Eating right while you're pregnant is one way you can help assure your baby`s good health. It`s also a very smart way to help you feel good during this physically challenging time. Good nutrition is really quite simple when you make a decision to eat wisely and well.
Your doctor/midwife/nutritionist will talk with you about the importance of good nutrition during pregnancy. Please inform your provider if:
The old phrase that a pregnant woman must "eat for two" is only partially true. While the food she ingests does provide the necessary nutrients for the developing fetus, the quality is much more important than the amount. In fact, a pregnant woman needs only 300 calories more per day than she did prior to becoming pregnant.
By choosing high-quality foods, in the proper quantities, you`ll be sure you're getting the protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals you and your baby need. Each of the following nutrients serves a very important function:
Your diet should also:
Moderate fat intake
Eating a diet moderate in fat will help you keep your pregnancy weight at a healthy level. Some fat intake is necessary for your body to function normally. Remember that fat is found in butter, margarine, mayonnaise, cream cheese, salad dressings and virtually all animal-protein foods.
Moderate salt (sodium) intake
Limiting sodium intake is generally not recommended during pregnancy. Some salt intake is necessary for your body to function normally. If you begin to experience problems with high blood pressure, talk to your provider for their recommendations about sodium. Foods that have a high sodium content include processed meats, canned soups, salted snacks such as chips and pretzels, soy sauce, frozen dinners, and pizza.
Include sufficient fluids
Drinking enough fluids helps regulate body temperature, prevent constipation and urinary tract infections, reduce uterine contractions, and keep lips and skin soft. Your daily diet should include a combination of 6 eight-ounce glasses of fluid such as water, milk, fruit juice, mineral water, vegetable juice, decaffeinated beverages, yogurt drinks, fruit smoothies, and soups.
There are some food and nutrient items that, while of little concern to non-pregnant women, deserve special consideration during pregnancy because they can affect the health of both you and your baby.
Supplemental Vitamins - Because the recommended daily allowance of almost all vitamins increases by 25% to 50% when you are pregnant, doctors/midwives often prescribe prenatal vitamins. These are often started as soon as a couple decides to try to conceive. Prenatal vitamins are a supplement, or addition, to what your daily diet ideally includes. Prenatal vitamins should never be considered a substitute for the vitamins your body will receive naturally from eating the proper foods. (During your pregnancy, avoid excessive use of vitamins and mineral supplements not specifically prescribed or approved by your provider. When taken in amounts that are higher than those recommended, Vitamins A, B6, C, and D may lead to problems with both mother and baby).