Everyone wants a healthy baby! While there is no way anyone can guarantee this, there is something you can do to give your baby the very best chance of being healthy, while also avoiding the diseases of pregnancy associated with malnutrition.
Why is diet so important? Your baby is made out of protein. So you need to eat lots of protein to “build” the baby. A factory can’t make it’s product without raw materials. Babies don’t come from nothing, they need construction materials from Moms food!
What happens when you don’t eat enough of the right foods? Normally our bodies use protein to build and maintain muscle mass and keep our blood sugar levels steady. We use carbohydrates for energy and brain power. Fats are necessary for vitamin absorption, hormone production, nervous system health and development. They are used for dense energy or stored for later use.
When a mom is pregnant her needs change because she is creating a whole new person inside her. To “build” that new person she needs protein. If, when pregnant, mom does not eat enough protein and calories, her body will slow down the “construction” of the baby. It will also start to burn protein (mothers muscle) for energy and will store all the fats she eats because her body thinks it’s starving. The protein that moms’ body burns for energy will leak into the blood and make harmful acids called ketones which may cause damage to the baby.
Mom needs complex carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals, and fats for the essential fatty acids they contain.
What should Mom eat? At every meal, a good quality protein, fresh vegetables, a fresh fruit, and a whole grain food. Mom should eat three regular meals and at least two snacks (one being right before bed). Later in pregnancy, six small meals.
What should Mom NOT eat? White stuff. Stay away from too much dairy, white flour, and sugar. Make all calories count for nutrition, Avoid processed foods, fast foods, trans fats, and hydrogenated fats. It’s best to avoid caffeinated beverages, koolaid, flavored fruit juices and high fructose sweetened foods.
- You need to gain weight. Your body needs to have some reserves for when you are us at night nursing and caring for your newborn.
- If you eat a nourishing, well balanced dies, you will gain exactly the amount of weight you need to grow a healthy baby.
- Eat a wide variety of hoods to help satisfy your appetite.
- Beware of cravings, you might just be thirsty or in need of protein.
- Pack some food.
- Plan a menu ahead of time.
- Make extra and freeze what isn’t needed.