Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
By Lisa Zartman, RNC-MNN
“Eating for two”, unfortunately, does not mean eating twice as much! Actually, most pregnant women only need around 300 extra calories daily. While pregnancy is never a safe time to start a weight loss diet, if you happen to be overweight already, eating a well balanced, nutritious diet during your pregnancy will not only help your baby grow, but also help you maintain a safe weight gain.
Benefits of healthy eating during pregnancy:
- Minimize pregnancy discomforts like nausea and constipation
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Maintain baby’s healthy growth and weight gain
- Helps you to feel your best
So, how do you do this? By eating a variety of the following:
- Vegetables: 2-3 cups per day of raw or cooked vegetables. There are so many choices and varieties. Make it fun by trying some you’ve never had! You might find a new
- Fruits: 1 ½-2 cups per This could be fresh, frozen, or canned (but watch the syrup; packed in water is best). Again, there are so many varieties to keep it interesting.
- Grains: 6-8 servings per Make at least half of them whole grains, like oats, brown rice, and whole wheat breads and pastas.
- Proteins: 5-6 ounces per Healthy examples are lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, seafood, and fish without mercury. Safe fish are shrimp, salmon, sardines, catfish, cod, tilapia, trout, and canned light tuna. 8-12 ounces per week of these fish are recommended.
- Dairy Products: 3 cups every day throughout your Low-fat or skim is the better option. This includes yogurt. Keep in mind 2 slices of cheese or ⅓ cup of shredded cheese equal one cup
FOODS TO AVOID
- Hot dogs, processed deli/luncheon meats
- Unpasteurized dairy products
- Undercooked or raw eggs
- Raw fish/sushi, however, cooked sushi is safe
- Fish with mercury (see safe fish above)
- No amount is safe!
- Limit caffeine, added sugar, and added salt
As your pregnancy advances, eating six small meals a day may keep you more comfortable, more energized, and decrease nausea. Remember your daily prenatal vitamin to prevent neural tube defects, which are defects of the brain and spinal cord.
March of Dimes Eating Healthy During Pregnancy
Eating healthy during pregnancy (marchofdimes.org)
John Hopkins University Nutrition During Pregnancy
Nutrition During Pregnancy | Johns Hopkins Medicine
US Department of Health and Human Services Eat Healthy During Pregnancy
Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Quick tips – MyHealthfinder | health.gov
Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
By Lisa Zartman, RNC-MNN
Exercising during pregnancy is safe, as long as you are healthy with a normal pregnancy. Alway check with your OB doctor first, but if he gives you the green light to go, here are some safe exercises you can do and the benefits of doing them.
Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy:
- Better sleep
- Lessens constipation
- Eases back pain and joint discomforts
- Keeps your weight in check and helps you lose the baby weight quicker after delivery
- Strengthens your heart and blood vessels
- Lifts your mood
- Increases your energy level
- May decrease labor time
- May decrease risk of cesarean delivery
- May decrease risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia
How Much Exercise?
A good goal is 30 minutes per day. Slowly work yourself up to this goal if you are new to exercise. Is pregnancy a good time to start exercising if you haven’t been? Yes! Provided you start slow and have your doctor’s okay, there is no better time or reason than pregnancy! It will be great for you and your baby and the healthy habits you start in pregnancy will hopefully follow you through life with your child.
- Walking is the easiest and safest option.
- Step and elliptical machines
- Stationary cycling
- Yoga or Pilates for pregnancy, with modified poses. There are classes and videos available.
- Low impact aerobics
Avoid These Exercises:
- Direct contact sports
- Any exercise with a risk of falling
- Exercise requiring you to lie flat on your back
- Exercise with excessive jumping, bouncing, or running
- Any exercise with risk of blunt abdominal trauma such as kickboxing
- Exercising in very hot and humid weather
Precautions and Tips:
- Stay hydrated. Drink water before, during, and after exercise
- Wear a sports bra to support your growing breasts, and possibly a belly band as pregnancy progresses
- Stretch and warm up first. Stretch gently after exercise
- Wear comfortable clothes and supportive shoes
- Wait 1 hour after eating to exercise
- Avoid becoming overheated
- Don’t overdo it. If you can’t talk, slow down
Warning Signs to Stop and Call Your Doctor:
- Chest pain
- Vaginal bleeding or leaking of any vaginal fluid
- Shortness of breath before beginning exercise
- Uterine contractions
If you follow these guidelines, accompanied with a healthy diet, you should have a greater chance of experiencing a healthy pregnancy, hopefully, with minimal discomforts. Pregnancy is a state of health to be celebrated. May this time of growing an amazing human being be the incentive you need to put one foot in front of the other on your journey to lifelong health.
ACOG The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Exercise During Pregnancy Exercise During Pregnancy | ACOG
Mayo Clinic Pregnancy Week by Week
Pregnancy and exercise: Baby, let’s move! – Mayo Clinic
Web MD Exercise During Pregnancy
Pregnancy and Exercise (webmd.com)