Healthy eating in pregnancy is vital for the health of your baby
A recent article in BBC Health discussed the evidence out of Gambia on how a mothers diet can influence or alter her baby's DNA. This field of study is fascinating and highlights the importance of holistic well-being pre-conception and during pregnancy.
The whole area of epigenetics is a fascinating new field of discovery with small things apparently linked to the long term health and well being of a developing baby. Some of which is outside of our control however diet and exercise is something that we can do to positively influence the future health and well-being of the developing baby.
The best way to gain micro nutrients and minerals is through food. However for many women this can be a challenge. Find yourself a good supplement that is recommended for women that are pregnant so that you can ensure that you and your baby do not miss out on all the essential nutrients. Plenty of vitamin B and C have been found to be especially helpful during pregnancy, these vitamins can be also found in whole grains, meats and nuts and fresh vegetables and fruit. Remember that a healthy eating plan helps your body to absorb more of the nutrients from the vitamins and supplements that you take.
Plenty of protein
Protein during pregnancy is particularly important because the amino acids found in protein is the necessary foundation needed to help our cells grow. You and your baby will benefit from this because the extra protein will help to nourish your growing body as well as your baby’s. You can find your extra portion of protein in meat, dairy, beans, pulses and eggs. Try to aim for at least five helpings if you are a meat eater, seven if you are vegetarian and nine if you are vegan.
Where possible try to eat foods that are close to their natural form, whole foods are much less processed so your body and your growing baby will be more able to obtain all the necessary nutrients. Beans, pulses and high fibre whole grain foods (wholemeal bread, brown rice and pasta etc.) are also full of fibre– try to eat complex carbohydrates with a protein rather than on their own, only 1 portion of wholemeal bread each day (2 slices). Reduce the amount of simple carbohydrates e.g. white bread, rice, pasta, cakes, crisps and fizzy drinks.
Drink plenty of water
Whether you are pregnant or not, to stay healthy your body needs water to function at its best. Hydration is essential for all of your vital organs and staying hydrated helps many mothers to cope with many discomforts during pregnancy such as; headaches, nausea and swelling. Aim for at least 10-12 tall glasses a day, if you do any exercise include another glass and if it’s a warmer time of year you may feel that you need an additional glass.
Many mothers find that physical exercise during pregnancy helps them to feel calmer, improves their mood, as well increase their strength and flexibility. It is important to listen to your body and not to overdo it. The exercise does not have to be strenuous and as long as you do not have certain risk factors which you would be aware of during pregnancy, most gentle exercise is safe. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week. Many mothers find walking, yoga, pilates, swimming and gentle aerobics helpful during pregnancy.