A Diet for Your Baby’s Healthy Start or What to Eat when Pregnant

It is usually said that a pregnant woman is eating for two. The truth is that mothers only need about 300 extra calories per day during pregnancy (an extra sandwich, for example, or some healthy snack like a glass of milk). But all that you eat as a future mother has to be healthy, because what you eat and drink is the main source of nourishment for your baby. The daily eating plan should be balanced including foods from all the groups: proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fat.

what to eat when pregnantFollowing the Food Pyramid, if you are pregnant, you should eat:

  • Complex carbohydrates (Starchy foods)- bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, maize, millet, oats, sweet potatoes, yams, and cornmeal; starchy carbs should not miss from any meal, because they are an  important source of vitamins and fibre, and are satisfying without containing too many calories.
  • Fruit and vegetables- lots ofvitamins, minerals, and fibre come from fruits and vegetables, so you should eat least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
  • Protein: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts; lean meat is recommended, but you have to make sure that it was cooked properly.
  • Dairy: your baby needs calcium, so milk, cheese, fromage frais and yoghurt are important while pregnant;
  • Fat and sugar: only some small amounts of these foods should be eaten; no one wants to gain too many pounds during pregnancy, so eat them moderately.

The most recommended foods while pregnant are: whole grains bread and cereals, beans, salmon, eggs, berries, low fat-yogurt. Try to include them in your daily eating plan as much as possible.

What you should be avoiding:

  • seafood high in mercury- (pregnant women can safely eat up to 340 grams of fish per week;
  •  raw fish and shellfish (especially oysters and clams);
  •  refrigerated smoked seafood, such as lox;
  • undercooked meat, poultry and eggs;
  • unpasteurized foods: brie, feta, camembert, blue cheese, queso blanco, queso fresco and panela;
  • unwashed fruits and vegetables;
  •  large quantities of vitamin A (too much vitamin A can cause birth defects);
  •  excess caffeine;
  •  herbal tea;
  •  alcohol.

Most of the pregnant women find it easier to eat snacks and small meals throughout the day rather than three big meals a day. When you get hungry between meals, you should try nutritious snacks, such as vegetable, salads, low-fat yoghurt or fromage frais, soups, fresh fruits, milk, baked potatoes , nuts etc.

Keep in mind that during pregnancy you need extra iron and folic acid.

Women need more iron in their diets during pregnancy to support the growth of the baby and to produce extra blood. The iron in red blood cells helps carry oxygen to your organs, tissues, and baby. The recommended daily amount of iron you should consume while pregnant is 27 milligrams.

As it is for the folic acid, several researches show that this substance helps prevent neural tube defects from occurring during the earliest stages of fetal development — so it’s important to consume plenty of it before you become pregnant and during the early weeks of your pregnancy.

To get both the iron and the folic acid, a prenatal supplement is usually required. Usually the prenatal supplements include vitamins, too, but you should not take vitamins without your doctor prescription, because, sometimes, the excess amounts of some vitamins or minerals during certain periods of pregnancy can harm your baby.

It is generally recommended for a normal weight woman to gain about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy (most gain 4 to 6 pounds during the first trimester and 1 pound a week during the second and third trimesters), but do not panic if you do not situate yourself between these limits. Instead of desperately watching the scale, focus on eating a good variety and balanced nutritious foods. If you will do like these you won’t get neither too fat, neither too slim and both you and your baby will be healthy.

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