Growing a Healthy Baby
Sherry Bushnell, LM, CPM
A good rule to remember is: what you eat, baby eats too. Avoid Metabolic Syndrome, high blood pressure, HELLP syndrome (pre-eclampsia), gestational diabetes and other problems at the end of pregnancy, by eating well in the beginning. Over nourishing: Eating highly processed foods, white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and additives, deprives you and your baby of much needed nutrients. Make every mouth full count. Women who consistently eat well have less complications right after birth, such as hemorrhage and retained placenta. Exercise regularly. Keeping fit by walking helps you become ready for giving birth.
Every Day Eat
4 servings dairy – This means 1 quart of milk, or dairy in any form: milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt.
2 Eggs -Cooked in any way, in French toast, pancakes, pudding or added to other foods.
An additional protein - red meat, chicken, fish, or a complete protein combination such as beans, rice and cheese.
2 servings green - leafy lettuce (not head lettuce), green veggies ( ½ cup each serving)
3 servings grains (preferably whole wheat bread – 1 slice, pancakes -1, muffin-1, tortilla – 1 brown rice-1, oatmeal 1 cup etc…),
1-2 citrus fruits a day - citrus, tomato, cantaloupe, etc.. can also be a serving of juice.
3 fat servings a day – 1 tsp olive oil, butter, coconut oil, etc. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats and use only saturated animal fats for frying.
Eat a potato 3 times a week (French fries don’t count!)
Eat 3 servings of a yellow or orange vegetable
Plenty of water or other fluids
Salt to taste
During the early months of pregnancy, a mom’s weight gain is likely to be very gradual and her energy needs increase by only a small amount. However, as your baby gets bigger, moms can expect to show a steady weight gain due to the changes in her body. Gaining weight is a good sign that all is well.
The goal is to keep away from carbohydrates that will add unnecessary weight to you and your baby. Growing a healthy baby, does not necessarily mean a big baby. If you eat well and avoid empty calories (processed chips, sweet cake, ice cream, fudge, and so forth) and choose to eat well every day, you baby will be just the right size. Eating well doesn’t mean eating a lot. It means making sure all food and drink benefit baby.
What if I eat too much and my baby gets too big??? There is no exact healthy weight gain. Thin woman may need to gain more, overweight woman less. The important thing is that you are eating enough protein to give your baby just what he or she needs to be healthy. Eating good-for-you food, that is not high in carbohydrates, will not make your baby too big. Remember, things like pop, sugar, white flour can just make bigger moms and babies, not healthy ones.
Ouch! My grocery bill! Buying good food is not cheap, but neither is a stay at the hospital after you or your baby are not well. Eating good-for-you foods helps both you and your baby to be doing their very best after birth.