Posts Tagged ‘ Pregnancy Diet ’

Good News: Folic Acid Prevents 1,300 Birth Defects Each Year!

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Prenatal vitamins folic acidAmong all the (sometimes scary) new scientific pregnancy findings we sort through every day, there’s a new one to report that’s nothing but good news.

According to new data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fortifying grain foods with the B vitamin folic acid has saved about 1,300 babies from being born with neutral tube defects—or serious problems in the brain and spine—each year since that program went into effect in 1998. Thanks to fortifying, the number of babies born in in this country with such issues has plunged 35 percent since that watershed year.

That said, about 3,000 pregnancies in the U.S. annually are still affected by neural tube defects. So want to make sure you’re getting enough of that folic acid good stuff? Here’s what to do, according to the March of Dimes’ recommendations:

  • Take a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid every single day. That goes for all women who are capable of having a baby. (Currently only about a third of all women are doing this as recommended.)
  • Once you’re pregnant, take a prenatal vitamin that contains at least 600 micrograms of folic acid.
  • Eat as many foods as possible that contain folate, which is the naturally occurring form of folic acid. Such foods include leafy green veggies, black beans, OJ, and lentils. Enriched cereals, breads, and pastas also contain the nutrient.
  • If you have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect, talk to your healthcare provider about starting a regimen of high-dose folic acid at least a month before you conceive, and all the way through your first trimester, per the C.D.C. guidelines.

Another heads up for Hispanic women in particular: The new research shows that this group is about 20 percent more likely to have a child with such a defect than causasian women, and the reason for that is likely dietary: Wheat flour is fortified with folic acid, but corn masa flour isn’t (although the March of Dimes and other groups are working to make the F.D.A. fortify that, too.)

Just one more (encouraging) reminder to take those prenatal vitamins and eat a healthy diet during pregnancy!

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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Making a Healthy Dinner
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Making a Healthy Dinner
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Making a Healthy Dinner

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Pregnant Carrie Underwood Is Going Vegetarian (for Now)

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Carrie UnderwoodWhile most folks in America were eating turkey this Thanksgiving weekend, there were a few holdouts. Having been a vegetarian for 21 years, I was one of them. Carrie Underwood, who is pregnant with her first child, was another.

The country music star, who’s been a vegetarian or vegan since her teenage years, told Yahoo Beauty that she won’t eat any meat during her pregnancy either. However, she said she will allow some dairy products back into her diet — for the time being.

“I have been vegetarian for about ten years now. With pregnancy, I am definitely going more on the vegetarian side, but as soon as I am not pregnant anymore I will go back to being vegan,” she said. “I try to keep it as healthy as possible and try to take care of myself. And, you know, putting good things in!”

Natalie Portman had a similar strategy, switching from veganism to a less-strict vegetarian diet during her 2011 pregnancy.

I remained vegetarian all the way through my pregnancy too; it’s a completely healthy choice that should, along with any choices regarding diet or activity you make during pregnancy, be reviewed with your doctor. (Mine suggested iron supplements along with my standard prenatal vitamins.)

Although I wasn’t eating meat, I did have plenty of cravings, both healthy (fresh green juice!) and unhealthy (Red Vines galore). But apparently Underwood’s pregnancy diet overall is pretty even keel these days, telling Yahoo, “I don’t think I am craving anything too crazy.”

What diet changes did you make during pregnancy?

Pregnant? Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters to give you the inside scoop, every step of the way. Plus, don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news.

Photo courtest of DFree/

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6 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Pregnant Self

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

I’m eight weeks postpartum now, with enough distance from my twin pregnancy to see things a little bit more clearly. If I could, I’d love to be able to communicate with my recently pregnant self and give her a little advice based on what I know now. Here’s what I’d tell her…

You’re absolutely right to make manic lists and do everything on them.
When the babies come home from the hospital, just try to handle even the most basic task and see how hard it’s become. Your epic list-making serves you well here, but there are even a couple more things you’ll want to do. First off, make sure the changing station is fully set up, because it’s the first thing you’ll need when you walk in the door. Second, read all the manuals for the things you’ll want to use in the first three months. Because when the babies are several weeks old, and you want to use the Ergos with the infant inserts, you will tearfully lament how hard it is to figure them out. You will scratch your head while you unfurl folded manuals with comic exaggeration, and you will watch YouTube videos with a layer of emotionality that makes it terribly hard to focus. (You will also watch your husband trying so intently to figure it out, and marvel once again how awesome he is, and how devoted.)

Don’t register every single ache and pain as something bad.
Remember how, before pregnancy, you occasionally had aches and pains? Yes, sometimes you have little ones in pregnancy too—but those don’t all indicate something terrible. Try to differentiate. If you stub your toe and it hurts, there is probably not a problem with the babies. Relax.

A couple of bean sprouts won’t kill you.
I know you’re starving and your bibimbap at the Korean lunch place came with bean sprouts, even though you’d specifically said you couldn’t eat them during pregnancy. But you don’t need to be so intense in your mission to pick out every last one. And similarly, avoid the gorgonzola, sure—but you can probably ease up on the hard cheese that’s been cooked anyway on your babymoon in France, Italy, and Spain. (Also, don’t bother asking the Parisian waiter if the cheese is pasteurized: He’ll look at you like you’re crazy/evil.) You’re right to be cautious and smart about what you put in your mouth in pregnancy, of course, but obsessive behavior isn’t necessary or even useful.

Have more zip-up swaddles on hand.
In general, you have more than enough of everything—but you do need more of these. Because you will come home and feel the weight of the world is on you to try to figure out how to swaddle the real way with a blanket. And you will never figure that out, BTW.

Cosmetically, you’re worried about the wrong things.
You are very bummed out about those stretch marks that popped up in the last couple of weeks, and you’re also spending a lot of time on Instagram searching for #csectionscar images because you think those are the biggest cosmetic issues you will have postpartum. You’re wrong. In fact, you’ll have to figure out how to heal your diastasis recti (a condition not uncommon after twin pregnancy in particular), and a bunch of extra weight you imagined would melt off like magic with a few weeks of breastfeeding. You’re hilariously wrong about what to worry about, so how about… just don’t? There will be plenty of time* to be the proactive sleeve-roller-upper you are, and work on improving the things you want to improve after the babies come—you just don’t know what those things are yet.

*OK, maybe you won’t actually have plenty of time per se, but you can make it happen.

You need a bigger car.
It’s really cute that you think your small hatchback will magically expand, creating the volume you will need to fit the double stroller, two car seats, and your 6-foot-1-inch husband—or even two out of the three of those things. But it will not. Get the SUV and be done with it.

Pregnant? Use our pregnancy checklist to get everything done before baby comes! Shop for cute baby swaddles here. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy on Facebook to keep up with the latest in pregnancy-related news.

What do you wish you could go back and tell your pregnant self?

Photo: Courtesy of Alesandra Dubin


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Pregnant? Eat More Fish!

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

pregnant woman eating fishAs a first-time preggo, I was pretty careful (or maybe neurotic is a better word) about what I ate. Case in point: Once, while on a babymoon in Bermuda, I actually left the resort restaurant where my hubby and I were about to order dinner to go back up to our room and fetch my handy list of low-mercury fish (yes, I packed that!) just to make sure the seafood dish I was considering was “okay.” (As it turns out, it wasn’t!)

Lots of mamas-to-be probably share my concerns about fish, and are confused about what falls in the safe-or-not-safe categories when it comes to their pregnancy diet. (So many different kinds of tuna!) But new advice issued earlier today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urges pregnant women, as well as those breastfeeding, to actually up their consumption of low-mercury fish. (While not yet finalized, the new recommendations will ultimately replace the current guidelines, issued in 2004.) (more…)

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Is Your Pregnancy Diet Lacking THIS?!

Monday, May 26th, 2014

When it comes to a pregnancy diet, you probably think about eating clean, organic foods, drinking milk, and taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid. You probably don’t think about needing more iodine in your diet, right? Well, it turns out you should!

New research by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that one-third of pregnant women in the United States have an iodine deficiency, and iodine is needed to produce thyroid hormones—which control your metabolism and play an integral part in your baby’s all-important brain development. One theory for the lack of iodine in women’s diets is that processed foods don’t use iodized salts, and Americans as a whole are eating much more processed food than we once did.

And even though in the U.S. pregnant women often take prenatal vitamins, only 15 to 20 percent take ones that contain any iodine (in the form of potassium iodide), and many of those that do contain iodide don’t contain the 150 mg suggested by the National Academy of Sciences. The recommendation for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms is the same—a daily supplement that includes at least 150 mg of iodine and use of iodized table salt for a combined intake of between 290 and 1100 mg of iodide per day.

You can naturally add iodine into your diet by eating things like seafood or low-fat yogurt. And in the U.S. most table salt is fortified (a practice that started in 1924 to help end iodide deficiencies), so it’s an excellent source for iodine with ¼ teaspoon providing about 47 percent of your necessary daily intake.

So it’s relatively easy to add what you need into your diet to give your baby the best chances of being a brainiac—but like everything else, consult your doctor about your individual needs, especially before taking any supplement!

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: What
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: What
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Image of pregnant woman eating yogurt courtesy of Shutterstock.

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