Healthy pregnancy 

Healthy Nutrition and Diet

- good nutritional diet during pregnancy

Pregnancy nutrition


Healthy Nutrition and Diet

What better time to look at your diet
and make changes than before pregnancy

The time to start eating healthy foods is before you become pregnant.
Most people know how important good nutrition is during pregnancy, but the months leading up to pregnancy are equally important. Usually by the time a woman knows she is pregnant her baby's organs are already developing. If a birth defect is going to occur it will happen during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Don't forget to help Dad get healthy, too! To improve your chances of getting pregnant, it's important for your partner to take care of himself, eat right, exercise and stop smoking, drinking or taking illegal drugs.

The Food Guide Pyramid

Recommended Daily Servings: See table below
Food Guide Pyramid

1 - Fats, Oils & Sugar: Use Sparingly

2 - Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs Dry Beans, & Nuts

3 - Milk, Yogurt & Cheese: 3 Servings

4 - Fruit: 4 Servings

5 - Vegetable: 5 Servings

6 - Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta.

Table for Pyramid above
1.Fats, Oils & Sugar: Use Sparingly
2.Two servings a day: A serving = 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish; 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, 1 egg, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1 ounce of lean meat.
3.Three servings a day: A serving = 1 cup of milk or yogurt; 1-1/2 ounces of natural cheese; 2 ounces of processed cheese.
4.Four servings a day: A serving = 1 medium apple, banana, orange; 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit; a glass of fruit juice.
5.Five servings a day: A serving = 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables; 1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or chopped raw; 3/4 cup of vegetable juice.
6.Six +  servings a day: A serving = 1 slice of bread; 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal; 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice or pasta.

The idea of the Pyramid is to eat more of the foods on the bottom (grains, vegetables & fruits) ...and less of those toward the top (meats, dairy products, fats, oils & sweets).

Eating a healthy diet at the time pregnancy happens, helps to give your baby the best possible start in life. Many of us need to take a closer look at what we eat and see where we can improve our eating habits. A good diet is key to a healthy pregnancy. Here are some reasons why what you eat is so vital to you and your developing baby.

A good diet can:
  • Help prevent birth defects: Birth defects such as spina bifida have been found to have links to the mother's diet. Good nutrients are the building blocks of healthy development.

  • Help for easier labor and delivery: When you are on a good diet, your body is healthier and in better shape. Certain nutrients such as protein and zinc have shown to have a direct influence on labor and the health of the uterus. Your baby and placenta are also healthier. This can all work together for better labor and delivery.

  • Protect you and your baby from infection: Vitamins such as C can strengthen you and your baby's immune systems.

  • Lessen your chances of miscarriage: A good diet will enable the placenta to grow properly and better meet the needs of the developing baby. A healthy placenta is also less likely to detach from the uterus before labor which can also cause miscarrage.

  • Make your baby healthier: Diet can positively influence your baby's birth weight and heath after birth.

  • Protect you from anemias: Not having enough iron is usually caused by a poor diet. Low iron is often the cause for fatigue and can lead to other complications.


Some foods may cause infections

Although the chances of contracting one of these rare infections is limited, you will reduce this likelihood even further if you avoid these foods:
  • Liver and liver pates.
  • Unpasteurized dairy products, especially soft cheeses such as camembert, brie and blue-veined cheeses.
  • Cook chill pre-prepared meals, especially chicken and seafood.
Risk: Listeriosis - This is a rare infection; its symptoms are similar to flu and gastroenteritis and can cause miscarriage or stillbirth.

  • Undercooked meat, especially pork.
Risk: Toxoplasmosis - Usually symptomless this can cause serious problems for the baby. Caused by direct contact with the organism Toxoplasma gondii, it is found in cat faeces, raw meat and unpasteurized goats' milk. Soil on fruit and vegetables may be contaminated.

  • Undercooked eggs and poultry.
Risk: Salmonella - Contamination with Salmonella bacterium can cause bacterial food poisoning. This doesn't usually harm the baby directly, but any illness involving a high tempreature, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration could cause a miscarriage or preterm labour.


Making Healthy Gains

If you are of normal weight, you don't have to eat much more than usual during the first 12 weeks; your fetus's nutritional needs are minimal. After that, spread your weight gain out over your second and third trimesters. While it will fluctuate from week to week, on average you should gain about a pound per week, depending on your starting weight. Adding 300 extra calories a day after the first 12 weeks will do the trick.

If you are starting out on the heavier side, avoid dieting the first trimester and focus on a well-balanced diet. When the second trimester rolls around, aim for the gradual weight gain recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. As was true in your nonpregnant state, a good way to control your weight is by exercising moderately three to five times a week, doing an activity you enjoy.

How much weight will I gain in Pregnancy?

Improving your nutrition also means choosing wholefoods such as granary bread and brown rice, reducing the amount of sugar you eat, and cutting down on fat. It should not be necessary to take any special supplements if you eat a balanced diet, other than Folic acid, which is known to help prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects. The Department of Health recommends 0.4mg per day while trying to conceive and for the first three months of pregnancy.

  • - Looking for a delicious way to sneak some more folic acid into your diet? Start your day with a tall glass of orange juice or a fresh, juicy orange. Both are excellent sources of folic acid-an important nutrient for any woman who's hoping to conceive.
  • - Are you taking any vitamins? Large doses of certain types of vitamins can be harmful to your developing baby. Switch to a prenatal vitamin before you conceive.
  • - Don't go on a crash diet. Starvation diets, purging, bingeing,
    and yo-yo dieting affect ovulation and consequently your fertility.
Weight loss diets should be attempted BEFORE and NEVER during your pregnancy.

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