Your family, friends, and sometimes even complete strangers, will tell you all kinds of (often contradictory) things while you’re pregnant… what to eat, what not to eat, how much weight you should gain, how to take care of yourself…etc. etc. We’re here to set the record straight.
It’s true, taking care of yourself has never been more important. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle while you are pregnant can help establish the essential building blocks for growth, development, and overall health for your baby.
By following these easy nutrition guidelines, you will be providing your body with essential nutrients that will help prepare you for birth and assist in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your body will require additional nutrients. And while the age-old proverb of “eating for two” isn’t necessarily true, you will need to incorporate more micro- and macronutrients in your diet to support you and your baby.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) you and your baby need these key nutrients for a healthy pregnancy:
Calcium (1,000 milligrams daily)
• Helps regulate fluids and will aid in your baby’s bone growth. • Found in milk, pasteurized cheese, yogurt, and sardines.
Iron (27 milligrams daily)
• Helps increase blood flow and deliver oxygen to your baby. • Found in lean red meat, dried beans, peas, and iron-fortified cereals.
Vitamin A (770 micrograms daily)
• Helps support healthy skin, eyesight, and bone growth.
• Found in carrots, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C (85 milligrams daily)
• Helps promote healthy gums, teeth, bones, and the absorption of iron.
• Found in citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Vitamin D (600 international units daily)
• Helps your body absorb calcium.
• Found in sunlight, fortified milk, and fatty fish.
Vitamin B6 (1.9 milligrams daily)
• Helps your body produce red blood cells and utilize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
• Found in beef, liver, pork, whole-grain cereals, and bananas.
Vitamin B12 (2.6 micrograms daily)
• Helps your body produce red blood cells and maintain your nervous system.
• Found in liver, meat, fish, poultry, and milk.
(400 micrograms during the 1st trimester, 600 micrograms during your 2nd and 3rd trimesters)
• Helps your body with the production of blood and protein and reduces the risk of neural tube defects in your baby.
• Found in leafy vegetables, liver, orange juice, legumes, and nuts.
Protein (75-100 grams daily)
• Helps with the growth of fetal, breast, and uterine tissues and plays a role in your increasing blood supply.
• Found in meat, fish, beans, and nuts.
Things to avoid:
• Raw meat, tobacco smoke, drug use, and alcohol consumption.
• Reduce or eliminate caffeinated beverages like soda and coffee.
During the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy, you should consume an extra 300 calories per day. It is important that you are getting these extra calories from nutrient-dense foods, not sweets, sodas, and other fatty foods.
Further, while most women will experience food cravings throughout the duration of their pregnancy, these cravings should not be the sole indication of nutritional needs. A sensible, balanced diet paired with a reasonable exercise routine will be the best for your baby and you.
Generally, we recommend that you gain weight at the following rates throughout your pregnancy: • 2-4 pounds during your first trimester. • 3-4 pounds per month during your second and third trimesters.
Avoid the Flu
It’s flu season! It’s especially important that women who are pregnant get the flu vaccination in the fall and winter months.
The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women and it also has the potential to cause neural tube defects in developing babies. The ACOG has deemed flu shots to be safe for women at any point in their pregnancy. The flu vaccine is also the most effective strategy to protect newborns since the vaccine has not be approved for use in babies younger than six months old.