When a woman is pregnant, proper prenatal nutrition is essential. It is important for expecting mothers to carefully choose their foods. Understandably, pregnancy and food cravings are a packaged deal. Many women unknowing consume excessive amounts of foods that will not benefit their baby. Additionally, other women fall prey to common pregnancy misconceptions that result in overeating. In this post we will know about total prenatal nutrition, eating tips, essential vitamins, and foods to avoid during.
Myths about Prenatal Nutrition
Nutrition during pregnancy is very inportant. Although many physicians discredit the concept of “eating for two,” many expecting mothers hold fast to this theory. However, enjoying a second helping of prenatal meals, while satisfying food cravings, may greatly increase the amount of weight gained during pregnancy. It is estimated that women only need to consume an extra 200 to 300 calories a day while pregnant. This is equivalent to eating an additional piece of chicken. On the other hand, women who want to avoid gaining weight may significantly decrease their fat intake during pregnancy. However, robbing the body of fat may also decrease the baby’s intake of protein, which is found in most fatty foods.
Prenatal Nutrition Facts
There is an abundance of information available to assist expecting mothers with nutrition. Online resources and parenting magazines are a great source, and they include easy tips that do not require a major lifestyle change. Some essential tips for a healthy prenatal nutrition plan include:
Nutrition and Prenatal Development
Pregnancy Nutrition Recommendations
- Eating five, small balanced meals a day
- Drinking at least ten glasses of water a day (8 ounces/per glass)
- Avoiding alcoholic beverages
- Taking prenatal vitamins
- Avoid overeating
- Avoiding caffeine
During researches it has been seen effects of nutritional deficiency during pregnancy.
Food to Avoid While Pregnant
Certain foods that are more prone to harbor bacteria or salmonella should be avoided when expecting a baby. These foods include raw meat or undercooked meat. Moreover, foods that contained raw eggs such as Caesar dressing and mayonnaise should be avoided. Fish and foods containing high levels of mercury may cause developmental problems in babies.
Prenatal vitamins have gained a lot of attention in recent years. Many people adopt a vitamin regimen to maintain their overall health, and to receive an adequate supply of daily nutrients. When it comes to vitamins, there are many skeptics. However, researchers and obstetricians have concluded that prenatal vitamins help prevent certain birth defects and provide a fetus with vital nutrients. Thus, it would be wise for women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, to begin taking prenatal vitamins.
Prenatal Vitamins and Healthy Diet
However, prenatal vitamins are not intended to take the place of eating a healthy diet. Some expecting mothers feel that taking vitamins during pregnancy allows them more freedom to consume junk foods and other unhealthy meals. Prenatal vitamins do contain essential nutrients; however, they may lack the sufficient dosage. For example, the average prenatal vitamin only contains approximately 250mg of calcium, whereas expecting women should have a daily intake of 1000mg of calcium. To make up the difference, pregnant women should drink plenty of milk, or take calcium supplements.
Choosing the Right Pregnancy Vitamin
Prior to beginning a prenatal vitamin regimen, women should consult their obstetrician. All vitamins are not the same, and doctors will be able to advise pregnant women on the proper prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins will likely include the dosage amount that is perfect for an expecting mother’s body. For example, vitamins that contain too much vitamin A may cause birth defects, whereas vitamins containing too much iron may not properly absorb in the bloodstream.
Prenatal Vitamins for Conception, Pregnancy, and Nursing
The use of prenatal vitamins should not be limited to the pregnancy. Obstetricians recommend that women begin taking prenatal vitamins before conception. This is more fitting for couples who plan their pregnancy. In addition, nursing mothers should continue a vitamin regime after the pregnancy to ensure that their baby receives an ample source of nutrients and vitamins.
Prenatal care is health care that follows the progress of a pregnant woman and her growing child, spanning conception to delivery recovery. All pregnant women can benefit from prenatal care. Through prenatal care, mothers-to-be are more likely to deliver healthy children. Prenatal care should start as soon as you know you are pregnant, or even before if you are planning to conceive.
Choosing a Prenatal Care Provider
A pregnant woman has several options when it comes to choosing a prenatal care provider who will care for her and her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, and post-delivery. Most women choose an obstetrician. An Obstetrician is a doctor who specializes in pregnancy and childbirth. A family physician works in all aspects of health care, can give you prenatal care, and can become your child’s pediatrician after birth. A nurse-midwife is a registered nurse who focuses on pregnancy, and childbirth. Questions to help you determine which prenatal care provider is right for you: Is the provider attentive and open to your questions? Do the provider’s location and schedule work for you? Does your health care provider cover the cost of your visits?
What To Expect
Contact your prenatal care provider to schedule your first appointment. This initial appointment can be rather lengthy, as it will consist of tests and questions designed to get to know you and to identify possible concerns or problems. Expect questions about your health, your partner’s health, and the health of your immediate family members. Also expect a pelvic exam, blood tests, and a urine test. At this time, your prenatal care provider can calculate your due date. Later prenatal check-ups are more exciting. You can listen to your baby’s heartbeat, receive an ultrasound to see your baby in the womb, and determine your baby’s gender.
A Typical Prenatal Care Schedule
During the first 4 – 28 weeks of your pregnancy, expect 1 prenatal care visit per month. At week 28 – 36, visits double to 2 per month. At 36 weeks to birth, mothers-to-be should expect one visit per week. Women with medical conditions that could potentially affect their pregnancies can expect more frequent visits.
Pregnancy And Folic Acid
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, or vitamin B9 as it is also known. It plays a key role in many functions of the body, including methylation and cell division. It is found abundantly in dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. Nuts, whole grain products, wheat germ, citrus fruits, and their juices, dried beans, asparagus, romaine lettuce, broccoli, enriched pasta and bread, and liver are also good sources.
Why is it important during pregnancy?
You can lower your chances for common birth defects significantly by simply increasing your intake of vitamin B9. Studies are done as far back as 1965 show a link between folic acid deficiency and neural tube birth defects. The neural tube is where the baby’s spine and brain develop. It is also vitally needed in the embryonic biosynthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein and is essential for rapid and healthy cell division as the baby grows. Women with a deficiency in this important vitamin have been known to give birth to babies with spina bifida and anencephaly. Premature births and low birth weights can also occur.
How to make sure you are getting enough folic acid in your diet
Check with your prenatal care physician. A simple blood test can determine whether you are deficient. Fortified bread and pasta alone are not enough. One serving of these enhanced foods will only give you 10% of the recommended daily requirement. Your doctor may suggest over the counter supplements found in any health food store or adding more folic acid-rich foods to your diet.
When should you be concerned about deficiency?
To guard against neural tube birth defects, it is critical for women to be concerned about their folic acid intake during their first trimester. If you are planning to have a baby, have your doctor check your folic acid level before you become pregnant. Make dietary changes then. It is also advisable to continue to be careful that you get enough vitamin B9 throughout the duration of your pregnancy.
Benefit of Folic Acid
Folic acid is the name given to the synthetic form of vitamin B9, also known as folate. It plays a significant role in many important functions of the body including maintaining healthy cell growth. In its natural form, it is found in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. It is also in liver, dried beans, asparagus, wheat germ, nuts, fortified grain products, broccoli, and citrus fruits.
Why you need it
Probably the most significant health benefit from folic acid is the prevention of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Since the 1960s, scientists have known about the connection between NTDs and a mother’s deficiency in this specific nutrient. It is estimated that around 10,000 babies are born each year in the United States with spina bifida. Experts say that a staggering 70% of them could be prevented with the proper intake of folic acid. A mother’s deficit in this vitamin is also connected with other birth defects such as the cleft palate and cleft lip.
However, the prevention of birth defects is not the only health benefit of folic acid. Additional studies have shown that it may also increase heart health, be a deterrent to some kinds of cancer, and the onset of Alzheimer’s. So, both men and women can benefit from the proper intake of this vital nutrient.
Is there a minimum daily requirement?
The minimum daily requirement established by the FDA is 400 micrograms per day for healthy adults. Although scientists suggest up to 1000 micrograms, no limit has been established. This is because there have been no observable negative side effects in relation to levels in excess of 1000 micrograms from food sources.
Prenatal Nutrition – Low carb diets and pharmaceutical drugs
Since many sources of folate and folic acid fortified foods contain large numbers of carbohydrates, women of childbearing age on low carb diets should pay special attention to their folic acid levels. They could be putting their babies at risk for birth defects. After a simple blood test, a doctor can determine if a deficiency is present. An easy remedy is to simply take a multivitamin that includes at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.
People should also be aware that pharmaceutical drugs containing DFRIs block folate activation in the body. Ways to remedy this situation should be discussed with one’s health care practitioner. Supplementation is usually recommended.