Prenatal Health: How to be Healthy for Two
Are you or your partner expecting a baby in 2016? If so, congratulations! While it’s a myth you need to “eat for two,” it is true that you need to be healthy for two. Your body is doing a lot of work to support the growing baby, so you can be more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies.
One of the most important to-dos is taking a prenatal vitamin. Many doctors recommend starting these as early as three months leading up to becoming pregnant. If you did not have this opportunity, start as soon as you find out you are expecting.
The most important nutrients in prenatal supplements that differ from a regular multi-vitamin are folic acid and iron. Folic acid is of extreme importance as it aids in proper development of the brain and spinal cord and helps prevent neural tube defects. It is often hard to get the recommended amount for pregnancy (400 mg per day) simply through diet. This is an important mineral to continue taking even while breastfeeding.
Iron is beneficial to help expectant mothers prevent anemia, a deficiency in red blood cells. Iron is often hard on the stomach, so if you find it hard to tolerate your prenatal vitamins, talk to your doctor about the best type as well as the best time of day to take them.
Nutrition becomes even more important when your baby is relying on you for nutrients. While vegetables or fish may sound unappetizing in the beginning weeks, try your best to incorporate as many healthy foods as you can into your diet and be careful about eating junk food in excess—just like any normal person should.
WebMD says whole grains, beans, salmon, eggs, berries, and low-fat yogurt are the super foods for pregnancy because of the nutrients they pack. Look for foods that are high in calcium, iron, and protein to keep you feeling full for longer. You may also find it easier on your stomach to eat small meals every few hours rather than three square meals a day.
Cherish the moments of sleep in your first trimester, and allow yourself to nap when possible. As the baby (and your belly) grows, you might find it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep in later weeks. When you are rested, not only do you have more energy, but your body is thriving at its best self.
Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and happy baby!