As a mother, choosing to have a healthy pregnancy is one of the first things you can do to ensure your child has a bright future. From just three days after your missed period, your baby’s major organs are under development–a process that requires a tremendous amount of nutrients. You are no longer simply eating for yourself; you are eating to nourish your unborn child so that his organs, nervous system and metabolic functions will form and work correctly.
A Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Mother and Baby
Ideally, healthy eating and lifestyle habits should begin prior to pregnancy. Nevertheless, if you were not able to plan that far in advance, the time to start is now. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “The food we eat on a daily basis affects how our bodies work, how we heal and grow and how we maintain energy strength for years to come.”
In fact, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and abstaining from drugs and alcohol doesn’t just give your unborn baby the best chance of coming into the world healthy–it gives her the best chance of living a long and healthy life. Research studies have found that a mother’s nutrition and the environment of her uterus are directly related to the child’s predisposition to adult diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.
The first month of pregnancy is the time when conception occurs. It is unlikely that you will know that you are pregnant at all this month, but if you are actively trying to get pregnant, there are some healthy habits you should be adopting to ensure the future health of your child.
One of the first signs of pregnancy for many women is a missed period, which often occurs in the third week of this month. You may notice some light bleeding, which happens when the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterine wall after conception.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
Some commonly enjoyed foods are off-limits during pregnancy because they carry the risk of food-borne illness. When women become pregnant, their immune systems weaken, making them more susceptible to infections. To avoid a potentially serious illness, avoid the following foods until after delivery:
- Raw or under-cooked seafood and meats.
- Deli meats and unheated hot dogs.
- Fish that are high in mercury, such as swordfish, shark and king mackerel.
- Unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses.
- Raw eggs.
- Refrigerated smoked meats and paté.
1. Eat a healthful diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein. Good sources of protein include poultry, beef, legumes, eggs, cheese and tofu.
2. Drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
3. Limit your caffeine intake to less than 300 milligrams per day.
4. Increase your intake of calcium and folic acid. The latter is extremely important in preventing neural tube defects during the first trimester of pregnancy.
5. Make an appointment with your health care practitioner to confirm your pregnancy, determine the fetus’ gestational age and assess your current level of health.
6. Put someone else in charge of cleaning the cat’s litter box to reduce your exposure to toxoplasmosis–a common parasite found in cat feces that can be transmitted to the growing fetus and cause complications such as hearing loss, mental retardation, feeding problems and seizures.
1. Smoke or take any recreational drugs.
2. Consume alcoholic beverages
3. Engage in risky activities that could cause abdominal trauma such as horseback riding or bicycling.
This is the month when most pregnancies are confirmed. You’ll notice that your clothes are getting a little tighter around the waist and you may gain three to 5 pounds. It is perfectly normal to lose weight during this month, too–particularly if morning sickness is preventing you from eating much. There is no need for concern if this is the case. A mother’s body is designed to nourish her growing babies–whether or not they are getting enough calories on a daily basis.
Folic acid and calcium are extremely important this month because the brain and nervous system are developing rapidly. If you haven’t begun taking a prenatal vitamin yet, ask your health care provider which vitamin she recommends. There are many over-the-counter varieties of prenatal vitamins available, or your physician may write you a prescription.
You should also opt for fiber-rich foods, such as enriched whole-grain breads and green, leafy vegetables to ease the symptoms of constipation. Many women experience constipation during pregnancy because the muscles in the bowel relax as the uterus grows.
Continue to exercise in moderation. The American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days. When exercising, make sure to keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute.
Fight your body’s need for rest. Pregnancy is a major stress for the female body–particularly during the first trimester when much of your baby’s development occurs. Right now, your body is adjusting to an increase in blood flow, which is causing your entire circulatory system to work harder. By the time your baby arrives, you will have 30-50 percent more blood pumping through your body.
By the end of this month, your baby’s major developmental milestones will be complete and he will officially be considered a fetus. Now that the most critical time in your pregnancy has passed, your risk of miscarriage drops significantly. This is the time when many expectant parents announce their pregnancy to family and friends, so go ahead and share your good news.
You’re probably still not showing much, but your clothes are definitely getting snugger. And while you may still be experiencing some nausea, dizziness, fatigue and headaches, you can rest assured that these unpleasant symptoms will soon subside. As your first trimester of pregnancy comes to a close, you will begin feeling like yourself again–at least until the third trimester when the increased size and weight of your baby will create another set of discomforts.
Take good care of your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing each day. If you haven’t had a dentist appointment since becoming pregnant, make an appointment now for a routine cleaning and checkup. Harmful bacteria lingering in your mouth can be harmful to the developing fetus and your overall health.
Stick to safe and effective exercises such as swimming, brisk walking, stationary bicycling, elliptical machines or low-impact aerobics. If you are participating in a group exercise class, make sure it is taught by a certified instructor and that she knows you are expecting a child. She may be able to offer you some exercise modifications that are more comfortable and safer for the baby.
Schedule any genetic testing such as Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) for weeks 11 or 12 of your pregnancy.
This test is extremely effective at detecting birth defects such as Down’s syndrome, sickle cell anemia and Tay-Sachs disease. It is generally only recommended for expectant mothers over the age of 35 and those with a family history of genetic abnormalities.
Why not check out my full book review on the pregnancy miracle where you will discover that the author Lisa Olsen a qualified nutritionists guides you through all you need to know about a healthy pregnancy diet. also discover the best foods to eat that the doctors don’t tell you.
To read more about the signs of infertility click here