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Want An Easy Pregnancy? Start Eating Healthy Now
First and foremost, the most important thing you can do is stay hydrated! Staying hydrated is one of the simplest steps you can take towards a healthy pregnancy. You should drink at least eight to twelve cups of water every day during pregnancy.
Drinking water has many health benefits such as it aids digestion, helps form the amniotic fluid around the fetus, regulates body temperature, creates hormones, among numerous other benefits to your health. Drinking water reduces swelling. As swelling in the feet and ankles are common during pregnancy, drinking more water can help to reduce the swelling. Water also helps nutrients circulate in the body.
The best known way to tell whether or not you’re drinking enough water is to look at the color of your urine. If you are staying hydrated, your urine should look colorless or pale yellow. Water is the ideal beverage to drink to hydrate yourself. Try to stay away from sodas, or sugary drinks as they tend to contain high amounts of sodium, actually making you more dehydrated.
Avoid Certain Foods
Avoid eating any raw eggs as eggs can be easily contaminated with Salmonella which if ingested could cause nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
Avoid eating any raw, undercooked, or processed meats. Eating raw or undercooked meat increases your risk of several infections from several bacteria or parasites such as E. coli and Toxoplasma. As bacteria can lead to very dangerous infections, it could cause severe neurological illnesses to your baby, such as blindness, epilepsy, and intellectual disability.
It is very important to avoid eating any raw, uncooked fish, especially shellfish, as it can cause viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections such as Salmonella or Listeria. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to listeria infections. Some infections may only affect you, making you weak or dehydrated but other infections could easily be passed to your baby causing possible fatal consequences.
Avoid High-mercury fish as mercury is a highly toxic element and is most commonly found in polluted water. High-mercury fish have no known safe level of exposure and therefore should be avoided while pregnant or breastfeeding. High-mercury fish you want to avoid include:
Tuna (especially bigeye tuna)
It is important to note that not all fish are high in mercury and that consuming low-mercury fish during pregnancy is actually very healthy. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is healthy to eat these low-mercury fish up to three times per week.
Low mercury fish include:
Eat healthy foods
Dairy is the best dietary source of calcium as well as it provides high amounts of phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. During pregnancy, high amounts of protein and calcium should be consumed. Dairy products contain casein and whey, two types of protein. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and greek yogurt are all great sources of both calcium and protein.
Legumes are a great plant-based source of protein, iron, calcium, folate, and fiber-- all things your body needs during pregnancy! Some examples of legumes include beans, soybeans, lentils, peas, and peanuts.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, a plant compound that is converted into vitamin A in your body, which is essential for your baby’s development. Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber which reduces blood sugar, improves digestive health and keeps you full longer!
Eggs are an excellent source of disease-fighting nutrients including lutein and zeaxanthin. Eggs contain essential vitamins, minerals, high-quality protein, and good fats. Keep in mind that almost all the nutrients are contained in the yolk while the white part contains only protein.
Dark, Leafy Greens
The family of dark, leafy green vegetables are packed with many essential nutrients your body needs including fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, folate, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K.
Broccoli is packed with nutrients, providing a rich source of multiple vitamins, minerals and fiber. Different cooking methods may affect the vegetable’s nutrient composition, but broccoli is a healthy addition to your diet whether cooked or raw. Broccoli is a good source of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, thiamin, vitamin E, Riboflavin, zinc and niacin.
Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, raspberries, and acai berries contain water, fiber, healthy carbs, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Whole grains are loaded with fiber and essential vitamins. Oats, brown rice, wheat berries and barley are great whole grain options. Oats and quinoa are especially nutritional due to their high amounts of protein.
Lean meats including beef, chicken and pork are great sources of high-quality protein. Protein is especially needed during pregnancy because it helps your baby grow normally while also helping other important areas of their development. Lean meats including beef and pork contain iron, an essential mineral that you need higher amounts of during pregnancy. More iron is needed during pregnancy since your blood volume is increasing.
Staying hydrated and maintaining a nutritional healthy diet will help you to have an easy and healthy pregnancy. It is essential to not smoke or drink alcohol while pregnant as it may cause birth defects or other complications. Along with maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, it is also helpful to take daily vitamins, to get plenty of sleep and to try not to stress.
There are tons of resources available to promote physical health for people during pregnancy, but less conversation about the mental side of staying in shape during pregnancy. Pregnancy is one of the biggest life changes a person can go through in their lifetime, and it is important to realize that and treat yourself with care, admiration, and love during it.
How to prioritize your mental health during pregnancy.
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