The foods that you eat while you’re pregnant transfer to your baby through the placenta, so it’s important to eat right. Eat a balanced diet to be sure that you are getting all of the nutrition that you and your baby need. Pregnant women need more calcium and iron than those who are not pregnant, so squeeze those in whenever you can.
Eating for Two
It’s common to use the idea of “eating for two” as an excuse to eat everything in sight when you’re pregnant, but this phrase is misleading. Actually eating two people’s worth of calories will lead to excessive weight gain — in both you and the baby. In actuality, you need no additional calories during the first 13 weeks of your pregnancy. In your second trimester — weeks 14 to 27 — you need an additional 200 calories and in the third trimester — weeks 28 to 40 — you need just 450 extra calories. Choose healthy foods for these extra calories.
Weight Gain By Week
You should gain weight based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index. A woman of a normal BMI should gain about 25 to 35 lbs throughout the pregnancy, while underweight women should gain up to 40 lbs, and overweight women should gain around 15. During the first weeks of your pregnancy, you will gain very little weight — maybe 5 lbs in the first 13 weeks. You’ll then gain about a pound a week for around 12 to 14 weeks, then your weight gain will taper off to a half pound a week. You should not diet to lose weight during your pregnancy. Rather, you should watch what you eat so that you gain a reasonable amount of weight for the duration of your pregnancy.
The most important thing that you can do is to eat a healthy diet while pregnant. Aim to eat a variety of whole grains, lean meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables throughout your pregnancy. As you must increase your calories as the weeks progress, choose healthy choices, such as an extra sandwich on whole wheat bread or an extra piece of fruit. Snacks and sweets aren’t completely off limits, but you should limit them.
Coping With Morning Sickness
When you have morning sickness — usually between the sixth and 12th week of pregnancy, but it can last longer in some women — it can be difficult to eat healthy and get all of the nutrients that you need. Try eating some crackers in the morning to ease your stomach before you get out of bed. It can also be helpful to eat small meals throughout the day. Try adding protein powder to fruit smoothies, which gives you an extra nutritional boost to a food that’s easy on the stomach.
For breakfast, enjoy a bowl of oatmeal made with soy milk and fresh or frozen blueberries. Alternatively, you could have a fruit smoothie or an egg sandwich on an English muffin. Eat a large salad for lunch, with chickpeas, tofu or chicken added on top for protein. You could also enjoy a sandwich on whole wheat bread or last night’s leftovers. For dinner, try grilled chicken with brown rice and steamed vegetables, a lentil chili with corn bread or pasta with vegetables. Serve a salad alongside your dinner for added nutrition. Small snacks might be whole wheat crackers with cheese or peanut butter, fresh fruit or even a 100-calorie snack pack of your favorite treat.