important nutrients is calcium. Typically, a non-pregnant woman would take 1,000 milligrams daily but while pregnant, you need an even higher dose. This will stop bone loss, help with the development of breast milk, and give your baby strong bones.

The great thing about calcium is that it comes in so many different forms. The most common is with yogurt, milk, and cheese but you will also find that soy milk, orange juice, kale, spinach, broccoli, dried beans, cereal, tofu, and almonds also contain calcium.

Iron is another area that pregnant women need to be aware of. This is used for making haemoglobin, a necessary substance that makes it easier for red blood cells to carry oxygen to the various parts of the body. During your pregnancy, you need to take between 27 and 30 milligrams daily to avoid a deficiency. If you do not get enough iron while pregnancy, red blood cells will die, which means vital organs and tissue are being deprived of oxygen.

The best source of iron is in meat. However, you can also boost the level of iron while pregnant by eating eggs, tofu, dark meat poultry, salmon, spinach, dried fruit, dried peas, beans, and even iron fortified cereals.

We now want to address the need for folic acid during pregnancy. Most doctors will recommend you get no less than 0.4 milligrams daily and if needed, a supplement can be taken to ensure you are getting the level required for you and the baby.

A tremendous amount of research has been done on nutrition and pregnant women and what has been discovered is that a woman that consumes folic acid one month prior to getting pregnant and then in the first trimester of pregnancy has a lower risk of neural tube defects. In fact, these studies have shown the decrease to be as great as 70%. This tube forms in a pregnancy’s first month, usually a time when the woman has no clue she is with child. Over time, the neural tube is what forms into the baby’s spinal cord and brain. Therefore, if the pregnant woman has a folic acid deficiency during these critical times, the baby is at higher risk of being born with spina bifida.

Fluid intake should also be increased throughout the pregnancy. While carrying a baby, blood volume increases and fluid is needed to help manage this increase. Additionally, most pregnant women deal with bouts of constipation and dehydration, both problems that are easily managed with increased fluid intake.

Finally, every pregnant woman should exercise unless her doctor has advised her not to. Actually, exercising and being physically active during pregnancy has a number of benefits. For instance, this will keep excess weight from being gained, constipation is less a problem, the woman has more energy, mood swings will not be as drastic, she will have an easier pregnancy and delivery, and her recovery time will be much less.

Other benefits of getting exercise while pregnant include better sleep. Most pregnant women agree that as the baby grows, finding a comfortable position to sleep becomes harder and harder. The less sleep the woman gets the less energy she has. However, exercise does help with sleep and with increased energy levels.

Just remember, eating a healthy diet, incorporating about 30 minutes of exercise into the daily regimen, drinking more fluids, and getting proper sleep will make the pregnancy much more enjoyable. This will also make the delivery of the baby easier and the recovery period shorter.

The Importance of a Healthy Diet During Pregnancy

March 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Pregnancy Nutrition

A healthy diet is important for everyone but when it comes to pregnant women, especially critical. While pregnant, it is vital that you eat the right foods for your sake and the sake of your unborn child. After all, the very foods you consume are also going into the fetus’ system. This means that when you eat, you must consume vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that will make your pregnancy easier and produce a healthy baby.

For one thing, during the different pregnancy stages make sure you never skip a meal. Each meal is very important to you and your baby, especially breakfast. You have gone all night without nutrition and now at the start of a new day, you and your baby need food. Remember, when you go hungry so does the growing baby inside your tummy. Interestingly, morning sickness, a common symptom of pregnancy, is a sign that you are not getting proper nutrition.

Not only do you need to eat, but foods high in nutrients. For instance, calcium is very importance during pregnancy, keeping your bones strong and helping develop strong bones for the baby. Add milk, yogurt, cheese, and different types of leafy green vegetables, which are loaded in calcium and other nutrients. Experts suggest you eat between four and six servings to maintain health.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are also imperative for pregnancy. In this case, sweet potatoes are delicious and loaded with vitamins, as well as antioxidants, which are known to help with inflammation. As you go through each day of the pregnancy, you will have more of an appetite so when you reach for a snack, choose your foods wisely, those that will encourage healthy growth of the baby and boost your own energy.

Just as you need certain foods while pregnant to keep you and your baby healthy, there are also foods you should never eat since they can be harmful to your child.

Examples of foods to avoid while pregnant would include:

• Any foods unpasteurized, which are commonly found in soft cheeses such as brie and even milk purchased directly from a dairy farm.
• Fish to include shark, tuna, and swordfish contain high levels of mercury
• Uncooked eggs
• Meat, pork, and poultry that has not been thoroughly cooked
• Caffeine such as soda pop, coffee, and of course, chocolate

Every woman’s pregnancy is slightly different so before you start adding or eliminating food from your diet, talk to your doctor. This way, you will have a firm understanding of foods considered healthy for you and your growing baby, as well as foods that could cause serious problems. If there are foods you cannot eat or you have trouble digesting, your doctor might recommend you take a supplement to ensure you are getting all the needed vitamins and minerals for a healthy pregnancy. Any time you have questions or concerns, your doctor should be your first source of information.

One of the most annoying symptoms of pregnancy has to do with an increased sense of smell. This means that while pregnant, some of the foods you normally love will now have a smell that is appalling.

Although easy, pregnancy is not the time to consume a lot of fast foods, which are processed and greasy. Not only do these foods provide little nutrition, they also lead to nausea, especially in early pregnancy stages. Sure, you can have treats and fast food on rare occasion but the goal is to make the primary focus of your diet on healthy, fresh foods. If you get a craving for something sweet, instead of going for a chocolate bar, make a delicious smoothie using strawberries, banana, yogurt, low fat milk, and even a little fresh spinach or carrot.

Along with a well-balanced diet, you will also require more fluid intake during pregnancy. The best solution would be water but fluids in general need to be increased. Again, avoid caffeine and of course alcohol.

Nutritional Matters For A Healthy Pregnancy

March 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Pregnancy Nutrition

A pregnant mother will always want to ensure that she does the right things for her baby’s health. This means proper nutrition for herself, since what she eats is what her baby gets!

According to medical experts, pregnant women need to increase their daily calorie intake by about three hundred calories only. A higher amount will lead to the mother gaining extra weight, which is unhealthy for both mother and child. Cravings are a natural part of pregnancy, but always ensure that you do not over-indulge! A bagel with low-fat cream cheese or an additional tuna sandwich is all the extra you need!

Protein is an essential requirement for a pregnant mother, which is why some of the extra calories you consume must come from foods rich in protein. Pregnant women require sixty grams of protein every day, which is 10 grams more than women who are not pregnant do. Examples of food rich in protein include dried beans, nuts, cheese, fish, chicken or lean meats. These extra ten grams can also come from about one and a half ounces of meat.

Women need to have stronger bones during the pregnancy as well as for birth. This is why the calcium requirement for women is increased in pregnancy. Women generally tend to get only 75% of the amount they require, so an increase of calcium intake in essential for them. Some of the best sources of calcium are milk, cheese and yogurt, which can be lean to avoid calorie intake whilst fulfilling the calcium requirement. Other good sources of calcium are green and leafy vegetables.

Moderate increases in the intake of vitamins and mineral salts are also encouraged for pregnant women. Vitamin D needs to be taken daily, since it increases the absorption of calcium in the blood.

Pregnant women find their blood volume increasing gradually over the course of the pregnancy, so extra iron is another major requirement! The recommended amount is 30 mg/day, which is twice the amount required by non-pregnant women. Sources of iron are red meats, fish and poultry. Some cereals are also enriched with extra iron, as are some types of bread.

Eggs are good for pregnant women too. Consumption of vitamin C alongside eggs aids in increasing their effectiveness.

An essential vitamin for fetal growth and development is folic acid. A multivitamin containing about six hundred micrograms of folic acids is recommended per day for pregnant women. Any more than this increases the risk of neural defects such as spina bifida. If you’re not comfortable taking the pill, eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, peanuts, citrus fruits and whole grains, all of which are a natural source of folates.

All the nutrients that pregnant women need are available in vegetarian diets, but getting them in the forms required is difficult. Also, pregnant vegetarians have to monitor the amounts they eat to obtain the required nutrient levels. But then again, this is a common part of being vegetarian!

Pregnant women should talk to their doctors about all the dietary changes they need to make early in the pregnancy. Your physician will ask you for a total update on what your diet is like, before they can give you the right advice about all the nutritional aspects of pregnancy. Don’t go for the myths and old wives tales concerning nutrition for yourself and your baby. Go to the experts and get expert advice!