How the Mother’s Health Can Affect Their Kid’s Health During Pregnancy
When expecting a child, the mother’s health is vitally important to their developing baby. Every bite counts in providing essential nutrients for an unborn child’s growth and development. Yet, there are some foods during pregnancy that can do more harm than good – not just to the mother but also to their unborn baby's health. Here we explore what those foods are and why it is important to avoid them when pregnant, plus evidence-based tips on the best course of action for mothers-to-be. Join us as we learn more about how moms can ensure they provide everything necessary for a healthy start!
Introducing the Importance of Prenatal Health
As a mother, you know that the well-being of your baby is always paramount. But did you know that containing your own health during pregnancy may be even more important? Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy. Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care. What's ingested by the mother carries an enduring effect on her child’s health, both in utero and beyond. Eating right doesn't just mean eating properly; it also means understanding what foods to stay away from during pregnancy in order to protect both you and the unborn baby. By being mindful of prenatal nutrition, you can create a firm foundation for the healthy growth and development potential that lies ahead.
Understanding How Diet Affects Pregnancy and Baby Development
Having a good diet during pregnancy is essential for the overall health of both mother and child. Proper nutrition helps ensure your growing baby gets everything he or she needs to meet their developmental milestones. A nutrient-rich maternal diet before and during pregnancy is associated with improved fetal health, more appropriate birth weight, and increased rates of maternal and infant survival. Eating healthy while pregnant can be challenging, however, staying away from certain foods can help protect you and your baby from food-borne illnesses that can affect the development of your unborn child. For example, all expectant mothers should avoid soft cheeses, fish that contain high levels of mercury, unpasteurized milk, deli meats and fish with high levels of mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.
Additionally, it is important to understand that some vitamins and minerals play an even larger role in development during pregnancy; iron, folic acid and calcium are all especially important components for both you and your baby’s continued health during this crucial time. It is also wise to limit caffeine intake to fewer than 200 milligrams per day. Ultimately these dietary considerations when eating while pregnant can prevent long-term health complications in both mother and child. Understanding how nutrition impacts pregnancies not only leads to healthier outcomes but also silences any anxieties associated with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of childbirth. Click here for more information on a proper diet during pregnancy.
Examining Common Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
Good maternal health during pregnancy is essential in providing a healthy start to life for any baby. During this critical period, it's important for mothers-to-be to pay extra attention to what foods they're consuming. Although opinions vary about what should and shouldn't be consumed during this time, there are some common items that pregnant women can generally agree should be avoided or limited. Processed meat, such as pork and beef hot dogs, sausages and luncheon meats, can contain high levels of bacteria like listeria that could lead to complications for both mother and baby.
Riskier seafood such as raw fish sushi can also be off-limits due to the level of mercury it could contain. Those watching their weight might want to steer clear of cheeses with a lot of fat content like brie, feta and gorgonzola. Lastly, Alcohol should always be avoided as even small amounts have been linked with miscarriage or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in babies. With so much special care necessary during pregnancy, avoiding these foods can give mothers peace of mind that their health and their baby's health will remain uncompromised throughout the entire process.
Nourishing Your Body for a Healthy Pregnancy
For any expecting mother, it is of utmost importance to not only take care of herself during pregnancy, but also to nourish her body with the right nutrition. Eating healthy doesn’t just give your baby the best start in life – it lowers the risk of complications related to mom’s health too. Prior to becoming pregnant, mothers should incorporate essential nutrients like folic acid, iron and zinc in their diet as well as ensuring a sufficient intake of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
During the trimesters it is paramount to consume adequate amounts of protein and calcium via nutrient-rich foods like lean meats and dairy products. Of course, proper hydration is always key (try adding some fruits into your water for an extra something). Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and processed sugars may be hard for some moms due to cravings but doing so will exponentially benefit both you and your newborn. Lastly, not forget that physical activity is also an important part of having a healthy pregnancy – try getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. For more information on eating healthy during pregnancy, check out Healthy Moms, Strong Babies.
Staying Physically Active During Pregnancy
Staying physically active during pregnancy can have many positive benefits for both mother and baby. Not only does exercise help regulate hormones, reduce anxiety, and strengthen bones to help carry the extra weight, but it can also lead to easier labor and more efficient prenatal health care during a time when the mother needs to prioritize her own health. Research suggests that with intermittent pregnancies throughout childhood and adolescence, maternal physical activity prior to or during early pregnancy may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes or hypertension.
Furthermore, among normal-weight mothers, heightened physical activity before, or even in early pregnancy (first trimester) may be associated with lower risks of obesity in the offspring at age 6 years. Ultimately, physical activity is an essential key to making sure that neither mom nor baby are in any danger due to unforeseen circumstances in their health. That said, pregnant mothers must use caution when engaging in routines as some forms of exercise may not be appropriate during certain stages of pregnancy.
For example; extreme sports should be avoided due to the increased risk for injury or falls, contact sports should also be avoided for similar reasons. In addition, pregnant woman should ensure that their heart rate doesn't exceed 140 beats per minutes while participating in low-impact aerobic exercises such as jogging on a treadmill, swimming or yoga. Engaging safely in physical activities can promote a healthy lifestyle from gestation through parenthood. Check out MayoClinic for more information on safe physical activity for pregnancy.
Maintaining a Positive Outlook During Pregnancy
Being a parent is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences anyone can embark on, and the pregnancy journey is an integral part of that process. One key factor in ensuring a positive pregnancy experience is being conscious of what you put into your body since your health directly impacts your baby's during this special time. Although it may be tempting to enjoy some cravings here and there, taking care to stay away from certain foods such as caffeine, alcohol, deli meat, raw fish and undercooked meats can help to create a healthy environment for both mom and baby.
With this in mind, it is important to keep stress levels as low as possible by seeking support from family and friends, establishing reasonable expectations for yourself, focusing on nutritious meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as getting adequate rest each day. By being aware of these steps at every stage of pregnancy, mothers can take ownership over their health while still maintaining a positive outlook throughout the entirety of their journey.
Pregnancy is an incredible journey that all mothers should strive to maintain health and wellbeing during. By understanding the crucial nature of prenatal health, being aware of the various foods to avoid, nourishing the body with healthy choices, staying physically active, and maintaining a positive outlook throughout your pregnancy will ensure both you and your baby remain strong and healthy before, during, and after birth. Remember, be mindful and listen to your body as it will tell you what’s best for your baby and for you. If you’re ever unsure about anything related to your prenatal health or need further guidance on how to stay healthy during this special period in life, Youth Fitness Nutrition Academy is here with tools and resources to help guide you every step of the way! Join YFN Academy today to learn more about how you can keep yourself and your little one safe throughout this amazing experience!
Maberley, D., O'Sullivan, A. J., James, N., Shanks, N., & Weir, K. "Current Concepts of Maternal Nutrition." (2020). NCBI PMC, 7(2), 1-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4949006/#:~:text=A%20nutrient%2Drich%20maternal%20diet,of%20maternal%20and%20infant%20survival.
March of Dimes. “Eating Healthy During Pregnancy.” March of Dimes, https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/pregnancy/eating-healthy-during-pregnancy?gclid=CjwKCAiAmJGgBhAZEiwA1JZolrAw3B31VjLKp86A-6yzpKFR3_4aMSeaVVVal0VZa0RtuEFsEUZnChoCEBQQAvD_BwE
"Pregnancy and Exercise." Mayo Clinic, 9 Oct. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-exercise/art-20046896.
"Prenatal Care." Womenshealth.gov, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health, 2020, https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/prenatal-care#:~:text=Prenatal%20care%20can%20help%20keep,when%20they%20see%20mothers%20regularly.
Rumble, Natalie. "Nutrition During Pregnancy." 23 Aug. 2011, https://www.lamaze.org/Giving-Birth-with-Confidence/GBWC-Post/TitleLink/Nutrition-During-Pregnancy?utm_term=nutrition%20in%20pregnancy&utm_campaign=Parents+-+Pregnancy+Nutrition&utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=ppc&hsa_acc=4731867518&hsa_cam=2066565962&hsa_grp=75148711134&hsa_ad=488916097610&hsa_src=g&hsa_tgt=kwd-298310959136&hsa_kw=nutrition%20in%20pregnancy&hsa_mt=p&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_ver=3&gclid=CjwKCAiAmJGgBhAZEiwA1JZoljyE_-IT4-YAaUtJ17zlxUxzMrpYQacQJb86pDt9w4z9psrDkeTKJRoCIQQQAvD_BwE.