5 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

PregnantGive your baby a healthy start by following these guidelines from the doctors of UAB during your pregnancy. From the flu shot to folic acid, these simple steps will help you and your baby thrive.

Get Your Flu Shot. Because your immune system undergoes changes during pregnancy, you may be more sensitive to the flu, according to Though the best time to get the flu shot is in the fall, it is never too late. Flu season typically occurs during January and February, but it has been known to occur as late May. Getting a flu shot during pregnancy will not only protect you, but your baby will also receive benefits once he or she is born.

Take Folic Acid. Folic acid is a B vitamin that has been shown to decrease your baby’s chance of having a neural tube defect (a birth defect of the spine or brain). Moms-to-be should take a vitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, before and during pregnancy. The natural form of folic acid, folate, occurs in leafy green vegetables, like spinach and romaine, as well as asparagus, avocado, and Brussels sprouts. Enriched cereal and pasta are also good sources.

Eat for Two … But not twice as much as you did pre-pregnancy. Eating much more than the recommended additional 300 calories per day can lead to trouble. Women who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy and don’t lose it within six months of delivery are at a much higher risk of being obese in the future. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy may also increase your child’s chances of being overweight as they grow.

Load Up on These Nutrients. During pregnancy, you’ll need more protein, calcium, iron, and folate to keep you and your baby healthy.

– Protein is the building block for both your body and your baby’s. Good sources of protein are: meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, beans, and nuts.

– Iron is needed to make red blood cells for you and your baby. Aim for 27 grams per day. Good sources of iron are: low-fat red meat, beans, and spinach.

– Calcium is essential for your baby’s development. Good sources are: low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.Unpasteurized milk or juice

Avoid These Foods and Beverages. Some foods can hurt your baby. Steer clear of these eats and drinks:

– Soft, unpasteurized cheeses like feta and Brie. (Hint: In Birmingham, Taziki’s and Zoe’s serve pasteurized feta, says UAB’s Dr. Debora Kimberlin, a maternal fetal medicine specialist.)

– Unheated deli meats and hot dogs

– Refrigerated, smoked seafood

– Undercooked poultry, meat or seafood

– Tuna. Six ounces per week is okay, but not more.

– Alcoholic beverages


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