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Nutrition Before, During and After Pregnancy

Before Pregnancy

Don’t wait until after you’re pregnant to start eating healthy. If you’re planning to become pregnant, now is the time for you to optimize your nutrition. By adjusting your nutrition you can improve your chances of conceiving and give your baby the healthiest start possible.

prenatal diet Depositphotos_3054607_xsOne of the important nutrients prior to pregnancy is folate, or folic acid. By consuming adequate folate pre-pregnancy you can decrease your risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. The neural tube of the baby forms within the first two weeks of pregnancy, before most women know they’re pregnant. As a result, consuming adequate folate leading up to conception is imperative

By meeting with a Dietitian that specializes in prenatal nutrition, you can ensure that you’re consuming adequate folate and other nutrients that are important for fertility and healthy development of the fetus.

During Your Pregnancy

Some of the nutrition challenges you may face during pregnancy include:

  • Meeting increased calorie and nutrient needs
  • Keeping food and fluid down when suffering from morning sickness
  • Gaining an appropriate amount of weight
  • Managing blood sugar if you have gestational diabetes
  • Managing blood pressure if you have hypertension
  • Reducing fluid retention
  • Controlling common digestive issues such as heartburn or constipation
  • Knowing which foods to avoid due to the high risk for foodborne illness

A Dietitian is an important part of your healthcare team and he or she can help you achieve nutrition excellence and tackle the above-mentioned challenges during pregnancy.

After the Pregnancy

Happy mother with smiling babyAfter the baby is born you’ll want to hold on to your Dietitian for at least another year or two. He or she can help you enhance your nutrition for breastfeeding and achieve and maintain a healthy post-pregnancy weight. After giving birth you’ll potentially lose about 15 lbs within the first week. During the following year or so, with a well-balanced nutrition and exercise plan, you should gradually lose the remaining pregnancy weight. Avoid fad diets, which can take off weight too quickly and result in a drop in breast milk production, and instead work with a Dietitian that specializes in postnatal nutrition.

Are You Looking for Expert Nutrition Advice?

As mentioned above, a Dietitian can help you optimize your nutrition before, during and after pregnancy. Click here to search for an MFN Dietitian who specializes in prenatal and/or postnatal nutrition.

References

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Folic Acid. Retrieved December 20, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/index.html.
Sizer, F.S. and Whitney, E. (2014). Nutrition Concepts and Controversies (13th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Women, Infants, and Children (2012). Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy. Retrieved December 19, 2013, http://www.helpmebehealthy.net/docs/Mothers_PreNatal_E.pdf.

MFN Industry Expert