Nutrition and Calories Both Are Important
Children grow up too fast. Before too long the almost indistinguishable speck in your womb is going to be flying down a hill on a bike with their hands in the air and driving down the interstate in your new car. Before you know it you”ll be telling them good-bye as they start college, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. You”ll never have the opportunity to nurture them again that you do right now, when they”re safely inside you tucked away from the outside world.
This is going to be the last time in your life that it”s a piece of cake to get them to eat their vegetables, so enjoy it! You”re going to spend the next eighteen years (and then some) trying to convince them that spinach is good for them and that the slimy stuff on the outside of their carrots is just pulp, but right now you”re making all the decisions when it comes to what they eat.
Proper pregnancy nutrition is a vital factor in proper fetal development because the fetus is not physically incapable of providing for itself, nor can it show any visible signs of malnourishment between monthly check-ups as a newborn can. That means that for the next nine months it”s going to be completely up to you to ensure that you are properly eating for two, taking in the vitamins and nutrients that are going to help you give birth to a healthy, happy baby while keeping yourself healthy at the same time.
Be sure when you go in for your prenatal appointments that your physician knows exactly what vitamins, medications and supplements (including herbal) you take, regardless of how insignificant you may believe them to be.
For the first three months of your pregnancy you actually do not need to consume any extra calories. Your pre-pregnancy calorie consumption will be perfectly adequate for your baby”s growth and development as long as you are not dieting. If you are dieting, stop!
As you go into your second and third trimester you should increase your daily caloric intake by 300 calories. This will help to compensate for the increasing rate of your baby”s growth. If your pre-pregnancy caloric intake was 1800 calories you should consume 2100 calories a day. If it was 1400 calories you should consume 1700 calories, and so on and so forth. Again, this is not the time to try and lose weight. Do not omit these extra calories in favor of allowing your body to burn them instead. This is not healthy for you or your baby, and if you are breastfeeding you will quickly work these calories back off.
The number of calories you need during pregnancy is going to vary if you were not a healthy weight when you became pregnant. Women who were obese may be told to consume fewer calories to prevent excessive weight gain, which would place extra strain on the heart and lungs and increase the likelihood of blood pressure related problems during pregnancy. In this case this is a fine time to diet, as long as you are following your doctor”s advice. The healthier you are, the healthier your baby is going to be.
On the flip side of that coin, if you were underweight at the beginning of your pregnancy or have not gained what the doctor considers to be an adequate amount of weight since becoming pregnant you may be told to increase your caloric intake by more than 300. The baby needs to be able to take enough calories away from your body to grow, and if you don”t have any to spare either because you aren”t eating enough or your body is burning everything that you eat they are going to suffer.
Remember, baby”s going to take what it needs long before those nutrients ever have the opportunity to go through your system. By not eating properly you”re not only harming your baby, you”re harming yourself as well. That”s why it”s so important that you make sure you get the vitamins and nutrients that you need for the next nine months as well. Lack of attention might still lead to a healthy baby, but baby”s not going to change themselves! Mom needs to be healthy too in order to keep up with her little bundle of joy in the coming months. Giving birth is hard enough on the body. You certainly don”t want to add malnutrition into the mix.
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