eating in awareness for the childbearing year

Eating in awareness

Eating well before conception assists in the chances of getting pregnant and the development of your baby. In fact, some people believe diet before conception affects the development of your baby more than during pregnancy. There are four vital nutrients for conception: Vitamins A & D, iodine and omega 3 fats.

What are the benefits of eating well during pregnancy?
Nutrition helps with your birth, the placenta, you baby’s health, postpartum healing and breastfeeding. During pregnancy the mama’s blood volume doubles. A healthy woman in pregnancy will gain 25 to 40 pounds . . .possibly more. It is important to get plenty of protein during pregnancy as a mother with adequate weight gain can have a low weight baby if she is not getting enough. By the second trimester the baby is growing rapidly, so you will most likely have an increase in your appetite. By the third trimester your digestion slows down, as there is less space for all of your organs. It is best to eat smaller and more frequent meals at this point if you haven’t already begun doing so.

Nutrition is a key component to a healthy pregnancy.

A good diet can help prevent: anemia, preterm birth, preeclampsia, fetal distress in labor, low birth weight, postpartum hemorrhage, mental retardation, learning disabilities, and hypertension.

A “good” diet consists of whole nutrient dense foods, also known as whole foods. During pregnancy it is best to eat minimally processed foods. Processed foods are foods like white flour, white sugar, and high fructose syrup. Many things we buy today prepackaged have been processed. It is important to become an ingredient detective! Read your labels.

Think whole foods diet and think the rainbow. You want to eat an assortment of foods for a variety of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. There are many philosophies in the realm of food. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic, pescatarian, gluten free, a raw foodist or an omnivore, trust your body. What sort of things do you crave? What tastes good to you? Your body will tell you what to avoid early on by your sense of taste and smell. However, if you eat a diet filled with processed foods, your body will crave these foods until you wean off of them.

Key things to remember—

--Rotate your foods . . .taste the rainbow.
--Place an emphasis on the following things: protein, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, DHA, fatty acids, Vitamins A, C, E, and D.
--Eat locally, organic and in season when possible.
--Avoid all refined sugars; eat sweeteners in moderation, including fruit.
--Remember you are eating for two . . .many women find it easier to eat smaller, more frequent meals each day.
--Each time you eat you teaching your baby how to nourish the body. Eat with mindfulness.

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