In the old days, it was commonly believed that pregnant women were eating for two. Today we know that this is not really true. The fact is that the food choices a pregnant woman makes are more important than the amount of increase in food consumption. A pregnant woman should eat as much as a woman who is working hard or exercising regularly because making a baby does take extra energy and extra nutrition, however, it does not take twice as much nutrition as simply maintaining good health. Expectant mothers should consume about 300 more calories per day than they usually do. Here is a breakdown of the nourishment needed by pregnant mothers.
Mothers-to-be need to consume quite a bit of protein for successful fetal growth. Protein helps build organs, muscles and skin. There is excellent protein to be had in food sources such as lean meat and poultry, milk, cheese and other dairy products, eggs, nuts, legumes and beans.
It’s important to get plenty of calcium to build your baby’s bones and teeth and preserve your own. When you get plenty of calcium during pregnancy you will be less likely to have problems with your teeth and loss of bone density later on. Be sure to drink plenty of milk and enjoy other dairy products along with dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, and beans. If you are unable to drink milk, try soy milk. Look for calcium fortification in a number of products including orange juice.
During pregnancy, it’s very important to get plenty of iron because iron carries oxygen throughout your system and to your baby. You can get lots of iron from cereals, enriched and whole grain breads, fish and lean meats, beans and dried fruits.
Folic acid is extremely important to your developing baby. You may also see folic acid listed as folate. Regardless of what it is called, this is a very important form of B vitamin. When folic acid is taken regularly before conception and during the first month of pregnancy, it helps prevent spinal cord and brain birth defects. You can get folic acid in foods such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, oranges, asparagus, whole grain cereals and breads, legumes and beans, and organ meats such as liver.
As you look at the lists of foods that provide vital nutrition, you might think that you would be safe to simply stick with some of the foods that turn up frequently in the lists. While you should certainly eat ample amounts of all these foods, remember to vary your diet so that you will get a bit of everything and provide yourself and your baby with complete nutrition. Ask your doctor about taking a multivitamin to be sure of getting all the vitamins and minerals you need.
When you make the right nutritional choices during pregnancy and eat the right amounts, you can be sure of regaining your pre-baby figure quickly after your baby is born. If you are breastfeeding your baby, be especially sure to continue giving yourself ample nutrition and making wise choices to be a healthy mom with a healthy baby.