What to eat when pregnant

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Pregnant woman
Eating well when pregnant is vital to your baby's health
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Tips on eating for a healthy pregnancy

What you eat and drink while you are pregnant plays a huge role in the health of your baby. If you eat junk food without the proper vitamins and minerals, your baby’s health will suffer. Maintaining a nutrient-rich diet will help your child properly develop.  Read on to learn what to eat when pregnant.

Vitamins and supplements
When you are pregnant, it is very important that you are receiving the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients. Your doctor will likely prescribe you prenatal vitamins to address most of these, though you can also supplement this with other vitamins and supplements on your own

One of the most important vitamins for a healthy pregnancy is folic acid. It can be found in green leafy vegetables, peas, bean, dark yellow fruits and vegetables, and nuts. It helps prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida, in the early stages of pregnancy. You should take folic acid supplements during the pregnancy, and even before, if possible.

Another important nutrient you must be sure to get enough of is calcium. Your baby requires a large amount of calcium to grow, and if you do not intake enough calcium, you can experience bone loss. You can get calcium from dairy products or foods such as spinach, sardines or salmon with bones, broccoli, tofu, spinach, and foods and juices that are calcium-fortified. You can also take a calcium supplement.

Remember, be sure to check with your doctor before you begin taking any vitamins or herbal supplements that he or she has not prescribed, as not all are safe for your baby.

What to avoid
When you are pregnant, there are several important things to stay away from. You absolutely must avoid drinking alcohol, as no amount of it is safe for the baby. Caffeine is considered to be OK in moderation, though it is a good idea to discontinue it altogether. If you want to stop drinking caffeine but need something to satiate your habit of having a warm drink in the morning, consider decaffeinated herbal tea instead.

You should also avoid eating fish high in mercury, swordfish, king mackeral, and shark. Tuna has lower levels of mercury and is fine to eat occasionally while pregnant, but do not eat it more than once a week.

You should also avoid eating raw eggs and raw or undercooked meat to help prevent food-borne illnesses. Unpasteurized milk, juices, apple cider, and cheeses should also be banned from your diet.

What to eat when pregnant
So what is safe to eat? Due to their healthy services of minerals, fiber, and vitamins, fruits and vegetables are two of the most important things you can eat when you are pregnant. You should eat seven servings of them combined each day. Aim for foods with vitamin C, such as strawberries and broccoli, which helps you heal and helps your baby growth healthy tissue. Dark green vegetables provide other nutrients you need, such as vitamin A and iron.

It is also important to make sure you are getting plenty of protein when pregnant. You need 10 more grams of it a day than non-pregnant women. The best sources of protein for you are poultry without skin, fish low in mercury, and cooked lean meat. You can also get protein from non-meat foods such as eggs and nuts.

The dairy food group is also important when you are pregnant. In addition to calcium, dairy offers vitamins A, B, and D in addition to some protein. You should be getting at least four servings of dairy a day. This can include pasteurized cheese, yogurt, and non-fat or low-fat milk.

Another important food group you must eat are carbohydrates. Pass on the white carbs; these lack nutritional value. You should be eating whole-grain or enriched products, which offer fiber, iron, minerals, and B vitamins. Have six to nine serving of carbohydrates a day, which can include cereal, bread, pasta, and rice.

How much to eat
Some women think that because they are pregnant with a child, they need to be eating for two. Not true! This can cause you to gain an unnecessary amount of weight. You should only be consuming an additional 300 calories day, and should on average gain between 25 and 35 pounds.

To help you stay healthy during pregnancy and not gain excessive weight, you should also consider a pregnancy exercise plan!

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