On Pregnancy and Nutrition

Nutrition And Pregnancy

Eating well is one of the most important things you can do for baby. Healthy eating is important for the health of your baby and should be planned in advance and implemented before pregnancy. Nutritious foods can help you get and stay fertile and are important before and during the entire term of your pregnancy.

The best diet is the simplest and you may be aware of it as something you've seen it on a wall at school or in a doctor's office. A well-balanced diet means 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (organic is best, especially during pregnancy; you and your baby do not need all the extra chemicals). Fresh fruit and juiced fruit from fresh vegetables are best. Starch and starchy food: cuts, grains and cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, avoid bleached or blanched bread and flour and always go for wholegrain options. Eat foods with lots of protein: lean meats, seafood, eggs, pulses, legumes, beans (again, organic if it's available for eggs, pulses, legumes and beans). Eat a fair amount of dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt to make sure you get sufficient calcium.

Dairy food made from unpasteurized milk may contain listeria which could harm your baby and lead to miscarriage. It's a harmful bacterial reduction to pregnancy contained in unpasteurized dairy products. Pates, raw or undercooked meat or eggs are also potential sources of bacteria that can harm your unborn baby. Make sure everything you consume is well-cooked. It may be a wise idea to avoid raw seafood like sushi as well.

As for other seafood-any sea fish may contain unsafe levels of naturally occurring mercury, so it's wise to avoid these during pregnancy.

Liver and liver products (eg pates, liver sausage, etc.) should be avoided because the possibilities of them containing large amounts of vitamin A in the form of retinol. Too much retinol could have been harmful to your developing baby.

Alcohol during pregnancy is a big "no-no" and should be avoided entirely as well as smoking and being around people who smoke.

Caffeine consumption should be no more than 200mg a day (2 cups of coffee, 4 cups of tea or less)

Remember, when you're pregnant eating healthy foods becomes top priority for you and your baby. Having a baby is a lot of extra strain on your body. You need more protein, iron, calcium, and folic acid than ever before. You also need more calories. On the other hand, eating for two does not mean eating twice as much, but the foods you eat must be the main source of nutrients for your baby. Sensible, balanced meals are best.

You should gain weight gradually during pregnancy, not all at once, and most weight should be gained in the last trimester. The following growth rate is often recommended by doctors:

2 to 4 pounds total weight gain during the first trimester

3 to 4 pounds each month during the second and third trimesters

300 calories a day more during at least the last six months of pregnancy is what most women need compared to their caloric intake before pregnancy. Remember, the quality of calories you take in is more important than the amount. A growing baby needs healthy foods with a lot of nutrients, so avoid junk foods and foods with a lot of sugar, fat and other empty calories.

Stan P. Wright


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