HEALTHY PREGNANCY CARE
Key pregnancy nutrition
A pregnant woman needs more calcium, folic acid, iron and protein than a woman who is not expecting. Here is why these four nutrients are important.
Folic acid, also known as folate when found in foods, is a B vitamin that is crucial in helping to prevent birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine, known as neural tube defects.
Before Conceiving – Women who are trying to have a baby is advised to take a daily vitamin supplement containing 400 micrograms of folic acid per day for at least one month before becoming pregnant.
During pregnancy – Increase the amount of folic acid to 600 micrograms a day, an amount commonly found in a daily prenatal vitamin.
Food sources: leafy green vegetables, fortified or enriched cereals, breads and pastas.
Calcium is a mineral used to build a baby’s bones and teeth. If a pregnant woman does not consume enough calcium, the mineral will be drawn from the mother’s stores in her bones and given to the baby to meet the extra demands of pregnancy, Many dairy products are also fortified with vitamin D, another nutrient that works with calcium to develop a baby’s bones and teeth.
Pregnant women ( 19 yrs and over) – Need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day;
Pregnant teens (14yrs to 18yrs ) – Need 1,300 milligrams daily
Food sources: milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified juices and foods, sardines or salmon with bones, some leafy greens (kale, bok choy).
Iron: Pregnant women need 27 milligrams of iron a day, which is double the amount needed by women who are not expecting. Additional amounts of the mineral are needed to make more blood to supply the baby with oxygen.
Getting too little iron during pregnancy can lead to anemia, a condition resulting in fatigue and an increased risk of infections.
For better absorption of the mineral, include a good source of vitamin C at the same meal when eating iron-rich foods. For example, have a glass of orange juice at breakfast with an iron-fortified cereal.
Food sources: meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereal.
Protein: More protein is needed during pregnancy, but most women don’t have problems getting enough of these foods in their diets,
Food sources: meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, eggs, nuts, tofu.
Foods to eat
During pregnancy, the goal is to be eating nutritious foods most of the time, To maximize prenatal nutrition, we advice the following five food groups:
- Lean protein
- Whole grains
- Dairy products.
Lean protein:Pregnant women should include good protein sources at every meal to support the baby’s growth, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, milk and nuts.
Whole grains are an important source of energy in the diet, and they also provide fiber, iron and B-vitamins. At least half of a pregnant woman’s carbohydrate choices each day should come from whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta or breads and brown rice.
Dairy: Aim for 3 to 4 servings of dairy foods a day, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, which provide good dietary sources of calcium, protein and vitamin D.
In addition to a healthy diet, pregnant women also need a daily prenatal vitamin to obtain some of the nutrients that are hard to get from foods alone, such as folic acid and iron
Foods to limit
Caffeine: Consuming fewer than 200 mg of caffeine a day, which is the amount found in one 12-ounce cup of coffee, is generally considered safe during pregnancy
Fish: Fish is a good source of lean protein, and some fish, including salmon and sardines, also contain omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that’s good for the heart. It is safe for pregnant women to eat 12 ounces of cooked fish and seafood a week. However, they should limit “white” tuna.
Foods to avoid
Alcohol:Alcohol in the mother’s blood can pass directly to the baby through the umbilical cord. Heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy has been linked with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, a group of conditions that can include physical problems, as well as learning and behavioral difficulties in babies and children
Fish with high levels of mercury: Seafood such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish are high in levels of methylmercury and should be avoided.
Lists of foods to avoid during pregnancy
Raw or undercooked eggs, such as soft-cooked, runny or poached eggs.
Foods containing undercooked eggs, such as raw cookie dough or cake batter, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, homemade ice cream
Raw or undercooked sprouts, such as alfalfa, clover.
Unpasteurized juice or cider.
Weight gain during pregnancy
It’s hard to measure where pregnancy weight is going, a scale does not reveal whether the pounds are going to a woman’s body fat, baby weight or fluid gains.
When it comes to pregnancy weight gain,we advises mothers-to-be to look at the big picture: During regular prenatal checkups, focus on that the baby is growing normally rather than worrying about the number on a scale.
The total number of calories needed per day during pregnancy depends on a woman’s height, her weight before becoming pregnant, and how active she is on a daily basis. In general, underweight women need more calories during pregnancy; overweight and obese women need fewer of them.
Guidelines for total weight gain during a full-term pregnancy:
Underweight women, who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18.5, should gain 12.7 to 18 kg.
Normal weight women, who have a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, should gain 11.3 to 15.8 kg.
Overweight women, who have a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9, should gain 6.8 to 11.3 kg.
Obese women, who have a BMI of 30.0 and above, should gain 5 to 9 kg.
See your doctor regularly – Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy and spot problems if they occur.
Continue taking folic acid throughout your pregnancy – All women capable of pregnancy should get 400 to 800 micrograms (400 to 800 mcg or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid every day. Getting enough folic acid lowers the risk of some birth defects. Taking a vitamin with folic acid will help you to be sure you are getting enough.
Eat a variety of healthy foods – Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium- rich foods, lean meats, and a variety of cooked seafood.
Get all essential nutrient – Including iron,every day. Getting enough iron prevents anemia, which is linked to preterm birth and low-birth weight babies. Ask your doctor about taking a daily prenatal vitamin or iron supplement.
Drink extra fluids, especially water.
Get moving! Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, physical activity is good for you and your baby.
Gain a healthy amount of weight – Gaining more than the recommended amount during pregnancy increases a woman’s risk for pregnancy complications. It also makes it harder to lose the extra pounds after childbirth.Check with your doctor to find out how much weight you should gain during pregnancy.
Wash hands, especially after handling raw meat or using the bathroom
Get enough sleep – Aim for 7 to 9 hours every night. Resting on your left side helps blood flow to you and your baby and prevents swelling. Using pillows between your legs and under your belly will help you get comfortable
Set limits – Don’t be afraid to say “no” to requests for your time and energy. Ask for help from others.
Make sure health problems are treated and kept under control – If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, monitor it closely.
Ask Your Doctor Before Stopping any medicines you take or taking any new medicines – Prescription, over-the- counter, and herbal medicine, all can harm your baby.
Get a flu shot – Pregnant Women can get very sick from the flu and may need hospital care. Ask your doctor about the flu vaccine.
Always Wear Seat belt – The Lap Strap should go under your belly, across your hips. The shoulder strap should go between your breasts and to the side of your belly.
Join Childbirth Or Parenting Classes.
Don’t Smoke Tobacco – Quitting Is Hard, but you can do it! Ask your Doctor for help. Smoking during pregnancy passes nicotine and cancer-causing drugs to your baby. Smoking also keeps your baby from getting needed nourishment and raises the ris
k of miscarriage, preterm birth, and infant death. Avoid exposure to toxic substances and chemicals, such as cleaning solvents, lead and mercury, some insecticides, and paint. Pregnant women should avoid exposure to paint fumes.
Protect Yourself And Your Baby From Food- borne illness, which can cause serious health problems and even death. Handle, clean, cook, eat, and store food properly.
Don’t Drink Alcohol – There Is No Known safe amount of alcohol a woman can drink while pregnant. Both drinking every day and drinking a lot of alcohol once in awhile during pregnancy can harm the baby.
Don’t use illegal drugs – Tell your doctor if you are using drugs. Recreational Drugs are very dangerous for you and your baby.
Don’t clean or change a cat’s litter box – This could put you at risk for toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be very harmful to the fetus.
Don’t Eat Swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish, which are high in mercury.
Avoid contact with rodents and with their urine, droppings, or nesting material. This includes household pests and pet rodents, such as guinea pigs and hamsters. Rodents can carry a virus that can be harmful or even deadly to your unborn baby.
Don’t Take Very Hot Bath in hot tubs or saunas. High temperatures can be harmful to the fetus, or cause you to faint.
Don’t use scented feminine hygiene products. Pregnant women should avoid scented sprays, sanitary napkins, and bubble bath. These products might irritate your vaginal area, and increase your risk of a urinary tract infection or yeast infection.
Avoid X-Rays. If you must have dental work or diagnostic tests, tell your dentist or physician that you are pregnant so that extra care can be taken.
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