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What You Should Know About Fish, Meats, and Dairy during Pregnancy

During your pregnancy it’s important to eat properly to help your baby grow while still trying to satisfy all the food cravings you may experience. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that just because you’re craving it, doesn’t mean you should indulge yourself as it could be unhealthy for your developing baby.

Your main concern regarding foods to avoid should be bacteria. It’s always a good idea for anyone to avoid bacteria contaminated foods, but pregnant women could suffer much more serious effects from food poisoning or bacteria ingestion that the average person would recover from in a day or two.

Raw Meats and Uncooked Eggs

Some people enjoy a rare steak or may use dressings that are made with raw egg. If you already love these foods or develop a strong craving for them while pregnant, you should try to avoid them as you could be exposing yourself to salmonella or E. coli.

Safely cooking your meats, chicken, and eggs will kill any harmful bacteria and will allow you to still enjoy the foods you love. Be sure to check the labels of any sauces or dressing that could potentially contain raw eggs and choose a brand that uses alternative ingredients. It’s also a good idea to toss out any cracked eggs as bacteria from the shell could have migrated inside.

Deli meats, smoked seafood, and jerky could contain harmful bacteria so avoid these foods if possible or re-heat to kill any possible germs or parasites. Deli meats and hot dogs also contain nitrates so cutting them out of your diet altogether may be your best option.

Unpasteurized Dairy

Soft, unpasteurized chesses can be a passion for some people but pregnant women should stay away from these foods as they may contain listeria and can cause food-borne illness. Low-fat dairy is a better option, and checking the labels of your favourite cheeses will let you know if it’s unpasteurized or not.

Fish and Seafood

Fish is an excellent source of protein and contains the omega-3 fatty acids that will help your baby’s development, but you should still be careful with the types of fish you choose as some may not be as good for you as others. If you want to avoid fish altogether but still get the nutritional benefits it provides you can always supplement your diet with natural fish oils.

Raw fish, just like raw meat or eggs, could contain bacteria or parasites. Ingesting a tapeworm could result in much needed nutrients being leached away from you and your baby. If you have a love for sushi and sashimi, it may be a good idea to temporarily find an alternative to raw fish.

Some types of fish are higher in mercury such as shark, tuna, sword fish, and marlin. Eating them in moderation is fine when you aren’t pregnant, however it would be best to avoid them altogether when you’re feeding a growing fetus as mercury could affect its developing nervous system. Sticking to salmon, shrimp, cod, and pollock would be your best bet.

Meat, dairy, fish, and eggs are always an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and nutrients. You can get a lot of iron from these foods, which is essential for a pregnant woman, but proper cooking and preparation techniques should be followed. It’s still possible to get everything your body needs from these foods while keeping you and your baby safe and healthy.

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Relieving Your Morning Sickness

Some pregnant women out there experience little or no morning sickness at all while others can suffer from it during all hours of the day and sometimes well into their second trimester. No matter the severity you suffer from, morning sickness can be minimized or in some cases avoided entirely with the right techniques.

The Foods You Choose

When experiencing sickness that involves nausea and vomiting, monitoring what you eat or drink is going to be your main concern. The type of food you eat, the amounts you eat, and the time of day you have your meals will all affect how you feel later on.

Sticking to fresh, healthy foods as opposed to greasy, oily, spicy, or sugary snacks can be easier on your stomach. If eating anything too rich makes you queasy, stick to bland foods and fight those cravings. Eating smaller meals more frequently rather than just a few heavy meals a day will be easier for your body to digest and can prevent you from feeling suddenly ill. Try to avoid feeling too full or too hungry at any one time.

If you’re nauseous first thing in the morning, try keeping some crackers and water by your bed and eating a few before you start your day. Get up slowly and avoid rushing or jumping out of bed all of the sudden. Settling your stomach before moving around too much will go a long way in preventing a quick dash to the washroom.

Rest and Vitamins

Staying well hydrated, getting a good night sleep, and keeping your body stocked up on all the essential vitamins it needs can also prevent those unwanted queasy feelings. The healthier your body is, the better it will respond to the hormonal changes it’s going through. Try to nap or rest when you can and avoid over-exerting yourself if possible. Taking it easy on your changing body will encourage it to go easy on you in return.

Prescription Medication

If your morning sickness is exceptionally severe, prescription medications are available. Natural remedies just may not work for some women, so be sure to see your family doctor if your nausea become unmanageable. If you’re currently on any other medication it’s important to let your doctor know as some morning sickness medications may not mix well with other prescription you could be taking.

The first trimester is usually when morning sickness is at its worst and it should diminish as your pregnancy progresses. It can last longer for some women, but as your hormone levels start to even out, the worst of your nausea should be over. Get plenty of fresh air and try to stay relaxed and stress free and in most cases, morning sickness can be at least somewhat relieved with a few simple lifestyle changes.

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Reducing the Appearance of Stretch Marks

A lot of temporary changes can occur in and on your body during pregnancy; however most of these effects disappear when your baby is born. Stretch marks, on the other hand, are tears in your skin that will scar and remain visible for forever. They will initially appear as reddish pink lines on your body which turn into silvery white scars, but with the proper prevention techniques, you may be able to reduce the visibility of them or eliminate them completely.

Control Your Weight Gain

Stretch marks occur because weight has been put on too quickly and your skin can’t expand fast enough to support your larger size. By sticking to a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, you can put your baby weight on more slowly and avoid gaining the extra weight your body doesn’t need.

These marks can appear on your thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, breasts, and arms and sometimes you can’t always control where you gain additional weight. With a baby growing in your womb, expansion in your abdomen cannot be prevented. Being aware of the weight you are gaining and taking steps to slow the stretching of your skin can help to diminish these unwanted marks.

Keep Your Skin Hydrated

Keeping your skin soft and supple will allow it to stretch more safely. Dry skin will be prone to ripping, so moisturize often and keep yourself hydrated. Using skin creams that contain vitamin E and alpha-hydroxy will keep your skin stay pliable as well assist in the healing of marks that may already be forming. The use of these lotions will continue to reduce the sight of any stretch marks that occur so keep applying them even once your weight gain has stopped.

Massage Your Skin

Stimulating the circulation in your skin can also help to reduce tearing from weight gain. By bringing more blood to the surface, your skin will be healthier and less likely to develop unwanted marks, so be sure to massage it whenever possible. Your stretching skin may also become sensitive and itchy as it expands and scratching can lead to more stretch marks so try to massage it when you feel any discomfort.

It will be much easier to prevent stretch marks before they occur as oppose to getting rid of the ones that have already formed. Any marks that do form can be helped with the proper creams, but knowing stretch marks can happen before any weight gain has started is the first step in prevention.

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Getting a Good Night’s Rest When You’re Pregnant

With the changes in your body and the additional weight in areas you aren’t used to, getting to sleep can become more difficult as your pregnancy progresses. The added hormones in your body can affect your ability to sleep, but there are some things you can try to get that elusive good night’s sleep you’ve been craving.

Sleeping Ergonomically

The most important part of getting a good sleep is the area you’ll be sleeping in. An appropriate room temperature and comfortable bed is a great place to start. The position you’re accustomed to sleeping in may no longer be comfortable and some doctors recommend sleeping on your left side to reduce the additional baby weight on your liver. If a side position still seems uncomfortable, using a maternity pillow could be very effective. They come in all shapes and sizes and can support the specific areas you need such as your belly, back, neck, and head.

Eating Properly

Whether you’re pregnant or not, a proper diet can have a very beneficial effect on the quality of sleep you get. Eating anything too heavy or greasy before bed may make sleeping impossible, so keep any late night meals or snacks on the lighter side to avoid upsetting your stomach before bed. Be sure to also avoid caffeine before you head to bed. If you usually drink tea or coffee before you sleep, try having some warm milk or juice instead.

Taking the Time to Relax

Getting wound up before bed or trying to sleep immediately after something has elevated your mood won’t do you any good. Take the time to unwind before you go sleep by having a relaxing bath with scented oils or by reading a few pages of a good book. If you can’t get to sleep right away, worrying about it will only make it worse. It’s better to get up and watch a few minutes of TV to take your mind off things rather than tossing and turning for the next hour or two.

Get Some Exercise

A regular exercise routine will not only help you maintain a healthy body, it can relieve stress and can make you just tired enough by the end of the day to get some proper rest. A thorough prenatal massage after a workout is an excellent way to loosen up your muscles while giving yourself some much needed relaxation time.

Missing out on too much sleep can leave you sore and grumpy and you’re probably already feeling that way from the extra baby weight and hormones. A few sleepless nights shouldn’t affect the health of your baby, but there’s no need to feel miserable from exhaustion so try a couple new things and figure out what works best for you.

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Bad Habits You Should Kick Before Conception and During Pregnancy

What you eat is feeding the baby you’re carrying as well, so no matter how much you love your morning coffee, a drink in the evening, or a bag of chips for lunch, ask yourself first if you would feed this to your baby once it’s been born. While some things are alright in moderation, others should be avoided entirely and replaced with a healthier substitute.

Alcohol

This is one of the habits you should refrain from entirely. As soon as you decide you would like to conceive, both you and you partner should cut alcohol out of your lives as it not only has an effect on the developing fetus, it can affect your egg and sperm cells as well. You should continue to avoid alcohol while breastfeeding as it can still be passed along to your baby through your breast milk.

During your pregnancy, consuming alcohol could cause birth defects and abnormalities. Regular consumption could even result in fetal alcohol syndrome or other complications. This, among illegal drug use, is one of the most important habits to avoid as it can have a severe impact on the health and well-being of your unborn child.

Cigarettes and Tobacco

Smoking is a major cause of health problems and can be responsible for diseases such as emphysema, lung cancer, and other respiratory related illnesses. If you’re a smoker, quitting from the time you decide to conceive until the time you’ve finished breast feeding will keep your baby it’s healthiest. Once your baby is born, it would still be a good idea to refrain from smoking, or at least not in the house or around your baby. Second hand smoke can be just as harmful, so try to avoid frequently being in the vicinity of people who are smoking while you are pregnant.

Caffeine

Small amounts of caffeine should not have a negative affect on your unborn baby, but avoiding it as much as possible is a good idea. A high level of caffeine intake could be harmful and may result in birth defects or increase your risk of miscarriage. It can also be a diuretic which could lead to dehydration and calcium loss.

Sugar and Junk Food

Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners can increase the risks of diabetes and other health problems. Your growing baby could become bigger which may mean a more difficult delivery for you. Eating unhealthy junk food will leave you feeling full, but you won’t be getting any of the nutrients your body requires so try to limit your intake of packaged and processed food and stick to a healthier diet.

Knowing what’s in the food you eat will help to keep your growing baby in the best health possible. Avoiding meat products that have been exposed to steroids and hormones or eating vegetables grown in clean, uncontaminated soil are some steps you can take to ensure you’re doing everything you can to bring a healthy baby into the world. Little things like switching out coffee and pop for juice and water can make a big difference in your baby’s health in the long run.

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