Nutrition During Pregnancy

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Without a doubt, a nutritious, well-balanced eating plan can be one of the greatest gifts you give to your soon-to-be-born baby. Supplying your own body with a tasty blend of nutritious foods can not only improve your fertility, keep you feeling healthy during pregnancy, and pave the way for an easier labor, but it can also help to establish essential building blocks of growth and overall health for your child. The food we eat on a daily basis affects how our bodies work, how we heal and grow, and how we maintain energy and strength for years to come. It also determines the basic nutritional health that our children are born with, and provides a model for their eating habits during childhood and beyond. Pregnancy is the one time in your life when your eating habits directly affect another person. Your decision to incorporate delicious vegetables, whole grains and legumes, lean protein, and other wise food choices into your eating plan before and during pregnancy will give your baby a strong start in life.  Weight Change and Calories

It is a wonderful fact --your body will gain weight during your pregnancy! As you watch your weight begin to increase, take it as proof that your body is nurturing your growing baby. By the time you are ready to give birth, your total blood volume will have increased by as much as 60%. Your breasts will have filled with milk. Your uterus will have grown to accommodate your baby and has filled with amniotic fluid; your baby has grown to weigh 6 to 10 pounds (on average). To accomplish all of these productive changes, your body needs approximately 300 extra calories per day during your 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Every woman should discuss her individual nutrient needs with her health care provider. Do not neglect your baby’s health by neglecting your own!

Myth: Now that you are pregnant, you should be eating for two (or twice as much!). Fact: It is true that your nutrient needs increase, but energy requirements only increase about 300 calories per day for the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Food Groups

(Meats, Beans, Etc.)
Experts recommend 75 to 100 grams of protein per day. Protein in your foods positively affects the growth of fetal tissue, including the brain. It also helps your breast and uterine tissue to grow during pregnancy, and it plays a helping part in your increasing blood supply. Examples of daily sources of protein:

2-3 servings of meat (1 serving = approximately 3 ounces/ size of a deck of cards) * fully cooked fish or seafood
* liver
* chicken
* pork
2-3 servings of legumes (1 serving = approximately ½ cup)
* split peas
* red and white kidney beans
Daily requirement of calcium is around 1000 milligrams during pregnancy. Calcium helps your body regulate fluids, and it helps build your baby’s bones and tooth buds. Examples of daily sources of calcium:

3-4 servings of dairy
* milk (1 serving = 1 cup)
* eggs (1 serving = 1 large egg)
* salmon (1 serving = approximately 3 ounces)
* turnip greens (1 serving = approximately 1 cup)
(Vegetables, Grains, Meat, etc.)
In combination with sodium, potassium, and water, iron helps increase your blood volume and prevent anemia. A daily intake of 27 milligrams is ideal during pregnancy. Examples of daily sources of iron:

2-3 servings of green leafy vegetables (1 serving = approximately 1 cup) * spinach
* lettuce
* cabbage
3 servings of whole grains (1 serving = approximately. ½ cup or one slice) * cereal
* oatmeal
2-3 servings of lean protein (1 serving = approximately 3 ounces/ size of a deck of cards) * beef
* seafood
* poultry
Folate/Folic Acid
(Legumes, etc.)
Folic acid plays a key role in reducing the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Experts recommend 600 to 800 micrograms (.6 to .8 milligrams) daily. Examples of daily sources of folate:

2 servings of dark green...
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