How to Eat for A Healthy Pregnancy

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You just found out you’re pregnant. Never has it been more crucial to eat well. Because not eating well during your pregnancy can increase your risk of complications while pregnant and during birth. And, eating well has never been easier during pregnancy than it is now.

First, understand that once you hit the second trimester, you should be eating about 300 more calories a day. Calories provide you with the extra energy that your body needs to have the best environment possible for your baby to grow in. Now, these extra calories don’t give you permission to chow down on every food in your line of sight. After all, it is only an extra 300 calories that you’re getting. A glass of milk or one banana equals 100 calories and a slice of whole wheat bread, an ounce of cheese and a half of cup of grapes equals 200 calories. See how much more you are eating than if you decide to eat a donut instead?

In addition, you need at least three servings of protein each day. The protein contains amino acid which is one of the most important building blocks for your baby’s tissue.  Protein is very easy to come by and your options are endless. You can drink 3 glasses of milk, and you can have 2 cups of yogurt along with 3 ounces of cheese.

Next, you need at least four servings of calcium every day. Calcium is going to help grow your baby’s bones and help protect yours. There are many options you can choose from for foods high in calcium, including:

  • Seeds. Seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses.
  • Cheese. Most cheeses are excellent sources of calcium.
  • Yogurt. Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium.
  • Sardines and Canned Salmon.
  • Beans and Lentils.
  • Almonds.
  • Whey Protein.

Aim for at least three servings of vitamin C. Your body does not store vitamin C so you need a fresh supply of it every day. You can eat fruit or almost any vegetable to get your vitamin C. You also want to make sure you get three to four servings of green leafy and yellow vegetables and fruits. Most of these veggies and fruits will also count toward your vitamin C intake, so that is double the benefit.

Make sure you should get in one to two servings of all other fruit and vegetables that are not known for their vitamin A and C value but are still good for you all the same. Apples,  banana, and onions are just a few that are in this category.  Eat six or more servings of whole grains and legumes because these are filled with vitamins E and B and they help you battle constipation. Try eating brown rice, whole wheat bread and even air popped corn to get your servings of whole grains and legumes in.

Perhaps one of the most important nutrients you and your body need is iron. Your body’s demand for iron will never be greater than it is while you are pregnant, so make sure you are able to keep up with it. Not enough iron could lead to anemia, which results in you being very tired and foggy headed, so make sure you are getting enough iron.  If you feel that you aren’t, talk to your doctor and he might be able to prescribe you an iron supplement.

It is always a good idea to eat well every day.  However, when you are pregnant it is essential that you eat well every day.

How to Cope With Food Aversions

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Do you find yourself suddenly feeling queasy at the thought of the leftover pasta that you couldn’t get enough of the other night?

Food aversions are a normal part of pregnancy and the flip side to food cravings. Nearly 85% of all pregnant women suffer from food aversions.

Food aversion is when the food you normally are able to look at, smell and eat suddenly send you running in the opposite direction. They appear in the first trimester and usually trigger morning sickness. Some women find that the problem disappears by the start of their second trimester right around the same time morning sickness disappears. Other women find that their food aversions stay with them their whole pregnancy and a few women find that foods they developed aversions to throughout the pregnancy stay with them even after they deliver.

Just like with food cravings, your hormones are likely to blame for your food aversions. Some people believe that just as food cravings are your body’s way of telling you that you need a certain food, food aversions are your body’s way of protecting you from eating anything that can harm your baby. This might be why a lot of women report that they experience aversions to alcohol and coffee. The theory is still under debate though because so many pregnant women are turned off by food that is healthy for them and their babies. And really, none of their opinions matter because you are the one suffering from food aversion!

Try not to fight a healthy aversion. Consider it a blessing if the mere thought of your normal morning cup of coffee turns your stomach upside down. Cutting back on caffeine is much easier when your stomach rebels than at any other time. The same goes for cigarette smoke. Many women have said that the first clue they had that they were pregnant was the fact that the smell of smoke sent them running for the bathroom. Others say that the first clue they were pregnant was when they had actually felt sick when thinking about having a glass of wine with dinner.

If you find that you have aversions to healthy food, try to work around it as best as you can. Don’t force yourself to eat food that you have aversions to.  It isn’t a pleasant experience; instead, try to look for alternatives. Some women find the thought of salad or anything green revolting. If you’re one of them, you might be wondering how you are going to get the nutrients and vitamins you need. One alternative is to try and drink some vegetable juice. While drinking vegetable juice isn’t the same as eating vegetables it has its benefits when you can’t look at your veggies. You can also try eating different colored veggies like peppers or carrots.

If it is a protein like fish and chicken that make you sick, get your protein in other forms. Cheese, yogurt, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and nuts are fantastic protein alternatives. Or you can try and hide your meat in dishes. Stir chicken into a casserole or mix some seafood into a pasta dish. This way you can still get your protein in, and with less of a risk of getting sick.

Just like with morning sickness, don’t beat yourself up if you cannot eat as healthy as you would like while you are dealing with food aversions. Chances are that once you enter your second trimester, they will disappear and you can eat more of a variety of foods.

How to Avoid Constipation During Pregnancy

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It must be Murphy’s law that just when you’re able to get food into your body without having it come back up, you suddenly find you can’t get the food out of your body.  Nearly half of all the women who are pregnant suffer from constipation.

As with all symptoms of pregnancy, there is a reason for constipation. When you’re pregnant your body creates progesterone which in turns relaxes the muscles of the bowels and causes your digestive tract to work much more slowly. Your digestive tract works slower to make sure your body absorbs the nutrients from your food for your baby. This can create constipation, which if it not kept under control, can lead to hemorrhoids.

Here are some ways you can avoid constipation throughout your pregnancy:

Make sure you include plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber absorbs water can help to soften your stools and speed their passage. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like whole grain cereal and oatmeal. Instead of eating white bread with your sandwiches, eat whole grain bread. Add some oat bran to your cereals or yogurt.

Fresh fruits are also an excellent way to get fiber. Melons and plums have a high amount of fiber in them as well as dried fruits like figs, raisins, apricots and of course the well known favorite prunes. Prunes and prune juice have a laxative effect and will help keep things moving properly in your body. Aim to eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. You can tell you’re getting enough fiber if your stools are large and soft and you aren’t straining to pass them. Keep in mind though that too much fiber can lead to diarrhea which can lead to dehydration so don’t overdo the fiber in your diet.

Also, drinking plenty of fluid will help you combat constipation. Fluids help keep digestive products moving through your system so it’s very important for you to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. Keeping up with your fluids is important especially if you are increasing your intake of fiber. Your body needs to water to soak up the fiber otherwise it can cause more constipation.

If possible, eat yogurt. Yogurt has a bacteria called acidophilus that helps stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better. Look at your prenatal vitamins. Some of the prenatal vitamins that women take contain a lot of iron and iron can play a big part in constipation. Talk to your doctor to see if you can switch for a while to a different prenatal vitamin that contains less iron or at least stay off of the prenatal vitamins for a while until your constipation is under control.

Avoid foods that can lead to constipation. Some of these include:

  • White bread
  • Some cereals such as corn flakes
  • White rice
  • Bananas

If all this fails, give your doctor a call to see if there is something you can take to help keep you regulated. Most doctors will allow you to take Metamucil to help keep things moving. What you don’t want to do is take an over the counter laxative just because you’re a bit uncomfortable. Remember, you must keep your body healthy so the baby is getting what it needs to grow.

Constipation is never pleasant but during pregnancy, it can be even more uncomfortable.  Taking steps to avoid constipation will help make your pregnancy that much more enjoyable.

How Eating Well Can Help During Pregnancy

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There are many aches and pains that come with pregnancy.  There was a time when many doctors just brushed them aside and said that is part of pregnancy, but now more and more doctors are recommending a well-balanced diet to help ease those aches and pains.

Here are just a few pregnancy ailments that a good diet can help:

Tooth and gum problems.  To help keep your teeth healthy and your baby’s teeth healthy, make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin C.  To satisfy your need to chew on something, keep some sugarless gum near you or chew on some nuts and cheese.

Dizzy or Lightheaded. It’s not uncommon for many women to feel dizzy or lightheaded during pregnancy, especially if they have gone too long without eating. This is why its so important to eat throughout the day.  Keep your snacks as healthy as possible and stay away from junk food and processed foods. These foods will give you a quick rush of energy but ultimately leave you feeling worse than you did before you ate them.  Keep yourself hydrated with regular tap water.  Snacking and drinking will help boost your blood sugar and keep you hydrated which can help you combat dizziness.

Leg cramps. Sometime during your second trimester, you may find yourself awakening in the middle of the night to leg cramps. Leg cramps can come from not getting enough calcium. Some say that the leg cramps is a shortage of magnesium while some say that dehydration can be the cause. Either way, make sure you are getting enough calcium and magnesium. If you suffer from leg cramps you might find it helpful to drink a glass of milk or have a piece of cheese before you go to bed at night. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated.

Swelling. Another pain in pregnancy. While severe swelling could be a sign of preeclampsia, there is a certain amount of swelling that is normal and healthy during pregnancy. In fact, more than 75% of all pregnant women experience some sort of swelling. The most common cause is too much water retention. Staying away from salty foods and drinking extra water will help you keep the swelling to a bare minimum.

Dry skin. Some women experience dry skin, which can be cured by making sure you drink plenty of fluids to increase moisture. If you have flaky skin, eat more omega-3 rich foods or seeds and nuts. There are some who experience skin discoloration and too much blotchiness could be a folic-acid deficiency.  This is another reason why it is so important to make sure you are taking your prenatal vitamins.

Hair – too much, too little, too limp. Some women are blessed with a great head of hair, others find that their hair is suddenly limp and hard to manage. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and that affects the hair. Throughout pregnancy, it is important that you get enough vitamin A, B and C. Vitamin A will keep your hair and scalp healthy. Vitamin B will help with your hair growth and vitamin C is needed for strength. Make sure you are getting enough of this in your diet.

Eating healthy throughout pregnancy not only ensures your chances of a healthy pregnancy but it will also help you avoid some of the more uncomfortable aspects of pregnancy too.

Pregnancy Symptoms During the Third Trimester

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When you get into the third trimester, the honeymoon period is over and fatigue sets in all over again. You may not get morning sickness anymore, but because you’re carrying a baby, and your body is changing, you’ll tire more easily.

You might notice a faint or dark line going straight down the middle of your stomach. Don’t be alarmed. This is known as the linea nigra. It goes away after you give birth, so it’s not permanent.

Your belly button may protrude at this time because your stomach is filled to the brim with your lively little baby. This will go back to normal after you give birth, so don’t worry about it at this time.

In addition to the fatigue, you might feel short of breath from time to time. This is partially because you’re tired, but also because the baby is taking up so much space in the last trimester!

This, paired with the fact that your lungs are working overtime to carry plenty of oxygen to your baby through your blood supply, leave you feeling winded easily. Just take your time and understand you might be slower during this period.

Your weight will soar during this time because the baby is growing rapidly. This is normal, but you want to watch the extreme weight gain. Talk to your doctor about maintaining normal growth during the third trimester.

Your back will hurt because of the added strain on your body, but make sure you’re not experiencing a bladder or kidney infection. These are common during pregnancy, and you’ll likely notice a burning sensation when you go to the restroom.

Heartburn is one symptom that most pregnant women complain about during pregnancy – especially the last trimester. Your uterus is pushing our stomach up, causing food to come back up.

This makes sleeping very uncomfortable. One way to fix this is to try sleeping in an upright position during the last trimester, or elevating your head and chest a bit more than you used to.

One symptom that has a fine line of normalcy is vaginal discharge. Some is normal – but if you’re noticing a ton of it, then you need to head to the doctor to make sure it’s not amniotic fluid leaking.

Remember, we are BSideU for Life! Come to our offices for support as you experience this last phase of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Symptoms During the Second Trimester

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This is commonly known as your honeymoon period of pregnancy because it’s generally the time when the bad symptoms subside and you feel fantastic! You’ve probably heard about how a pregnant woman starts to “glow” during pregnancy. This is when it happens.

The baby fluttering begins. This is when you suddenly feel the baby move. It feels like a butterfly is captured in a jar and its wings and softly fluttering around inside.

At first, you might wonder if your body had a simple spasm, but then you’ll get used to it and realize that it’s the baby moving around in you. Don’t be alarmed when you don’t feel it – it simply means the baby is being still.

As you approach the last trimester, you might even experience your baby having a case of the hiccups. You’ll know because it’s a consistent blip as opposed to random movements in your womb.

Constipation might start to be an issue during the second trimester. Some women experience it, and others don’t. Talk to your doctor about a safe remedy for this problem. You don’t want to add hemorrhoids to your list of symptoms.

The areola around your nipples may darken during this time. This is perfectly normal and should be no cause for alarm. Not everyone will experience this, so if your stay the same color, that’s fine, too.

Your breasts will probably grow quite a bit during this time, though. And so will your stomach. This is when people start to realize you’re pregnant, so if you haven’t told anyone yet, now’s the time!

As your body expands, you might start noticing stretch marks appearing on your stomach, and sometimes other areas like your upper thighs. You can use topical lotions with vitamin E or coconut oil with vitamin E to help your body maintain a flawless appearance.

Aside from the baby moving, you might also feel another type of symptom – false contractions known as Braxton Kicks. This doesn’t mean you’re going into labor. They’re not as strong and they’re inconsistent.

And you might begin to feel leg cramps – especially at night when you’re sleeping. This is common and painful, but it does go away. Some women drink milk or extra water to help alleviate this, but if one strikes, just massage it and wait for it to go away.

Sound scary? It doesn’t have to be. We are BSideU for Life! so contact us and we can be there with you, offering guidance and answers to your questions.

First Signs That You Might Be Pregnant

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One frightening thing you may have heard about in the news are women who suddenly feel as if they ate something bad, head to the emergency room, and leave with a baby they didn’t know they were carrying.

This is highly unusual and in most cases, you’re going to have plenty of signs that tell you it’s time to go in for an official blood test to confirm that you’re pregnant.

The most common sign is a missed period. If you’re consistent with your menstrual cycle and you suddenly miss a month, you need to get an at home pregnancy test or come by the clinic and see if it confirms your suspicions.

Sometimes, it’s just an irregularity, so you may not be pregnant. And sometimes it’s too soon for an at home pregnancy test to confirm the diagnosis, so you may want to either wait one more month or go in for a blood test at this point.

Some women will have a very spotty period – or it might be very short compared to how their usual menstrual cycle works. Cramping is normal, too – and neither of these symptoms means you are miscarrying. It’s part of the implant process where the egg nestles into the lining of your uterus.

Initial symptoms may also include mood swings like crying or getting angry. Even extreme happiness can occur – because your hormones are all over the map. If you find yourself crying for no reason, it could be that you’re pregnant!

Some of the common symptoms of pregnancy mimic your menstrual cycle symptoms. Swollen, tender breasts are a good example of this. You probably experience this a week before your period as part of your PMS symptoms, but it happens when you become pregnant, too.

Think you might be pregnant? Come to our office on have a pregnancy test done to know for sure. Remember, we are BSideU For Life!

Common Issues That Occur During Birth

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Many women – especially first time moms – worry that they won’t recognize when they’re going into labor. They’re also concerned about what’s normal and what’s not while they’re giving birth.

You might start feeling consistent contractions. Unlike Braxton Hicks, these real labor pains last longer and don’t go away for good – they come back on a timed interval, getting closer and closer every hour.

Back pain can get a bit extreme. Some women think labor contractions are only located in the front, where their womb is – but you also feel it in your back, deep in the lower area.

You may notice a white discharge from your vagina known as the mucus plug. This is normal. Your doctor will be able to tell you if it’s passed or not. This may or may not be something you even notice.

Your water will break at some point. It might be when you’re at home or out somewhere. Or, it could be in the hospital after you’re feeling contractions and have been admitted.

Some doctors will go ahead and break your bag of water for you, helping move labor along so that you delivery your baby faster. It will feel like a warm gush of water and it can be clear – but sometimes it’s not if there is meconium (fecal stool) in the amniotic fluid.

Labor can last from a few hours to over a day. Every woman is different. It sometimes goes faster once a woman has already given birth to a previous child, but this isn’t set in stone.

This is a very tiring process. Many hospitals don’t want you to eat during this time, so they give you ice chips to chew on. You might feel nauseous all over again.

You’ll have pain relief options if you choose to use them, such as an epidural. Go over all of these with your health care specialist to determine which one is right for you.

Some women worry about having a bowel movement while pushing their baby out, but this does not always happen and if it does, you probably won’t know. The doctor and nurses are ready for it and will have it cleaned and gone before you even realize it happened.

After the baby is delivered, you’ll be so consumed with watching and listening to your baby that you may not even pay much attention to the process of delivering the placenta. And when all is said and done, you’ll need to relax and recover from an exhausting, yet satisfying nine-month journey to happiness.

Remember, we here at BSideU for Life! can answer your questions and guide you. Call us.

Pregnancy Symptoms During the First Trimester

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The first three months can be the most challenging. Your body is changing and your hormones are all over the place.

Initially, you won’t look pregnant. For many women a “baby bump” appears at the end of the 2nd month and maybe at the end of the 3rd month. It really depends on your body. Whether or not you have a bump, be prepared for the symptoms of being pregnant.

Initial symptoms may include mood swings like crying or getting angry. Even extreme happiness can occur – remember…your hormones are all over the map. If you find yourself crying for no reason, it could be that you’re pregnant!

Some of the common symptoms of pregnancy mimic your menstrual cycle symptoms. Swollen, tender breasts are a good example of this. You probably experience this a week before your period as part of your PMS symptoms, but it happens when you become pregnant, too.

Morning sickness may or may not happen to you. You might initially think you’re coming down with the flu, or you have food poisoning. In reality, it’s the beginning of a wonderful 9-month journey that makes you nauseous.

Some women experience morning sickness only in the morning. Others have it all day long. There are different ways you can alleviate this symptom. Keep oyster crackers or saltine crackers by your bed to eat before you get up. Use the “seasick bands” you can wear on your wrists. If those don’t work, ask us here at the center for advice on what medications and other treatments are suitable during pregnancy.

Certain smells and foods may make you sick to your stomach. This includes items you previously craved and thought were delicious! At the same time, you might suddenly start craving things you never would have eaten before. This is very normal, so just feed your body what it wants.

You might notice that you have to go to the restroom more often. Your bladder will start to produce more urine and you’ll have to empty it frequently – during the day and throughout the night.

You might experience extreme fatigue during the initial stages of pregnancy. You won’t have as much energy and because you’re also feeling some morning sickness, it might make you confirm your feeling of having the flu. If it doesn’t end, like the flu would, then it could be due to pregnancy.

Dizziness and lightheadedness are common during the first trimester. Fainting is fairly common, so you want to be careful when you start to feel this way and prepare for this by sitting down and not forcing yourself to try to stand until the feeling passes.

Headaches are also common during the first trimester. You may have never experienced frequent headaches before, and suddenly they’re cropping up on a regular basis.

You want to check with your doctor to see what headache remedy he or she advises you to take because anything you take is also going to get to your baby, so you have to be careful not to take too much of anything – or the wrong kind of medication.

The first trimester can be draining. You might be very emotional and your body is undergoing changes. But once this part is over, you’ll start to feel much better. Remember, we at the center are here for you so talk to us!

How Do I Know If I’m Pregnant?

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