A healthy pregnancy diet and a healthy mother go hand in hand. Eating well is always important, whether you are expecting or not. During pregnancy, however, proper nutrition is especially important for expectant mothers because pregnancy is such a delicate time. What is put into the body has a profoundly greater impact since it affects two lives.
Yet eating during pregnancy can be a controversial topic. Experts differ on what should be eaten, in what amounts, and how often throughout the day and night. The bottom line is a poor diet during pregnancy can lead to unwanted consequences for both mother and child.
It is therefore vitally important that the mother sifts through all the shifting views and opinions to find out what is right for her.
Controversial Diet #1
Some experts claim veganism or at least vegetarianism is the very best way to fuel the human body. Does a vegetarian diet and pregnancy mix? The answer is yes, with a few provisions.
Proteins are critical to sustaining health at any time, but as part of a healthy pregnancy diet, proteins bear an even greater role. Experts recommend anywhere from 50 to 60 grams of protein consumption per day to maintain a healthy pregnancy, some experts claim even more is needed. Vegetarian diets and pregnancy may have difficulty hitting this high number if special care is not taken to add appropriate protein sources.
Controversial Diet #2
It may sound funny but a high protein diet during pregnancy is just as controversial as a vegetarian diet during pregnancy, but for the opposite reason. A poor diet during pregnancy is any diet that does not adequately fulfill the nutritious needs of mother and baby.
Vegetarians tend to excel at vitamin and mineral consumption but may lack important nutrients from amino acids. On the other hand, a high protein diet pregnancy may hit surplus numbers for amino acids and other nutrients found in protein but are woefully lacking in other essential nutrients.
In the end, what is needed is a meeting in the middle. The body communicates its needs. During pregnancy, a lack of certain nutrients will manifest in cravings, fatigue, moodiness, and a general lack of energy. Selecting foods from all the food groups will eliminate these symptoms.
Control the ‘Baby’ Weight – Which Foods Should I Eat?
As soon as I announced my pregnancy, I heard all the myths about what I should and shouldn’t be eating, what the cravings would be, what would make me sick; but I did wonder what dietary plan would be best for me and my baby. I knew I didn’t have a bad diet, the odd indulgence maybe but nothing too extraordinary. Your diet though is surely different when your body is in a normal mode and when it is carrying around another person? Suddenly I didn’t know if that egg a day was such a good idea now. Were all dairy products bad? Should I indulge those cravings? Would I seriously be living off pickles and ice-cream?!
1. The Myths: I think we must start with the pickles. If you are craving a particular type of food, see what type of food it is, and evaluate what it consists of in terms of minerals, sugars, etc. Women may crave extra minerals during pregnancy as their bodies increase blood volume by up to 20% so the minerals can become diluted. Craving for pickles may be as simply explained as the pregnant woman is deficient in a mineral such as sodium. Every craving has a meaning and is trying to tell you something about your body. I also heard the old fable that? You’re eating for two now? as long as you’re eating properly and healthily there is no need to eat for two. In your last trimester, the baby should be gaining approximately half a pound a week and Mom should be gaining slightly more than that but your doctor will let you know if there is anything out of sync, otherwise, just stick to a healthy and varied diet.
2. When pregnant and you are loaded down with all sorts of textbooks, you will learn an awful lot about vitamins and minerals that you never knew before. It is important to maintain a healthy balance and in doing so you are ensuring that you are giving baby the best start in life and making sure that your body is armed and ready for the tough time ahead. I think every mother has heard that Folic Acid is fairly essential, the reason being that Folic Acid has been shown to reduce the effects of neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida. It is also very easy for pregnant women to become deficient in Iron so it is important to eat some red meat, pulses, and green vegetables. Although, here’s another myth-buster, stay away from liver.
3. What to Avoid: Liver does contain Iron but it also contains Vitamin A and too much Vitamin A may cause a build-up in your system, which may harm your unborn child. Fish is one food that gets focus from both the Pro and Con Camp when you are pregnant. I would never warn anyone off fish however, when pregnant, you do have to be careful that you avoid particular types altogether and that you eat some in very limited or infrequent amounts. Try to limit the amount of tuna that you include in your diet as there is a chance that it may contain mercury. Mercury can affect your baby’s nervous system while it is developing.
Rev-Up Your Postnatal Diet for Weight Loss
After pregnancy diet concerns often turn to try to riddle out the quickest return to a before pregnancy size. This is a noble goal, as well as a very normal desire; however, diet after pregnancy is shortsighted if weight loss is the only consideration.
The body is in a major state of change. It still has extra demands being required of it for lactation and healing under less than restful conditions. An after pregnancy diet needs to cover all the bases to encourage weight loss, a return to healthy non-pregnancy function, and adequate lactation.
Get Enough Calories Postpartum
The first health concern for the best postpartum diet is often the most difficult. The idea of eating even more after pregnancy than seems illogical. The body needs more calories to heal, maintain breast milk supplies, and balance hormone levels for the maintenance of non-pregnancy reproductive function.
The issue of desired weight loss compounds the seeming irrationality of eating more after a baby’s birth than before it. Eating enough of the right kinds of foods in the right amounts daily will actually increase weight loss better than skipping meals or eating scanty portions. The body in a perceived starvation crisis brought on by insufficient food consumption will latch onto every fat cell. The subsequent clinginess makes the loss of weight difficult if not impossible.
Track Success of Your Diet after Pregnancy
To feel better about eating more, many mothers find solace in tracking good eating habits instead of counting calories. During postpartum, the rules and needs of a healthy diet change again. To this end, well-informed moms create a balanced diet chart.
This simple tool is excellent to track measured success. Post a balanced diet chart outlining the specific needs after pregnancy to the refrigerator door or bathroom mirror. An unhealthy body will not lose fat. You should feed the body the best diet after pregnancy for the quickest results.
Junk Food is still not Your Friend
During pregnancy, many foods were banned in favor of the baby’s best chances for healthy development. Diet drinks during pregnancy are suspect for many reasons.
Every one of these concerns still holds true after the baby is born. If aspartame in diet drinks during pregnancy is not acceptable, why is it okay once the baby is born?
The same is true of all junk food items. If weight loss and healthy recovery is the top priority, keeping banned foods with no nutrient value out of the house is in everyone’s best interest.
With the best postpartum diet in check, all that is needed is the addition of moderate exercise starting slowly. With the “all clear” from mom’s health care provider, a swift return to those size 7s is not far away.