Having a baby is one of the most important milestones of a woman's life and in order to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, a woman needs to change her nutritional habits, being that she is now eating and drinking for two. When a woman becomes pregnant, she is not automatically going to know how to care for herself and her baby. Here are some tips for women that are pregnant or even are planning to get pregnant in the near future.
1. Three meals per day is not enough for a pregnant woman because she is no longer feeding one person. In order to feed her and her baby, she needs to eat five to six well balanced meals per day.
2. A pregnant woman should visit her doctor and find out what the best prenatal vitamin is for her as an individual. Buying frivolously at the grocery store is not recommended. A prenatal vitamin should be taken everyday as instructed by a doctor.
3. Fluids is a must for any pregnant woman. Caffeine and anything with artificial colouring should be avoided. The best thing to drink is water. The recommended dose of fluids per day is at least 10 glasses.
4. Alcohol is a big no no. This can harm the baby in many different ways and should be completely removed from the house.
5. Smoking is also very harmful for a woman and her baby. A smoker should quit immediately when becoming pregnant and even secondhand smoke should be avoided at all costs.
6. Exercising on a regular basis is a very good idea for pregnant women. This will improve their overall health and decrease the stress or anxiety through pregnancy. Exercising should be maintained at a moderate pace all throughout pregnancy, not too little or too much. There are exercise classes that are specific to pregnant women. Walking at least fifteen minutes per day is also an option. The key to exercising while a woman is pregnant is to do it in shaded areas or indoors to prevent any overheating which can be harmful to the baby.
7. Sleep is very important during pregnancy. At least eight hours every night is strongly recommended.
8. Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman's ankles and feet. To avoid this, she can wear comfortable shoes at all times and elevate her feet multiple times per day. This will prevent swelling.
9. A pregnant woman should not take any medications or supplements, even natural ones without consulting her doctor first. They need to remember that anything being put into their body is also going to the baby so everything needs to be nutritious.
Nutrition should be planned for every single thing that enters a pregnant women's body. She should choose foods in each food group that have the vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy pregnancy. The foods should also be very low in empty calories which means the foods that she eats should be all healthy with no added sugars and solid fats. Examples are desserts, fatty meats, soft drinks, fried foods, cheese, and whole milk. When grocery shopping, a pregnant woman should look for food options that are low in fat, fat free, unsweetened, and with no added sugars. This should always be on the nutrition label so a pregnant woman should pay close attention to these.
Supplements do not replace a healthy diet but a doctor will prescribe or recommend a prenatal vitamin and a mineral supplement so the mother and the baby can receive important nutrients including iron and folic acid. These should never be abused because taking too much can harm the baby.