Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Did you know that the period between Mother's Day and Father's Day is known as National Family Month? It's a good time to remind folks that a healthy family starts during pregnancy. Medical research shows that a mother's health during the nine months of pregnancy not only affects a baby's development in the womb, but also influences the child's health through adulthood.
First 5 LA is working to ensure that babies are born healthy and ready to thrive once they enter the world. We've assembled some tips to help mothers take better care of themselves and their baby during pregnancy. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before taking any medications or starting an exercise or diet regimen.
- The first step to a healthy pregnancy is taking a prenatal vitamin every day. Prenatal supplements contain a host of vitamins to boost your health, including folic acid and iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc and calcium which are all important when you're pregnant.
- Folic acid can help reduce the chances of neural tube defects by up to 70 percent. Be sure you are taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid as soon as you learn you are pregnant.
- Foods like beans and legumes, citrus fruits and juices, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, poultry, pork, fish and shellfish all contain healthy amounts of folate in addition to your daily vitamin.
- Taking a vitamin is no substitute for a healthy diet. They are meant to supplement your diet, and aren't meant to be your only source of much-needed nutrients.
Eat Right, Not Twice
- Research suggests that women should only increase their caloric intake by 10 percent. In fact, you only need an additional 300 calories a day - that's about half a cup of nuts or two cups of milk.
- Make sure to eat healthy - lots of vegetables and fruit; protein from lean meats, eggs and nuts; and low-fat dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk and steer clear of "empty calories," those calories that come from added sugars and solid fats.
- Because your growing baby's calcium demands are high, you should get 1,200 milligrams a day to prevent a loss from your own bones.
- Iron helps support your 50 percent increase in blood volume. Aim for 30 mg of iron every day from iron-rich foods such as red meat, salmon, eggs, tofu, dark poultry, enriched grains, beans and peas and dark leafy green vegetables.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids boost your baby's brain development before birth. The National Institutes of Health recommend that pregnant and nursing women get at least 300 milligrams in their daily diet.
- Choose fish that are high in omega-3s but low in mercury, which can harm a fetus's nervous system. Avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish and, some experts now say, tuna. Include wild Alaskan salmon, Atlantic mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies. Fish oil supplements are also safe.
- Most experts recommend gaining about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.
- Regular exercise during pregnancy can help prevent excess weight gain, improve sleep, boost your mood, improve circulation and lessen recovery time.
- Low-impact, moderate-intensity activities such as walking and swimming are great.
- Talk to your doctor before beginning or continuing any exercise regimen. And use common sense - slow down or stop if you get short of breath or feel uncomfortable.
- Drinking enough water prevents dehydration which can lead to headaches, nausea, cramps, edema and can trigger preterm labor. Aim for 2.3 liters, or about 10 cups of water per day.
Related Topics: Mothers' Health
2019 May 10 and 12: Happy Mother’s Day! Whichever day you celebrate, make this...Read More
Self-care: that buzzy compound word of the moment. Just hearing it can immediately...Read More
Have five minutes? Help your child learn and grow in just five minutes or less,...Read More
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, preconception health—a...Read More