Eat a Healthy Diet Before You Become Pregnant
Don’t wait until you conceive a baby, before you start a healthy eating plan. Eating healthy foods before you become pregnant can help ensure that you and your baby start out with the nutrients you both need. For
example, this is the time to begin taking a folic acid vitamin supplement. Folic acid is crucial to the growth of your unborn baby, especially during the first months of your pregnancy. Insufficient folic acid in your diet before you are pregnant and in the early stages of pregnancy can increase the risk of serious health problems at birth such as neural tube defects.
Infant Health Dependent on Mother’s Diet and Lifestyle
Your baby’s health at birth, and during childhood, and in later life, is closely associated with the nourishment he/she obtains from your diet during pregnancy. Lifestyle (eg. tobacco and alcohol consumption) is also crucial for your baby’s health. For example, doctors now say that no amount of alcohol consumption can be considered safe during pregnancy.
Eat Enough Calories
As stated earlier, most women need to eat about 300 extra calories per day when pregnant, according to the US FDA. This is in addition to their normal calories needs. These calories should come from a balanced eating plan of protein, good fats, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, with sweets and other “empty-calorie” foods kept to a minimum. Eating this type of healthy diet plan when pregnant can also reduce some symptoms such as nausea and constipation.
Focus on Eating Healthy Nutritious Food
To ensure optimum health for you and your baby, your diet must include all the nutrition that you and your growing baby need. These include iron, folic acid and calcium. It’s important to realize that as a mother-to-be you need more of all the essential nutrients than you did before you became pregnant. For safety, make sure to ask your doctor for specific advice about your personal nutritional requirements as soon as you become pregnant.
Guide to Daily Diet When Pregnant
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends the following daily food servings for pregnant women who are of normal weight before becoming pregnant. Mothers-to-be who are underweight or overweight, should discuss their specific nutritional needs with their doctor or dietitian.
- 9 servings of bread and whole grains
- 4 servings of vegetables
- 3 servings of fruit
- 3 servings of milk and milk products
- 3 servings of meat and protein foods
Guide to Fluid Intake When Pregnant
How much fluid to drink during pregnancy is also important for optimum nutrition of both mother and baby. Adopting a healthy fluid intake means drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water each day, in addition to the fluids in juices and soups. An expectant mother should restrict her caffeine-intake (from coffee, tea, soft drinks) as well as her consumption of artificial sweeteners. All alcohol should be avoided.