Home » Health » Keys to a Healthy Pregnancy: Adequate Hydration, Nutrition and Vitamins

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Every mother-to-be worries about the health of her unborn child, and yet the health of the actual mother is often placed out of mind. It is important to remember that the healthier mom is during this precious time, the healthier that little bundle is likely to be, as well. There are some key factors that moms will want to keep on top of to keep their health, and their child’s health, at its very best. Consuming an adequate amount of water, proper nutrition and important vitamins will give both mother and child the very best odds for having a healthy, happy pregnancy.

Photo Credit: missionforhealth.com.au

Photo Credit: missionforhealth.com.au

Hydration is Important

Any woman who has ever been pregnant can likely relate to the ankle and feet swelling that come along with the third trimester, as well as the bloated feeling during the first. As a result of these uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms, many women wrongfully believe that they are consuming too much water. In reality, it is likely that drinking more water will actually relieve these particularly uncomfortable symptoms. Any soon-to-be mom who experiences any of the following may be dehydrated:

• Cramps
• Dizziness
• Headaches

The demands of pregnancy are plentiful, and even those who are not carrying a baby should be taking in at least eight glasses of water a day so that their organs function properly. For the pregnant lady, adequate hydration is even more important.

Taking a Supplemental Vitamin

Growing a baby is not an easy process even though it is a natural one. As such, it is highly recommended that pregnant women take supplemental vitamins. It is possible to eat enough to compensate for vitamins which are lost as the body creates a tiny human being, but doing so can be a bit difficult to manage while maintaining a proper diet.

Folic Acid: 

Food Serving size Folic acid content
Cereal 3/4 cup (15 to 45 grams) 100 percent fortified ready-to-eat cereal 100 to 700 micrograms — choose a cereal with at least 400 micrograms
Spinach 1/2 cup (90 grams) boiled spinach 131 micrograms
Beans 1/2 cup (88 grams) boiled Great Northern beans 90 micrograms
Asparagus 4 boiled spears (60 grams) 89 micrograms
Peanuts 1 ounce (28 grams) dry roasted 41 micrograms
Oranges 1 orange (159 grams) 48 micrograms

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23

Calcium Sources:

Food Serving size Calcium content
Juice 8 ounces (237 milliliters) calcium-fortified orange juice 500 milligrams
Milk 1 cup (237 milliliters) skim milk 299 milligrams
Yogurt 6 ounces (170 grams) low-fat fruit yogurt 258 milligrams
Cheese 1 ounce (28 grams) part-skim mozzarella cheese 222 milligrams
Salmon 3 ounces (85 grams) canned pink salmon with bones 181 milligrams
Spinach 1/2 cup (90 grams) boiled spinach 122 milligrams
Cereal 1 cup (20 to 60 grams) calcium-fortified ready-to-eat cereal 3 to 1,000 milligrams

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23

Vitamin D:

Food Serving size Vitamin D content
Fish 3 ounces (85 grams) cooked sockeye salmon 447 IU
Juice 8 ounces (237 milliliters) calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice 137 IU
Milk 1 cup (237 milliliters) skim milk 115 IU
Asparagus 4 boiled spears (60 grams) 89 micrograms
Eggs 1 large hard-boiled egg (50 grams) 44 IU

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23

In addition to making healthy food choices, taking a daily prenatal vitamin

Most doctors recommend a vitamin supplement for carrying mothers and often write prescriptions for them. However, it is also possible to purchase the vitamins that the pregnant body requires over the counter. There is one integral factor to keep in mind when going this route, however. Folic acid is incredibly important to the proper growth and development of a fetus. It is widely thought that a severe lack of folic acid in a pregnant mother may actually lead to birth defects. Most regular vitamins don’t offer enough of this particular supplement to be truly beneficial. However, there are folic acid supplements available over the counter, as well as specially made vitamins that will allow a pregnant mother to take only one tablet to get all that she and her baby needs.

Keep in mind that is always important to consult with a physician before taking any sort of medicine or supplement while pregnant. Doing so offers many benefits, including:

• A qualified doctor will know precisely which vitamin supplement will be best for his patients.
• Often, physicians will write a prescription for a single supplement specifically designed for pregnant women that will include the essential folic acid requirements.
• A doctor will be able to perform diagnostic blood work which can also determine whether there are any other vitamin deficiencies, such as low iron. This will allow a mother to fully address any vitamin issues immediately.

Using a physician advised vitamin supplement while pregnant certainly increases the odds of a happy and healthy pregnancy for mom and baby.

Proper Nutrition is Essential

It is so incredibly tempting to go eat everything within sight, or smell for that matter, during pregnancy. Although it is true that mom is eating for two, one of those two is incredibly tiny and doesn’t need one whole meal of their own.

Actually, pregnant women with a healthy weight only need about 300 more daily calories to feed their little one nicely. Although this could come from a big serving of ice cream, it would be far better if it were added with a healthy whopping of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.

Although caving into temptation is perfectly acceptable on occasion, a proper diet with about 1900-2500 calories eaten each day will help to offset some possibly disastrous conditions. Unhealthy weight gain during pregnancy can lead to the development of gestational diabetes, among other things, which often has ill effects on mom and child.

Pregnant moms certainly have their hands full when preparing for their little one, but their own health needs to be at the top of their ‘to do’ list. Adequate hydration, nutrition and vitamins will put mom and baby at their very best and provide for a healthy pregnancy and birth.

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