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A Healthy Diet for Pregnant Women

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When pregnant, the most important thing you can do for your baby is to maintain a healthy diet. Eating meals that have the right balance of vitamins, minerals and proteins can help ensure that your little one is getting all nutrients he needs for proper growth and development.

As the old “eating for two” adage dictates, you will need to consume extra calories for your baby; however, you won’t need to actually eat much more food. According to the American Dietetic Association, pregnant women only need 300 calories per day more than they did prior to becoming pregnant.

Diet for Pregnant Women

 

Protein

Eating ample protein is critical to a baby’s development as protein is essential for cell growth and blood production. It is also important for growth and function of the placenta, amniotic tissue and the mother’s tissues.

You should consume about 60 grams of protein per day during pregnancy—about 10 grams more than you should normally eat. Protein-rich nourishments incorporate lean meat, eggs, cheddar, fish, milk and nuts.

 

Whole-Grains

The complex carbohydrates found in whole-grains give the baby the energy to grow at a rapid pace. They’re a boon to the mother as well, as they help fight nausea and constipation.

When pregnant, you should eat six servings of whole-grains per day. You can discover them in entire grain bread, oats, pasta, rice, oats, rye, grain and quinoa.

 

Vitamin C Rich-Foods

Vitamin C is an antioxidant essential to the development of the baby’s gums, teeth and bones. It also aids the absorption of iron and is critical in cell renewal and tissue repair. Despite its importance, however, pregnant women do not need to consume more vitamin C than non-pregnant women: 85 mg per day will suffice.

Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges and tomatoes, but also in vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

 

Folate-Rich Foods

Folate is a B vitamin B that helps blood and protein development, enzyme function, and can greatly reduce the possibility of neural tube defects.

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, kale and collard green all contain high amounts of folate, as do yellow fruits, peas, beans and nuts. Pregnant women should consume 400 mcg of folate per day.

 

Iron-Rich Foods

Pregnant women need 30 mg of iron daily—about twice as much a non-pregnant women need. The extra iron is essential to protecting against anemia (which occurs when the blood contains too little iron), which is a real risk in pregnant women in light of her increased blood volume.

Iron is also important for the baby, as the iron the baby absorbs will have to last him through her first few months outside of the womb. Iron-rich nourishments incorporate hamburger, pork, sheep, shrimp, salmon, broccoli, asparagus, egg yolks and nuts.

Note, however, that pregnant women should not eat excessive amounts of liver because it contains large amounts of vitamin A, too much of which may cause birth defects.

 

Dairy

The calcium in dairy products will help the baby develop strong teeth and bones, and help with nerve function. To get the adequate amount of calcium, you should eat four servings of dairy products, such as low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt, per day.

If you are lactose-intolerant, look to get your source of calcium by eating sardines, salmon (with bones), broccoli and spinach.

 

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