Gert Coetzee, pharmacist and diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About comments on the importance of pregnant women maintaining a well-balanced lifestyle as a healthy and nutritious diet during pregnancy as it reduces the risks for both them and the baby. Pregnant women who eat well and exercise regularly, are less likely to have a complicated pregnancy. Now that you’re eating for two, it’s very important to be mindful of what goes into your body. The first trimester of your pregnancy comes with changes for you and your baby. For your baby, this is a time of physical development and growth.
“Getting early prenatal care in the early stages of your pregnancy increases the chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Having the guidance of an experienced medical professional is beneficial as no two pregnancies are the same.
Below are some of the reasons why pregnant women should consider prenatal care:
• Helps keep you and your baby’s health intact: Your prenatal visits will help identify any potential health concerns which can be treated when detected early.
• See how your baby is growing and developing: During your appointments, your doctor will measure your belly. These measurements will indicate your baby’s physical development and how well he/she is doing in your womb.
• Get nutritional information for a healthy diet: Your diet might have to change in order to meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Your doctor will provide you with information regarding proper nutrition that will keep you and your baby healthy your pregnancy.
• Schedule important tests: Based on your age as well as your medical and family history, your doctor might schedule certain tests for you. These tests will help detect potential health risks that could affect your baby.
“Moderate exercising is also very good when you’re pregnant – however don’t start a strenuous exercise routine while pregnant, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly before. Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you feel great and stay healthy. Exercising regularly when you’re pregnant can help relieve stress as well as decrease fatigue and backaches. Make sure that you speak to your health care provider before starting an exercise programme as he/she can give you medical guidelines. Some of the best exercises to when you’re pregnant include:
• Stationary cycling
“A pregnant woman’s health is essential to the health and well-being of her baby. Eating a well-balanced diet while pregnancy has been linked to a healthy birth weight and good foetal brain development.
Here are some superfoods which are great to have when you’re pregnant:
Dairy products: Pregnant women need extra protein and calcium which will help meet the needs of their developing baby. Dairy is the best choice for calcium as it provides various B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
Salmon: Salmon is rich in essential Omega-3 fatty acids which pregnant women need. These Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the eye and brain development of your growing baby. Salmon is also very important for necessary processes in the body such as the functioning of the immune system as well as bone health.
Legumes: Legumes are foods such as beans, peas, peanuts, lentils and soybeans. These are excellent sources of protein, iron, calcium and folate. Folate is a B vitamin which is important for the health of both the mother and the foetus. It may also reduce the risks of some birth defects and diseases.
Whole Grains: Unlike refined carbs, whole grains contain vitamins, fiber, plant,compounds and magnesium – all of which pregnant women need.
Avocados: Avocados are good for pregnant women as they contain a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids, B vitamins, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Due to their high content in healthy fats, potassium and folate, avocados are great for the foetus as they help with the growth and development of the tissues, skin and brain.