Pregnancy is a great time for the whole family to take steps to improve its health and longevity. After all, parents and siblings want to attend future graduations, marriage ceremonies, births of grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, and hopefully be part of a large multiple generation family. In order to do that, you must understand some simple measures that are required to attain these goals.
Proper nutrition and exercise have no substitute when it comes to simple measures to improve your health and decrease your risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Though it may seem like pregnancy is a great excuse for overeating and acting upon cravings, that behavior increases your pregnancy risks for having too large a baby, a difficult delivery, cesarean section, injuries to your baby, and diabetes of pregnancy, diabetes after pregnancy, and increased life time risk of breast cancer (if you gain 40 pounds or more during a pregnancy with a one fetus). New studies also show a correlation between excessive weight gain during pregnancy and obesity and diabetes in children.
Nutrition and Weight Gain
Even though the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology advises an average of 25 pounds weight gain during a pregnancy, that advice is meant for women close to their ideal body weight. If you are overweight, you should gain less weight than that, and if you are underweight or less than 18 years of age, you should gain more weight than that. It is important that you consult with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist to determine how much weight you should gain during a pregnancy in order to maximize your pregnancy outcome and decrease your risks and your baby’s risks for complications. If you want the best for your baby, then you have to sacrifice your comfort and wants. The short-term sacrifice during your pregnancy will pay off in years of health to your baby. And, if you carry your good pregnancy eating and exercise habits past your pregnancy, then you and your family improve your chances for many years of good health.
Remember that just because a food is healthy, it does not mean that you can eat it in abundance and maintain good health. Also remember that not because a relative or friend gained 50 pounds in the pregnancy and had no pregnancy complications, that therefore you should do the same. Most women increase their baseline weight by at least 10 pounds with each pregnancy. Sixty percent of adults in America today are overweight, with near half of those being obese. Being overweight increases risks of many serious medical conditions that can interfere with your ability to be a parent and a grandparent. It is not about looks. Rather it is about health and the pursuit of illness free life for as long as possible. >br>
Excerice and pregnancy
Though for years the medical industry advised pregnant women to take it easy, we now know that that is poor advice in the absence of certain pregnancy complications. Exercise improves pregnancy outcome. It decreases risk of diabetes of pregnancy, overweight, hypertension, preeclampsia (toxemia), and having large babies. There are reports that support an easier delivery course with regular exercise. Consult with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist if you are worried about your risks with exercise. You will be surprised about what you can safely do in terms of exercise during pregnancy. Remember to include your family in your routine whenever that is possible. Exercise can be wonderful family quality time. Exercise can take many forms from swimming, dancing, cycling, walking, to repetitive arm movements if you are bed ridden. Call our office and obtain some health tips.
Prenatal vitamins and other dietary supplements
Not all prenatal vitamins contain the recommended vitamin and mineral doses for pregnancy. Vitamin supplements are important during pregnancy. Most healthy women without known medical conditions or eating disorders need a good prenatal supplement with a total of 1000-5000 mcg of folic acid. Currently most prenatal vitamins contain only 400-1000 mcg. Recent medical reviews showed a decrease of 85% in neural tube defects in patients who take 5000 mg of folic acid from time of conception and for 2 months thereafter. Many prenatal vitamins may not provide you with sufficient iodine. Iodine is very important for the fetal brain development, and the need for iodine during pregnancy starts at conception. If you have nausea during early pregnancy and you are unable to tolerate your prenatal vitamin, please make sure to use iodized salt so that your daily iodine intake nears 220 mcg and take folic acid supplements.
Most prenatal vitamins do not have omega III essential fatty acids. Omega III essential fatty acids are also important for the development of the fetal brain and retina and may decrease risk of preterm delivery and postpartum depression. Your daily needs for omega III essential fatty acids can be met by either taking one Expecta Lipil daily, or by eating fish (6 oz of salmon and 6 oz of shrimps per week), nuts (1/4 cup walnuts daily), and a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, beans, full grains, and seaweed. Expecta Lipil may be purchased online. Prenatal vitamins also do not contain sufficient calcium, therefore you must either eat a diet high in calcium or you must take calcium supplements.
Check with your pharmacist for any contraindications to any of these vitamins and supplements and any other medication that you are taking. Avoid taking all your supplements at the same time. If you take Thyroid Replacement Drugs such as Synthroid, do not take it with your prenatal vitamin. Do not hesitate to consult with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist for your vitamin and supplement needs and how to take them based on your health, previous pregnancy performance, and your eating habits.
Prenatal vitamins and other dietary supplements
Beware of herbs especially during early pregnancy. All herb preparations are not FDA reviewed for quality or for use during pregnancy. Many herbs may interfere with the absorption of medications, vitamins, and minerals, or may interfere with their blood level. Consult with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist before you use any herbs during the pregnancy.
How to prepare for, and what to expect during, Pregnancy nutrition, diet and exercise counseling in our office:
- Obtain all medical records and tests that pertain to your current health problems, previous serious health problem, and previous obstetrical complications
- Request records from doctors and hospitals to be faxed to our office prior to your appointment with us so that we may review them in advance
- Log one week of your typical food intake, time you ate, what you ate, and quantities
- Log one week of your exercise activities, what exercise and how long
- You will require 15-20 minutes to fill out paper work in our office prior to being evaluated or you can print these forms from this website and complete them prior to arriving at our office
- Your visit may entail a full physical exam and ultrasound of your pregnancy, if you are already pregnant
- The length of your visit will vary between 30 and 90 minutes depending on the complexity of your evaluation