Eat right during pregnancy
Common sense tells us that what a woman eats during pregnancy is important for her health and for the health and development of her baby.
Eat right for you
Your diet also supplies your body with the fuel and nutrients you need to make the next nine months a pleasurable experience, ease delivery, and speed your recovery after your baby is born. Here are other reasons to eat well:
- Gain healthy weight. The best indicator of how well your pregnancy is progressing is your weight gain. Gain the recommended amount and you’ll improve your chances of having a full-term baby with a low risk of health problems after birth.
- Avoid iron deficiency. Fatigue, reduced resistance to colds and infections, and even mood swings often result from iron deficiency. You easily can remedy iron deficiency with a healthful diet that includes lots of iron-rich foods, as well as an iron supplement, if your doctor recommends one.
- Stay energized. It takes energy to develop a healthy baby, and that energy comes from calories—up to 300 additional calories per day above your pre-pregnancy intake.
- Speed recovery after delivery. Your body will require optimum energy and nutritional resources to mend itself after your baby is born. Good nutrition is essential for this recuperating process.
- Help prevent common pregnancy problems. Fortunately, few women experience serious complications during pregnancy. But most women do face minor nuisances such as heartburn, constipation, fatigue, and mood swings. You can minimize these problems by maintaining a good diet.
Eat right for your baby
Every gram of protein, every microgram of folic acid, and every drop of water your baby needs has to come from your diet. Water-soluble vitamins aren’t stored in the body, so the food you eat is the only source of your baby’s important nutrients. That’s why it’s important to eat well before you conceive and for the months that follow. Here are other reasons to eat well:
- Reduce the risk of birth defects. One of the most common types of birth defects—neural-tube defects—can be prevented in many pregnancies when Mom consumes the optimum amount of folic acid, a B vitamin found in dark-green leafy vegetables and orange juice.
- Ensure sufficient high-quality protein intake. In a healthful diet, meats, chicken, fish, beans, milk, and eggs supply protein. It’s the number-one building block for your growing baby’s muscles, ligaments, hair, fingernails, bones, brain tissue, blood, and other tissues.
- Supply calcium for bones and teeth. By the third trimester up to 300 mg of calcium is going to your baby each day. Consuming four calcium-rich glasses of milk will supply this needed mineral and prevent calcium from being taken from your bones.
- Help ensure a healthy birth weight. Following a nutritious diet and gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy will increase your likelihood of having a healthy baby. Adequate birth weight, in turn, will reduce your baby’s risk of life-threatening illnesses.