Healthy Eating for a Healthy Baby

Good eating habits are always important. They are even more important when you are pregnant or even planning a pregnancy. The foods you eat are the main source of energy for your baby. Healthy food choices prepare you for childbirth and breast-feeding as well as promote a healthy baby. If your diet was healthy before pregnancy, you will need to make only minor changes in your eating habits to meet the extra needs of pregnancy. You certainly do not have to “eat for two” as the old saying goes.

Calories and Weight Gain  - When you are pregnant you need only about 300 more calories each day to stay healthy and help the baby grow.  Pregnancy is not the time to lose weight.  Labor is not easier if the baby is small or underweight. Excessive weight can put you at risk for high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, permanent obesity and possibly a baby that is too large for your pelvis. These are great incentives to eat healthy! It is important not eat foods that are high in sugars.  Talk to me if have concerns about your weight gain. Usually, you can expect to gain about 10-15 pounds during the first 20 weeks and about 1 pound per week during the rest of your pregnancy.

A Healthy Diet  -  A Diet that is well balanced has vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, proteins, carbohydrates and fats.  Supplements are an added plus.

·         Carbohydrates are a main source of energy and aid our digestion. Carbohydrates are in grains and cereals such as bread, rice, and pasta and in starchy vegetables such as potatoes, beans, and corn. These convert to good sugars.  Always add protein and fiber to your meal to balance the sugars in the carbohydrate. Simple sugars are high in calories and low in nutrients. Try to eat very little foods high in added sugars – These are in candies, cakes, cookies, cane sugar, honey, jellies, and soft drinks.

·         Proteins are needed for brain, muscle and tissue development of the baby.   Proteins also help to produce the additional blood volume you and your baby needs. You get proteins from poultry, fish, meat, dairy products, nuts, and combinations of some grains and vegetables. I recommend 65-75 grams of protein daily.

·         Vitamins and Minerals work together to maintain growth and normal metabolism.  To do that, you need more minerals like iron, calcium, and phosphorus and vitamins like folic acid. It is difficult to meet all your nutritional requirements through foods.  Supplement your diet with: Prenatal Vitamins, CA/Mag, Omega lll, and Vit D. Do not limit salt unless advised.

·         Fats and Oils play an important development role. However, not all fats/oils are the same. Choose unsaturated fats and avoid trans-fats.  Foods with good fats: avocados, olive oil (olives), cashews, almonds, p-nuts and sesame seeds. Fast food meals are high in less desirable fats.  Keep a bag of nuts and dried fruit in your car for delayed meals times.

·         Water is not often thought as a nutrient, but life cannot exist without it. It is used to help our body function and prevent constipation. To be sure that you are getting enough water. You should drink six to eight glasses each day.  Too much water can also be harmful.

Special diet reviews are important for teenagers, under and overweight persons and anyone at risk for gestational diabetes. In addition, restricting a certain group of food from your diet may require additional supplements during pregnancy i.e. vegetarian, vegan, and lactose intolerant diets.

Eating right and exercising during your pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Take a look at the foods in your diet and be aware of how they provide calories and nutrients. Start your healthier diet today. Your baby will benefit and so will you-not only now but for the rest of your life.  Please feel free to review your diet with me and to ask for specific guidance.