To sustain a healthy pregnancy, about 300 extra calories are required daily. The calories should be sourced from a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetable, fruits, and proteins with fats and sweets kept to a minimum. Well-balanced, healthy nutrition during pregnancy dramatically reduces some pregnancy symptoms such as constipation and nausea. Critical components of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy are a timely and appropriate intake of mineral supplement and vitamins and fluids, regular exercise, eating a balanced diet and proper weight gain. Importance of proper nutrition is associated with healthy birth weight, good fetal brain development, and reduced congenital disabilities.
Fluid Intake – a vital part of proper nutrition during pregnancy
Fluid intake is a vital part of healthy pregnancy nutrition. Women should take enough fluids by drinking enough water daily, in addition to soups and juices. The future mother should restrict her consumption of artificial sweeteners and caffeine with zero intakes of alcohol.
As much as prenatal vitamin supplements play an important role during pregnancy most of the nutrients needed during this period should come from food. Folate (Folic acid) is an essential B vitamin for expectant mothers and should be taken weeks to conception and 12 weeks of pregnancy. It lowers the vulnerability of having neural tube flaws like spina bifida.
Women who take prenatal vitamins and multivitamin regularly reduce the risk of preeclampsia. The disease causes protein in the urine and elevated blood pressure which is a leading cause of fetal death and premature delivery.
Swallowing of supplements during pregnancy seems a hurdle for most women despite the health benefits it brings. The pills contain high levels of iron and are usually large that can result in constipation and irritate the stomach.
Eating For Two During Pregnancy
Never in a woman’s existence is nutrition so critical as during pregnancy and nursing. Whether the pregnancy got you by surprise or expected you would probably need to make over your feeding habits. Majority of women initiate pregnancy with a shortfall in nutrients relevant to the fetal, including brain-building fats, calcium, and iron. Correct eating influences positively a child’s well-being at and beyond.
A child is not only what he eats but what the mother ate during pregnancy. Research suggests a mother’s lifestyle affect the baby’s chances for conditions like heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity.
Good Bacteria and Digestion
Nutrition begins with the way you digest food. You can consume nutritionally packed meals, but without proper digestion, a lot of nutrients are a waste. Taking probiotics every day is an excellent way to ensure you have active gut bacteria for proper digestion and absorption and steady immune system. Eating naturally fermented and cultured foods help to boost gut bacteria.
Make Calories Count
For the first months after conception, you may hardly notice the weight gain. Because of queasiness that put off women from eating during pregnancy may cause some of them to lose weight during the first trimester.
As the baby grows, you need to ensure your extra calories are nutritionally rich. However, pregnancy isn’t a license to overeat. The hundreds of extra calories sound a lot, but it is equivalent to large apples.
Gaining the advised pounds ensures a healthy infant and limits pregnancy and delivery complications. Women at an average weight can add 25-35 pounds and for twins 34-45 pounds. Overweight mothers may be told to gain fewer and underweight need to put on more pounds. A dietitian should tailor your eating plan based on your needs.
Moderate exercise is encouraged to benefit both the growing baby and mother. It is a safe activity for a pregnant woman. Exercising for about 30 minutes every day helps in decreasing stress, strengthens muscles and helps circulation. In case you are in a high-risk category you should consult your health care provider before starting the regime.
Exercise can do the following to a healthy pregnancy:
- Improve sleep
- Increase energy levels
- Relieve constipation
- Reduce backaches
- Strengthen muscles and endurance
Aerobic exercises like yoga, jogging, and walking stimulate the lungs and heart as well as joint and muscles activity. That helps to process and utilize oxygen which is good fpr overall wellbeing.
Cutting Out Bad Habits
Deciding to have a good lifestyle will positively impact the health of developing a fetus. One should cut out alcohol consumption, drug use, and smoking. Their intake brings serious risks and complications for both baby and mother.
Taking alcohol while pregnant can cause a wide range of challenges in the child’s development. Consumed alcohol enters the fetal bloodstream in about the same concentration as that of the mother. Too much alcohol intake during pregnancy results in fetal alcohol syndrome. It causes abnormalities in the baby’s central nervous system, underweight, stillbirth, premature labor and delivery, and miscarriage.
Smoking negatively affects oxygen delivery and blood flow to the baby and hence their growth. It is the most common cause of low-weight infants, contributing most of the illness in the first few weeks, death, premature placental detachment, ectopic pregnancy, and vaginal bleeding.
Keep off unpasteurized food. Pregnant women are vulnerable to two types of food poisoning, toxoplasmosis, and listeriosis. The duo may cause death in newborns, illness, preterm labor, and miscarriage. Pasteurize the products to higher temperatures to destroy the harmful bacteria.
Seafood like the shark, swordfish, tilefish, and marlin have high levels of methyl mercury, a toxic chemical that passes via the placenta to the fetus that can damage the nervous system, kidney, and brain.
The golden rule of nutrition during pregnancy: versatile and balanced
A balanced diet is essential for maintaining good health. During pregnancy, the demand for micronutrients and macronutrients increases, and it is critical for the mother to consume meals that will give both nutrients and energy to keep good health.
Healthy nutrition Tips during Pregnancy
- Eat more than three servings of yellow and green vegetables which contain calcium, folic acid, vitamin E, fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamin A.
- Have four or more servings of protein every day between 75-100 gm.
- Include complex carbohydrates such as legumes, beans, vegetables, whole grain bread and simple carbohydrates such as natural sweeteners, sugar, chips, cookies and white bread.
- Consume 20-30 gm of fiber daily to prevent hemorrhoids and constipation. Eat fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
Healthy diet before and during pregnancy protects the mother from intermediate and long term health threats. Factors like your height compared to weight and what you consume plays a crucial role in pregnancy and fetus development.
The best moment to review your nutritional position and make appropriate changes is preceding to conception. The vital time for fetal growth is during the first few weeks of pregnancy. In that time most mothers aren’t even aware they are pregnant. The nutrition amends before pregnancy should be individualized on your eating habits, weight, and medical status.