Pregnancy is a state of being. For most people; this is a great life-changing experience: most parents-to-be are looking forward to the rewards and joys of parenthood, and are also understandably apprehensive. This is the time to form good alliances with other new and expectant parents and partners to develop your support systems. A time also for fathers to meet other expectant and experienced fathers, to talk realistically of their fears and expectations; a time to grow, a time to reap and enjoy this time of change, and opportunity to broach one’s knowledge.
It’s important to eat a variety of healthy foods while you’re pregnant. What you eat helps your baby grow and develop. Choose foods that are good for both of you. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day.
High-quality foods have lots of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. You should try to eat foods from each of the five food groups every day: grain products; vegetables; fruits; dairy products; and meat or other protein foods.
You also should try to limit fatty foods and sweets. Cut down on foods such as doughnuts, potato chips, sodas, cookies and candy. They don’t give your baby enough of what it needs to grow.
Folic acid is a B vitamin found mainly in orange juice, green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, liver and fortified breakfast cereals. All women who might become pregnant should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, especially in the weeks before conception and the early weeks of pregnancy. This will reduce your risk of having a baby with defects of the brain and spinal cord, like spina bifida, or ‘open spine.’ Some studies show that it also may help to prevent cleft palate. The surest way to get the recommended amount of folic acid is to eat a healthy diet and take a multivitamin supplement every day.
Weight gain is healthy when you’re pregnant. You need more food than before to help your baby grow. Women of average weight-for-height before pregnancy should gain about 25 to 35 pounds. Your health care provider will tell you what’s right for you. Never try to lose weight while you’re pregnant. Wait until after your baby is born. Keep in mind that you will lose 12 to 14 pounds within a week after the baby is born. The rest of the extra weight usually will be lost within a year with healthy eating and usual activity.