Much like when you are trying to conceive, proper nutrition and health are vital parts of a healthy pregnancy. Paying attention to what you eat, vitamin supplementation, and exercise are all facets of proper health and nutrition that should be addressed while pregnant. During the early months, eating may be difficult due to nausea. It is essential to eat nonetheless, and actually increase your caloric intake by about 300 calories per day. Recommended daily servings for pregnant women are:
- Vegetables: 4-6
- Breads and Whole Grains: 5-10
- Fruits: 2-4
- Dairy: 4-5
- Protein: 3
You may have heard that pregnant women have cravings for foods that may not be healthy (pickles, ice cream etc). Acting on a craving that is unhealthy is OK once in a while, but remember; you are your baby’s only source of nourishment. Getting proper nutrition also means avoiding foods that can be harmful while pregnant. Raw meat and eggs should be avoided, along with artificial sweeteners, unpasteurized cheeses, and fish that contain mercury such as swordfish and shark and king mackerel. Also, avoid toxins, including: alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes.
Along with a healthy diet, supplementation of important vitamin nutrients such as calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin A and C are vital to ensure that you are taking every step possible towards a healthy pregnancy.
- Calcium is an essential vitamin for pregnant women. The proper formation of healthy teeth and bones for your baby is dependent on your proper intake of calcium. Your own health is equally important. In the first six months of pregnancy, you store calcium in your bones. When its skeletal growth reaches its peak in the last three months, the fetus draws on your calcium store. This is when the consumption of high calcium-containing foods such as milk and milk products must be increased, as well as proper calcium supplementation to ensure that there is no deficiency in you and your baby.
- Iron intake should be increased during pregnancy. This is because your blood volume increases, and the fetal red blood cells have to be developed. Iron is available in meat, fish, egg yolk, whole-grain products, and vegetables, and may also be fond in recommended dosages in our PeaPod Prenatal Vitamins.
- Folic acid is especially crucial within the first weeks of your unborn baby’s development because it helps to ensure proper formation of the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid is contained in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, wheat germ, tropical fruits, and eggs. However, routine nutrition does not always supply enough folic acid to meet the requirements of a pregnant woman. Additional folic acid intake is necessary in the months before pregnancy and during the first trimester. The optimal recommended daily amount of folic acid for pregnant women can be found in our PeaPod Prenatal Vitamin.
- Omega3 supplementation is also very important during pregnancy to ensure healthy fetal development. Omega-3s have been shown to:
- Offer critical nutrients for the neurological development of your baby.
- Promote the development of your baby’s cardiac and respiratory systems.
- Support the development of your baby’s brain and eyes (development of visual centers).
- Increase the learning and cognitive function of your child, with effects measurable to age four.
- Increase the attention span of your child (a measurable component of intelligence early in life) .
- Support the pregnancy health of the mother, possibly reducing chances of toxemia (or pre-eclampsia).
- May help prevent pre-term labor and premature delivery.
Other pregnancy articles:
- Your Pregnancy by Trimester
- Pregnancy Health & Nutrition
- Pregnancy Challenges and Possible Risks
- Decreasing Damage “Down Under” During Childbirth: Perineal Massage Made Easy
- Decreasing Damage “Down Under” During Childbirth: Perineal Massage Made Easy: Part 2