It is very important for you and your baby that you maintain a healthy and balanced diet. While pregnant you should consume about 300 more calories per day than you normally do (about 2,300 calories total). Nausea and vomiting can make this difficult but it is important to have good nutrition, and plenty of it, to help your baby develop fully and correctly.
Things to Include in Your Diet
• You should eat a variety of foods everyday while pregnant to keep a balanced diet. Be sure to have six to eleven servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy and three servings of protein sources (meat, eggs, fish, poultry, or nuts).
• Eat plenty of high fiber foods like cereals, whole-grain bread, pastas, rice, fruits and vegetables.
• Take your prenatal vitamins! You should make sure that you are getting enough of vitamins and minerals in your diet as well.
• Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods per day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily.
• Eat or drink at least four serving of dairy or calcium products to ensure that you are getting at least 1000-1300 mg of your necessary calcium while pregnant.
• It is also important to get at least one good source of Vitamin C because pregnant women should get about 70 mg of it in their bodies per day. God sources of Vitamin C include grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, honey dew and papaya.
• Eat one source of Vitamin A every OTHER day. If you absorb too much of this vitamin it can cause fetal malformations. Good sources of Vitamin A include carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, and turnip and beet greens.
• Each pregnant woman should have 0.4mg of folic acid per day to help protect their baby from developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Good sources of folic acid are dark green leafy vegetables and legumes (lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas).
Things to Avoid Eating While Pregnant
• It is imperative that you avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol has been proven to cause, premature births, low birth weights, mental retardation and other birth defects.
• You should also limit your caffeine intact while you are pregnant to no more than 300 mg a day. Remember that chocolate contains caffeine and you be careful how much at of that as well as monitoring your coffee, tea an soda intake.
• You should decrease your total fat intake by about 30% as well. So if you are have a regular calorie in take of about 2000 calories, you shout limit yourself to maybe about 65 mg of fat.
• Avoid raw fish, especially shellfish like oysters or clams.
• Avoid soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese. Because these cheeses are often unpasteurized and can cause a bacterial disease. You don’t have to avoid hard cheese, processed cheeses, yogurt, cream cheese or cottage cheese.
• Do not eat foods with high levels of mercury like shark or swordfish.
• You should also limit your cholesterol intake to about 300 mg per day.
• It is highly discouraged for pregnant women to use saccharin because it can cross the placenta and remain in the fetal tissue. However the use of other FDA-approved non-nutritive or artificial sweeteners is okay. These include Equal, Splenda, NutraSweet, or Sunett.
What to Eat When You Don’t Feel Well
Common times when you are pregnant you will feel nauseous, have diarrhea, be constipated, or have severe heartburn. Here are some things you can intake that will help you keep a healthy and balanced diet while you are not feeling your best.
• Nausea- Eat crackers, cereals, breads or pretzels before you get out of bed or when you feel nauseous. Eat smaller meals more frequently during the day. Avoid greasy, fried foods.
• Diarrhea- Eat foods that contain dietary fibers such as pectin and gums which can absorb extra water in the body. Foods that contain these include applesauce, white rice and oatmeal.
• Constipation- Eat more fresh fruit an d vegetables and drink at least eight glasses of water daily.
• Heartburn- Try drinking milk before meals and avoiding caffeinated beverages.
Dieting While Pregnant
You should avoid going on diets while pregnant, you might be cutting out necessary food groups that are necessary for your baby to develop fully and healthily. High-protein diets (Atkins) while not showing any adverse effects are also not always recommended because again, you might be depriving your baby of some of the nutrients they need from a variety of different foods. While you are pregnant you should eat a balanced diet from a variety of different food groups.
You can remain a vegetarian and be pregnant and have a completely healthy and developed baby. It is just very important to make sure that all the foods that are eating are providing the entire nutrients that your baby needs. Make sure you are getting enough protein to make up for the protein you are not receiving from meat products.
Importance of Calcium Intake While Pregnant
Calcium is a necessary nutrient that helps to build strong bones and teeth, allows muscles to form and function properly, blood to clot and the heart to beat correctly. Most of it is stored in your bones. So you can see that is it vital in the development of your baby, who absorbs what nutrients they need to develop from the food you eat, but also from where you store them in your body. If you do not consume enough calcium, your baby will take it from your bones which can lead to you developing osteoporosis later in life.
• You should consume at least four servings of dairy or calcium products a day while you are pregnant. Dairy Products including milk, cheese, costtage cheese, yogurt, cream soups and pudding, are the best sources of calcium. Other foods with calcium include green vegetables, beans, dried peas and seafood.
• If you are lactose intolerant is best to see your doctor bout ways you can make sure you and your baby are getting enough calcium. You should eat the non-dairy foods above that contain calcium and try to have a little milk with food, because you might be able to tolerate the lactose better with food. You should also use lactaid milk that is fortified with calcium and see your dietitian or doctor about other substitute products.
• If you are experiencing difficulties absorbing calcium your doctor may suggest taking calcium supplements to help make you are getting enough calcium. Certain calcium supplements and some antacids with calcium, like Tums, can complement an already balanced diet by giving them just a little more calcium.
Importance of Iron Intake during Pregnancy
Iron is a mineral that makes up part of the hemoglobin in your blood, which helps transport the oxygen throughout your body, including to your muscles and helps them function properly. Iron also helps your body resist disease and helps keep you stress level in check. Your body uses more iron when you are pregnant therefore, it is important for you to increase your intake while pregnant. Doing so will help you and your baby receive enough oxygen and can also lessen your susceptibility to becoming depressed, excessively tired or irritable, or feeling weak while you are pregnant.
• The best sources of iron include enriched grain products, lean meat, poultry, fish, and leafy green vegetables.
• Your doctor may suggest that you take an iron supplement if you are not absorbing enough iron in your daily diet. This will be especially necessary if you are or become anemic (when your red blood cells grow smaller in size and number).
• Vitamin C helps your body use iron so you should make sure that you get enough of this Vitamin as well as enough iron.
• Caffeine makes it more difficult for you baby to adsorb iron so you should decrease the amount of it you drink during pregnancy.
• When cooking certain foods, you should remember that doing so might cause there to be less iron in the foods. To retain the most iron while still cooking your food, cook for the shortest possible time and in a minimal amount of water.
• Constipation may be an effect of taking iron supplements, to deal with this you should increase your fiber intact gradually and remember to drink plenty of water each day.
Having food cravings while pregnant is completely normal, in fact about two-thirds of pregnant women have them. If you are having food cravings, go ahead and indulge in them. Just remember to keep a balanced diet and not partake in too much of this craved item if it means that you are cutting out other necessary nutrients. Some women also find that they have cravings for non-food items such as ice, dirt, clay, paint chips, ashes, chalk or laundry starch. Do not give into these cravings and consult your doctor or dietitian because these cravings can sometimes mean that you are iron deficient or anemic.
Problems With Your Diet?
If you are experiencing any problems with gaining weight or keeping a balanced diet you should consult you doctor or dietitian to ensure the health of you and your baby. Remember good nutrition and plenty of it, is necessary for you and your baby to remain safe and healthy while you are pregnant.