Pregnancy is a blissful period in the lifetime of a woman as she is cared, pampered and loved by her family members and friends. Even strangers or passerby’s see to that the pregnant lady is comfortable, be it in public transport, restaurants, hospitals and anywhere else too. The only duty of the mom-to-be is to take good care of her health and ensure that the fetus inside her womb gets all possible nutrients. The tips given here can help you stay physically active and stick to a healthy eating pattern not only during pregnancy period but also before conceiving and after childbirth too. This is the right time to start making changes as you become a perfect role model for healthy eating habits for your kids later in life.
Stay on a Healthy Weight
Pregnancy is a period where doctors insist weight gain in balanced measures to ensure that the baby grows to a healthy size. Too little or too much weight gain can result in health problems for both, you and your baby. Excess weight gain during pregnancy can put you at an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure during pregnancy, other health problems and can also make delivery a stinging affair leading to caesarean section (C-section) too sometimes.
Staying on a healthy weight gain during pregnancy makes it easier for you during delivery and helps you to get back to your normal shape in a limited time frame. This also puts you and your baby at a minimal risk for obesity-related problems later in life.
The amount of weight gain appropriate for you depends on how much you weighed before pregnancy. For accurate weight gain measures for your body type, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Always keep in mind that you are not eating for two people as normally conceived by many people. The baby is only about the size of a walnut during the first 3 months of pregnancy and does not need too many extra calories. You need to gain weight very slowly and it is best to work with your physician who can guide you throughout your pregnancy period. But, never try to lose weight during pregnancy. If you lose weight during your initial pregnancy period, please talk with your health care provider regarding this.
Eat Balanced Quantities
Sticking to the basics of a healthy diet and the right number of calories can help you and your baby with proper weight gain. The quantity of food required depends on criteria such as your weight before pregnancy, age and your potential to gain weight. Most women need no extra calories during the first three months and the last few weeks of pregnancy. Each woman needs different calorie intakes depending on various factors such as being underweight, overweight, obese or having more than one baby.
Include a variety of nutritious foods from all five food groups while limiting intake of saturated and trans fats, added sugars and sodium intake. Try including fruits during breakfast, yogurts for snacks, salads during lunch and another portion of steamed veggies for dinner.
Special Attention Required for Certain Nutrients & Foods
A pregnant woman needs to ensure that she gets plenty of vitamins and minerals like folate, iron and calcium. Physicians advice women in their child-bearing age to take folate supplements even when she is only planning for a baby as this nutrient helps to prevent any birth defects. Some physicians advise pregnant women to take prenatal vitamins every day and eat a healthy diet.
Also, some women might experience too much heart burn. In such cases, it is advised that you eat small meals at frequent intervals and avoid spicy or fatty foods. Drink plenty of water before and after meals while avoiding drinking it with the meal. Also, avoid going to bed soon after meal to avoid heart burn.
We include certain nutrients in increased portions, likewise we need to avoid certain foods totally to stay healthy. Such foods include alcohol, caffeinated drinks, fish high in mercury content and anything that is not food (some women crave for clay or laundry starch during pregnancy indicating that they lack certain nutrients).
Physical Activity is an Integral Part of Pregnancy
Just because you are pregnant it does not mean that you must sit back, relax and enjoy 24×7. It is required that all pregnant women (with a few exceptional cases) involve themselves in some physical activity during pregnancy and stay active. Advantages of daily physical activity include:
Staying Healthy After the Arrival of the Newborn
Once the baby is out, you would be busy with the baby all through the day. This does not mean that you must ignore your health. You need to take care of your health to take care of your baby. Start planning and take measures to return to your healthy weight to avoid chances of diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related problems later in life.
Talk to your healthcare provider about performing physical activity, moderate or intense. You can go for a walk as this is not going to hinder milk supply to your breastfeeding baby in any way.
The arrival of a newborn brings plenty of added responsibility to the new mom. You may feel mixed emotions, such as happiness, anxiety and loneliness all at the same time. Don’t get tensed. You will settle down in sometime. Enjoy this phase with your infant. Sleep when your baby sleeps, watch funny movies, go for shopping, spa or listen to music when there is someone to take care of your child and above all, utilize this period to be with your infant as you will never get back such precious times spent with children.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.