Having a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy
Staying active and healthy during pregnancy is probably one of the last things on your mind. From battling with the nausea, constant fatigue, shortness of breath, and any other side effects from our ever growing baby, focusing on what we eat and what we do seems like a hassle. Many times we can only eat certain foods because everything else makes us cringe. BUT trying to make the attempt to really feed our bodies the best, nutrient dense foods, not only helps us in the long run, but it is the most beneficial for our growing babies.
The first trimester is usually the hardest. We are struck with so many symptoms, emotions, and stresses and it seems never ending. We no longer like the foods we once loved, and now have cravings for other things. Smells can make us jump out of our chair, running to the bathroom, and anything will make us cry. Although this time seems never ending, it usually does ease up coming into the second trimester. As your early pregnancy symptoms ease up, remember how important it is to feed our bodies the right foods and to really try to control the unhealthy cravings. Those cravings may seem to “come from our babies'', but it's more of your crazy hormones talking than your actual baby! Your baby actually wants all the nutrients you can give him!
According to the article “Impact of Maternal Nutrition on Fetal Development”, it states that nutrition can be the most influential factor in the development of a baby, aside from genetics! That means, as mothers, we have a lot of control on how our babies develop. This not only limits our baby’s development in the womb, but also behavioral and brain development years after! The article stated undernutrition(not eating enough nutrients) or malnutrition (unhealthy eating) can leave a lasting effect on the brain, showing “deficits in learning and behavior”. One of the main issues with malnutrition is the lack of protein. When not supplying your body with enough protein, it can impact the brain development of the baby. Some of the results from lack of proper nutrition could be a cognitive impairment or attention deficit disorders. To read more on how nutrition affects our babies click on the link above!
Another thing to watch as you go through your journey is Gestational Diabetes! Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and is pretty common in the U.S. So much of our food is very sugary and carb loaded, it can affect your blood sugar and lead to it. Just like diabetes, gestational diabetes is preventable. Eat healthy and limit your sugary drinks and snacks. Try to add more veggie variation and drink plenty of water!
Now, I didn’t share this to scare you, but rather to inform you, and help you know what is truly best for your baby!
On a lighter note, your calorie intake does go up the further along you are! The first trimester you don’t really have to eat much more than normal. Just try to keep foods down and eat as healthy as possible. The second trimester however, you can increase your calorie intake by about 300 calories! By your third trimester, your calorie intake increases by an extra 200 calories, so about 500 extra calories than what you were eating before you were pregnant! Remember, that doesn’t mean waste those on whatever foods! You’re eating for your baby’s development so keep in mind to use those calories to feed your baby the best way possible!
First trimester: same calorie intake
Second trimester: +300 calories
Third trimester: +450-500 calories
Some good ideas for meals and snacks that are healthy, nutrient dense, and light on the taste buds are:
Soups with a water base and lots of veggies
Oatmeal, limiting the sugar
Sandwich with veggies
Salads, light on dressings
Scrambled eggs or Omelet with veggies
Plain Greek yogurt with fruit and honey
Ginger Ale or Sparkling waters (low sugar/sugar free)
Fruits: apples, pears, bananas, watermelon, berries
Seeds (sunflower seeds) and Nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios)
Proteins: salmon, turkey, chicken, beef, Greek yogurts, cheese
I hope this helps all you SOON TO BE Mama's out there! Stay tuned for my next blog on how to stay active during pregnancy and how it has the potential for easier labor!