Pregnancy and Nutrition You are besides yourself with joy as you see that your pregnancy test is postive. You find yourself already caressing your stomach in hopes that your little one can feel you. The next nine months are going to be an exciting time for you and your baby. You are going to have a human life grow inside of you and feel them move as they get bigger. Your baby is going to go from a single sperm and egg into pounds of adorable flesh that you can't help but kiss over and over again. It truly is a miracle. In order to help this miracle along, it is essential for you to eat as good as you can through out most of your pregnancy. The first three months might be a little difficult to eat balanced meals when you are dealing with food aversions and morning sickness. If you are one of the rare lucky ones whose stomach doesn't so much as move during your first trimester, then you can take full advantage of eating healthy right out of the gate. Making sure you eat balanced nutritious meals is laying down the foundation for your baby. A diet of junk food is not going to help your baby with bone development and organ formation. Potato chips will not help with brain development. Your baby and your body need calcium and vitamins to achieve all of this. Eating well during pregnancy is going to help your baby eat well after it is born and on solid foods. As your pregnancy progresses, some of what you eat will cross the placenta and the taste will be in your baby's amniotic fluid. Babies swallow this fluid and their taste buds are so develop that even in the womb they are able to taste the flavors. Doctors believe that babies who are exposed to a wide variety of fruit and vegetables while in utero have less of a chance of being a fussy eater later in life. They believe that these are the babies who will eat their fruit and vegetables without putting up any fight. Doctors also believe that moms who drink their milk through out their pregnancy have an easier time weaning their babies from formula or breast milk to regular milk. This however is only one benefit, the other benefit of drinking milk throughout your pregnancy is all the calcium you will be giving your baby's bones. Many doctors recommend that you drink at least one eight oz glass of milk, usually fat free a day. Calcium is a must have your baby's bones and his teeth, even though you won't see his teeth for at least a few months. This isn't to say that you have to stay away from all sweets all the time. You can indulge every now and then and thanks to cravings you may find yourself wanting sweets more often than not. You do have to keep it in moderation. Being pregnant should not be looked at as an excuse to eat whatever you want for nine months. Both you and your baby could pay a dear price. The Basics of Eating Well When Pregnant It is hard to believe that women do have a hard time eating healthy when they are expecting a visit from the stork. The sad truth is some women find it very hard. There is a trick though to remember how to eat throughout your pregnancy and it is as easy as ABC. Assortment is the first key. It's been said that variety is the spice of life. Keeping your diet filled with assortment of fruits, vegetables and protein will help make sure that you and your baby don't get too much of one nutrient and not enough of another. Eating a daily variety of healthy foods will give your growing baby and daily assortment of necessary nutrients. Balance is the next thing to keep in mind. We all know that balance and moderation is the key to any diet. There is no reason to deny yourself a bowl of ice cream but the whole container is over doing it. You want to keep all your meals as balanced as possible and make sure you are getting enough vitamins, whole grains and lean protein. Eating one and not the other is not going to help you or your baby in any way shape or form. Indulging in cravings is fine every now and then as long as you keep it in moderation, if you want a cookie, have one. If potato chips are your craving, have a few. It is when you eat the whole box of cookies and the whole bag of chips in one sitting that you might have a problem. The third key is color. You want to make your plate look as colorful as possible. Look at fresh fruit and veggies to paint your plate. The more colorful your plate is, the more appeasing it is going to look to your eyes. Have you ever noticed in magazines and cooking shows the dishes always look so tasty? This is because of the variety of color that are used in these dishes. You can get red strawberries and tomatoes to yellow peppers and squash. Pick your favorite colors and create your dishes based on that. Forget about dieting while you are pregnant. You and your baby need a steady supply of calories and nutrients through out the nine months of pregnancy and beyond. Pregnancy is one of the only times where a woman is expected to gain weight. Trying to prevent that weight gain can not only put you at risk, but also your baby at risk. You will have all the time in the world after your baby comes to lose the weight, but for nine months don't even think about the word diet. If you find you that you are getting sick of the food you have been eating, then it's time to start experimenting with different foods. Pregnancy is a time to expand your eating horizons as well as your waistbands. Plus with food aversions, you might find yourself turning green at some of your favorite foods and craving foods you never dreamed you would eat. You may find that the thought of pizza can send you running for the toilet, but place a dish of brussel sprouts in front of you and you are in heaven. Lastly, have fun with your food. Eating should be fun. Nothing will ruin your good habits faster than boredom. Add little touches like a dip for your veggies. Enjoy your food and try not to gulp it down. This will help avoid heartburn too! When you decide to treat yourself, leave the guilt at the door. After all, you are growing a person inside of you and decide a treat now and then for all your hard work. How Eating Well Can Help During Pregnancy There are a number of aches and pains that come with pregnancy. While back in the day many doctors just brushed them aside and said that is part of pregnancy, now a days more and more doctors are recommending a well balanced diet to help. Here are just a few pregnancy aliments that a good diet can help. A common complaint during pregnancy is tooth and gum problems. To help keep your teeth healthy and your baby's teeth healthy, make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin C. Always keep some sugarless gum near you or chew on some nuts and cheese. It is also not uncommon for many women to feel dizzy or lightheaded during pregnancy especially if they have gone to long without eating. This is why it is so important to eat through out the day and snack also. Keep your snacks as healthy as you can and stay away from junk food whenever you can. These foods will give you a quick rush of energy but ultimately leave you feeling worse than you did before you ate them. Keep yourself hydrated also. Snacking and drinking will help boost your blood sugar and keep you hydrated which can help you fight dizziness. Sometime during your second trimester, you may find yourself awakening in the middle of the night to leg cramps. Leg cramps can come from not getting enough calcium. Some say that the leg cramps implicate a shortage of magnesium while some say that dehydration can be the cause. Either way makes sure you are getting enough calcium and magnesium. If you suffer from leg cramps you might find it helpful to drink a glass of milk, or have a piece of cheese before you go to turn in to bed at night. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated also. Swelling is another pain in pregnancy. While severe swelling could be a sign of preeclampsia, there is a certain amount of swelling that is normal and healthy during pregnancy. In fact more than seventy five percent of all pregnant women experience some sort of swelling. The most common cause is too much water retention. Staying away from salty foods and drinking extra water will help you keep the swelling to a bare minimum. Pregnancy is also a time where you skin might taken on the appearance of a teenager getting ready to hit puberty. Some women suffer from dry skin, which can be cured by making sure you drink plenty of fluids to increase moisture. If you have flakey skin, eat more omega-3 rich foods or seeds and nuts. There are some people who suffer from some skin discoloration and too much blotchiness could be a folic-acid deficiency. This is another reason why it is so important to make sure you are taking your prenatal vitamin. Lastly, we have all heard about the great head of hair some women are blessed with during pregnancy since hormones prevent hair from falling out at its normal rate. There are some women though who find that their hair is less than stellar during pregnancy. This could be due to the lack of vitamins that you might be getting. Through out pregnancy it is important that you get enough vitamin A, B and C. Vitamin A will keep your hair and scalp healthy. Vitamin B will help with your hair growth and vitamin C is needed for strength. Make sure you are getting enough of this in your diet. Eating healthy throughout pregnancy does not only ensure your chances of a healthy pregnancy but it will also help you avoid some of the more uncomfortable aspects of pregnancy too. Gaining Weight Too Fast During Pregnancy Any obgyn will tell you that the recommended weight gain for pregnancy is 25-30 pounds. Some women will gain more, some will gain less. But how can you tell if you are gaining too fast during your pregnancy. Too much weight gain can increase your chances of a c section and put you at risk for being overweight after. Some doctors say that if you put on more than 3 1/2 pounds in your first trimester and are of a normal weight you are putting weight on too fast. If you are overweight and put on more than 2 pounds, you are gaining too fast. Keep in mind though that even if you gain a lot in your first trimester, it doesn't necassararily mean you will gain a lot your whole pregnancy. Some women gain a lot in the first trimester because morning sickness has them only able to eat carbs and nothing else and still end their pregnancy gaining no more than 25 pounds. If however you find that your weight gain is still not slowing down once you enter your second trimester, there are some tips you can try to help slow it down. First, cut out the useless calories. It is never a good idea to diet while you are pregnant but if you are gaining too much you do need to slow down the rate at which you are gaining. Apply some basic calorie cutting strategies such as using skim milk instead of whole milk, taking skin off your chicken and grilling or broil instead of frying or sauteing. You will also want to cut out most of your sweets. These are empty calories that are providing no nutritional value to you or your baby. Next, cut down on the fat you are taking in. Look at what you are eating and how it may have hidden fat in it. Some salad dressings can be loaded with fat, so you might want to try putting your dressing on the side. Watch how much oil you use when you are cooking or when you are going out to eat and stick to good oils such as extra virgin olive oil. Get active! You could be gaining weight faster because you are not active. As long as your doctor gives you the go ahead, start a walking program. Walking is one of the best things you can do for your body and your baby. Not only does it help with your weight gain, but some women and doctors swear that walking through out most of your pregnancy could help ease the pains of childbirth. If you can not walk due to weather conditions you might want to look into joining a prenatal exercise class. Lastly pay attention to what you are eating. So many people don't pay attention to what they eat and find that they are overeating without even realizing it. How many times have you sat on the couch watching a movie and decided to have some potato chips only to realize that you have eaten the whole bag? Try to keep all your meals at the table and take your time while eating. Even though you are eating for two, gaining just enough weight will not only make delivery and recovery easier for you, it will also make getting the weight off after pregnancy come off that much faster. Gaining Weight Too Slowly During Pregnancy Just as gaining too much weight can be harmful to you and your baby, not gaining enough weight can be harmful also. There are some women out there who are so terrified at gaining weight that they eat next to nothing during their pregnancy. Please do not do this, you could be depriving your baby of the vitamins and minerals it needs and you increase your chances of having a small baby. Babies who are underweight at delivery are at a greater risk for health problems than babies who are of average weight at delivery. If you find that you have gained nothing during your first trimester, do not worry. Some women do not gain anything during those first three months and some even lose some weight thanks to morning sickness. Your baby's needs are relatively tiny at that point. It is when you are in your second and third trimesters that you should make sure you are gaining weight according. If you find that you are not gaining as much weight as you should, you should try to fatten up your diet. Increase your fat intake by a serving or too. This will increase your calorie intake but won't decrease your appetite. Do not increase your fat by more than a serving or two. There are better and healthier ways to increase your weight gain. If you are one of the lucky few women who do not gain weight easy, you might not want to foods with the lowest amount of calories. You can still eat healthy but you want to up your calorie intake. Try eating avocados and more cheeses along with some beans too. Indulge in some snacks also. Try to add at least three snacks into your schedule. Make sure you have a decent amount of calories but not so many calories that your ruin your appetite for your next meal. If you are not allergic to peanuts, try some apple slices with peanut butter or some whole wheat crackers which some low fat cheese slices. Take some time out of your busy life to relax. Not gaining enough weight could be a sign that you are doing too much. You could be burning up the calories you eat instead of using them to nourish your baby. Try cutting back on your exercise if you have an exercise routine. You also want to make sure you eat after a workout to replace the calories you just lost. If you are working while you are pregnant and it is a stressful job, make sure you take the time out of your busy day for lunch and snacks. Throughout all of this, check in with your doctor. Your doctor may want to run some tests to make sure that you do not have a thyroid condition or any other undiagnosed medical problem that might keep you from gaining weight. You may also want to keep track of what you eat so you can show your doctor and talk about any changes that might need to be made to your diet. You may not be eating enough and you may find that you need to eat more. Eating Well For You During Your Pregnancy Eating healthy throughout your pregnancy is the greatest gift you could give your unborn baby, but there are also a lot of rewards in it for you to. It's common for many moms to be to forget that they also benefit in eating healthy through out their pregnancy. What you eat has a direct effect as to how well your body copes and recovers from all the physical changes it goes through. It also helps with the physical and emotional challenge of carrying and delivering a baby. The truth is, most pregnant women rarely walk around all nine months with that rosy glow everyone talks about. The first three months some of us walk around a nasty shade of green and in a hazy fog thanks to the tiredness we feel those first three months. The second three months are a little better, and we are no longer green but we deal with other issues such as varicose veins and leg cramps. The third trimester, we are back to the hazy fog again and have other issues such as swelling and heartburn just to name a few. Some of these can be avoided with a good diet. Eating foods that have some complex carbs can help reduce your tiredness and staying away from fatty foods will help with the heartburn. Research has shown that pregnant women who eat healthy throughout their pregnancy usually have a safe and uncomplicated pregnancy. Studies have shown that some pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia or high blood pressure can be directly related to deficiencies in a pregnant woman's diet. High amounts of sugar and polyunsaturated fats increase this risk as well as having a low intake of vitamin c, e and magnesium. Perhaps for some women one of the biggest benefits of eating healthy during their pregnancy is that it could help you during labor and delivery. A well balanced pregnancy diet has been said to help prevent preterm labor, which is labor before 37 weeks. A good diet can also help you cope with labor and delivery better. Any woman who has given birth knows how much energy it takes to endure hours of contractions and sometimes hours of pushing. Eating healthy will ensure that you have the energy and the stamina to get through your little one's delivery. Once you have delivered your little one, it is still important to continue your good habit of healthy eating especially in the postpartum period. Your body needs a lot of resources to recover from all the stretching, blood loss and not mention sleep deprivation and still take care of a newborn. It is just as important in the months following your delivery to continue to eat well. As my doctor put it, it is essential to eat as though you were pregnant for at least three months after delivery. A final added bonus to eating healthy throughout your pregnancy is that you may never stop eating healthy. This is setting up the groundwork for a lifetime of eating healthy for not only you but for your children. If you continue to eat healthy you are setting a prime example for your children. Eating Well For Your Baby Congratulations, you are pregnant! The next nine months are going to be an exciting time, not just for you but for your growing baby! Think of all the things a baby has to accomplish in only nine (ten) short months. They start as a single cell and then divide at an enormous rate. Their organs develop, the heart forms and starts beating and all five senses form. Basically your baby goes from a little blob that can't be seen with the human eye into a seven, eight, nine or even ten pound adorable newborn baby. In order for your baby to develop as healthy as possible, your diet should play a big part. This is because your diet is how your baby is going to receive all the vitamins, minerals, protein and fluids that he or she needs to grow and develop. The best thing you and any other pregnant mother can do for your growing baby is to eat as healthy as you possibly can. Let us look at all the benefits eating well can do for your baby. First, eating right is going to help your baby's organ development. Your baby only has a short time to develop vital organs such as their heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys. Eating a diet that lacks vitamin D or calcium can interfere with your baby's bone and tooth growth. Next eating too lightly through out pregnancy might stop your baby from growing as it should in your uterus. You might find yourself measuring behind for where you should be in your pregnancy. Small babies are at a greater risk for healthy problems once they are born. On the other hand, eating to much can cause your baby to grow too big to fast. Babies who are measuring ahead are at a greater risk for delivery complications. Babies who are too big usually can not be delivered vaginally without the assistance of instruments such as forceps or a vacuum. Some women are forced to have a cesarean section because they can not deliver their baby vaginally. Some research has been done that shows what you eat during pregnancy can affect your baby's eating habits down the line. Babies can taste and get use to the flavors from food that makes its way into the amniotic fluid. It is quiet possible that your baby will have a preference for certain foods before they even take that first spoonful of solids. By making sure your diet contains a lot of vegetables and fruit can help ensure that your baby will enjoy eating that went he time comes. Also, as hard to believe as it is, some studies have shown that what you are eating can contribute to your baby's personality. Research has shown that babies born to mothers who were under-nourished tend to smile less and are drowsier compared to those who at healthy. Also, studies have shown that moms who consumed enough omega-3 acids during their final trimester have babies who showed healthier sleep patterns than other babies. Lastly, your baby's brain needs you to eat healthy especially during the last trimester. Unlike the rest of your baby's organs, the brain has its greatest growth spurt during the third trimester. This is the best time to eat protein, calories and omega-3 fatty acids. These ensure optimum brain development. There has never been a more important time to eat healthy than pregnancy. Eating healthy while pregnant is the best gift you can give your child to be. Eating Well While Dealing With Morning Sickness There are a few women out there in this world who sail through their pregnancy without so much of glimpse of queasiness. The rest of us have no such luck. Chances are you are the type of women who the mere smell of what use to be your favorite food sends you running to the nearest toilet. The mere sight of steak can send you heaving and just thinking about eating that salad turns you greener than the romaine lettuce it contains. You probably curse the silly fool who named it "morning sickness" when all pregnant women know it is more like all day sickness. There are different degrees of morning sickness. Each woman and each pregnancy is different. I spent the first three months of my first pregnancy over a toilet and unable to look at any sort of vegetable or meat. However I made it through my second pregnancy with only a few spurts to the bathroom and hardly any aversions. The good news is though, this is usually only temporary. Most women start feeling better between their 12th and 14th week of pregnancy. Even better news is that your baby is handling this much better than you are. As hard as it is to eat healthy during this period there are some things you can do to help ease your discomfort. For starters, eat often. It has been shown that an empty stomach tends to make your morning sickness even worse. This is why so many of us feel so bad when we first wake up. We've had nothing in our system which means our stomach acids are going crazy since nothing is there to soak them up. The trick to this is to eat often. Try eating six mini meals a days and make sure you have plenty of snacks. Make sure you eat often in bed. Before you go to bed for the night have a snack that is high in protein and in carbs such as nuts and raisins, yogurt and bread stick or a cheese and crackers. Keep a stash of crackers or ginger cookies by your bed and make sure you have one before you even think about getting out of bed in the morning. You will always want to eat mainly carbs and protein. Stick with crackers or fruit to give you some comfort during those first few months. Other good snacks are pretzels, saltines and whole grain toast. For fruits stick with melons and bananas. For your protein add a little cheese or some nuts to your snacks or any time you are feeling a little green. Yogurt is also an excellent choice when fighting morning sickness also. Make sure you drink your water. If you are vomiting it is essential that you stay hydrated. Making sure you stay hydrated is probably more important that making sure you eat those first few months. Becoming dehydrated can cause a problem for you and your little one so make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water or juice through out the day. You can also suck on ice chips or fruit juice popsicles if you are having problems keeping liquids down. The most important thing to keep in mind those first three months is not to beat yourself up if you can not eat as healthy as you would like to. You will still have plenty of time to make up for it after you get through this storm. Just make smart choices when it comes to what you eat and snack on and that will pave the way for when you can eat as a normal person. Eating Well Even After Your Pregnancy Congratulations and welcome to parenthood. Your body has gone through a lot these past nine months and it still has a while to go before it is back to normal. The next few months are going to give you and your body a whole new set of challenges especially if you are a first time parent. Recovering from childbirth is exhausting and when you throw a new baby who has no concept of time into the mix and you might find your head spinning. Eating well during this time is almost as important as eating well during your pregnancy. Your body has just been through a traumatic ordeal. If you gave birth vaginally, you mind find yourself recovering from tears and what not. If you gave birth via c-section, you are recovering from major surgery. The first thing most hospitals and doctors like to make sure is that your plumbing and waste systems are working. Eating high fiber food and drinking lots of water after your delivery will help make that first bowel movement a lot less painful. This can be a little hard for women who delivery via c-section because they are usually on a liquid diet for the first 24 hours. You may find you need a little help from either stool softeners or prune juice to make that first trip a little easier. Once you are home from the hospital, you are going to need your energy to take care of the baby. Gone are the nights where you were able to get a full 8 hours of sleep. You might not see that again for at least three months, though ask any parent and they will tell you that getting 8 hours of sleep a night will not happen until your kids are grown and married. Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on you and it is important that you eat healthy to maintain a decent amount of energy. The postpartum period is usually where most women find themselves downing countless amounts of coffee or sugary foods to give them a quick fix. This is not healthy because once you come down from that high, you are going to be even more exhausted than you were before hand. Make sure all of your meals are balanced meals and stock up on quick and healthy snacks such as celery sticks, baby carrots and lots of fruit to get you through the day. Eating healthy can also help you fight the baby blues those first few weeks. Nearly 80% of all women suffer from baby blues. These usually kick in between the 4th and 5th day after delivery and can last for 10 days to 2 weeks. You may find yourself emotional for no reason and you may start to cry for no reason. Some women report a feeling of sadness that they are no longer pregnant and others report a feeling of helplessness when it comes to dealing with their new baby. The baby blues are caused by your hormone levels going back to normal. By maintaining your healthy habits that you practiced during your pregnancy could help you handle your changing emotions a little better. Pregnancy is tough and the post partum period is just as tough. Make sure you take the best care of yourself as possible during this time. Eat right and continue to take your prenatal vitamin to make sure your baby is going to get the best care you are capable of. Prenatal and Pregnancy Prenatal vitamins are one of the most important vitamins that you take through out your pregnancy. Ideally, you should start taking prenatal vitamins when you are trying to conceive a baby. By taking prenatal while you are trying to conceive, you are preparing your body for the challenging task that lies ahead. Some experts believe that taking prenatal before you are pregnant might actually reduce your risk of a miscarriage after you become pregnant. Taking prenatal before pregnancy is not always possible for some people, but taking them during pregnancy is essential. Prenatal vitamins contain one of the most important nutrients that a new mother needs and that are folic acid or folate. By taking in extra folic acid, you lower your chances of your baby being born with an incomplete spinal column which is known as spina bifida. In order for your baby to be protected, it is imperative that folic acid is taken in the first four weeks of fetal development. This can be a problem for women who do not take prenatals before they are pregnant. Most of the time, most women do not know they are pregnant until after they missed their period which is about two weeks after conception. This is why if you are of child bearing age, you should make it a habit of taking folic acid even if you are not planning to become pregnant and we all know that not all pregnancies are planned. You can still get your folic acid in food. Folic acid is added to many breads and pastas and is found in dark green and orange fruits as well as vegetables. Keep in mind though that taking a daily supplement of folic acid offers more protection from spina bifida then eating the same amount of folic acid in food. While you are pregnant you should aim to take at least 600mcg of folic acid a day. If you have had a baby with a neural tube defect, you will have to take 4000 mcg or 4 milligrams of folic acid every day, starting at least a month before you get pregnant. Some women report that they can not take their prenatals especially in their first trimester. Women who suffer from morning sickness and food aversions find that they can not eat much food. Taking a prenatal on an empty stomach can leave you feeling sick and queasy which is why so many women in the first trimester do not take them. Another reason some women report upset stomachs is due to the high iron level that some prenatals have. Not only could this cause an upset stomach, this can also lead to constipation which can already be a problem for some pregnant women. If you find that you can not take your prenatal, talk to your doctor to see if he can give you a prenatal with less iron or give you a folic acid supplement also. The worst thing you could do is not take anything, especially during those first few weeks. Plus Size and Pregnant A majority of plus sized women who are pregnant will experience a healthy pregnancy, but they are at a risk of having a more bumpy ride than someone who is not overweight. Women who are overweight, or have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more are at a greater risk of certain pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. No knows for sure why weight matters so much, as far as most doctors are concerned it is just one piece of the puzzle. The truth is most plus size women go on to have completely uneventful pregnancies and deliver perfect healthy babies as long as they eat well, exercise and watch their weight throughout pregnancy. The biggest problem with being plus sized and pregnant is that you are at a greater for some of the following. Studies have shown that overweight women have a higher rate of neural tube defects which are problems with how your baby's brain and spinal cord develop. These studies are unable to pin point exactly why overweight women are at a higher risk and have a higher rate. Some studies have shown that overweight women have lower blood folate levels than a woman who is of normal weight. Folate is needed especially in the early stages of pregnancy to help avoid neaural tube defects. Because of this, if you are overweight your doctor may prescribe you a prenatal vitamin with 1000 micrograms of folic acid. In fact, if you are overweight and planning on becoming pregnant, you may want to start taking folic acid before you even conceive. Gestational diabetes is another complication that overweight women are at a greater risk of developing. Gestational diabetes is elevated blood-sugar level during pregnancy. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development estimate that women with normal BMI which is between 19 and 24 have a 2% chance of developing gestational diabetes. Overweight women have a 6% chance of developing this condition and obese women or women who have a BMI of 30 or more have a 9% chance of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Remember though that if you are diagnosed with this, you can still go on and have a healthy pregnancy with a modified eating plan. Almost 10% of obese and overweight women develop a condition called gestational hypertension. This is when your blood pressure becomes high with a reading of 140 over 90 or higher after your 20th week of pregnancy but you do not have any protein in your urine. Gestational hypertension is usually a small concern but can put you at a higher risk for preeclampsia (which is indicated by high blood pressure AND protein in your urine), intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth, placental abruption and still birth. If you do go on to develop preeclampsia, your weight is probably not that big of a factor. In fact if you are under 35 and overweight you have LESS of a chance of developing preeclampsia that a woman over 35 and a healthy weight. Perhaps the most common complication for overweight women is longer labors and the possible risk of a cesarean section. Nearly 26-35% of deliveries are cesarean delivery. You are at a bigger risk if you have been diagnosed with preeclampsia or gestational hypertension or have a large baby. Eating healthy throughout your pregnancy and working with your doctor to manage your weight will help reduce these risks and increase your already high chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Planning Ahead While Pregnant Planning ahead when it comes to food could mean the difference between making wise choices and making irrational choices. It helps us learn how to undo our bad habits and being pregnant is a great time to try and change any bad habits you may have. The best way to break bad habits and to form new ones is to constantly plan ahead. You want to plan for snack attacks especially if you are not going to be home. You want to make sure you take some healthy food with you, so that you can resist the temptation of going to the vending machine and taking out that candy bar. Throw some nuts into your pocketbook or some cheese sticks in case of any hunger that might hit you through out the day. Plan your food shopping list. Some people find that when they go to the supermarket with just a rough idea of what they need they usually wind up forgetting something important or they wind up buying half of the food store. Take a few minutes to plan your meals for the week and buy what you need to go with it. Speaking of planning meals, that is a excellent idea. Plan for meals you can realistically prepare. Do not plan for meals that you do not have the time to prepare. You are only going to stress yourself out. Look for recipes that are easy and quick to make. Do not try to make something where you can't pronounce half of the ingredients and need to shop at a gourmet cooking store. Chances are you are still working and the last thing you want to do is come home after a long day and then slave over a complicated recipe. Also, planning your meals out for the week tends to help you be a little more organized for the week. It is no secret that pregnant women tend to forget things and this is due to their changing hormone level. By taking out the time to sit and plan your meals for the week will help you stay a little organized and save you a lot of time. If you already know what you are making for dinner, you do not have to worry about coming home after a long day and standing in front of the fridge trying to decide what to make. You also want to make sure that get yourself in the habit of using vegetables are your main dish. Instead of doing chicken breast with a side salad, make your salad your main dish and the chicken breast a side one. You also want to buy your vegetables as fresh as possible, even if that means making two trips to the grocery store through out the week. The fresher the vegetable, the better they are for you and your baby. The same holds true for fruit also. Keep plenty of fruit on hand, especially if you tend to crave sweet stuff through out your pregnancy. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, you can reach for a piece of fruit dipped in cool whip By planning ahead for the week or even month to come will help you stay on track with your eating and decrease the risk of you making the wrong choice if a craving should hit you. Peanuts and Pregnancy Ask any parent who has a child who is allegeric to peanuts how difficult their live has become. Food shopping can take hours because every food label must be read it and studied to make sure it contains no traces of peanuts. Arrangements for peanut free foods must be made with the child's school ahead of time and other children's birthdays parties can be a parent's worse nightmare. Peanut allergies although common can be one of the most fatal allergies a child could suffer from. Some children are so sensitive to their peanut allergy that if they come into contact with peanuts just from someone else's skin, their life can be at risk. Peanut allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock which is a sever allergic reaction that can be fatal. Peanut allergies are usually not diagnosed until a child reaches the age of 2 or even three years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that parents who have a peanut allergy in the family should wait until their child is at least three years old before giving them peanuts or anything containing peanuts. There are even some conservative obgyns who advise their pregnant patients not to eat peanuts especially if when they are in their third trimester regardless of if there is a history of peanut allergy in the family or not. The reason for this is because in order for a peanut allergy to develop, the child has to come into contact with small traces of a peanut. This contact sensitizes the child so that they later have a severe allergic reaction. Some experts believe that this first sensitization can occur during pregnancy. It is believed that a tiny amount of peanut protein can cross the placenta. In fact a recent study showed that if a women ate peanuts or peanut butter while pregnant their baby could be four times more likely to develop a peanut allergy than a child whose mother didn't eat any peanuts during her pregnancy. This isn't to say though that if you have a no history of nut allergies you should avoid peanuts at all costs. In fact, peanuts and peanut butter are very beneficial to you and your baby. Peanuts are a useful source of folic acid and protein, both which are very important to your and your growing baby. Peanuts and peanut butter has been said to help some women get through the first trimester morning sickness. Keep in mind however that there have been some instances when women who had no history of peanut allegeries in their family and ate a over whelming amount of peanuts or even peanut butter through out their pregnancies wound up with children who had a peanut allergy. Before you decide to throw out all your peanuts and say good bye to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, talk to your doctor. Give your doctor a detailed family history and let him know if there are any peanut allergies in your family. With your doctors help you will be able to create a healthy peanut eating plan for your pregnancy. If you do not feel comfortable at all eating peanuts due to the risk do not let anyone change your mind. It is your body and your child and you have the right to make that decision.
How to Eat for A Healthy Pregnancy You found out you are pregnant. Never has it been more crucial to eat well. Not eating well during your pregnancy can increase your risk of complications. Eating well has never been easier during pregnancy than it is now. First, remember that once you hit the second trimester, you should be eating about 300 more calories a day. Calories provide you with the extra energy that your body needs to grow your baby. Now these extra calories should not give you the right to chow down on every food in your line of site. After all, it is only 300 calories that your are getting. A glass of milk or one banana equals 100 calories and a slice of whole wheat bread, and ounce of cheese and a half of cup of grapes equal 200 calories. See how much more you are eating than if you decide to eat a donut instead. Remember that you need at least three servings of protein each day. Protein contains amino acid which is one of the most important building block for your baby's tissue. Protein is very easy to come by and your options are endless. You can drink 3 glasses of milk, and you can have 2 cups of yogurt along with 3 ounces of cheese. Next, you need at least four servings of calcium every day. Calcium is going to help grow your baby's bones and help protect yours. Milk is the best way to get your fill of calcium, but you can also get your fill of calcium from cheeses, yogurt and even ice cream. Aim for at least three servings of vitamin C. Your body does not store vitamin C so you need a fresh supply of it every day. You can eat fruit or almost any vegetable to get your vitamin C in. You also want to make sure you get three to four servings of green leafy and yellow vegetables and fruits. Most of these veggies and fruits will also count toward your vitamin C intake, so that is double the benefit. You should get in one to two servings of all other fruit and vegetables that are not known for their vitamin A and C value, but are still good for you all the same. Apples, banana, and onions are just a few that are in this category. Eat six or more servings of whole grains and legumes. These are filled with vitamins E and B and they help you battle constipation. Try eating brown rice, whole wheat breads and even air popped corn to get your servings of whole grains and legumes in. Perhaps one of the most important nutrients you and your body need is iron. Your body's demand for iron will never be greater than it is while you are pregnant. You want to make sure you are able to keep up with it. Not enough iron could lead to anemia so you want to make sure you are getting enough iron. If you feel that you are not, talk to your doctor and he might be able to prescribe you a iron supplement. It is always a good idea to eat well every day. However when you are pregnant it is essential that you eat well every day. How to Cope With Food Aversions Do you find yourself suddenly feeling queasy at the thought of the left over pasta that you could not get enough of the other night? Food aversions are a normal part of pregnancy and the flip side to food cravings. Nearly eighty five percent of all pregnant women suffer from food aversions. Food aversion is when food your normally are able to look at, smell and even taste suddenly send you running in the opposite direction. They appear in the first trimester and usually trigger that fun part of pregnancy we call morning sickness. Some women find that they disappear by the start of their second trimester right around the same time morning sickness disappears. Other women find that their food aversions stay with them their whole pregnancy and a few women find that foods they developed aversions to through out the pregnancy stay with them even after they deliver. Just like with food cravings, your hormones are more than likely to blame for your food aversions. Some experts believe that just as food cravings are your body's way of telling you that you need a certain food, food aversions are your body's way of protecting you from eating anything that can harm your baby. This might be why a lot of women report that they experience aversions to alcohol and coffee. The theory is still under debate though because so many pregnant women are turned off by food that is healthy for them and their babies. Try not to fight a healthy aversion. Consider it a blessing if the mere thought of your normal morning cup of joe turns your stomach upside down. Cutting back caffeine will be a walk in the park for you. The same goes for cigarette smoke. Many women have said that the first clue they had that they were pregnant was the fact that the smell of smoke sent them running. Others say that their first clue they were pregnant was when they had actually felt sick when thinking about having a glass of wine with dinner. If you find that you have aversions to healthy food, try to work around it as best as possible. Do not force yourself to eat food that you have aversions too. It is not a pleasant experience; instead try to look for alternatives. Some women find the thought of salad or anything green revolting. If you are one of them, you might be wondering how you are going to get the nutrients and vitamins you need. One alternative is to try and drink some vegetable juice. While drinking vegetable juice is not the same as eating vegetables it has its benefits when you can't look at your veggies. You should also try eating different color veggies like peppers or carrots. If it is protein like fish and chicken that make you sick, get your protein in other forms. Cheese, yogurt, eggs and nuts are fantastic protein alternatives. Or you can try and hide your meat in dishes. Stir chicken into a casserole or mix some seafood into a pasta dish. This way you can still get your protein in, and with less of a risk of getting sick. Just like with morning sickness, do not beat yourself up if you can not eat as healthy as you would like while you are dealing with food aversions. Chances are once you enter your second trimester, they will disappear and you can eat more of a variety of foods. How to Avoid Constipation During Pregnancy It is Murphy's law that just when you are able to get food into your body without having it come back up, that you suddenly find you can not get the food out of your body. Nearly half of all the women who are pregnant suffer from constipation during pregnancy. As with all symptoms of pregnancy there is a reason for constipation. When you are pregnant your body creates progesterone which in turns relaxes the muscles of the bowels and causes your digestive tracks to work much slower. Your digestive track works slower to make sure your body absorbs the nutrients from your food for your baby. This can create constipation, which if it not kept under control, can lead to hemorrhoids. There are some ways you can help avoid constipation throughout your pregnancy. Make sure you included plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber absorbs water and can help to soften your stools and speed their passage. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like whole grain cereal and oatmeal. Instead of eating white bread with your sandwiches, eat whole grain breads. Add some oat bran to your cereals or yogurt. Fresh fruits are also an excellent way to get your fiber in. Melons and plums have a high amount of fiber in them as wells as dried fruits like figs, raisins, apricots and of course the well known favorite prunes. Prunes and prune juice have a like laxative effect and will help keep things moving properly in your body. Aim to eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. You can tell you are getting enough fiber if your stools are large and soft and you aren't straining to pass them. Keep in mind though that too much fiber can lead to diarrhea which can lead to dehydration so do not over do the fiber in your diet. Also, drinking plenty of fluid will help you combat constipation. Fluids help keep digestive products moving through your system so it is very important for you to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. Keeping up with your fluids is important especially if you are increasing your intake of fiber. Your body needs to water to soak up the fiber otherwise it can cause more constipation. Also, make sure you are eating your yogurt if you can. Yogurt has a bacteria called acidophilus that helps stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better. Look at your prenatal. Some of the prenatal that women take contain a lot of iron and iron can play a big part in constipation. Talk to your doctor to see if you can switch for a while to a different prenatal that contains less iron or at least stay off of the prenatal for a while until your constipation is under control. Avoid foods that can lead to constipation. White bread and some cereals such as corn flakes can lead to constipation as well as white rice and bananas. If all this fails, give your doctor a call to see if there is something you can take to help keep you regulated. Most doctors will allow you to take Metamucil to help keep things moving. Constipation is never pleasant but during pregnancy it can be even extra uncomfortable. Make sure you take the steps to avoid constipation. It will help make your pregnancy that much more enjoyable. Healthy weight gain for pregnancy Most doctors will tell you that you should gain anywhere between 25-30 pounds through out your pregnancy. You should aim to gain about 3.5 pounds during your first trimester, although more often than not most women find that they lose weight their first trimester. The culprit to this is morning sickness. Some women suffer from such a severe case of morning sickness they can not keep anything down. Chances are your doctor will not be too concerned if you lose a few pounds that first trimester as long as you gain steady throughout the next two trimesters. Your second trimester is where you will probably put on most of your weight. Most women put on about a pound a week, so roughly four or five pounds a month which brings their second trimester weight gain to about 12-15 pounds. Some women put on more while others put on less. Do not be surprised if you put on a lot of weight one month and not so much your next. For the 7th and 8th month you will should probably continue about a pound each week or so. Look to gain between 8 and 10 pounds those months. Most women find that their weight gain slows down in the 9th month. You might find your weight gain coming to a end as your due date draws nearer. This can be a sign that labor is on the horizon. Or, you may find that your weight gain continues especially if you are retaining a lot of water. So where does all this weight go? It doesn't really make sense that you should gain between 25-30 pounds if your baby is only going to weigh between 7 and 8 pounds. Let's break down where the extra weight goes. First, you have your baby. A average baby weights about 7 1/2 pounds. Some can weigh more and some weigh less. That amniotic fluid that your baby has been swimming in for the past nine months weighs about 2 pounds. Figure in about 2 pounds for your breast enlargement and 1 1/2 pounds for your placenta. Your uterus, which started off about the size of a golf ball has grown to weigh about 2 pounds. Your body should be producing about 4 pounds of extra blood by the end of your pregnancy and about 7 extra pounds of fat. Let's not forget the extra fluid of about 4 pounds that your body might be holding on to. All this equals to the grand total of about 30 pounds. Now keep in mind this is just a estimate and not a guarantee of how your weight will fall. There are women who wind up having a 10 pound baby and others who have a 5 pound baby. The key is to maintain a healthy weight gain throughout your pregnancy. Your body needs extra calories and it is best for you and your baby if those extra calories come from food that has a lot of nutritional value such as fruits, vegetables or protein. Staying away from junk for will help you curb your weight gain. When it comes to taking the weight off, do not be surprise if your body hangs on to it especially those first days after delivery. Once you are home keep this in mind that it took nine months to gain that weight so gives yourself at least a good nine months to take it off. Gestational Diabetes You are twenty eight weeks pregnant! Congratulations, you have made it to your third trimester with a picture perfect pregnancy. You go in to see your obgyn for your appointment and the bomb drops. You have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy complications that women face. It is when pregnant women have high blood sugar levels during their pregnancy. It is not really known what can cause gestational diabetes. Some experts say that overweight women have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, but there is not much evidence to support this. What is known about gestational diabetes is that one of the only cures is to deliver the baby. After delivery your blood sugar level will go back down to normal. The common treatment for gestational diabetes has been insulin shots. Just as if you had diabetes when you were not pregnant, you would have to take shots each day. Some women find though that by changing their diet, they are able to manage their gestational diabetes without having to give themselves a shot of insulin. If you are looking to make dietary changes your doctor will probably refer you to a nutritionist. They will look at several factors when designing a meal plan for you. First they will look at your weight before you got pregnant and how much you have gained since them. Next they will look at your activity level and your blood level. Then they will work with you to design an eating plan that has just the right amount of carbohydrates. Some of the guidelines you should follow are to spread your carbs out through out the day by eating three small meals and two to four snacks. Breakfast might be a meal where you will want to eat less carbs since they can cause your blood sugar to rise quickly. Instead eat a protein filled breakfast with eggs, or even meat. Giving up sweets is one of the best things you can do if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and will make your meal plan easier to follow. It is also important to that you do not skip meals or try going on a low carb diet. This is going to cause your blood levels to fall to low levels and can leave you exhausted and legatheric. Chances are you will have to test your blood sugar levels regularly to make sure you are at a safe level. Some women are so sensitive that they can tell when their levels are low and know what steps to take to correct it. Not taking the steps to keep your gestational diabetes under control not only puts you at a risk of developing type 2 diabetes's later in life, but you are also putting the life of your baby at risk. Babies born from moms who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes tend to be larger than those who aren't. Most doctors will not let a women go past her due date if she has gestational diabetes and a few will not even let them go as far as their due date before inducting them. Larger babies could mean more delivery complications and increase your chance of a c- section. Gestational diabetes is so common these days that no one bats an eye if you say you have it. By eating a healthy diet and watching your sugar level, you will be able to control your blood sugar level and continue with your perfect pregnancy. Foods to Avoid While Pregnant Almost every woman knows the basic of what they should and should not do during pregnancy. They know that caffeine should be cut back; they should not smoke, drink alcohol or spend time in any hot tubs. However more and more studies are being done to see if pregnant women should avoid certain foods for the duration of their pregnancy. It is essential that pregnant women eat a well balanced meal at all times to provide their growing baby with the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that the baby needs to grow. There are some foods though that needs to be avoided due to the risk they pose to not just to the mother, but also to the growing baby. For starters, raw meat needs to be avoided due to the risk of toxoplasmosis and salmonella. This means no more rare steaks, or rare burgers. Pregnant women should take caution and make sure that all of the meat they eat is cooked well done. Cold deli meat should also be avoided because of the risk of listeria. Listeria can cross the placenta and can cause an infection or blood poisoning to the baby. Keep in mind though that deli meat can be reheated until it is steaming and this will help reduce the risk. Speaking of listeria there are other foods that can contain this bacteria. Some soft cheeses such as brie, feta, and gorgonzola. These cheeses are commonly made with unpasterized milk. Unpasterized milk often contains listeria, so pregnant women need to make sure that any soft cheeses they are going to eat are made with pasteurized milk. Fish has always been a subject of debate for pregnant women. While some forms of fish contain essential nutrients that are needed by the baby, others contain a high level of mercury. Any fish with a high level of mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and fish used in sushi should be avoided through out pregnancy. Studies have linked mercury to developmental delays and in some cases brain damage. Tuna also contains a lot of mercury but canned, chunk light tuna has a lower amount of mercury and can be eaten in moderation. Raw shellfish also should be avoided through out pregnancy. Raw eggs or anything containing raw eggs is a no no during pregnancy. There is a potential exposure to salmonella. This means no raw cookie dough, no brownie mix, and some homemade sauces such as hollandaise, Caesar dressing and blue cheese dressing. When dining in a restaurant, it would be wise to ask any sauces or dressings contain any raw eggs. Most restaurants should be using pasteurized eggs in any raw egg recipe but one should still double check. There has never been a more important time to be careful what a woman eats then when she is pregnant. Some of the above foods have been linked to miscarriages and other birth defects. If you are pregnant and you have already indulged in a few of the foods you should not have, do not panic. Chances are, you and your baby are fine but take extra care to avoid these foods in the future. Food Cravings During Pregnancy Do pickles and ice cream sound good to you? How about red peppers and peanut butter? If these do, you are probably a pregnant woman who has just gone looking for that ice cream carton you know you have buried in your freezer. More than three quarters of all pregnant women experience cravings at some point. The most common cravings are for sweets, dairy products and salty foods although there are some weird cravings out there. Some women have been known to put black olives on cheesecake, while others have been known to dip fruit in salsa. As bizarre as some cravings can be, they are mainly perfectly safe. There are old wives tales that believe what you crave could be a good indication of the sex of your baby. If you are craving sweets you are having a girl. If you crave meats or cheeses, it is believed you are having a boy. Cravings are something that most women love most about pregnancy. It is when a woman is craving dirt or clay that an alarm should go off. If you should find yourself craving dirt, soil, or chalk call your doctor right away. Not only could these be harmful if you do eat them, but chances are they are a sign of iron-deficiency anemia. Most doctors believe that cravings can be nutritionally based. That is to say the cravings are a message from your body on what it needs to eat. If you are craving salts foods it could be because your body needs more sodium as your blood volume increases. If you are craving fruit, your body might need more vitamins C. The problem is sometimes the message gets lost on the way to our brain. You may find yourself craving something sweet and instead of getting berries or fruit, you find yourself gulping down snicker bars by the cart full. Cravings can be the downfall of your weight gain especially if the message is getting scrambled. There are some ways though you can help curb your cravings. For starters, eat a good breakfast. Eating a good breakfast can prevent cravings later in the day. You also want to try and make wise choices by looking for healthier alternatives. If you are dying for potato chips try eating some soy crisps. Instead of ice cream, try frozen yogurt. If you feel like candy is calling your name, snack on some frozen grapes. If you want something salty try pretzels, or even rice cakes to satisfy that urge. A good substation for soda would be some fruit juice mixed with sparkling water. Next, think small. If you are craving chocolate, you do no need to reach for a king size bar. The snack size bar will satisfy your craving just the same. If you want a brownie, have one; just do not eat the whole pan. There is nothing wrong with indulging in a few of your cravings as long as you know not to over do it. Giving in to your cravings during pregnancy does not make you a bad person and it is not something you should beat yourself up about and feel guilty about. Cravings are a normal part of pregnancy and denying yourself all the time might make you resent being pregnant. Indulge when you want to, just make sure you make wise choices and do everything in moderation. Exercise During Pregnancy For some women the thought of exercise during pregnancy is as appealing as a root canal without novacane. In their minds they have a nine month pass to keeping up with their gym routine. The first three months they are battling morning sickness and exhaustion. The next three months they are beginning to show. The last three months are so uncomfortable that walking ten feet to the bathroom is pure torture, so there is no way they will be able to walk on a treadmill for ten minutes. On the other side of the coin, there are some women who do not let something as little as creating a life stand in their way of exercise. These are the women we might see actually teaching a class at the gym, or speed walking throughout our neighborhood with their protruding bellies. Most of us however fall somewhere in the middle and that is just how their doctors like it. Exercise comes highly recommended when pregnant. Not only does it help control weight gain, but some women swear it helps with delivery also. There are some things to keep in mind in order to protect yourself and your growing little one. For starters you need to keep an eye on your heart rate as you are working out. Letting your heart rate rise to high could be dangerous to your little one especially in your first trimester. You want to maintain a steady heart rate and should do the talk test throughout your workout to make sure you are at a safe level. The talk test is when you talk during your workout. If you are having a hard time talking and wind up huffy and puffing more than getting out actual words, then you are working too hard and need to take it down. Most doctors recommend that you work at a pace where talking is challenging but still doable. Pregnancy is not the time to try out new exercise routines. This means that you should not try the new spinning class that your gym offers. Stick with the routine you have already been doing and that your body is use to. You may find that you have to make some modifications to some of your exercises as your pregnancy progresses. If you are a runner, a modified low impact jog through out your first trimester is fine but once you enter your second trimester and begin to show, your jog has to be brought down to a walk. For those of you who love sit ups, crunches and floor pushups, you can continue to do these up until you hit about 14 weeks or so. After that time period no floor exercises are recommending. If you do not have any sort of exercise routine in place before you get pregnant, this still does not give you a free pass. Almost every doctor will tell you that walking is a great exercise for any pregnant women who are not high risk. Walking at least thirty minutes, three times a week is a safe way for a pregnant woman to stay active. Walking is something you can do through out all three trimesters though you might find yourself moving at a slower pace by your third trimester. Another great plus to walking, especially as you approach your due date, is that walking can actually bring on labor. Many doctors will advise their patients to walk, walk and walk some more in the weeks leading up to their due dates to get things rolling. Some women who have walked throughout their entire pregnancy have an easier delivery and recovery period. The days of pregnant women kicking their feet up and not moving from the couch for nine months are days of the past. While strenuous exercise is a no no pregnancy is no longer a good excuse to stop moving. Eating to Prevent Heartburn Heartburn does not just affect those who are high stressed or love their spicy foods. Pregnant women suffer from heartburn too. You will find as your pregnancy progresses that antacids tend to become your best friend. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. It is when the acid from your stomach leaks up into the esophagus. Heartburn is very common during pregnancy. In fact one in four women experience heartburn during their pregnancy usually during the third trimester. The reason is that your baby has grown a tremendous amount and your uterus has moved up and is now putting pressure on your stomach. This crowds the digestive tract and allows acids to travel back up the esophagus. There is an old wives tale that if you have bad heartburn, your baby will have a lot of hair. Of course there is no proof in this but it is a fun thing to believe in. There are ways you can help prevent heartburn during pregnancy. You can start by taking your time while you eat. Not only will you enjoy your food better but your stomach will not have to work as hard to digest your food. You also want to try eating early and eat at least two hours before you go to bed that night so your body has plenty of time to digest your food. Keep your meals small. Stick with eating six small meals through out the day. Large meals tend to stuff up your stomach which is already extra squashed thanks to your uterus. A stuffed stomach makes it that more likely that some of the food along with stomach acid will make its way back up the esophagus. Also, make sure you keep your fluids and solids separate. Too much fluid mixed with too much food can distend the stomach which can aggravate heartburn. You also want to eat sitting up. Don't eat while lying down, and if you are having a bed time snack make sure you are propped up by pillows. Your weight plays a part in how much heartburn you may experience. The heavier you are, the more pressure you are placing on your esophageal sphincter. This is another reason why you should not gain to much more than the recommended amount. Find out what foods cause your heartburn. Once you figure out what foods cause heartburn, you can cut them out of your diet. Some foods you might want to steer clear of are highly seasoned spicy foods, soda, tomatoes sauce, chocolate, and some citrus. Greasy foods are also a big contributor to heartburn. Cutting out greasy, fried food is going to help with your heartburn prevention. When all else fails, take something for your heartburn. Tums and Rolaids are perfectly safe to take during pregnancy. If you are not comfortable taking any over the counter medicines try some natural ways such as eating a handful of almonds. Almonds are a stomach settler and might help with your heartburn. Another natural remedy is a tablespoon of honey mixed with milk is a favorite for preventing heartburn. Like with some pregnancy discomforts, heartburn is one that can be avoided as long as you take the steps and eat properly. Even without suffering from a lot of heartburn, your baby still could be born with a full head of hair. Eating to Conceive Almost every woman knows that it is important to eat well while you are pregnant. The benefit it provides you and your baby is invaluable. But, do you also know how important it is to eat well even before you get pregnant? If you are actively trying to get pregnant you have to make sure your body is prepared to accept the challenge. The first thing you should do before even beginning to try is to talk to your doctor to see how you measure up health wise. Does he think you need to lose a few pounds before getting pregnant or does he feel you need to gain a few? Your doctor may recommend that you change your eating habits and start exercising. As soon as you decide you want a baby, you should begin to get in the habit of eating healthier. Slowly begin to cut out caffeine. If you smoke, now is a good time to quit rather than waiting until you have that positive test. Smoking can decrease your fertility and increase your risk of a miscarriage if you are still smoking when you are pregnant. Another thing you can do is to start taking prenatals or at least a multivitamin supplement that contains at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. You can also begin to add food into your diet that is rich in folic acid such as spinach and other green vegetables, peanuts, and orange juice. You can also start by taking a prenatal vitamin also. These vitamins contain iron, folic acid, and calcium along with vitamin C, D, B and vitamins B6 and B12 also. Reevaluated your diet. Start to eat foods that have plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Lay off the fat and excess sugar. You want to eat foods that have a high nutrient density. Eat at least five portions a day of fruits and vegetables along with protein and iron rich foods like dried fruit, and green vegetables. Try to steer clear of raw fish like sushi, and steer clear of undercook shellfish, meat or chicken. You also want to try to avoid fish that has high mercury content like swordfish, shark, or king mackerel. Cut out any food that has unpasteurized milk in it including cheeses such as brie, camembert, and some Mexican cheese. Also cut out foods that have raw egg in it including homemade cookie dough. Make sure you up your water intake. Water should always be your first beverage choice before, after and during your pregnancy. Water helps to flush your system of toxins. Once you've gotten your eight glasses in, you can drink fruit and vegetable juices also. Perhaps the most important thing you can do before you get pregnant is to cut out all alcohol. The American College of Obstetricians and gynecologists have stated that women who drink might have a harder time getting pregnant than women who do not drink. Another reason why you should give up alcohol is that most birth defects that are caused by alcohol exposure usually occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy, usually before you even know you are pregnant. Getting your body prepared for pregnancy is one of the best decisions you could make. Your body will be more prepared for the challenge of growing a baby and the experience will be a little easier on your body. Eating to Beat Pregnancy Fatigue Ask any pregnant woman who is in her first or third trimester how they are feeling and the answer will almost always be "tired". One of the first clues that many women have that they may be expecting a visit from the stork is the fact that they find themselves droopy eyed in the middle of the day for no reason. You may find that doing a simply task as walking around the block leaves your desperate for an afternoon nap. The energy you use to have is now faced with the challenge of growing a baby and your body is hard at work. You are also producing more blood, using more water and nutrients and have a higher heart rate and metabolism when you are pregnant. While the best defensive against the tiredness you will face is to get more sleep. There are also some healthy foods choices you can make that will help you get through your day if you do not have the opportunities to take naps. First, adjust the size of your meals. Anyone who eats a large meal is going to feel tired afterwards regardless of if they are pregnant or not. Being pregnant is going to make the effect of a big meal that much worse. Most of your energy is going to be used towards digesting the meal so of course you will feel sluggish and drained. Eat smaller meals and eat more often. Eating six small meals a day will help you combat fatigue. Eating a good breakfast is the best way to start your day. You are refueling your body after a long foodless night with a good breakfast. A good breakfast is not a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. You want to stick to complex carbs and protein. Whole grain cereal and a banana for example. These foods will stay with you and keep your blood sugar and energy level up for quiet a while. Do not skip lunch. There are many people who skip lunch thinking they will make up for it by having a big dinner. This is bad when you are not pregnant but it's even worse when you are pregnant. You need that midday meal to help refuel your body. As with your breakfast, you should keep it filled with whole grains and protein. Have a whole grain pita and stuff it with chicken salad and add a side of grapes or an apple. Plan to eat most of your calories during the day. A pregnant woman needs an extra 300 calories a day throughout their second and third trimester. The first trimester those are not needed yet. You should eat these extra calories through out the day in the form of healthy snacks such as nuts, cheese, veggies and dip. Do not save your biggest meal until the end of the day. Your body needs these calories to help you get through your day. Steer clear of the quick sugar fixes like candy and soda. In the end these will only make you more tired. Lastly, make sure you are getting enough iron. Eat iron fortified food such as spinach and lean red meat to keep your energy up. There are times when extreme fatigue could be the symptom of an iron deficiency and you might need an iron supplement also. Besides eating well, make sure you get plenty of rest even if this means pushing your bedtime up and giving up those late night TV talk shows. As any parents of newborns will tell you, get your rest while you still can. Eating for Breastfeeding In your third trimester, your baby was old enough to start getting a taste of the foods his or her mommy likes. Now that your baby is here and you're breast feeding, your baby will get an even better taste of your favorite food. Typically if you are nursing your baby you should produce anywhere from 23 to 27 ounces of milk a day. In order to do this, you need to increase your calorie intake by about 500 more a day. You also have to increase your water consumption to at least 2 1/2 to 3 quarts of water a day. You may notice that you are thirstier during nursing session. This is because the water you drink goes right to milk production. Try not to drink more than 3 quarts of water a day. Anything more than 3 quarts can reduce the amount of milk your body produces. As stated earlier, you need to up your calorie intake. Plan to take in about 2500 calories a day or more if you are planning to nurse for longer than three months. These extra calories should not come from junk food. Junk food and sweets are just empty calories and offer no nutritional value to you or your baby. Eat more protein. A good rule of thumb is to eat 1 gram of protein each day for every pound you weigh. If you weigh 150, aim to eat 150grams of protein a day. If you were not doing so during pregnancy, adopt the six meals a day program. Eat breakfast, a midday snack, lunch, a mid afternoon snack, dinner and a night time snack. Your body is going to be making milk continually so it is a good idea to keep it charged with calories through out the day. There are some foods you might want to avoid during pregnancy. Pretty much everything passes through breast milk and to the baby. This is why the first thing pediatricians advise nursing moms to do when their baby has colic is to look at what they are eating. Chocolate has been blamed in many cases of colic and can cause an upset tummy for most babies. f you have a baby with a tummy ache think back to see if you had a candy bar or even a cookie in the hours before you nursed. The best advice is to stay away from chocolate while you are nursing. Stay away from greasy and spicy foods while you are breastfeeding. Greasy foods sometimes upset adults stomachs, imagine what it would do to your baby's immature stomach? Wait until your baby is older and no longer nursing before you start making trips back to McDonalds. You may also want to stay away from garlic and onions while you are breast feeding. Both of these can flavor the breast milk and you may find that your little one will not nurse if you have eaten these. Your little one may be just a tad too young to appreciate the taste of garlic and onions anyway. Remember it takes a few hours for the food you eat to make its way into your breast milk. You may have eaten one of these foods right before you nurse and see your baby is fine but by either the following nursing session or the one after you might find your baby having a reaction then. Your breast milk does not only taste like what you eat, but also what you drink. Just as with pregnancy, you should stay away from a lot of caffeine while breastfeeding. You might need some coffee or caffeine filled soda to keep you functioning and a cup or two will not hurt you or your baby, but too much could have disastrous effects. Just as we experience the jitters and shakes from too much caffeine, your baby does also. Keep your caffeine down to a minimum. You have made an excellent choice breastfeeding your baby. Keep it up by making good choices as to what you eat. Caffeine and Pregnancy: How much is too much One of the first things most of us women prepare to say goodbye to once we see those two pink lines on our pregnancy tests is caffeine. Many women will stop their caffeine habit cold turkey out of the sheer fear of doing some sort of damage to the new life growing inside of them. These women will swear off anything that has caffeine in it from coffee, and soda to even chocolate. Then there are some of us who will still drink caffeine but cut back. Instead of drinking five cups of coffee a day, we might cut back to at least one cup of coffee to get us through the day. Our mothers and grandmothers will probably tell us that they drank the same amount of caffeine pregnant as they did when they were not pregnant and their children turned out fine. However a lot more research has been done since their time and studies are showing that too much caffeine can cause some complications such as preterm labor and/or low birth weight. So how much caffeine is too much caffeine? Doctors are telling their patients that a moderate amount of caffeine will not harm their babies. Even though caffeine does cross the placenta, anything less than 300 milligrams a day (an 8 ounce cup of strong coffee) will not do any harm. Anything over 300 milligrams puts your baby at risk and studies have also shown that women who drink more than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day during their first trimester have a slightly higher risk of a miscarriage. Studies have also shown that women who had over 500 milligrams of caffeine a day had babies who had faster heart rates and faster breathing rates. These babies also spent more time awake in their first few days of life rather than peacefully sleeping after their long journey. There are a number of other reasons why we women might want to cut back on the amount of caffeine we drink during pregnancy. For starters, it has no nutritional value. If there is ever a time for us to be aware of our nutritional needs it is when we are pregnant. Second, caffeine is a stimulant which will increase your heart rate and can cause insomnia and headaches which can put some stress on your growing little one. Third, caffeine can cause heartburn. If you have been pregnant before you know that heartburn can be a burden to begin with, and caffeine just makes it worse. Lastly it is a diuretic which means it can cause you to lose fluids which can put you at a risk of becoming dehydrated. While it is not necessary for you to give up all caffeine through out the duration of your pregnancy, you should learn how to drink it in moderation or don't drink it at all. If you can not handle having only one cup of coffee a day, then you might be better off drinking no coffee at all. Stick with caffeine free sodas and even decaf coffee. Remember though that decaf coffee still contains small traces of caffeine so make sure you take that into consideration.
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