Beyonce: so baby-licious

Beyonce’s growing baby bump has the world eagerly anticipating the birth of her and Jay-Z’s first baby, but has the Destiny’s Child singer got you thinking of a child of your own? If so, here are some tips that could help you to be as baby-licious as Miss Knowles.

A healthy diet and a healthy weight can help with conception, boosting fertility in men and women. It can help to make sure that mother and baby have all the nutrients they need during pregnancy. Crash diets will mean missing out on important nutrients! Being underweight can make becoming pregnant difficult as it can mean low nutrient stores. Being overweight can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy.

Folic acid is vital for the development of a baby’s brain and spinal cord in the womb. Good stores are needed before and during pregnancy. It is recommended that all women of child-bearing age take a folic acid supplement containing 400 micrograms or 0.4 mg of folic acid. This folic acid supplement is particularly important during the 12 weeks before pregnancy and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida in a baby. This supplement is available at any good pharmacy.

Iron is needed by both the mother and her growing baby to carry oxygen around the blood. Iron is found in red meats such as beef, lamb, pork, ham, etc, and in smaller amounts in chicken, eggs, dark green vegetables, and fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin C, in fruit and vegetables, can help us to absorb iron. Watch out for too much tea as the tannins in tea can stop us from absorbing some of the iron we eat. The best approach is to avoid drinking tea with meals.

Calcium is also important for building strong bones for mum and baby. Calcium is found in milk, cheese, and yogurts. Vitamin D helps us to absorb calcium and we can get it from oily fish like salmon, fresh tuna (not tinned ), mackerel and sardines, trout, margarine, eggs, cheese, and sunlight!

Alcohol and smoking are not recommended for people planning a pregnancy and for during a pregnancy. They affect fertility and are harmful to the unborn baby’s growth and development. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a wide range of physical and mental birth defects. No level of alcohol used during pregnancy has been proven safe. Smokers can find it harder to get pregnant and while it is bad for mum it is also harmful for your baby. Giving up will be safer, and mean better health for mother and baby (and dad as well! )

A healthy lifestyle will have lots of benefits for mum, dad, and baby!

By Elaine Murray, student dietitian.

For more information on alcohol in pregnancy visit the HSE-supported website www.yourdrinking.ie/alcohol-and-pregnancy

For more information on smoking during pregnancy visit the HSE-supported website http://www.quit.ie/en/inner/pregnancy.

For more information on diet and nutrition, please contact the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster at (044 ) 9353220 or email [email protected].

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