Top Tips for Pregnancy Nutrition
Which vitamins and nutrients are key to your baby's health?
Multivitamins Have Multiple Effects During Pregnancy
Multivitamins do more than supply the necessary folic acid for growing
babies, according to a population study conducted at the University of
Researchers there found that women in early pregnancy who took a
multivitamin or prenatal vitamin regularly reduced their risk of preeclampsia by 45%. Preeclampsia, which causes
elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine, is a leading cause of
premature delivery and fetal death.
Despite the benefits, you may find swallowing pregnancy supplements
difficult. The pills are often large, and they contain high doses of iron that
can irritate your stomach and cause constipation.
"If you find yourself having trouble taking prenatal vitamins or you're
having unwanted side effects, talk to your doctor about other, safe
options," advises Jennifer Shu, MD, pediatrician and co-author of
Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality.
And always tell your doctor or midwife about all the dietary supplements you
take, including herbal remedies.
Make Calories Count During Pregnancy
During the first few months of pregnancy, you may not notice a big weight
Some women may even lose weight during the first trimester of pregnancy
because of queasiness that prevents them from eating and drinking normally.
Tell your doctor if you experience persistent vomiting or nausea – you may
become dehydrated. So-called morning sickness can last for the entire
pregnancy, but it typically starts to dissipate after about 13 weeks.
As your baby begins growing, you'll need to make sure your extra calories
are nutritionally rich. Pregnancy is not a license to overeat, however. A
pregnant woman only needs an additional 300 calories a day. "Three hundred
calories sounds like a lot, but it's about the amount in two large apples,"
Of course, it's OK to splurge on a hot fudge sundae on indulge pregnancy
food cravings from time to time. On a daily basis, here's how to make those 300
additional calories matter most:
- 16 ounces 1% low fat milk
- 2 slices bread; 2 ounces chicken; 1 teaspoon reduced fat mayonnaise
- 8 ounce vanilla non-fat yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup fruit and 1 ounce whole
grain crunchy cereal