You’re pregnant. Congratulations! The next nine months will be a roller coaster of experiences. As your child grows, you will too. It’s important that both of you get the nutrients needed to keep that development as healthy as possible. This often means starting prenatal vitamins. If you haven’t been taking folic acid pre-pregnancy, start. You might also want to consider other nutritional supplements, depending on what your doctor says and what your diet is like. Speaking of your diet, that’s about to change. You are eating for two. Your calorie intake should increase, but be careful. Pregnancy is not a license to indulge every whim or eat without thought. What you eat now directly affects your child, in the womb and out.
Recent studies have shown that a woman’s diet while pregnant can increase a child’s likelihood of developing middle-aged spread, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. For example, when a mother has high blood sugar levels, the fetus is fed a sugar-rich diet. The child becomes accustomed to excess glucose and, post-birth, often has a tendency to overeat. In fact, this child is 30 percent more likely to be overweight by age seven than other kids. And if she was exposed to excessive amounts of protein, the problem is even worse. In the 1960s, women in Scotland were advised to eat a pound of red meat each day. The subsequent children, now adults, produce above average levels of cortisol. Excessive amounts of this stress hormone are associated with high blood pressure and abdominal fat. So, overdoing it, while pregnant, can hurt your baby, but, then, so can under-doing it.
Undernourished babies face just as many health dangers as over-nourished newborns. If the child’s body is taught to expect fewer nutrients as a fetus, exposure to a post-birth, nutrient-rich diet will increase the rate of weight-gain and lead to obesity. Additionally, undernourished development could lead to an inability to effectively use glucose, again aiding obesity. So, what you want to do is make sure you have a balanced diet , with variety. Mixing up the colors, tastes and types of foods will ensure that you get a full range of nutrients. And do add calories to your diet. You want to gain weight, about 25 to 35 pounds. However, you only need to add 300 extra calories a day for that to happen. There’s no need to throw in an extra thousand. And of course, talk to your doctor. He can tell you what to eat, what to avoid and what to make sure you definitely get. Then, finally, listen to him. He is the expert. Besides, it’s not just you anymore. You’ve got a baby to think of.
Further Reading: Chart: Nutrients You Need to Help Your Baby Grow
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