Eating (Well) for Two
Eating (Well) For Two
Elizabeth Ward is the guru on nutrition during pregnancy. She wrote the book
on it, literally. So what did the author of the American Dietetic Association's
"Pregnancy Nutrition: Good Health for You and Your Baby" eat during her
pregnancies? Doughnuts -- and lots of 'em.
"I had to have a doughnut just about every day about midmorning during
my first trimester. It was the fat -- I love fat when I get pregnant," Ward
concedes. "Especially with my third pregnancy. I was so sick for about the
first four months that I ate whatever struck me. I had to get through the day,
and I didn't stop to worry that I wasn't eating an orange or eating my
Don't misunderstand. It's not that Ward pushes a steady diet of crullers and
cinnamon twists for pregnancy. A balanced diet, plenty of calcium and iron, and
fluids are still essential for moms-to-be and the healthy growth of their
babies, she says. Pregnant women who eat right and gain the recommended weight
have fewer pregnancy complications, easier deliveries and lose the extra pounds
faster. Malnourished babies are at greater risk for health problems and
developmental difficulties, and large babies are harder to deliver.
But don't sweat it those first few months if you can't stomach everything
you're supposed to eat, either. The nutritional needs of a tiny fetus are
minimal then, and especially if you're taking a multivitamin, you'll be
compensating for some of your dietary deficiencies. "If someone's
well-nourished to begin with, they can really coast that first trimester,"
says Katherine Puls, a certified nurse-midwife in Evanston, Ill. "It's more
a matter of not getting dehydrated and eating what appeals to you." Here
are some nutrition tips to follow during pregnancy, as soon as you can.
Eat Twice as Well, Not Twice as Much
You may be eating for two now, but don't get psyched for that
double-chocolate sundae -- an extra glass of milk is better. Nutritional needs
during pregnancy only go up about 300 extra calories, which should generally be
spread out over all the basic food groups. The only "extras" are
another serving of milk or dairy for the necessary calcium (mostly to build
strong bones) and about 10 more grams of protein (for cell formation) than your
basic USDA food pyramid recommendations for women who are not pregnant.