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Nutrition During Pregnancy

As commonly said that "Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessing, therefore, it becomes even more important to achieve and maintain healthy nutrition during pregnancy as it forms the vital component of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy baby. The nutritional demands and status should be reviewed not only when one becomes pregnant but long before conception so that appropriate changes can be made to prepare the body to protect both the pregnant mother and her developing baby from immediate and long-term health risks.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the following key components of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy: appropriate weight gain, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and appropriate and timely vitamin and mineral supplementation. Important nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Another important part of healthy pregnancy nutrition is appropriate fluid intake.

Healthy eating also includes knowing how much one should eat. There is a common myth that a pregnant mother should "eat for two", but a pregnant woman with a Body Mass Index (BMI) within the normal range on average needs only about 300 extra calories a day and if one is pregnant with twins, will need only 600 extra calories per day. Also one should follow the following safety guidelines:

​1. Wash- Rinse all raw produce thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting, or cooking.

2. Clean- Wash your hands, knives and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.

3. Avoid- Raw and under cooked seafood, eggs, and meat. Do not eat sushi made with raw fish.

4. Cook- Beef, pork, or poultry should be cooked to a safe internal temperature.

5. Chill- Promptly refrigerate all perishable food.

Importance of a Healthy Diet During Pregnancy:

Poor maternal nutrition contributes to poor fetal development leading to several risks to the baby. Maternal nutrition during pregnancy also leads to "fetal programming effect" i.e. the fetus will learn nutritional habits, which will influence the baby for the rest of the life. Not only this, the baby will also adapt its metabolism and other body systems to cope with different states of nutrition. Other benefits include:

1. Reduces pregnancy complications

2. Reduces incidence of birth defects.

3. Ensures a healthy weight for your baby.

4. Helps you loose weight faster after delivery

Eating well during your pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Everything you eat has an impact on your baby's growth and development, as well as your own health.

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