17 Jul Newly pregnant in a post-COVID-19 world: how to protect yourself and your baby
So you recently found out you’re expecting a new bundle of joy. And what should be a joyous time with family and friends is instead a time of anxiety and fear of the unknown, wondering about the implications of what COVID-19 could mean for you and your baby.
A baby in a post-COVID world
This is a normal response to what has turned out to be a global pandemic. People are continuing to social distance, wear masks, and limit their attendance at gatherings. You may feel that things are out of your control with regard to your pregnancy – but this simply isn’t true. There is one big thing you can focus on that gives you back most of the control you personally have over your pregnancy despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s your nutrition – and it’s critical to the health and well-being of your baby and yourself.
Nutrition and pregnancy: the most important factor to a healthy baby
Your body is going through beautiful, miraculous physical and hormonal changes right now, and good nutrition is absolutely a key to a healthy pregnancy, no matter what’s happening in the outside world.
As you are well aware, what you put into your body is your baby’s primary source of nutrition. An article published by the National Institute of Health states that “a considerable body of evidence accumulated especially during the last decade, demonstrating that early nutrition and lifestyle have long-term effects on later health and disease.”
So not only is a focus on your nutrition important for a healthy baby, but it will also have profound implications on the health of your child as they age.
So what does “nutrition” mean to me, and what should I be eating?
Good nutrition during your pregnancy doesn’t mean just eating your fruits and vegetables! Sure these are important, but there are many recommendations from trusted health experts that you should be especially mindful of during this time.
“Nutrition” means the quality of food you put into your mouth, and the vitamins and minerals you consume. To unpack these items a bit, let’s follow along below:
Food: what to eat, how much to eat
Getting customized advice from your Sylacauga OB/GYN obstetrician is the best-case scenario for you. But the general guidelines of that advice are going to be somewhere within these parameters below. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, expectant mothers should consume:
Fruits and veggies: they recommend that roughly half your mealtime plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. This ensures you are getting many of the vitamins and minerals you need during this time through food sources, instead of just from any supplements you might take.
- Grains are recommended for energy needs which are derived from important carbohydrates found in grain-based foods (such as bread.) When eating grains, make half your grain servings whole grains to get the maximum benefit.
- Eat a variety of protein throughout the day including legumes, meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Dairy – make sure any dairy products you eat are pasteurized. Also, shoot for low-fat varieties.
- Oils and fats –
- Choose healthy oils when preparing your meals, such as olive and grapeseed oils.
- Work in foods that have healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and fatty fish such as salmon.
As you can see, eating for proper nutrition during your pregnancy is not all that different from what we recommend a healthy person eat, to begin with! It is that much more important during pregnancy when trying to support the growth of the fetus and help your body keep up with the extra demands of your pregnancy.
And instead of thinking like the old adage, “you’re eating for two,” think of it as “eating twice as healthy!”
Vitamins, minerals, supplements: which ones are right for me?
As we mentioned above, you’ll want your obstetrician at Sylacauga OB/GYN to provide you with an individualized recommendation as to your unique needs in the way of vitamins, minerals, and supplements. They’ve read your bloodwork results, they know your body chemistry, and they’re tracking these things frequently throughout your pregnancy.
So – in the event that, despite eating a very healthy diet you might still have some nutritional deficits, you’ll want to give yourself and your baby an opportunity to fill any gaps. That’s where supplements come in. Three important supplements you can consume during your pregnancy are prenatal vitamins, an anti-inflammatory blend, and bone support supplement.
Prenatal vitamins contain those nutrients you simply need more of during pregnancy but that are difficult to get enough of from foods alone, such as folic acid, iron, and others. It is really important to follow your obstetrician’s advice on the prenatal vitamin source they want you to take because they have so much experience on the brands they’ve studied and deemed the most effective.
It is well established that infection and inflammation represent a highly significant risk factor in preterm birth. Taking an anti-inflammatory supplement blend fills nutritional gaps of even the best diets and may even help swollen feet and hands. A bone support supplement supports healthy bones and teeth for both mother and baby but needs Vitamin D, Vitamin K and Zinc to absorb well.
Speaking of teeth…did you know that it is especially important to see your dentist before and during pregnancy? Gum disease increases preterm birth risks. Research shows that essential oils kill Covid-19’s cousins SARs and MERs and gargling may slow Covid 19’s move from throat to lungs. Choose organic options with essential oil ingredients instead of chemical-laden mouthwash and avoid fluoride while pregnant.
Worried about COVID-19 and the health of your baby? Worry about proper nutrition instead!
You can’t control many factors in a world where a coronavirus pandemic holds us captivated by news stories and anecdotal stories and warnings. But what you can do is to take this time to develop a plan with your obstetrician on how to fuel up your body to nurture and bathe that baby in healthy, nutritious foods, a stronger immune system, and future health advantages by following some of the advice above.
It’s a tender time you’re in, with all the excitement and trepidation that pregnancy brings with it. Funnel that love and excitement into a strong nutritional plan which is the best possible protection for your baby, no matter what other outside factors may be. Having a healthy, happy baby in nine months is a big reward for your nutritional efforts now.
Nutrition questions? Sylacauga OB/GYN obstetricians are among the best in their field and their many years of experience with expectant mommies translates into the best possible care for you and your baby. Reach out to us today here or at 256-487-9346.