A healthy lifestyle is important for all but it is especially important if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Healthy eating will support your baby's development and growth while you are pregnant. You don't need to follow a specific diet, you should consume a variety of meals every day to ensure that you and your baby get the correct balance of nutrients. It's preferable to receive vitamins and minerals from food, but if you're pregnant, you'll also need to take a folic acid supplement to ensure you get everything you need.
The following are essential elements of a good pregnant lifestyle:
- Healthy Weight gain
- A well-balanced meal plan
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Proper Vitamin and mineral supplementation
Folic acid is one of the most important nutrients to consume during pregnancy because it is required not only for the mother but also for the baby's appropriate growth and development. Folic acid reduces the chance of neural tube abnormalities in newborns, hence foods high in folic acid (such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, pork, beans, and so on) should be a regular part of a pregnant woman's diet. Before you get pregnant and until you're 12 weeks pregnant, you should take a 400 microgram folic acid tablet every day. It's difficult to receive adequate folate from food alone to ensure a safe pregnancy, which is why a folic acid supplement is essential.
Every day, you require 10 micrograms of vitamin D. Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphate levels in the body, which are essential for strong bones, teeth, and muscles. Some foods also contain vitamin D, such as:
- Fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines)
- Red meat
Some morning cereals, fat spreads, and non-dairy milk alternatives contain vitamin D. The amounts that are added to these goods can vary and may be insignificant. It's difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone because it's only available in a few number of foods, whether naturally or artificially added. It's not a good to take more than 100 micrograms (4,000 IU) of vitamin D per day because it can be dangerous.
If you don't get enough iron, you'll feel exhausted and maybe get anemia. Iron is found in lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts. If you want to eat peanuts or foods containing peanuts (like peanut butter) while you're pregnant, you can do so as part of a healthy, balanced diet, unless you're allergic to them or your doctor instructs you not to. Iron is added to a lot of breakfast cereals. A General practitioner or midwives would urge you to take iron supplements if your blood iron level drops too low.
Vitamin C protects and maintains the health of body cells. Vitamin C can be found in a broad variety of fruits and vegetables, and a well-balanced diet can supply all of your vitamin C requirements. Oranges and orange juice, red and green peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes are all good sources of Vitamin C.
Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth in both you and your infant. Calcium also supports the normal functioning of your circulatory, muscular, and neural systems. A pregnant women needs 1,000 milligrams per day while pregnant teenagers require 1,300 milligrams per day. Dairy products are the most easily absorbed calcium sources. Broccoli and kale are two nondairy options. Calcium is also added to a lot of fruit drinks and breakfast cereals.
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega fatty acid-rich foods (fish, nuts, seeds, and their oils) are recommended as these are the nutrients required for a fetus's eyes and brain to grow normally. Furthermore, these fatty acids aid in the mother's digestive system's health. On the other hand, it should be kept in your mind that Omega fatty acids, like folate, have some food sources (tuna, mackerel, etc.) that should be avoided during pregnancy due to their high content of mercury level.
Potassium is the most undervalued nutrient when it comes to pregnancy nutrition. Increased blood pressure in the female is related with the highest risk of stillbirth and at that stage potassium helps to maintain normal blood pressure by dilating blood vessels and allowing blood to flow freely. Potassium is abundant in bananas, avocados, and beans, among other foods.
You can miss out on essential nutrients even if you consume a balanced diet. A daily prenatal vitamin, started at least three months before conception, can help fill in any gaps. If you eat a strict vegetarian diet or have a chronic health issue, your doctor may offer specific supplements. If you're thinking about taking an herbal supplement while pregnant, talk to your doctor first because some herbal supplements can harm your baby.