Maintaining A Healty Body

Topics: Nutrition, Pregnancy, Folic acid Pages: 5 (1352 words) Published: December 4, 2013
Maintaining A Healthy Body

There are many different factors involved in maintaining a healthy body, such as; a balanced diet, regular exercise, staying hydrated, making sure you get the right vitamins and nutrients your body needs, getting enough sleep, taking prescribed medication properly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol. This essay is going to focus on how to maintain a healthy body when you are pregnant, for both the mother and the baby, through a healthy diet and lifestyle, and also the repercussions if these are not adhered to.

A healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone to maintain a healthy body, but it is particularly important during pregnancy as it will keep you fit and healthy, as well as improving the growth and development of the baby. The 'eatwell plate' shows the four main food groups that are important when trying to eat well-balanced meals, as recommended by the Food Standard's Agency. We are advised to eat five portions (a minimum of 400g) of fruit and vegetables every day in order to get a good combination of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. They are also a great source of fibre, needed to prevent constipation, and they contribute to reducing the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A third of the food that we eat should be made up of foods that are higher in carbohydrates and fibre. These are known as starchy foods and are essential because they digest slowly, giving us more energy and helping us to feel full for longer, making it less likely for us to over-eat. Dairy foods, such as, milk, cheese, and yoghurt are also important, especially in pregnant women, as they provide us with protein, essential for growth and repair, and calcium which keeps our bones strong and is vital for the development of the baby's bones and teeth. However, there are some dairy products that pregnant women are advised to avoid as they could make you ill or harm the baby. Foods rich in protein, such as; fish, eggs, chicken and lean meat are also necessary as part of a well-balanced diet. These provide us with essential vitamins and minerals, for example; iron and vitamin B12. Pregnant women are expected to eat two portions of fish each week, preferably oily fish such as salmon because they are rich in Omega-3, which assists in maintaining a healthy heart, and are also a good source of vitamin D. [1]

Pregnant women can get most of the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet. However, women who suffer from morning sickness may find it difficult to eat the right amount of food necessary to obtain these. Therefore, they are recommended to take supplements. It is crucial to take folic acid during pregnancy as it assists in the prevention of neural tube defects, for example, spina bifida. Women are advised to take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day from when they are trying to conceive up until the twelfth week of pregnancy. Vitamin D is also important during pregnancy as it helps to regulate the amount of phosphate and calcium in the body. It is recommended that women take 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily, throughout the pregnancy and when they are breastfeeding in order to reduce the risk of rickets disease, which can affect the development of the baby's bones. [2] Many pregnant women often feel lethargic and this is mainly due to an iron deficiency. This can be avoided by taking an iron supplement which has been proven to reduce anemia, and thus could possibly reduce the risk of other pregnancy complications, such as hemorrhaging. Zinc is another important supplement, proven to decrease the risk of premature birth, low birth weight and pre-eclampsia [3], which could be very dangerous as it may develop into eclampsia, causing the mother to have fits, threatening the survival of the mother and the baby. [4] Iodine supplementation is crucial during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester as it is required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, needed for...

References: [1] No Author Stated. (2013). Healthy diet in pregnancy. Available: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx#Fruit. Last accessed 2nd Oct 2013.
[2] No Author Stated. (2013). Vitamins and Nutrition in pregnancy. [Online] Available: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx#close. Last accessed 2nd Oct 2013.
[3] Black, Robert E. (2001). Micronutrients in pregnancy. British Journal of Nutrition. 85 (S2), S193-S197.
[4] No Author Stated. (2013). Pre-eclampsia. Available: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-eclampsia/pages/introduction.aspx. Last accessed 5th Oct 2013.
[5] Glinoer, Daniel. (2007). The importance of iodine nutrition during pregnancy. Public health nutrition. 10 (12), 1542-1546.
[6] Yale Health. (2009). Obstetrics/Prenatal Patients. [Online] Available: http://yalehealth.yale.edu/obstetricsprenatal-patients#About. Last accessed Oct 2013.
[7] Murkoff, Heidi. (2005). Top Ten Benefits of Pregnancy Exercise. [Online] Available: http://www.whattoexpect.co.uk/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/top-ten-benefits-of-pregnancy-exercise/. Last accessed 5th Oct 2013.
[8] Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Tobacco Use and Pregnancy. [Online] Available: http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/tobaccousepregnancy/. Last accessed 4th Oct 2013.
[9] Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. (2006). Alcohol and pregnancy. [Online] Available: http://www.rcog.org.uk/files/rcog-corp/Alcohol%20and%20Pregnancy.pdf. Last accessed 4th Oct 2013.
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