A healthy diet is vital for a healthy pregnancy. It’s the best thing you can do for your baby’s mind and body. It will also make you strong and ready for labor, delivery, and breastfeeding.
Talk with your clinician about your diet if you: cannot eat certain foods vomit frequently cannot take prenatal vitamins have too much or too little weight gain You will need about 300 more calories a day than you usually do.
Talk with your clinician about how many that is for you. Also talk about any problems with eating or keeping a healthy weight.
A low fat, high-calcium diet with lots of different fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and milk products is best. Carbohydrates: Good diets are based on complex carbohydrates. We get them in cereal, bread, tortillas, pasta, rice, and vegetables such as potatoes. We get simple carbohydrates in processed grains and sugar.
Whole-grains, such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice, are best for you. Processed grains, such as white bread and white rice, aren’t as good. Also avoid the sugars in cake, candy, and ice cream.
A little more than half of what we eat should be carbohydrates. Fat: Fat helps us absorb many vitamins. It also protects the cells of our bodies. We get fats from oils, sweets, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy.
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Fish oils and vegetable fats such as safflower, corn, olive, and peanut oils, are good for you. Animal fats, such as those in meat and lard, aren’t as good.
Most people already have too much fat in their diets. Don’t add more fat to yours. Try to cut down on fried food and sweets. Protein: Protein helps the fetus grow. You probably get more than enough protein if you eat meat or dairy products. Vegetarians can eat tofu or dried beans, peas, or other legumes with whole grains, nuts, or seeds.
Beans and rice is one of the best dishes for pregnant women. It’s high in protein and low in fat.
Fiber: Constipation can happen often when you are pregnant. Fiber can help you avoid it. You can get fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Have at least 3-5 servings of fruit or vegetables a day. More is better. Liquids: Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water or other fluids a day. Don’t count coffee or tea. They will dry you out.
Don’t drink too much soda, either. It usually has too much sugar and it can rob your body of calcium. Vitamins and Minerals:
Eating well is the best way to get your vitamins and minerals. But most women need to take extra vitamins during pregnancy — even if they eat well.
Your clinician may advise you to take “prenatal” vitamins. They are especially for pregnant women. The most important ones to take during pregnancy are:
Folic Acid: Folic acid is a vital B vitamin. It helps keep your blood healthy. It can also prevent certain birth defectsthat happen very early in pregnancy. That’s why it’s best to start taking it before becoming pregnant. It is also very important to keep taking it. This is especially true during the first three months of pregnancy.
You can also get folic acid in liver, dark-green vegetables, beans, peanuts, and whole grains. Some cereals and other foods are enriched with it.
Calcium: Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. The fetus will absorb what it needs from the supply you use to keep your bones and muscles strong. That’s why you need to take extra calcium when you are pregnant.
You can also get calcium in dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt. There’s also lots of it in green leafy vegetables, sardines, and salmon. Milk has lots of protein and calcium. Drink four or five glasses a day. It can give you the protein, calcium, and extra calories you need. Add flavoring if you don’t like the taste.
Avoid too much fat by using low-fat products, such as “2%” or skim milk.
Try milk with reduced lactose if you have trouble digesting regular milk. Or use a digestive aid that has lactase in it.
Iron: You need extra iron during pregnancy. It helps produce the extra blood you need while you’re pregnant.
You can also get iron in liver, red meat, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, enriched bread and cereals, and dried fruits.
Iron supplements may cause constipation. You may want to use medicine to soften your stool while you take iron supplements. Your clinician can suggest what is best for you to use.
It is possible to get too much of some vitamins and minerals. Too much Vitamin A, for example, can cause birth defects.