I'm not sure I need to know the details, but my daughter informed me that her friend Angela just gave birth to a healthy baby boy . . . nine months after she and her husband traveled to California for my daughter's wedding.
The weather must have agreed with them.
Women who adopt a healthful diet and lifestyle before and during pregnancy set the stage for a good birth outcome, according to a new position paper on this topic by the American Dietetic Association. Here are some highlights:
Gain an appropriate amount of weight based on how much you weigh when you first get pregnant. Moms with adequate weight gains during pregnancy have the fewest complications, says the ADA. Underweight women need to gain 28 to 40 pounds during the nine months of pregnancy. Normal weight women are encouraged to gain 25 to 35 pounds. Overweight women have better outcomes at lower weight gains - 15 to 25 pounds. Women with twins should expect to gain 35 to 45 pounds during pregnancy.
Eat a balanced diet. Each food group - grains, protein foods, calcium-rich foods, fruits and vegetables - contribute vital building material for growing infants.
Sorry ladies, but you do not need to eat double your weight in food during pregnancy. In fact, a woman doesn't even need more calories until after her 12th week of pregnancy. After that, she needs an additional 300 calories to 450 calories a day as her pregnancy progresses.
Take a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement. Even with a perfect diet, most pregnant women need it. Many also require extra doses of iron - the mineral that builds blood and carries essential oxygen to baby-building cells.
Any woman of childbearing age should seriously consider taking a supplement of folic acid - 600 micrograms a day - even before she thinks she might become pregnant. Folic acid can help prevent serious birth defects during the first six weeks of pregnancy, the time when most women are not aware that that they are pregnant.
Drink plenty of fluids - eight to 10 cups a day from milk, water, tea, juices, soups and other beverages.
Stay moderately active. Exercise may decrease the chances of developing diabetes and other complications during pregnancy. Unless there is a medical reason against it, most pregnant women are encouraged to get 30 minutes a day of "moderate" physical activity.
No alcohol, dear pregnant ladies. Drinking can cause major neurological and developmental birth defects. Older moms and those who are binge drinkers have the greatest risk of harming their babies with alcohol.
Cut back on caffeine. Pregnant women should not consume more than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day, says the ADA. (One 8-ounce cup of coffee contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine.)
If you have diabetes, do NOT get pregnant until your diabetes is under good control. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause major birth defects during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Sweeteners such as aspartame (Equal), saccharin, sucralose (Splenda), and neotame are all considered safe for use during pregnancy within acceptable daily intake levels.
Eat fish safely. Pregnant women should not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish. They can eat up to 12 ounces a week of lower mercury fish such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock, and catfish. Albacore "white" tuna typically contains more mercury than light tuna, so limit intake of albacore to 6 ounces or less per week. Be cautious about eating fish from local lakes and rivers. If not sure, limit your intake of locally caught fish to 6 ounces a week.