While a well-balanced healthy diet is always beneficial, it’s especially important during pregnancy. Not only is good nutrition during pregnancy essential for your baby it can also help to ease some of the discomforts of pregnancy such as nausea and constipation.
Benefits of a Healthy Diet for Mom and Baby
- Appropriate Weight Gain – Most pregnant women only need about 300-400 extra calories per day during the last 6 months of pregnancy. If you’re underweight before pregnancy you may need more calories, if you’re overweight at the start of pregnancy you may need less. Talk to your healthcare provider about what’s right for you.
- Reduced Risk of Complications – When a woman eats healthy during pregnancy she reduces the risk of complications such as anemia, gestational diabetes, urinary tract infections, low birth weight, and birth defects.
- Immune System Boost – Pregnant women can be more susceptible to certain infections like cold or flu. A well-balanced healthy diet can help to boost your immune system and reduce the risk of infection. Practice handwashing and maintaining a balanced diet to support your immune system. Pregnancy symptoms can be bad enough without having to deal with cold and flu symptoms.
- Improved Sleep – Many things can keep you awake at night during pregnancy, such as nausea, aches, pains, and late-night bathroom breaks. Avoiding caffeine. Eat complete healthy meals each day that include magnesium rich foods such as black beans and almonds, along with tryptophan rich foods such as walnuts and turkey to support healthy sleep.
- Increased Energy – Experiencing immense fatigue during pregnancy is very common, especially in the early weeks with all the hormone changes your body is going through. Eating healthy foods every 3 to 4 hours can help to keep energy levels up.
Good nutrition is eating a healthy and balanced diet so your body gets the nutrients that it needs. Doctors know that your diet can affect your baby’s health, so be sure to discuss healthy diet choices with your family doctor or nutritionist if you are pregnant or plan to be. Some dietary components to consider are:
- Folic acid / Folate – Women are encouraged to take folic acid supplements before and throughout pregnancy. Women should also consume plenty of folate from foods like dark green vegetables, beans, peas, and lentils during pregnancy. Folic acid can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects, which are birth defects of the brain or spine.
- Iron – Key to fetal development, iron helps your body create more blood to help make sure your baby gets enough oxygen. Meat products and beans are good sources of iron. Also note that your body will more easily absorb iron if you are getting plenty of vitamin C, which can be found in citrus fruits like oranges.
- DHA – This is also known as Omega-3 fatty acid. Important in the development of your baby’s brain and eyes, DHA can be found in certain types of fish/seafood such as salmon.
- Vitamin D – Helpful in developing your baby’s teeth and bones. Healthy sources of Vitamin D include milk, low-fat yogurt, fatty fish like salmon, and fortified orange juice.
- Iodine – Women are encouraged to use iodized salt in place of other types of salt. It can also be found in some dairy products Iodine is a mineral that helps with your baby’s brain development.
- Fluids – Staying hydrated is also an important part of pregnancy nutrition. Drinking several glasses of water each day, in addition to the fluids in juices and soups is recommended.
- Supplements – Your family doctor will likely recommend a daily prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement in addition to consuming a healthy diet. Supplements may be especially important to meet folic acid, iron, iodine, and vitamin D needs.
A healthy diet includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and plenty of water. Eating a variety of foods in well-balanced proportions is a good step toward staying healthy and having a healthy baby. If you have questions about pregnancy and nutrition make an appointment with River Bend Medical Associates to speak with one of our “mom docs” or our nutritionist.
Our family practice doctors can treat patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, they provide comprehensive healthcare for the individual and family across all, conditions, diseases, and parts of the body. Our new doctors who are also moms understand the challenges of pregnancy, motherhood, and busy families. They are now accepting new patients.
At River Bend Medical Associates we look forward to providing you with the best in primary healthcare including prenatal care and pregnancy care. If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant and would like to speak with a doctor or nutritionist call our family practice at 916-392-4000 for an appointment or contact River Bend Medical Associates.