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Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
The great misconception about being pregnant is that you are “eating for two”, meaning that you can – and should – eat as much as you want, and whatever you want. This isn’t really true. While you are eating to nourish your growing baby, as well as yourself, many experts believe you should only consume about 300 additional calories per day. It isn’t healthy for you –or your baby – to gain too much weight during pregnancy. Losing weight after pregnancy can be very difficult, so it’s beneficial to limit the amount of excess body fat stored during pregnancy. It is important to eat a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a very limited amount of junk food – for the health of you and your baby.
New Research has suggested that a baby's future food preferences can be strongly affected by what the mother eats during pregnancy - don't eat junk!
The hardest time to eat healthfully is definitely in the first trimester of pregnancy. You either have morning sickness (nausea and/or vomiting), so you may have no desire to eat anything, or you are consumed with cravings for all kinds of good (and bad!) foods.
Once you enter the second trimester, you should begin to feel reasonably normal again, and your hunger levels should return. But don’t let your mind fool you into thinking that you can still eat as much as you want!
Here are a few tips about eating well during pregnancy:
Stay hydrated. Try to drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
Try to get about 300 extra calories each day from highly nutritious foods and healthy snacks that are low in fat and high in fiber and protein.
It may be important to increase calcium intake. Milk, low fat cheeses and yogurts are all high in Calcium. If you can’t stomach dairy products, and providing your doctor agrees, try a calcium supplement, like Tums.
Extra fiber is also important, because constipation can be an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy. If possible, eat whole grains, fruits, green vegetables, or take a fiber supplement such as Metamucil.
Get extra iron by eating food like green leafy vegetables, vegetables, and lean meats. Try to avoid iron supplements; they can lead to stomach distress. If you believe supplementation is necessary then seek advice from your doctor before taking any.
There are some foods that pregnant women are highly recommended to avoid during pregnancy. Many of them can contain bacteria that can be harmful to mom and baby. These include:
Swordfish, shark, mackerel, and tuna. These fish can contain dangerous levels of mercury, which can harm the baby.
Raw seafood of any kind
Undercooked meats and poultry
Hot dogs and lunch meats
Raw or softly-cooked eggs
Soft, unpasteurized cheese, including feta, brie, camembert, blue cheeses, and queso blanco
Raw sprouts of any kind
Unpasteurized milk and juices
It might seem like your diet is greatly restricted when you are pregnant. It really is not. If you follow the basic guidelines of the government’s food pyramid, and make these slight adjustments, not only will you and your baby be healthier, you won’t gain as much weight, and the postpartum pounds will be gone before you know it!