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Monday, October 3, 2011

Nutrition tips for pregnant or breastfeeding women

You only need about 300 extra calories per day to maintain a healthy pregnancy and provide sufficient nutrition for your growing baby. However, gaining some weight is natural during pregnancy, and nursing can help with weight loss after the baby is born.

Nutrition for a healthy pregnancy

* Nutrition for a healthy pregnancyFat and protein are very important to your baby’s developing brain and nervous system. Stick to lean sources of protein and healthy fats for weight control.

* Abstain from alcohol. No amount is safe for the baby.

* Cut down on caffeine, which has been linked to a higher risk of miscarriage and can interfere with iron absorption. Limit yourself to no more than one caffeinated drink per day.

* Eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than a few large ones. This will help prevent and reduce morning sickness and heartburn.

* Be cautious about foods that may be harmful to pregnant women. These include soft cheeses, sushi, deli meats, raw sprouts, and fish such as tuna that may contain high levels of mercury.

Nutrition for breastfeeding women

* Keep your caloric consumption a little higher to help your body maintain a steady milk supply.

* Emphasize lean sources of protein and calcium, which are in higher demand during lactation.

* Take prenatal vitamin supplements, which are still helpful during breastfeeding, unless your physician tells you otherwise.

* Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Just as with the pregnancy guidelines above, refrain from drinking and smoking, and reduce your caffeine intake.

If your baby develops an allergic reaction, you may need to adjust what you're eating. Common food allergens include cow's milk, eggs, wheat, fish, and citrus. For a cow's milk allergy, you can meet your calcium needs through other high calcium foods, such as kale, broccoli, or sardines.

Nutrition tips to boost fertility

* Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, as they are known to decrease fertility.

* Eat organic foods, in order to limit pollutants and pesticides that may interfere with fertility.

* Take a prenatal supplement. The most important supplements for fertility are folic acid, zinc, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin C.

* Don’t overlook your partner’s diet. About 40 percent of fertility problems are on the male’s side, so encourage your partner to add supplements such as zinc, vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin D.

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