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Healthy Eating, Healthy Baby

POSTED BY: Colleen Monday

If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, there are two simple things to focus on to improve your health and the health of your baby: nutrition and exercise. 

Eating healthy and daily exercise can ultimately result in a healthier mom and baby Dr. Jessica Auffant, obstetrician and gynecologist at Florida Hospital says, “By eating healthy and exercising, you not only improve chronic health problems, but also limit the amount of weight gained during pregnancy. There is a lot of research showing that woman who exercise before and during pregnancy, and eat a balanced nutritional diet, have better pregnancies and better pregnancy outcomes. Women who are overweight have been shown to have higher blood pressure, preeclampsia, preterm birth and gestational diabetes. Overweight patients may experience larger babies and increase their risk of having a cesarean section delivery. Being underweight can negatively affect pregnancies with a higher incidence of preterm birth. Proper nutrition is important to woman and their babies to help with growth and provide energy. They are also shown to have easier labors and postpartum and can recover to their normal body habits faster or their pre-pregnancy weight.” 

An excellent nutritional guide for woman to refer to during pregnancy is MyPlate on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website found at

Starting a prenatal vitamin with folic acid three months prior to pregnancy can help prevent birth defects. Dr. Jessica Auffant says, “All women should be on folic acid supplementation prior to pregnancy. Folic acid helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Most women should take a minimum of 400micrograms of folic acid daily. Some folic acid is found in foods, but usually it is not enough to reach the required amount. Folic acid is commonly found in foods such as breads, cereals, pastas, rice and flour. Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and beans may also be good resources of folic acid. If the patient has a personal or family history of neural tube defects, it is recommended to increase the amount of daily folic acid to 4mg per day.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says you can increase your intake of folic acid in your diet by eating whole grains, breakfast cereals, berries, citrus fruit and juices, dark leafy vegetables, dried beans and peas.
Eating healthy and regular exercise is essential to women and the health of their baby. It’s important to consult with a physician or an obstetrician and gynecologist to see what dietary and exercise plans works best with your medical history. Click here to learn more about our Obstetrics program.