It is a good idea to eat healthy, but even better just eating healthy during pregnancy. A balance diet ensures you and your baby gets the required nutrients. However, there are a few adjustments you would have to make to your eating now that you are pregnant.
Pregnancy Affects Your Body
Pregnancy increases a woman's metabolic rate. You will have noticed this already since you don't feel the cold as much as usual. You are therefore burning more calories than usual, and will need to increase your energy intake a little bit, especially if you are still active during your pregnancy.
You Guide to Healthy Eating during Pregnancy
Since your nutrient needs are higher, you will need highly nutritious meals. If your diet is lacking nutritionally, the baby will grab the reserves first and leave you deficient.
Here is a list of nutrients needed in extra quantity during your pregnancy: protein, small amounts of vitamin A, copper, iodine, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B group (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, folate, pantohenic acid, biotin), chromium, magnesium, and zinc.
Most of these nutrients can can be sourced from your meals. However, you would have to take a supplement of folic acid (synthetic form of folate) and an iodine supplement. Iodine is important for the brain development of the baby. However, you should first check with your physician before taking any supplement.
Healthy eating during pregnancy is difficult
Eating healthy during the first trimester is the toughest, since that is the time you are more likely to feel queasy or have trouble keeping your food down. Thus some women tend to lose weight during this time. In order to prevent malnutrition and dehydration during your first trimester, you will need to drink plenty of water (about 8 to 10 glasses of water each day) and avoid: strong odors, heavy, greasy, spicy foods; cigarette and cigar smoke; stress, and an empty stomach. Also get plenty of rest and don't seek to do everything at once to increase your stress.
Another problem you could also have during pregnancy is constipation. This problem could be prevented if you eat lots of fiber in your diet, such as raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables. Also bran and fiber can also help soften the stool.
Pregnancy increases mood swings. These conflicting emotions are a result of chemical changes in your body. With a wholesome diet and supplements you would be able to control your mood swings.
Here are some more facts you should know about eating healthy during pregnancy:
- Calories -- When you are pregnant, you need to consume around 300 calories more than usual every day.
- Calcium -- By the second trimester, you'll need around 1,500 milligrams of calcium each day for your bones and your baby', which is more than a quart of milk.
- Fiber -- Fiber can help to prevent constipation, which is a common pregnancy problem. Some safe fiber supplements are Metamucil and Citrucel.
- Protein -- Protein intake is not normally a problem, unless you are a strict vegetarian.
- Iron -- A lot of women will start their pregnancy off with a bit of iron deficiency. Good sources of iron include dark leafy green vegetables and meats. Iron supplements should be avoided; they can cause internal symptoms such as cramping, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Vitamins -- You should discuss your prenatal vitamin needs with your doctor. Folate is one of the most important, and if you are getting enough of it, you may be able to avoid vitamins all together - just ask your doctor to make sure.
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