It is important to eat healthy during pregnancy for having a healthy baby. However, gaining excessive weight or inadequate weight can cause complications during pregnancy. Therefore, eating right is a must during pregnancy. Learn more about the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy.
Since you are vulnerable to quite a number of complications in pregnancy, it is important you follow a healthy lifestyle and diet to have a healthy your pregnancy. Eating well shall also keep down your blood sugar and blood pressure. Maintaining healthy weight shall keep at bay most of the complications in pregnancy.
Why is so much stress laid on a healthy diet? (Dr. Rita Shah)
As you are the only source of nutrition for your unborn baby, your eating habits will affect your baby's health and well-being. In order to cope with the increased demands, your body needs a sufficient amount of nutrition. Poor eating habits can adversely affect your pregnancy and result in conditions like anaemia, pre-eclampsia, mood swings, fatigue, leg cramps, constipation, etc. It had been learnt that deficiency of some minerals like zinc is sometimes responsible for initiating premature labour.
How will my diet affect the baby?
As long as there is no family history of medical diseases, eating the right kinds of foods will ensure that you have a healthy baby. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health has shown how baby's health at birth is directly related to the mother's diet during pregnancy. Of the women who were on an excellent diet, 95% of them had healthy babies. Whereas, of the women thriving on junk food only 8% of them had healthy babies, and 65% had premature, malnourished, functionally immature or stillborn babies.
What are the implications of a poor diet?
Every bite counts. Whatever an expectant mother eats or does not eat affects her child. Lack of folic acid in the first trimester increases the risk of spinal tube defects and lip and palate deformities. Lack of protein and calories in the last trimester could affect the development of the brain. To really grow well, your baby requires a well-balanced diet that includes vitamins, minerals, proteins and substantial calories for its all-round development.
What are the benefits of having a healthy diet during pregnancy?
Let us take a look at some other benefits of having a healthy diet during pregnancy.
1. Reduced Chances of Birth Defects
Deficiency of some nutrients can lead to birth defects. Rather than relying on processed items, it is best to take unprocessed and natural food that contains no harmful substances. Prenatal vitamins are also essential at this time. Do not forget to take your iron and folic acid supplements.
2. Good Weight Gain for your Baby
Low birth weight leads to plenty of health issues and serious complications. Since you would not want to give birth to a child with lifelong disabilities or complications, it is important to rely on balanced food choices. You must take around 300 calories every day and most of your nutrients must be from whole grains and vegetables.
3. Foundation for Good Health
What you eat shall also influence your growing baby inside. Poor eating habits shall also mean your child developing the wrong choices. Moreover, she shall be exposed to diseases like diabetes and obesity in later part of life. A nutritious diet in pregnancy shall ensure your baby too is healthy and hearty all through the life. It is in fact a way you are encouraging healthy eating habits in her.
4. You Lose Weight Easily
Yes, when you follow a healthy diet it actually helps youlose weight easily. It becomes easier for you to shed all the extra kilos after pregnancy, when you follow a balanced diet all through your pregnancy. Moreover, you remain a positive role model for your child, who too shall learn the healthy eating habits from you. That said, you also experience fewer pregnancy complications and give birth to a healthy baby.
What if too much weight is gained during pregnancy?
It is important to keep your weight on track. However, you shall be making a mistake thinking of bringing down your weight fast or stopping the weight gain process completely in pregnancy. You should stress on slowing down the weight gain process considering the trimester you are under the supervision of your obstetrician.
In the first trimester you should gain around 2 to 4 pounds and in the second and third trimester your weight gain should be around 1 pound every week. You can consider changing your diet, if you want to slow down your weight gain process after consulting your obstetrician. Here is what you can do to avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
Eat in small portions and keep away from the occasional snacks.
Look for foods with low fat content.
Swimming, walking, light exercises can be a good way to stay fit and healthy.
Consume sweets and snacks high in calories in moderation.
It is better to avoid sugary drinks and sweets altogether if possible.
What if weight gain is inadequate during pregnancy?
You need to remember every woman is different and thus you cannot compare your weight gain with anyone else. You can speak to your doctor if you think your weight gain in pregnancy is not satisfactory. Morning sickness and nausea can be causes behind poor weight gain. Too much of vomiting can also mean Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which you need to clarify with your doctor. Here are some suggestions for diet change that you might consider after consulting your obstetrician.
You may want to eat more frequently and increase your meals to 6 times a day.
You may look for nutritious foods that are high in calorie. Ice cream, crackers with butter, dried fruits can be some options.
You must be completely careful about what you eat during pregnancy. Diet plays a very important role during pregnancy. So, stick to a healthy diet throughout your pregnancy period and consult your obstetrician before adding anything new to your pregnancy diet.
Why is it important to eat healthy during pregnancy? What are the effects of eating unhealthy food during pregnancy? Is it safe to eat junk food during pregnancy? Discuss here.
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- The Indiaparenting Team