Have a happy and healthy pregnancy by increasing the number of necessary nutrients and vitamins in your diet. Keep in mind that whatever food you eat, your baby will be eating as well, so avoid junk food, such as chips and candy, even if you are really craving them. Stick to whole grains, fruits, vegetables and good sources of protein.
Get Your Vitamins
In addition to eating foods full of needed vitamins, take a prenatal vitamin supplement daily or as prescribed by your doctor. When pregnant, you need to make sure you get enough folic acid, calcium and iron in your diet. Folic acid in your diet is particularly important during pregnancy. Folic acid helps to prevent birth defects such as spinal bifida, where the baby’s spinal cord does not close all the way. Get at least 0.4 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily while pregnant, both from your prenatal vitamin and from leafy green vegetables, such as kale, and beans, such as chickpeas.
Get Enough Calcium
You have most likely heard that women need plenty of calcium to prevent against osteoporosis, even when not pregnant. Your risk of getting osteoporosis is higher when you are pregnant, because the baby needs calcium to grow properly. If you are not getting enough extra calcium in your diet, your body will take the calcium stored in your bones and direct it towards the fetus. Try to get at least 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily when pregnant. A prenatal vitamin may provide up to 300mg. Eat low-fat dairy foods, such as yogurt, milk or cheese, as well as leafy greens to get the rest of your daily calcium.
Be Iron Woman
Increasing the amount of iron in your diet while pregnant will help you feel less tired and will help your baby grow. If you do not get enough iron while pregnant, you run the risk of developing anemia. The recommended daily amount of iron for pregnant women is 27mg. You can get some of the daily requirement from your vitamin, but you should also make sure to eat fortified grains, plenty of fruit, vegetables and beans. Meat is a great source of iron as well. Your body absorbs the iron in meat better than the iron in other sources.
Dealing with Cravings
An old theory said that when you craved a certain food, it meant your body was signaling to you that you were somehow deficient in a particular nutrient. While this theory has been disproved, it remains unclear why you may experience cravings during your pregnancy. You can act on your cravings, provided the food you wind up eating provides beneficial nutrients. If you are craving deep dish pizza, however, you and your baby will be better off if you ignore the craving. You may also crave strange things, such as soil, while you are pregnant. These cravings are a condition known as pica and could signal an iron deficiency. Don’t eat the dirt, and tell your doctor.
Foods to Skip
Foods that are usually safe to eat can be risky to consume during your pregnancy. If you eat cheese to meet your calcium requirements, skip soft cheeses, such as Brie or Camembert. If raw milk is legal in your state, put it aside while pregnant. Only drink the pasteurized stuff. You could get a listeria infection from these unpasteurized dairy products. While you should eat plenty of fish during your pregnancy, avoid large fish, such as shark and king mackerel, which can contain high levels of mercury.
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