A balanced diet is important to support good health throughout your life. However, when you become pregnant, a healthy diet is even more crucial. The foods that you consume are your baby’s primary source for nutrients.
It may take a little bit of effort to eat healthy foods during your pregnancy, but the benefits to both you and your baby are well worth the trouble. If you are pregnant and you have not been maintaining a healthy diet, it is time to change your bad habits and do what is best for your new baby.
Before you ever become pregnant is the best time to start eating all the right foods. When you practice a healthy diet before your pregnancy, you are laying the proper foundation to ensure that you and your baby will both have all of the important nutrients that you need to stay healthy. If you have plans to become pregnant, you need to discuss nutrition with your health care provider.
Even if you are not currently pregnant, your diet needs to include an adequate amount of carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins proteins and fat. When you become pregnant, the amount of these nutrients that you need will increase.
A few of the most important nutrients include:
• Calcium to help your baby build strong teeth and bones
• Iron to help red blood cells carry oxygen to your baby
• Vitamin A to help your baby form healthy eyesight and skin, in addition to aiding bone growth
• Vitamin C to ensure your baby’s teeth, gums and bones are healthy, as well as helping your body with the absorption of iron
• Vitamin D to help your baby build strong teeth and bones
• Vitamin B6 for the formation of red blood cells, which help the body use carbohydrates, fat and protein
• Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and helps maintain the nervous system
• Folate is important in the production of protein and blood, in addition to helping with some enzyme function
Try eating a variety of different foods in the recommended amounts from basic food groups. This is the best way to make sure that you and you baby are getting all of the important nutrients that you need in order to remain healthy.
Once you become pregnant, it is important to increase the amount of folic acid and iron that you consume in your regular diet. In order to get the additional nutrient that you need during this crucial time, prenatal vitamins are recommended for most pregnant women.
Prenatal vitamins are supplements that contain the recommended daily amount of the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy. This includes copper, zinc, minerals and folic acid, as well as vitamins A, C and D. Your health care provider should be able to provide you with information specific to your needs, as taking some minerals and vitamins in excess may be harmful during pregnancy.
Special Dietary Concerns
As you are working on eating right in order to keep you and your baby healthy, you must keep a number of things in mind when you are deciding what to eat. For example, you should be aware of the special concerns regarding caffeine while you are pregnant.
Although there is no research to proving a link between caffeine intake during pregnancy and miscarriage or low birth weight, you should limit the amount of caffeine you consume for a number of other reasons. Caffeine will not only stand in the way of adequate sleep, it can also increase the severity of morning sickness. In addition, caffeine can also increase the need to urinate, leading to dehydration.