Tuesday
Feb162010

Good Nutrition For Pregnant Women

Good nutrition throughout pregnancy is important for both baby and mother.  The key to staying fit during pregnancy is to eat properly and ensure good nutrition, but not to gain excess weight.  In pregnancy, we require an additional 300 calories a day.  This does not add up to much (one bran muffin and a cup of yogurt.)  The challenge is to create a balanced, energizing diet. The recommended weight gain for pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds.  Women who were underweight prior to pregnancy may need to gain more, overweight women a little less. If you have concerns about your weight gain, please talk to your healthcare provider.

This food pyramid is a guide to help you eat sensibly and in appropriate amounts during pregnancy.  At the bottom of the pyramid are the foods you should eat in generous amounts.  At the top are the foods you should eat sparingly.  That does not mean you have to deny yourself totally, just be sensible and limit your intake of these foods to small amounts.

 Below are examples of serving sizes (this may surprise you!)

  1. Bread Group:  one slice of bread, ½ cup rice or ½ cup pasta
  2. Fruit Group: one medium apple or ½ grapefruit
  3. Vegetable Group:  ½ cup cooked vegetables or 1 cup raw, leafy  vegetables.
  4. Milk and Dairy Group: 1 cup milk, 1 cup yogurt, or 2 oz. Cheese
  5. Meat Group (protein): 2 to 3 oz. lean meat, fish or poultry

Other Important Factors to Remember

  • One food group that needs to be increased during pregnancy is the Milk and Dairy Group.  If you have difficulty eating dairy products, remember your calcium can come from other food sources such as dark green leafy vegetables such as collards, sardines, tofu, salmon (with bones) and beans.  Calcium supplements are also available, however please consult your physician before using any supplemental products.
  • Another food group that needs to be increased is the Protein.  Protein is important to help your baby grow.  Try to include protein at every meal and snack. Make sure all meats are properly cooked, avoid sushi and raw or undercooked fish, meat, poultry and eggs which may have harmful parasites or bacteria.
  • Also ensure your intake of folic acid to help develop the baby’s brain and spinal cord.  Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, and liver are all good sources of folic acid.  It is also an essential part of your prenatal vitamins.
  • It is recommended you eat 5 or 6 small meals a day when pregnant, spacing them out.  This decreases heartburn, satisfies hunger, and equalizes your caloric intake.
  • Never diet during pregnancy.
  • Vegetarian diets can provide you with all of the necessary nutrition for having a healthy pregnancy.  However you need to increase certain foods to account for additional caloric and nutritional needs. Consult your health care provider to be sure you are getting adequate nutrition.
  • To ensure proper hydration, consume 8-10 glasses of water or unsweetened juice each day.
  • Avoid soft cheeses which may contain harmful bacteria.
  • Limit your caffeine intake, especially during the first trimester—it is a diuretic and it affects your baby.
  • Always take your prenatal vitamins!

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Inspirit Therapy Associates
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Green Bay, WI 54301

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