Healthy Tips for Eating Right During Pregnancy

March 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Diet Articles

pregnancy-diet Nutrition is essential for growth and development of the baby. Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy can result in negative lifetime effects.

For example, inadequate consumption of folate can cause neural tube defects such as spinal bifida. A condition of the spinal cord that may cause paralysis. In the late 1990’s, the US passed a law mandating that grains and cereals be fortified with folate to decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in the US. Now many of our foods are fortified with folate.

Furthermore, research suggests that inadequate nutrition overall during pregnancy may put your baby at risk for contracting chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes later on in life. This is called the fetal programming theory.

Here are some tips for ensuring adequate nutrition during pregnancy.

1. During the second and third trimesters it is recommended to increase dietary intake but not necessarily during trimester one. In trimester two, it is recommended to increase caloric intake by about 340 calories. For example, add a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a snack with a piece of fruit or increase the portion sizes at dinner. In trimester three, increase caloric intake to about 450 calories. This would entail about another meal, bigger meal portions, or extra healthy snacks throughout the day (fruit, pretzels, nuts etc..).

2. Most of the recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals are increased. If a woman consumes a balanced diet, then she should be consuming an adequate amount of all. A balance diet is one that has a variety of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, dairy and meat. Women who are vegan may need to supplement vitamins such as B12. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products.

3. If suffering from morning sickness, there are a few things a woman can try. However, research is inconsistent in terms of evidence-based dietary recommendations: Eat small meals throughout the day and find foods that sound good. Some foods that women usually do well with when sick are bland foods such as crackers, breads, pasta, and some fruits such as banana. However, everyone is different. Some women find ginger tea helps to settle their stomach. Also, ensure adequate fluid intake. If the woman is not able to keep food and fluids down, then medical care should be seeked.

4. Protein need is increased some during pregnancy. As a nation, we usually over consume protein but if vegetarian or vegan then more focus on ensuring adequate protein consumption may be warranted. Some ideas are to consume roasted chickpeas or nuts or soy or dairy yogurt as a snack and every meal should have a protein source such as beans, tofu, and/or cheese.

By Diana Cuy Castellanos

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