Preparing for Pregnancy: Nutrition

Preparation for pregnancy should be done before having the baby. The body must be healthy in order to create a good environment for the baby to develop. There are certain pre-conception nutrition steps, which are considered vital. Factors such as weight and height and what the woman eats play an important part in the overall health of the mother. It is always recommended to be fit and have a normal weight before having a baby. Overweight women also face difficulties in trying to have a baby. So it would be a win-win situation. Not to mention that the pre-pregnancy weight has an influence on the baby’s birth weight as well. On the same page, underweight women are more likely to have smaller babies. Overweight women have complications in pregnancy, like high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. This is why it is important to discuss with the health care provider about the weight a future mother has, if she needs to lose or gain any weight.

Many women do not eat healthy on a regular basis and they create a specific lifestyle. It is definitely not beneficial for the overall health condition, but especially in the case of getting pregnant, there are some changes that need to be done. Generally speaking, a pregnant woman needs to add about 300 calories to her daily diet while pregnant, in order for the foetus to develop naturally and healthy. But these calories need to be nutritious, healthy and balanced. The food can be divided by categories, emphasizing the nutritional intake. Women must eat grains, especially foods made out of rice, barley, wheat, oats and other cereal grain and grain products. Breakfast should include such cereals, as they help digestion and lead to a healthier body. Vegetables and fruits are essential. Vegetables can be divided by colour and women can choose dark green, orange, red and legumes in their diet. Fruits are best when they are consumed fresh, but 100% fruit juices are also healthy, cooked fruit, canned, dried, canned or made pureed.

Milk products are also essential for a diet and it is best to focus on low fat or fat free products, especially those high in calcium. Protein is needed, but the healthy ones, such as poultry or lean meats. It is best to integrate seeds, fish, nuts, beans and others in a meal. Within a healthy diet plan for pregnancy nutrition, exercising is a must. Daily physical activity should be included. Besides food, there are certain vitamins and supplements that need to be taken along, during pre-conception and continued in pregnancy as well. Many specialists recommend taking folic acid, 0.4 mg is the advised dose. Folic acid is usually found in some vegetables and fruits, beans, breakfast cereals, berries and so. Some vitamin supplements can reduce the risk of birth defects. Folic acids works best during the first 28 days after the baby is conceived. It is the time when most neural tube defects can happen. And because many women do not realize they are pregnant before 28 days, it is advisable to take folic acid prior to pregnancy and continue afterwards. The majority of health care providers will prescribe prenatal supplements before conceiving, to make sure the woman benefits from the nutritional effects. Of course, the supplement does not replace a healthy diet and thus, it should be taken along, still following a healthy lifestyle.

Due to the monthly cycle, many women lose iron and not many diets contain iron to make up for the loss. Building iron in the body prepares the mother to be for the foetus during pregnancy. There are many resources from where iron can be obtained, such as meat, fish, legumes, pasta, bread and more. Iron is mostly found in liver, lamb, and beef, in turkey, duck, poultry and especially dark meat. Many fish contain iron, like clams, sardines, mussels, oysters and more. But certain fish contain high levels of mercury and they should be avoided. Green beans and lima beans, dry beans and pinto beans have good levels of iron.

Preparing for the baby also implies having strong bones. If the mother does not have enough calcium in the body, the foetus might drain the existing calcium from the mother’s bones. The mother can then be put at risk later in life and face problems like osteoporosis. The needed amount of calcium can be obtained from three or more servings of milk and any other dairy products. The health care provider can assure proper consultation and tell exactly the needed diet and what vitamins and supplements to take. When pregnant, there are a lot of medication and foods that a woman is not able to take, so it is better to prepare in advance. By doing so, women might get accustomed to a certain lifestyle and will adopt it even after giving birth.