How you take care of yourself during pregnancy directly affects your developing baby because the two of you are an inseparable pair. If you are considering a pregnancy or if you are pregnant, the best way to care for your unborn child is to take very good care of yourself.
1. Your baby’s growth is continuous, requiring a steady supply of nutrients. If you skip a meal, ask yourself, “Who’s feeding my baby?”
2. Smoking isn’t good of either of you. If interferes with the use of vitamin C and folic acid, both necessary for proper development. Research also suggests that babies exposed to nicotine before birth may be more likely to smoke when they get older.
3. For now, skip uncooked dishes such as carpaccio, sushi and serviche, soft-cooked eggs, game, unpasteurized juice and cheese, and rare cooked meats as they may carry bacteria or heavy metals that could be harmful to your developing baby.
4. A survey showed that 15% of college-educated women drink alcohol when they are pregnant. Don’t put your baby at risk.
5. The easiest way for both of you to get a wide assortment of important nutrients is to select a colorful plateful of foods – red, blue, green, white, tan, yellow, brown – aim to eat a rainbow daily.
6. All foods are mixtures of nutrients – orange juice is rich in vitamin C, but it also contains needed folic acid and potassium. Make good choices because everything you eat counts.
7. Craving something sweet? Instead of cake, cookies or candy choose ready-to-eat, sweetened cereal. It’s made from grain, low in fat, fortified with iron and folic acid, may be rich in fiber, and averages just 100 calories a cup. A great choice when you have the munchies.
8. Eat breakfast. It is important to “break” your nighttime “fast.” If it isn’t your favorite meal, be inventive and try pizza, yogurt, a smoothie, a sandwich or dinner leftovers.
9. A large glass of juice plus seltzer and a bowl of popcorn are not only a satisfying TV snack but a helpful remedy for third trimester constipation. Did you know popcorn is a whole grain and rich in fiber?
10. Not crazy about cooked vegetables? Try sliced fresh tomatoes, raw carrots and fat free dip, coleslaw, raw celery or pepper strips, or a fruit cup instead.
11. Stick with your health care practitioner’s recommendation for vitamin and mineral supplements. If you want a “little extra” eat more fruits and vegetables.
12. Drink plenty of fluids – water, mineral water, nonfat milk and juice. Cutting back won’t minimize minor swelling and won’t cut down on those annoying, frequent trips to the bathroom.
13. For some extra folic acid – needed to form every one of your baby’s new cells – have a glass of orange juice, sprinkle wheat germ on your cereal or enjoy bean dip as a snack.