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Eating Right When Pregnant

Good nutrition during pregnancy, and enough of it, is very important for your baby to grow and develop. You should consume about 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant.

Although nausea and vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy can make this difficult, try to eat a well-balanced diet and take prenatal vitamins. Here are some recommendations to keep you and your baby healthy.

Goals for Healthy Eating When Pregnant

  • Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Recommended daily servings include 6-11 servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy products, and three servings of protein sources (meat, poultry, fish, eggs or nuts). Use fats and sweets sparingly.
  • Choose foods high in fiber that are enriched, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta and rice, as well as fruits and vegetables.
  • Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet while pregnant. You should take a prenatal vitamin supplement to make sure you are consistently getting enough vitamins and minerals every day. Your doctor can recommend an over-the-counter brand or prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you.
  • Eat and drink at least four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day to help ensure that you are getting 1000-1300 mg of calcium in your daily diet during pregnancy.
  • Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods, such as lean meats, spinach, beans, and breakfast cereals each day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily.
  • While you're pregnant, you will need 250 micrograms of iodine a day to help ensure your baby's brain and nervous system development. Choose from a variety of dairy products -- milk, cheese (especially cottage cheese), yogurt -- as well as baked potatoes, cooked navy beans, and limited amounts -- 8 to 12 oz per week -- of seafood such as cod, salmon, and shrimp.
  • Choose at least one good source of vitamin C every day, such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, honeydew, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens. Pregnant women need 70 mg of vitamin C a day.
  • Choose at least one good source of folic acid every day, like dark green leafy vegetables, veal, and legumes (lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas). Every pregnant woman needs at least 0.4 mg of folic acid per day to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
  • Choose at least one source of vitamin A every other day. Sources of vitamin A include carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, water squash, turnip greens, beet greens, apricots, and cantaloupe.

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