Pregnancy is a time of enormous change for a woman – not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally as well. Physically, it affects everything from hormone levels to internal organs. One of the best ways that a woman can effectively handle these changes and ensure to health and wellbeing of her baby as well is to choose and follow a good pregnancy diet plan. Having a plan in place makes it much easier on a daily basis to eat good foods and avoid unhealthy ones, because the decisions on what foods will be included in the plan have already been made.
Get More Protein
Protein is essential to healthy muscle and tissue growth and should be included in any healthy pregnancy diet plan. Studies show that getting a sufficient amount of protein on a daily basis helps pregnant women avoid many pregnancy related health problems like pre-eclampsia and hypertension. Good sources of protein for pregnant women include, lean cuts of meat, low fat milk and dairy, eggs, fish, soy, nuts and seeds.
Staying properly hydrated is one of the best things a pregnant woman can do to improve and maintain health. Pregnant women should drink at least 64 ounces of water each day to ensure they are giving their body the hydration it needs. If their body does not need that much hydration, they will just have to make a few more bathroom trips, but that is much better than becoming dehydrated. Proper hydration can help avoid pre-mature labor, it flushes the body of excess waste and toxins and can also minimize constipation and swelling of limbs which are common during pregnancy.
Get Enough Folic Acid
Folic acid is extremely important to a healthy pregnancy. Folic acid is found naturally in various foods, but pregnant women can also supplement with vitamins if needed. Folic acid plays a critical role in minimizing the chances for birth defects, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Foods that naturally contain folic acid include citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit, leafy green vegetables and many breakfast cereals are now fortified with folic acid. Be sure to read the ingredients list on the box.
Stay Healthy and Watch Your Weight
Some pregnant women get frustrated or stressed out because they gain weight. Weight gain is a natural part of the process and not something to get overly worried about. As long as a pregnant woman is eating a healthy diet, any weight she gains during pregnancy can easily be shed after she gives birth. Although weight gain is normal, pregnant women should still keep an eye on their weight and make any necessary adjustments to their diet as needed. Typically, a pregnant woman should be eating about the same number of daily calories as she did before becoming pregnant during her first trimester and then an additional 300 calories each day for the duration of her pregnancy.
Be sure to limit unhealthy food choices. Avoid fast food or junk food whenever possible. If you are tempted by unhealthy food, pause for a moment and remember that the choices you make now are affecting the future health of your child. The point is not to guilt you into anything, but to help you see that you have control of the choices you make each and every day when it comes to what you eat. Making better choices is good for you and it is good for your baby!