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Pregnant women who want to achieve or maintain good health should choose a diet that is balanced with vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and protein. They should also consume about 300 extra calories per day after the first trimester to help promote proper growth of their babies. The best food to get these essential nutrients from are complex carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables or whole grain) and healthy fats from nuts, flaxseed and leafy vegetables. For best results, only consume organic foods. Besides foods, pregnant women should also stay physically active. Pregnancy exercises are recommended because they are great for improving physical and mental health during pregnancy. These exercises can help increase stamina, improve muscle strength and breathing, and keep women in shape so they are more prepared for labor.
- Is it safe to consume caffeine during pregnancy? There had been many studies that shown how caffeine affects pregnancy. Some studies have linked caffeine to miscarriage and others have not. After decades of studies and controversies, most researchers had a general agreement that consuming large quantities of caffeine can increase miscarriage. According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, expectant mothers who consumed over 200 milligrams of caffeine a day had double their risk of miscarriage compared to those who did not. To be on the safe side, you should limit you caffeine intakes or avoid it completely.
- Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy? Exercising when you are pregnant should be safe as long as you focus on low-impact exercises. Avoid exercises that may increase the risk of falls and injuries, such as contact sports, heavy lifting and running. Some of the best exercises for pregnancy are swimming, yoga, breathing and stationary exercises. These exercises do not require a lot of energy and bear less weight on the body. After the first few months of pregnancy, avoid exercises that involve lying on your back because the weight of the baby may make it harder to breath and can interfere with blood circulation.
- Is infant (baby) formula milk safe? Infant formula made from cow milk is safe to a certain point because it is not lethal for your baby but can cause health problems later in life. Studies have shown that infants who are fed with infant formula tend to have more health problems, such as tooth decay, constipation, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, allergies, seizures, obesity and may be more prone to diseases. One of the reasons why they may be more prone to diseases is because infant formula has no antibodies that are found in human breast milk. Another popular infant formula milk is soy-based formula which uses soy instead of cow milk. One of the major problems found in soy-based formula is the presence of isoflavones. Isoflavones are estrogen-like compounds which has been shown to disrupt growth patterns, alter hormones and may even cause sterility. A hidden danger in soy-based formula is genetically engineered ingredients. If you live in the U.S., most of its soy products are genetically engineered. Contamination is also a concern in formula milk because government regulations are not as strict as they should be. A good example of this was the incident in China that involved formula milk tainted with the industrial chemical melamine. This chemical can cause kidney failure and even deaths in newborns. China’s regulations may not be as strict as the United States but even strict laws cannot guaranteed that baby formula is free of toxins.
Pregnancy diets and tips
- Drinking water: Pregnant women should drink about 6 to 8 cups of water per day to keep them hydrated. The amount may vary depending on their weight, diet and activity level. The body is made up of about 70 percent water which makes it the most prominent nutrient in the body. Water is needed for energy, removal of toxins, transfer of nutrients, and normal cell functions. Most of the water treatment systems in the United States are nearly a century overdue and are not designed to filter out new contaminants, such as pesticides, arsenic, lead, mercury and industrial chemicals. It would be a good idea to invest money on a water purification system that can filter out these new contaminants so you and your baby’s health will not suffer.
- Fatigue: It is normal to feel tired during the first few weeks of pregnancy but this can be reduced by providing your body with enough B-vitamins, especially vitamin B9 (folate), which is important for preventing neural tube defects in newborns. B-vitamins are known as the energy vitamins and are needed to boost energy and metabolism, enhance cell growth and division, enhance the nervous system and immune system, and proper digestion. Make sure the B-vitamins are extracted from natural or whole food sources.
- Junk food: Avoid eating junk food such as chips, candy and fast food because these foods are very low in nutrients, and high in bad fats and calories. Instead, eat whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers.
- Supplements: Taking supplements when you are pregnant is not a bad idea because it is nearly impossible to get all the recommended vitamins and minerals from just eating food, plus you will be cutting out a lot of calories. When going on a supplement diet make sure you do not consume too much of the fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E and K. These vitamins are stored in your liver and fatty tissues which make it harder for your body to eliminate them. You may also want to know the difference between natural and synthetic vitamins because natural vitamins are usually better than synthetic.
- Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy because it takes less energy to convert carbohydrates to glucose (blood sugar). There are two main types of carbohydrate which are complex carbohydrate and simple carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrate gives you endurance energy because the carbohydrate breaks down slower resulting in longer energy. Simple carbohydrate is the opposite and causes quick changes in blood sugar levels which is bad for your health. Pregnant women should consume more complex carbohydrates by eating whole food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
- Meals: To keep your energy level constant through out the day, you should eat four to five small meals instead of three big meals. Eating smaller meals is easier on the stomach and may help with morning sickness.
Category: Nutrition and Supplements