How To Go The Extra Mile With Pregnancy Nutrition

Pregnancy is perhaps the most overwhelming phase in a woman’s life, as it entails several ups and downs. Some days are exciting because you cannot wait to hold your tiny bundle of joy in your arms. Conversely, other days are daunting as you worry about your baby’s well-being, labor pain, and possible complications. But the good thing is that most pregnancies have healthy outcomes, so you must try to skip the worries and focus on completing your journey with positivity and hope.

Good nutrition ensures a safe and healthy pregnancy unless there are other complications. But women often fail to understand that a gestational diet is more than eating for two. It is a broad term comprising the right nutrients, proper timelines, and healthy eating habits. At the same time, you deal with challenges like nausea, loss of appetite, and cravings for unhealthy foods. Although there is no magic bullet for perfect nutrition during pregnancy, you can follow these simple tips to go the extra mile for your little one. 

Count your calories 

As your body supports a fetus during gestation, it requires additional calories to sustain itself and the growing baby. Typically, an extra intake of 300 calories daily is enough. But the additional calories need not be a reason to worry because you need to gain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Of course, you can lose it later with positive lifestyle changes. 

You must count your calories, but not for the purpose of reducing them. Also, ensure they come from nutritionally-rich food sources because those coming from unhealthy sources do more harm than good. Choose fruits and veggies to get the surplus calorie intake instead of splurging on cookies and ice cream. Occasional feasting is allowed, but avoid sugar and processed foods as much as possible.

Focus on nutrients

Besides counting the calories, you must focus on getting the apt nutrient mix for a healthy pregnancy. Your baby benefits from the nutrients you consume, so you must have enough of each. Protein supports fetal growth, iron boosts hemoglobin levels, and calcium boosts the bone strength of the fetus. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) helps with eye and brain development. 

You can get plenty of these nutrients from food sources. Your doctor can recommend the best food sources and optimal daily intake of nutrients. Create a diet plan to stay on track with your nutritional requirements. Remember not to diet during pregnancy, even if you are overweight. You only need to tailor your intake according to your doctor’s order.

Address gaps with supplements

Even the best dietary regimen during pregnancy may not be enough to fulfill the growing needs of the fetus. Thankfully, you can address the gaps with safe and healthy supplements. Your gynecologist will recommend folic acid from early pregnancy because it lowers the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. 

Multivitamins also lower the risk of anemia and preeclampsia in pregnant women. You can discuss sea moss as a natural supplementation option to replenish fiber, minerals, and protein. Moderate intake is safe and beneficial, so you can seek recommendations on the ideal amount for daily consumption. 

Stay hydrated

Good hydration is another aspect of nutrition pregnant women must prioritize. But you may miss out on it as the focus is mainly on eating right. Morning sickness and queasiness can also keep you from drinking enough fluids. Remember that you must have at least ten glasses of fluids daily. 

Water is the best option, though you may pick healthy alternatives like milk, herbal tea, fresh fruit juice, and coconut water. But skip alcohol and caffeine as they are not good for the baby’s health.  You may have coffee occasionally, but limiting intake is better. Avoid soda and sugar-laden drinks as well.

Never skip meals

The initial phase is challenging for most women as the hormonal changes cause nausea and morning sickness. You may even experience a loss of appetite, and it can affect fetal health. Experts recommend sticking with mealtimes, specifically breakfast, even if you feel queasy. Your body is deprived in the morning, so the nutritional requirements are the highest at this time. 

Start the day with whole wheat toast in bed, and eat more food after a couple of hours. Fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, and fortified cereals make the best options for the first meal. Eat small and frequent meals during the day. Also, avoid unhealthy snacking as it can cause weight gain and other complications for the baby.

Practice mindful eating

Another valuable piece of advice for would-be mommies is to practice slow and mindful eating. Add more color to your plate because fresh, colorful fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants that are great for fetal health. Also, be conscious about your food choices at home and outside because everything you eat affects the little one. 

Eating mindfully is also about chewing every bite and experiencing the flavors. The practice maximizes the intake of nutrients and perks your mood. You also feel satiated with less, which supports the frequent-eating habit for a healthy pregnancy. 

Choose organic

Organic foods are great for health because they limit exposure to chemicals in the form of pesticides and fertilizers. You must go the extra mile to buy organic and locally-sourced foods instead of packaged variants on store shelves. Visit the local market often and eat more seasonal produce.

Growing your own food is an even better idea. Planting a garden in the backyard or on your balcony may require some effort, but it is worthwhile. You can also derive the mental health benefits of rearing a garden during pregnancy.

Optimal nutrition is the mainstay of a healthy pregnancy, but it is not about eating for two. A healthy diet plan for a would-be mommy is more about filling up healthy nutrients, skipping unhealthy foods and drinks, and covering the gaps with supplementation. You must also time your meals well and eat mindfully to make the most of your daily diet. Following these simple nutrition rules maximizes the chances of cruising through a safe pregnancy and bringing a healthy baby to the world.

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