by Julie Snyder
Your pregnancy test confirms you've got a baby on the way! One of your first thoughts might be, "What should I eat? How much? When?"
There's no magic formula for the perfect pregnancy diet. The same basic "eating healthy" principles still apply.
You might already be using those MyPlate guidelines to direct your food choices. If not, don't worry. We'll help you get started out with a solid pregnancy nutrition plan.
If ever there was a time to get your eating on the right track, this is it. The right mix of nutrients helps keep you going and your baby growing.
There are entire books dedicated to talking about nutrition for moms-to-be, but getting that information doesn't have to be complicated or intimidating. During your pregnancy, you'll get to eat extra calories each day. It's how you decide to consume them!
Here's an easy suggestion to try. Eat two or three extra servings of food each day, increase your fluids and take a multivitamin that's designed to meet the needs of pregnant women. Zero in on the foods rich in iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin D and healthy fats. You probably won't even need to give your diet a major makeover.
We've listed the vitamins and minerals that need your attention while you're creating a new life and suggested ways to get more in your diet.
In case you're a number person, we've also included how much of each is recommended every day.
Recommended each day: 800 micrograms
Good sources: Leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, dried beans or peas, fortified cereals and supplements
Folic acid helps the neural tube grow. Most neural tube defects, like spina bifida or anencephaly, as well as many developmental problems are preventable if moms-to-be take it before and during their pregnancy. Have you had yours today?
Recommended each day: 1000 milligrams
Good sources: Dairy products, dark leafy green vegetables, fortified juices and fortified cereals
Calcium grows bones for your baby and maintains yours. It also helps control blood pressure. You do need more during pregnancy, but we've got good news. Your body absorbs it more efficiently now.
Recommended each day: 600 international units
Good sources: Sunshine, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fortified milk and fortified orange juice
Vitamin D helps out forming strong bones and teeth. It protects you and your baby's immune system. Low levels have been linked with pregnancy complications. It can be hard to get enough in your diet, so your prenatal vitamin will help meet your daily need.
Recommended each day: 71 grams
Good sources: Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dried beans and peas, tofu, dairy products and peanut butter
Protein builds cells and if they're damaged, helps repair them. Try to eat protein at each meal -- eggs at breakfast, yogurt for lunch and a lean meat for dinner, for example.
Recommended each day: 27 milligrams
Good sources: Lean red meat, poultry, fish, nuts, dried fruit and iron-fortified cereals
Your daily needs almost double during pregnancy. Iron helps your body form the hemoglobin in blood. It carries the oxygen your baby needs to the placenta.
Recommended each day: 28 grams
Good sources: Plants foods such as high fiber cereals, beans, lentils berries, fruits, popcorn, broccoli, oatmeal