Nutrition for Pregnancy

The good nutrition basics you've learned earlier in this pregnancy should continue to serve as a guideline to help promote the health and well being of you and your baby. As your pregnancy progresses, these food facts may be helpful for both your convenience and comfort.

Food Cravings

The individual food cravings you may have during your pregnancy are not usually a cause for concern as long as your diet is nutritionally adequate. Food dislikes and cravings may come and go. However, if you develop an unusual craving for non-food items such as clay, dirt, starch, ice, or wall plaster contact your provider immediately. This condition, known as pica, may indicate a need for iron, calcium, or zinc in your diet.

Fast Food

You can include the convenience of fast food into your diet while you're pregnant and still stay within nutritional guidelines.

The American Dietetic Association recommends that you:

Eat more of these:

  • Baked potato, coleslaw, salad
  • Roast beef sandwich, lean ground beef
  • Roast chicken, taco, chili
  • Broiled seafood platter, clam chowder
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Fruit juice, low-fat milk

And less of these:

  • French fries, onion rings
  • Specialty burgers and cheeseburgers
  • Fried or breaded chicken, nachos
  • Fried fish sandwich, breaded clams
  • Sundae, cookies, pie
  • Soda pop, chocolate milk

Fiber

The normal changes that your body is going through during pregnancy often causes constipation. Pressure from your expanding uterus slightly moves your digestive organs, particularly your rectum, making it more difficult for stool to pass. At the same time, increased hormone levels cause the muscles of your intestinal wall to contract less strongly, which slows down stool passage. In addition, constipation is a common side effect of iron supplementation, which may have prescribed for you. Fortunately, exercising, increasing your intake of fluids, and most importantly increasing the fiber in your diet may relieve constipation.

Fiber Facts:
Fiber, or roughage, promotes normal intestinal function and bowel regularity by stimulating the movement of food through the intestines.

Fiber is a nature ingredient found in plant foods, such as grains, fruits, vegetables, cereals, and legumes (beans and sprouts).

There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble, and each has a different effect on your body. Soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol and may help control blood sugar, which is especially important if you have diabetes. Insoluble fiber relieves constipation and may help prevent colon cancer. Most foods that are good sources of fiber may contain mixtures of soluble and insoluble fibers.

Food that have high insoluble fiber content that will help relieve your constipation include:

  • Wheat-bran cereal
  • Whole-wheat bread and crackers
  • Shredded wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Lentils
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Other raw fruits and vegetables

Increasing fiber intake too quickly may result in gas, diarrhea, and bloating. To avoid discomforts, add fiber to your diet gradually, spread your intake over the day's meals, and be sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids.

The recommended amounts of fiber you should include in your diet while you're pregnant is 20 to 35 grams per day.

Remember, fiber alone will not prevent constipation. Increasing your fluid intake is essential.

Reprinted from Her HealthCare.