While no mom-to-be should deny herself an occasional treat, eating a lot of junk food during pregnancy can harm both expectant mothers and their babies, according to the March of Dimes. Eating a balanced diet during this time in your life will likely help you feel better as well as aid your future child’s healthy development.
Basic Nutritional Requirements
During pregnancy, you should eat mostly whole-grain carbohydrates, vegetables, lean protein, fruits and low-fat dairy products, according to the March of Dimes. Fortified cereals, skim milk, well-cooked poultry without skin and fruit juice are among some of the best food choices for pregnant women, according to the Mayo Clinic. Generally, you should eat about six servings of healthy grains each day, five servings of fruits and vegetables, three cups of milk products and about five ounces of low-fat protein, according to the March of Dimes.
Do not drink any alcohol while pregnant; scientists have not determined a “safe” amount for pregnant women to drink. You also must avoid all high-mercury fish, which include swordfish, king mackerel, shark and tilefish. Limit your shellfish and lower-mercury fish intake to about 12 ounces per week, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Time Frame of Weight Gain
You should gain most of your additional weight after your first three months of pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. You really don’t need to gain weight during the first trimester and likely will not feel like “eating for two” during this phase due to nausea and other signs often associated with “morning sickness.”
Your New Size
Moms of normal weight before conception should gain about 25 to 35 lbs during pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. If you are usually underweight, be sure to gain about 28 to 40 lbs; if you don’t gain enough weight, your baby may be born small and suffer potential health problems. Overweight moms should try to gain only about 15 lbs while pregnant; gaining too much weight can increase your risk of pregnancy complications. If you’re expecting twins, then try to gain about 37 to 54 lbs, depending upon your pre-pregnancy weight. Triplets and other multiples also require additional weight; check this out with your doctor to ensure you and your growing family’s nutritional needs will be met rather than exceeded.
You might wonder just where all this extra weight might go. According to the March of Dimes, a mom who gains 29 lbs during her pregnancy will have about 4 lbs of that figure as retained water. About 3 lbs will go into your blood, 2 lbs to your breasts, 2 lbs to your uterus and other reproductive organs, and 7 lbs will comprise your fat, protein and other body nutrients. Your baby should get about 7.5 lbs of your pregnancy weight gain; the amniotic fluid also is comprised of about 2 lbs, and the placenta takes about 1.5 lbs of your pregnancy weight gain.
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