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Monday, 9 February 2015

The Best Diet During Pregnancy

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During pregnancy it's especially important to follow a healthy diet for baby and for you. The following guidlines will help you eat well for two!
There's no question that a woman's nutritional needs change during pregnancy—but the "Perfect Pregnancy Diet" is pretty much the same healthy diet urged for everyone, though with more emphasis on certain nutrients. Once you are pregnant, not only are you what you eat, but so is your baby. And what better reason than that for eating incredibly well!

A healthy diet during pregnancy contains a variety of foods that provide the amount of calories and nutrients you need. During pregnancy, your body needs extra calories and nutrients to support your growing baby. Some extra nutrients you need include protein and certain vitamins and minerals. Following a healthy diet can help you to gain the right amount of weight during your pregnancy. It can also decrease your baby's risk of birth defects, low birth weight, and certain health problems. The amount of weight you should gain may depend on your weight before pregnancy, and if you are carrying more than one baby. Your caregiver will tell you how much weight you should gain.

The amount of calories you need depends on your daily activity, your weight before pregnancy, and current weight gain. Your calorie needs also depend on the stage of pregnancy you are in. Caregivers divide pregnancy into three blocks of time called trimesters. In the first trimester, you usually do not need extra calories. In the second and third trimesters, most women should eat about 300 extra calories each day.

Building a healthy baby requires about 300 extra calories per day assuming normal activity. Eat more if you're exercising. In those 300 extra calories, the pregnant woman needs to get up to 50 percent more of most vitamins and minerals and an additional 10 grams of protein a day for fetal and placental growth, expanded maternal extra cellular fluid, breasts and uterus.

 This additional caloric intake should be sufficient to attain a weight gain of approximately 22-28 pounds in women of normal weight. If you're underweight before you become pregnant, a 30-35 pound weight gain is appropriate. If you're overweight and become pregnant, you should not try to lose weight until after you've given birth or stopped nursing.
 Weight gain is usually minimal during the first trimester; most women gain between two to four pounds. Weight gain increases at a rate of .75 to .88 pounds per week during the second and third trimesters. The mother's rate of weight gain is the most reliable sign that she is eating the right amount of food to support the growing baby.

Eat a variety of foods from each of these food groups every day. Your dietitian or nutritionist will tell you how many servings you should have from each food group each day. Each item listed counts as one serving.

Breads and starches:
Whole grains:
o One-half of a cup of cooked brown rice.
o One-half of a cup of oatmeal.
o One slice of 100 percent whole wheat or rye bread.
o Three-fourths of a cup (one ounce) of whole-grain dry cereal.

Other breads and starches:
o One-half cup of cooked rice or pasta.
o One-half of a hot dog or hamburger bun.
o One-half of a small bagel.
o One six-inch tortilla or pita bread.
o One small dinner roll.

Fruits: Eat a variety of fruits each day. Choose fresh, canned, or dried fruit instead of fruit juice as often as possible.
One half-cup (four ounces) of a cup of fruit juice.
One half-cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit.
One medium size apple, peach, orange, or banana.

Vegetables: Eat dark green and orange vegetables several times a week.
A serving of vegetables is:
o One half-cup of cooked or raw vegetables.
o One half-cup of vegetable or tomato juice.
o One cup of raw or leafy vegetables (such as a tossed salad).

Dark green vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, collard, turnip and mustard greens.
Orange vegetables: Carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash and pumpkin.
Other vegetables: Tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, and onions.
Starchy vegetables: White potatoes, corn, and green peas.

Dairy Foods: Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy foods.
One and one-half ounces of low-fat cheese.
One cup (eight ounces) of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt.
One-half of a cup of low-fat frozen yogurt.

Meat and other protein sources: Choose lean meats and poultry (chicken and turkey). Bake, broil, and grill meat instead of frying it. Eat a variety of protein foods.
One and one-half ounces (about two tablespoons) of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter.
One-half cup of soy tofu or tempeh.
One large egg.
Three-fourths of a cup of cooked dried beans, peas or lentils.
Three to four ounces of any lean meat, fish, or poultry.

One-eighth of an avocado.
One teaspoon of oil (canola, olive, corn, safflower, soybean).
One teaspoon of tub, stick or squeeze regular margarine.
One tablespoon of low-fat margarine (30 to 50 percent vegetable oil).
One teaspoon of regular mayonnaise or one tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise.
One tablespoon of regular salad dressing or one and one-half of a tablespoon of low-fat salad dressing.

Water makes up a large part of your body, including your blood. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases up to twice as much as usual. The water you drink makes up part of this fluid. Water protects and cushions your baby, and controls body temperature. You need about eight to ten (eight-ounce) cups of water each day. This amount includes water, other liquids, and water from foods.

Most women can get the extra nutrients they need from food if they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. However, some women do need vitamin and mineral supplements to meet their extra nutrient needs during pregnancy. Your caregiver will tell you if you need a supplement, and the type you should use. Talk to your caregiver before taking any other kind of drug, including herbal (natural) supplements.

Multi-nutrient vitamin supplements are recommended for pregnant women to cover the increased need for folic acid, vitamins B-6, C and D and calcium, copper, iron and zinc. Folic acid (one of the B-vitamins that is also referred to as folate) is the "super star" vitamin for proper brain and nervous system development for the growing fetus. In addition, folate is of great importance for erythropoiesis (red blood cell formation). The recommended intake is 600-800 micrograms of folic acid a day. Although this super star will be in your prenatal vitamin, it's wise to include folate-rich foods in your diet. You can find folate in dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, liver, dried beans and peas, peanut butter and asparagus.

 Both you and your fetus need additional amounts of iron during pregnancy. You need it for building your blood supply and your baby needs it to stockpile for future use. Since human milk and cow's milk are both low in iron, your baby will be able to draw upon this supply for the first three to six months of his life. For this reason, 30 to 60 milligrams of supplemental iron are recommended during pregnancy. Excellent dietary sources of iron are: dried fruits, spinach, liver, dark green leafy vegetables and sardines.

 Calcium is needed for the proper calcification of your growing baby's bones and teeth, which is why you should be sure to drink at least four cups of skim milk or the equivalent amount (i.e., 1 ounce of cheese, 1 cup plain yogurt or 1 1/2 cups of cottage cheese) of dairy products each day during your second and third trimesters. If you don't eat enough calcium, your body will automatically draw it from your bones—making sure your baby gets what he needs, but at the expense of your skeleton. However, women who do not eat milk products may need a calcium supplement. Talk to your caregiver about calcium supplements if you do not regularly eat good sources of calcium. The amount of calcium you need is about 1,300 mg if you are between 14 and 18 years old and 1,000 mg if you are 19 to 50 years old.

The other vitamins and minerals that are required during pregnancy can be met by a well-balanced diet that contains the appropriate increase in nutrient-dense calories combined with a pre-natal vitamin mineral complex. Eat a healthy diet, even if you take a prenatal vitamin. You may forget to take your vitamin for a day. If you forget, do not take double the amount the next day.

Folic acid: The amount of folic acid you need before you get pregnant is at least 400 micrograms each day. Folic acid helps to form your baby's brain and spinal cord in early pregnancy. During pregnancy, your daily need for folic acid increases to about 600 mcg. Include folic acid in your diet each day by eating citrus fruits and juices, green leafy vegetables, liver, and dried beans. Folic acid is also added to foods such as breakfast cereals, bread products, flour and pasta.

Iron: This mineral is important because it helps the baby's blood and your blood carry oxygen. Good sources of iron are meat, liver, poultry, oysters, and fish. Other sources are beans, vegetables (spinach, peas, broccoli), and fortified cereals and breads. Your body will absorb iron better from non-meat sources if you have a source of vitamin C at the same time. Drink tea and coffee separately from iron-fortified foods and iron supplements. You need about 30 mg of iron during pregnancy.

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