Healthy Pregnancy

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

healthy pregnancyEveryone knows that when you’re pregnant, you eat for two.  But your diet isn’t the only thing that affects your baby.  Paying special attention to your health will reduce the likelyhood of problems for your child, and it will make you more comfortable during this physically taxing time.

Getting Proper Nutrition

Pregnant women need about 300 more calories per day than they did before they were expecting.  These extra calories provide the fuel for your baby to grow.  If you don’t eat enough, however, the baby will usually get what he needs anyway.  You will be the one who is left with less energy.

It is very important to get in enough nutrients for yourself and your baby.  Some of the most important are calcium, iron and folic acid.  These aid in the development of baby’s bones, blood, and brain and spine, respectively.  Eating foods rich in these nutrients is the best way to get them, but it may be difficult to get as much of them as you need.  That’s why it is important to take your prenatal vitamins.

Things to Avoid

There are a number of things that we need to avoid during pregnancy.  Your doctor has probably told you to quit smoking and drinking alcohol if you do those things.  And drugs, of course, are strictly off limits.  But there are some other things that are bad for your baby that might surprise you.

Caffeine is one habit that many an expecting mother has trouble kicking.  But it can increase the risk of miscarriage, so it is wise to avoid it.  If you can’t just drop your favorite caffeine-filled beverages, cut down significantly or switch to decaf.  Chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine, but you don’t have to give it up completely.  Moderation is the key.

Pregnant women should avoid certain types of fish.  These include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.  These often contain high levels of mercury, which can cause brain damage in your baby.  Other foods that should not be included in your diet include unpasteurized cheese, milk, and juice, foods containing raw eggs, and undercooked meat.

It is important not to take any medications during pregnancy without first consulting with your doctor.  Even herbs and over-the-counter medicines can present a danger to your baby.  Ideally, the only medication a pregnant woman should take is a good prenatal vitamin.  But if you feel that you need treatment for pain or other conditions, talk to your doctor.  He may be able to recommend an alternative treatment or a safe medication.

Pregnant women should also avoid contact with cat feces.  If they don’t, they put themselves at risk of contracting toxoplasmosis.  This usually causes no symptoms in the mother, but it can have devastating effects on her developing baby.  These may include prematurity, brain damage, and other problems.

Staying healthy should be a priority at all times, but it becomes much more important when you’re pregnant.  Keeping yourself in good health and avoiding certain foods and substances will help your baby grow strong and healthy.

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