During pregnancy, the body goes through a lot of changes. After all, you are not only providing nutrients for yourself, but for the growing baby inside you. Because of this, the nutritional needs for a pregnant woman vary a bit than they do for the average adult. However, the mantra "eating for two" can be a bit misleading, as some people interpret it as meaning a pregnant woman needs to eat twice as many calories as usual. This is not the case, and only about 300 extra calories a day are recommended for most women. Of course, it's important to remember that your doctor's recommendation for your particular needs should be followed regarding how many calories you should be aiming for.
During pregnancy, there is more blood coursing through the blood than normal. This is to prepare for the delivery, as well as to ensure the fetus is receiving an adequate blood supply. However, since there is more blood, you should up your iron intake. Anemia is common in pregnancy, and this can be a problem, do to the blood loss that happens during childbirth. Having a healthy hemoglobin level is important to keep you feeling energized and healthy. These will likely be monitored during pregnancy, so your doctor should let you know if your levels are dipping. Thankfully, your prenatal plus supplement contains iron, but it doesn't hurt to add extra in with your diet. Foods like red meat, spinach, tofu and broccoli all have a good amount of iron in them. Incorporating these into your diet can help with keeping your iron levels boosted.
Folate, or folic acid, is a B vitamin, and an essential nutrient for the baby, particularly in early pregnancy. This can help prevent problems with the fetus' spinal cord. Prenatal supplements provide folic acid, but try not to rely on just that. A healthy and balanced diet is crucial to keep you and baby healthy. Spinach is not only high in iron, it also contains folic acid. In addition, some breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid, in addition to many other nutrients that are beneficial for you and your baby.
Other B Vitamins
Vitamin B aids in producing red blood cells. These are the cells that carry oxygen to the organs in your body, which keeps them functioning at their best. Because of this, everyone needs Vitamin B, but it's crucial for pregnant women. Animal products, such as red meat and dairy, are great sources of Vitamin B. For those who are vegetarian or vegan, there are other options. For example, many seeds and nuts, as well as whole grains, provide Vitamin B.
In addition to a healthy diet, there are other things you can do to keep you and your baby healthy. Staying hydrated is crucial, particularly during the hot summer months. Dehydration can trigger contractions, which can lead to preterm labor. Chronic dehydration can also affect the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. In addition, it can lead to headaches, lightheadedness and fainting. Aim to drink at least 80 ounces of water a day. Carrying around a water bottle can be a helpful reminder, and may make it easier for you to hit your water goal.
Get Plenty of Rest
Many women experience fatigue during pregnancy, particularly during the first and third trimesters. Listen to your body and rest when you can. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep, or more if you feel you need it. If you are feeling fatigued no matter how much sleep you are getting, mention to this to your doctor. It could mean you are deficient in a vitamin or mineral.
Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience, but it also puts a large demand on a woman's body. You can make this easier by making sure you get the nutrients you and your baby need. In addition, drinking plenty of water and getting enough rest can keep you feeling your best. While some complications cannot be avoided, taking care of yourself can make your pregnancy go much more smoothly.