Good nutrition during pregnancy is vital, both to keep you fit and healthy and to ensure that your baby is given the best possible chance in life. This is a great opportunity to move away from the sugar-and-fat-laden processed foods that are so much part of our diet these days. Knowing that the small life growing inside you is profoundly influenced by your lifestyle is a great motivator to make changes that will also benefit you and your family. Statistics show that most of us eat too much processed, fatty and sugar-laden food and that obesity and heart disease are rapidly-growing problems in so-called civilised societies. By contrast, it is known that increasing your consumption of Omega 3-rich foods during the last three months of pregnancy helps develop your baby’s cognitive and motor skills.
Convenience and lack of time to prepare fresh foods are often reasons people give for not eating more healthily. But pregnancy is a time when good nutrition is vital. Your body is telling you to slow down and relax more, and in fact it’s not as hard, expensive or time-consuming as you might think to change your eating habits. The hints and links below will give you some great ideas on a healthy pregnancy diet and how to give your baby the very best nutrition that he or she deserves. One of my colleagues has a site that I use whenever I’m feeling out of shape. It’s called Nature’s Health Foods and it’s kind of inspiring…bright, clear and uplifting. I especially like the page called Super Natural Foods because I find it very easy to click on pics of foods and find out more about them. I have a lactose intolerance so I have to make sure I replace the calcium I miss with other foods.
Alcohol in Pregnancy
There is some confusing advice around on whether you should stop drinking alcohol completely during pregnancy. For the first three months it is wise to cut alcohol out altogether. Thereafter, anyone who has been in the habit of drinking more than a glass or two of wine, or its equivalent, per day, should try very hard indeed to cut down. The evidence that excessive alcohol consumption harms babies in the womb is very strong and the latest guidelines are to cut alcohol out altogether. Why not try one of the many new fruit-based drinks that are now available – some are absolutely delicious and once in the glass they look just like wine, so no-one knows you’re absteeming. If you’re worried that alcohol that you drank before you knew you were pregnant might have done harm, take comfort in the fact that this happens to many women and provided you don’t continue to drink during pregnancy, or you keep alcohol consumption right down, the indications are that you’ll have done no harm.
Smoking During Pregnancy
There is a lot of evidence that smoking, both active and passive, can harm your baby, before and after birth. To be healthy the child in the womb requires a good and constant flow of oxygen through the mother’s blood, plus she or he is dependent on the correct balance of nutrients being delivered too. Smoking has been shown to interfere with both of the above processes, so pregnancy nutrition is highly likely to be compromised, which is why smokers’ babies tend to have a lower birth weight. If you do smoke, this is perhaps the best excuse you’ll ever have for stopping. The way you handle this depends a lot on your personality: some people need to use nicotine substitutes or patches while others just decide they’re going to stop – and they do! But being responsible for the life of an unborn baby is a very powerful motivator, so my advice is, if you need to give up smoking, go for it now! Good luck!