Pregnancy

Your Child and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You’ve probably heard a lot about omega-3 fatty acids. You know you can find them in fish and other healthy fats, and you know you need them- but you might wonder what exactly being an ‘omega-3’ fatty acid means. Well, without going into all of the science-y details, it has to do with the number and position of certain double bonds that hold the fatty acid together.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient. This means that we have to have them, but our body doesn’t make them so we have to make sure we are getting them in our diet. Some common omega-3’s are DHA  and EPA.

Okay, so now we know what they are, but why are they good for us?

While omega-3’s are pretty well known for their benefits to the heart(like lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and the amount of “bad” cholesterol), they have a lot of other MEGA benefits as well. They can also help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of certain cancers and arthritis. They can help increase bone strength and decrease the chances of developing osteoporosis. They are also crucial for cognitive development in children and infants in the womb, as well as for eye health and helping the body absorb other nutrients. Some studies have even shown that omega-3’s can help slightly improve ADHD symptoms and depression in children.

Recommended Adequate Intakes vary at each stage of childhood:

0 to 12 months: 0.5 grams/day
1 to 3 years: 0.7 grams/day
4 to 8 years: 0.9 grams/day
9 to 13 years (boys): 1.2 grams/day
9 to 13 years (girls): 1.0 grams/day
14 to 18 years (boys): 1.6 grams/day
14 to 18 years (girls): 1.1 grams/day

A lot of people tend to add [...]

Are you Getting Enough Folic Acid?

It is standard medical advice that women trying to conceive should start taking a prenatal vitamin. This is to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects by having sufficient amounts of folic acid. It is so serious that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all women between 15 – 45 years of age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. This is because 1/2 of all US pregnancies are unplanned. The most crucial time frame for folic acid is 3-4 weeks after conception. Most women do not realize at this point in pregnancy that they are pregnant, which is why it is recommended for all women to take.

Folic acid is a B vitamin that every cell in your body needs for normal growth and development. Folic acid is called folate when it is found in food vs a supplement. (Just to make things confusing.) Here is a list of foods that have folate.

Beans, like lentils, pinto beans and black beans
Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and Romaine lettuce
Asparagus
Broccoli
Peanuts
Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit
Orange juice (Check the labels)

Some foods are fortified with folic acid as well.

Cereal (usually 50-100%)
Pasta
Bread

If you are 150% sure that you are consuming 400 micrograms of folate daily, then you probably don’t need to take an additional supplement. Check with your doctor anyways. But, when it comes to potential neural tube defects in babies, I think the $5-10 a month is well worth reducing the risks!

You don’t have to take a prenatal vitamin to get folic acid. You can take any vitamin that has 400 micrograms of folic acid. I really dislike pills, so I take gummy vitamins. If you already have [...]

Eating for Two

If you are, then first things first, Congratulations!

Proper weight gain is really important for pregnant women.  You don’t want to gain too much and you don’t want to gain too little.  Keeping with my nutrition motto, everything is okay in moderation, the same is true for weight gain during pregnancy.  The proper weight gain for you will depend on your pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI).  If you don’t know your BMI, then click here to calculate it.  Make sure you enter your weight before you were pregnant.  Don’t get caught up in the categories, pregnancy is not the time to diet.

If your BMI is under 18.5, then you need to gain between 28-40 pounds.  A rough guide is 5 pounds during the first trimester, and a little over 1 pound per week after that.  If you are expecting twins, then you should gain 40-60 pounds.

If your BMI is between 18.6-24.9, then you need to gain between 25-35 pounds.  About 2-4 pounds during the first trimester and then a pound a week.  If you are expecting twins, then you should gain 37-54 pounds.

If your BMI is between 25-29.9, then you need to gain between 15-25 pounds.  A rough guide would be 2-4 pounds during the first trimester and then half a pound a week.  If you are expecting twins, then you should gain 31-50 pounds.

If your BMI is over 30, then you need to gain between 11-20 pounds.  About 2-4 pounds during the first trimester and then slightly less than half a pound a week.  If you are expecting twins, then you should gain 25-42 pounds.

Putting on weight slow and steady is best. Some women will have a couple of growth spurts and then level [...]

By |October 15th, 2012|Pregnancy|1 Comment|