Good nutrition during pregnancy, and enough of it, is very important for your baby to grow and develop. You should consume about 300 more calories per day (600 extra per day if you’re carrying twins)than you did before you became pregnant.
Although nausea and vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy can make this difficult, try to eat a well-balanced diet and take prenatal vitamins. Here are some recommendations to keep you and your baby healthy.
Goals for Healthy Eating When Pregnant
Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Recommended daily servings include 6-11 servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy products, and three servings of protein sources (meat, poultry, fish, eggs or nuts).Consume fats and sweets sparingly.
Fruits and Vegetables.
Choose foods high in fiber that are enriched, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, beans, pasta and rice, as well as fruits and vegetables. Although it’s best to get your fiber from foods, taking a fiber supplement can help you get the necessary amount. Examples include psyllium and methylcellulose. Talk with your doctor before starting any supplements. If you take a fiber supplement, increase the amount you take slowly. This can help prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to drink enough liquids when you increase your fiber intake.
Protein drives blood production, especially when it has iron that your body easily absorbs, like from red meats, chicken, and shellfish. Your blood volume increases during pregnancy to supply your baby’s blood, too. Opt for healthy proteins that aren’t high in fat, like lean meats, fish, poultry, tofu and other soy products, beans, nuts, and egg whites.
You and your babies need some fats to stay healthy. Just remember to pick the healthy, unsaturated kind like vegetable oils, olive oil, and nuts.
Vitamins and Minerals
Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet while pregnant. You should take a prenatal vitamin supplement to make sure you are consistently getting enough vitamins and minerals every day. Your doctor can recommend an over-the-counter brand or prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you.
Eat and drink at least four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day to help ensure that you are getting 1,000-1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium in your daily diet during pregnancy.
Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods, such as lean meats, spinach, beans, and breakfast cereals each day to ensure you are getting 27 milligrams (mg) of iron daily.
While you’re pregnant, you will need 220 micrograms (mcg) of iodine a day to help ensure your baby’s brain and nervous system development. Don’t get more than 1,100 mcg a day. Choose from a variety of dairy products — milk, cheese (especially cottage cheese), yogurt — as well as baked potatoes, cooked navy beans, and limited amounts — 8 to 12 ounces per week — of seafood such as cod, salmon, and shrimp.
Choose at least one good source of vitamin C every day, such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, honeydew, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green or red peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens. It makes it easier for your body to absorb iron from plant foods, builds strong bones and teeth, boosts immunity, and keeps blood vessels strong and red blood cells healthy. Pregnant women need 80-85 mg of vitamin C a day. Don’t exceed 2,000 mg.
Choose at least one good source of folate every day, like dark green leafy vegetables, veal, and legumes (lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas). Every pregnant woman needs at least 0.64 mg (about 600 mcg) of folate per day to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Supplements called folic acid can be an important option when you are pregnant.
Choose at least one source of vitamin A every other day. Sources of vitamin A include carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, water squash, turnip greens, beet greens, apricots, and cantaloupe