One of the most exciting times a woman will experience in her lifetime is when she finds out shes expecting a baby. However, preparing to raise a child involves a lot of planning and knowledge. Beginning a family ushers into a couples life another phase of learning as well as changes and commitments that have not yet been explored.
Because of this precious new life and because the mother and child will undergo several months of changes hormonally, emotionally, as well as physically for nine months, its important to be well informed of factors that contribute to a successful pregnancy.
Even before conception begins, a woman should start providing her body with adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Eating for two people for nine months can be very demanding on the body and may deplete the mothers normal stores of vital minerals and vitamins as the baby takes what it needs to grow.
A holistic approach to pregnancy is always the best way. Some key points to remember for healthy eating during pregnancy are:
- Eat organic foods to provide you with the full nutritional benefits of natural minerals and vitamins, as it reduces the toxic load for baby and mother.
- Maximize your intake of green leafy vegetables wherever possible, including lots of salads and plenty of fresh fruit high in antioxidants such as blueberries, pomegranates, raspberries, apples, pineapples and oranges.
- Keep your fiber intake high using grains such as millet, oats, quinoa, spelled, and bran to keep your regular.
- Use organic meats and fish in your diet.
- Minimize your consumption of white flour, white rice, pasta, refined sugar, cheese, and carbohydrates such as bagels, donuts, and other yeast products to control blood sugar and weight problems.
- Drink plenty of water, and eliminate coffee and tea or keep it to a minimum, unless using herbal teas (but make sure any herbs are safe for baby). Of course, no alcohol at all.
- Be sure to exercise even if it means a short brisk walk in the evening. It will keep your mind clear and focused.
Folic acid and iron are two specific nutrients important to mother and child.
Folic Acid is a water-soluble vitamin needed for cell replication and growth during normal fetal development. A 400mcg/day supplement of Folic Acid is recommended along with your diet as its been shown to prevent birth defectshHol. Folic acid is naturally found in:
- Vegetables - Beans, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, beets
- Fruits - Apples, cherries, grapefruits, oranges, prunes, pineapple, papaya, blueberries
- Grains - Wheat germ, couscous
- Meats - Chicken, lamb, turkey and beef
The need for iron
Iron is another critical mineral needed during pregnancy. Mayer (1985) reported that Iron deficiency is present in 35% of pregnant women during the first trimester and rises to up to 86% during the third trimester. Symptoms of low iron include weakness or faintness, shortness of breath, headaches, confusion, depression, cold extremities, and dizziness.
Taking iron regularly will assist other metabolic enzymes and will help with the growth process. Natural sources of iron are found in eggs, fish, liver, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and lentils and can also be found in supplement form.
Too much iron can be constipating, but there is now iron available that does not constipate. If you are suffering from this condition, check with a qualified practitioner who can recommend a source of Iron that is better for you.
Oh and just one more thought. Get your sleep right now before the baby comes so that those night-time feedings will be a breeze. Congratulations!