Tips for staying as healthy as possible during and after your pregnancy

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Healthy mama means healthy baby!

You wouldn’t believe all the things you can influence with food during pregnancy. Even around conception, your diet is exceptionally relevant. For example, did you know that the number of calories you eat during this time could determine the sex of your child? A British study was able to show that of the women with the lowest calorie consumption, only 46 percent had given birth to a boy, but of those with the highest calorie levels, 56 percent had. The diet composition was also crucial in this context: There seems to be a link, in particular, between whole grains for breakfast and fathering a boy. In the animal kingdom, the number of male offspring increases in times of abundance, while it decreases in lean times. According to theory, this is a tactic used by animals to ensure the survival chances of the young. It fits with the fact that the addition of glucose during artificial insemination promotes the growth of male embryos and inhibits that of females in humans.

Eating during pregnancy
Your baby eats with you. That’s the simple formula for eating during pregnancy. Everything you eat also reaches the embryo. Your entire metabolism depends on the way you metabolize food. That is why losing weight during pregnancy can be helpful to influence the development of the baby positively. The mother’s excess weight passes directly to the baby and promotes developing diabetes later. An adequate supply of minerals and vitamins is essential. Your food during pregnancy affects the formation of all functional systems of your child, for nerves, bones, blood. Some foods are forbidden, for example, raw milk products like cheese or raw milk itself. And of course, pregnancy & alcohol are entirely mutually exclusive. And this from the first sign of pregnancy. On that point – just like nicotine – you have to protect your child.


Related: What to eat during nursing and how breastfeeding can end childhood obesity


Pregnancy and nutrition

Make sure you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to get the required amounts of essential nutrients. Being well hydrated is also important, and your doctor will assist you with complete information on how to go about your fitness and nutrition. Having routine exercise will help keep you fit and burn off that excess fat. Keeping yourself healthy at the time of pregnancy helps you cut down on weight-related pregnancy problems.

When you are healthy, you tend to sleep better and are well-rested. Of course, most women don’t want to be burdened with exercising during pregnancy but remember that the health benefits are more important than the inconvenience. As a matter of fact, “pregnancy is not a bed of roses .”To pull through successfully, you have to go the extra mile to ensure that you and your baby are healthy.


The ideal composition of the diet

Do not consume too much fat, especially hidden fat in sausage, cheese and desserts should be avoided. Overall, you should pay attention to a high proportion of vegetable fats. These contain, among other things, vitamins A and E. Animal fats are needed as suppliers of vitamin D.

Carbohydrate intake should be increased somewhat to meet the slightly increased energy needs. Choose high-quality carbohydrate sources whenever possible. For example, chocolate, cookies, and cakes contain unnecessary calories and carbohydrates. For instance, whole-grain products, fruit, vegetables, or potatoes are more suitable.

In addition, the fiber contained here stimulates digestion and thus prevents constipation. In addition, foods rich in fiber are more filling for longer.


How many meals are sensible?

You should rather eat five to six smaller meals during a pregnancy instead of the usual three. This has several advantages:

  • Blood sugar does not drop too much.
  • Frequent small meals help best against nausea, especially in the first months of pregnancy. If you suffer from it a lot, you should eat the first meal in the morning while still in bed. If you have frequent vomiting in addition to nausea, this first meal should be as dry as possible. Whole-grain cookies or crispbread are well suited here.
  • Towards the end of pregnancy, when the baby needs more and more space, you can digest frequent smaller meals better. Especially if you suffer from heartburn, you should keep the last meal rather small, not eat too late, and do not lie down flat immediately after eating.

Important nutrients for the baby

Increase your protein intake right from the start of pregnancy. The developing fetal organism depends on proteins as a primary substance for muscles and organs. At least half of the protein should come from plant sources. Valuable protein sources include dairy products, fish, lean meat, and legumes.

The intake of minerals, vitamins, and trace elements are vital during pregnancy, especially calcium, iron, folic acid, and iodine.

Vegetarian/vegan diet

An ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet is possible. To consume sufficient iron, one should discuss with the doctor, if necessary, whether additional iron supplements are helpful. Those who do not like fatty sea fish may want to supplement their diet with omega-3 fatty acids.

During pregnancy, a vegan diet is not possible without a nutrient deficiency (high health risk for the child!). Pregnant women should, therefore, in any case, seek medical advice and supplement the diet with micronutrients.

Do not do without salt

The diet should by no means be low in salt. However, about one teaspoon of salt per day is essential for a positive course of pregnancy and can help in many cases to prevent or alleviate the occurrence of gestosis.

The pregnant woman should not give up salt even with pre-existing symptoms, especially edema. The previously standard treatment with rice/fruit days low-salt and fluid-reduced diets do not help and may even worsen the condition. However, dehydrating agents – including herbal ones such as nettle tea – should not be taken instead.

Drink enough

Be sure to drink enough fluids. The recommended fluid intake is at least two liters per day. Low-calorie non-alcoholic beverages, such as mineral water, herbal teas, or diluted juices, are best. However, you may continue to drink coffee or tea to a usual extent.

It would be best if you steered clear of alcoholic beverages, as the consequences for your child are irreversible.

Heavy coffee consumption (more than three cups per day) increases the risk of miscarriage and may affect the baby’s birth weight.


You should avoid these foods

Be careful with raw meat and dairy products (especially raw milk cheese), and there is a risk of transmitting listeriosis. Infection of your unborn child with this germ can lead to miscarriage. Milk should only be enjoyed pasteurized or boiled. Especially raw or poorly cooked pork may contain toxoplasma, which can cause severe damage to the child.

  • Avoid offal for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • If possible, do not eat fast food or convenience foods. They often contain any artificial additives and flavorings.
  • Wash salad and vegetables that you want to eat raw thoroughly.
  • You should also refrain from smoking.

A snack could be a small salad with sunflower or pine nuts sprinkled on top. For the dressing, use extra virgin olive oil or yogurt.

At lunchtime, serve steamed deep-sea fish, such as pollock, with potatoes or rice and fresh vegetables that have been cooked only briefly. Use iodized salt for cooking.

The next snack can consist of crunchy raw vegetables with herb curd dip or fruit.

You should resort to light food in the evening: Delicious whole-grain bread with lean turkey or low-fat cheese and tomatoes as toppings. Accompanied by a large glass of milk.


Related: The top 4 health tips for having a successful pregnancy


healthy mama means healthy baby


Exercising during pregnancy

Walking and swimming are some of the best exercises for pregnant women, as long as they are done in moderation. Don’t exercise yourself to exhaustion. That is not good for your health or your baby’s. Instead, make it a daily habit to stay fit by exercising, no matter how little, as it will help you to eliminate joint pains and backaches. Sitting still all the time will not do you any good. It would help if you kept the blood circulation going.

Exercise is critical now. It strengthens your muscles and cardiovascular health, just what you need for pregnancy and birth! So stay active and consciously incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

The rule is simple: it is best to move every day! We recommend at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. That adds up quickly if, for example, you ride your bike to work, take a brisk walk with colleagues during your lunch break, and go to your fitness class in the evening. Then, during the day, add up all the “exercise portions” that last more than 10 minutes.

It’s crucial to find the right balance. That means not over-exerting yourself, but also not under-exerting yourself. Again, the talk test is a good guide: If you get so out of breath that you run out of air and conversation becomes impossible, you should reduce the pace or the exertion.

Active everyday life + sport
The basis for an active pregnancy is a busy everyday life. This includes avoiding prolonged periods of sitting and incorporating regular movement breaks – perhaps by making yourself a cup of tea or taking your mail to the mailbox? A goal of 10,000 steps a day can provide a rough guide for activities in your daily life. Apps and fitness watches can help with counting.

Choose complimentary sports that you enjoy and are comfortable with. Adapt the type of sport to your fitness level. For beginners, choose familiar and straightforward activities such as walking, Nordic walking, cycling, swimming/aqua fitness, low-impact aerobics, or pregnancy yoga. Experienced athletes can usually train a little more intensively and stick with their sport, provided the risk of injury is not too high.

“Isn’t it better to take it easy during pregnancy?”
If your pregnancy is progressing normally, exercise is safe and desirable and will benefit you and your baby. However, if you are unsure, talk to your gynecologist. Together, you can find the right amount of exercise.

Would you have known? Active pregnant women…

  • Feel better,
  • have less back pain,
  • keep their weight under control,
  • get more oxygen to their baby,
  • are less likely to develop gestational diabetes,
  • are better able to cope with the stresses and strains of pregnancy and childbirth, and
  • are fitter again more quickly after the birth.

Heed your doctor’s advice

Since most women have an extreme appetite for unhealthy foods at this time, you should make an effort to keep to your doctor’s or midwife’s recommended diet plan. Remember that what you eat determines your healthiness and that of the baby in the womb. Always take your doctor’s prescribed prenatal vitamins in your staying healthy effort. These vitamins help make up for the nutritional deficiencies.

Caution When Eating During Pregnancy

Low-fat dairy products
Sure, you shouldn’t gain weight during pregnancy, but low-fat dairy products should be used sparingly. A Harvard School of Health study showed that children of mothers who ate a cup of low-fat quark or skim milk yogurt every day during pregnancy were significantly more likely to suffer from hay fever and asthma than children whose mothers preferred the full-fat varieties. However, it is not sure whether low-fat dairy products’ components alone triggered the allergies or whether other factors not studied were responsible.

Caffeine
A study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in San Francisco took on whether coffee increases the risk of miscarriage and followed 1063 women during their pregnancies. The researchers asked the expectant mothers to keep detailed records of their daily coffee consumption up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Of all the women actively involved in the study, 172 suffered a miscarriage. They had consumed between 40 and 200 milligrams of caffeine a day. That’s equivalent to about two espressos or four cups of filter coffee – so not that much!

The result: Pregnant women who consumed at least 200 mg of caffeine a day had twice the risk of miscarriage as women who largely avoided caffeine. But even smaller doses still increased the risk by about 40 percent. Important: Since soft drinks containing caffeine, tea, and hot chocolate had the same effect, the danger seems to come from the caffeine itself and not from other coffee substances – according to the scientists. This also applies to dark chocolate. It contains as much theobromine per 100 grams as a cup of espresso. And you should not eat 200 grams of dark chocolate during pregnancy because of the risk of diarrhea.

Raw milk products and raw meat
Raw milk cheeses (blue cheese, mozzarella, feta, Tilsiter), raw milk itself, and raw meat are forbidden for eating during pregnancy. This is because they increase the risk of catching a food infection that could have severe consequences for your child. So always eat meat only very well cooked.

Fish and seafood
They, too, must be carved through before eating, as they could cause a listeria infection if eaten raw.

In general, though, be mindful of what you eat during pregnancy, but don’t go crazy with it. Feel inside yourself, too – you’ll notice exactly what’s good for you and your baby. And pay a little attention to your husband: A quarter of all men whose partner is expecting a baby gain a drastic 6.35 pounds on average, according to a study of 5,000 Brits. But, unfortunately, they don’t notice until the clothes no longer fit. THAT is undoubtedly one of the biggest dangers of eating during pregnancy.


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