“Women must stay connected to the body and be open to experience the energies voices that speak through physical issues, emotional tensions, and mental warnings. Preventive care begins with tuning into the BODY and listening with the HEART. Women are deeply intuitive and healing warnings are always available with courage and love to receive”
What are some of the most important things a first time mother should focus on during pregnancy in order to prepare herself, and the baby, for a healthy lifestyle?
For the best pregnancy outcome, I recommend a mom and dad-to-be start to get their diet, lifestyle and health into good shape before conception, things I recommend are:
- Try to get closer to a healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight during pregnancy can set the stage for pregnancy and delivery related problems as well as potentially lifelong health issues for the baby such as: obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Take a close look at lifestyle and diet. A healthier diet for both the mom and dad-to-be can have a positive impact on fertility as well as increase the probability for a healthier baby. Start eating better at least 3 months before trying to conceive for the best outcome. Quit smoking and avoid alcohol, and minimize direct contact with chemicals and pesticides. A very simple strategy for eating during pregnancy is to make sure half your plate is full of fruits and vegetables, choose a variety of lean proteins, opt for whole grains for most of your meals, and do not forget to incorporate 3 servings of fat-free or low fat dairy options.
- Begin taking a multivitamin containing 400 mcg of folic acid, as recommended.
- Visit your health care provider for a check up and discuss current medical conditions and medications.
A pregnant woman will quickly see that if she starts eating for two adults, her weight gain during pregnancy may skyrocket. Remember, always follow the advice of your personal medical provider for weight gain guidelines during pregnancy. Keep your weight gain moderate to prevent having more weight to lose after delivery, and prevent you from carrying that baby weight when your baby starts school!
- Try carrot & bell pepper strips on the side for extra crunch. Add a cheese and yogurt for bone building calcium for you & the baby.
- Homemade trail mix with mixed nuts, dried fruits such as apricots (high in iron), raisins, dried cranberries & blueberries, whole grain cereal and popcorn for extra fiber. Popcorn sprinkled lots of flavor with out too many added calories. You can make this ahead of time and keep with you for an easy, nutritious snack.
- Fresh fruit with yogurt. Vary your fruits and cereals to prevent boredom.
- Veggie or Soy sandwich topped with cheddar cheese, spinach or another dark leafy green, sliced tomatoes, and onions on a whole-wheat bun. Microwave a sweet potato to go with it and top it with handful of walnuts for another healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Mix up a salad of mixed greens, such as iron rich-spinach, beans, carrots, tomatoes and a handful of high fiber nuts. Top with your favorite nuts – sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds, etc. Top with olive oil & vinegar. Remember to avoid soft unpasteurized cheeses during pregnancy.
- Dry cereal – 100% whole grain with no more than 6 grams of sugar per serving, served with some walnuts or almonds.
- Dried or fresh fruit served with low-fat yogurt.
- Steamed and cooled soy beans with or with out soy sauce or salt (little).
- String cheese or any small serving of cheese and fruit (either slice up something fresh or use canned fruit with no added sugar packed in its own juice).
- Apple slices tossed with lemon juice.
- Whole grain bread spread with nut butter and topped with banana slices and blueberries or strawberries.
- Mineral water mixed with 100% fruit juice. You may just be thirsty, not hungry!
- Sliced cheese and cucumbers on brown rice cakes.
- Make your own popcorn mix: air popped popcorn with nuts and dried fruit.
- Popcorn with cheese.
- Glass of non fat milk, organic soymilk or almond milk.
- Glass of the above milk of your choice blended with a banana.
- Mixture of raisins or dried cranberries and healthy, low-sugar cereal.
- Baked sweet potato.
- Small serving of whole grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk.
- Strawberries with yogurt and honey.
- Make sure your breakfast always includes a serving of fruit! Whether it’s grabbing a banana with nuts while heading out the door, adding chopped fruit to cereal or yogurt, making a smoothie or enjoying orange slices as a side to scrambled eggs and whole grain toast. Make fruit and veggie kabobs.
- olives and roasted peppers make a great snack, appetizer or meal accompaniment.
Highly recommended to eat during first trimester: Take higher caloric intake of breakfast cereal: The women whose caloric intake was highest also consumed a wider range of nutrients, including potassium, calcium and vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B12.
Eat a balanced diet and supplement wisely. Vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, E, B12, folic acid, selenium and zinc in the right amounts are all beneficial to men's fertility. Women should take folic acid before trying to conceive, and during pregnancy, to lower the risk of certain birth defects.
- Take your vitamins.
- Increase your iron intake.
- Drink whole milk.
- Stay hydrated.
- Cut out trans fat from your diet.
- Eat plenty of fiber.
- Use unsaturated vegetable oils.
- Maintain a normal BMI.
- Eat more vegetable protein.
During the first trimester, it is generally recommended to consume an additional 150 to 200 calories per day. Steady weight gain is more important in the second and third trimesters, especially if you began your pregnancy at a normal weight. An extra 300 calories a day is typically enough to help you meet this goal.
Some ideas of how to add 300 calories into your diet are:
- 1 small banana with 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
- Half-cup trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruit
- 12 almonds with a cup of yogurt and 1 small orange
- Glass of non fat milk, organic soymilk or almond milk.
For women who are overweight before pregnancy, increasing daily calories by no more than 100 calories beyond the pre-pregnancy intake appears to be sufficient. Fat should be limited to less than 30 percent of calories and come in the form of “good” unsaturated fats, from sources like nuts and canola and olive oils.
Some women need more or fewer calories, depending on their individual metabolism and activity level. Gradual weight gain is ideal. There is no need to worry if you do not hit the targets mentioned above exactly. The important thing is to pay attention to your overall weight gain and to treat your body in a healthy way.
After you know your BMI, you can classify your pre-pregnancy weight..
Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain:
Pre-pregnancy weight:Recommended weight gain
Underweight (BMI less than 18.5): about 13 to 19 kilograms
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9): about 11 to 17 kilograms
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9): about 7 to 11 kilograms
Obese (BMI 30 or more): about 5 to 9 kilograms
If you're carrying twins or other multiples, you'll likely need to gain more weight.
Take care of your unborn baby.
The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.
Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)