by Mary Howard, RN
Eating well is directly related to bearing a child in excellent health and can also prevent certain diseases. This is a great time for new beginnings. The habits you form now may affect the rest of your life. You are the source; for nine months you must build another human being while keeping your own body healthy and strong.
Who’s gaining what? The normal recommended amount to gain is 25 to 35 pounds. This weight is mostly due to the development of: Fetus 6-8.5 lbs, Breast tissue 1-2 lbs, Blood volume 4 lbs, and fluid retention 4 lbs.
Eating for 2 involves eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong foods. If your diet was not balanced before pregnancy eating double portions may cause excess weight gain and still not provide the balance of nutrients needed for the growth of your baby.
It is important to take a prenatal vitamin as prescribed by your physician. Taking extra vitamin tablets does not make up for a poor diet. Make sure you discuss any over-the-counter medications with your physician before use. That includes those that you take by mouth or those that are put on your skin. Even something as simple as a yeast infection cream can be dangerous if used during your first trimester. Let your OB physician know if you are on any prescriptions from another physician.
There are 12 major nutrients that your body needs during pregnancy. The sources for these nutrients and their importance:
Calories: Your body uses them to produce energy and for the growth of your baby. You need 300-500 extra calories a day during pregnancy.
Protein: Used to build your baby’s body. Sources are eggs, meat, dairy, nuts and beans.
Carbohydrates: Simple carbohydrates are sugars, quick energy but needed in small amounts. Complex carbohydrates are starches, found in whole grains, rice, potatoes and corn. These are longer lasting energy.
Fats: Needed in small amounts to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, A,D,E, and K. Fats that are liquid at room temperature are the healthiest.
Calcium: Needed to build babies bones and teeth. Found in milk products, dark green vegetables, canned salmon, sardines and berries. If you are having leg cramps let your doctor know. Sometimes, it is a lack of calcium.
Iron: Needed to make blood components for you and your baby. Found in your prenatal vitamins, dried fruit, berries, meat, whole grains, dry beans and dark green vegetables. Malt-O-meal is also high in iron content.
Vitamin C: Needed to make bones, cartilage and muscles. It also helps prevent disease. Found in fresh fruits, citrus fruit, tomatoes, green peppers, and cabbage.
Folic Acid: It is a B vitamin that produces extra blood for your body and prevents Spinal Bifida in your baby. Found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, lean meat, organ meat and nuts.
Vitamin A: Helps to form baby’s skin and internal organs. Found in milk, organ meat, oranges, green vegetables, deep yellow and orange vegetables and fruits.
Vitamin D: Helps baby develop bones and tissue. Found in milk, eggs, sardines, salmon and produced by your skin when exposed to the sun. Another reason it is important to get out and take walks as often as you can.
Sodium: Needed to maintain fluid balance in you and your baby. Too much causes increased blood pressure and water retention.
Water: Essential to process nutrients, developing new cells and sustaining blood volume. Need at least 8 glasses of water a day. Helps to decrease swelling by maintaining sodium to water balance.
There are some important things to minimize your risk factor besides eating right. Avoiding exposure to strong household cleaners, paint and thinners they may cause fumes that could be harmful. Avoid Alcohol, it is not metabolized by the fetus because of their undeveloped liver and it does cross the placenta very quickly. As little as four drinks a day can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Smoking may cause premature or low birth weight because it causes decreased oxygen supply to the baby thus slowing growth. Use caffeine in moderation or avoid if possible, it can quickly deplete your vitamin stores. Caffeine can also decrease milk production during lactation.
When you are hungry try to make every calorie you eat a calorie that counts for you and your bay and you will have more energy and deliver a healthy baby. Just remember, “Everything in Moderation.” By avoiding the wrong thing and taking in the right things you will be well on your way to having a happy health baby.
Mary Howard is a Registered Nurse, mother of two, and enjoys natural gardening. She hosts this Site: www.Powerlinehealth.com