By eating a healthy nutrient rich diet, losing pregnancy weight becomes much easier and bring a whole slew of health benefits to both the mom and her unborn child.
Nutritionist; Dr Wendy Oddy, an associate professor and researcher at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, says there are many compelling reasons for soon-to-be moms to drop the junk food and focus on healthy eating during pregnancy.
Aside from preventing optimal brain function development in the baby, not getting enough nutrients can actually stunt the growth of the placenta, and may increase the risk of miscarriage and early delivery, with a low birth weight.
“A well-nourished mother will produce a healthy baby and if the baby’s a good weight, it will be more active, mentally alert,and will have less colic, diarrhea, anemia and infections,” Dr Oddy says.
Pregnant women also need to beware of “eating for two”. Their calorie intake needs to go up by only 300-500 calories a day. Pregnant moms should also avoid empty calorie foods such as any fast food, sugar candies, chocolates and pop. Excessive weight gain or an existing obesity issue can put moms at risk of high blood pressure and gestational diabetes which may also put the baby at risk of these as well later in life.
“Go for nutrient-dense foods rather than just kilojoules – solid, heavy wholemeal breads and cereals, lots of vegetables and fresh fruit, legumes, fish, chicken and low-fat dairy,” Dr Oddy says.
To prevent neural tube defects, pregnant women also need to up their foliate intake before and early in pregnancy, and they should also maintain a healthy intake of iron, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, are vital for the brain development of your baby.
Not eating healthy during your pregnancy may lead to the mother having anemia or pre-eclampsia, she may have more fatigue, mood swings, morning sickness, cramps and other complaints. The best way to avoid this to have maintain a healthy, nutrient rich diet throughout the pregnancy and to the end of your breastfeeding term.