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.
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Heartburn, constipation and indigestion are all too common during pregnancy, thanks to progesterone, a hormone produced by the ovaries that relaxes your stomach muscles and slows digestion. Luckily, there’s an easy way to ease these unpleasant side effects of expecting: up your fiber intake.
Packed with nutrients, kale is one of the best prenatal foods around. But it can also taste like health food—especially to expectant mothers.
Between the rising temperatures and your growing belly, chances are you’re struggling to keep your cool these days. When you can’t bear the idea of turning on your stovetop, don’t resort to yet another PB&J.
“You can whip up a delicious, nutritious meal without heat,” says Matthew Kadey, R.D., author of The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes for When It’s Too Hot to Cook (Ulysses Press).
By now, you’ve probably gotten an earful of healthy eating advice. So you already know that loading your plate with fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein is best for you and baby.
The problem is that this nutritious diet can be tough on your wallet. But that doesn’t mean that you have to go broke at the supermarket. With smart shopping strategies and a little preparation, eating right doesn’t have to cost a cent extra, says Paola Mora, R.D., a dietitian who works in the division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York.
Of all the food dilemmas you face when pregnant, seafood might be the most slippery. Fish contain nutrients essential to the developing fetal brain, but they can also be contaminated with brain-damaging mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The ecological questions are similarly confusing. Many wild fish are being fished to extinction, but fish farms can be a major source of environmental destruction as well.
The ritual of making and drinking tea has been practiced for thousands of years, and for good reason. Tea contains polyphenols to protect your heart, antioxidants that may lower your risk of cancer and other nutrients that boost your immune system. When you’re expecting, the benefits get even better. A comforting cup may ease morning sickness, and even make for a shorter labor. However, some teas are potentially dangerous during pregnancy and should be avoided.
Let’s get real: When you’re pregnant in the dead of winter, controlling your weight is no piece of cake, although you’d probably like to eat one—and then another. We share our favorite recipes for comfort foods with a lighter twist to give you more energy and protect your and your developing baby’s health.
As long as your feta is made from pasteurized milk, feel free to eat as many Greek salads as you like. The concern is a condition called listeriosis, a bacterial infection that’s typically contracted through eating certain foods, including unpasteurized milk and cheeses, says Kelly Jackson, M.P.H., an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Whole grains may just be the holy grail of pregnancy foods.“The many varieties of whole grains are supercharged with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that offer benefits for both mom and baby,” says San Diego-based dietitian Wendy Bazilian, Dr.PH., R.D., author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet (Rodale). Plus, their complex carbohydrates help keep energy levels up throughout the day, she adds.
Baby, It's cold outside. While winter may not be the season you associate with fresh produce, a bounty of unsung winter vegetables is increasingly available. “It’s important for a healthy pregnancy that you get all the vital nutrients found in vegetables year-round,” says Tara Gidus, M.S., R.D., an Orlando, Fla.-based dietitian and mother of two.
As if being pregnant isn’t enough of a reason to celebrate, here’s another: You’re expected—and encouraged—to eat! Experts agree you need more calories, more often, as a mom-to-be. While it’s recommended that the average woman take in 2,000 calories each day, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), expectant moms need roughly 340 extra calories a day in the second trimester and 450 extra calories in the third trimester.
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 10 easy nutrition rules that will benefit you both.