It’s likely that, a few months after labor, most signs of pregnancy will have disappeared from your life. You’ll be back out of your maternity clothes, you’ll probably be feeling fewer random cravings, and you won’t have to worry about eating sushi or slightly undercooked eggs.
Some things you’ll be happy to see go. But there are others that you might feel like keeping past your due date. Certain nutritional habits, for example, are totally worth practicing even once your baby bump is a thing of the not-so-distant past. If some healthy eating habits made you feel good during pregnancy, why not keep them in your life?
Here are some examples of pregnancy nutritional habits that could be useful for you long after your little duckling has made her big entrance.
Paying attention to the nutrients in food
It’s possible that right now, you’re finding yourself spending more time in the grocery aisle, comparing products to figure out which one has more iron. After pregnancy you don’t have to be as vigilant about getting certain nutrients – after all, your body needs a lot more of them right now – but it’s a great idea to keep making sure that your diet has the essentials.
It’s understandable if you experience a caffeine craze in the early days of raising your baby; you’ll be up late and probably not getting much beauty sleep. But under 200 mg of caffeine per day is the recommended limit for healthy adults, and too much caffeine can cause insomnia, stomach pains, a racing heartbeat, and muscle tremors, among other things. If you drank five or more cups of coffee per day prior to pregnancy, you can use pregnancy as practice for a less caffeinated life after the big arrival.
Eating a little of what you crave
It can be hard to resist cravings, and for the most part, it’s fine if you indulge a little when they’re too strong to ignore. If you’re balancing out your diet with minerals and vitamins, enjoying a double chocolate chip cookie or a handful of salty potato chips isn’t going to hurt anybody.
And maybe this will serve you well after pregnancy, too. Many people are hard on themselves when they have a treat, but the truth is that deprivation often leads to a binge that causes even more guilt. Learning how to interpret, satisfy, and move on from cravings will help you enjoy your life without worrying about all its nuances. Even better would be learning to satisfy some cravings with healthy foods, like fruit on yogurt when you want something sweet, or baked eggplant fries when you’re craving something savory.
Drinking a lot of water
This is on most people’s to-do lists, but how often does it happen? Your body uses water to get rid of waste, moderate your internal temperature, and protect important tissue, among other things, so getting enough water is crucial for your health. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, it’s good to get 9-10 cups per day. A good rule of thumb is to check the color of your urine; if it’s dark yellow, it’s time to drink water.
There are lots of great things about post-pregnancy life, one of which being that you can focus your attention outward on your child. But between all that cuddle time and desperate catch-up-on-sleep time, you’ll still want to focus on nourishing your body so that it can perform at its best. Pregnancy can absolutely be a time to grow a baby and simultaneously practice habits that keep you healthy for years to come.
- “Ch. 17: Nutrition During Pregnancy.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Apr 2015. Web.
- Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN. “Top Tips for Eating Right During Pregnancy.” EatRight. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. Web.
- “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020.” Health. US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Mar 9 2017. Web.
- “Caffeine in Pregnancy.” MarchofDimes. March of Dimes Foundation, Oct 2015. Web.