Pregnancy is a very exciting time. Yet many expectant mothers are also nervous about eating the right foods to give the baby what he or she needs to grow. It’s a common misconception that when you are pregnant you are eating for two. While expectant mothers do have additional protein, fluid and fiber needs as well as increased needs for calcium, folate and iron you only need to eat an additional 300 calories per day to meet your baby’s needs.
It is important to gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy for a safe delivery. It also helps prevent complications like diabetes, high blood pressure, constipation and backaches. If you do not gain enough weight during pregnancy your baby will not be able to grow properly. Gaining too much weight can lead to a longer labor and more difficult delivery. Do not try to lose weight during your pregnancy. Cutting calories can prevent your baby from getting the nutrients that he or she needs to grow.
Below are the general weight gain recommendations for pregnancy for women who are expecting only one baby.
If you are underweight 28 to 40 pounds
If you are normal weight 25 to 35 pounds
If you are overweight 15 to 25 pounds
If you are obese at least 15 pounds
Calcium is needed for healthy bones and teeth. Women who are pregnant must consume higher amounts of calcium in order to meet their baby’s needs in addition to their own. Changes in the absorption and metabolism of calcium during pregnancy also increase requirements. Women who are breast-feeding must consume enough calcium to meet their own needs as well as those for milk production. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consume 1,300 milligrams of calcium every day.
All women of child-bearing age should consume an adequate amount folate in order to prevent neural tube defects and spina bifida. It is important for all women of child-bearing age, not just women who are expecting, to eat a folate-rich diet because the neural tube is formed in the first month of pregnancy. Since many women do not know that they are pregnant in the first month, having a sufficient intake of folate before becoming pregnant is important. Women of child-bearing age (15 to 45) should consume 400 micrograms of folate per day, while women who are pregnant should consume 600 micrograms folate daily.
Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells. When you are pregnant your body is making red blood cells for both you and your baby and needs more iron to support the extra hemoglobin during pregnancy. You also need iron for the placenta along with your baby’s growth. Women who are pregnant should consume 30 milligrams of iron every day
Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of pregnancy and they make it hard for many expectant mothers to meet their nutritional needs. Fortunately this uncomfortable side effect usually subsides after the first trimester.
If you do suffer from nausea, don’t force yourself to eat or drink when the symptoms are the worst. Try to eat every couple of hours to prevent your stomach from becoming empty and stomach acid from building up. Eat dry, starchy foods rather than high fat foods. If you experience nausea or vomiting first thing in the morning, keep saltines at your bedside and eat them before getting out of bed. Finally, if you do experience nausea eat whatever you can keep down even if it’s not a food that is considered healthy. Once your nausea subsides, you can focus on eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods.
Links you may find interesting:
Fruits And Veggies: Ten a Day, The Easy Way!
How to Fight Fat and Cut Cholesterol
Cooking: Keep the Vitamins, Not the Fat
Published On: October 25, 2006