Health and Nutrition for Pregnant Women

What you eat during pregnancy not only affects your health but also determines the way your unborn baby grows and develops.

Many doctors suggest that if a woman is lacking certain vitamins and minerals while pregnant, her unborn baby will suffer as well. Her nutritional deficiencies may lead to deficiencies in her baby.

When a pregnant woman does not eat a healthy diet, her child can suffer from low birth weight, nutritional deficiencies, birth defects and even mental retardation.

Calories During Pregnancy

In pregnancy, you will need to consume an extra 300 calories per day. If you are pregnant with multiples, your caloric intake will need to be increased even more, depending on your doctor or midwife's recommendations. However, since your calories don't increase that much, the content of those extra few calories is very important. You will need to pay extra attention to the quality and variety of foods you consume, along with adding an appropriate prenatal vitamin supplement to your daily routine. (It's even better to add a multivitamin supplement before becoming pregnant.)

Eating a variety of nutritious foods will help ensure that you consume enough calories for you and your child. Avoid junk food; it provides empty calories, which fill you up but lack nutritional value.

Added Benefits of Nutrition During Pregnancy

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet will affect how you feel. During pregnancy, your energy needs increase by at least 15 percent. The additional calories and nutrients will give you increased energy, which is always welcome during pregnancy. Good eating habits will also result in a more pleasurable nine months, leading to fewer complications and discomforts, including heartburn, constipation, fatigue and many other common pregnancy complaints.

Another added benefit of eating healthy during pregnancy is a quicker recovery after delivery, due to your body being in better overall condition. This makes it easier for your body to heal and recuperate from childbirth.

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