Many expectant mothers often overlook the role diet can play in their baby’s overall health and nutrition. The popular adage “eating for two” isn’t quite what is necessary, in fact, there is such a thing as gaining too much weight when it comes to pregnancy, (most physicians agree that 25-40lbs is optimum). An expectant mother should read up on prenatal health and diet and speak to her doctor about the foods she should eat, and those she should avoid to give her baby the best start in life.
A baby’s time in the uterus is the most important time it can have in regards to development; it will serve for the foundation for the rest of its life. Mothers oftentimes take this very seriously and change their diets drastically to benefit their unborn baby. This should, however, not be undertaken alone. A doctor should always be consulted when changing any diet while pregnant. There are many books also available that offer mothers information and guidelines for eating healthy for baby. Some guidelines to follow are:
1) The food pyramid. While small things may shift and change over time, it is still the best guideline for the different types of food to get throughout the day.
2) Know your colors. Varying the color of your vegetables, though it may be a simple guideline, works. The colors oftentimes represent the different types of nutrients in those vegetables, so eating a colorful palette will ensure a variety of nutrients are being attained. Dark green vegetables are rich in iron and should always be on the dinner plate.
3) Small meals. Eating smaller portions more often throughout the day has proven to be much better than larger meals spread out. Overeating is a mistake often made by mothers and should be avoided.
4) No diets! In decades past doctors didn’t know this was a big no-no, some even prescribed diet pills to expectant mothers! Not only will eating healthfully be best for your baby, but it is also the most healthful way for mommy to stay in shape when she’s pregnant.
5) Vitamins are supplements only. All too often people think that a good vitamin can replace healthy eating. This isn’t at all the case; many nutrients can be attained only through certain foods, so it’s important to take prenatal vitamins regularly, and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
6) Watch the sweet stuff. If at all possible, desserts and sweets should be avoided, but in the rare instance of a bad day, sweets are permitted, but only at a minimum.
7) Water, water, water! Water helps to prevent early labor so drink up! The best way to get the amount of water needed for a healthy pregnancy is to invest in a large water bottle. Keeping it with you and sipping on it throughout the day will make it much easier to keep track of your progress.
While it may be difficult to follow a healthy eating regime, always remember that another person’s health is at stake. Some specifics to follow are:
– 2 servings of fruit
– 6 servings of water, juice, or milk
– Avoid foods with fat
– 3 servings of vegetables
– 6 servings of whole grains
– No sweets except as a rare treat
– 3 servings of proteins
Keep in mind that these are only general recommendations and no one can replace the suggestions of your doctor as every pregnancy is different and will require different things.