What is Pregnancy?

A health article about pregnancy from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies

When a lot of women get pregnant, there are typically some signs  that occur quite soon after the pregnancy takes place. 

Ordinarily, a pregnancy test can confirm your suspicions quickly. 

However, being able to recognize some of the clues that your body is giving you, can help you decide if you need to look further into the possibility that you could be pregnant.

Ovulation And Getting Pregnant

There are many things you need to know about ovulation and if you learn as much as you can about the process, you can be pregnant much sooner than you expected.

You can learn about ovulation and getting pregnant by tracking your cycles on a calendar. 

You want to make sure that you are recording the day you start your period and the day your period stops each month. 

This can be hard to remember to do and you may have to do something to remind yourself to record this information. 

Ovulation typically occurs on days 11-21 and you will want to use these days to your advantage and make sure that you are having sex on these days. 

You can only get pregnant during ovulation and you will want to make sure that you use these days each month.

You may also want to purchase a fertility kit or monitor to help you determining ovulation and getting pregnant.

A fertility kit can help you accurately track when you are ovulating and you will be able to try to get pregnant during these times. 

If you do not get pregnant the first month while using the ovulation monitor, you need to give it some time to work before moving on to something else. 

An online ovulation calculator can help you with ovulation and getting pregnant.  You simply type in information about your last cycle and you should get the dates instantly. 

You want to make sure that you keep the information about your periods on record so that you will be able to calculate your ovulation precisely. 

Checking your basal temperature daily can also help you calculate ovulation and getting pregnant. 

In order to do this correctly you want to do it at the same time each day in the same location. 

You may want to do this first thing in the morning while you are still in your bed. 

When you notice that your temperature rises slightly you can record this information and you are ready to get pregnant a few days before your temperature rises. 

You may have to do this for a month or two to completely understand when the best days for you to conceive. 

This can make a big difference and you may find that you can become pregnant in a very short time if you begin to track your ovulation. 

 

Early Signs of Being Pregnant

Here are some signs to watch for that may indicate that you are indeed pregnant.  

1. Tiredness

Extreme fatigue is one of the main signs of pregnancy at the start.  All of a sudden, you may feel like falling asleep during the day at times when you normally would not.  For example, you may suddenly have to fight to stay awake during meetings at work.  

Tiredness can be due to so many different things, that frequently it is not identified as being related to pregnancy.  Many times, people will think that the fatigue they are experiencing is due to having a busy schedule and so on.  If you are more tired than usual though, this could mean that you are pregnant.

2. Change in Menstrual Cycle

Women who have regular periods know when they are "late."  Sometimes, lateness can be caused by increased stress in your life, but it can also be another telltale sign of pregnancy.

3. Morning Sickness

This feels like you have the flu (without the fever).  You may feel nauseous or may even be throwing up.  Even though it is called morning sickness, you may be feeling sick any time of the day.  

Morning sickness is most common in the first trimester of pregnancy, but can continue into the next two trimesters for some women.

You can reduce some of the symptoms of morning sickness by having more frequent, smaller meals.  If you are not managing to keep any food down, it may be time to see your doctor for ways to reduce the morning sickness you are experiencing.  Dehydration can also be a real concern, which sometimes necessitates hospitalization.  In addition to seeing your doctor, you may also want to consider the advice of a licensed naturopath, who can provide you with some strategies to manage the nausea, etc.  

4. Breasts that Hurt or are Tender

You have probably experienced uncomfortable breasts just prior to, or during, your menstrual cycle.  This is what your breasts will feel like when you first get pregnant.  They will be more sensitive to touch.  

5. Abdominal Cramping or Bleeding

You may not even notice the cramping, as it is not usually really bad cramping.  It may just feel like some pressure in your abdomen, similar to what you may feel at the start of a period.  You may even mistake it for the start of a period when, in fact, you are pregnant!  

This cramping reportedly occurs when fertilization occurs within your uterus.  You may also experience a bit of spotting or notice some blood in your panties.  As long as it is not a significant amount, there is no need for concern.   

6. Enhanced Ability to Smell

This sounds weird, but it is true.  Your sense of smell becomes very sharp during pregnancy.  Suddenly, you may notice the scent of someone's tea from across the room.  Walking down the cleaning aisle of the grocery store, may prove too much for your senses.  It may feel like the scents of everything have become stronger overnight!  

7. Gustatory Changes

You may have always enjoyed a particular food, but now it tastes bad (it may also smell bad).  You may find that you develop unusual cravings for foods that never interested you much before.

8. Lightheaded

This can be very subtle, but you may suddenly feel like the room is spinning, or you may feel faint.  Make sure to eat during these times, as your blood sugar is probably a bit low.  


Q&A Conception Difficulties:

Sperm can remain in the vagina for 3-5 days, so it is important to make sure that you have sex before you are ovulating and this may make a difference. 

This also allows you to have sex every other day and the myth that you have to have sex several times a day is simply untrue. 

There are many other myths that need to be debunked and you will run into these when you are looking for advice on getting pregnant quick. 

A fertility monitor can help you determine when you are ovulating and this can help with getting pregnant faster. 

You may want to discuss with your doctor the ways you can determine ovulation and this is very important to keep track of. 

If you are sexually active during ovulation you can get pregnant very quickly and this is one of the best ways to get to know your body and help achieve a pregnancy.

You want to ensure that you are having sex before or during ovulation and not after. 

When you are actively trying to get pregnant, you will want to refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol or using drugs. 

This can affect your chances of getting pregnant and you can increase your odds of getting pregnant faster if you refrain from anything that would be harmful to a fetus before you become pregnant. 


Pregnancy Risk Factors: 

Pregnancy Induced Hypertension

Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), also known - although incorrectly - as toxemia of pregnancy, is a potentially life-threatening disorder that usually develops late in the second trimester or in the third trimester.

Preeclampsia, the non convulsive form of PIH, develops in about 7% of pregnancies.

Preeclampsia may be mild or severe, and the incidence is significantly higher in low socioeconomic groups.

Eclampsia is the convulsive form of PIH.

About 5 % of females with preeclampsia develop eclampsia; of these, about 15 % die from PIH itself or its complications.

I Fetal mortality is high due to the increased incidence of premature delivery and uteroplacental insufficiency.

Mild preeclampsia generally produces symptoms of:

  • hypertension
  • proteinuria (less than 5 g/24 hours)
  • generalized edema
  • sudden weight gain of more than 3 lb (1.4 kg) per week during the 2nd trimester or more than 1Ib (0.5 kg) per week during the third trimester.

Severe preeclampsia is marked by increased hypertension and proteinuria, eventually leading to the devel. opment of oliguria.

HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets) is a severe variant of preeclampsia.

Other symptoms that may indicate worsening preeclampsia include blurred vision due to retinal arteriolar spasms, epigastric pain or heartburn, and severe frontal headache.

In eclampsia, all the clinical manifestations of preeclampsia are magnified and are associated with seizures and, possibly, coma, premature labor, stillbirth, renal failure, and hepatic damage.


Things to Avoid During Pregnancy

While you probably already know about the things you should do during pregnancy such as ensuring a healthy diet including adequate folic intake and prenatal checkups, do you know what things you should avoid during pregnancy? 

There are many, but what follows is a list of a few things you should avoid.  

1. Eating too much seafood

But how much is too much?  There is still some controversy, but most experts agree that somewhere between 6g – 12g per week is safe. 

However, it is still advised that you choose fish lower in mercury such as salmon, crab, shrimp, and canned light tuna. 

Shark and swordfish are two examples of fish to avoid, due to their higher mercury content.  

2. Exercising heavily

This is especially important if you were not very active before getting pregnant.  If this is the case, you will need to start exercising slowly. 

Even just beginning a regular walking program can improve your endurance before the birth of your baby.  

If you are more conditioned and you exercised prior to pregnancy, you will likely be able to continue your exercise routine. 

However, you will want to avoid high-impact exercises, contact sports, and other sports/activities where there is a risk of falling. 

Weight lifting is generally safe in a low-risk pregnancy, but you do not want to be lifting too much weight and straining.  

You never want to exercise to the point of exhaustion or overheating, as this can be dangerous for your baby.

Always check with your physician before beginning or continuing any exercise program, as there are times when exercise is not recommended during pregnancy.    

3. If you have oral sex, your partner must not blow air into your vagina

This can result in an air embolism, an air bubble that develops in a blood vessel of the body. 

If this air bubble makes it to the heart or lungs, it can be life threatening.  

4. Do not have sex with people whose sexual history is unknown

When you do not know someone else's sexual history, it is never a good idea to have sex with that person. 

Not only do you risk contracting a sexually-transmitted infection (STI), your unborn baby does too.  

If your partner possibly has genital herpes, you should avoid sex with your partner during the third trimester.  Also, avoid oral sex if your partner gets cold sores. 

This is because an infected mother can transmit the herpes virus to the baby during a vaginal birth, and herpes is very serious in newborns. 

If you do have herpes sores or you feel an outbreak coming on before the birth of your baby, a cesarean section will be necessary.  

5. You should not smoke or breathe in second-hand smoke

It is known that tobacco smoke increases the chances of having a low-birth weight infant, one who is at increased risk of dying from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and other medical complications for both the mother and baby.  

6. You should not drink alcohol

Alcohol is the only cause of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, a completely preventable disorder. 

Children exposed to alcohol in utero can have a wide range of disorders ranging from identifiable facial features to less obvious, but serious, learning disabilities and impairments in reasoning, to name a few.

There are many things that you need to avoid when pregnant.  A few of these have been discussed above, and can help ensure that the baby you have is as healthy as possible when born.


When To Seek Medical Attention

Call your doctor if you have:
• Blood or fluid coming from your vagina
• Sudden or extreme swelling of your face or fingers
• Headaches that are severe or won't go away
• Nausea and vomiting that won't go away
• Dizziness
• Dim or blurry vision
• Pain or cramps in your lower abdomen
• Chills or fever
• A change in your baby's movements
• Less urine or burning when you urinate
• Any illness or infection
• Anything that bothers you


Warnings
"Don't do this, don't do that." You've probably heard every old wives' tale. Here are some warnings worth heeding:


• Don't smoke. Smoking raises your risk for miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and many other problems.


• Don't use drugs. Cocaine, heroin and marijuana increase your risk of miscarriage, premature birth and birth defects. And your baby could be born addicted to the drug you've been taking.


• Don't drink alcohol. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is the major cause of preventible birth defects, including mental slowness.


• Don't clean your cat's litter box, or eat raw or undercooked red meat. You could get toxoplasmosis, a disease that can cause birth defects.


• Don't sit in the sauna or hot tub. This raises your risk of miscarriage and birth defects.


• Don't douche without talking to your doctor about it first. Douching could force air into the vagina, which can cause an air embolism.


Prenatal care:

Is prenatal care important?

Yes! You can help make sure that you and your baby will be as healthy as possible by following some simple guidelines and checking in regularly with your doctor.

What will happen during prenatal visits?

Your doctor will probably start by talking to you about your medical history and how you've been feeling. You'll probably be weighed and have your blood pressure taken on every visit.


On your first visit, you'll also probably have a pelvic exam to check the size and shape of your uterus (womb) and a Pap smear to check for signs of cancer of the cervix (the opening of the uterus).

Urine and blood tests may be done on the first visit and again later. Urine tests are done to check for bacteria in your urine, high sugar levels (which can be a sign of diabetes) and high protein levels (which can put you at risk for preeclampsia, a type of high blood pressure in pregnancy). Blood tests are done to check for low iron levels (anemia).

Sometimes, an ultrasound may be done to help figure out when your baby is due or to check on your baby's growth and position in your uterus.

An ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of your baby on a video screen.

Other tests may be needed if you or your baby are at risk for any problems.


About Sex During Pregnancy

When you get pregnant, there are a number of questions that you are likely to have that deal with the issue of sex during pregnancy. 

In what follows, you will get answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions. 

1. Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?

You might not want to ask the question, but you are likely wondering it!  The answer to this is, “yes, unless you have or develop risk factors.” 

Under normal circumstances (a low-risk pregnancy), you can have sex during all three trimesters.

Whether you and your partner choose to have sex during the entire pregnancy is a separate issue.  You may be feeling more tired, especially during the first and third trimesters.  Nausea during the start or all of the pregnancy can also put a damper on sex. 

However, as your hormones fluctuate, you may be feeling more turned on and wanting to have sex more. 

The increased blood flow to the pelvic region can result in engorgement of your genitals. 

For some women, this correlates with an increase in desire, while others find it makes sex more uncomfortable. 

2. Does having sex hurt the baby?

Once again, if you have a normal, healthy pregnancy, having sex will not cause harm to the baby. 

The baby is enveloped in the uterus and membranes, and the mucus plug blocks the cervix. 

However, if you or your partner has sex with other people, make sure to use condoms to decrease the risk of you and your baby becoming infected with a possible sexually transmitted infection (STI).  Better yet, avoid the risk of STI's to your baby through monogamy. 

3. When is sex not advised during pregnancy?

Your physician can best advise you when sexual intercourse and/or orgasm are not permitted, but here is a short list of some reasons why you may have been advised against sex:

Incompetent Cervix

If your cervix is known to dilate prematurely, it can result in a miscarriage or premature birth.

Placenta Previa

If the placenta covers part or all of the opening of the cervix, your physician will advise you against intercourse.  Placenta Previa carries a risk of heavy bleeding, and risk to both the baby and the mother.

Ruptured Membranes

When the amniotic sac ruptures, there can be leakage of amniotic fluid.  Risk of infection is high if sex occurs during this time. 


Previous History of Miscarriage or Premature Labor

If you have a history of this, your physician may advise you against intercourse, orgasm, or both.

Previous Premature Birth(s)

Babies born before 37 weeks gestation are considered premature.  Your physician may advise you against sex if you have gone into early labor before, resulting in a premature baby. 

Bleeding or Cramping

Your physician will need to do an evaluation, and will be able to advise you further whether it is safe to be having sex during your pregnancy.

To conclude, sex during pregnancy is safe when you have a low-risk pregnancy.  Sex, under healthy circumstances, does not hurt the baby. 

However, there can be some conditions that put you and the baby at risk during pregnancy, making sex inadvisable. 

Your physician knows best, and will be able to guide you throughout your pregnancy, and as new questions arise. 


Smoking During Pregnancy  

You already know that smoking is not good for you.  You probably have tried to quit many times in the past, but it just did not work out. 

If you are thinking of getting pregnant or are already pregnant, it may be time to revisit why smoking during pregnancy is not a good idea. 

Knowing that your baby is counting on you may be all the motivation you need to give up the habit for good this time!

Here are 3 reasons why soon-to-be pregnant or expecting mothers should give up smoking:

1.  Lower Birth Weights

Women who smoke are twice as likely to have children of low birth weights. 

Why is this?

Unfortunately, when you smoke, so does your baby.  Tobacco smoke contains around 4000 harmful chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, arsenic, nicotine, and formaldehyde! 

In addition, at least 70 of the chemicals in cigarettes are known to cause cancer. 

These chemicals smother and reduce the amount of nutrition and oxygen your baby gets, resulting in less growth in utero and a lower birth weight. 

Another reason for low birth weight is that women who smoke increase their chances of having pre-term labor and having a premature infant. 

2. Increased Risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

SIDS is the name given when an infant less than a year old suddenly dies, usually during sleep.  This infant was seemingly healthy. 

Although SIDS also occurs in babies of non-smoking mothers and households, there is an increased risk for babies who are exposed to smoke in utero and/or after birth.  This risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked.

Although the causes of SIDS are not fully understood yet, it seems that tobacco smoke may affect the development of the baby's nervous system. 

The nervous system includes the brain, where breathing is regulated.  Smoking is also linked to sleep apnea (pauses in breathing) in infants. 

If you are unable to quit smoking fully during pregnancy, it is recommended that you at least significantly reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke in order to reduce the chances of SIDS. 

3. Increased Risk of Medical Complications For The Expecting Mother & Baby

Placenta Previa –
 
The placenta covers part or all of the cervical opening within the uterus in this serious condition. 

Placenta Previa can result in heavy bleeding, putting the mother at risk of shock or need for blood transfusions. 

Early labor may also result, and if labor cannot be stopped with medications, an early delivery means potential health complications for the baby.

Placenta Abruptio

This is another serious condition in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus. 

It can occur after an injury such as a fall, but it also happens more in women who smoke during pregnancy. 

In conclusion, it is clear that smoking during pregnancy is not recommended.  A few reasons why this is so, have been outlined above. 

If you have had a hard time quitting, knowing some of the reasons why smoking is not good for your baby may make it easier to stick to your decision to quit. 

After all, you have one shot to provide the best uterine environment for your child – now is the time to do it!  



Self Care strategies during Pregnancy

What can I do to feel better?

Here are the most common discomforts of pregnancy and some tips for handling them:


Morning sickness.

Nausea or vomiting may strike anytime during the day (or night). Try eating frequent, small meals, and avoid greasy foods. Keep crackers by your bed to eat before getting up.

Talk to your doctor if morning sickness lasts past the first 3 months of pregnancy or causes you to lose weight.

Tiredness.

Sometimes tiredness in pregnancy is caused by anemia, so tell your doctor. Get enough rest. Take a daytime nap if possible.

Leg cramps.

Gently stretch the calf of your leg by curling your toes upward, toward your knee.


Constipation.

Drink plenty of fluids. Eat foods with lots of fiber, such as raisins and bran cereal. Don't take laxatives without talking to your doctor first. Stool softeners may be safer than laxatives.

Hemorrhoids.

Don't strain during bowel movements. Try to avoid becoming constipated.

Clean yourself well after a bowel movement (wet wipes may be less irritating than toilet paper). Take several warm soaks (sitz baths) a day.

Urinating more often.

You may need to urinate more often as your baby grows because he or she will put pressure on your bladder. This can't be helped.

Varicose veins.

Avoid clothing that fits tightly around your legs or waist. Rest and put your feet up as much as you can.

Move around if you must stand for long periods. Ask your doctor about support hose.

Moodiness.

Your hormones are on a roller coaster ride during pregnancy. Plus, your life is undergoing a big change.

Don't be too hard on yourself. If you feel very sad or think about suicide, talk to your doctor.

Heartburn.

Eat frequent, small meals often. Avoid spicy or greasy foods. Don't lie down right after eating. Ask your doctor about taking antacids.

Yeast infections.

The amount of discharge from the vagina increases during pregnancy. Yeast infections, which can also cause discharge, are more common during pregnancy. It's a good idea to talk with your doctor about any unusual discharge.

Bleeding gums.

Brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist for cleanings. Don't put off dental visits because you're pregnant, but be sure to tell your dentist you're pregnant.

Stuffy nose.

This is related to changes in the levels of the female hormone estrogen. You may also have nosebleeds.

Edema (retaining fluid).

Rest with your legs up. Lie on your left side while sleeping so blood flows from your legs back to your heart better.

Don't use diuretics (water pills). If you're thinking about cutting down on salt to reduce swelling, talk with your doctor first.

Your body needs enough salt to maintain the balance of fluid and cutting back on salt may not be the best way to manage your swelling.


Skin changes


Stretch marks appear as red marks on your skin. Lotion can help keep your skin moist and may help reduce the itchiness of dry skin.

Stretch marks really can't be prevented but they often fade after pregnancy .

Other skin changes may include darkening of the skin on your face and around your nipples, and a dark line below your belly button.

Staying out of the sun or using a sunscreen may help lessen these marks. They'll probably fade after pregnancy.

How to Deal with Heartburn During Pregnancy:

 During pregnancy, it is common to have nausea, back pain, sore legs, and interrupted sleep.  Another one of the complaints of many pregnant women is the heartburn that they experience. 

In fact, up to 50% of women are likely to experience heartburn at some point in their pregnancies. 

You may not be able to avoid it or relieve it completely during pregnancy, but there are ways to control it.  

What exactly is heartburn?  

Heartburn actually has nothing to do with your heart.  The burning pain, associated with heartburn, results when stomach acid rises up into your esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach). 

You may hear it referred to by its medical name, "gastroesophageal reflux."  "Gastro" means stomach. 

"Esophageal" refers to your esophagus/food pipe.  

What causes heartburn during pregnancy?  

There is a muscle, called the “lower esophageal sphincter,” located between your stomach and esophagus. 

This muscle relaxes when you eat or drink something so that the food/drink gets to your stomach.  

However, if the muscle relaxes and does not stay closed, then symptoms of heartburn result.

The two main reasons for heartburn during pregnancy are:

1. Pregnancy hormones play a role in relaxing muscles throughout your body.  This includes the lower esophageal sphincter.

2. The growing uterus pushes and displaces other organs in your abdomen, including the stomach and its contents.

What can you do to reduce heartburn and its effects?

1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals

Most pregnant women get accustomed to doing this anyway, especially as the pregnancy continues and the baby crowds your abdominal organs.  

2. Do not eat/drink before you lie down

You want to use gravity to your advantage to help keep things in your stomach, where they should be.

It is preferable that you do not eat for about two hours before you plan to go to sleep.

3. Make adjustments to your sleeping surface

You may have to sleep in a recliner chair for part of your pregnancy.  Again, you are using gravity to help keep things down.  

A second option is to elevate the head of your bed.  You can do this by putting six-inch blocks under the head of your bed. 

Alternatively, you can buy a foam bed wedge that you place under your head down to your waist, and sleep on that. 

That will keep you propped up.  You can find these wedges on Amazon, for example.  

4. Try sleeping on your left side instead of your right side

This recommendation is based on the anatomical design of the human body, and can be helpful for some heartburn sufferers.

5. Ensure you are wearing comfortable maternity clothing

You want to avoid anything tight around your waist that might cause increased pressure and chance for reflux.

6. Avoid particular foods and drinks

Spicy foods and carbonated beverages are known to play a role in heartburn.  Caffeine, citrus, and pickled foods can also aggravate it.

7. Speak to your physician

If you try these tips, and you are still not getting full relief, be sure to talk to your doctor. 

Some antacids may be able to be used, but you should get medical advice first as to which ones are recommended during pregnancy.

To summarize, heartburn is one nuisance of pregnancy.  Now that you know what causes it, you need to implement methods to control or relieve it. 

Pregnancy certainly can be uncomfortable, but you want to do what you can to minimize those discomforts.  

Diet change strategies:

What you eat feeds your baby, so choose healthy foods and skip the junk.

You need about 300 extra calories each day. Be sure to include the following in your daily diet:

• 3 servings of milk or dairy products
• 4 servings of vegetables
• 3 servings of fruit
• 9 servings of breads, cereals, rice or pasta
• 2 to 3 servings of meat, fish, poultry, dried beans, eggs or nuts
• At least 6 to 8 glasses of liquids

You can get all the nutrients you need through what you eat.

However, your doctor may suggest taking prenatal mineral and vitamin pills that include iron to help protect you against anemia, calcium to help keep your bones strong and folic acid, especially early in pregnancy (even before you get pregnant), to help prevent neural tube defects (serious problems with the brain and spinal cord).

How Much is Too Much?

        Now that you know what you should be eating, how do you go about figuring out how much you should be eating?

The gold standard would be to walk around reading little nutrition labels and keeping a small, ongoing food journal in your pocket so that you can keep track of how much of each nutrient you’ve taken in on a daily basis-but let’s wake up and live in reality.

No one has that much time on their hands. Because you can’t always keep track of exactly where you’re at with your daily requirements you’re going to have to learn to make some sweeping generalizations.

 The easiest way to do precisely that is to estimate how much of each food group you are going to need on a daily basis, then pick foods from each group that you’re particularly fond of and that provide you with a wide variety of nutrients. An example of a food group chart is shown below:

Carbohydrates

·       Fruits-3 servings daily

·       Vegetables-4 servings daily

·       Whole grain foods-9 servings daily

Meat   

·       Poultry, fish, meat or legumes-3 servings daily

·       Milk, yogurt or cheese-3 to 4 servings daily

 Does that sound like more than you could eat in a week, much less a day? Don’t worry. A serving in this context isn’t the half a plate that your mother used to give you.

A ham sandwich made with whole grain bread will give you two servings of whole grains and one serving of meat. Add an apple to that and you’ve just had one of your fruit servings as well.

A typical serving of meat is considered to be four to six ounces, about the size of a chicken breast that you would find in a formal dining establishment. An eight ounce glass of milk will give you a serving of dairy.

 A day’s menu to meet all of your nutritional requirements might look something like this:

      Breakfast

      2 cups of fortified cereal with milk (protein, dairy and whole grains)

      Banana

      Glass of orange juice

      Snack

      Whole wheat English muffin

      Apple

      Glass of milk

      Lunch

      Ham sandwich made with whole grain bread

      6 oz baby carrots

      Glass of milk

      Snack

      Glass of tomato juice

      Whole grain bagel with organic cream cheese

      Broccoli florets dipped in Ranch dressing

      Supper

      Trout fillet with lemon

      Baked potato

      6 oz peas

      Whole grain roll

      Glass of milk

      Snack

      Hot chocolate

      2 slices of whole wheat toast with calcium fortified butter


Vitamin & Nutrient Associations

Even when we try to eat well, we're disadvantaged. The nutritional content of most food has been compromised over the years, not only by deficient soils and modern production, transportation, storage and processing methods, but also by the enormous amounts of chemical and artificial substances added to promote growth, storage life, taste and appearance.

It's for this reason that more and more medical authorities are advocating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements. However, finding them in the right combination can be both confusing and costly.

The nutrition products I am going to recommend you make use of knowledge gained from the botanical world's 6,000 year history. They incorporated health building nutritional herbs with the best modern technology to help our bodies cleanse and detoxify so that the cells - the tiniest living units - can be as fully nourished as possible.

This allows the cells to grow, repair and to perform their functions with the best possible efficiency so that we feel and look better and are more able to prevent and fight disease. Once the body begins to clear itself of toxins it can more efficiently absorb nutrition.

Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist your body to heal from the inside out.

You can visit our health food products page here: Health Nutrition Supplements and learn more about our core nutrition program, the Cellular Nutrition Advanced Program and also check out these targeted products, Florafiber to replace your healthy flora and Aloe Vera Juice to help cleanse your system.

Also using NouriFusion Skin Essentials will clearly help provide you with excellent skincare support for your ‘outer nutrition’.

We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.

More Information about Pregnancy Nutrition

From A to Zinc

 A quick note. In the following section you are going to see several mentions made about the negative consequences of overdosing on specific vitamins.

You must understand that this overdose very rarely occurs because of the foods you eat.

More often it is because mothers have chosen to consume extra supplements in an attempt to “help” their baby or they have forgotten to tell their physician about other vitamins and supplements they take on a regular basis.

Be sure when you go in for your prenatal appointments that your physician knows exactly what vitamins, medications and supplements (including herbal) you take, regardless of how insignificant you may believe them to be.

Here we have information that was current at the time of writing but if you are looking for an update of current medical recommendations for nutrition supplements during pregnancy you may like to check NHS (National Health Services) list put up by the government in UK:    vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant


1.     Vitamin A:

Vitamin A helps the development of baby’s bones and teeth, as well as their heart, ears, eyes and immune system (the body system that fights infection).

Vitamin A deficiency has been associated with vision problems, which is why your mom always told you to eat your carrots when you were a kid!

Getting enough Vitamin A during pregnancy will also help your body repair the damage caused by childbirth.

Pregnant women should consume at least 770 micrograms (or 2565 IU, as it is labeled on nutritional labels) of Vitamin A per day, and that number almost doubles when nursing to 1300 micrograms (4,330 IU).

Be aware, however, that overdosing on Vitamin A can cause birth defects and liver toxicity. Your maximum intake should be 3000 mcg (10,000 IU) per day.

Vitamin A can be found in liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale spinach collard greens, cantaloupe, eggs, mangos and peas.

2.     Vitamin B6:

Also known as Pyridoxine, Vitamin B6 helps your baby’s brain and nervous system develop.

It also helps Mom and baby develop new red blood cells. Oddly enough, B6 has been known to help alleviate morning sickness in some pregnant women.

Pregnant women should consume at least 1.9 mg per day of Vitamin B6. That amount rises slightly when nursing to 2.0 mg per day.

Vitamin B6 can be found in fortified cereals, as well as bananas, baked potatoes, watermelon, chick peas and chicken breast.

3.     Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 works hand in hand with folic acid to help both Mom and baby produce healthy red blood cells, and it helps develop the fetal brain and nervous system.

The body stores years’ worth of B12 away, so unless you are a vegan or suffer from pernicious anemia the likelihood of a B12 deficiency is very slim.

Pregnant women should consume at least 2.6 mcg (104 IU) of B12per day, nursing mothers 2.8 mcg (112 IU).

Vitamin B12 can be found in red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy foods.

If you are a vegan you will be able to find B12 fortified tofu and soymilk. Other foods are fortified at the manufacturer’s discretion.

4.     Vitamin C:

Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron and build a healthy immune system in both mother and baby.

It also holds the cells together, helping the body to build tissue.

Since the Daily Recommended Allowance of Vitamin C is so easy to consume by eating the right foods supplementation is rarely needed.

Pregnant women should consume at least 80-85 mg of Vitamin C per day, nursing mothers no less than 120 mg per day.

Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, raspberries, bell peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, broccoli and tomatoes, as well as in many cough drops and other supplements.

5.     Calcium:

Calcium builds your baby’s bones and helps its brain and heart to function. Calcium intake increases dramatically during pregnancy.

Women with calcium deficiency at any point in their lives are more likely to suffer from conditions such as osteoporosis which directly affect the bones.

Pregnant women should consume at least 1200 mg of calcium a day, nursing mothers 1000 mg per day.

Calcium can be found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and, to a lesser extent, ice cream, as well as fortified juices, butters and cereals, spinach, broccoli, okra, sweet potatoes, lentils, tofu, Chinese cabbage, kale and broccoli. It is also widely available in supplement form.

6.     Vitamin D:

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, leading to healthy bones for both mother and baby.

Women who are pregnant or nursing should consume at least 2000 IU of Vitamin D per day.

Since babies need more Vitamin D than adults babies that are only breastfeeding may need a Vitamin D supplement, so if your doctor recommends this don’t worry.

You haven’t done anything wrong! Formula is fortified with Vitamin D, so if you are bottle feeding or supplementing with formula your baby is probably getting sufficient amounts of this vital nutrient.

Vitamin D is rarely found in sufficient amounts in ordinary foods. It can, however, be found in milk (most milk is fortified) as well as fortified cereals, eggs and fatty fish like salmon, catfish and mackerel.

Vitamin D is also found in sunshine, so women and children found to have a mild Vitamin D deficiency may be told to spend more time in the sun.

7.     Vitamin E:

Vitamin E helps baby’s body to form and use its muscles and red blood cells.

Lack of Vitamin E during pregnancy has been associated with pre-eclampsia (a condition causing excessively high blood pressure and fluid retention) and low birth weight.

On the other hand, Vitamin E overdose has been tentatively associated with stillbirth in mothers who “self medicated” with supplements.

Pregnant women should consume at least 20 mg of Vitamin E per day but not more than 540 mg.

Vitamin E can be found in naturally in vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, spinach and fortified cereals as well as in supplemental form.

Natural Vitamin E is better for your baby than synthetic, so be sure to eat lots of Vitamin E rich foods before you reach for your bottle of supplements.

8.     Folic Acid:

Also known as Folate or Vitamin B9, Folic Acid is a vital part of your baby’s development.

The body uses Folic Acid for the replication of DNA, cell growth and tissue formation.

A Folic Acid deficiency during pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects such as spina bifida (a condition in which the spinal cord does not form completely), anencephaly (underdevelopment of the brain) and encephalocele (a condition in which brain tissue protrudes out to the skin from an abnormal opening in the skull).

All of these conditions occur during the first 28 days of fetal development, usually before Mom even knows she’s pregnant, which is why it’s important for women who may become or are trying to become pregnant to consistently get enough Folic Acid in their diet.

Pregnant woman should consume at least 0.6-0.8 mg of Folic Acid per day.

Folic Acid can be found in oranges, orange juice, strawberries, leafy vegetables, spinach, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, pasta, beans, nuts and sunflower seeds, as well as in supplements and fortified cereals.

9.     Iron:

Iron helps your body to form the extra blood that it’s going to need to keep you and baby healthy, as well as helping to form the placenta and develop the baby’s cells.

Women are rarely able to consume enough iron during their pregnancy through eating alone, so iron supplements along with prenatal vitamins are often prescribed.

Women who are pregnant should have at least 27 mg of iron per day, although the Center for Disease Control suggests that all women take a supplement containing at least 30 mg.

The extra iron rarely causes side effects; however, overdosing on iron supplements can be very harmful for both you and your baby by causing iron build-up in the cells.

Iron can be found in red meat and poultry, which are your best choice, as well as legumes, vegetables, some grains and fortified cereals.

10.  Niacin:

Also known as Vitamin B3, Niacin is responsible for providing energy for your baby to develop as well as building the placenta. It also helps keep Mom’s digestive system operating normally.

Pregnant women should have an intake of at least 18 mg of Niacin per day.

Niacin can be found in foods that are high in protein, such as eggs, meats, fish and peanuts, as well as whole grains, bread products, fortified cereals and milk.

11.   Protein:

Protein is the building block of the body’s cells, and as such it is very important to the growth and development of every part of your baby’s body during pregnancy.

This is especially important in the second and third trimester, when both Mom and baby are growing the fastest.

Pregnant and nursing women should consume at least 70g of protein per day, which is about 25g more than the average women needs before pregnancy.

Protein can be found naturally in beans, poultry, red meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese, tofu and yogurt. It is also available in supplements, fortified cereals and protein bars.

12.  Riboflavin:

Also known as Vitamin B2, Riboflavin helps the body produce the energy it needs to develop your baby’s bones, muscles and nervous system.

Women with Riboflavin deficiency may be at risk for preeclamsia, and when baby is delivered it will be prone to anemia, digestive problems, poor growth and a suppressed immune system, making it more vulnerable to infection.

Pregnant women should consume at least 1.4 mg of Riboflavin per day, nursing mothers 1.6 mg.

Riboflavin can be found in whole grains, dairy products, red meat, pork and poultry, fish, fortified cereals and eggs.  

13.  Thiamin:

Also known as Vitamin B1, thiamin helps develop your baby’s organs and central nervous system.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers should consume at least 1.4 mg of Thiamin a day.

Nursing mothers who are Thiamin deficient are at risk for having babies with beriberi, a disease which may affect the baby’s cardiovascular system (lungs and heart) or the nervous system.

Thiamin can be found in whole grain foods, pork, fortified cereals, wheat germ and eggs.

14.  Zinc:

Zinc is vital for the growth of your fetus because it aids in cell division, the primary process in the growth of baby’s tiny tissues and organs. It also helps Mom and baby to produce insulin and other enzymes.

Pregnant women should have an intake of at least 11-12 mg of Zinc per day.

Zinc can be found naturally in red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, grains, oysters and dairy products, as well as fortified cereals and supplements.

 

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