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Eating right when you are pregnant

pregnant-eatEating right when you are pregnant may seem obvious, but there are a number of factors working against pregnant women with regard to good nutrition.

First, we live a fast food lifestyle, and it is not easy for many women, especially busy ones, to begin eating right and cooking more instead of consuming food that is packaged or canned, or even fast food.

Second, morning sickness can play havoc with a woman’s eating habits. Even if she tries to eat right, she might lose her breakfast. Morning sickness can also happen at any time of day or night, not just in the mornings and be especially strong in relation to certain foods such as meat, which is full of protein and other essential nutrients.

Pregnancy can often leave you feeling full even if you have not eaten that much, and some women still try to stay slim despite the fact that they are “eating for two.”

On the flip side of this lack of appetite, however, can be eating binges as food cravings get out of control. Foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in nutritional value, or ones full of sodium, can be a real issue and cause a woman to get bloated and pack on pounds of water weight.

Even if it is not fat, it is a strain on the body, which is already under strain. If your caloric intake increases only a few hundred calories, that can soon lead to weight gain, and we all know how difficult it is to lose weight even at the best of times.

It can be even harder after your pregnancy, when you will be tired, coping with a newborn, and full of raging hormones. The more weight you gain during the pregnancy, the more you will have to lose once it is over.

In most cases, the baby will weigh less than eight pounds, with another five to seven pounds of afterbirth and fluids that will be lost at birth. A safe weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds. Assuming that you lose 15 pounds when your baby is born, that will still leave 10 to 20 more pounds to lose.

Unfortunately, many women gain more than that, and in both the winter and the summer months, those extra pounds are more of a burden to carry around. You can satisfy your cravings while you are pregnant, but be sure to do so in moderation.

Watch out for heartburn as your pregnancy continues, since the diaphragm is displaced upwards as the baby grows. Eating lots of fatty foods can irritate your digestive system, making you more uncomfortable.

Instead of eating three large meals a day, you might try to eat four to six smaller meals, which can also reduce heartburn episodes.

Avoid unnecessary sodium in your daily diet, since it can cause your body to retain more fluid and lead to swelling in your hands and feet. You will already be bloated enough without additional fluid retention to make your belly feel tight and your feet and ankles sore. If they do start to swell, make sure you try to elevate them to bring down the swelling.

Be sure to read all food labels of anything that you don’t cook from scratch. The more natural your sources of food, the better, to avoid any hidden sodium, chemicals, artificial colorings, sweeteners, or preservatives, which can also cause cravings and blood sugar swings.

Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes in particular can be metabolized by the body as if they are sugar. Sodium and other preservatives can trigger spikes in blood pressure. Since you will want to avoid high blood pressure during pregnancy, and diabetes triggered by pregnancy, try to eat an all-natural diet

and avoid all foods that your doctor will warn against, such as undercooked eggs and poultry, and seafood, raw or cooked.