During pregnancy, you may be plagued by nausea, heartburn and not feel like eating. However, eating regularly is essential during your pregnancy; in fact, you typically need to eat extra calories and focus on foods with folic acid to help reduce the risk of birth defects. Keep in mind that expectant moms can easily add calories to their diets with plenty of healthy liquids, including fruit juice, vegetable juice and low-fat milk, according to the March of Dimes.
Failure to eat healthy foods during pregnancy can inhibit your baby’s growth, according to the March of Dimes. Fatty foods, such as potato chips, and candy may taste good and don’t have to be entirely avoided, but keep in mind that these options do not give your future son the essential nutrients he needs to grow.
While each woman is different and should speak to her doctor about specific requirements, most pregnant women need about 300 extra calories per day, according to the March of Dimes. The overall pregnancy meal plan should include about 5 oz. of lean protein, around 3 cups of low-fat dairy products, five servings of fruits and vegetables and about 6 oz. whole grains, such as fortified cereal.
Meal Time Frame
Generally, you should eat four to six small meals a day during your pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. Eating small meals rather than three larger ones may help alleviate pregnancy-related symptoms, such as gas, nausea and heartburn.
Foods to Avoid
You must not drink any alcohol while pregnant, according to the March of Dimes. Also, avoid high-mercury fish, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel. In addition, it is not safe to eat sprouts, raw meat, undercooked eggs and meat or unpasteurized cheeses, like Brie, during pregnancy.
Most pregnant women can safely gain about 25 lbs., according to the American Pregnancy Association. However, moms who were underweight before pregnancy should usually gain between 28 to 40 lbs. to reduce the risk of birth defects in their babies. Overweight moms can cut the 25-lb. average down to as few as 15 lbs. in some cases. They should not gain more than 25 lbs. during pregnancy, because this can increase the risk of pregnancy-related problems, such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Reducing your intake of “junk food” also makes it easier to take off the extra weight after delivery.
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