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pregnant woman eating rightSo you're pregnant and ready to start “eating for two,” but how much should you eat, and what are the best foods for you and your baby?

In many ways, pregnancy is no different from any other time of life, because healthy eating should always be your goal. Unlike the days of your mother or grandmother, being pregnant is no longer a green light to gorge yourself. "Eating for two" doesn't mean eating twice as much. It means that what you eat is the main source of nutrients for you and your baby, and sensible, balanced meals will be best for both of you.

A good goal is to gain 2 to 4 pounds total during the first trimester, and then 3 to 4 pounds per month for the second and third trimesters. Most women only need an extra 300 calories a day during the last six months of pregnancy. That's not much additional eating, so choose your food wisely. Gaining too much weight can put you and your baby at risk for complications during pregnancy and even long-term health problems.

On the other hand, trying to gain much less weight during pregnancy will not make your delivery easier and could lead to premature birth, which can cause lung and heart problems. A healthy pregnancy includes fat storage, because your body uses this excess fat as energy during labor and breastfeeding.

For good health during pregnancy, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats, and get these essential nutrients:

Folate and folic acid – This B vitamin helps prevent serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord, and folic acid has been shown to decrease the risk of preterm delivery. Fortified cereals are a great source of folic acid, and leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and dried beans and peas are good sources of naturally-occurring folate.

Calcium – This builds strong bones and teeth for you and your baby, and also helps your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems run normally. Dairy products are the most effective natural sources of calcium, and many fruit juices and breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium.

Vitamin D – This also helps build your baby's bones and teeth, and can be found naturally in eggs and fatty fish, such as salmon. You'll also find Vitamin D in fortified milk and orange juice.

Along with adding healthy foods, be sure to eliminate tobacco smoke and alcohol consumption. It's also a good idea to reduce or eliminate caffeinated beverages like soda or coffee during pregnancy.

“Eating for two” with healthy foods, including good nutrients and the right portion sizes, can help you have a successful pregnancy and give your baby a great start to life.

 

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax