Nutrition plays a crucial role during and after pregnancy to hone the health of both mother and child, according to the scientists at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietitian Institute.

Researchers believe that a healthy lifestyle should be adopted by women of childbearing age that'll ameliorate the health of the mother-child duo and reduces the risk of birth defects, suboptimal fetal development, and chronic health problems. 

For a successful and healthy pregnancy outcome, the scientists advise the pregnant women to have:

• Healthy pre-pregnancy weight

• Appropriate weight gain and physical activity during pregnancy

• Consumption of a wide variety of fruits and veggies 

• Appropriate vitamin and mineral supplementation

• Avoidance of alcohol and other harmful substances.

Beyond a well-balanced diet, pregnant women should take suggestions from registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetics technicians, who can tailor advice to the woman's needs and can help them to select an appropriate food plan. In doing so, the pregnant women can also get help regarding the side effects, if any, that could negatively affect diet and pregnancy outcomes.

Related Article: Benefits of Exercise during Pregnancy - Real facts

Some practical and achievable advice for women of childbearing age, as suggested by the scientists: 

Keep up with nourishment: Always follow a healthy diet and be physically active before, during and after pregnancy. 

Eating a well-balanced diet can meet most of your nutrient needs during pregnancy. Talk with your health provider about iron and other nutrient supplements. 

• Consult your health provider for the accurate weight gain that is right for you. A healthy weight gain is important for both baby and mother. 

• A healthy lifestyle helps prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy.

• Registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetics technicians, registered can help you select an appropriate food plan and tailor advice to your needs.

• Start taking prenatal vitamins, including folic acid, B vitamin that can be found in beans, nuts, lean meat, and fish, as well as many multi-vitamins.

• A recent research has revealed that complex carbs should be included as part of a healthy diet during pregnancy, and high-fat diets may be harmful. So instead of avoiding carbs, healthy carbs like whole grains, legumes and other carbs that are lower in simple sugars can be included in your daily diet.

Fish that is rich in mercury should be avoided that can be harmful to your baby's developing nervous system.

• It is important to take proper rest, take enough time to relax, and above all, enjoy the beautiful phase of pregnancy.

• Start a healthy exercise regimen. Experts suggest developing the habit of exercising regularly that will get your pregnancy off to a good start. Mostly, it is recommended to start off with 150 minutes per week of physical activity for all pregnant women who have been cleared to do so by their doctors.

Focus on healthy eating.  There is a saying that it is never too late to develop healthy food habits. Recent study found that there is an association between regularly eating fried food before conception and the risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy. Excess gestational weight gain is an alarming risks for the mother which makes it more difficult to lose the baby weight, and further creates issues like overweight or obesity for your baby.

Tips on what to eat during pregnancy: Foods recommended and to be avoided during pregnancy