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Nutrition During Pregnancy
Courtesy of Doctor Thomas Shieh, MD OB/GYN, for more information go to

A healthy diet for pregnant mothers should begin before you are pregnant. However, if you are pregnant, it is even more important that you take steps to ensure that you eat a balanced diet.

Pregnant women often are concerned with gaining too much weight. You need to keep in mind that you are eating for you and your baby. That means you have to eat more during your pregnancy. You need about 300 calories more per day than you usually eat. The amount of weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pregnancy weight. In general, you can gain between 25 to 35 pounds.

If you are wondering how the weight gain is distributed, the following is how much an average woman gains in parts of her body during pregnancy:

Baby: 7.5 lbs
Breast: 2 lbs
Your body stores: 7 lbs
Placenta: 1.5 lbs
Amniotic fluid: 2 lbs
Your blood: 4 lbs
Your bodily fluids: 4 lbs

Gaining the right amount of weight is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. If you are diabetic, it is even more important that you watch what you eat, and keep your self within good glycemic control.

Eating healthy means avoiding foods that may be bad for you. This includes no alcohol, which may cause birth defects. You should also stop smoking, this really goes without saying, regardless of your pregnancy. There are many food guide pyramids that you can follow. To keep it simple, you need to have a daily serving of bread, cereal, rice pasta, vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish, dry beans, meat, eggs, nuts, milk, yogurt, and cheese. It is difficult to mix all of these into your diet and culture, but eating sensibly is required for a healthy pregnancy.

Some women think that taking vitamins is all they need for a healthy pregnancy. This is not true, it is still recommended that you eat a balanced diet even if you are taking vitamins everyday. Folic acid is a type of vitamin that is vital during your pregnancy. Not getting enough will increase the risk of birth defects. Every woman should be taking at least 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily before and during pregnancy. The best source of folic acid is in the prenatal vitamins that your doctor will prescribe. As for dietary sources of folic acid, they are in dark, leafy greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli), whole-grain breads, cereals, citrus fruits, juices, organ meat (liver), dried peas and beans. For those women who have had a child with spine or skull defects, she will need to take 4 milligrams daily. It is best to plan your pregnancy, so that you can start taking these vitamins before you are pregnant.

If you are a vegetarian, but your diet includes fish, chicken, milk, cheese, and eggs, you will have a better chance of balancing your diet. If you are a very strict vegetarian, then you may benefit from vitamin B12 and Vitamin D supplements.


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