Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women's Nutrition Guide

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Breastfeeding and Pregnancy

Before a woman becomes pregnant, it is advisable to start thinking about appropriate diet. From the moment of conception, mother can be assured that her baby will receive all of the vital nutrients.

Low-birth-weight babies (less than 5.5 pounds) have a higher risk of developing health problems.

Pregnant women can help prevent this by eating a well-balanced diet similar to that of other women their age and maintaining a healthy weight for their height. Women who are 15% underweight or more are at an increased risk of having a difficult pregnancy and childbirth.

Consult your doctor about the need for folic acid (a B vitamin) supplements before becoming pregnant. Doctors and scientists agree that taking folic acid supplements can help prevent neural tube defects, which are birth defects. Spina bifida is a condition in which the spine is not completely closed.

PREGNANT AND BREASTFEEDING WOMEN'S ADVICE

1: "Dawn" sickness

Morning sickness isn't always limited to mornings.

During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, around half of all pregnant women experience this.

• Eat dry crackers or toast.

• Eat smaller portions more regularly to keep your stomach from becoming excessively empty or full.

• Spicy and fried foods should be limited or avoided.

• Drink fluids. If you're vomiting, try crushed ice or frozen ice pops to stay hydrated.

• Prepare your food in a well-ventilated kitchen.

2: Heartburn

Hormonal changes and the pressure of an enlarging uterus pressing on your stomach reduce the rate at which food leaves your stomach later in pregnancy.

• Eat smaller meals more frequently to reduce heartburn.

• Chocolate, spicy, and fried meals should be limited or avoided.

• Limit your caffeine intake.

3: Constipation

Increased pressure from the growing baby can cause the contents of your bowels to move more slowly.

• Drink plenty of water—at least 2 to 3 quarts every day.

• Consume whole-wheat breads and cereals, as well as fresh fruits and raw vegetables.

• Regularly and moderately exercise

4: Anemia

Pregnancy raises the risk of anemia due to insufficient iron and folate intake, increased needs for these nutrients due to the baby, or both.

• Consume foods high in iron (red meat, eggs, liver, dried fruit,iron-fortified cereals).

• Consume folate-rich foods (leafy green vegetables, oranges and grapefruit, dry beans, and cereals fortified with folic acid).

• When it comes to vitamins, listen to your doctor's advice.

5: Breastfeeding

• Drink plenty of water—at least 2 to 3 quarts every day.

• Eat calcium-fortified foods such milk, yogurt, cheese, pudding, and tofu.

• If you have a restricted diet, talk to your doctor about keeping your prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement.

• Engage in regular, moderate exercise.

6: Toxins

• Stop consuming alcohol. If you don't have any, don't begin.

• Quit smoking if you do. If you don't have any, don't begin.

• Limit your salt intake to avoid fluid retention and high blood pressure.

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