(NEW YORK) — A positive pregnancy test will change the lives of expecting parents forever, and the journey can seem overwhelming. Pregnant women can be bombarded with advice and are given endless options for resources on maternity dos and don’ts. To help us navigate the prenatal voyage, ABC’s Katie Couric talked with Alison Bernstein, editor of TheBump.com.
The first misconception that Bernstein pointed out is the idea of “eating for two.” When women take in too many calories and gain more than the healthy 25-35 pounds, they put themselves at risk of Cesarean section delivery or premature birth. Pregnant women actually only need an extra 300 calories per day, and even fewer during their first trimester. That’s about the number of calories found in a turkey sandwich. Instead of indulging in cravings and extra meals, expectant mothers should incorporate smart snacks like fruit with yogurt, or whole wheat toast, to boost their caloric intake. Bernstein recommends six to seven small meals every two to three hours, which keeps blood sugar at a constant range, as the healthiest option for the woman and her baby.
It’s not all about how much you consume, but also what you consume that is important. Raw fish and alcohol are two big no no’s. Raw fish puts the body at risk of being exposed to unhealthy bacteria, and alcohol can heighten the risk of birth defects. One thing that a lot of women struggle to give up is caffeine. Women should only consume about 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, the equivalent of one 12-ounce cup of coffee. It’s important to not overlook other ways in which caffeine may sneak into your body: chocolate and tea, as well as cold and allergy medicines, often contain caffeine.
While keeping your body healthy is vital in a successful pregnancy, planning for your child’s future is just as important. According to Bernstein, the most overlooked area for expectant parents is finances. She advises that everyone make a baby budget. Make a plan for the immediate supplies like clothes, food and diapers, but also plan for the long term. Having a good health insurance and savings plan in place will help alleviate stress once that baby arrives, and will allow parents to focus on their new addition.
Despite the sea of information available to new parents, Bernstein also says to not overlook those closest to you. Reach out to other moms in your community for support, because nobody knows what you are going through like they do. But her biggest piece of advice: take a moment to enjoy your pregnancy.
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