Tag Archives: birth defects of the brain and spine

Pregnancy Diet and Exercise

Pregnancy Diet and Exercise

Taking care of yourself with a healthy pregnancy diet and exercise routine is an important part of a healthy pregnancy overall. These tips can help you plan a balanced diet, exercise routine, and more.

Eat a Balanced Diet

While it’s normal to have crazy cravings while you’re pregnant, it’s also important to get plenty of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Together, you and your baby have different nutritional needs than you do separately.

It’s less like eating for 2, and more like eating for yourself and 1/8. You’ll need to get around an extra 300 calories a day. For example, if you’d normally drink a 10-oz. glass of juice, now you should drink an 11- or 12-oz. glass.

Most pregnant women need about:

  • 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester
  • 2,200 calories per day during the second trimester
  • 2,400 calories per day during the third trimester

ChooseMyPlate.gov can help you make the right food choices, and you can enter in your info to create customized daily food recommendations in a helpful checklist for each stage of your pregnancy.

You should also be careful when eating out because you’ll be more susceptible to foodborne illness while you’re pregnant.

Take a Prenatal Vitamin

Pregnant women need more folic acid, iron, and calcium. Folic acid, a B vitamin, can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord when taken early in your pregnancy.

Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day during early pregnancy as part of a healthy diet. Avoid any supplements that give you more than 100% of the daily value for any vitamin or mineral.

Keep Moving

While you may not always feel like it, moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day during pregnancy can benefit both you and your baby. It helps you prepare your body for labor, and it will help you feel better before and after birth.

Safe Exercises to Try

  • Walking
  • Riding a stationary bike
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics

Activities to Avoid

  • Bouncing
  • Leaping
  • Too much up and down movement
  • Exercise that could make you lose your balance
  • Laying flat on your back after the first trimester
  • Anything where you could get hit in the stomach
  • Sitting in saunas, hot tubs, or steam rooms

Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine, drink plenty of water, don’t get overheated, and be sure to listen to your body.

Handy Apps

Folic Acid Awareness

National Folic Acid Awareness Week

It’s National Folic Acid Awareness Week, and folic acid is a B vitamin that helps cells grow. Getting enough of it can help prevent birth defects.

Protecting Your Baby with Folic Acid

 

Getting 400 mcg of folic acid a day can help prevent up to 70% of serious birth defects of the brain and spine, like anencephaly and spina bifida.

Preventing Birth Defects

 

Even if you’re not planning on getting pregnant, women should be getting enough folic acid. It helps your body make new, healthy cells every day, like for your hair, skin, and nails.

Healthy Cell Growth from Folic Acid

 

Birth defects of the brain and spine happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, and half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Getting enough folic acid can help protect your baby even before you know you’re pregnant.

One of the easiest ways to get enough folic acid is to take a daily multivitamin with folic acid. You can also eat foods like enriched breads, pastas, and cereals that have added folic acid.

Folic Acid in Your Vitamins

 

Once you know you’re pregnant, pay careful attention to if you’re getting enough folic acid in your diet. Knowing how to read food labels can help you check for folic acid.

Breaking Down Food Labels

 

You can also eat a diet rich in folate to help get enough folic acid. Foods like beans, lentils, citrus, and dark leafy greens have high amounts of it.

Check out the recipes high in folic acid we also shared this week!

Eating Your Folic Acid