Womens Health - Pregnancy Nutrition is for All Women of Child Bearing Age
During pregnancy your nutrition needs are going to increase. Even before becoming pregnant it is a good idea to make every effort to start eating healthy and taking a women's multivitamin. A prenatal multivitamin is a better choice during pregnancy.
Let's start with the recommended daily intake of food during pregnancy.
DURING PREGNANCY :
7 or more Fruits and Vegetables (3 fruits/4 vegetables)
Fruits and Vegetables high in vitamin C are the best. These include strawberries, melons, oranges, papaya, tomatoes, peppers, greens, and broccoli.
9 or more Whole Grain Products
A fortified breakfast cereal containing iron and folic acid is the best way to start each day. Enriched bread, rice, pasta, and any whole grain product are your other choices.
4 or more dairy products
Low-fat milk or non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are the obvious choices.
60 grams of protein (two or more 2-3 ounce portions of lean meat)
Other sources of protein include eggs, nuts, dried beans, and peas. Do not eat undercooked or uncooked meat or fish. (NO SUSHI) Do not eat deli luncheon meats
PREGNANCY NUTRITION FACTS
Some fish are higher in mercury content than others. Mercury can cause problems with your growing baby's brain and nervous system.
Fish to avoid completely:
shark swordfish king mackerel golden snapper white snapper
Fish eating limitations: Limit your intake of fish to 12 ounces a week Limit your intake of white tuna or tuna steak to 6 ounces a week
Safest fish to eat: shrimp salmon catfish
Calorie intake should only be increased by 300 a day during pregnancy for the average woman. Weight gain should be around 28-40 pounds for women that are underweight at pregnancy. Women that are overweight at pregnancy should gain only 15-25 pounds. Weight gain should be around 2-4 pounds the first trimester and 3-4 pounds a month for the remaining time. Excess weight gain is hard to lose after pregnancy because your body's fat increases up to one third during pregnancy. Breast feeding burns 500 or more calories per day making it easier to lose weight. Consult your health care provider for your specific healthy weight gain.
Vitamins and Minerals
Check the RDA chart for your needs during pregnancy.
Folic Acid is a special concern because a deficiency can lead to neural tube birth defects. Your multivitamin should contain 400 mcg of folic acid. Birth defects happen before you even know you're pregnant so always take a multivitamin with folic acid during child bearing age.
Vitamin C taken in doses over 500 mg/d can lead to your baby being born dependent on large quantities of vitamin C.
Iron is also of special concern because the average American diet does not provide enough iron during pregnancy. If your prenatal multivitamin does not contain enough iron your doctor will prescribe an additional supplement. Iron is needed for you and the baby to have healthy teeth, bones, and blood.
Water is often overlooked during pregnancy but it is vital for you and your baby. It carries the nutrients from your body to the baby and it helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, swelling and urinary tract infection. A minimum of 6 eight ounce glasses a day is required. Juice can count toward your 6 glasses but be careful of the added calories. Any drink containing caffeine actually reduces the fluid in your body and cannot count towards your 6 glasses.
Calcium is needed by you and the baby for strong teeth and bones. During pregnancy you need 1,000 mg/d and 1,300 mg/d if you are less than 18 years old.
There is no safe time or amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy. No alcohol is the only way to insure the health of your baby. Alcohol you drink goes to your baby through the umbilical cord. Alcohol affects the baby's growth, the baby's brain, and can cause birth defects. These effects will remain with your unborn child for his/her entire life. FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) is the name given to anyone affected by their mother's alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Problems learning, memory retention, and hearing are just a few things that alcohol can do to your child.
Caffeine in large quantities can lead to low weight babies. It also reduces the amount of vital water in your body. Although not yet proven, some studies suggest that it may harm the fetus. While not as dangerous as alcohol it should still be avoided.
Diabetics can have perfectly normal babies like every other woman. There are a just a few things you need to be careful of. 1. Keep your blood sugar under control for a minimum of 3 months before becoming pregnant. 2. Make sure you get enough folic acid at all times during your child bearing years (400 mcg/d). 3. Don't let your blood sugar get too high during pregnancy. This can lead to birth defects or your baby having blood sugar level problems