Pregnancy Questions and Answers
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31st Mar 2012, 06:04 PM #1
Pregnancy Questions and Answers
Do I really need to take prenatal vitamins? Which vitamins and minerals should be in them?
Below is a rundown of the optimal daily amounts of key nutrients that we recommend to support a healthy pregnancy and grow a healthy baby. Of course, taking prenatal vitamins doesn't give you a free pass to eat "whatever" for 40 weeks straight. Make your best effort to eat healthfully. Try these tasty recipes.
Vitamin A aids in both cell development and brain growth, but this vitamin does have a drawback. There have been links between excessive amounts of vitamin A and an increased risk of birth defects, especially neural tube defects. (Be careful not to eat too many protein, breakfast or meal-replacement bars, each of which may have 100 percent of your daily value of vitamin A. Get into the habit of checking the FDA nutrition labels on everything you eat.)
Aim for this amount: Consume no more than 15,000 international units (IU) a day while pregnant or just before becoming pregnant.
Low levels of B6 are associated with a delay in the development of the baby's nervous system. Plus, inadequate amounts are also linked to problems for mom, such as morning sickness, preeclampsia and complications during delivery.
Aim for this amount: 3 milligrams (mg) twice a day.
Getting adequate amounts of this all-important prenatal nutrient—also known as folate—reduces the risk of specific birth defects, like spina bifida (an incomplete spinal cord). It also reduces your infant's cancer risk for the first 6 years of life.
Aim for this amount: At least 400 micrograms (mcg) from supplements, such as a prenatal folic acid vitamin pill, and a total of at least 800 mcg, including the amounts from food.
A full-term baby accumulates 30 grams of calcium in bone mass, so a mom needs to make sure to get adequate amounts to maintain her own bone strength and get those necessary bone builders to the baby.
Aim for this amount: We recommend taking 600 mg of calcium citrate supplements twice a day, plus 200 mg of magnesium twice a day. Calcium without magnesium leads to constipation, so choose your combo carefully. Also, try to eat three or four servings of calcium-rich foods every day.
Because a mom transfers about 1,000 milligrams (mg) of iron to a growing baby and increases her total number of red blood cells by 20 to 30 percent, it's important to get adequate iron during pregnancy.
Aim for this amount: 20 mg twice a day.
The omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a major structural component in both your child's brain and your own. Fetuses are pretty assertive when it comes to taking omega-3 fatty acids for brain development, so you'll be depleted of those important neuron protectors unless you make a point of getting them through diet or supplements. DHA seems to help repair your brain cells or connections damaged by stress.
Aim for this amount: A minimum of 200 to 300 mg of DHA per day from fish, fortified foods or supplements is what we recommend for moms-to-be. Recent research indicates that 600 to 900 mg may be even better. More and more prenatal vitamins are including this important nutrient, but double-check to see if your vitamin does. If it doesn't, ask your doc whether you should take DHA supplements.
Low levels of zinc have been shown to be related to increased birth defects, low birth weight, miscarriage and even behavior problems down the road.
Aim for this amount: 10 mg twice a day.
Other nutrients moms-to-be need
- B1 (also called thiamin)—25 mg
- B2 (also called riboflavin)—25 mg
- B3 (also called niacin)—At least 30 mg
- B5 (also called pantothenic acid)—At least 30 mg
- B12—400 mcg twice a day
- Biotin —300 mcg
- C—400 mg twice a day (remember, it's water soluble, so you need two doses over the day)
- D—600 IU twice a day
- E—200 IU twice a day (or, preferably, 400 IU of mixed tocopherols)
- Magnesium—200 mg three times a day; twice a day prior to pregnancy
- Selenium—100 mcg twice a day
Last edited by Parasakthi; 31st Mar 2012 at 06:08 PM.
31st Mar 2012, 06:10 PM #2
Re: Pregnancy Questions and Answers
What causes morning sickness—and is there anything I can do about it?
A couple of things could be happening to make you feel so queasy. A vomiting center in your brain (didn't know you had one, huh?) is more sensitive, and your digestive tract is more relaxed, making it more likely that foods travel up as well as down. These factors, plus the heightened sense of smell you have during pregnancy, create a swirling GI storm that can make you sickened by the mere mention of food.
A lot of things can help you feel better, but that doesn't mean they all will. So, unfortunately, this is one of those areas in which you may have to experiment a bit to see what therapy may be best for your body.
Here are 15 things that have been shown to relieve the misery:
- Keep 100 percent whole grain crackers by your bed. Eat a few as soon as you wake to get something in your stomach before you start moving around.
- Eat a diet high in protein and complex carbohydrates.
- Sip chicken broth to help you get some calories in along with the liquid.
- Stick with cold foods—hot foods have a stronger smell, which can trigger queasiness.
- Take a 6 mg vitamin of B6.
- Eat leafy greens because they're rich in vitamin K, which seems to help.
- Eat brown rice— try this RealAge recipe.
- Try acupuncture.
- Wear acupressure wristbands to stimulate pressure points.
- Brew fresh ginger root in a cup of tea, or take a 300 mg capsule.
- Get light exercise.
- Use a mouth rinse after vomiting and after each meal to keep your mouth fresh, reduce nausea and reduce the amount of tooth decay that can occur from the interaction of stomach acid with enamel.
- Meditate to help control stress. Morning sickness is more common in women under a lot of stress.
- Explore homeopathic remedies. They are hotly debated within the medical community but are unlikely to cause harm. Nux Vomica seems to help with nausea and irritability.
- Consider meds. If your morning sickness is really bad, talk to your doc about prescription medications like scopolamine, promethazine, prochlorperazine and trimethobenzamide.
31st Mar 2012, 06:10 PM #3
Re: Pregnancy Questions and Answers
Should I be reading or talking to my baby while he's still in my belly? What about playing music?
While fetuses hear much the way that we hear a next-door stereo—lots of bass, not a lot of high frequencies—they are able to hear voices filtered through tissues, bones and fluid. And by week 24, they recognize—and are calmed by—their mothers' voices. Of course, they can't distinguish one word from another. Rather, the rhythm and melody of voices they hear serve as their foundation for language. That's why so many moms read aloud to their children, even before that first night in the crib.
We strongly endorse that practice too—not just for brain development but also to allow your baby to hear your voice and establish an auditory bond at an early age.
We also encourage you to listen to all kinds of music during and after pregnancy. This will help stimulate baby's senses and improve his brain development. Exposure to different sounds and scenes is essentially what helps establish connections from one set of neurons—the nerve cells of the brain—to another. This is how we all learn. These neural structures are shaped like a tree and root system. A baby's brain is extremely plastic, meaning that it can constantly adapt and make new connections between trees.
31st Mar 2012, 06:11 PM #4
Re: Pregnancy Questions and Answers
How can I fall asleep and stay asleep in a position that's safe for baby?
When it comes to sleep, you just can't impose your will on your body. So our goal here is to help you find the little things that will make you more comfortable, so your body follows what your mind wants.
If you have difficulty breathing (from the weight gain), try multiple pillows, which will pull the baby away from your diaphragm so it can move your lungs up and down.
- Don't drink water after 6 p.m. to reduce the need to get up to use the bathroom. And no caffeine, either. Make sure that you do get your 2 quarts of fluid a day before that, especially if you're in a hot climate.
- Don't try to suffer through all the aches and pains you might be experiencing. It's actually better for your mind and body to quiet the pain (with Tylenol) so you can get the restorative sleep you need rather than grit your way through the aches just to avoid taking medicine.
- Try a small glass of warm skim milk. The lactose in the milk is a sugar, which stimulates insulin, which helps proteins like tryptophan in the milk enter the brain—and that can help people fall asleep. If you develop lactose intolerance, which many moms do during pregnancy, try soy milk or rice milk.
- Create a dark and quiet environment in the bedroom, using the bed for sleep and sex only—and not for work or surfing the Web.
- Ratchet up the air conditioner. It's easier to sleep in a cooler environment. Plus, pregnant women are extra hot.
- Try sleep meds. If you want to try the pharmaceutical route, you should talk to your doctor. Benadryl is considered safe for pregnant women to take for sleep. It's sometimes even given to newborns. You can also consider an over-the-counter medication called Unisom, which has been shown to help promote sleep during pregnancy. Just don't use it for more than a week.
- Lie on your side. We know you're not going to lie on your stomach as your belly grows and you enter the second trimester, but we do want you to avoid lying flat on your back. That's because when you do so, the weight of your uterus compresses the blood vessels that are feeding the placenta, creating a drought in the blood lake. Lying on your left side is better than lying on your right side because it allows more blood to flow to the uterus. Either side is better than lying on your back, because when you do, you also compress a large vein called the vena cava. The pressure (from that compression) reduces the flow of blood back to your heart, as if you were bending a water hose, and that decreases the blood flow to your uterus and to your baby.