A healthy lifestyle is paramount for overall health and is even more so during pregnancy. A well-balanced, nutritious diet, regular exercise and healthy habits are necessary for a healthful pregnancy and to lower the risk of congenital disabilities.
Eating a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients is crucial during pregnancy. A diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats can provide the essential nutrients for a successful pregnancy. The most important nutrients include folic acid, calcium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. It is also vital to avoid foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fats.
Folic acid is a B vitamin vital in the development of the neural tube, which will become the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking a folic acid supplement daily before and during pregnancy can help lower the risk of congenital disabilities like spina bifida, which affect the neural tubes.
The recommended daily intake of folic acid during pregnancy is 600-800 micrograms. This vitamin can be found in fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables and supplements.
Calcium is essential for building strong teeth and bones and developing the baby’s heart, nerves and muscles. The recommended daily intake of calcium during pregnancy is 1,000 milligrams. This mineral can be found in dairy products, leafy green vegetables and supplements.
Iron is essential for forming hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. During pregnancy, the body needs extra iron to support the growth and development of the baby. The recommended daily intake of iron during pregnancy is 27 milligrams. This mineral can be found in lean red meat, poultry, fish, beans and supplements.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are fundamental for the development of the baby’s brain and eyes. The recommended daily intake of this healthy fat during pregnancy is 200–300 milligrams. You can find it in fatty fish like salmon and sardines and in supplements.
A consistent physical activity regimen can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress and improve circulation. Exercise can also help prepare the body for labor and delivery during pregnancy. Some safe, low-impact exercises for pregnant women include walking, swimming and yoga. However, talking to a fertility specialist like Dr. Jin-Lo Lim of the Neway Fertility Clinic before starting or keeping up with an exercise program while pregnant is essential.
Along with eating well and exercising often, healthy habits can help prevent congenital disabilities. These include:
- Avoiding alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing stress
- Practicing good hygiene, like washing hands frequently and avoiding contact with sick people
- Avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals, such as cleaning products and pesticides
These healthy lifestyle choices can give your baby the best possible start in life.
When in doubt, the Neway Fertility Clinic team can provide further guidance. Contact us to learn more about how you can boost your health to benefit your unborn child.
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