It is always important to eat the right foods. Your body needs certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in order to function properly. When you're pregnant, however, it is doubly important. You're not only eating for yourself, but also for your baby. As your little one grows inside you, you'll need to increase your consumption of certain foods while staying away from others.
We'll provide suggestions below to help you create a diet that offers the ingredients you and your baby need for the road ahead. Some of what follows will likely be intuitive. A few tips, however, may surprise you.
Review Your Current Diet
If the foods you currently eat are unhealthy, now is the time to eliminate them from your diet. Ice cream, cake, pizza, and other types of junk food provide plenty of calories, but little else of value. Instead, increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. These foods not only offer calories (which are important), but also protein, and key vitamins and minerals.
Regarding calories, a lot of moms-to-be wonder whether they need to significantly increase their intake since they're eating for two. In reality, an extra 300 to 400 calories per day is sufficient.
One last note: ask your obstetrician to look over your proposed diet. If it fails to provide something she considers essential, ask for suggestions.
Add A Few Supplements
Even the best diet may lack in certain vitamins and minerals. Making matters worse, morning sickness, along with nausea and vomiting, can deprive your body of the important nutrients it needs. For these reasons, consider taking a few supplements. You'll need extra folic acid, iron, and calcium, especially as you progress into your second and third trimesters.
If you're a vegetarian, speak with your obstetrician regarding additional supplements that may be needed in the absence of meat.
Avoid Trying To Lose Weight
Many moms-to-be worry that they're gaining too much weight during their pregnancy. So, they try to shed a few extra pounds by cutting back on important foods. This is dangerous. As mentioned earlier, both you and your baby need the vitamins and mineral found in a nutritious diet. Depriving yourself of important foods does much more harm than good.
As your baby develops, you'll gain weight. This is not only normal, but it's an indication of a healthy pregnancy.
Say No To Seafood
During your pregnancy, avoid sushi, sashimi, and other types of fish prepared and served raw. Also, avoid seared fish since they are typically served without having been thoroughly cooked. Oysters, scallops, and other shellfish should likewise be shunned since they, too, are usually served partially cooked. This type of seafood contains bacteria that could prove harmful to your baby. Many fish are served fully cooked, but should still be avoided due to high levels of methylmercury, which can be unsafe for your baby. These fish include swordfish and shark (among others).
Eat Less Per Sitting, But Do So More Often
Eating three meals a day may become a chore if you deal with persistent morning sickness or heartburn. There will be times when you're not the slightest bit hungry, but know your baby needs food. You'll be tempted to skip meals, or cut back on the volume you're eating.
A better solution is to eat smaller, but more frequent, meals. Rather than three large meals, eat smaller portions five or six times throughout the day. Not only will your body will be able to digest the food more easily, but eating reduced portions will feel more comfortable.
The foods you eat during your pregnancy are just as important as those you avoid. When creating your diet, consult your obstetrician to ensure you and your baby receive the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need.
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