A pregnant’s woman’s guide to healthy eating!
When a woman finds out she’s pregnant, it might be tempting for her to think, “I’m eating for two, so I’ll just eat more of everything!” Or she might think the opposite, that gaining weight is not okay and that she has to restrict her calories so she doesn’t “get fat.”
Neither way is the best choice for a developing baby. What an expectant mom really needs during her pregnancy is a balanced diet of high-quality, nutritious foods. It’s easy to make healthy choices during pregnancy by simply focusing on the SIXthings to eat every day during pregnancy:
1. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Many of the vitamins and minerals a pregnant mom and her baby need can be found in fruits and vegetables. By choosing a variety offruits and veggies in various colors, moms can be assured that they are getting a range of nutrients. That’s because the color of a fruit or vegetable often relates to the vitamin or mineral it contains. For instance, orange fruits and vegetables like carrots tend to have beta-carotene (the plant form of vitamin A), while dark greens like spinach and kale contain calcium. Choosing at least one fruit and/or vegetable at every meal will also increase your fiber intake which can help with constipation, a common pregnancy complaint.
2. Whole Grains: White flour products might look nice, but they aren’t the most nutritious: the vitamins and fiber are stripped out of white breads and pastas, with some, but not all, added back to “enrich” the product. Why not choose the whole grain for the highest level of nutrition? Try some whole grain bread, or taste some new grains such as quinoa or brown rice instead of white pasta. Simply look for the word “whole” in the ingredients list, such as “whole wheat”.
3. Protein: Proteins are a developing baby’s building blocks. It takes protein to make just about everything in a baby’s growing body: cells, skin, the baby’s organs and systems, hair, nails and so much more. What foods have the most protein? Eggs, cheese, fish, meat, poultry, nuts, nut butters, beans, milk, yogurt and cheese have the highest concentrations of protein. Be sure all meat, fish, poultry and eggs are fully cooked, and that milk and cheese products are pasteurized, not raw (see “Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy”).
4. Healthy Fats: These unsaturated fats are needed to help with the baby’s brain development, particularly in the last trimester of pregnancy when the baby’s brain is developing at its most rapid pace. Healthy fats are found in natural sources such as olives, olive oil, avoca does, wild salmon, nuts, nut butters such as peanut and almond butter, and seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Are you really “Eating for Two?”
Yes, but one of you is very, very SMALL!
You only need about 350 extra calories per day to help a new baby grow. That equals a bagel with a cream cheese, OR a small bowl of cold cereal with a cup of fat-free milk and a banana OR 2-ounces of turkey on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomato!
5. Calcium-Rich Foods: Developing babies need calcium for proper bone and teeth development. When pregnant women don’t eat enough calcium-rich foods, the baby takes calcium from the mom which can increase mom’s risk for osteoporosis later in life. Choose foods such as calcium-forti fled orange juice, leafy greens, almonds and dairy products.
6. Water: During pregnancy, a mother’s blood volume increases by about 50%. so she needs to drink about 8 cups (2 liters) of water every day to help the blood circulate through her body. The extra water is also needed to help replenish the amniotic fluid, which happens about once every three hours. Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to contractions, so getting enough water is vital for the baby’s well-being.
Eating healthy during pregnancy is NOT a diet! ft’s a time for moms to consciously choose good-tasting foods that have the nutrientsthey need to help their babies grow and develop.
Easy Eating for Two
How to get enough in pregnancy
When a woman becomes pregnant, her body creates new blood cells which increases her blood volume by about SO%1 The mineral that helps to create those new red blood cells – and carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and organs – is iron.
IRONically (I), nearly half of all pregnant women don’t eat enough iron-rich foods to meet their nutritional needs during pregnancy. Pregnant women need about 30 milligrams of iron per day, most of which can come from foods, but a supplement might also be recommended.
Called anemia, an iron deficiency can cause complications, including:
• Preterm birth
• Low birthweight
Fortunately, there are lots of foods that contain iron to help • pregnant moms get all or most of the iron they need.
Symptoms of Anemia
• Low body temperture
• Pale skin
• Shortness of breath
• Chest Pain
• Cold hands and feet
• Poultry, especially chicken livers
• Green leafy vegetables like spinach
• Whole grains
• Nuts and seeds
• Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas
Pregnant women usually have their iron levels tested at their first prenatal visit and again at about 24 weeks. If a test shows that a pregnant mom is low in iron,she might be given iron pills or a supplement called Floradix, then tested again to see ifthe levels have increased.
Easy Eating for Two
Growing with Your Baby
As you can see by the chart below, gaining weight during pregnancy is a necessary part of pregnancy. Certain parts of the body increase in volume, as does the baby, which natural adds weight to the mom’s body. While every woman is different, this gives you a good idea of why a pregnant mom gains more than just the weight of her baby:
Where does the weight go?
|Part of Body||Amount of Weight|
|Amniotic Fluid Uterus||1.5 pounds|
|Maternal Fat Stores||4 to 8 pounds|
|Extracelluar Fluid||4 pounds|
|Total:||24 to 28 pounds|
The exact number of pounds a pregnant woman gains varies, depending on how much she eats, the quality of the foods she chooses, whether and how often she exercises, and how big her baby is. Here are some general guidelines for how much a pregnant mom can expect to gain based on her height and weight at the start of her pregnancy:
HOW MUCH WEIGHT GAIN IS NORMAL?
|Pre-Pregnancy Weight||2nd & 3rd Trimester||Total Weight Gain|
|Normal||1 pound a week||25-35 pounds|
|Overweight||More than 1.1 pounds a week||28-40 pounds|
|Underweight||Two-thirds of a pound a week||15-25 pounds|
|Twins||1.5 pounds a week||30-35 pounds|
|Meals & Snacks||Foods and Drinks|
|Breakfast: Citrus fruit or juice
Meat or meat substitute
Bread/ Milk beverage
|1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 scrambled egg
1 slice whole wheat toast with Jelly and
margarine (1 tsp each)
1 cup skim (fat-free) milk, decaffeinated coffee
| Lunch: Meat or meat substitute
Potato/substitute Vegetable and/or salad Dessert
|3 oz. baked chicken
1/2 cup sweet potato
1/2 cup each green beans, coleslaw
1/2 cup strawberries
1 whole wheat roll with 1 cup skim (fat-free) milk, water
|Afternoon Snack: Milk, Fruit||1 Cup fruited yogurt|
|Dinner: Soup or juice
Meat Of meat substitute
Potato/substitute Vegetable and/or salad Dessert
|1 cup vegetable-bean soup
3 oz meatballs with spaghetti sauce (1/2 cup) 1 cup spinach salad with 1 tbsp dressing,
zucchini (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup rice pudding
2 slices garlic bread
1 cup skim (fat-free) milk, decaffeinated iced tea
|Evening Snack: Meat, Bread, Fruit||1 oz. turkey breast with one slice whole wheat toast
1/2 cup apple juice
|Calories||2724 Kcal||Riboflavin||2.9 mg|
|Protein||135 gm||Thiamin||1.4 mg|
|Carbohydrate||358 gm||Foliate||345 mcg|
|Fat||64 gm||Vitamin B-6||2.1 mg|
|Saturate Fat||22 gm||Vitamin B12||6.4 mcg|
|Monounsaturated||21 gm||Calcium||2040 mg|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||16 mg||Phosphorus||2052 mg|
|Cholesterol||394 mg||Zinc||13 mg|
|Dietary Fiber||34 gm||Iron||21 mg|
|Vitamin A||5297 IU||Sodium||3401 mg|
|Niacin Equivalents||17 mg||Potassium||6626 mg|
Food Safety and Fish
for moms to be!
It would be nice if a pregnant woman could to eat or drink anything she craved, but the reality is not everything is healthy for an expectant mom. Some foods can carry dangerous bacteria like salmonella. E-coli and listeria, while certain fish are known for their high mercury content.
Here are some easy guidelines for what a woman should choose and avoid during pregnancy:
Fish to Choose During Pregnancy:
Experts agree that pregnant women can – and should – eat up to 12-ounces of low-mercury fish per week (three ounces is about the size of a deck of cards). Fish is a great source of protein and of healthy omega-3 fats, the kind that babies need for their brain development.
The Florida State Health Department recommends the following fish because they are low in mercury and high in healthy fats:
• Tuna (no more than 4-ounces a week of canned light tuna) Anchovy
• Mackerel (Atlantic, jack, chub)
• Rainbow trout (farm raised) Salmon (wild or farm raised) Sardine
• Shad (American)
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy:
Not even one glass of wine, beer, or liquor is okay during pregnancy. alcohol while pregnant is associated with birth defects. Drinking alcohol while pregnant is associated with birth defects.
It’s okay to drink about 12 ounces of beverages that have caffeine, such as coffee, tea, energy drinks and soda. But most caffeinated drinks are simply empty calories, so drink water for calorie- and sugar-free hydration.
• Raw Seafood, Meat, Eggs, Juice, Milk and Cheese:
Be sure all fish, meat and eggs are fully cooked. and that all milk, cheese and juices have been pasteurized.
• Refrigerated Pates, Meat Spreads or Smoked Seafood:
Choose the canned and shelf-stable versions instead to avoid potential food- poisoning.
• Raw sprouts:
Avoid them completely during pregnancy.
• Deli Meats and Hot Dogs:
Reheat until they are steaming hot before eating.
Substances to Avoid during Pregnancy:
The chemicals in cigarettes prevent adequate amounts of oxygen from getting to a fetus, which can mean a developmentally small baby, a preterm birth, or problems with the placenta.
• Over-the-Counter Medications/Prescription Medications/Herbal Remedies (unless prescribed by midwife or physician who knows you are pregnant):
Many medications, herbs and dietary supplements can be harmful to a pregnant mom and/or her baby, so always check with the midwife before taking any medications, including homeopathic remedies.
• Illegal Drugs:
Marijuana, cocaine and other street drugs can cause problems during pregnancy. including premature birth and very low birthweight.
For more information about healthy foods during pregnancy, check out these books & websites:
Healthy Eating During Pregnancy … Dr. Laura Riley, OB/GYN, Stacey Nelson, MS, RD, LDN
The Harvard Medical School Guide to Health Eating During Pregnancy … W. Allan Walker, MD
March of Dimes: www.marchofdimes.com
Florida Department of Health: www.doh.state.fl.uslfloridafishadvice
U.S. Department of Agriculture: www.mypyramid.govlmypyramidmoms/index.html
American Dietetic Association: www.eatright.org
Vitamin D Information: www.vitamindhealth.org
The Preeclampsia Foundation: www.preeclampsia.org