Eating (Well) for Two
Eating (Well) For Two
Eat Twice as Well, Not Twice as Much continued...
For women who are already used to eating a balanced diet with plenty of
breads and grain, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and some meat or
protein, the change won't be dramatic. Fats should remain at about 30% or less
of total calories, although fat restriction shouldn't be a major concern during
pregnancy. Vegetarians should be able to get the nutrients they need from
careful food choices, although those who don't eat animal products may need an
But since so many of us don't always get the recommended servings when we're
not pregnant, eating right during pregnancy may require a little more
conscientious planning. "It takes effort," says Ward, a registered
dietician in Boston. "For instance, you need 1,000 milligrams of calcium,
and you can't get enough of that in your prenatal vitamin or supplement, but if
you have cereal, milk and a glass of calcium-fortified orange juice for
breakfast, right there you're up to about 600 milligrams." You might even
use that Starbucks fix to your benefit since a 12-ounce decaf latte has about
400 milligrams of milk, she says.
Snacks can be helpful in squeezing in all the required foods, not to mention
beneficial in curbing morning sickness. "Be a nibbler, a grazer," says
Anne Dubner, a registered dietician and nutrition consultant in Houston.
"If you nibble throughout the day you're more likely to get all the
nutrients you need, rather than trying to cram it all into each meal."
Yogurt or cheese will boost calcium intake, for instance; an orange will
provide extra vitamin C and folic acid.
It may be difficult to get everything you need from your diet, especially
essential nutrients such as folic acid and iron, so most providers recommend a
prenatal vitamin "as an insurance policy," says Dr. Richard Schwarz,
chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Methodist Hospital. Your iron
needs to double to 30 milligrams to accommodate increased blood volume during
pregnancy; a lack of iron can cause anemia. Women should already be taking a
prenatal vitamin with 400 micrograms, or 0.4 milligrams, of folate three months
before conception to help prevent neural-tube defects. Your doctor or midwife
may recommend supplements if necessary.
You should also be drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,
mostly water if possible, since dehydration can bring on premature labor.
Fluids also will help reduce muscle cramps, swelling and urinary tract
infections. "I tell patients to drink, drink, drink. Their urine should be
so pale they can't see it in the toilet," says certified nurse-midwife
Katherine Puls. If drinking with food exacerbates morning sickness, try filling
your quota between meals rather than with them.