Everybody should be eating a healthy, nutritious diet. If you are pregnant, it is even more critical to do so, because you are eating for two people and you’ll want to do everything in your power to make sure that when your baby is born, he or she has the best possible chance of living a completely healthy life. Here are some of the things you should be doing to ensure your own health and that of your unborn baby.
Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and natural food whenever it is possible. Choose low-fat or no-fat options and avoid junk or fast food that is heavily laden with fats and sugars. Avoid alcohol because it can cause permanent birth defects for your baby, and can also affect your behavior and judgment.
Have regular blood tests to ensure you are not deficient in vitamins and minerals. If you are, take supplements to help manage your overall health.
But whatever you plan to do, always make sure to consult your doctor as your pregnancy develops, because the needs of both you and your baby will change over time. You will need supplements including: folic acid, iron calcium, a good multivitamin and a good prenatal vitamin.
To ensure you are getting enough nutrients, you will need to increase your daily caloric intake by around 300 calories per day during your pregnancy. Although you may suffer morning sickness every now and then, it is vital to get enough nutrients through your food if possible, and from supplements if it is necessary to do so.
You should consume 6-11 servings of grains and breads each day, at least four servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, four dairy product servings and three servings of protein (poultry, meats, eggs, fish or nuts.) Only allow yourself to indulge in desserts or sweets occasionally, regardless of the cravings you may feel. Drink a minimum of three glasses of zero, low fat or fortified milk per day, during and after the pregnancy, if you plan to nurse your baby. You should have 1,000 mgs of calcium per day.
You must remain hydrated to stop constipation and allow for the increased blood volume that will carry nutrients and oxygen to both mother and baby. Water is the best liquid, so always have a water bottle with you. However, you should also include nutritious drinks such as orange juice, salt-reduced V8 juice and non-fat milk to boost your fluids and nutrients.
Just because you have to eat for two, it doesn’t mean that you should eat a lot. Try to eat nutritious foods that keep you full for longer, adding the extra 300 daily calories, and you should be fine. You don’t want to gain more weight than necessary, as it can be hard to lose it once you have given birth.
It is wise to consult a dietitian, who can help plan your meals to maximize the benefits that your are getting from the food you consume. The dietitian will know how to handle the particular dietary needs of pregnant women. It is always smarter to talk to medical experts, rather than listening to advice givers around you.
These are just a few tips to follow. Seek advice from professionals and you will maximize your chances of having a healthy, uneventful pregnancy and a happy, healthy baby.