Guest post by Dana Vicktor, senior researcher and writer for duedatecalculator.org.
You know that it’s important to eat healthy to reduce the incidence of disease and to promote longevity. In pregnancy, it is even more important to eat healthy as you are now eating for two. Your growing baby is vulnerable to toxins, and he or she needs all the nutrients you can provide to grow into a strong and healthy baby.
There are a number of benefits for both you and your baby to eating healthy during pregnancy. Here are just a few of them:
Reduces Pregnancy Complications
Women are vulnerable to a number of complications during pregnancy, including high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Eating well can keep your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and weight at healthy levels to reduce the incidence of such complications.
Eating healthy foods can also help prevent or treat common pregnancy maladies, such as morning sickness and leg cramps. Ensuring that your diet is full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates can help lessen or prevent these symptoms.
Reduces Incidence of Birth Defects
Exposure to certain chemicals or a deficit in certain nutrients can lead to birth defects in your baby. For example, artificial sweeteners like aspartame have been linked to a higher incidence of birth defects such as neurological impairments and development delays. Also, the lack of key nutrients such as folic acid has been linked to higher rates of birth defects such as spina bifida.
It is important to eat natural, unprocessed foods as much as possible during pregnancy to avoid harmful substances. It is also critical to take a good prenatal vitamin to ensure adequate intake of key nutrients such as folic acid and iron.
Ensures a Healthy Weight for Your Baby
Babies with a low birth weight suffer more health problems and potentially serious complications than babies born at a healthy weight. A low birth weight can set babies up for a lifetime of health complications or disabilities.
Ensure that you are eating nutritious foods and adequate calories to promote healthy weight gain in your baby. You should be eating at least 300 more calories per day during pregnancy, most or all of which should come from nutritious foods like vegetables and whole grains.
Sets the Stage for Good Health
What you eat while you’re pregnant can influence your baby’s development and what he or she eats later in life. If you eat poorly, not only will your baby develop a taste for foods that are low in nutrition, but he or she will also have a greater risk for developing obesity and serious diseases like diabetes.
However, if you eat a nutritious diet during pregnancy, you promote healthy development in your baby that will stay with him or her throughout life. You will also be encouraging your baby’s own healthy eating habits.
Helps You Lose Weight Faster
Most women are keen to lose their extra pregnancy weight as quickly as possible. Eating nutritiously throughout your pregnancy not only makes it more likely that you will gain a healthy amount of weight, but also makes it easier for you to shed that weight after pregnancy. Eating well during pregnancy sets up healthy habits that you can continue after your baby is born, making it easier for you to eat well and to maintain a healthy weight. You’ll also be a positive role model for your baby to teach healthy habits!
Eating a healthy diet is especially important during pregnancy. Everything you eat has an impact on your baby’s growth and development, as well as your own health. Eating well can ensure that your baby grows and develops properly, and that you experience fewer complications from pregnancy.
About the Author: Dana Vicktor is the senior researcher and writer for duedatecalculator.org. Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in communications and sociology. Her current focus for the site involves the pregnancy calendar week by week and pregnancy signs.