Womens Health – Pregnancy Nutrition is for All Women of Child Bearing Age

During pregnancy your nutrition needs are going to increase. Even before becoming pregnant it is a good idea to make every effort to start eating healthy and taking a women’s multivitamin. A prenatal multivitamin is a better choice during pregnancy.

Let’s start with the recommended daily intake of food during pregnancy.

DURING PREGNANCY :

7 or more Fruits and Vegetables (3 fruits/4 vegetables)

Fruits and Vegetables high in vitamin C are the best. These include strawberries, melons, oranges, papaya, tomatoes, peppers, greens, and broccoli.

9 or more Whole Grain Products

A fortified breakfast cereal containing iron and folic acid is the best way to start each day. Enriched bread, rice, pasta, and any whole grain product are your other choices.

4 or more dairy products

Low-fat milk or non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are the obvious choices.

60 grams of protein (two or more 2-3 ounce portions of lean meat)

Other sources of protein include eggs, nuts, dried beans, and peas. Do not eat undercooked or uncooked meat or fish. (NO SUSHI) Do not eat deli luncheon meats

PREGNANCY NUTRITION FACTS

Fish

Some fish are higher in mercury content than others. Mercury can cause problems with your growing baby’s brain and nervous system.

Fish to avoid completely:

shark
swordfish
king mackerel
golden snapper
white snapper

Fish eating limitations:
Limit your intake of fish to 12 ounces a week
Limit your intake of white tuna or tuna steak to 6 ounces a week

Safest fish to eat:
shrimp
salmon
catfish

light tuna

Weight

Calorie intake should only be increased by 300 a day during pregnancy for the average woman.
Weight gain should be around 28-40 pounds for women that are underweight at pregnancy.
Women that are overweight at pregnancy should gain only 15-25 pounds.
Weight gain should be around 2-4 pounds the first trimester and 3-4 pounds a month for the remaining time.
Excess weight gain is hard to lose after pregnancy because your body’s fat increases up to one third during pregnancy.
Breast feeding burns 500 or more calories per day making it easier to lose weight.
Consult your health care provider for your specific healthy weight gain.

Vitamins and Minerals

Check the RDA chart for your needs during pregnancy.

Folic Acid is a special concern because a deficiency can lead to neural tube birth defects. Your multivitamin should contain 400 mcg of folic acid. Birth defects happen before you even know you’re pregnant so always take a multivitamin with folic acid during child bearing age.

Vitamin C taken in doses over 500 mg/d can lead to your baby being born dependent on large quantities of vitamin C.

Iron is also of special concern because the average American diet does not provide enough iron during pregnancy. If your prenatal multivitamin does not contain enough iron your doctor will prescribe an additional supplement. Iron is needed for you and the baby to have healthy teeth, bones, and blood.

Water is often overlooked during pregnancy but it is vital for you and your baby. It carries the nutrients from your body to the baby and it helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, swelling and urinary tract infection. A minimum of 6 eight ounce glasses a day is required. Juice can count toward your 6 glasses but be careful of the added calories. Any drink containing caffeine actually reduces the fluid in your body and cannot count towards your 6 glasses.

Calcium is needed by you and the baby for strong teeth and bones. During pregnancy you need 1,000 mg/d and 1,300 mg/d if you are less than 18 years old.

Alcohol Consumption

There is no safe time or amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy. No alcohol is the only way to insure the health of your baby. Alcohol you drink goes to your baby through the umbilical cord. Alcohol affects the baby’s growth, the baby’s brain, and can cause birth defects. These effects will remain with your unborn child for his/her entire life. FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) is the name given to anyone affected by their mother’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Problems learning, memory retention, and hearing are just a few things that alcohol can do to your child.

Caffeine

Caffeine in large quantities can lead to low weight babies. It also reduces the amount of vital water in your body. Although not yet proven, some studies suggest that it may harm the fetus. While not as dangerous as alcohol it should still be avoided.

Diabetics

Diabetics can have perfectly normal babies like every other woman. There are a just a few things you need to be careful of.
1. Keep your blood sugar under control for a minimum of 3 months before becoming pregnant.
2. Make sure you get enough folic acid at all times during your child bearing years (400 mcg/d).
3. Don’t let your blood sugar get too high during pregnancy. This can lead to birth defects or your baby having blood sugar level problems

Ways To Control Morning Sickness

*Eat 6 small meals instead of 3 large ones

*Don’t go without eating for long periods of time

*Don’t drink fluids with your meals

*Don’t eat greasy, spicy, or fried foods

*Avoid unpleasant smells

*Don’t get over tired

Will Pregnancy Be Safe With My Medical Condition?

Pregnancy can be a worrying at the best of times, but if you also have a chronic illness or medical complaint it can be even more so.

Long-term conditions including diabetes, depression and mental health problems, rheumatoid arthritis and epilepsy, often need medication, which may or may not be safe for your baby. This is why it’s so important to see a health professional as soon as possible – ideally before you conceive when you’re planning your pregnancy to discuss the implications of pregnancy for your medical condition. Medical conditions may also affect your pregnancy – for instance having poorly controlled blood sugar can result in you having a large baby.

The good news is that obstetrics specialists can offer highly personalised care for you and your baby with more check-ups and ultrasound scans if needed to check your baby’s growth and development.

If you have a medical condition your GP or midwife will usually refer you for specialist care by an obstetrician and they’ll keep a close eye on you and tell about what medication is safe to take in pregnancy or best avoided. Don’t be alarmed by this – instead be reassured that the likelihood is you’ll still have a healthy pregnancy and baby – they’re just making sure any risks posed by your condition are minimised.

Pregnancy and diabetes

Diabetes is the medical name for when your blood sugar (glucose) is too high. The best way to make sure you have a healthy pregnancy is to get your blood sugar under control before you become pregnant. Experts say you should aim for an HbAlc test score of 6.5 per cent or less.

There are various types of diabetes including:

• Type I: This is where the body stops producing a hormone called insulin which helps regulate blood sugar. It usually begins in childhood and those affected need insulin injections or insulin via a wearable pump.

• Type 2: Caused by your body not producing enough insulin, type 2 diabetes is usually lifestyle-related to obesity. It can be controlled with lifestyle changes and tablets to lower blood sugar.

• Gestational diabetes: This is a specific type of diabetes that develops in pregnancy, in the second or third trimester and is usually detected by a blood sugar test in the 24 – 28 week window. It happens when pregnancy hormones disrupt the production of insulin.

If you have any of the above and your blood sugar is not controlled, there’s a risk you could have a very large baby and need a caesarean delivery. That’s why you’ll be offered more frequent check-ups and blood and urine tests and ultrasound scans to check your baby is not growing too big. Don’t worry too much though – pregnant women with diabetes do have health pregnancies and babies.

Pregnant women with diabetes are also advised to take a higher dose of folic acid supplements, 5mg a day as opposed to the 400mcg recommended by the Department of Health.

Epilepsy and Pregnancy

Epilepsy is the medical name for an intense burst of electrical activity in the brain and can cause disruption to the normal function of the brain or seizures. It affects 600,000 people in the UK and many take anti-seizure drugs to prevent attacks.

Ideally, you should discuss your care with a neurologist before you become pregnant as some types of anti-epileptic drugs do carry a risk of birth defects and you may need to change your tablets before you conceive. You may also be advised to take a higher dose of folic acid of 5mg a day.

However, if you become pregnant while taking epilepsy medication don’t stop taking your tablets without seeing a doctor first. Stopping you medication suddenly could result in an increased numbers of seizures. See your GP as soon as possible and they can recommend you about what to do.

If your seizures are well controlled you may not need specialist care, but if your seizures become more frequent or severe in pregnancy you may need to be under the care of a neurologist and an obstetrician.

Mental health problems in pregnancy

If you are on medication for a mental health condition such as depression do not stop taking your medication without discussing it with your doctor first. Abrupt discontinuation can worsen your condition. Talk through your options with your doctors; although antidepressants are not usually recommended in pregnancy they can be prescribed if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the bodies own antibodies attack the lining of joints causing swelling, pain, inflammation and joint damage.

Seventy five per cent of women with RA report their symptoms actually improve and go into temporary remission during pregnancy though, usually in the second trimester. Symptoms usually return about six weeks after giving birth.

Talk to your specialist before you plan to become pregnant though as there are some drugs you may need to stop as they can affect fertility. Many RA drugs are considered safe in pregnancy so discuss the risks and benefits with your consultant.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in pregnancy

MS is a neurological condition, which affects 100,000 people in the UK. It affects three times as many women as men and is commonly diagnosed between the 20 to 40 age groups.

Women with MS can have healthy babies and pregnancies but there are some drugs they may need to discontinue before they try for a baby, so they should discuss this with their neurologist. The usual advice is to wait three months before trying to conceive.

Pregnancy for Health

Any woman who chooses to pregnant must know about pregnancy for health. Pregnancy is a time when you should not only be thinking about your own health, but the health of your unborn child.

Here are some quick and easy menu plan ideas for dinners during pregnancy. Avoiding high fat and red meats during pregnancy is always a healthy decision but eggs, milk, fish and poultry are lean options. Pregnancy protein requirements are 80 grams a day for optimal health. To make sure this process happens properly eating complete proteins is necessary during pregnancy. Because prenatal vitamins and mineral supplements do not provide protein it is worth tracking how much you are eating each day during pregnancy. Protein is a structural element of your body and your baby body. Protein is used to build the baby tissues, build a healthy placenta and create red blood cells.
Eating one a day during pregnancy can be a great way to make sure you get ample protein, iron and calcium in your diet.

Here are some tips for increasing the nutrition of your lunches, and ideas for quick and healthy lunches to add to your menu plan during pregnancy. Iron is one of the most important components of proper health during pregnancy. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin in the B vitamin complex that is vital during pregnancy for the health of your baby. See the daily and weekly checklist for healthy eating during pregnancy.

It is important to stay hydrated and replace these lost fluids to maintain a healthy pregnancy. One of the essential building blocks for life is also one of the essential parts of a healthy pregnancy diet. Taking adequate amounts of calcium and magnesium during pregnancy can decrease your risk of osteoporosis later in life, optimize pregnancy blood pressure levels and increase your pain tolerance threshold, making for a more comfortable delivery.

I have searched through the masses of pregnancy related articles and picked the best information to encourage, help and support you the nine months you are expecting. Information and current news about pregnancy for health can be find at pregnancy for health.