Eating Right During Pregnancy

During pregnancy it is important to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet, moreso than at any other time in a woman's life.

During pregnancy, more than any other period in a woman's life, it is important to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Pregnant women need to increase their calorie intake in order to aid in the growth of the developing fetus. Eating well is one of the most important things a woman

can do to ensure the healthy development of her unborn baby.Proper nutrition can help to prevent some birth defects, prematurity, and low birth weight.Healthy eating habits can also provide health benefits for the mother, such as preventing anemia, infection, difficult labor, and poor healing after labor.

Healthy pregnant women need to consume an extra 300 calories per day.However, this is not an excuse to consume large amounts of junk food.Choosing junk food over wholesome, nutrient dense foods may cause the body to take vitamins and minerals from its own stores, creating potential deficiencies in the mother. Instead it is wise to make those extra calories count by choosing healthy, low fat foods that have solid nutritional value.It is perfectly acceptable to indulge in a junk food treat on occasion but the bulk of a pregnant woman's diet should be nutritionally sound.

During pregnancy good nutrition depends on eating a wide variety of nutritious foods, such as whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. It is extremely important for pregnant women to drink plenty of fluids each day.

Pregnant women need to have an adequate intake of protein, calcium, folic acid, and iron.It is recommended that pregnant women and those who are planning a pregnancy take a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid.Folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of certain abnormalities, such as spina bifida,anencephaly, and other related birth defects.

Do not diet during pregnancy.Dieting during pregnancy is potentially dangerous for both you and your developing baby.Many popular diets can leave a pregnant woman low on important vitamins and minerals.Adequate weight gain is one of the most positive signs of a healthy pregnancy.Remember you are more likely to give birth to a healthy baby if you eat right and have adequate weight gain.

It is generally recommended that pregnant women gain between 25 and 40 pounds during pregnancy.However if you were underweight, overweight, an adolescent, or are carrying more than one child the amount of recommended weight gain may change. If you are not sure how much you should gain consult with your doctor.

Often pregnancy discomforts such as morning sickness, heartburn, and indigestion will make eating seem to be an undesirable chore.You may find, when these discomforts hit, eating five or six small meals per day is easier on your body than three large meals.Don't ever skip meals. Your baby is depending on you to eat well.

Avoid eating sushi, unpasteurized milk, raw or undercooked meat, and soft cheese.All are possible sources of bacteria that can harm an unborn baby.

Some types of fish may contain mercury, a metal that can be harmful in high doses to the growing brains of babies and small children. Limit your intake of tuna and other cooked fish to about two servings per week.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to birth defects and learning disabilities in children. It is best to avoid alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.

Consider cutting back on or eliminating caffienated beverages during pregnancy.Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day has the potential to lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, and stillbirth. Caffeine is an ingredient in coffee, some types of tea, colas, other soft drinks, cocoa, and chocolate. These types of beverages provide little or no nutritional benefit so it is best to avoid them as much as possible.

When planning your meals during pregnancy try to incorporate 9-11 servings of whole grain foods (bread, cereal, rice, and pasta), 3-4 servings of fruit, 3 servings of dairy products (milk, yogurt, and hard cheese), and 3 servings of protein rich food (meat, poultry, beans, fish, eggs, and nuts)into your pregnancy diet.

Minimize your consumption of butter, margarine, salad dressing, cooking oil, and desserts. These things provide little or no nutritional value. Do not, however, remove them from your diet completely. They help provide necessary energy for growth and are essential for brain development.

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