If you’ve made the decision to try to get pregnant, congratulations! Pregnancy is a special time for many women, filled with anticipation and excitement. Now is the time to get your body ready for a baby by eating right and making sure you are getting the proper nutrients.
Even before you get pregnant, you can increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby by following these guidelines:
- Hydrate the healthy way. Make sure you are getting eight glasses of water each day to optimize all your body’s systems, including reproduction. If you exercise regularly, you may need up to 10 glasses a day. Minimize high-calorie, low-nutrition beverages like soda.
- Eat healthy carbohydrates. Now is not the time to try a low-carb diet. Your body needs healthy whole grains for nutrition and energy. Carbs are one of your baby’s primary sources of energy in the womb. Eat whole grain breads, cereal, and pasta – and skip the refined white flour items such as white pasta and white bread. Fruits and vegetables are also a healthy source of carbs and vitamins, and provides some water for hydration.
- Get adequate sources of protein. During pregnancy, your body needs protein for a variety of reasons. It helps your baby grow and develop, and helps strengthen your uterus and your other body tissues. Low-fat dairy, lean meats, eggs, nuts, beans, and legumes, are all excellent choices. Eat a variety of these each day. Your protein needs increase even more during your second and third trimesters of pregnancy, as well as during breastfeeding. Your obstetrician can talk with you about how much to consume.
- Consume healthy fats. Unsaturated fats are good for your body, and help regulate all its functions, including the hormones responsible for conception and pregnancy. Focus on these healthy fats and limit the saturated ones. You can get the healthy fats you need by eating olive and canola oils, avocados, and fish with omega-3 fats (limit fish to two servings per week). Try ground flaxseed on your cereal or in a fruit smoothie for more omega-3s. Limit fatty meats and butter.
- Take a folic acid supplement now. Experts recommend 800 mcg per day at least three months before you get pregnant and throughout the first trimester to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. You can also begin taking a prenatal vitamin, which should have the folic acid included.
- Don’t take megavitamins. High levels of vitamin A, in particular, have been linked to birth defects. A prenatal vitamin should give you the nutrients you need before and during pregnancy — no additional supplements needed. Your obstetrician/gynecologist can also provide recommendations and guidelines on vitamin supplements for you.
- Stop smoking now. You probably know that smoking and tobacco harms your baby – and you. If you need help quitting, talk with your physician or get free help online.
Working toward a healthy diet and lifestyle now can benefit you and your future baby. After all, most women do not know they are pregnant until several days or weeks after the baby has already started growing. Commit to a healthy lifestyle now, so you can be sure you and your baby get off to the best possible start.
CarePoint Health Family Birth Centers
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our obstetrics and maternity services.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.