Pregnancy diet and overall pregnancy health wasn't as much of a concern in most cultures during the 1800s and 1900s as it is today. The earliest recorded pregnancy health tips in the western world weren't recorded until the Victorian era. During this time in childbirth history, physicians started encouraging women to eat very specific diets, especially among the upper classes who could afford a variety of foods. Cold foods like fruit and vegetables were encouraged. Doctors of that era also started promoting exercise as part of a healthy pregnancy. In the upper classes this meant that affluent pregnant women were encouraged to travel since travel typically involved a lot of walking. Unfortunately, if a woman ever miscarried during any of the pregnancy stages, she was blamed for causing the fetal death by being too active.
In our modern world we know that eating healthily is important regardless of your stage of pregnancy. It's important for your own health and the development of your unborn baby. It'll also help you be in the best shape possible to deal with a hectic life with a newborn.
Many pregnancy health articles advise pregnant women to make sure they get enough of at least four top nutrients. It's also a good idea to make sure you take sufficient amounts of these nutrients during pre-pregnancy health. These four top nutrients are: folate and folic acid, calcium, protein and iron.
Top Nutrients for Pregnancy Health
Folate and folic acid is vitamin B. It reduces the chance of serious brain abnormalities, spinal cord defects and neural tube defects. Sufficient folate or folic acid reduces the risk of preterm labor. Folate is found naturally in foods and the synthetic version of this vitamin is called folic acid. It's important to get 1,000 micrograms a day during all stages of the pregnancy calendar. Before pregnancy you should make sure you get 800 micrograms. Good sources of folate are citrus fruits, dried peas and beans and leafy green vegetables like spinach. Fortified cereals are good sources of folic acid.
Calcium is crucial for strong bones and teeth for both you and your baby. Your baby will automatically take calcium from your bones if you don't take enough during your pregnancy. Calcium also helps your nervous system and circulatory muscular systems work properly. Adult women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day and pregnant teens need 1,300 milligrams a day. Dairy products are the richest sources of calcium. Some cereals and fruit juices are fortified with calcium. Salmon is also a good source of calcium. A three-ounce can of salmon with bones provides 181 milligrams of calcium.
Protein is crucial for the growth of your unborn child especially in the second and third trimesters. You'll need 71 grams a day throughout your entire pregnancy and you can get this amount from tofu, dried beans, some dairy products like cottage cheese, peanut butter, peas, fish, lean red meat, eggs and poultry.
Iron prevents anemia. Your body makes the protein hemoglobin that carries oxygen to your tissues and the rest of your body. But it needs iron in order to do this. During pregnancy your need for iron almost doubles because your blood volume increases significantly to help your baby make her entire blood supply and accommodate the changes in your body. Pregnant women with low iron have a higher risk of a low birth weight baby or preterm labor. If you're pregnant and have low iron, you may become tired faster and may become more susceptible to infections serious enough to end in a hospital stay. Make sure you get 27 milligrams of iron a day. Dried nuts and fruit are good sources of iron. So are fish, poultry, lean red meat and iron-fortified cereals.