Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
Read more »
You’ve always said you were going to “clean up” your diet. Well, the time has never been more right than now. The demands of your blossoming body — not to mention your baby’s — mean putting your nutrition know-how to work and learning to make the most of every morsel. Consider the difference between a 200-calorie doughnut and a 200-calorie carton of yogurt: Same calorie contents, very different nutrients.
After nine months of carefully tending to your growing belly, then perhaps hours of life-altering labor, you get a big prize to take home: a baby to nurture and cherish. But the benefits don’t stop there. Here are 10 ways pregnancy and motherhood can reward you physically, mentally and emotionally for years to come.
Your body is recovering from childbirth and needs a steady supply of vitamins and minerals to heal. What’s more, with a new baby in the house, you’re undoubtedly fatigued, and you need healthful foods to refuel your body. And if you’re breastfeeding, your baby is relying on you for crucial nutrients.
The eating patterns you set in the first six months after having a baby can help you lay a foundation of healthful eating for the rest of your life, says Eileen Behan, R.D., a dietitian in Portsmouth, N.H., who specializes in weight management for individuals and families.
If you’re like many women — especially if this is your first pregnancy — you’ve become quite careful about what you eat. Artificial sweeteners are out, coffee is cut to just one cup a day, and only organic produce will do. Yet you may be surprised to learn that there are even better ways to ensure that you and your unborn baby avoid food-related illnesses and problems.
M&Ms, jelly beans, pizza and Cap’n Crunch cereal are just a small sampling of the foods women crave during pregnancy. With strong aversions and cravings, it’s hard to eat well throughout the entire nine months (even if you’re a nutritionist).
Women who consume plenty of omega-3 fatty acids during the third trimester have babies with better visual, cognitive and motor development compared with babies whose mothers don't get as much omega-3s, according to a study of Inuit women in the Canadian Arctic. The researchers measured the nutrient in umbilical cord blood and assessed the babies' development at 11 months.
If you can’t make it out of the office, try our simple and delicious midday meals packed with key pregnancy nutrients. Dessert included!
This hand-held meal is tasty served cold or hot; to eat warm, microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Red pepper and broccoli are loaded with vitamin C, which your body needs to absorb iron from plant sources.
You are what you eat. That's old news. So is the fact that your diet during pregnancy affects your newborn's health. But the new news is that what you eat in the next nine months can impact your baby's health, as well as your own, for decades to come. Here are easy nutrition tips that will help you both.
Most of us are creatures of habit, piling the same foods into our grocery carts each week. But pregnancy, with its increased nutritional requirements and wacky cravings and aversions, may require venturing into new nutritional territory.
Taking fish oil supplements while pregnant may boost your baby's smarts. Researchers found that 2 1/2 -year-olds whose mothers supplemented with fish oil daily during the last half of pregnancy scored better in language comprehension, vocabulary and eye-hand coordination than those whose moms didn't. For neurological and visual development, a fetus needs long-chain fatty acids from the mother's diet. While these are readily available in seafood, experts recommend that women limit prenatal fish consumption to 12 ounces weekly to avoid contamination by mercury.
Where Folate Flourishes
Start your shopping trip in the fresh-produce department, where finding nutrient-dense foods is a no-brainer. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of folate, a B vitamin that helps manufacture and maintain new cells and is especially vital for the rapid cell division that takes place during pregnancy. Deficiencies can contribute to serious birth defects of the spine and brain (aka neural tube defects such as spina bifida).
Even if you typically eat a fairly healthful diet, pregnancy requires some adjustments. You need extra nutrients to keep up with the demands of your changing body and growing baby, and you should avoid certain foods altogether. This doesn't mean you must follow a stringent regimen--or deny yourself--but it does mean giving a little extra thought to your food choices.