Being pregnant is not easy! Growing a healthy baby while staying healthy yourself requires you to be responsible about your nutrition, weight and fitness.
Eating A Balanced Diet
Many pregnant women make nutritional choices that can lead to health complications. A common misconception is that pregnancy is a time for indulgence and "eating for two". Being overweight increases the risk for cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension and heart disease. Stick to eating a balanced diet with the right amount of fat, protein, vitamins and minerals so that your baby will develop well and you will stay healthy.
Foods To Avoid
You should understand what foods you should be eating just as well as the foods that you should avoid. Here are some foods that you should stay away from or at least minimize during pregnancy.
- Mercury - Certain fishes such as tuna, mackerel and swordfish contain high amounts of mercury that can be toxic to the nervous system, kidneys and immune system. Development in children may also be impacted.
- Raw Meat/Eggs - Raw meat contains bacteria that can be passed onto your baby. Make sure your burgers are cooked to medium and avoid raw meats. Raw eggs may have Salmonella, which can increase the risk of premature birth.
- Caffeine - High caffeine intake during pregnancy can negatively affect fetal growth and potentially cause low birth weight.
- Alcohol - Alcohol has been linked to miscarriages, stillbirths and fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Processed Junk Foods - Processed foods are never good nutritional choices and during pregnancy are even worse and may be linked to gestational diabetes.
It is recommended that you stay away from these foods, or at least limit their consumption. Speak to your healthcare provider today if you have any questions.
Diet is the most important resource for proper nutrients but we don’t all get what we need from our diet alone. During pregnancy many women need to supplement with a prenatal vitamin. Speak with your healthcare practitioner about what supplementations they recommend.
One of the most important vitamins during pregnancy is folate. Folate is a B vitamin that is required for the proper growth and development of babies, and can potentially protect against congenital defects. Iron is also important, as low levels are linked to premature birth and low birth weight, so be sure to get adequate.
Gestational Diabetes is a condition specific to pregnancy where women without diabetes previously, develop high blood sugar. Gestational Diabetes can increase your risk of pre-eclampsia, depression and medical interventions at birth. Blood sugar typically returns to normal soon after delivery, but you are at risk for type 2 diabetes if you've had gestational diabetes before. See your obstetrician for more information about the blood sugar tests and referrals to other specialists if necessary so you can learn how to manage blood sugar during pregnancy.
Weight During Pregnancy
Weight gain is a huge focus for many pregnant woman. While it is important to be mindful of your weight can since obesity can lead to complications such as blood clotting and preeclampsia, it is also important to not stress about weight gain. You must increase your caloric intake in the second and third trimesters to meet your baby's nutritional requirements. You will be weighed regularly during your routine prenatal care and your healthcare provider will be able to advise you about your personal weight gain.
Mental health during pregnancy is just as important as your physical health. Pregnant women are unfortunately prone to anxiety and depression. Get help if you feel hopeless, have issues coping, feel anxious or have panic attacks. There are a variety of support services available.
Being active and exercising is important during pregnancy. Exercise can decrease your risk for gestational diabetes, improve your energy levels and increase the chances of a faster delivery. Moderate exercise like brisk walking up to 30 minutes a day is recommended, but you can use your previous to pregnancy fitness level as a general guide. You may find it more difficult to exercise during pregnancy but it’s important to stay as active as possible.