Proper nutrition for pregnant women
Eating right during your pregnancy is extremely important to ensure the health and proper development of the child growing inside you. It is recommended that you combine a special pregnancy diet with prenatal vitamin supplements to ensure that your growing baby gets all the nutrients it needs.
While your doctor will be an excellent source of nutritional advice during the course of your pregnancy, there are some general guidelines you can start to follow as soon as your pregnancy has been confirmed.
Eating Guidelines for Pregnant Women
Here are some dietary guidelines you should follow along with whatever specific advice your doctor gives you:
- Consume about 300 more calories per day, on average, than you normally would to maintain a healthy body weight.
- Eat a lot of high-fiber foods, including whole-grain breads, cereals, rice, pasta and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Increase your calcium intake so that you're taking in at least 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily.
- Eat plenty of foods that are high in iron, as you need at least 25 to 30 milligrams of iron per day when you're pregnant.
- Ensure that you're getting enough vitamin C, either from dietary sources or from supplements.
- Include higher quantities of dark green leafy vegetables and legumes in your diet; they're excellent sources of the folic acid you need.
- Find the right balance of vitamin A intake. Your growing fetus needs plenty of vitamin A, but too much of it has been linked to fetal deformities. Limit vitamin A intake to less than 10,000 IU per day.
- Limit your intake of fats and sweets, even though you might find yourself craving fatty or sweet foods as your pregnancy progresses.
- As a general rule, try to get 6 to 11 servings of breads and cereals, at least 4 servings each of fruits and vegetables, 4 servings of dairy and 3 servings of meat or meat alternatives.
You can also get prenatal supplements from your local health food store. These supplements ensure that you will get all the nutrients you and your baby need and will provide a big boost to your pregnancy diet.