Pregnancy is not the time to go on an actual diet. Even moms-to-be who are clinically obese need to gain some weight during pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, you and your future child are best served if you follow a few basic healthy eating guidelines, especially during the second trimester of pregnancy.
You and your growing baby cannot safely ingest some types of food during pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. You should avoid refrigerated smoked seafood, such as lox, raw oysters and shellfish, and cooked high-mercury seafood choices, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel. Also, medical professionals note that you cannot drink any amount of alcohol safely, according to both the Mayo Clinic and the March of Dimes.
Calorie Adding Potential
You should add about 300 extra calories a day during your pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. The best foods to add are vegetables, fruits, whole-grain bread, lean protein and low-fat dairy products, such as milk. Also, the Mayo Clinic notes that you shouldn’t avoid fish entirely. Eating one or two servings a week of low-mercury options, like cod and salmon, provides much-needed brain food for you and your future son or daughter.
Not eating enough folic acid during your pregnancy could lead to premature delivery or serious birth defects in your baby, according to the Mayo Clinic. Generally, folic acid is found in healthy food choices, like beans, fortified cereals, green vegetables and citrus fruits. You should eat about 1,000 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid during pregnancy; about 1 cup of fortified cereal will provide half this daily target. Also, many vitamins include folic acid.
You should eat about four to six small meals a day while pregnant, according to the March of Dimes. Eating a few crackers or a similar snack before you really start your day is also a good way to relieve the potential frustrations associated with morning sickness. Morning sickness is more common during the first trimester of pregnancy, but eating regular meals throughout will likely reduce the occurrence of gas pains.
All expectant moms should watch their size during pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. Gaining too much or too little weight can make pregnancy and delivery a great deal more complicated. Underweight moms are also especially at risk of delivering babies with birth defects. Moms who were obese or overweight before conception should target gaining about 15 lbs.; underweight moms need to gain 28 to 40 lbs. to deliver healthy babies safely. Women who were of an average weight before pregnancy usually should gain about 25 lbs.
Keep in mind that loading up on sugar and high-fat foods will not only make it more difficult to lose weight after pregnancy, but it also increases the risk of pregnancy-related problems, such as vomiting, nausea and even gestational diabetes.
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