Eat well before getting pregnant

Eating healthily during pregnancy is vital for the developing baby. However, you can give your baby even a better start by eating healthily before getting pregnant. The healthier you are before pregnancy, the better. There will be less chance of problems during pregancy.

Folic acid is the single nutrient more important for a woman who intends to have a baby. An adquate intake of folic acid will reduce the riks of spina bifida in the baby, as well as supporting tissue and organ development. Increase folic acid in your diet if you are planning a pregnancy - your doctor will probably add a folic acid supplement, may be as part of a vitamin supplement, when you become pregant at least for the first three months of the pregnancy. Vegetables are the best sources for folic acid before or during pregnacy. Add to your diet more dark green vegetables such as purple srpouting broccoli or asparagus, Swiss chard, spinach or Brussel sprouts - always cook vegetables lightly to preserve vitamin content. Dark colored beans such as pinto beans, just boiled, are also a good source of folic acid. At breakfast time, muesli will increase your daily intake of folic acid.

Ask your doctor about it before taking vitamin supplements before or during pregnancy.

Know that an excess of vitamin A may harm a developing baby. Be careful wiht food s high in vitamin A such as liver - have very small amounts on rare occasions, even if liver could have been a good source of folic acid. No need to avoid foods rich in beta-carotene, such as carrots or sweet potatoes, because the body only converts into vitamin A the amount it needs.

A matter of weight

A healthy weight is as important as ever, if not more, before pregnancy. Overweight women are much more at risk for complications during pregnancy - such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes - than those that have a healthy weight. Underweight women may have more problems to conceive. Try to reach a healthy weight for your height three or four months before pregnancy - without restoring to crash diets.

There are also limits to the weight to gain during pregnancy - no, you are not eating for two. A reasonably normal weight gain would be between 25 to 35 pounds. However, underweight women should gain 5 to 10 pounds more, and overweight women should try to gain 10 to 15 pounds less.

The good news is you can pass to your baby all those healthy eating habits.