Friday, July 21, 2006

Pregnancy Health

A Weighty Issue
from American baby magazine, by Dr. Shwarz, ob consulant to the March of Dimes, Aug. 2005 (I'm including the whole article because it was soo good!)

Now that you're pregnant, you may be tempted to eat twice as much. But the truth is, eating for two only translates into 300 more calories a day- hardly a free pass for you to pile up those extra helpings at dinner. So while you can occassionally indulge those chocolate cravings, you also have to maintain healthy habits. Here's how to make every calorie count.

Wondering what the best diet is for you and your baby? Start by eating the right amount of food from each of the 5 major food groups in the United States Department of Argriculture's Food Guide Pyramid. These guidelines will ensure that you and baby get the healthy start you both need. Here's how your diet divvies up.

:heart: Fruits (4-5 servings, 1/2 cup each) are filled with essential vitamins and nurtrients, as well as the fiber you'll need to stay regular during pregnancy (constipation can be a common problem). One fruit serving is one medium whole fruit; 1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit; 1/4 cup dried fruit, such as apricots or raisins; or 3/4 cup fruit juice. Most of your servings should come from whole fruits instead of juice so you don't miss out on that much-needed fiber. You should also aim for a variety of fruits, particularly those rich in vitamin C, such as cantelope and oranges. These foods help your body better absorb iron, which can prevent anemia. This condition, which results from an iron-defeciency, can sometimes be a problem during pregnancy.

:heart: Vegetables (6-7 servings, 1/2 cup each) provide vital nutrients during pregnancy. Try to eat plenty of dark green veggies such as broccoli, spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce. These veggies are good sourced of folic acid, which helps to prevent neural tube birth defects. You should also try to integrate orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes into your diet. These vegetables are rich in beta carotene, a mineral your body uses to make vitamin A, which aids in developing your baby's bones and teeth. One veggie serving is 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables , 1/2 cup raw or cooked vegetables, or 1/2 cup vegetable juice.

:heart: Grains (8-10 ounces) provide carbohydrates, your body's main source of energy. Whole grains are also an excellent source of fiber, so try to eat as many as you can. One ounce of grains equals one slice of bread, 1 cup of dry cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal.

:heart: Meats and beans ( 6.5-7 ounces) supply the protein that is crucial for your baby's tissue growth. Your serving sizes for these items should be 1 ounce cooked lean meats, poultry or fish; 1 egg; 1/4 cup dry beans or tofu; 1 TBSP of peanut butter; 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds. While most Americans get more than enough protein, some vegetarians may not. If your'e vegetarian, check with your health care provider to make sure you're getting enough in your diet.

:heart: Dairy (3-4 servings, 1 cup each) gives your body the calcium it needs to build baby's bones and teeth. This amount should bring your daily intake of calcium intake of calcium to at least 1,000 milligrams. If you can't eat dairy, consult your doctor about taking a calcium supplement during pregnancy. A dairy serving size equals 1 cup of milk or yogurt; 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese, such as cheddar, or 2 ounces of processed cheese (2 slices). Avoid unpasteurized soft cheeses such as Brie, Feta, camembert, and Roquefort, which can be sources of listeriosis, a bacterial infection that can be particularly dangerous in pregnancy.

:heart: Fats aren't all bad. In fact, some can actually provide you with the energy and help that your body needs to process certain vitamins. Fats should make up 20 to 35% of your daily calories; most of your calories from fat should come from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). And be sure to limit your intake of saturated fats (found in meat and full-fat dairy products) and trans-fats (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils found in cookies, chips, and other processed foods). These types of fats should be eaten sparingly, because both can contribute to heart disease.

The well-balanced diet above will supply most of the nutrients you need, with the following 2 exceptions:
Folic Acid- Taking a daily multivitamin with the recommended 400 micrograms of this B vitamin can help reduce the risk of serious brain and neural tube birth defects in pregnancy. IN addition, a recent survey suggests that women who take folic acid before pregnancy may be less likely to deliver their babies prematurely.
Iron- You need for this crucial mineral increases during pregnancy, from 18 to 27 milligrams daily to prevent iron-defeciency anemia (which has been linked with low birthweight and prematurity). It's especially important to take iron supplements or a prenatal vitamin that includes iron during the last two trimesters of your pregnancy, when baby is growing rapidly and your blood volume is increasing.

A healthy weight gain can improve the outcome of your pregnancy. But how much is too much? If you began your pregnancy at a normal weight, you should expect to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. Women who follow a healthy diet, like the one descibed in the dietary guidelines above, will probably gain about 4 to 6 pounds in the first trimester and about 1 lb. a week during the second and third.

However, if you began your pregnancy under- or overweight, you have different weight gain goals. Underweight women need to gain more (28 to 40 lbs.), while overweight moms-to-be may need to put on less, 15 to 25 lbs.
If you're concerned about your daily calorie intake, speak with your doctor or midwife ; she can advise you on the right amount for you. When you're pregnant you'll only need a few more calories. Depending upon your pre-pregnancy weight and activity level, this can translate into an extra 300 to 500 calories a day- roughly one healthy snack such as a small bowl of cereal with milk and fruit. And don't be fooled into thinking you have to stuff yourself or eat 3 large meals a day. You may find it more appealing to eat 4 to 6 small meals, especially later in pregnancy when your growing baby can put more pressure on your abdomen.

If your'e overweight and planning a pregnancy, talk to your health care provider about starting a diet and exercise program to attain a healthy weight before pregnancy to reduce your risk of complications. Women who begin their pregnancy overweight may increase their risk of developing high blood pressure and gestitional diabetes, having a baby with certain birth defects (such as neural tube defects), and labor and delivery complications. Plus, that extra weight can make it harder for you to get back to your prepregnacy size after your baby is born. Unfortunately, according to a recent survey, 20% of American women gain 40 lbs or more during pregnancy. In addition, those studies have aslo shown that women who are underweight may have a higher risk of going into premature labor.
The bottom line? Putting on the proper # of lbs. is the healthiest way to go. And remember, staying active and taking your prenatal vitamins will also keep your body strong and prepped for labor. These things, along with a smart diet plan, will help ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby.

EXERCISE situps baby treadmill
Exercising while pregnant is starting to be more encouraged for pregnant moms. Even if you weren't exercising before you become pregnant. But they ALL say to contact your doctor or midwife before starting any exercise routine. (So I will include that also!)
Here are some links that I have found wonderful information. I have not thouroughly covered these sites so please let me know if there is anything offensive.
Stretching Is Very Important!
Videos of exercise stretches that you can do pregnant
Many article about fitness while pregnant
This shows abdominal exercises and how to do them safely!

  Books I've Discovered
I have just discovered 2 books that you may want to look into! The first one is called
  The Gift of Health by Karin B. Michels
It has over 100 healthy recipes. Plus for once it actually covers how many calories you really need for health. But it also covers the importance of prenatal nutrients by trimesters. And some interesting studies on what you eat and the health of that baby during his life. I have not read it all but it's worth looking for at the library!!! It appears that it might be out of print.

  The 2nd book is called Exercising Through your Pregnancy. by James F. Clapp III M.D.

Exercising when Pregant book

YOur guide to an active, healthy pregnancy written by the physician who research makes the compelling case for exercise before, during and after pregnancy.

I am only about 1/4 the way through it but it covers lots of stuff. Even says lifting weights is ok in the 3rd trimester!!! Anyway you might want to check your library.
grinn It is a little medical occasionally in terms but I have found even that interesting. But I like that type of thing as long as it doesn't go over my head.

Oh and unfortunately it doesn't give specific suggestions on different exercises while pregnant. But it definetely backs with research the ability to continue to exercise.

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