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By Courtenay R. Hall

Healthy eating for you and baby too.

One thing I have heard over the years with frequency was women who say that they could eat whatever they wanted because they were pregnant. No way! You not only have to think about your health but the health of your unborn child, as well. Those babies are depending on you to make the right choices for both of you. I was never healthier than when I was pregnant. My husband was always one step in front of me making sure I took my vitamins, drank enough water and picked the right food. That was a great encouragement, but I wanted to do it for my child. Being healthy while creating a life should be one of the easiest decisions you make as a mom.

While you are pregnant, you need to make sure you are eating plenty of protein. I know that was really hard for me with my first pregnancy because I was so sick for the first six months. Any kind of meat, looking at it or smelling it, turned me off and made me sick. During that time, I tried to eat as many protein-rich fruits and veggies as I could. I also added a fish-oil supplement to my diet at my husband's request. The fish oil helps brain development and is linked to helping a baby's hand- eye coordination. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely helpful for normal brain and vision development. I still take a fish oil supplement.

Although fish oil is safe to take during pregnancy it is very important to stay clear of raw fish such as sushi. Most fish contain methylmercury. Which in overconsumption can be harmful in the brain development of your unborn child. Any kind of raw meat or fish can be bad for your unborn child, as well as unpasteurized milk products and cheeses. These types of food can contain harmful bacteria – most commonly listeria – that your unborn child can pick up. This type of bacteria is extremely harmful to pregnant women and their unborn child. It can cause a blood infection, meningitis and other life-threatening complications. So just to be safe, it's best to stay clear of those kinds of food.

I was lucky for the most part and really only craved healthy food while pregnant. Watermelon and blueberries were my biggest craves. I could sit and eat an entire watermelon (and then spend the night getting up five times to go to the bathroom). I also craved ice cream and sour cream and cheddar potato chips. I would eat them but only in moderation. Even though I was pregnant I knew all the saturated fat, salt and sugar were not good for me or my unborn baby. Those are the kinds of decisions you have to make for you and your unborn child. If you want something or have a craving for it eat it in moderation. As long as you are getting enough protein, calories and omega-3's in your diet, you both will thrive and be healthy for the duration of your pregnancy.

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